Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Sources for Postgraduate Research in the Modern Humanities and Social Sciences
Academic Year
Semester 1

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Seminars / Tutorials 4 x 3 hour seminars = 12 hours
Workload Breakdown Seminars: 4 x 3 hours = 12 hours Practicals: 4 x 3 hours = 12 hours Feedback sessions = 1 hour 175 hours independent study and assignment preparation 200 hours total


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment 1. Assessed essay reflecting on the use of one of the source types studied (3,000 words) 50% 2. Report or short project using data gathered from another of the source types studied (3,000 words) 50%  
Supplementary Assessment Resubmission of failed assignments, as required by university regulations governing resits for modules with marks under 50%.  Resubmission of failed assignments, as required by university regulations governing resits for modules with marks under 50%. 

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

Demonstrate a critical understanding of the research use of a selected range of key primary sources in the modern humanities and social sciences, including understanding of practical and methodological issues associated with those sources.

Demonstrate an ability to use these sources in specified tasks and in their own research.

Conduct independent research utilising one or more of the sources studied in the module.

Communicate effectively their use of these sources orally and in written form.

Brief description

Academic rationale of the proposal:

The module is an extension and enhancement of the current HYM0410 Sources for Modern History, which will be withdrawn as part of the department’s MA scheme redesign. It is aimed at history students in the first instance, though it may also have wider recruitment potential across other departments (e.g. International Politics, Geography, TFTV). It introduces postgraduate students to key primary sources in the modern humanities and social sciences, and provides them with essential research training in the methodologies and approaches required to utilise these sources in their own research, through a series of three-hour workshops tailored to the student’s individual research needs. The workshops may also be attended as one-off training days (not for credit) by internal or external students.

Brief Description:

The module comprises a series of eight workshops, from which the student must attend a minimum of four (that is, the four most closely associated with their own research interests and projected MA topic). Each workshop will be six hours in total, comprising three hours of seminar work (in the morning) and a three-hour practical session (in the afternoon), or equivalent. Eight workshops will be offered; the topics are likely to vary slightly from year to year depending on staff availability.


Workshop topics (indicative list) – students will attend 4 x 6 hour sessions :
1. Public opinion: opinion polling and polling analysis
2. Private opinion: the Mass-Observation Archive On-Line
3. From private to public: diaries, letters, published correspondence and memoirs
4. Oral history training day
5. Newspapers (to include history of newspapers; introduction to content analysis; and NLW visit)
6. Radio and television (to include seminars on history and methodology, and visit to NSSAW)
7. Reading a film
8. Public records and Freedom of Information (to include session on public archives in the electronic age)
9. Visual and sound sources
10. Landscape, topography and the modern built environment

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number Through understanding of statistical and other numerical data as required
Communication Through seminar discussion and essay writing
Improving own Learning and Performance By guided reflection during seminars and feedback sessions following submission of written work.
Information Technology Through data retrieval exercises for research purposes and word-processing for essay writing purposes.
Personal Development and Career planning Through furthering practical primary source research skills, and understanding the use of these sources in academic research environments.
Problem solving By introduction to key practical and methodological issues involved in research in particular primary sources; by own independent research in these sources.
Research skills By critical assessment of, and hands-on experience with, the methodological and practical challenges associated with the primary sources under review.
Subject Specific Skills By developing and enhancing key research skills appropriate to postgraduate research in the modern humanities and social sciences
Team work Through seminar work.


This module is at CQFW Level 7