HS1RSO-Research Skills and Opportunities in History

Module Provider: History
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn / Spring term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2020/1

Module Convenor: Dr Ruth Salter
Email: r.j.salter@reading.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:

Compulsory for all SINGLE-SUBJECT History and JOINT-HONOURS with History students, this module is crucial to the research and employability strands of the History degree programme.

This module aims to develop the essential research, presentational and organisational skills required for the study of History at degree level. It gives students the opportunity to apply these skills in practice in an extended Project Essay on a topic of their choice. The module will foster historiographical awareness of the different types of history, both academic and popular. It will also introduce students to the personal development and career opportunities offered by the skills developed in a History degree.

Assessable learning outcomes:
By the end of the module it is expected that students will be able to:
- apply library skills to locate information in books, articles and online resources
- read critically
- write good academic English
- demonstrate familiarity with bibliographical conventions
- understand and be able to avoid plagiarism and poor academic practice
- organise material and articulate arguments effectively in writing and orally
- identify and evaluate the major historiog raphical issues associated with their chosen topic
- conduct independent research

Additional outcomes:

The module also aims to:

- equip students with key transferable research skills essential for graduate-level employment, including the ability to identify, assess and synthesize information

- develop IT skills through the use of relevant resources

- familiarize students with a range of time-management and self-directed learning resources

- assist students with note-taking and rapid-reading techniques

- develop presentational skills

- encourage students to think about the ways in which the skills they develop during their degree programme will assist with career planning and employability.


Outline content:

The module aims to provide a general foundation in History at degree level and specifically to equip students for the independent research involved in later stages of the degree, such as the final-year Dissertation. Research and writing skills are critically important to a History degree and to many graduate-level careers, and required to some extent in almost all graduate employment. Students are introduced to key features of historical thinking such as source criticism and contextualization , and to core concepts such as primary sources and secondary works/historiography. The module provides practical guidance on producing clear, academic English, supported by correctly formatted footnotes. Two exercises in identifying an author’s key arguments and the secondary literature in a broader field culminate in a 3,000-word Project Essay on a topic chosen by yourself.


As well as providing opportunities to develop and hone the skills nee ded to research history at degree level, this module encourages students to be aware of career planning and development, and of the range of transferable skills their studies for their degree will develop. The module includes lectures provided by Career Services, and students will be directed towards a meeting with their Academic Tutor in the spring term with a view to making productive use of the summer vacation ahead (for example by gaining work experience). Single-subject History students wil l be asked to report back on their work experience in their Part 2 core module, HS2GPP - Going Public: Presenting the Past, Planning the Future, as will joint-History students who choose to take HS2GPP as an optional module at Part 2.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
Teaching is by one-hour lectures and one-hour seminars in the autumn term and the first half of the spring term, and by supervision in the second half of the spring term when students are reminded to seek out their supervisors in their office hours for help and advice when needed.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 10 5
Seminars 9 5
Tutorials 2
Guided independent study: 81 88
Total hours by term 100 100
Total hours for module 200

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 25
Project output other than dissertation 50
Set exercise 25

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

1. Précis: concise 750-word summary of an article or other piece of published academic work set by the seminar tutor; deadline 12 noon, Friday of week 5, autumn term; counts for 25% of total.

2. Research Outline & Bibliography: over the winter vacation you will identify a topic for research for which you will produce an interim research outline & bibliography on two pages of A4 maximum; deadline 12 noon, Friday of week 5, spring term; counts for 25% of total.

3. Project Essay: an extended essay of 3,000 words to be submitted for 12 noon, Friday of Week 2 of the summer term; counts for 50% of total.

Formative assessment methods:

Penalties for late submission:

The Support Centres will apply the following penalties for work submitted late:

  • 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.
The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at: http://www.reading.ac.uk/web/FILES/qualitysupport/penaltiesforlatesubmission.pdf
You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

Assessment requirements for a pass:

A mark of 40% overall.

Reassessment arrangements:

Where a re-sit is permitted, students will be assessed on the failed element(s) only in August. Any element(s) already passed will be carried forward if it bears a confirmed mark of 40% or more. Any element which is re-sat in August is capped at 40%. Failed coursework must be re-submitted by 12 noon on the third Friday of August.

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

1) Required text books: None

2) Specialist equipment or materials: None

3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear: None

4) Printing and binding: None

5) Computers and devices with a particular specification: None

6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence: None

Last updated: 15 July 2021


Things to do now