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Key skills: making a difference
Key skills: making a difference

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6.3.2 Identify the outcomes you hope to achieve

An outcome is the result or consequence of a process. For example, you may want to select information from a number of sources for a report, and to do this you may need to improve your use of information search facilities and your critical skills in comparing and contrasting information. In this case your report is an outcome and using and improving your information literacy skills is part of the process by which you achieve that outcome.

A more focused outcome might be related to recognising a gap in the knowledge or information you have in a particular subject area, and identifying the type of information required to fill it. For example you may need to find out about renaissance art. But what is it about renaissance art that you need to know? Your knowledge gap might be centred on:

  • news – looking for current exhibitions, lectures or publications;

  • history – the rise of Renaissance art, its origins and patrons;

  • ideas and opinions – what do art historians, critics, art dealers and curators say?

  • research – what is the latest research on cultural influences?

Try to express the outcomes you hope to achieve as clearly and accurately as possible, asking others for help and comments if necessary. To help you work towards your outcomes you may need to set particular goals or targets to aim at. In producing a report, for example, you may need to learn how to compile a set of references or a bibliography. Compiling a bibliography in a consistent style may be only one part of the process leading to your overall outcomes, but it may be an important goal to aim at along the way.

Setting outcomes and goals gives a structure to your activities and should help you identify where you need to focus your efforts. When you have completed your task they provide points of reference to help you judge your progress. As part of the evaluation process at the end of a piece of work, you should be able to say which goals and outcomes were achieved, or what the problems have been. To help you do this, think about how you will know whether you have achieved what you set out to do. For example you may be seeking a better grade for an assignment, or positive feedback from your tutor or work colleagues. What criteria will you use to evaluate your progress?

Time out

List the outcomes you hope to achieve and the goals you have set to help you achieve them, noting which ones have a high priority for development. How will you judge whether you have achieved your outcomes satisfactorily?