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HI991 Assessment Structure

This module will be assessed through three pieces of written work:

1 x 1000 word reflective essay (15%)

1 x 2000 word critical book review (35%)

1 x 3000 word methodology-focused essay (50%)

All three assignments are due on the same day at the start of Term 3 (check Tabula to confirm the final due date). It is, however, recommended that you space out these assessments--you will be equipped to write the book review midway through Term 2, the reflective essay at the end of Term 2, and the final methodological essay by the start of Term 3.

Please read through the guidance notes for each of these components below.

1,000-word Reflective Essay on Module Participation (15%)

This short essay is designed to elicit your reflections on participating in this module and its student-led structure, and to assess your contributions to the weekly seminars. You do not need to refer to external sources or materials for this assignment, and the reflections are meant to be personal, and produced in the first-person.

You may choose to address the following prompts in your essay:

-How did you prepare for these seminars, both individually and collectively?

-How did the group use their time to structure sessions and question rotas?

-To what extent did the seminars come to feel ‘student-led’?

-How was your experience chairing a session, and preparing for that role?

-What did you learn about how to formulate a substantive question about the readings?

-What did you learn about how to converse with a scholar about their work?

-And how has this seminar experience helped you to develop as a historian?


2,000-word Critical Book Review (35%)

Your book review should be based on an academic monograph, broadly related to medical history, published since 1990. You must confirm your choice of title with the module convener.

This assessment will give you the opportunity to evaluate a book in its entirety, drawing on the skills of critical reading, analysis, and interrogation that you have been honing in your weekly seminars. The best way to learn how to write a book review is to read examples. It may be useful to have a look through some recent issues of medical history journals—note that the second half of each journal issue is devoted to book reviews (institutional log-in through the University of Warwick may be required to read full text versions):

 Social History of Medicine:

Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences:

Medical History:

 Book reviews can also be found through academic journal repositories like JSTOR and Project Muse (accessible through the Warwick University Library Catalogue)—simply type in the title and author of the book you’re interested in and you should find results. You may be interested in having a look at reviews of the books that have been set as readings for this module.

Note that book reviews generally do the following: situate the text within the existing historiography and identify its original contributions, summarise the main findings, explore its strengths and weaknesses, establish its significance within the field. Your 2,000-word count is slightly longer than the average published book review, to enable you to develop your critical reading of the text. Recall that this approach both identifies the ways in which the book is successful in meeting its aims and what it does well, as well as the areas where it might have been improved. Book reviews conventionally frame their critiques in a constructive manner, and are rarely overtly negative.


3,000-word Methodological Essay (50%)

This essay provides an opportunity to engage with a methodological challenge related to the research and writing of history texts which you have been discussing with your seminar authors throughout the term. Examples may include: accessing marginalised voices; dealing with sensitive, intimate, or traumatic material; tackling topics rooted in activist or advocacy work; confronting Eurocentric bias and producing more ‘globalised’ histories; research ethics tied to working with the recent past; source limitations (such as the reliability of oral testimony), etc. You are encouraged to discuss your ideas with the module convener.

For the assessment, you should both draw on the texts that you have been looking at throughout the module (drawing from the bank of methodological questions that you have been posing to authors), as well as seeking examples of texts that have confronted or resolved the challenge you are interested in exploring. This means that your source base may include scholarship on a wide variety of topics, but which have faced similar methodological hurdles. You should also draw from articles and books which are explicitly methodological (e.g. which address historical practices such as oral history, postcolonial and subaltern approaches, handling sensitive material, research ethics, community engagement, navigating archives and so on).