Information Literacy

Information Literacy offers the opportunity for students to develop transferable skills in the field of Information Seeking Behaviour. Specific information skills are reviewed and evaluated within a theoretical framework. Evaluation of Information Literacy theories and models forms the basis of self-questioning and critical thinking skills needed for flexible continual development of information seeking skills over the long term and enable students to consider ways in which they might apply this experience and knowledge to teaching others basic information literacy skills.

This course aims to enable students to becoming critical thinkers, intellectually curious observers, creators and users of information. That is, to become information literate and capable of sustaining and developing and teaching to others, that literacy skill throughout the changes of technology and information sources that will become available in coming years.

The course will introduce:

  • definitions and discussions about the meaning and purpose of information literacy as a concept and within the information profession
  • theories of information literacy and information behaviour
  • information seeking, information sources and the generic skills needed to use them
  • educational theory and practice and their application to information literacy
  • e-learning technologies and their application to information literacy
  • evaluation techniques and their application to information literacy programmes


Dr Allen Foster BA MSc PhD FHEA — former Head of Department and lecturer in Information Studies. Before joining the department in 2002 Allen spent time several years as a Research Associate, Teaching Assistant and PhD research student at the University of Sheffield. In 2006/7 he became responsible for Postgraduate Studies, and from 2010 he was Director of Postgraduate Studies covering postgraduate Taught and Research degrees, and from September 2012-2016 Head of Department.  He has a broad range of interests and enjoy the challenge of working on a diverse set of research problems. His research interests include: Human Information Behaviour; Information Seeking and Searching Behaviour; Applied Information Behaviour Theory; Creativity and Serendipity; Interdisciplinarity, Information Literacy and Information Skills; Technologies and Computer Mediated Communication, and his publications include:

  • Foster, A.E. and Urquhart, C. (2012). Modelling nonlinear information behaviour: transferability and progression, Journal of Documentation,  68(6).
  • Foster, A.E. & Rafferty, P. (2011), Innovations in Information Retrieval: Perspectives for Theory and Practice, Facet.
  • Foster, A E. Ferguson-Boucher, K. & Broady-Preston, J. (2010) Unifying information behaviour and process: a balanced palette and the balanced scorecard, Performance Measurement and Metrics, 11(3).


Students taking this short course should have a keen interest in information literacy and user education for the information profession.

Learning Outcomes

After completing this short course you should be able to:

  • evaluate definitions of information literacy and begin to form your own definition
  • discuss theories of information literacy and information seeking
  • perform information literate information seeking, based on models of information behaviour
  • discuss the process of locating and using information sources, and discuss the generic transferable skills involved in that process
  • demonstrate techniques of Information Seeker Orientation, Opening and Consolidation within a wider understanding of the theoretical frameworks.
  • use core information seeking skills to identify and solve ‘information problems’
  • outline the contexts which influence information seeking
  • explain methods of coping with information overload
  • identify effective methods of facilitating learning
  • explore the main principles & tools for effective e-learning
  • design workshops for information literacy
  • outline the main principles of assessment and evaluation


To apply please complete the Short Course Application Form. Return it - with your reference - to Aberystwyth Postgraduate Admissions Office on, before the application deadline date.

For further information, please contact the please contact Information Studies tel: (+/0)1970 622188; e-mail: