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Study information

Crafts of Research and Writing

Module titleCrafts of Research and Writing
Module codeHIC1602
Academic year2024/5
Module staff

Dr Martha Vandrei (Convenor)

Dr Rob Smith (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Module description

This module is a team-taught, interdisciplinary module taken by all SH and CH History and Humanities students. In the first part of the module you will gain skills in research and primary source analysis. You will learn how scholars carry out research and how they bring different theories and methodologies to bear upon the sources that they use. You will acquire the skills necessary to evaluate and reflect upon secondary materials. The second part of the term invites you to consider different writing styles and their conventions (e.g. journalism, creative writing, etc.). You will be introduced to the principles and channels of communicating your work with academic and non-academic audiences.

Module aims - intentions of the module

The module’s main aims are to introduce you to the conventions of university-level research and critical writing and to inspire you to appreciate these skills as multi-faceted, innovative, and evolving “crafts”. The lectures and workshops will help you develop and perfect a variety of skills essential to your university career and beyond (e.g. research practices, close-reading, constructing an argument, engaging with critics, knowing your audience, offering and receiving feedback, and editing your work). Through theoretical and practical instruction the module will offer you the opportunity to develop your critical capabilities in thinking about your own writing in a variety of contexts. The module will also aim to link different forms of writing to employability.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

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

  • 1. Develop a critical approach to research and writing
  • 2. Discuss research topics using a variety of methods and sources
  • 3. Demonstrate practical skills in composition of writing

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

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

  • 4. Communicate effectively in both written and oral work
  • 5. Demonstrate evidence of independent research skills
  • 6. Demonstrate an awareness of a variety of different writing and compositional styles

ILO: Personal and key skills

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

  • 7. Persuasive communication skills and group working skills.
  • 8. Effective research skills and ability to write clear and correct prose for academic and non-academic audiences.
  • 9. Competent time-management and independent critical thinking.

Syllabus plan

Whilst the content may vary from year to year, it is envisioned that it will cover some or all of the following topics:

  • Understanding the craft of research and writing at University
  • Academic honesty and quoting, paraphrasing secondary sources
  • Introduction to the library and physical archives
  • Primary and secondary sources
  • Introduction to academic writing
  • Close-reading
  • Argument and Structure
  • Style and Grammar
  • Creative fiction and non-fiction
  • Writing professionally beyond academia
  • Developing a research proposal

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 teaching11Lectures
Scheduled learning and teaching11Seminars
Guided independent study128Preparing for lectures and seminars through directed reading. Compiling the participation diary through weekly updates.

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Draft participation diary500 words1-9Written /oral

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
Participation Diary including a critical response to set seminar tasks1002500 words1-9Written feedback

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

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Participation diary including critical response to set seminar tasks (2500 words)Participation diary including critical response to set seminar tasks (2500 words)1-9Referral/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 40%) 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 40%.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

  • Armstrong, Catherine. Using non-textual sources: a historian's guide. Bloomsbury, 2016.
  • Booth, Wayne, Gregory C. Colomb, and Joseph M. Williams. The Craft of Research, U of Chicago, 2008.
  • Cheryl Glenn and Loretta Gray, The Hodges Harbrace Handbook, Wadsworth Cengage Learning, 2009
  • Gerald Graff and Kathy Birkenstein, They Say/I Say: The Moves that Matter in Academic Writing, Norton, 2009
  • Gordon Harvey, Writing with Sources, Hackett, 1998
  • John Peck, The Student's Guide to Writing: Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling, Palgrave, 2005
  • McMillan, Kathleen & Jonathan Weyers. How to research & write a successful PhD. Pearson, 2013.
  • Ó Dochartaigh, Niall. Internet Research Skills. Sage, 2007
  • Pinker, Steven, The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person’s Guide to Writing in the 21st Century, Penguin, 2014
  • William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White, The Elements of Style, Pearson, 1999

Key words search

History, humanities, writing, narrative, research, archives

Credit value15
Module ECTS


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NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date