HS2HAD-Historical Approaches and My Dissertation

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

Module Convenor: Mr Dafydd Townley
Email: d.townley@reading.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:

This module is compulsory for all Single Subject History students and History with Study Abroad students. It is available as an optional module for students taking a joint degree in History, and strongly recommended for Joint History students wishing to complete their Part 3 Dissertation in History. Joint History students opting to complete their Part 3 Dissertation in History without taking this module will be required to complete (as a formative assessment) the dissertation proposal which forms one element of the summative assessment on this module.

The module aims to prepare students for their Part 3 Dissertation by exploring a range of primary sources and historical approaches across a broad chronological time-frame. It encourages students to think practically and critically about their dissertation research through a series of lectures and workshops. Some sessions focus on locally-based archives and collections, while others concentrate on electronically-available evidence from different geographic locales.

Assessable learning outcomes:

By the end of the module, it is expected that students will be able to:

• Gain familiarity with a range of primary sources, including (for example) published and private evidence, witting and unwitting testimony, oral history, and visual cultures. 

• Understand how to research primary sources from a variety of different eras and geographic locales in a systematic manner, using quantitative techniques where appropriate

• Be aware of the a dvantages and limitations of different types of primary sources

• Comprehend some of the issues that arise in dissertation research and how to overcome them

• Evaluate a range of primary sources and methodologies within a empirically-based portfolio of two case studies

• Prepare a detailed dissertation proposal 

Additional outcomes:
The module enables students to develop initiative and analytical skills in their use of various primary sources and special collections. This fosters confidence and enthusiasm for researching and writing a Part 3 Dissertation in History. The proposal form enables staff to allocate students to the best-placed dissertation supervisor in the Department.

Outline content:
Students are expected to attend a series of lectures and workshops in the spring term. Some
lectures focus on generic dissertation advice, while others will concentrate on locally-based dissertation research (eg: using the University’s special collections, and MERL, the Berkshire Record Office, and the National Archives). The bulk of the sessions consist of a series of lectures and workshops led by staff in the Department of History about using different primary sources in historical rese arch.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

Guided by the lectures and workshops, students will complete TWO primary source ‘case-studies’ in which they use their own research skills to hone their understanding of how to use primary evidence. They will also complete a detailed dissertation proposal in consultation with a member of staff.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 20
Tutorials 1 2
Practicals classes and workshops 12
Guided independent study: 165
Total hours by term 198 2
Total hours for module 200

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Portfolio 100

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

A portfolio consisting of TWO primary source case-studies of 2,000 words EACH, PLUS a detailed dissertation proposal form. Dissertation proposals should use the online form as a template. Each case study constitutes 40% of the overall mark for this module, with the dissertation proposal constituting the remaining 20% of the overall mark for the module.

Completed coursework should be submitted in three stages.

The first case study is due in by noon on Monday of week 7 of the Spring term.

The second case study is due in by noon on the Friday of week 11 of the Spring term.

The dissertation proposal form is due in by noon on Friday of week one of the Summer term. They need to be submitted electronically via Blackboard.

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


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