Accessibility statement

Group Projects - HIS00087C

« Back to module search

  • Department: History
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Jon Howlett
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: C
  • Academic year of delivery: 2021-22
    • See module specification for other years: 2022-23

Module summary

Research – independent inquiry into records of the past in order to explore questions, to advance our knowledge and to contribute to discussion and debate – lies at the heart of the historical discipline. This module introduces students to the processes and possibilities of this activity and gives them an opportunity to get hands-on experience of working together in the practice of research, examining and evaluating their chosen sources and exploring what conclusions we can (and cannot) draw from them.

Each year there will be a selection of project topics, each centred on a particular body and set of sources to which students are ensured (usually digital) access. Each group of students will devise, present and write a project relating to this topic making appropriate and critical use of this set of source material or a selection within it.

As part of this process they will identify and describe a research context, refine and devise the questions they want to explore, analyse the sources in order to address these questions, and shape them into coherent historical arguments.

Historians use a variety of methods to investigate the past and to draw information from their sources. Some use one or more quantitative methods; others use a range of qualitative approaches; many use a mixture of both. Students will reflect on what methods are most useful for their inquiries and apply them accordingly.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Spring Term 2021-22 to Summer Term 2021-22

Module aims

The aims of this module are:

To enable students to use skills and knowledge acquired in Terms 1 and 2 in order to produce an independent piece of research based on primary source materials

To familiarise students with collaborative work at an early stage in their degree and in advance of assessed group projects at Stages 2 and 3

To guide students in how historians deploy and select a mix of quantitative and qualitative methods of analysis in order to construct an argument

To aid students in the development of their oral and graphic presentation skills, and their writing skills

Module learning outcomes

Students who complete this module successfully will:

be able to present a piece of work effectively as a group by making clear and coherent contributions in coordination with others

have demonstrated the ability to work collaboratively in order to devise and complete a project

have shown the ability to evaluate and apply quantitative and qualitative methods as appropriate for their inquiries

have gained skills and experience in identifying and analysing primary sources in advance of project and dissertation work at later stages

have combined the analysis of primary sources with critical discussion of a scholarly debate in order to develop a coherent historical argument

Module content

Teaching Programme:

In Autumn Term, students will be asked to choose from a list of topics devised by staff. They will be assigned to groups of no more than 4 students. In Spring Term, students will attend 4 x 1 hour lectures on approaches to group project work and methods of presenting, plus 1 x 2 hour class on using digital resources. In Summer Term, students will attend 2 x 2 hour project sessions with tutors in Weeks 1 and 2, in advance of a conference at the end of Week 3, at which groups will present on their project. Students will be expected to organise their reading and research in preparation for discussion sessions with tutors and the day conference.

The provisional outline for the module is as follows:

Spring Term:

Week 2

Lecture 1: How to do Group Project work

Week 3

Lecture 2: Contextualizing your research

Week 4

No classes

Week 5

Lecture from Project Tutor on the historical and historiographical Context

Weeks 5-6

Workshop 1: Introducing the historical context and methods of using the digital source

Week 7

No classes

Week 8

Lecture 3: Death by powerpoint? Effective oral presentations

Week 9

Lecture 4: Words, Numbers, Maps: How to communicate your research findings

Weeks 9-10

Groups meet to organise research tasks in advance of Summer Term

Submission of group work agreements to tutor and agree the area/themes on which they will focus their work

Summer Term:

Week 1

Workshop 2: 2 hours for project cohorts to discuss findings to date and plan their research/writing

Groups submit their completed project planning documents to the tutor

Week 2

Workshop 3: Group Tutorial with Project Tutor (30 minutes) to discuss completing research, preparing the presentation, and writing the project.

Week 3

Conference and reception (online if necessary)

Week 4

Submission of project: 2,500 words


Task Length % of module mark
Group Essay
N/A 100

Special assessment rules


Additional assessment information

Formative work:

Students will give a short presentation on their project as a group at a conference in Week 3 of Summer Term. All students will be required to contribute towards the presentation and to attend the conference. Submission of the group presentation (as a Powerpoint or similar) is compulsory.

Summative work:

Submission of a jointly-written 2,500 word project. The project is worth 100% of the course mark.


Task Length % of module mark
Reassessment: Individual essay 1500 words
N/A 100

Module feedback

The formative assessment is a group presentation. Staff will provide short written feedback at the day conference. For more information, see the Statement on Feedback.

For the summative assessment task, students will receive their provisional mark and written feedback during the Common Assessment Period. For more information, see the Statement on Assessment.

Indicative reading

No preliminary reading is required for the Group Projects. Term-time reading will be determined by the choice of topic and will be made available on the VLEs by the tutor.

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.