This module will introduce you to key theories and debates around research in the arts, humanities and social sciences but will also equip you with a practical 'toolkit' of interdisciplinary research methods and practices which you will put to use throughout your degree. You'll explore different philosophical approaches to qualitative research (the qualitative/interpretive assessment of information/data), and its practical application across a range of disciplines including literary studies, history, cultural studies, visual studies and social research. You'll be introduced to the ambiguities associated with the truth-claims made by qualitative research methods, as well as the opportunities they offer for a richer interpretation of the human condition.
This first-year module aims to introduce you to a range of research methods employed in the Arts and Humanities and to offer opportunities to practise using some of these methods in practical assignments.
Demonstrate a good understanding of what constitutes sound scholarly practice, distinguish instances of plagiarism and correct them;
Search through a range of archival sources using a systematic and precise method, and evaluate the potential usefulness of these sources;
Demonstrate a good understanding of the process of planning and conducting an interview, and the implications of the decisions made by the researcher;
Identify the ethical factors that must be taken into consideration when undertaking data collection through interviewing, and follow departmental ethics policy;
Identify and engage with the various discourses embedded in a range of primary historical, social and cultural sources;
Demonstrate an understanding of methodologies used in analysing cultural sources, including critical theory; and
Demonstrate the ability to interpret primary and secondary sources, and use them to build a persuasive argument.
Introduction to qualitative research methodologies
Fair use of sources: Citation and plagiarism
Does truth matter? Subjectivity, mediation and persuasive interpretation
History: Archival methodologies
History: Using sources
Social research: Ethics
Social research: Designing and conducting interviews
Culture: Literary and visual methodologies
Culture: Cultural studies and ethnographic methodologies
1 x online practical test on sound scholarly practice (20%)
1 x portfolio of 3 tasks (40%)
1 x 2000 word research essay (40%)
Gale, M.B. and A. Featherstone. “The Imperative of the Archive: Creative Archive Research” in Kershaw (2010) Research Methods in Theatre and Performance.
King, M.T. “Working with / in the Archives” in Gunn (2011) Research Methods for History.
Steedman, C. “Archival Methods” in Griffin (2013) Research Methods in English Studies.
Dixon, S. “Researching Digital Performance: Virtual Practices” in Kershaw (2010) Research Methods in Theatre and Performance.
Jordanova, L. “Approaching Visual Materials” in Gunn (2011) Research Methods for History.
Rose, G. “Visual Methodologies” in Griffin (2013) Research Methods in English Studies.
Cowman, C. “Collective Biography” in Gunn (2011) Research Methods for History.
Thomson, A. “Life Stories and Historical Analysis” in Gunn (2011) Research Methods for History.
Evans, M. “Auto/biography as a Research Method” in Griffin (2013) Research Methods in English Studies.
Summerfield, P. “Oral History as a Research Method” in Griffin (2013) Research Methods in English Studies.
Gunn, S. “Analysing Behaviour as Performance” in Gunn (2011) Research Methods for History.
Strange, J-M. “Reading Language as a Historical Source” in Gunn (2011) Research Methods for History.
Griffin, G. “Discourse Analysis” in Griffin (2013) Research Methods in English Studies.
Griffin, G. “Interviewing” in Griffin (2013) Research Methods in English Studies.
Belsey, C. “Textual Analysis as a Research Method” in Griffin (2013) Research Methods in English Studies.
Through this module, you will develop different skills that are sought by employers which will support your professional development. We have highlighted this to enable you to identify and reflect on the skills you have acquired and apply them throughout your professional journey including during the recruitment process whether this is in a CV/application form or at an interview.
Research and evaluation: You have learned how to think theoretically and practically about research design and ethics; you have built a toolkit of different qualitative methodologies including archival, interview and cultural methodologies; you have learnt how to generate/find relevant data, in class and for the Portfolio.
Data analysis: In addition to learning how to find/generate qualitative data, you learnt about analysing and interpreting it. You learnt about the value offered by different approaches. You practiced your own data analysis in the Research Essay: having found/generated different kinds of primary data in the Portfolio, you analysed them to answer a research question in the Research Essay.
Time management: Planning, managing and prioritising work to meet multiple deadlines.
Please note: Module availability and staffing may change year on year depending on availability and other operational factors. The School for Cross-faculty Studies makes no guarantee that any modules will be offered in a particular year, or that they will necessarily be taught by the staff listed on these pages.