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

Postgraduate Course: Historical Research: Approaches to History (online) (PGHC11379)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of History, Classics and Archaeology CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Course typeOnline Distance Learning AvailabilityAvailable to all students
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) Credits20
Home subject areaPostgraduate (History, Classics and Archaeology) Other subject areaNone
Course website None Taught in Gaelic?No
Course descriptionThe second core course for the taught MSc in History (online) aims to provide first-year graduate students with the methodological training they require to orient their research strategies in an increasingly interdisciplinary field. It will provide an introduction to graduate-level study in history and provide students with the opportunity to enhance their skills in historical interpretation. Students will be made familiar with the range of online resources and databases available to them as students at the University of Edinburgh, and also how to search for further material online.

It will be taught through a combination of podcast lectures, pathways, and virtual presentations. Students will be encouraged to focus on methods and materials that suit their individual research interests, which should anticipate the research required for successful completion of the MSc dissertation.

Through a wide-ranging series of seminars and pathways with members of academic staff, students will develop a meaningful familiarity with the interpretative strategies and secondary materials that define major approaches in current historical scholarship. These skills and knowledge will be assessed through a article review and final research paper (see Assessment below). Finally the course will provide an introduction to the historical profession, including peer-review and professional modes of disseminating historical knowledge.

This course complements the 'Historical Skills & Sources' core course offered in the first semester on the online MSc in History.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Additional Costs None
Information for Visiting Students
Displayed in Visiting Students Prospectus?No
Course Delivery Information
Delivery period: 2013/14 Semester 2, Available to all students (SV1) Learn enabled:  Yes Quota:  None
Web Timetable Web Timetable
Course Start Date 13/01/2014
Breakdown of Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 4, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 12, Online Activities 6, Feedback/Feedforward Hours 2, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 172 )
Additional Notes
Breakdown of Assessment Methods (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
1. This course aims to provide first-year graduate students on the online MSc in History with the key interpretative skills that professional historians require. This course seeks to:
- develop an awareness of historiographical issues and their importance for contextualising research;
- develop an awareness of the interaction between sources and historical interpretation;
- develop an awareness of how different types of source can be combined to address specific historiographical problems;
- enhance candidates' ability to deal with some practical issues of historiography and historical research at postgraduate level including problems of effective academic writing;
- encourage a critical understanding of different historical methodologies and historiographical traditions;
- enable students to engage with the wider debates in the field of historical study;
- encourage postgraduate students to seek sound theoretical and epistemological foundation for their own work within the field.
2. Secondly, this course will prepare students to employ those transferable skills essential for conducting research and for disseminating research findings, including:
- designing a research project at MSc level that will survey and analyse a methodology (or methodologies) that contribute/s to current understanding of a historical topic or collection of historical documents;
- experience with generating and presenting oral and written arguments in a range of professional academic settings;
- 'Hands-on' training in locating, describing, and making meaningful analytical use of historical methodology;
- effective use of interactive electronic materials and related technology, including bibliographical software and databases.
3. After completing the course, students will be able to:
- demonstrate a meaningful familiarity with the essential documentary resources within virtual repositories that enable historical research at a graduate level;
- exhibit an understanding of different conceptual approaches for the study of history;
- analyse and contextualise primary source material;
- arrive at independent, well-argued, well-documented and properly referenced conclusions in their coursework essay;
- demonstrate their skills in group discussion, collaborative exercises (such as with wikis or group essays) and oral presentations;
- demonstrate their written, analytical, and theoretical skills in coursework; demonstrate their ability to reflect on the reading and research they have undertaken and provide feedback for their peers.
Assessment Information
One 1,000 word source review (20%) and one 2,500 word essay (80%). The use of two pieces of writing, rather than one, is a change from usual past practice in History, as is the requirement of a source review assignment. It is hoped that the feedback provided from the first assignment will prove useful to the students who will be able to take on board any feedback before undertaking the 2,500 word essay.

The 2,500 word essay will be connected with one of the methodology pathways taken by the students. Students will survey and analyse a methodology (or methodologies) that contribute/s to current understanding of a historical topic or collection of documents, under the direction of the Pathway instructors who will provide further information about essay requirements. Students will also meet with the course organiser over Skype in week 10 both to discuss the 1,000 word primary source review and to approve the choice of topic for the essay by the student.

Both pieces of work will be submitted via TurnitIn on Learn and marked using Grademark. Online versions of the postgraduate essay feedback form will be employed on the course.
Special Arrangements
Additional Information
Academic description Not entered
Syllabus The teaching will be given via four two-hour podcast lectures, two two-hour Blackboard Collaborate synchronous seminars and 10 hours of moderation of discussion boards by the course organiser and the pathway tutors.

This 11-week course provides an introduction to the advanced study of history at postgraduate level through an introduction to historical methodology by introducing MSc students to the main theories underpinning the discipline of history. Therefore this course will consist of four parts:

Five two-hour pre-recorded Lectures (week 1, 2, 3, 4 & 5)
- Introduction; Objectivity and Bias
- Nation
- Race and Religion
- Gender
- Class

Asynchronous seminars (week 2, 3, 4 & 5):
- seminar discussions based on the material covered in the lectures outlined above

Synchronous seminars:
- Local History compulsory pathway (week 7)
- Historical methodology (week 11)

Mythology Pathways (weeks 6-8):
- Students will study one compulsory three-week pathway in Local history
- Students will also choose two three-week pathways from a choice of five, each led by an academic member of staff. Each pathway will discuss a particular methodology and expository historical writing covering the expertise of the pathway tutor

Asynchronous forum discussions will include front-loaded screencasts or podcasts of short 10 minute lectures introducing the topics to be discussed over the course of the week¿s seminar. All primary source material discussed in both synchronous and asynchronous seminars will be provided electronically by the course organiser, and pathway tutors via Learn.

In addition to this there will be two half-hour virtual office slots provided per week, via Skype by the course organiser.
Transferable skills The study of the past gives students a unique understanding of the present that will enable them to succeed in a broad range of careers. The transferable skills gained from this course include:
- understanding of complex issues and how to draw valid conclusions from the past
- ability to analyse the origins and development of debates within history
- a command of bibliographical and library- and/or IT-based online and offline research skills
- a range of skills in reading and textual analysis
- ability to question and problematize evidence; considering the relationship between evidence and interpretation
- understanding ethical dimensions of research and their relevance for human relationships today
- ability to marshal arguments lucidly, coherently and concisely, both orally and in writing
- ability to deliver a paper or a presentation in front of peer audiences
- ability to design and execute pieces of written work and to present them suitably, as evidenced by the final assessment essay of 2,500 words
Reading list E-Books and Electronic Resources:

Banner, James M. Being a Historian (Cambridge, 2012).
Bender, T. et al., The Education of Historians for the Twenty-First Century (2006),
Bentley, Michael, The Life and Thought of Herbert Butterfield: History, Science and God (Cambridge, 2011).
Berger, Thomas U., War, Guilt and World Politics after World War II (Cambridge, 2012).
Cohen, D. and R. Rosenzweig, Digital History: A Guide to Gathering, Preserving and Presenting the Past on the Web (2007),
Cooper, Frederick, Colonialism in Question: Theory, Knowledge, History (Berkeley, 2005).
Dreyfus, Jean-Marc & Langton (eds.), Daniel, Writing the Holocaust (London, 2011).
Evans, Richard J., Cosmopolitan Islanders: British Historians and the European Continent (Cambridge, 2009).
Herren, Madeleine, Transcultural History: Theories, Methods, Sources (Berlin, 2012).
Koditschek, Theodore, Liberalism, Imperialism and the Historical Imagination: Nineteenth-Century Visions of a Greater Britain (Cambridge, 2011).
Lorenz, Chris. 'Comparative Historiography: Problems and Perspectives,' History and Theory 38. 1999): 25¿39.
Orr, Linda. 'The Revenge of Literature: A History of History,' New Literary History 18 (1986¿1987): 1¿21.
Potter, Claire & Romano, Renée (eds.), Doing Recent History (London, 2012)
Sato, Masayuki. 'Comparative Ideas of Chronology,' History and Theory 30 (1991): 275¿301.
Young, Robert, White Mythologies: Writing History and the West (London, 2004).
Zertal, Idith, Israel's Holocaust and the Politics of Nationhood (Cambridge, 2005)

Numerous e-books will be available to students through the databases 'Cambridge Histories Online', 'Cambridge Books Online' & 'Oxford Scholarship Online', such as The Oxford History of Historical Writing (Oxford, 2012).
Study Abroad Not entered
Study Pattern Not entered
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserMr David Kaufman
Tel: (0131 6)51 3857
Course secretaryMrs Lindsay Scott
Tel: (0131 6)50 9948
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