Information and research skills

Introduction and Background

The quality and diversity of information sources are wide ranging. From search engines to subject gateways to electronic databases, students have a vast amount of information before them. Library & Information Services (LIS) can help provide students and staff with the information literacy skills they need to successfully identify and use these services in support of their assignments and project work.

To make information skills sessions work for you and your students they should be:

  • integrated into the course through careful planning
  • appropriately timed to ensure that the skills acquired can be put into practice immediately
  • focused on the subject content relevant to students at that point in their course
  • structured to ensure progression to more complex sources and services
  • designed to provide students with the skills to critically evaluate the information retrieved

LIS can help you achieve these things. We offer a successful induction programme which reaches over 90% of new students. We also aim to ensure that our research and information skills sessions reach larger numbers of students too. Information literacy sessions can help improve research and critical skills. They can help students to improve their marks and provides invaluable experience for future professional careers.

Information and Research Skills Sessions

LIS can provide you and your students with tailored information skills sessions. Examples of what we do include:

Introductory sessions

Using Library SmartSearch – find books, journals, electronic resources and general library information.

Research and project skills

Using Library SmartSearch.

  • Develop systematic search strategies (keywords, Boolean logic, strategies to refine and focus search results etc.)

  • Know how to use full-text and/or bibliographic databases.
  • Find company and market information, scientific and technical information, foreign language services, statistical information.
  • Citation searching using the citation Indexes.
  • Using full-text newspapers (online and WWW).
  • How to use search engines, subject gateways and evaluate Internet resources.
  • Recognise plagiarism and reference correctly.

Current awareness

  • Keeping up-to-date using current awareness services

Managing bibliographic references

  • Bibliographic referencing software
  • How to cite references

As students progress through their course, formal sessions can be supplemented with drop-in sessions, refreshers on specific services, etc.

Planning information skills sessions into your course/module

Information skills sessions can be readily incorporated into the courses/modules for which you are responsible. Please do contact your Information Specialist, who will be pleased to work with you to tailor sessions to the needs of you and your students.

Our Information Specialists are currently working on resources for the Library Matters module on Blackboard to support our existing information and research skills programme. If you have any comments about what you would find useful or you would like to direct your students to, please email library@aston.ac.uk or contact your Information Specialist directly.

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