BA Art History and German

Year of entry: 2022

Course unit details:
History of Art Dissertation

Course unit fact file
Unit code AHCP30000
Credit rating 40
Unit level Level 3
Teaching period(s) Full year
Offered by Art History and Cultural Practices
Available as a free choice unit? No

Overview

This unit enables students to construct a research project within the field of Art History, widely defined, supervised by an assigned member of academic staff. The dissertation in an extended piece of work and will develop students’ capacities to define a research project’s contours and articulate its intellectual merit, conduct research and work towards completing it independently. Students will write a dissertation of 12,000 words (40 credits).

The thesis may include areas of controversy, debate, methodology, or approach and is grounded in the use of appropriate sources.

Each student will be supervised by a member of academic staff who will

  • help with topic-specific problems
  • suggest appropriate reading
  • offer guidance about the organization and development of the work.

Training sessions include advice on planning the dissertation, researching skills, academic writing, time-management and document presentation.

Aims

  • To train students extensively in working with primary sources, to include works of art, widely defined, and associated textual sources.
  • To enable students to gain experience in undertaking in-depth critical analysis of visual and textual sources, both primary and secondary.
  • To provide students with an opportunity to write in depth and at length on an aspect of art history based in their own  academic interests.
  • To build on, and develop, students’ abilities to undertake independent study, research and critical thinking, including:
  • To build the personal skills involved in defining, undertaking and completing a research project.
  • To develop writing skills appropriate to the demands of an extended piece of written work at L3, which will equip students for employment after graduation.

Learning outcomes

By the end of this course unit the successful student will have demonstrated:

  • Independence in the ability to formulate a suitable research topic
  • Resourcefulness - including an ability to use electronic resources - in the ability to research that topic
  • The ability to assimilate and critically deploy critical material
  • The formal and intellectual skills requisite to the production of an extended piece of written work
  • An ability to undertake and complete an extended individual project

Syllabus

Independent Study project with associated training sessions and one to one supervision.

Knowledge and understanding

This will vary according to the topic chosen. By the end of this course unit the successful student will have demonstrated:

  • Independence in the ability to formulate a suitable research topic based on the student’s own interests
  • Resourcefulness, including an ability to use electronic resources as appropriate, in the ability to research that topic
  • The ability to locate, with guidance, a suitable body of primary material for the production of an extended piece of research
  • The ability to assimilate and deploy appropriately critical material on that topic
  • The formal and intellectual skills requisite to the production of an extended piece of written work.
  • Familiarity and comfort in producing ideas based on research using primary and secondary sources.
  • An ability to undertake and complete an extended research project.

Intellectual skills

  • Select and refine a viable topic for independent research
  • Engage critically with the existing literature on that topic
  • Analyse and synthesise a range of sources
  • Develop and maintain an independent critical position
  • Present research in the form of a structured argument
  • Make a reasoned argument for a particular point of view
  • Reflect upon their findings, drawing reasoned conclusions

Practical skills

  • Use available resources to further their research, including museums, galleries, archives, libraries, electronic resources and the internet
  • Plan and implement a viable schedule for the production of a 10,000-12,000 word text
  • Listen to, reflect upon and utilise feedback from peers, supervisors and session leaders
  • Researching a problem
  • Writing at length
  • Organising complex arguments
  • Finding and using primary and secondary research materials, and constructing reasoned arguments using those materials

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • Plan and implement an effective research project
  • Independently gather, evaluate and organise material from various sources
  • Present complex ideas clearly, both orally and in writing
  • Use IT resources for research and presentation
  • Manage time effectively
  • Improving through planning, monitoring and reflection
  • Autonomous working
  • Managing long projects
  • Putting together extensive pieces of prose

Feedback methods

Oral and written feedback

Recommended reading

Hatt, Michael, and Charlotte Klonk, Art History: A Critical Introduction to its Methods, Manchester, 2006

Swetman, D, Writing Your Dissertation, Oxford, 2004

Walliman, N, Your Undergraduate Dissertation: the essential guide for success, London, 2004

Watson, G, Writing a Thesis: a Guide to Long Essays and Dissertations, London, 1987

Weston, A, A Rulebook for Arguments (3rd edition), Cambridge, 2000

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Seminars 11
Independent study hours
Independent study 384

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Cordelia Warr Unit coordinator

Additional notes

Plus 5 (minimum) one-to-one supervision sessions

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