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Module

HIS8098 : Research Skills and Dissertation Training

  • Offered for Year: 2022/23
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Jonathan Andrews
  • Lecturer: Dr Alison Atkinson-Phillips, Professor Tim Kirk, Professor Stella Ghervas, Dr Scott Ashley, Dr Felix Schulz, Ms Anne Redgate, Dr Melanie Wood
  • Other Staff: Mrs Lucy Keating
  • Owning School: History, Classics and Archaeology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semesters
Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 10.0

Aims

This module is designed to provide intensive training in formulating, writing and presenting a postgraduate-level dissertation and related research skills. The module is taught in the form of four seminars in semester 1 by academics from a range of disciplines within the HCA, with contributions from WDC and Library staff. Assessment is through submission of a 2500 word literature review. There is additionally a formative (unassessed) literature search strategy exercise. This module aims to familiarise students with the exercise of writing at MA level; to demonstrate the requirements of conducting and writing a literature review, ideally as a bridge to dissertation research; to familiarise students with literature search skills and the use of library, special collection, online and archival source materials; to allow experience of problem solving with a range of primary sources; to offer guidance and practise regarding referencing at Masters level, and to practise and develop teamwork and written skills. This module is designed to provide intensive training in formulating, writing and presenting a postgraduate-level dissertation and related research skills. The module is taught in semester 2 in the form of a one-day workshop, 1 seminar on dissertation methodology, 1 seminar on dissertation presentation and 2 seminars on poster presentation by academics from a range of disciplines within HCA, with contributions from the WDC and the medical school. Assessment is through submission of a 2,500 word dissertation proposal, and a poster presentation. This module aims to familiarise students with the exercise of writing a postgraduate dissertation; to show students how to develop a theoretical framework, an appropriate methodology, a research design and a good presentational style; and to practise teamwork and written skills.

Outline Of Syllabus

The module consists of four seminars in semester 1, preceded by preparation through individual private study. The topics may include:– writing at MA level; conducting a literature search, using special collections for MA research, how to write a literature review, and referencing in MA work. The module consists of 4 seminars and an intensive one-day workshop during semester 2, preceded by preparation through individual private study. The topics may include:– how to present MA work in poster format; developing, applying and writing methodology in a Masters diss./research project; writing a Masters dissertation/research project proposal; researching and writing a Masters dissertation; developing research questions, theory, and issues of originality and subjectivity in MA dissertation/research project work; submission and presenting of a Masters dissertation.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion901:0090:00N/A
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials81:008:00Asynchronous - pre-recorded lectures, loaded to Canvas. Counts towards contact hours.
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading451:0045:00Set, recommended and further reading.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching81:008:00Synchonous seminars. Needs to be timetabled (4 per semester). PIP
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops18:008:00Synchronous dissertation training workshop (March 2023) - PIP. Needs to be timetabled
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study401:0040:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesScheduled on-line contact time20:301:00Drop-in surgeries/tutorials with ML & contrib staff supervising assignments. Via Zoom
Total200:00
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Semester 1.
The four semester 1 seminars & 6 1 hour (max) recorded lectures will enable students to:
(1) use the library effectively
(2) enhance their literature searching skills
(3) learn some basic principles about writing at MA level
(4) be familiarised with and facilitated to explore online resources for researching British and European History
(5) explore and analyse resources in special collections
(6) learn to write a literature review
(7) become acquainted with the School's referencing system

Semester 2.
4 hours guidance on poster presentations entails 2x 1 hour recorded lectures and 2x 1 hour seminars to enable students to critically consider issues regarding content in producing posters, and also designed to guide students in using technical skills for producing posters.
A 1-hour seminar on devising/writing and applying methodology, will offer guidance for students from the WDC and HCA staff on how to articulate and develop a methodology for Masters dissertation/research project research.
The 1-day workshop serves a dual purpose: (1) to enable lecturers to explain the various features of dissertation/research project preparation; (2) to enable the students to report on and discuss the proposal and early developmental stages of their dissertation/project research. NB this will be moved online if COVID restrictions require it.
Students are permitted 2x30 min. surgeries with supervising staff to help develop their dissertation/project proposals. The 1-hour lecture + 1 hour seminar on dissertation/research project presentation will guide students to develop their understanding of good planning and presentational practice in writing and submitting a Masters dissertation/project.

Seminars, assessed assignments, student discussion/presentations and staff PPT presentations are directly linked to the intended learning outcomes and the intended skills outcomes

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Research proposal2A50Dissertation/research project proposal 2500 words including footnotes (with a bibliography exluded from word count)
Essay1A30A Literature Review of 2500 words (inluding footnotes), together with a bibliography of at least 25 secondary sources
Poster2M20Assessed poster presentation - word count 300-500 words - completed mid-semester
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Written exercise1MUnassessed formative literature search strategy form - no set word count - ca. 1200 words - completed mid-semester
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The assessment rests both on a (formative) poster asaignment and (summative) literature review exercises, and an individual written dissertation proposal, to ensure that students are adequately prepared for research and writing at Masters level and for the dissertation/research project itself. The formative poster presentation helps to ensure that students are able to summarise and present their research adaptively in different formats. Submitted work tests intended knowledge and skills outcomes, develops key skills in research, reading and writing. Submitted work tests intended knowledge and skills outcomes, develops key skills in research, reading and writing. This module can be made available to Erasmus students only with the agreement of the Head of Subject and of the Module Leader. This option must be discussed in person at the beginning of your exchange period. No restrictions apply to study-abroad, exchange and Loyola students. An unassessed (formative) literature search exercise is also completed mid-semester 1, with informal feedback emailed to students by contributing library and one HCA staff member, as a building block to the formal literature review assessment due at the end of sem 1.

All Erasmus students at Newcastle University are expected to do the same assessment as students registered for a degree. Study-abroad, non-Erasmus exchange and Loyola students spending semester 1 only are required to finish their assessment while in Newcastle. This will take the form of an alternative assessment, as outlined in the formats below: Modules assessed by Coursework and Exam: The normal alternative form of assessment for all semester 1 non-EU study abroad students will be one essay in addition to the other coursework assessment (the length of the essay should be adjusted in order to comply with the assessment tariff); to be submitted no later than 12pm Friday of week 12. The essays should be set so as to assure coverage of the course content to date. Modules assessed by Exam only: The normal alternative form of assessment for all semester 1 non-EU study abroad students will be two 2,000 word written exercises; to be submitted no later than 12pm Friday of week 12. The essays should be set so as to assure coverage of the course content to date. Modules assessed by Coursework only:

All semester 1 non-EU study abroad students will be expected to complete the standard assessment for the module; to be submitted no later than 12pm Friday of week 12. The essays should be set so as to assure coverage of the course content to date. Study-abroad, non-Erasmus exchange and Loyola students spending the whole academic year or semester 2 are required to complete the standard assessment as set out in the MOF under all circumstances.

Reading Lists

Timetable