EHMRM-Research methods

Module Provider: Centre for Economic History
Number of credits: 10 [5 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2020/1

Module Convenor: Dr Antony Moore


Type of module:

Summary module description:

This module aims to help students develop the research skills necessary for their dissertation work.


This module aims to help students develop the research skills necessary for their dissertation work, including reviewing secondary sources, identifying and working with primary data, and presenting their research 

Assessable learning outcomes:
•Build a bibliography of primary and secondary works
•Critical understanding of research methodologies and techniques, and their application to primary sources
•Ability to work independently on primary source material of their own choice
•Examine critically the value and relevance of the chosen primary source, including an understanding of its historical and historiographical context
•Extract data from this primary source and subject it to analysis using appropriate h istorical and/or statistical approaches
•Develop oral and written communication skills by 1) giving a presentation on their chosen primary source to an audience composed of students and academics and 2) writing a short essay on the source

Additional outcomes:

This module encourages students to work independently on primary source material of their choice. They will develop independent study skills including how to manage their own time and research. Presenting on their research before an audience of fellow students and academics will build their confidence in public speaking. 

Outline content:

The course will prepare students to undertake independent research as part of their dissertation. The module consists of five two-hour seminars, described below. In addition to assigned and independent reading on the general skills covered in the modules, the student will be expected to undertake substantial independent study on a particular primary source of their choice (subject to the agreement of the convenor). There will be the opportunity for individual discussion sessions with an assig ned academic to discuss and advise on the student’s independent study. The student will present a short paper on their chosen primary source, discuss each other’s work and respond to questions from an academic discussant and the audience.

1) Introduction to historical methods (joint seminar with the MA in History)

2) Starting your research – identifying a research question, building a bibliography of relevant primary and secondary material, finding and a ccessing this material, note-taking and managing references.

3) Historical source analysis – this seminar will set out some of the basic elements of source criticism and how to interpret different types of material.

4) Basic statistical techniques for economic historians – this seminar will examine the potential application of econometric and statistical techniques to economic history via a case study exemplar

5) Presentational skills – this will provide some basic guidance on constructing academic papers (both written and presented) to prepare the student to present on their chosen source at the workshop.


Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
This module offers specific training on key research skills via a series of interactive seminars. Students will be assigned reading and tasks before each seminar and will be expected to contribute actively to class discussion. Students will also carry out independent study on a primary source of their choice (agreed with the convenor). They will deepen their understanding of this source over the course of the module. This includes the historical context in which the source was produced, the info rmation that it contains and its value, how that data can be extracted and analysed, and how it relates to current issues in the historiography. For assessment, the students will prepare a presentation and essay on the source. This will help to develop their oral and written communication skills.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Seminars 10
Tutorials 1
Guided independent study: 89
Total hours by term 100
Total hours for module 100

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 67
Oral assessment and presentation 33

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

In the final seminar held in the last week of the Autumn Term, students will give a presentation on their chosen data source to their fellow students and members of the Centre for Economic History. Presentations should include PowerPoint slides and/or a hand-out. Presentations will be assessed on their academic content but also clarity and fluency. Students will also be expected to contribute to the discussion of the other presentations.

In addition, the student will submit one short essay of 2,000 words (excluding endnotes/footnotes and bibliography) analysing their chosen data source and incorporating feedback on their presentations, to be handed in at the start of Spring term.

Formative assessment methods:

Penalties for late submission:

Standard University Penalties:

•where the piece of work is submitted after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for that piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
•where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

Assessment requirements for a pass:

Reassessment arrangements:

A further essay of 2,000 words to be submitted by 1st September.

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):
1) Required text books:
2) Specialist equipment or materials:
3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear:
4) Printing and binding:
5) Computers and devices with a particular specification:
6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence:

Last updated: 4 April 2020


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