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Study information

Research Skills in Classics, Ancient History and Theology

Module titleResearch Skills in Classics, Ancient History and Theology
Module codeCTHM007
Academic year2024/5
Module staff

Dr Claire Holleran (Convenor)

Professor Morwenna Ludlow (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks




Number students taking module (anticipated)


Module description

This module focuses on developing the advanced research skills required for the MA programmes in Classics and Ancient History, and Theology and Religion. It will inform you of key issues and debates within the disciplines, and introduce you to a range of subject-specific research skills. It will also support you in formulating, planning and disseminating your ideas for your dissertation, guiding you through the process of planning a major research project and helping you to communicate the aims, methodology and outcomes of your research effectively. 

Module aims - intentions of the module

The module aims to:

  • Deepen your understanding of the place of the disciplines of Classics and Ancient History and Theology and Religion in the modern world
  • Develop your subject-specific research skills by introducing you to a range of methodological approaches and conceptual frameworks
  • Provide training in formulating and developing a major research project
  • Improve your ability to critically evaluate the methodology, arguments, and communication skills of others working within your discipline
  • Develop your own skills in the practice of research communication, both written and oral

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Demonstrate advanced ability to formulate and write a cogent research proposal for your MA dissertation, including the ability to articulate the objectives, aims and scholarly context, to construct a viable work schedule, and to formulate a structure for the proposed dissertation
  • 2. Demonstrate advanced ability to understand, analyse and interpret relevant theoretical and methodological approaches
  • 3. Demonstrate advanced ability to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of researchers’ use of evidence, interpretation, and argument

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 4. Demonstrate advanced ability to understand and interpret source material and data using specialist approaches
  • 5. Demonstrate advanced research-presentation skills
  • 6. Demonstrate advanced critical reading skills, specifically the ability to extrapolate methodologies that are implicit in secondary scholarship and evaluate their usefulness

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 7. Demonstrate the ability to communicate clearly and creatively in oral and in written form
  • 8. Demonstrate advanced ability to plan and undertake an extended independent project
  • 9. Demonstrate capacity for independent critical analysis

Syllabus plan

The module will focus on developing your understanding of the disciplines and your methodological skills. This may include the following sessions over the two terms:

  • What is methodology?
  • Disciplines and decolonisation
  • Writing a research proposal
  • Translation
  • Digital Humanities
  • Social-scientific approaches
  • Reception Studies
  • Writing skills

You will also attend a number of discipline-specific research seminars in order to develop your skills of critical analysis further, as well as deepen your knowledge of your chosen discipline, and take part in a dissertation symposium in Term Three.

Throughout the three terms, you will be expected to work on your dissertation, discussing ideas with the module convenors and your supervisor, compiling a bibliography, working on your proposal, and researching and writing the dissertation itself. 

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled learning and teaching24Seminars (12 x 2 hours)
Scheduled learning and teaching6Attendance at discipline-specific research seminars (4 x 1.5 hours)
Scheduled learning and teaching4Dissertation symposium (1 x 4 hours)
Guided independent study266Independent study

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Book review750 words2, 3, 6, 7, 9Written and oral feedback from module convenors
Draft of research proposal1000 words1-9Oral feedback from peers and module convenors

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Research proposal401500 words1-9Written feedback, with opportunity to discuss with individual tutor.
Presentation at dissertation symposium2020-minute individual presentation2-9Written feedback, with opportunity to discuss with individual tutor.
Book review of two books OR Critical assessment of two research papers OR one of each402500 words in total (1250 per assignment)2, 3, 6, 7, 9Written feedback, with opportunity to discuss with individual tutor.

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Research proposalResearch proposal (1500 words)1-9Referral/Deferral period
Presentation at dissertation symposiumScript of presentation and handout (2000 words)2-9Referral/Deferral period
Book review of two books OR Critical assessment of two research papers OR one of eachBook review of two books OR Critical assessment of two research papers OR one of each (2500 words in total, 1250 per assignment)2, 3, 6, 7, 9Referral/Deferral period

Re-assessment notes

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for certificated reasons judged acceptable by the Mitigation Committee, you will normally be either deferred in the assessment or an extension may be granted. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of deferral will not be capped and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment.

Referral – if you have failed the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 50%) you will be required to submit a further assessment as necessary. If you are successful on referral, your overall module mark will be capped at 50%.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Basic reading:

  • R. Burns, Introduction to Research Methods. London, 2000.
  • F. Cotrell, The Study Skills Handbook. London, 2003.
  • K.E. Rudestam, et al. Surviving your Dissertation. Thousand Oaks, Calif., 2001

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Indicative learning resources - Other resources

  • To be recommended by tutors of individual sessions.

Key words search

Classics, Ancient History, Theology, Religion, methodology, research

Credit value30
Module ECTS


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NQF level (module)


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