MA History / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Historical Research 1

Course unit fact file
Unit code HIST64181
Credit rating 15
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


HIST 64181 is part one of the History research training unit. The course investigates various aspects of historical research. Seminars will be facilitated by members of the History department who are specialists in particular approaches to History and methodologies. Each seminar will investigate the methods used by scholars to interrogate a range of sources, including statistics, visual images, newsreels etc. The course seeks to be inclusive and address archives covering a broad chronology, geography and form. This course offers students key transferable skills in identifying, using and interpreting different forms of data.

 Topics covered may include:

- Official Archives: Legal and Government Documents

- Micro/Macro Histories

- Political/Parliamentary Sources

- Material Culture

- Visual Cultures

- Life Stories

- Comparative, Transnational and Entangled Histories

- Globalisation in World History: Methods and Challenges

This module is team-taught. Therefore, the seminar topics may vary in any given academic year according to the availability of specific teaching staff.


Unit title Unit code Requirement type Description
Historical Research 2 HIST64282 Co-Requisite Compulsory


  • To introduce post-graduate students to recent developments in the concepts, theories and methods used in historical research and their relationship to historical sources.
  • To enable students to engage with issues relating to the identification and use of sources for historical research.
  • To equip students with the appropriate skills needed to undertake a substantial piece of independent research (the History MA dissertation).

Knowledge and understanding

  • Identify different historical methods, sources and theory and their application to the writing of history.
  • Understand how different historical methods, sources and theory have emerged at particular moments in time and relate to political, social and economic change.
  • Identify how historical approaches might be applied to, and generate understanding of, contemporary debates, policies and practices.

Intellectual skills

- Engage critically with historical methods and theory and their application to the writing of history.

- Analyse a range of theoretical and methodological approaches to the past.

- Evaluate historiography by critical analysis of historians' deployment of theory, methods and sources.

- Situate methodology in relation to the development of a research question.

Practical skills

- Identify and discriminate between differing modes of analysis.

- Locate, retrieve and assimilate relevant information concerning distinct modes of analysis.

- Present complex ideas in coherent and accessible form in oral, visual and written format.

- Formulate and design a proposal in relation to an appropriate methodology

- Manage a sustained program of regular weekly work.

- Present ideas fluently in writing and orally.

- Gain experience in problem solving, leadership and teamwork.

Transferable skills and personal qualities

- Articulate and develop informed and reasoned argument in written and oral form.

- Organise own learning through self-management and work to deadlines.

- Using IT equipment for research and presentation purposes.

- Demonstrate the ability to work in a group and show leadership.

- Identify, analyse and apply a wide range of data to formulate and solve problems.

- Ability to bring analytical and research skills to bear on the formulation and design of proposals.

Employability skills

This module enhances employability skills by calling upon students to work on their own and in groups, to engage with a large number and wide variety of sources, to research, analyse, and present their ideas verbally and in writing, and to take responsibility for aspects of their learning and time management.

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written assignment (inc essay) 100%

Feedback methods

Feedback method

Formative or Summative

Written feedback for essay on Blackboard/Turnitin



Recommended reading

David Armitage and Jo Guldi, The History Manifesto (Cambridge, 2014)

Umberto Eco, How to Write a Thesis (Cambridge, Mass., 2015).

Ludmilla Jordanova, History in Practice (London, 2017).


Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Seminars 16.5
Independent study hours
Independent study 133.5

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Christian Goeschel Unit coordinator

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