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Research Dissertation - HIS00172M

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  • Department: History
  • Module co-ordinator: Prof. David Clayton
  • Credit value: 80 credits
  • Credit level: M
  • Academic year of delivery: 2023-24
    • See module specification for other years: 2024-25
  • Notes: This is an independent study module

Module summary

Students undertake an independently researched dissertation, receiving support, advice and feedback from a dissertation advisor as they read into pertinent scholarship, collect source materials, analyse these materials and write up draft findings. They will have five supervision meetings to discuss the feasibility of the project and to provide feedback on two draft chapters, as set out below.

Related modules

Students must complete the Research Training module before progressing to the Research Dissertation.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Semester 2 2023-24 to Summer Semester 2023-24

Module aims

The aims of this module are:

  • Develop skills of source analysis and interpretation for secondary literature
  • Develop skills of primary source analysis and interpretation
  • 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
  • Produce a work of sustained historical analysis and argument

Module learning outcomes

Students who complete this module successfully will:

  • Have carried out independent research, collecting the relevant primary and secondary materials
  • Have presented and completed a substantial piece of independent research that demonstrates the ability to use and evaluate historical sources
  • Have shown the ability to use appropriate methodology, including discussing the ethical issues that arise from collecting and presenting research
  • Have shown the ability to present research in accordance with scholarly conventions and in a consistent manner

Module content

Students will attend five one-on-one meetings with a dissertation advisor, across semester 2 and June/July. They have the opportunity to receive feedback on drafts of two chapters as well as to present their projects at a dissertation conference in week 5.


Task Length % of module mark
Postgraduate Dissertation : 16,000 word Dissertation
N/A 100

Special assessment rules


Additional assessment information

The dissertation will be between 14,000 and 16,000 words and set out using the standard University conventions, following the Chicago style manual.


Task Length % of module mark
Postgraduate Dissertation : 16,000 word Dissertation
N/A 100

Module feedback

Students will receive written and verbal feedback in supervisions on two draft chapters, as well as feedback from their advisor, and staff and peers, on their proposal, project plans, and approaches. Students are also encouraged, if they wish, to make use of their advisor’s student hours, as well as those of other staff. For more information, see the Statement on Feedback.

For the summative assessment task, students will receive a mark and written feedback within 25 working days of the submission deadline. For more information, see the Statement of Assessment.

Indicative reading

We encourage you to look at the following items of preliminary reading, building on the use of these texts on the Research Training module.

  • Booth, W., Colomb, G. William S. J., The Craft of Research (Third edition, University of Chicago Press, 2008).
  • Hare, J, Wells, J., Baker, B., Essential Skills for Historians: A Practical Guide to Researching the Past (Bloomsbury Academic, 2019).
  • Barber, S., Peniston-Bird, C., History Beyond the Text: A student’s Guide to approaching alternative sources (Routledge, 2009)

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.