Research and enquiry skills for the digital age

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Term 1 or 2
SCQF Level
AbLE Academy


By taking this microcredential, you will take the first step on your journey towards becoming an independent, confident and accomplished information literate student in your chosen subject area, gaining an understanding of the fundamental skills you will need for research both at University and in lifelong learning.

Learning from published information resources has always been at the heart of any course of study, and at University you will be expected to be able to both find and evaluate information for yourself as a key part of becoming a successful independent learner. However, being able to first find what you need and then assess the authority of what you retrieve is now more challenging than ever, given the volume of information being published online every day in a variety of formats over a multitude of digital channels.

In this increasingly complex online world, you will therefore need to develop skills that will help you to make best use of your time, including recognising the differences between academic and non-academic resources and search engines; employing search strategies and techniques that will avoid overloading you with information; and being able to critically evaluate and then appropriately reference the information you use to the standard your course tutors expect.

These skills are aligned with development of the following Abertay Attributes, specifically the Intellectual, Professional and Digital dimensions:

  • Understanding how knowledge is generated, processed and disseminated.
  • Being able to critically and rigorously evaluate information, and tackle uncertainty and information gaps with confidence and self-awareness.
  • Be leaders, decision-makers and problem-solvers in their communities, tackling complex issues using creativity and considered judgement to make a difference to people's lives.
  • Develop digital fluency, giving them knowledge, skills and confidence to embrace digital solutions.
  • Be prepared for the world of work and understand the likely impact of digital technology in their chosen subject and across contexts.


To help prepare students for a successful future at Abertay by enabling them to understand the role and application of information literacy skills in independent learning.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this module the student should be able to:

  1. Have a clear understanding of the differences between types of resources and search tools, and apply systematic approaches to finding, evaluating and appropriately referencing information.

Indicative Content

1 Getting started

Identifying the 'knowledge gap' and the information needed to fill it: why information literacy matters!

2 Understanding Information sources

How scholarly information is generated and disseminated; key characteristics of different information types (e.g. print/electronic, primary/ secondary, bibliographic/full-text, open access/paywall).

3 Searching for information

Planning, using and refining appropriate search strategies; online search tools (google vs specialist services); using a range of web and database search functionality (e.g. truncation, phrasing, filters)

4 Evaluating information

Using appropriate quality criteria to critically evaluate information from any source to determine authority and bias.

5 Referencing

Understanding what is meant by academic integrity, plagiarism and the need for appropriate referencing; creating reference lists and in-text citations; use of referencing tools to manage information.

Teaching and Learning MethodHours
Supervised Practical Activity0
Unsupervised Practical Activity0

Guidance Notes

SCQF Level - The Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework provides an indication of the complexity of award qualifications and associated learning and operates on an ascending numeric scale from Levels 1-12 with SCQF Level 10 equating to a Scottish undergraduate Honours degree.

Credit Value – The total value of SCQF credits for the module. 20 credits are the equivalent of 10 ECTS credits. A full-time student should normally register for 60 SCQF credits per semester.


We make every effort to ensure that the information on our website is accurate but it is possible that some changes may occur prior to the academic year of entry. The modules listed in this catalogue are offered subject to availability during academic year 2023/4, and may be subject to change for future years.