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Unit information: Researching and Writing History in 2021/22

Unit name Researching and Writing History
Unit code HISTM0055
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Janek Gryta
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of History (Historical Studies)
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Description including Unit Aims

This unit aims to introduce postgraduate students to the process of historical research, from the formulation of research questions, to the completion of a final draft. Areas to be covered will include: appropriate methodologies for different kinds of sources; organising and analysing one’s research materials; establishing a regular writing practice; improving one’s writing style; working towards a completed manuscript. This unit will be taught through a mixture of interactive lectures, smaller workshops, and action-learning groups, which will encourage students to reflect on their research and writing practices, and establish networks of peer support.

Intended Learning Outcomes

By the end of this unit, students should:

1. Have a firm grasp of the historical research process

2. Understand the kinds of sources available to them, and appropriate methodologies for dealing with them

3. Have a clear plan for their own research projects, including research questions, sources, organisation, and a sound understanding of relevant historiography and the contribution that their research will make

4. Have established a practice of regular and productive writing

5. Be able to edit and improve their own and others’ writing

Teaching Information

Teaching will be delivered through a combination of synchronous and asynchronous sessions, including interactive lecture-style sessions and self-directed exercises.

Assessment Information

This unit will be assessed on a pass/fail basis through a mixture of formative and summative work. Students will peer-assess a series of (formative) writing tasks in action-learning groups (c. 3000 words) prior to submitting a (summative, marked by unit tutors) extended research outline(c. 2000 words), to include research questions, a bibliography, and an outline of the available sources. The research outline will address the students plans for either the MA dissertation, for a proposed postgraduate research degree, or for a research degree which is already underway. Where appropriate, it will help students prepare PhD funding proposals (MA students who wish to progress to a PhD), and upgrade materials (MLitt students).


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. HISTM0055).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.