Information literacy for staff and researchers
- Research Information Network, Cardiff University
- South West and Wales
- Date first submitted:
- 28 Sep 2010
- Date last modified:
- 29 Sep 2010
- Researcher-led activities
- Research project skills
- Academic practice
- Postgraduate researchers
Rationale, aims and outcomes
What is the rationale for doing this?
How does it fit with institutional strategy?
What are the main features of the provision?
What are the aims and expected outcomes?
The Research Students Skills Development Programme (RSSDP), co-ordinated by the Graduate Centre and Graduate Schools and described elsewhere in this Database of Practice (http://vitae.ac.uk/dop/6.html), draws together the generic training across and within subject areas, to meet the training needs identified by the JSS. All generic library training for postgraduate researchers is included within the programme. This close integration was noted as an example of good practice by the RIN report “Mind the Skills Gap: Information-handling training for researchers” (2008, p. 28).
Through close working between the Graduate Centre and Library staff, the information literacy contributions to the programme have increased significantly over the years. By 2009/10, students can now develop their information literacy through any of the following workshops, led by library staff:
- Finding information for research (tailored to each Graduate School)
- Accessing and understanding archives
- Developing systematic literature searches
- Intelligent web searching for research
- Keeping your research up-to-date (tailored to the Graduate Schools)
- Identifying and writing high quality papers: appraisal techniques and checklists
- Managing your references using EndNote
- Managing your references using EndNote: advanced techniques
Information Services staff also run a wide range of IT workshops in the programme. Other information literacy skills, such as patent searching, managing research data and rapid reading, are led by other experts in the University.
By embedding the information literacy workshops into a central programme, the importance of these skills to the researcher is emphasised, and their relevance in the JSS addressed.
The single RSSDP simplifies for the student the process of identifying and booking appropriate training. The bookings for the library workshops are administered centrally by the training officer in the Graduate Centre or by the Graduate Schools and standard student feedback sheets are produced. For the Library, this removes the costs and administration of publicising workshops, managing bookings and collating feedback.
Are there any pre-requisites for engagement, e.g. levels of skill, years of experience, essential pre-activities?
How many participate in each 'activity'?
In each workshop description, any prerequisite workshops or skills required are stated as well as the year(s) of study in which it is most appropriate to attend. Some workshops also have essential pre-work prior to attendance.
Evaluation: benefits, challenges and next steps
How do you monitor effectiveness?
Who do you seek feedback from?
Do you have benchmarks?
As noted, all stakeholders benefit from having all generic training opportunities listed in a single brochure and on a single website.
The Library and Graduate Centre continue to explore user needs and new content, across the breadth of information literacy and to facilitate the integration of new tools and new ways of working to ensure the researchers’ effectiveness. For example, in 2010/11 we will introduce a new workshop on the use of Web 2.0 for collaboration and networking.
Information literacy workshops for research staff at Cardiff University are similarly embedded into the central Research Staff Career Development Skills Programme and general Staff Development programme to ensure integration with other training in the University.