Dr Pam McKinney

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

Information School


Dr Pam McKinney
+44 114 222 2650.

Full contact details

Dr Pam McKinney
Information School
Regent Court (IS)
211 Portobello
S1 4DP

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 working part time, which allows me to balance work with the needs of my young family.

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. Reflective practice for teachers and learners forms another area of research.

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


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

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

Current PhD students

  • Laura Barber: The perceived efficacy of online, blended, and face-to-face teaching methods of Information Literacy within Higher Education institutions
  • Stefan Hodson: Investigating information literacy in the Civil Service workplace
  • James Toner Understanding organisational learning and knowledge sharing in pursuit of organisational effectiveness: A multi-actor, international school perspective

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 teach the Business Intelligence modules which focus 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. In the Undergraduate module students have the opportunity to conduct a piece of business intelligence research on behalf of a real business partner. I contribute a session on business information units for the academic and special libraries module, and contribute to other modules on the MA Librarianship programme.

Careers paths of International Postgratuate taught alumni to inform curriculum design
Curriculum Development Award   £1,000 2011  
Undergraduate and Postgraduate student perceptions of groups
Curriculum Development Award   £1,200 2011
Professional activities

I have established connections with local businesses who acted as “Business Partners” for the students on the INF304 Business Intelligence module. The module assessment requires students to conduct a piece of Business Intelligence research proposed by the Business Partner.

Feedback has also been very positive in the annual evaluation of Business Partners. Comments made include:

  • “Rhubarb Farm appreciates the opportunity to take part in the Business Intelligence activity and wishes to thank all concerned – it is of great benefit to a small fledgling social enterprise like ours.”
  • “The students worked very hard to come up with recommendations which they did was fantastic”
  • “I have identified clear financial savings based on the presentation”
  • “Far far more valuable than I had expected, indeed even more valuable than I had hoped for!”