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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of History, Classics and Archaeology : Postgraduate (History, Classics and Archaeology)

Postgraduate Course: Sources and Methods of Historical Analysis (PGHC11355)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of History, Classics and Archaeology CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Course typeStandard AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) Credits10
Home subject areaPostgraduate (History, Classics and Archaeology) Other subject areaNone
Course website None Taught in Gaelic?No
Course descriptionThis course provides online students with research skills in numeracy and data management. These skills strengthen the School's programme in Landscape, Environment and History and provide a structured group of screencasts, exercises and data management techniques that will enrich option courses and the quality of analysis for the dissertation.

Students will develop a deeper understanding of how data sources and basic statistics can improve analytical and interpretive skills. They will appreciate that quantitative and qualitative approaches both bring historical perspectives on an issue into sharper focus. The course aims to demystify elementary numerical techniques and demonstrate that considerable research productivity accrues as a result of precision provide by data management and analysis. The course aims to enhance the numerical and basic statistical skills of students in ways that will aid career development.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Additional Costs None
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Summary of Intended Learning Outcomes
After successfully completing the course, students will:
o be confident in the use of elementary numerical manipulation that will include index numbers, growth rates, central tendency and dispersion, and correlation;
o be practised in identifying and applying such techniques to historical materials and embedding these in their coursework;
o be able to manage large data sets, and to extract research materials from it;
o be familiar with how to link quantitative and qualitative arguments;
o demonstrate their grasp of the learning materials through exercises and examples;
Assessment Information
Each section of the course requires the student to complete a worked example. These are self-assessment exercises, intended to allow the student to take and re-take the exercise should they not fully grasp to techniques. An assessment constituting 100% of the credit for the course will be required. Using historical data provided, students will be asked to apply the techniques they have learned. They will be expected to manipulate in ways that reveal the nature of the data and to write a short report on their findings. Because much of the work is of a numerical nature the word length of the report will be 1000 with credit also given to the way that the data has been managed.
Special Arrangements
Additional Information
Academic description Not entered
Syllabus The course forms a compulsory element in year 2 of the part-time Distance Education programme, MSc in Landscape, Environment and History.

As with other LEH courses, this course on Sources and Methods of Historical Analysis is also available to on campus students and forms the only example of numeracy and elementary statistical training in the School.

Content of the Course
All course elements of the course are set in historical contexts so that they have a resonance and relevance with a student's
1. What is a large number? Relative and absolute numbers will be considered. This is central to an understanding of long run change, and will be illustrated using historical instances relating to environmental history.
2. Making comparisons with numbers 1: percentages, index numbers. This element builds on the notion of relative change by developing comparative bases for understanding data over the long run. Students will be able to convert data to different bases, use deflators for price changes and develop a dexterity with numerical analysis.
3. Making comparisons with numbers 2: averages, means, central tendency, and dispersion. This element is concerned with typicality and how to interpret a range of data using different statistical measures. Tables and charts will also form part of this element.
4. Correlation and causation in history. Students will engage with data sets, calculate correlation coefficients and coefficients of determination, and be able to distinguish between dependent and independent variables.,
5. Historical rends and growth rates. This element explores the difference between simple and compound growth rates, and is particularly relevant where data is available only at intervals eg census

Organisation of Teaching
Teaching will be in the form of historical examples of numeracy and data management, and delivered by screencasts, screenshots, commentaries, and worked examples prepared by the course organiser. Exercises will enable students to assess their understanding and progression. Transcriptions are available for special needs students.
Transferable skills Not entered
Reading list This is a practical course, and all necessary teaching materials have been written specially with history students in mind. For further support and example, students will be referred to:
P. Hudson, History by Numbers (2000)
R. Floud, An Introduction to Quantitative Methods for Historians (1979)
C.H. Feinstein and M. Thomas, Making History Count (2002)
Study Abroad Not entered
Study Pattern Not entered
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserProf Richard Rodger
Course secretaryMrs Lindsay Scott
Tel: (0131 6)50 9948
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