DCU Home | Our Courses | Loop | Registry | Library | Search DCU

Module Specifications..

Current Academic Year 2023 - 2024

Please note that this information is subject to change.

Module Title Research Methods for the Historian
Module Code HY510
School 68
Module Co-ordinatorSemester 1: Susan Hegarty
Semester 2: Susan Hegarty
Autumn: Susan Hegarty
Module TeachersSusan Hegarty
Daithi O Corrain
Marnie Hay
NFQ level 9 Credit Rating 10
Pre-requisite None
Co-requisite None
Compatibles None
Incompatibles None
Coursework Only

This module imparts important transferrable, research and writing skills. It instructs students on devising, planning and executing independent research projects, as well as on presenting research findings. Good research questions spring from familiarity with the state of current debates in the field, new methodologies, and from realistic assessment of the available sources. Research Methods explores the writing of history from both theoretical and practical perspectives. Lectures on the practical dimension of research will concentrate on the identification and use of sources; embracing bibliographical skills; and building awareness of the main guides, catalogues and reference works routinely used by historians. Students will learn the theory, ethical considerations and practical uses (and compilation) of oral sources. The student will also be introduced to Geographical Information Systems (GIS), a powerful tool for interrogating spatial data, and will develop skills in mapping historical data with a spatial element. The course concludes with an introduction to basic statistical methods for historians and how spatial and statistical data can contribute to the post-graduate thesis. At the heart of this course stands a commitment to helping students develop the key transferrable skills needed to thrive at postgraduate level and beyond, for example, an ability to evaluate critically the significance and utility of a large body of material, including evidence from contemporary sources and wide ranging opinions; the ability to engage directly with questions and present independent opinions about them in arguments that are well-written, clearly expressed, coherently organised and effectively supported by relevant evidence. METHODS OF TEACHING: Lectures, labs, workshops and archival visits

Learning Outcomes

1. Embark on independent research projects and produce a capable thesis.
2. Identify and interpret different forms of historical data.
3. Demonstrate familiarity with key archival collections in print and digital formats
4. Deploy GIS methodologies and distinguish between different types of spatial data.
5. Develop an understanding of basic statistical methods and how they can contribute to historical research.
6. Enhance presentation skills.
7. Demonstrate an awareness of oral history; theory, ethics and practice

Workload Full-time hours per semester
Type Hours Description
Laboratory8Class Lab time
Field Trip4Archival Visits
Independent Study227Independent learning, assignment research and writing
Total Workload: 250

All module information is indicative and subject to change. For further information,students are advised to refer to the University's Marks and Standards and Programme Specific Regulations at: http://www.dcu.ie/registry/examinations/index.shtml

Indicative Content and Learning Activities

Indicative Content
Session on Writing History - Introduction to sources and archives; Note taking, citation and bibliography. Session on Historical Sources: Getting the most from the Library - Catalogues, Google scholar, archival sources, BBIH, bibliographical sources, newspapers, endnote. Session on Historical Sources: Using Digital Archives - Introduction to digital archives for historical research; workshop on searching for information in digital archives. Sessions on Historical Sources: Getting the most from Archives - online presentations or visits to the National Archives and the National Library. Session(s) on Interpreting Sources - Introduction to interpreting different types of historical sources. Session on Oral History - Theory and ethical implications; Practical applications. Sessions on GIS: Introduction to spatial data - Data types and shapes, Raster and vector data, Lines, points and polygons; National grids and reference systems; How to source historical data, Creating a database for use in a GIS. Session on Organising and Writing Up Research - Planning and organising research projects; writing up research.

Assessment Breakdown
Continuous Assessment100% Examination Weight0%
Course Work Breakdown
TypeDescription% of totalAssessment Date
AssignmentCitation Assignment10%n/a
AssignmentAnnotated Bibliography and Reflection on Sources for a dissertation or research essay60%n/a
ProjectA project incorporating the Geographical Information Systems mapping exercise, statistical methods and other computer applications30%n/a
Reassessment Requirement Type
Resit arrangements are explained by the following categories;
1 = A resit is available for all components of the module
2 = No resit is available for 100% continuous assessment module
3 = No resit is available for the continuous assessment component
This module is category 1
Indicative Reading List

    Other Resources

    59689, In Class/Online, 0, Comprehensive reading list will be provided to students in-class and/or online,
    Programme or List of Programmes
    MAHHMA in History
    MPHGMPhil (History & Geography)

    My DCU | Loop | Disclaimer | Privacy Statement