Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
'Hands on' History: Sources and their Historians
Academic Year
Semester 2
Exclusive (Any Acad Year)
Reading List
Other Staff

Course Delivery



Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Open examination  1000 Words  50%
Semester Assessment Essay  2000 Words  50%
Supplementary Assessment Open examination  1000 Words  50%
Supplementary Assessment Essay  2000 Words  50%

Learning Outcomes

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

1. Demonstrate an understanding of the significance of primary sources to the study of history.

2. Demonstrate an understanding of a range of types of primary sources and their use.

3. Analyse and interpret a specific source and place it within its historical and historiographical contexts.

Brief description

From manuscripts to newspapers, official documents to music, historians over the years have drawn on a vast range of sources, on which to base their interpretations of the past. This module will take you on a journey through history with a focus on the very materials that historians have used to understand it. It will introduce students to the various sources used by our lecturers in their own research and teach them how to interrogate them. Primary sources are the clues that historians use to piece together the past. This module will teach students how to engage critically with them and prepare students for their own future historical detective work.


The module introduces students to a range of primary sources and their use by historians. In each of the nine two-hour workshops students will be introduced to a particular primary source type, its use by historians and how to analyze it. Each workshop will contain a practical element of working with primary materials as well as information about the context in which they have been used by historians. The module reflects the research interests of staff in the department and focuses therefore on the sources used by them. A wide range of materials will be explored in the course, including archival sources, personal documents, material culture and visual and aural sources amongst others. Individual workshops will examine sources such as letters, diaries, newspapers, songs, personal papers, oral history, film and images, such as posters or photography. Aside from the nine primary source-led workshops the course also consists of an introductory lecture, a practical session where group presentations on a source will be prepared and an oral practical session where group presentations will be assessed.

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number N/A
Communication Written communication skills will be developed through the coursework and written examination; skills in oral presentation will be developed in workshops are formally assessed.
Improving own Learning and Performance Students will develop a range of transferable skills, including time management and communication skills, which may help them identify their personal strengths as they consider potential career paths.
Information Technology Students will be encouraged to locate suitable material on the web and to apply it appropriately to their own work. Students will also be expected to word-process their work and make use of Blackboard.
Personal Development and Career planning Students will be advised on how to improve research and communication skills through the individual tutorial providing feedback on submitted coursework.
Problem solving Identify problems and factors which might influence potential solutions; develop creative thinking approaches to problem solving; evaluate advantages and disadvantages of potential solutions.
Research skills Students will develop their research skills by analysis primary sources and evaluating their value in preparation for the coursework.
Subject Specific Skills Students will develop an awareness of the centrality of primary material to historical investigation. They will also apply this learning to the critical use/analysis of primary sources.
Team work Students will be expected to play an active part in-group activities and to learn to evaluate their own contribution to such activities.


This module is at CQFW Level 4