Topic outline

    • *We recommend you use the Internet Explorer or Firefox (or Safari if you have an Apple device) browser to access the full module content. 

      This module will introduce Information Literacy Skills (ILSs for short). These are the skills that will enable you to locate information that is appropriate for academic study, and then use and manage it effectively.

      Developing high-quality ILSs will help maximise your chances of achieving good grades while you are studying at Queen Mary, but it is important to realise that these are life-long skills which will be of great value throughout your entire career. Spend time cultivating these skills now and it will pay off in the short and long term.

      After completing this module you will have a good understanding of:

      • why, when looking for information for your studies, it is a mistake to rely solely on Google and Wikipedia
      • where you can go online to find reliable information
      • some methods you can use to evaluate the information you find, and an understanding and increased awareness of the issues surrounding plagiarism
      • some of the main referencing styles used in academic writing
      • how you can use freely available software to efficiently manage your library of references and get the most from them



      You may well come across some terminology when working through this module which is only vaguely familiar or perhaps even completely new to you: 'abstracts', 'citation', 'grey literature', 'periodical' and 'peer review', for example, sound rather obscure, but they are all commonly used in academic research and writing. 

      Learning the meaning of these and other terms will help you produce good quality coursework and essays, but it doesn't have to be hard work. It can be fun: to get started, why not try our  Word Game  before moving on to begin the module itself.



      The Teaching & Learning Support Team are always contactable: look out for this button:  Contact the T&LS Team  

    • The Information Adventure: Finding It! Using It! Referencing It!

      Begin your own personal Information Adventure by watching this short cartoon:

      The Information Adventure was a piece of fun, but it makes some serious points: effective academic research and writing is all about the continuous process of finding, assessing and utilising appropriate information, and then storing and managing it for future possible (re)use.

      The process can be broken down into three stages:

      • Find It!
      • Use It!
      • Reference It!

      In this module we explore each of these stages in more depth, and suggest some simple but practical ways in which you can improve your ILSs and produce good quality essays and dissertations.

      Remember while working through the module that ILSs are crucial, both during and after your time at Queen Mary. The modern economy is largely based on 'knowledge workers' who can access and use information effectively.

      Expertise in finding and using information will help you maximise your employability. Demonstrating these skills will help you stand out at interviews, and – when you are in post – help you ensure that you realise your potential in the workplace: both you and your employer will benefit.

      It all begins with the Information Adventure!

      • Find it!

        This section will provide some help with the process of finding reliable information that you can use with confidence to produce good quality coursework.

        Once you have completed this section you will:

        • understand why relying solely on Google and Wikipedia is a flawed approach
        • know where you can begin making more focused search strategies
        • have been shown some examples of how to use Library Search for specific books and articles, and for a more general range of sources about a particular topic
        • have seen a demonstration of the simplest way to search one of the most useful general academic databases

        Why not download a copy of our worksheet 'Researching Your Essay' to help you get started. 


      • Use It!

        Read this section and try the two quizzes if you are feeling unsure about how best to assess and use the information you have found.

        Once you have completed this section you will:

        • know the essential questions to consider when you evaluate a piece of information
        • have a grasp of what plagiarism means, why and how you should avoid it

      • Reference It!

        Referencing is the process whereby you acknowledge your sources.

        There are particular ways in which academic writing is referenced, and once you have completed this section you will know more about:

        • the main referencing systems in use at Queen Mary
        • where to obtain more detailed information about the particular referencing system you choose to use in your essays
        • three freely available software packages that you can use to manage your collections of bibliographic information, PDFs, notes and citations 
      • Glossary

      • Feedback & Certificate of completion