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The Digital Student

Information, Media and Data Literacy

The ability to critically analyse information is the cornerstone of all academic disciplines. Being able to ascertain the value and credibility of everything you read, hear or see is vital.  The topic can be broken down into three main areas, information, data and media literacy.

Information literacy

A digitally capable student show be able to do the following:

  • Know where to look to find high quality information. Utilising academic databases, commercial resources and the internet. 

  • Critically evaluate resources on their relevance, values, provenance and credability.

  • Familiarise themselves with copyright rules and open alternatives eg Creative Commons, and reference digital works correctly. 

Media literacy capabilities 

Media literacy

A digitally capable student should be able to do the following:

  • Critically evaluate a range of media: text, graphics, video and audio. Being aware of their purpose and bias.

Data Literacy capabilities 

Data literacy

A digitally capable student should be able to do the following: 

  • Be able to interrogate quantitative data, questioning its validity and reliability.

  • Be aware of the value of your own personal data and how to practice digital data security. More information on this can be found on this in the Digital Identity area of this guide.


Jisc reference

JISC (2019) Jisc digital capabilities framework: the six elements defined. Available at: (Accessed: 24 January 2020). 

Use this quiz to self-assess your knowledge of issues related to digital creation and collaboration.

Create your own user feedback survey

Searching and Evaluation

Where to search?

The ability to find good quality resources to use in your assignments is an essential skill you will need at university. As a Teesside University student you have access to some of the best academic resources in the world. You need the ability to recognise when information is needed, have the ability to locate, evaluate, and use it effectively. Honing this skill is also crucial for life outside of university as you prepare for your future career. 

Image result for discovery


Discovery is a Google-like search engine for Teesside University Library. It searches the library's catalogue and many of our academic databases simultaneously, to quickly provide relevancy-ranked, credible library results through a single search box. Use it to find books, articles, and more!

This Discovery guide will show you all you need to know

Academic Databases

Databases are specialist search engines that search for Journalsquality information, such as journal articles, in specific subject areas. 

You can access databases via your subject LibGuide at

If you would like some help searching the databases, please contact your subject information team. You will find their details on your LibGuide Home page.


Most of us use Google everyday when we go online. It can be the easiest and fastest way to get the information we need. However the features that make it so popular are also the reason that it is not a good place to look for resources to use in your assignments. In fact it is often the worst place to search!

The following short video details when it is (and when it is not!) appropriate to use Google in an academic context. 


The following sways will introduce you to:

  • The steps to finding research
  • Reviewing your results to find more research

The Steps to finding research for your assignment

ipad with painting on the screen


   Click on the image to access the sway



Reviewing your results to find more research

ipad with painting on the screen


   Click on the image to access the sway

Sway - Information Sources Explained!

Online tutorial icon


This helpful tutorial from Cardiff University introduces you to how to choose quality sources for your work

Sway - Evaluate and review your results

Online tutorial iconThis helpful tutorial from Cardiff University takes you through what to consider when evaluating evidence.

What is Critical Thinking?

Click to view video icon  View this introduction to critical thinking, which comes from the University of Leicester.

To find out more, visit the Critical Thinking LibGuide.



This video introduces you to using Cite Them Right - this online resoucrce outlines the Harvard style of referencing used by Teesside University.

Click on the video icon  A brief introduction to Cite them right online

The Referencing section of the Learning Hub pages has further information and advice about referencing.

Media and Data Literacies

On this page

Image analysis

Analysing an image

1. LOOK – what are your initial impressions?​

2. READ - Read the text about the image if there is any.​

3. EXAMINE - What does the text add to your understanding e.g. background​

4. DESCRIBE – what does the text add to your description and understanding of the image?​

5. CHECK UNDERSTANDING – what else do you need to know more about e.g. date photo was taken; where it was taken etc.

Image taken from: Brown, N. et al. (2016) Visual literacy for libraries: a practical, standards-based guide. London: Facet Publishing, p.3, illus.

Meanings of an image

Cultural and Social Context

  • Consider time period, medium and subject matter
  • How does the image represent people?
    • Individually? Representatives of a group?
  • Consider relationships among people and objects
  • Think about social and economic status

Suggestion and Metaphor

  • Image's impact can come from use of suggestion / metaphor
  • Consider the context of the image
  • Image may have symbolic meaning

Use text to analyse images

Captions and

textual information


  • Usually accompanies the image
  • Information about a collection the image is part of
  • Formal description
  • Names of rights holders
  • Information about the time period, geographic locations etc.

Fake News

Fake News LibGuide





Our Fake News LIbGuide can help you determine whether the media you are using is reliable