Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Information Services: Planning for Delivery
Academic Year
Distance Learning
External Examiners
  • Mr Alan Maclennan (Lecturer - Robert Gordon University)
  • Ms Anne Welsh (Lecturer - University College London)
Other Staff

Course Delivery



Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment User and organisation needs analysis report, 3000 words  50%
Semester Assessment Evaluation and planning report, 2000 words  50%
Supplementary Assessment Submission of resit Report , 3000 words  50%
Supplementary Assessment Submission of Resit Report , 2,000  50%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

*Critically discuss the concepts of user, service, and provision in the context of C21st expectations of service.

* Discuss the scope of information behaviour theory and critically evaluate its impact within evidence based user support, service development and service management.

*Identify, use and present techniques relevant to user needs analysis and information source and service evaluation.

  • Outline the ways in which information skills can be developed within organisations, and relate this to the role of user training for information services.

* Examine ways in which user and organisation context affect user behaviour and particularly their use or non-use of information sources and services.

*Distinguish between different types of information source, and perform structured critical evaluations of different sources, and from these develop recommendations.

* Use a range of methods to generate a 3 year service development plan for one information service.

*Critically evaluate a range of current service structures, and based upon current trends and reflection on past changes to service delivery, identify potential areas of further research and practical development for practitioners.

Brief description

The module is designed to take Master's students through the key elements of Information Service planning and provision, and to introduce to them the role of users, evaluation methods, key research themes relevant to contextualising information service use, the methods of analysing and evaluating sources and services, and key elements of strategic planning of services.


The module will take a problem based approach to the subject area and cover the following aspects:
1) The content of the module begins with a foundation framework examining the notion of service, this brings together the concepts of user, resources, and organization and develops some key definitions.
2) There is a large literature on sources, and on types of sources with usage patterns, disciplines and usage, and associated research studies. The module will explore the relevant literature, and focus upon matching service, user and source, introduce a range of sources and differences between them. The political and policy elements of service provision will also be addressed.
3) The research area of information seeking and user studies is to be introduced and the notion of context, user, and multiple facets to information seekers explored. Links with information retrieval processes will be made, and the idea of needs introduced. Key research on information seeking behaviour and context for information seeking will be discussed and related to information sources and information service provision.
4) An overview of user training and skills development. In understanding behaviour and needs, we should not neglect to include Information Skills and Information Literacy and moreover the issues that arise from deciding when users require extra help, advice and training. Elements of value in this include facilitating skill development, the concepts of tipping points and zones of intervention, and an overview of training (which acts as a link to a new option module).
5) Ways to meet needs: The potential structure of information service provision has blossomed with the advent of web based digital libraries, gateways, portals, web 2.0, and the changing expectation of users. The roles, places, and reasons for information service existence in different contexts will be explored: commercial, academic, schools, legal, health, specialist, science, humanities.
6) The idea of service as fitting a particular model may be redundant, or merely divergent. It now encompasses the idea of service innovations as the norm, and the presentation of service as place, or role, as roaming individual, as virtual support or advisory, as custodian or gatekeeper, and potentially as hybrid role offering both information, software and information technology.
7) Methods for evaluation of sources, evaluation of information services, and planning for the adoption of these as part of service provision will be introduced. Examples of areas to be covered: Methods and tools for Needs Analysis, Basic needs analysis by interviewing - pre-search client interviewing. Some structured approaches to the analysis of role and function: Structured analysis of services, structured analysis of sources and their relationship to function, cost, complexity, timeliness, and support. User and usage surveys, bibliometrics, and budgets and costing for service and source delivery. Discussion of evidence based planning and service design.

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number Not directly applicable to this module, though some elements will require basic numeracy.
Communication Students will be presented their ideas in two formal reports, a key element of which will be successful communication of complex ideas. Only written communication skills are assessed.
Improving own Learning and Performance The module aims to promote self-management but within a context of assistance from both the module coordinator, and fellow students. Students will be encouraged to reflect upon their opinions, knowledge, and skills, and work to enhance these.
Information Technology Students will be expected to submit their work in a word-processed format. In addition students will be expected to access online resources to supplement locally held information.
Personal Development and Career planning The topic of this module is fundamental to Master¿s students within the field of ILS, as such it is anticipated that students studying this module will be benefit from the skills and knowledge developed by enhancing their employability, and making them aware of the potential developments in the field to which they may make a practical contribution.
Problem solving Students will perform independent project work and problem solving will be one of the central goals of the module.
Research skills The submission of two reports based upon the principles of evidence based practice will necessitate development and use of research skills.
Subject Specific Skills The module prepares students to use, analyse, and plan the provision of information sources and information services using evidence based methodologies.
Team work Seminars, and online discussions will involve the interactions of small groups of students.


This module is at CQFW Level 7