The Programme aims to: P1 provide students with an advanced understanding, based on a critical awareness of current problems and scholarship at the forefront of the field, of the methods and techniques of the historical discipline P2 encourage students to develop advanced critical, analytical and research skills, problem-solving skills, and transferable skills, appropriate to the study of History, including computer and quantitative methods of analysis P3 allow students to develop a critical awareness of a selected topic of History with respect to relevant social, cultural, political and economic contexts P4 encourage students to understand the requirements for developing a successful career in historical studies P5 allow students to design and conduct a substantial independent study in a chosen historical subject area. P6 prepare students for further study and/or employment through the development of their knowledge and abilities.
The MA in Researching History in Britain is recognised by the Economic and Social Research Council and is intended to equip students with the level of historical sophistication and skill required for postgraduate research work in history and to provide essential training for those proceeding to work at the doctoral level. The scheme is designed to widen and deepen students’ historical perspective and develop student skills in historical analysis. It provides those about to embark on historical research with an intensive grounding in current approaches within the historical discipline. These will include methodological questions (for example, computing and quantitative analysis), as well as the identification and use of research materials. Students take a module on research training methods and four other modules, which are assessed by coursework and write a 20,000 word dissertation.
Modules and Options
The lists of modules below represent the range of options available for each year of study. This may not be a complete list of the options you will study, and may be subject to change, so please contact the department for further details.
Compulsory: COMPUTER APPLICATIONS IN HISTORICAL RESEARCH
Compulsory: RESEARCH METHODS IN HISTORY
Core: HISTORY AND SOCIAL THEORY
Teaching and Assessment Methods
A: Knowledge and Understanding
A1 : Demonstrate substantial knowledge and critical understanding of the broad themes of historical analysis, including continuity and change, the specificity of particular historical processes, and the 'otherness' of the past.
A2 : Demonstrate substantial knowledge and critical understanding of the models used by the discipline to conceptualise and analyse change in past societies.
A3 : Demonstrate substantial knowledge and critical understanding of the skills and methods necessary to undertake sustained historical research and writing
A4 : Demonstrate substantial knowledge and critical understanding of some key historical sources available for historical research.
A5 : Demonstrate substantial knowledge and critical understanding of some selected topics of history.
A6 : Demonstrate substantial knowledge and critical understanding of the criteria applied by funding bodies for funding research
A7 : Demonstrate substantial knowledge and critical understanding of a particular area of history through an independent piece of research.
A1- A6 are acquired through seminars where there is an emphasis on group discussion and which allow for dynamic interaction based on directed pre-set reading.
Throughout students are encouraged to develop their knowledge through independent, self-directed research and reading.
A7 is acquired through work on the dissertation.
Testing the knowledge-base for A1-A6 is through essays and the dissertation. A7 is assessed through the dissertation.
B: Intellectual/Cognitive Skills
B1 : A student should be able to identify accurately issues which require researching.
B2 : A student should be able to assemble information from a variety of sources, and discern and establish connections.
B3 : A student should be able to synthesise and evaluate primary and secondary information.
B4 : A student should be able to rank and collate items and issues in terms of relevance and importance.
B5 : A student should be able to critically evaluate the merits of conflicting arguments and advanced scholarship in the field.
B6 : A student should be able to present and make a reasoned choice between alternative solutions or methodologies and, where appropriate, propose new interpretations or hypotheses.
B7 : A student should be able to deal with complex issues both systematically and creatively, make sound judgements in the absence of complete data, or conflicting evidence, and communicate their conclusions clearly
B8 : A student should be able to demonstrate independence of thought where appropriate.
Intellectual/cognitive skills B1-B8 are obtained through seminars, where there is an emphasis on group discussion and an analysis of original material and historical problems. All skills are further developed by the course essays and the dissertation. Skill B1 is fostered in particular through the dissertation, and student formulation of their own essay topics in consultation with the course tutor/supervisor.
Intellectual/cognitive skills B1-B8 are assessed via essays and the dissertation.
C: Practical Skills
C1 : A student should be able to identify, select and retrieve a wide range of relevant source material.
C2 : A student should be able to design, use and reflect on various research/study techniques.
C3 : A student should be able to interpret qualitative material.
C4 : A student should be able to interpret quantitative data
C5 : A student should be able to compose extended bibliographies, using relevant reference systems according to established conventions.
C6 : A student should be able to evaluate the criteria used by British funding bodies for research awards
C7 : A student should be able to design a substantial work of independent study.
C8 : A student should be able to project plan, manage and complete a substantial work of independent study.
C9 : A student should be able to identify, select and retrieve a range of primary source material.
Skills C1-C6 are developed through research for the course essays and dissertation, and by feedback and discussions with tutors on written work. They are also developed specifically through preparation for tutorials and the medium of group interactive classes in HR935 (Research Methods in History).
Skills C1-C7 are all developed via the dissertation
Practical skills C1-C6 are assessed through essays, and skills C7-C9 via the dissertation.
D: Key Skills
D1 : A student should be able to i) work with the English language proficiently in relation to matters pertinent to the historical discipline; ii) present knowledge or an argument in a clear, coherent and relevant manner; iii) analyse materials that are complex and/or technical; iv) liaise directly with academic supervisors on the dissertation.
D2 : A student should be able to use appropriate IT where relevant for research and presentation purposes (including searchable databases such as library catalogues and internet sources, and word processing).
D3 : A student should be able to use, present and evaluate information provided in numerical form, and use standard statistical methods to analyse such data
D4 : A student should be able to analyse a reasonably complex set of data and apply relevant explanatory models thereto.
D6 : A student should be able to i) with limited guidance, to reflect on his or her own learning, and to seek and make use of feedback; ii) to appreciate when s/he does not know enough and needs to undertake further research.
Key skills D1-D6 are acquired through tutorials where students debate historical issues and problems.
Skill D1 ii) can in addition be obtained through the University's online essay writing tutorial at:
Skills D1-D6 will be learnt through writing assessed and formative coursework and consequent feedback, both written and that obtained in oral sessions.
Skill D1 iv) is acquired through work on the dissertation.
Skill D2 can be obtained in particular through preparation for tutorials and the medium of group interactive classes in HR935 (Research Methods in History).
Skill D3 is obtained in particular through preparation for tutorials and the medium of group interactive classes in HR936 (Basic Quantitative Methods in Historical Research)
Skills D1-D4 and D6 are assessed through essays and the dissertation.