Accessibility statement

Research Skills

Module leader: Cath Neal

The purpose of this module is to introduce students to the skills required for carrying out a substantial piece of research with the aim of producing a detailed research design at the end. This will mean that you have fully planned how you will tackle the dissertation, all eventualities should have been covered, and you should be ready to go by the end of the year on the research.  

  • BA (Hons) Archaeology students should develop a research design which has an appropriately humanistic goal but may incorporate some scientific methods.
  • BA (Hons) Historical Archaeology students should develop a research design which has an appropriately historical archaeology goal
  • BA (Hons) Archaeology/History combined students should develop a research design which has an appropriately historical archaeology goal.
  • BSc (Hons) Archaeology students should develop a research design which has an appropriately scientific goal
  • BSc (Hons) Bioarchaeology should develop a research design which has an appropriate bioarchaeological goal


The research skills modules are incredibly important, not only because they help you to research and write a dissertation, but they also prepare you for life after University, when you will often have to draw upon the skills you're developing here. 

The 'transferable skills' which you will gain from this module will be useful to highlight on your CV and in job interviews, and they will serve you well in the workplace, regardless of your eventual career. They include: 

  • Self management: this is probably the most important skill to learn and there will be a session on time management, but doing a piece of research is largely about work autonomously and having the will to succeed!
  • Communication: in doing this research planning you will learn to write concisely, express ideas, report and express ideas - but you should also be learning skills in editing and presented. Communication is also about listening and we hope that you will learn to listen and take note so that you learn the skills required to carry out a large piece of research
  • Team working: some of you may end up working in a larger team but most of you will be working on your own, however, you may want to buddy up with other members of the class to help each other with critical evaluation of ideas (this is something we will also do within class)
  • Problem solving: planning research is often about problem solving in practical situations (e.g. can I get hold of the data I need?) but you will also be learning how to problem solve, analyse data, evaluate information, through the seminars
  • Creativity and innovation: we try to stimulate all undergraduates to think creatively and innovatively about their research- many of our students have carried out original pieces of research which have been published 
  • World of work awareness: many students will gain some experience of the world of work through carrying out research in a museum, archive, laboratory or in the field. We particularly encourage these types of research projects because they provide such important employability skills. 
  • Social, cultural and global awareness: the degree to which every student engages with these themes will vary but it is important that all think especially about ethical issues, and this will be covered during the module
  • Application of IT: everyone will have different IT skills and so we give all students the option to significantly improve in at least one area- all students will be given advanced Word skills and GIS, statistics, databases, spreadsheets, digitial drawing will also all be on offer through online workbooks and workshops
  • Application of numeracy: as above workshops and workbooks will be on but many students will also be developing their skills in interpretation and critical evaluation of data 
Research skills Gawthorpe
Gav in the lab 
Andy Needham taking samples