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Research Skills for Art History - HOA00094I

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  • Department: History of Art
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Amanda Hilliam
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: I
  • Academic year of delivery: 2023-24
    • See module specification for other years: 2024-25

Module summary

The Research Skills module introduces you to essential research skills and methods that will give you increased confidence in conducting art historical research and prepare you to engage in an independent research project in the final stage of your degree. It also encourages you to reflect upon how your skills as an art historian can enhance your employability.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Semester 2 2023-24

Module aims

Studying art history provides tools for understanding how works of art and architecture have been made, used, and viewed in a variety of social and cultural contexts. It demands wide-ranging academic skills, including visual analysis, evaluation of primary sources and scholarly literature, development and application of methodological frameworks, and effective communication of ideas.

Building upon the skills introduced in Stage 1, this module has three interconnected objectives: it introduces you to essential research skills and methods employed in the study of art history; it gives you increased confidence in conducting art historical research through sustained practice; and it provides you with opportunities to think reflectively upon how art historical skills can enhance your employability.

The module concludes with a field trip, where you will witness how different types of research, curatorial and communication practices are employed in museums and the art world. The trip also provides an opportunity to develop your own interests and an understanding of how object analysis forms a crucial stage in the research process. This module leaves you well-prepared to engage in an independent research project in the final stage of your degree.

Module learning outcomes

By the end of the module, you should have acquired:

  • greater confidence in art historical skills including close looking, critical reading of scholarship, and writing

  • ability to produce academic work that exhibits scholarly and practical skills associated with collaborative and independent forms of research

  • critical awareness of how methodologies and research trends in the discipline have challenged assumptions and interpretations of art historical objects

  • an emerging sense of your own art historical interests and associated research questions

  • awareness of how the research skills developed in this module can be applied in a professional context


Task Length % of module mark
N/A 100

Special assessment rules




Module feedback

You will receive feedback on assessed work within the timeframes set out by the University - please check the Guide to Assessment, Standards, Marking and Feedback for more information.

The purpose of feedback is to help you to improve your future work. If you do not understand your feedback or want to talk about your ideas further, you are warmly encouraged to meet your Supervisor during their Office Hours.

Indicative reading

  • Cottrell, Stella. Skills for Success: Personal Development and Employability. London: Bloomsbury Publishing, 2015.
  • Fernie, Eric, ed. Art History and Its Methods. London: Phaidon Press Ltd, 1995.
  • Hatt, Michael, and Charlotte Klonk. Art History: A Critical Introduction to its Methods. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2006.
  • Jordanova, Ludmilla. The Look of the Past: Visual and Material Evidence in Historical Practice. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012.
  • Pollock, Griselda. Differencing the Canon: Feminist Desire and the Writing of Art's Histories. London: Routledge, 1999.
  • Radbourne, Jennifer and Kenneth Watkins. Philanthropy and the Arts. Melbourne: Melbourne University Publishing, 2015.
  • Rose, Gillian. Visual Methodologies: An Introduction to Researching with Visual Materials. Oxford: SAGE Publications, 2016.
  • Taylor, Paul. Condition: The Aging of Art. London: Paul Holberton Publishing, 2015.

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.