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Study information

Doing History: Perspectives on Sources

Module titleDoing History: Perspectives on Sources
Module codeHIH2001
Academic year2023/4
Module staff

Dr Jennifer Farrell (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Module description

This module will enable you to develop independent learning skills, an understanding of the value and use of primary sources in history, knowledge of historiography, and critical and presentational skills. It is a progression from the year 1 core modules in History, and from Sources and Skills. It will also help to prepare you for the Dissertation in your final year.

The module is compulsory for Single Honours History students. It is optional for Combined Honours History students, but a prerequisite for students wishing to undertake a Dissertation in History in their final year. The module is also available to students on other programmes as an optional module.

Module aims - intentions of the module

This module builds on work done in year 1 in the core modules in History, and in Sources and Skills modules. It is a guided independent study module, which aims to develop your independent learning, understanding of the value and use of primary sources in history, knowledge of collections, archives, and databases, and critical and presentational skills. It also serves as part of the preparation for the final element of independent study in history programmes in final year in the form of the Dissertation. 

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

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

  • 1. Analyse historical sources and their archival contexts
  • 2. Identify an important topic of historical study
  • 3. Identify and evaluate a range of suitable primary sources

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

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

  • 4. Assess the state of existing scholarship on a topic
  • 5. Collate and critique data from a range of sources
  • 6. Understand and deploy historical terminology in a comprehensible manner

ILO: Personal and key skills

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

  • 7. Conduct independent study and work
  • 8. Digest, select, and organise varied primary and secondary material
  • 9. Produce, to a deadline, a coherent and cogent argument and analysis, developed through the mode of assessment

Syllabus plan

In this module, you must first identify a specific topic of historical study, period, and geographical area of study. You will then work to produce a portfolio related to your chosen topic, selecting a minimum of 3 different source types through which you can deepen your understanding of this area.  You will evaluate specific examples of these source types, including contextual discussion of any relevant collection, archive, or database.  Finally, you will consider what research questions or implications your sources raise for studying your topic. 

You will receive general guidance about the module from the module co-ordinator and will be allocated, in small groups, to individual supervisors according to their areas of historical interest. Work for the module will be supervised on a group and individual basis as appropriate, including formal group meetings to discuss your topic ideas and how to write portfolio. A series of lectures will introduce you to the basics of the module requirements, as well as to appropriate research and analysis skills. 

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 teaching18Lectures and workshops
Scheduled learning and teaching2Maximum individual consultation time with supervisor
Guided independent study280Independent study

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Project proposal 500 words or equivalent2-9Written/oral, as appropriate
Source commentary850 words1-9Written

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
Portfolio1005,500 words1-9 Written and oral

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

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
PortfolioPortfolio1-9Referral/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

As appropriate to the topic chosen.

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Key words search

Sources; Portfolio; Doing History

Credit value30
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites

HIH1400 Making History

Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date