Developing your students' research skills:

Embedding the Library’s research skills, critical thinking and digital fluency offer

IDL literacies

Research skills, critical thinking and digital fluency are all aspects of the My Learning section of the Sheffield Graduate Attributes.The Library’s offer to support these attributes aims to develop students’ skills in discovering, understanding, questioning, referencing, creating and disseminating information in a digital world.

These pages outline how the Library can work with you, as part of a programme level approach, to embed research skills and critical thinking into the programme by providing support linked to assessment and feedback to develop your students' research skills, critical thinking and digital fluency.

The Library recommends that research skills, critical thinking and digital fluency support be embedded in the following ways:

Help students find reliable information via their subject guide

Include a link to the relevant Library Subject Guide, from the course menu of your Blackboard course so that students can see useful literature searching databases and other information sources for their subject.

If your department uses the institutional template for Blackboard courses a link to the relevant subject guide should appear automatically in the course menu.

If a link is not present in the course menu you can add one by following the instructions below:

  1. Click add menu item > Tool link
  2. Select "Library Subject Guide" from type
  3. Give the link a name (Suggested "Library Subject Guide")
  4. Tick "Available to users"
  5. The link will automatically connect to the relevant subject guide, or the menu.
  6. Add to "Learning materials"

Map research skills and critical thinking to the programme

Inform the effective and timely embedding of support by mapping a programme level view of where research skills and critical thinking are developed and/or assessed.

Mapping template, Information and Digital Literacy Framework.

Embed tutorials, videos and guides in the VLE to support assessment

Link to research skills and critical thinking support in your feedback

Tailor and enhance your feedback by signposting to guidance on referencing, literature searching and other research skills support as part of your feedback comments to students. When marking in Turnitin Feedback Studio you can direct your students to relevant/useful support by using the Research Skills and Critical Thinking Quickmark set. These Quickmarks are accessible to all staff by default.

Signpost students to library workshops

Open to all taught-course students, our programme of research skills and critical thinking workshops run throughout the academic year.

Talk to your librarian

Each department is supported by a librarian who can work with you to develop appropriate, relevant and timely research skills and critical thinking support for your students. This could include co-developing and co-delivering teaching for your students, developing new online guides and videos or advising on how to use library systems.

Contact the librarian for your department.

Encourage students to reflect on their skills development

Encourage students to record and reflect on their research skills development using their mySkills portfolio, including how these skills are transferable across education, employment and sustainability.

Direct students to their recommended reading with an online Reading List

Create an online reading list for each module, linked from your Blackboard course, so that students can easily access recommended online resources, textbooks and other content.
Online Reading List guidance.

Information & Digital Literacy Framework

Find out more about the skills developed through our research skills and critical thinking offer.

Case Studies

Embedding research skills as part of a programme level approach.

Hear what our students say

Student Associates give their views about embedding research skills.