Timetable information in the Course Catalogue may be subject to change.

University Homepage
DRPS Homepage
DRPS Search
DRPS Contact
DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of History, Classics and Archaeology : Postgraduate (History, Classics and Archaeology)

Postgraduate Course: Historical Research: Skills & Sources (online) (PGHC11378)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of History, Classics and Archaeology CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate)
Course typeOnline Distance Learning AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course is one of two 'core' courses on the online MSc in History. The aim of these two courses is to prepare students to undertake their dissertations. This course focuses on research skills and the analysis of different types of primary source.
Course description The first core course for the taught MSc in History (online) aims to provide the technical skills and interpretive strategies to locate and assess primary historical material, particularly online. It will provide an introduction to graduate-level study in history and provide students with the opportunity to enhance their skills in historical research. Students will be made familiar with the range of online primary source databases available to them as students at the University of Edinburgh, and also how to search for further material online. Taught through a combination of podcast lectures, source-training pathways, online skills workshops and virtual presentations. Students will be encouraged to focus on those archival materials and primary source databases that suit their individual research interests, which should anticipate the research required for successful completion of the MSc dissertation. This training course will also provide instruction in critical use of online search materials, instructions on how to approach archival research, and effective use of database software. 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 'Approaches to History' core course offered in the spring semester on the online MSc in History.
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 2023/24, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  45
Course Start Semester 1
Course Start Date 18/09/2023
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Online Activities 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) Coursework: 4,000 word Final Assignment (80%);
1,000 word Short Review (10%); and
200 -250 word Weekly Discussion Forum Posts (10%)
Feedback Not entered
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate a detailed and critical command of the body of knowledge concerning undertaking historical research at graduate level
  2. Analyse and reflect critically upon relevant scholarship and primary source materials concerning, and conceptual discussions about historical research
  3. Understand and apply specialised research or professional skills, techniques and practices considered in the course
  4. Develop and sustain original scholarly arguments in written form by independently formulating appropriate questions and utilising relevant evidence considered in the course
  5. Demonstrate 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
Sarah Barber & Corinna M. Peniston-Bird (eds.), History Beyond the Text: A Student's Guide to Approaching Alternative Sources (2008)

Daniel J. Cohen & Roy Rosenzweig, Digital History: A Guide to Gathering, Preserving, and Presenting the Past on the Web (2005), available online at:

Miriam Dobson & Benjamin Ziemann (eds.), Reading Primary Sources: The Interpretation of Texts from 19th and 20th Century History (2009)
Karen Harvey (ed.), History and Material Culture: A Student's Guide to Approaching Alternative Sources (2009)

Martha Howell & Walter Prevenier, From Reliable Sources: An Introduction to Historical Methods (2001)

Joel T. Rosenthal (ed.), Understanding Medieval Primary Sources: Using Historical Sources to Discover Medieval Europe (2011)

Joan Tumblety (ed.), History and Memory: Understanding Memory as Source and Subject (2013)
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and 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 research skills in 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 of 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 4,000 words
KeywordsHistorical Research Skills Sources online
Course organiserMr David Kaufman
Tel: (0131 6)51 3857
Course secretaryMrs Lindsay Scott
Tel: (0131 6)50 9948
Help & Information
Search DPTs and Courses
Degree Programmes
Browse DPTs
Humanities and Social Science
Science and Engineering
Medicine and Veterinary Medicine
Other Information
Combined Course Timetable
Important Information