BA English Literature and History

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Independent Research Project

Course unit fact file
Unit code HIST20392
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 2
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Available as a free choice unit? No


This module offers students the opportunity to pursue an individual research project, closely guided by a member of academic staff. Students will have an introductory lecture and two group seminar training sessions in the semester. These will discuss the skills necessary to develop individual research projects - developing research questions and plans, and identifying and exploring key bodies of literature and collections of primary sources – and will support the production of an extended piece of historical research on a topic which will be selected in negotiation with their allocated supervisor via a minimum of three individual supervisory sessions.  



This module is only available to students on History-owned programmes; and joint-honours programmes with the History Department.  


Students will build on the skills gained during their first year of study by further developing their skills as an independent researcher. Working within the broad area of expertise of their supervisor, students will explore how fields of study develop, as well as learning to identify key works in the scholarly literature and thus engage with broad intellectual debates. Using this knowledge students will learn how to develop an independent research project that engages with existing debates but employs their own voice and ideas, and draws on a range of research materials. The module will develop skills that are widely applicable to the rest of their degree and beyond, and provide a foundation for the production of a dissertation at level three.  


Teaching and learning methods

•             Independent study 

•             1 x introductory lecture

•             2 x seminar training sessions 

•             3 (minimum) x one-to-one supervision sessions

•             Training and guidance materials relevant to the Independent Research Project will be posted on the course BB site and the Independent Research Project will be submitted and returned via Turnitin.

Knowledge and understanding

- Understand and engage with broad intellectual debates 

- Explore and contribute to historiography on a selected topic 

- Engage with a wide range of sources to build informed arguments 


Intellectual skills

- Engage with historiographical debates at an advanced level 

- Develop and plan individual research projects 

- Present and defend differing intellectual positions during discussions and supervisions 


Practical skills

- Produce sophisticated literature reviews 

- Produce essays that incorporate original research 

- Prepare for and participate in wide-ranging discussions and debates 

- Work independently  


Transferable skills and personal qualities

- Carry out independent research projects 

- Analyse and interpret a range of different sources 

- Communicate sophisticated arguments through improved written and oral communication skills 


Employability skills

The course provides a wide range of history-based skills appealing to future employers including: - The ability to formulate and answer cogent and focused questions - The analytical ability to consider complex problems to which there is no single solution - Identifying, gathering, sorting, organising and deploying evidence, data and information. - Analysing texts and other primary sources both critically and empathetically - Marshalling of argument in written and oral forms

Assessment methods

Title and Abstract (Formative)

Independent Research Project (Summative) 100%

Feedback methods

Written feedback on summative coursework via turnitin within 15 working days of submission   

Oral feedback on progress, title and abstract, coursework, and  participation given during office hours  - Formative


Recommended reading

Subject specific by tutor.  

However, works of general utility include: 

- Berger, Stefan., Heiko Feldner, Kevin Passmore, Writing History: Theory and Practice 2nd ed (London: Bloomsbury, 2010) 

- Gildea, Robert, Anne Simonin, Writing Contemporary History (London: Hodder Education, 2008) 

- Partner, Nancy, Writing Medieval History (London: Hodder Arnold, 2005) 

- Storey, William Kelleher, Writing History: A Guide for Students 2nd ed (New York: Oxford University Press, 2004) 

- Tosh, John, The Pursuit of History: Aims, Methods and New Directions in the Study of History 6th ed (London: Routledge 2015) 

- Walker, Garthine, Writing Early Modern History (London: Hodder Arnold, 2005) 


Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 1
Project supervision 3
Seminars 2
Independent study hours
Independent study 194

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Ethan Menchinger Unit coordinator

Additional notes

A combination of group meetings and individual supervisions throughout the year.

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