Dr Pam McKinney

BA (Sheffield); MSc (Sheffield); MCLIP; PhD (Sheffield)

Information School

Senior Lecturer

Pam McKinney
Profile picture of Pam McKinney
+44 114 222 2650.

Full contact details

Dr Pam McKinney
Information School
Room C243
The Wave
2 Whitham Road
S10 2AH

Following the completion of an MSc in Information management at the University of Sheffield Department of Information Studies (now Information School) I worked as an academic librarian at Sheffield Hallam University. I returned to the University of Sheffield in 2005 to work as a learning developer in the Centre for Inquiry-based Learning in the Arts and Social Sciences, a Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL) with a special responsibility for taking forward the Information Literacy strand of activities in teaching development and research. I worked closely with the Library and colleagues in the Information School to develop information literacy support and pedagogy across the University. In 2010 I joined the Information School as a member of academic staff, I currently work part-time.

University responsibilities

  • Deputy programme coordinator MA Librarianship
  • Deputy Director of Learning and Teaching (student and staff experience)
  • Chair of the Information School Student-staff committee
  • Member of the Faculty of Social Science Student Experience group
  • Member of the Libraries and information society research group
Research interests

My research has focused broadly on pedagogy for Information Literacy, and in particular the relationship between Inquiry-based Learning and Information Literacy. I am interested in how learners can be supported in their inquiries through the development of Information Literacy capabilities and how Information Literacy can be taught using Inquiry-based pedagogies. Collaborative work is a common aspect of inquiry-based learning, and I am interested in how students work together in groups, and how they use digital tools to facilitate their collaborations. Reflective practice for teachers and learners, and how this can support development forms another area of research. My research and publications in these areas formed the basis for my PhD by publication, awarded in 2018.

I take a practice perspective to the study of information literacy in everyday life contexts, and a significant strand of my research has focused on the information literacy of using mobile apps and other tracking practices to support healthy behaviours

I am a member of the Libraries and Information Society Research Group.



  • (2011) The Sheffield Companion to Inquiry-based Learning. RIS download Bibtex download
  • Levy P, McKinney P, Little S, Nibbs A & Wood J () The Sheffield Companion to Inquiry-based Learning. Sheffield: CILASS: The Centre for Inquiry-based Learning in the Arts and Social Sciences. RIS download Bibtex download

Journal articles


  • McKinney PA, Rowe R & Wood J (2010) Inquiry based assessment of statistical methods in psychology In Bidgood P, Hunt N & Jolliffe F (Ed.), Assessment Methods in Statistical Education (pp. 189-200). Wiley Blackwell View this article in WRRO RIS download Bibtex download
  • McKinney P () Inquiry-based learning in Higher Education In Walsh A & Aston S (Ed.), Library Pedagogies: Personal reflections from library practitioners (pp. 301-325). Huddersfield: Innovative Libraries Press. RIS download Bibtex download

Theses / Dissertations

  • McKinney PA (2019) Facets of Inquiry-based Learning: the role of Information Literacy, collaboration and reflection in the support and development of inquiry-based pedagogies in Higher Education. RIS download Bibtex download


Research group

I am interested in supervising PhDs in information literacy, information practice and information behaviour.

Current PhD students

  • Laura Barber: Information literacy at transition: a case study examining first-year undergraduate students’ information literacy development at Middlesex University Dubai
  • Stefan Hodson: the information practices of UK government ministers: using a practice theory lens for a secondary analysis of reflective interviews
  • James Toner: Understanding organisational learning and knowledge sharing in pursuit of organisational effectiveness: A multi-actor, international school perspective
  • Eiman Alshamari: National libraries; a new Public library paradigm? 

Completed PhD students

  • Mashael Al Omar: Scholars research related personal information management: An investigation of PAAET, Kuwait.
  • Shaghayegh Asgari: Conceptualising cultural issues and challenges within a UK higher education blended learning context.

Research Projects


European Commission Investigator £42,496 1 January 2011 36 months

The project brings together experts in the field of science education, research and teacher communities, scientists and researchers involved in pioneering scientific research, policy makers and curriculum developers to promote the effective widespread use of inquiry and problem based science teaching techniques in primary and secondary schools in Europe and beyond. The aim of the project is to set the pathway toward a standard-based approach to teaching science by inquiry, to support the adoption of inquiry teaching by demonstrating ways to reduce the constrains presented by teachers and school organisation, to demonstrate and disseminate methods and exemplary cases of both effective introduction of inquiry to science classrooms and professional development programmes, and finally to deliver a set of guidelines for the educational community to further explore and exploit the unique benefits of the proposed approach in science teaching. In this way the project team aims to facilitate the development of communities of practitioners of inquiry that will enable teachers to learn from each other.

Teaching activities

I am the deputy programme manager for the MA Librarianship and co-teach on the semester 1 distance learning and on-campus information literacy modules, where I contribute sessions on inquiry-based learning, the information universe and information literacy in everyday life. I lead support for the reflective writing aspect of the module assessment. I am module leader for the popular semester 2 module “Business Intelligence” which focuses on the use by organisations of external information to support their strategic decision-making. This includes competitive and competitor intelligence, environmental scanning and analysis of organisations’ social media presence. I contribute sessions on business information to the Academic and workplace libraries distance learning and on-campus modules.

In 2017 I  received two “Teaching Excellence in the Social Sciences” awards, one individual award in recognition of my scholarship and practice around student group work, and one team award in recognition of my contribution to design and delivery of the distance-learning MA Library and Information Services Management programme. In 2021 I was nominated for the Vice Chancellor’s award for Teaching in 2020 in the “Leadership” criteria in recognition of my work as Deputy Director of Learning and Teaching.

I am a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

Professional activities and memberships

Membership of professional bodies


Journal and conference reviewing

  • Journal of Information Literacy, Journal of Medical Internet Research
  • ASLIB Journal of Information Management
  • Online Information Review


  • LILAC conference
  • iConference

Invited presentations

  • Invite to take part in a panel at the Internet Librarians International conference, 16th October 2018 on the topic “Skills for the next-generation librarian”
  • Invited to present on Information Literacy at “Library and Information Professionals workshop: Engaging with the future – Libraries and HE” event at Glasgow Caledonian University London Campus. 15th March 2019
  • 4th October 2019 invited to run a workshop on "everyday Information Literacy" at the CILIP Public and mobile Library group conference. London.

Other roles

I judge the LILAC conference student bursary award