Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Academic Year
Semester 1
Mutually Exclusive
Mutually Exclusive

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Seminars / Tutorials 10 x 1.5 hour seminars


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment A 5000-word portfolio consisting of both a) a research proposal and b) a related bibliographical component. Part a) should constitute 3000-3500 words; and part b) should constitute 1500-2000 words, the total number of words for the portfolio making 5000 altogether. Part a) of the research proposal should be for either i) an MA dissertation or ii) a PhD thesis (you should state clearly which applies to your proposal). Part a) the research proposal should include: 1. The title of the proposed research topic 2. A brief introduction to the research topic 3. A list of research questions 4. A discussion of research context 5. A discussion of primary and secondary sources and their availability 6. What contribution the project will make to knowledge and understanding in the area and discipline 7. An account of the research methodology 8. An account of training and preparation you have had and you will need 9. A timetable for completion Part b) the related bibliographical component should include: 1. A discussion of the usefulness of specific bibliographical resources in relation to the research proposal 2. An annotated bibliography, that arranges texts in a cogent manner, and that gives an account of the usefulness of individual texts   100%
Supplementary Assessment RESUBMISSION OF FAILED ELEMENTS  Resubmit any failed elements and/or make good any missing elements. Where this involves re-submission of work, a new topic must be selected. 

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this module, students should be able to.

1. Demonstrate an understanding of the scope and nature of research in the field of English Studies (broadly defined);

2. Design and formulate and design a research project in this field;

3 Demonstrate an understanding of the research skills necessary to undertake and complete a research project in this field.


This module is designed for all MA students in the English Department (and Writing students). It will introduce students to the relevant skills necessary for research, whether at the level of the MA dissertation or the PhD thesis. It is aimed to meet the research preparation requirements set out by the AHRC. It will also be available as a departmental research training module to PhD students in the English Department who have not already taken this module or an equivalent module at another institution.

Brief description

The module will cover a range of research preparation skills including exploiting library resources in Aberystwyth and beyond, using electronic journals and other IT skills, building a bibliography, researching and writing a proposal, structuring a dissertation or thesis, building and sustaining an argument, footnotes and referencing, and proof-reading and presentation.


The module will comprise 10 seminars.

_Seminar 1: Introduction
What is research in English; project formulation; where to start; time management; note taking and reading; transcribing accurately; using journals, edited collections, monographs and websites.

_Seminar 2: Library Resources
Navigating resources in the Hugh Owen and Thomas Parry Libraries and in the National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth; using archives.

_Seminar 3: Library Resources
Navigating the National Library of Wales Aberystwyth. Using archives.

_Seminar 4: Building a Bibliography
On-line and networked resources, primary and secondary literature, interdisciplinary researchusing 'Endnote'.

_Seminar 5: Researching and Writing a Proposal (i)
Formulating research questions, and research methodologies; identifying resources and primary material.

_Seminar 6: Researching and Writing a Proposal (ii)
Structuring and presenting a concise proposal.

_Seminar 7: Structuring a dissertation or thesis

_Seminar 8: Building and sustaining an argument

_Seminar 9: Researching and Writing a Proposal Workshop

_Seminar 10: Presenting papers and participating in conferences

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number N/A
Communication Yes
Improving own Learning and Performance Yes: develop own research managing skills
Information Technology Yes: using electronic resources, `EndNote?, word-processing etc
Personal Development and Career planning Yes, in relation to research related career development.
Problem solving Yes: formulating and answering research questions
Research skills Yes
Subject Specific Skills Research skills in English Studies
Team work N/A

Reading List

Recommended Consultation
Gina Wisker (2001) The Postgraduate Research Handbook: Succeed with your MA, MPhil, EdD and PhD Palgrave Primo search


This module is at CQFW Level 7