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What are Information Skills?

PC screen showing coding information What are information skills?

Developing your information skills is an important part of learning and studying and will help you succeed at university and beyond.

Information skills include finding, evaluating and using the most relevant and reliable information for your assignment, project or dissertation. 

Understanding Quality and Evaluation

As you are doing your research, make sure you evaluate the quality and usefulness of the sources you consult.  To do this, have a think about some key quality criteria that will help you work out if the source is a good one to use, also known as the CRAP criteria:

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  • Is the source up to date?  Does it need to be for your needs?
  • When was it published - can you easily find this information?


  • Has your source been officially published? 
  • Has it been reviewed (by a publisher or peer-reviewed for articles)?
  • Is the content backed up with references to other sources that support it?


  • Who wrote it?  What is their background and qualifications? 
  • Do you trust that they are qualified to write about the topic?


  • Why was this source written? 
  • Do you trust the purpose behind it? 
  • Does the author want to share research or contribute to the understanding of a topic, for example? 
  • Is it trying to sell you a point of view or product (and if so, you will need to be aware of this if you do use it in your research)?

video icon Watch the CRAP Test Song - it will help you remember these points: 

Keeping up-to-date

Keeping up-to-date is essential. You can do this in a number of ways:

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  • Set up email alerts for topic areas and searches via our eResources and Google Scholar - these will send you any new results matching your search terms 
  • Browse daily papers, contents pages of current journals or online news
  • Set up email alerts for key journals in your subject (see side-tab) and receive new table of contents alerts for the latest issues
  • Use Twitter to follow companies and organisations

Video: Simple Searching

video icon   Getting too many or too few results?  Watch Simple Searching to find out how you can improve: