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Unit information: Research Skills in 2015/16

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Unit name Research Skills
Unit code ARCHM0071
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Professor. Hodos
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of Anthropology and Archaeology
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Description including Unit Aims

This unit provides experience of a range of research skills specific to archaeology.


• To introduce students to key research skills in archaeology.

• To discuss the range of data sources available to archaeologists including online databases; library, museum and excavation archives; historical records; and local and regional journals.

• To consider the opportunities and challenges involved in planning an archaeological research project including ethical issues, time-management, health and safety in the field and funding opportunities.

• To consider key methods of data recording and analysis.

• To critically assess the process of analysing and interpreting archaeological data.

• To address the effective communication of archaeological knowledge through writing skills.

Intended Learning Outcomes

At the end of this unit, students will be expected to be able to:

1) Assess the quality and potential of key data sources for archaeologists

2) Formulate focused and realistic research questions

3) Set out an achievable research plan

4) Identify suitable methods of analysing qualitative and quantitative data

5) Recognise the challenges in analysing and interpreting archaeological information

6) Construct effective written arguments

Teaching Information

• One 3-day fieldtrip during week 0.

• Six 2-hour sessions that include 1 hour of lecture and 1 hour of seminar discussion (but sometimes the seminar needs to come before the lecture). Weeks 1, 2, 4, 7, 9, 11.

• Four 2-hour dedicated, break-out seminar discussions. There will be three different break-out groups for these discussions. Weeks 3, 5, 8, 10.

Assessment Information

Four summative assessments:

1) Designation application to register an archaeological site (20%; 1000 words) ILOs 1, 2, 5, 6

2) Field project proposal outline to survey or excavate an archaeological site (20%; 1000 words) ILOs 1-3

3) Data management plan for the proposed field project (20%; 1000 words) ILO 4

4) Grant proposal to conduct the fieldwork (40%; based on British Academy small grant application form) ILOs 1-6

One formative assessment (CV and cover letter for job application).

All five assessment exercises will be peer-reviewed, which, in itself, is a kind of formative assessment exercise. The Unit Director remains responsible for all summative assessment marks and formal feedback.

Reading and References

Denscombe, M. 2012. Research Proposals: a practical guide. Maidenhead: McGraw-Hill International

Punch, K. 2006. Developing Effective Research Proposals. London: Sage

Hester, T.J., H. Shafer, K. Feder 2008. Field Methods in Archaeology. Walnut Creek: Left Coast Press