Choosing Your Past: How to Design and Manage a Research Project

The details
Colchester Campus
Undergraduate: Level 5
Sunday 25 April 2021
Friday 02 July 2021
10 June 2020


Requisites for this module



Key module for

BA V100 History,
BA V101 History (Including Year Abroad),
BA V102 History (Including Foundation Year),
BA V103 History (Including Placement Year),
MHISV199 History,
MHISZV98 History,
MHISZV99 History,
BA V1W6 History with Film Studies,
BA V1W7 History with Film Studies (Including Placement Year),
BA V1W8 History with Film Studies (Including Foundation Year),
BA V1WP History with Film Studies (Including Year Abroad),
BA V1L2 History with Human Rights,
BA V1L8 History with Human Rights (Including Foundation Year),
BA V1LF History with Human Rights (Including Year Abroad),
BA V1LG History with Human Rights (Including Placement Year),
BA V140 Modern History,
BA V144 Modern History (Including Foundation Year),
BA V148 Modern History (Including Placement Year),
BA V149 Modern History (Including Year Abroad)

Module description

HR231 is an essential preparation module for the final-year History Research Project module (HR831). On HR231 we will equip you with the skills to design and manage a research project, which you will then go on to complete and submit in your final year.

We will cover the following key aspects of historical research:
How to identify an area of research interest and develop a research question about it;
How to work out a method of answering your research question;
How to find and analyse the primary sources you will need for your research;
How to use secondary readings to help you to develop and refine your ideas.

Module aims

This module:

1. teaches you how to design your own research project, with particular focus on preparation for the History Research Project (HR831).

2. deepens your understanding of how historians research, write and create the interpretations of the past that you read (in the form of books, articles, etc) on other modules.

3. gives you transferable skills in project design and planning which you can list on your CV and transfer to further study or the world of work.

Module learning outcomes

By the end of the module, you will have:

1. Gained a better understanding of how historians develop research projects and of the shaping processes that lie behind the historical texts you read for other modules (books, articles, blogs etc).

2. Developed your own skills of project design and planning, as demonstrated by your own research proposal.

3. Developed problem-solving, teamwork and self-reflection skills in completing the module coursework and seminar activities (eg: peer review).

Module information

For introductory reading, see:

Loughran, Tracey (ed.), A Practical Guide to Studying History. Skills and Approaches (Bloomsbury, 2017).

Thomas, Gary, Doing Research (Palgrave Pocket Study Skills, 2nd edition, 2017).

Learning and teaching methods

HR231 is taught intensively (four contact hours per week) in the first five weeks of the Summer Term. There will be a programme of lectures, seminars, interactive workshops and mini-conferences in which you are given the opportunity to practise and develop research skills and to work on your Portfolio tasks. You will give your assessed presentation to an audience of your peers at a conference-style event towards the end of the module. In addition to your seminar teacher, you will also have the opportunity to discuss your ideas with potential Project supervisors over the course of the module.


This module does not appear to have a published bibliography.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Weighting
Coursework   A Portfolio (1600 words)    35% 
Coursework   A Research Project proposal (1750 words)    50% 
Practical   Project presentation     15% 

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Prof Lucy Noakes, email:
Belinda Waterman, Department of History, 01206 872313



External examiner

Dr Rachel Rich
Leeds Beckett University
Senior Lecturer
Available via Moodle
Of 61 hours, 51 (83.6%) hours available to students:
5 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
5 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).


Further information

* Please note: due to differing publication schedules, items marked with an asterisk (*) base their information upon the previous academic year.

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