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 understanding and acquiring 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 help you to prepare a perfect bibliography
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, make sure you have a look at our glossary further down on this page
The Teaching & Learning Support Team are always contactable: look out for this button: Contact the T&LS Team
To access this module fully
If you self-enrol on the course you will be able to get full access to all the content and get a certificate for module completion. You can find self-enrolment options above the menu bar on the right. If you cannot see it make sure you are logged into QMplus. Please do this before finishing any quizzes, otherwise you will need to redo them.
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!
This 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
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're deciding how to use a piece of information
- know what sort of questions to ask to interpret your readings more critically
- have a grasp of what plagiarism means, why and how you should avoid it
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
Certificate of completion
"Find it! Use it! Reference it!" was created by the Teaching & Learning Support Team
We hope that what you have learnt in this module will help you in your studies and in your future career, and we would be happy to assist should you need any further advice with search skills and the use of information resources.
Have you completed all the quizzes? Congratulations! You can now get your