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Research Training - HIS00086M

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  • Department: History
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. David Clayton
  • Credit value: 10 credits
  • Credit level: M
  • Academic year of delivery: 2022-23

Module summary

The course is designed to help students acquire the skills to design and manage a research project in history, locate relevant primary and secondary sources, handle those sources and prepare a research proposal. Sessions will take the form of classes and workshops, and may take the form of visits to archives and museums in York. Sessions will be led by a variety of lecturers and outside speakers with relevant expertise.

The module introduces students to a wide range of resources, sources and approaches, but the content of the classes will be in part determined by your own interests. It will therefore be just as concerned with sharing experiences of research, as with handling information, your contribution to the classes is therefore vital to their success.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Autumn Term 2022-23 to Spring Term 2022-23

Module aims

The module aims to:

  • Introduce students to the processes of independent research

  • Make them aware of the range of archival and other resources available to historians

  • Develop skills of source analysis for both primary and secondary literature

  • Develop students’ powers of historical argument

  • Develop skills of primary research, including project and information management, independent working and the ability to research primary and secondary materials independently

Module learning outcomes

After successfully completing this course students should:

  • Have knowledge of the different types of sources available to historians

  • Have knowledge of how to scope and describe an independent research project

  • Have developed an understanding of the potential and limitation of resources for historical research

  • Have developed an understanding of the resources available for their own specialist areas

Module content

Teaching Programme:

There will be seven two-hour workshops in the Autumn Term. The Spring Term is for researching and writing a dissertation proposal.

The teaching programme will typically be as follows (variants may occur):

Autumn Term

Week 1: Introduction - 2 hour workshop for all history department MA students

Week 2: Library skills

Weeks 3 - 5: period pathways (students select one pathway)

  1. Medieval Masterclasses

  2. Early Modern Masterclasses

  3. Modern Masterclasses

Week 6: extra masterclasses (students select one)

  1. Public History Masterclass

  2. Political Science Masterclass

  3. Interdisciplinary Masterclass

Week 9: Dissertation Inspiration workshop

Spring Term

Week 5: Dissertation session held for each MA programme.


Task Length % of module mark
500 word dissertation proposal
N/A 100

Special assessment rules

Pass/fail & Non-compensatable

Additional assessment information

The module is assessed by means of a 500-word dissertation proposal on a non-compensatable pass/fail basis, to be researched and written in the spring term and submitted in week 7. It does not generate a mark, but a pass is a progression requirement. Candidates whose proposal fails will be given the opportunity to submit a revised version in the course of their programme.

For further details about assessed work, students should refer to the Taught Masters Degrees Statement of Assessment.


Task Length % of module mark
500 word dissertation proposal
N/A 100

Module feedback

Students are informed of whether their dissertation proposal has received a pass or fail mark within 20 days of submission (students whose dissertation proposal is given a fail mark are given written feedback to assist with resubmission). Students meet with their dissertation supervisor at the beginning of the summer term to receive verbal feedback on their dissertation proposal. For more information, see the Statement of Assessment

Indicative reading

There are no key texts for this module.

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.