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Unit information: Introduction to Literary Research in 2021/22

Unit name Introduction to Literary Research
Unit code ENGLM3029
Credit points 40
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Tamsin Badcoe
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of English
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Description including Unit Aims

Focusing on writers such as Spenser, Shakespeare, Keats, Coleridge, Eliot, and Davis Foster Wallace the unit will enquire into the changing nature of texts, textual authority, and authorship, from the Renaissance to the present day. Approaching a diverse range of literary forms (including poems, letters, fragments, essays and anthologies), it will investigate when a collection of words becomes a literary text and how our understanding of texts is shaped by the ways in which they are presented, taking into account such things as paratexts, editing, and the physical aspects of the work. Different models of authorship will be compared, and texts will be considered both as social products and as the creations of a particular writer. The unit will also explore issues of book production and theories of editing; introduce students into some of the databases and tools of literary research; and introduce students to researching primary literary texts through the study of a particular and significant year in English literary history, with the aim of recovering the diversity of its literary production and considering how that diversity is represented by conventional literary histories.

Intended Learning Outcomes

1. A knowledge of some of the problems and questions surrounding textual editing. (For example: Should older literary texts be modernized, in spelling, punctuation, etc.? How should an editor handle a literary work that exists in more than one version? What should an editor do with a work that is collaborative, or which contains interventions by hands other than those of the author?)

2. An understanding of how to do literary research, both in terms of different methodologies critics employ and in terms of the various resources and databases which are available.

3. A greater awareness of how our understanding of texts in shaped by the way that they are presented, taking into account such things as paratexts, editing, and the physical aspects of how the work is presented.

4. Developing an appropriate style of critical writing for the discussion and analysis of literary texts.

5. A knowledge of how to devise annotated bibliographies.

6. Improving existing skills through independent reading, reasearch and writing on specific texts and topics.

Teaching Information

Teaching will be delivered through a combination of synchronous and asynchronous activities. These can include seminars, lectures, class discussion, formative tasks, small group work, and self-directed exercises.

Assessment Information

Three summative assignments: 3000 word essay (80%); 1000 word book review (10%); 1000 word bibliographical assignment (10%). Students will also give a 1000 word presentation.


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. ENGLM3029).

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.