Information Seeking and Use

Short Course - 15 credits at SCQF level 11
Information Seeking and Use

This short course explores critically different theoretical developments and practical applications in the field of Information Seeking Behaviour. Students will examine the creation, use, evaluation and ethical dissemination of information via different sources and tools. The course emphasises the value of information and digital literacy in academic, workplace, and everyday life settings.

The course explores theoretical perspectives and practical approaches to acquiring and using information in response to different needs and knowledge gaps. Human behaviour is examined in relation to diverse sources and channels of information (such as databases, search engines and social media) which influence how people search for, share and use information. The course offers insight into information related environmental contexts (e.g. education, workplace, everyday life) and personal user characteristics (e.g.  knowledge, experience and psychological factors such as uncertainly and information avoidance). Important aspects of information evaluation (accuracy, objectivity, authority, reliability completeness) and information utility (usefulness, relevance, importance, accessibility and usability) are explored. The course looks at how the collaborative creation and sharing of online content in the modern information environment have enabled new methods for information searching and browsing, highlighting the significance of information and digital literacy development.

The course has one study option

Mode of Attendance

  • Online Learning

Mode of Study

  • Part Time

Start Date

September 2022

Course Length

15 weeks


  • Information seeking behaviour and needs.
  • Different types of literature (journal literature, grey literature, government publications, technical literature and digital materials, quick reference sources of information).
  • The variety, strengths and limitations of print and digital sources (databases, search engines, social media).
  • Sources of arts and humanities, scientific and social science information.
  • Different types of information (academic information, health information, business and technical information).
  • Search strategies (advanced searching and browsing).
  • Reference services and client communication.
  • Information and digital literacy, user communities and needs. Information evaluation, synthesis and presentation of information.

On completion of this module, students are expected to be able to:

  • Evaluate critically the major tools of bibliographic control of monographs, journal literature, online resources and other significant categories.
  • Evaluate the execution and the results of specific searches for information.
  • Appraise critically the role and value of information services in a variety of settings.
  • Justify the use of the most appropriate sources of information in a range of different contexts.
  • Analyse the needs of user communities in order to design and implement effective information provision.


The University regularly reviews its courses. Course content and structure may change over time. See our course and module disclaimer for more information.

Online Learning

You will learn via our online virtual learning environment, CampusMoodle which provides you with lectures and course materials and allows you to study from any location. You will participate in active, group-related learning within a supportive online community setting. You will have access to recorded lectures and opportunities to meet up online via discussion fora and live sessions.

Activity Summary

  • 30+ students per group
  • Recorded Lectures - 2 hours per week
  • Webinar - 2-3 hours per term
  • Online learning activities 3 hours per week
  • Independent Study 2-3 hours per week

The course provides students with an opportunity to practically apply information retrieval methods and strategies, using different sources and media, by means of offering a response to a real information enquiry. Students also work on a blog opinion-based exercise and develop a reflective account of learning which focuses on the development of information and digital literacy skills. This helps students to critically engage with current debates as well appraise their own skills development. 


Individual Portfolio Assessment consisting of an individual practical, a written and a reflective component.

Independent Study

The course requires you to become independent 'open learners' and take responsibility for when, where and how your learning occurs. You will spend approximately 8-10 hours per week in the Online Learning mode of study working on your own, undertaking prescribed reading, preparing and participating in  group activities, taking part in online group discussions and other activities, researching and writing course reports.

Staff Delivering on This Course

This course is taught by a member of academic staff within Information Management with significant teaching experience, active engagement in research and scholarly activities in this area and a SFHEA Advance Higher Education Qualification.


Academic Support

The Inclusion Centre advises and supports students who disclose a sensory or mobility impairment, chronic medical condition, mental health issue, dyslexia and other specific learning differences. Applicants are encouraged to arrange a pre-entry visit to discuss any concerns and to view the facilities.

Online Learning & Support

All online learning students, benefit from using our collaborative virtual learning environment, CampusMoodle. You will be provided with 24/7 online access to your learning material and resources, along with the ability to interact with your class members and tutors for discussion and support.

Study Skills Support

The Study Support Team provides training and support to all students in:

  • Academic writing
  • Study skills (note taking, exam techniques, time management, presentation)
  • Maths and statistics
  • English language
  • Information technology support

Library Support

The Library offers support for your course, including the books, eBooks, and journals you will need. We also offer online reading lists for many modules, workshops and drop-ins on searching skills and referencing, and much more.


The course will provide students with the ability to search across a range of information sources and critically appreciate the manner in which information may be mediated in response to the full range of information needs, both organisational and individual.  

Information skills are an essential component of personal and organisational success. The process of identifying, evaluating, disseminating and using knowledge helps to enhance performance and meet personal and business objectives. Good quality information is linked to informed decision-making, problem-solving, encouraging continuous learning and development. 

Students who take this course work in areas such as:
  • Developing information programs and services for their clients in different settings (e.g. information and library related work, business information services, health information provision, education, government information services)
  • Positions where they have to ensure that information is organised in a manner that meets their users’ and clients’ needs, directing them to the right sources and techniques for finding information.
  • Research for particular groups or clients or deliver information skills training and instruction in diverse organisational environments.
Information seeking and use helps students to develop transferable skills linked to different areas of work and roles, and are particularly valuable for those that are information rich and involve evidence-based practice, research, competitive advantage and informed decision-making.


The course is ideal for students who possess an undergraduate honours degree in any discipline.

All international students, for whom English is not their first language, will need either IELTS 6.5 or its equivalent in TOEFL.


For Session 2022/2023

  • £1,030

Additional Costs

The following course-related costs are not included in the course fees:

As this is an online course, access to a computer or laptop with an internet connection is a requirement. For interactive sessions students may use a headset with microphone


For new intakes course fees are reviewed and published annually for each mode of delivery. Tuition fees are fixed for the duration of a course at the rate confirmed in the offer letter. For further information see:


Have a question about the course? Get in touch with the team and we'll do our best to help.

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Taking this course, you will have access to some of the world's best facilities. 

We've invested more than £100 million in the development of our campus, new facilities and new resources.

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