Research Methods in History

The details
Colchester Campus
Postgraduate: Level 7
Thursday 03 October 2019
Saturday 14 December 2019
29 May 2019


Requisites for this module



Key module for

CER V10009 History,
CER V10021 History,
CER V100MO History,
MA V10012 History,
MA V10024 History,
MA V100MO History,
MA V1E112 War, Culture and Society,
MA V1E124 War, Culture and Society

Module description

This workshop-based module is designed to support you in developing the research skills necessary to successfully researching and writing a history research project. Subjects covered include: identifying the skills required for particular historical research projects; choosing and funding research topics; project management; interaction with the University and supervisor; the use of libraries and archives; bibliographical skills; and writing up and publishing research.

You will also study some key historiographical debates and be introduced to methods for identifying and analysing a range of primary sources. Students will have the opportunity to visit the Special Collections held in the Albert Sloman Library, and attend the Institute of Historical Research History Day. Set exercises throughout the Module are designed to help students progress through the early stages of identifying and planning a history research project

Module aims

The aim of this module is to provide you with a rigorous and practical preparation for undertaking historical research. By the end of the module you should have come to understand the structures of archival and library provision in the UK; acquired practical skills of project management; and familiarised yourself with some of the key repositories you will need to consult in your research.

Module learning outcomes

By the end of the module students should have come to understand the structures of archival and library provision in the UK; acquired practical skills of project management; and familiarised themselves with some of the key institutions and sources they will need to use in their research.

Module information

General Reading List:
Ludmilla Jordanova History in Practice, 2nd ed. (London, 2006) [3rd ed. expected October 2015] – the best up-to-date introduction
Mary Abbott, ed. History skills. A student's handbook 2nd ed. (London, 2009) – intended for undergraduates but may be helpful
Marc Bloch The Historian's Craft, with preface by Peter Burke (Manchester, 1992) – originally published as Apologie pour l'histoire, ou, Métier d'historien in 1949, it remains inspiring
Michael Drake and Ruth Finnegan with Jacqueline Eustace, ed. Sources and methods for family and community historians : a handbook, 2nd ed. (Cambridge, 1997) – of wider relevance than its title suggests
Richard Evans In Defence of History, 2nd ed. (London, 2000) – a robust take on the debate over the death of history
Peter Claus and John Marriott History: an introduction to theory, method and practice (Harlow, 2011)

Learning and teaching methods

1 x 2 hour seminars per week


  • Fulbrook, Mary. (2002) Historical theory, London: Routledge.
  • Jordanova, L. J. (2006) History in practice, London: Hodder Arnold.
  • Gunn, Simon; Faire, Lucy. (2016) Research methods for history, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
  • (no date) Historical debates.
  • Carr, Edward Hallett; Evans, Richard J. (2001) What is history?, Basingstoke: Palgrave.
  • Jordanova, L. J. (©2019) History in practice, London: Bloomsbury Academic.

The above list is indicative of the essential reading for the course. The library makes provision for all reading list items, with digital provision where possible, and these resources are shared between students. Further reading can be obtained from this module's reading list.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Weighting
Coursework Research Proposal 15/01/2020 100%
Coursework 2,000 Word Critical Analysis 20/05/2020 40%
Practical Research Presentation 20%

Overall assessment

Module is assessed by pass/fail only.


Module is assessed by pass/fail only.

Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Lucy Noakes
Graduate Administrator, Department of History, Telephone: 01206 872190



External examiner

Dr Paul Corthorn
Queen's University Belfast
Senior Lecturer in Modern British History
Available via Moodle
Of 27 hours, 12 (44.4%) hours available to students:
15 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).


Further information

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