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Module

HIS1100 : Evidence and Argument

  • Offered for Year: 2020/21
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Robert Dale
  • Lecturer: Professor Annie Tindley, Dr David Hope, Dr Vicky Long, Dr Katie East, Dr Fergus Campbell, Dr Philip Garrett
  • Owning School: History, Classics and Archaeology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semesters
Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0

Aims

Evidence and Argument is designed to prepare students for independent study at undergraduate level, and to introduce the basic skills of the historian’s craft to the student in a lively and accessible way. It will introduce students to what undergraduate level study and historical research entails and equip them with the skills to make the transition from school/college education to independent learning. The module seeks to achieve this in two ways.

First, the module is delivered through a series of online lectures and associated online mateirals which explains to students how to best approach their degree, whilst developing foundational skills in reading, research, arguing, referencing and writing that are intended to underpin their future intellectual development. By the end of the module, then, students will understand what the basic expectations upon undergraduate students are, what the fundamental disciplinary standards are, and have practiced applying those skills within the context of a particular historiographical debate.

Second, the module will foster and develop these key historical and study skills through the detailed study of a specific historical and historiographical debate, closely related to the field of research expertise of the individual seminar tutor. Alongside lectures (and replacement materials), students will experience small group teaching through seminars, which explore a particular debate over the Semester. Students will be given an introduction to the topic or theme by their seminar leader, and will then be guided through the development of the historical scholarship in that field over the course of the semester. In so doing students will learn how to read and analyse a key chapter and debate in the historiography and explore its role in establishing a historical debate. In subsequent weeks they will be introduced to, or asked to find, other journal articles, essays from edited volumes and monographs (books) that deal with the same topic, but which disagree with the initial article, approaches the topic from a different perspective, or advances the debate in other ways. Over the course of the semester students will learn how historical debates develop and arguments operate. Students will learn the differences between different forms of historical writing (books, articles, chapters), and how to find, use and reference them for their own purposes. These are understandings and skills that are central to the discipline of history, and that you will need to apply in all the rest of your history modules throughout your university career.

By the end of the module you will therefore have built up a detailed understanding of one particular historical debate, but you will also have some understanding of how historical arguments and debates operate and of the skills involved in reading, analysing and commenting on a range of secondary sources. You should understand the differences between these types of source, and how to find, use and reference them for the purposes of your own research. These are understandings and skills that are central to the discipline of history, and that you will need to apply in all the rest of your history modules throughout your university career.

This module aims:
•       To develop the various research, reading, and writing skills required during a university career.
•       To introduce students to how lectures and small-group seminars operate.
•       To introduce students to a range of historical writing – including journal articles, monographs and essays from edited volumes – and to guide them in the reading and analysis of secondary sources.
•       To demonstrate the ways in which historical argument and debate operate within a specific historical context, but also more generally.
•       To develop technical skills in when, where and how referencing is required.

Outline Of Syllabus

Module topics covered may include the following:

Lecture Series (9 x one-hour online asynchronous lecture)
1.       How to read as an undergraduate – Methods of reading, why and how to read for undergraduate purposes, reading for argument.
2.       Different types of historical writing, and how to recognise them. Monographs, Journal Article, Chapter in Edited Collections, Book Reviews. How to spot quality. University level texts. Reference works. Beware of the Web.
3.       Taking Effective Notes – What, how, and why do I need to take notes.
4.       What is a footnote, when and why do we reference? [Grafton – The Footnote. How footnotes played an important part in the evolution of history as a discipline, and its centrality to the historical method]
5.       Having an Argument [The importance of building and defending an intellectual position via evidence.]
6.       Writing your book review, and How to set about writing your first essay? The process and challenges of writing
7.       To quote or not to quote - that is the question? [Explain when and why quote. How to integrate quotes into your sentence. When to paraphrase]
8.       Learning from your feedback – What is feedback? How do we provide it? What does it mean?
9. Conclusions - Developing the Historical Mind (What we have learnt and why it matters for the degree).

Seminar Series (8 x one-hour seminars)
Seminars will follow the particular pathway dictated by the research-led specialism of seminar leaders, but the intention is that all groups will follow a similar approach, exploring how a particular historiography has developed, while meanwhile reinforcing the skills-based approach in the lectures. The expectations is that approximately half of the seminar will be dedicated to the content of the particular topic, and half to explicitly developing skills. Seminars might broadly follow the following schema:
1.       Introduction - background on the topic
2.       Key Articles communicating an orthodox position
3.       Counter-posing arguments in response
4.       Alternative approaches
5.       Revisionist approaches
6.       New approaches in Monographs
7.       New theoretical approaches
8.       Summary of the debate

Essay Writing Surgeries (Drop in Two x two-hour drop in sessions)

Skills Workshops (Two x two-hour skills workshops)
1.       Writing Skills Workshop
2.       Digital Skills for Historians Workshop

Teaching Methods

Module leaders are revising this content in light of the Covid 19 restrictions.
Revised and approved detail information will be available by 17 August.

Assessment Methods

Module leaders are revising this content in light of the Covid 19 restrictions.
Revised and approved detail information will be available by 17 August.

Reading Lists

Timetable