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

Postgraduate Course: Historical Research: Skills and Sources (PGHC11334)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of History, Classics and Archaeology CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis core course is taken by all MSc History (Taught) graduate students as an introduction to the key skills and sources they need to build a research project, with the ultimate objectives being to enable students to complete both their written coursework, and their Masters dissertation. Core lectures will explore strategies for archival research, develop writing skills and introduce students to the archives available to them in Edinburgh. Students will then choose one pathway of four weeks duration, which will enable them to specialise in one type of historical research.
Course description This course will comprise seven elements:
1. Core lectures on building a research project, writings skills, the productive use of social media, digital mapping and archival research, attended by the whole MSc History cohort, weeks 1-3, and 9-11
2. Archives visits in week 4 including the National Records of Scotland, National Library of Scotland, the Maps Library of the NLS, Scottish Studies Archive for oral history sources, the National Museum of Scotland.
3. Weekly study group discussions of assigned reading for lectures, that addresses questions set by the course organiser, in advance of each lecture. Each student will be assigned to a study group that relates them to others with similar research interests, partly to encourage guided discussion, but also to aid student cohesion, and peer group support.
4. One pathway in the Skills and Sources chosen by the student, running weeks 5-8.
5. Quantitative skills workshop (compulsory)
6. Palaeography workshops, fortnightly (optional)
7. Submission of a final research paper (3000 words) for numerical assessment.

The pathways on offer will range from using early modern maps, and witchcraft confessions, to films as primary sources, oral and intellectual history, and visual sources, developing the skills with which to approach these fields of study. All students will do a presentation in their chosen pathway in week 8, as a means to develop presentation skills, articulate their understanding of the pathway in relation to their own research topic, and to receive constructive feedback to support their preparation of their coursework for assessment.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2017/18, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  None
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 22, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 174 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) One written piece of coursework relating to the pathway chosen, the title of which is to be agreed with the pathway lecturer (3,000 words).
Feedback Not entered
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate in a written piece of coursework, a detailed and critical command of the primary sources, and related secondary literature from the pathway that they have chosen
  2. Demonstrate in a written piece of coursework an ability to analyse and reflect critically upon relevant scholarship concerning the specialised field of the pathway that they have chosen, its relevant primary source materials, and conceptual discussions about that field;
  3. Demonstrate in seminar discussions and pathway presentations, an ability to understand and apply specialised research or professional skills, techniques and practices considered in the specialised field of the pathway chosen;
  4. Demonstrate the ability to develop and sustain original scholarly arguments in oral form in seminar discussions, presentations within their pathways, and study group meetings by independently addressing study group and pathway questions and utilising relevant evidence considered in the course;
  5. Demonstrate in seminar discussions, pathway presentations, and study group meetings originality and independence of mind and initiative; intellectual integrity and maturity; an ability to evaluate the work of others, including peers; and a considerable degree of autonomy.
Reading List
Zemon Davis, Natalie, Fiction in the Archives (Stanford, 1987)

Cannadine, David (ed.), What is History Now? (Basingstoke, 2004)

Elton, G.R. (ed.), What is History Now? (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2002)

Evans, Richard J., In Defence of History (2nd edn. (London: Granta, 2000)

Tosh, Peter, The pursuit of history: aims, methods, and new directions in the study of modern history, 5th edn. (Harlow, 2010)

Budd, Adam, The modern historiography reader: Western sources pp.365-378 (London, 2009)

Claus, Peter and John Marriott, History: an Introduction to Theory, Method and Practice (London, 2012)

Dobson, M. and B. Ziemann, eds. Reading Primary Sources: The Interpretation of Texts from 19th and 20th Centuries (NY, 2009)

Barber, S. and C. M. Peniston-Bird, History Beyond the Text (London: Routledge 2009)

Weller, Toni, History in the Digital Age (Abingdon, Routledge, 2013)
Joyce, P., The State of Freedom: a Social History of the British State since 1800 (Cambridge, 2013)

Cultural and Social History, 11:3 (2014), debate forum on digital history
Tredinnick, Mark, Writing Well: the essential guide (Cambridge, 2008)
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills This course will develop those transferable skills essential to conducting research and for disseminating research findings, including:
* Designing a research project at the MSc level;
* Experience with generating and presenting oral and written arguments in a range of professional academic settings (e.g. in seminars, conferences, online discussion with peers, submission of written work for assessment);
* "Hands-on" training in locating, describing, and making meaningful analytical use of primary historical documents;
* Effective use of interactive electronic materials and related technology, including bibliographical software and databases.
KeywordsHistorical Research Skills Sources
Course organiserDr Tim Buchen
Tel: (0131 6)50 9110
Course secretaryMrs Lindsay Scott
Tel: (0131 6)50 9948
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