HIST401: Researching and Writing History
Course Convenor: Dr Corinna Peniston-Bird
Teaching: Michaelmas Term
This module is intended to provide students with practical help in the conceptualisation and execution of their research so that they can present a dissertation that meets the required standard at the conclusion of their MA. Topics for discussion will include:
- the qualities of a successful dissertation;
- assessing the ‘state of play’ in a particular field of historical inquiry so that you can place yourself at its cutting edge;
- how to formulate viable research questions and/or working hypotheses;
- compiling a research bibliography, including how to locate primary sources which are relevant to your research;
- how to manage the collection of data with the help of modern information technology;
- how to organise your dissertation, including how to develop a coherent argument;
- when and how to start writing;
- effective writing;
- the use and abuse of footnotes;
- how to present your dissertation.
The teaching will be conducted through practical exercises and class discussions of each others’ work.
Assessment: Since the principal learning outcome of this module is to ensure the feasibility of students’ MA dissertation topics, it will be assessed by a written feasibility study, which will include an annotated bibliography of secondary sources and a list of primary sources. Students will also be give an oral presentation on their research which will contribute to their final mark.