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HIST3021 History Dissertation

Module Overview

The dissertation is a key component of your degree; in it you have a chance to show the skills of analysis and research you have learned during the three years of your course.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

Provide you with the opportunity to complete a piece of original, independent research. ï‚· Encourage you to engage with primary source material and existing historiography. ï‚· Introduce you to the challenges of planning primary research and completing it within a set timeframe and word limit.

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • The broader historical significance of your chosen research question
  • The range and usefulness of primary source material for your topic
  • The wider historiographical material relevant to your research
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Evaluate the existing historiography on the topic
  • Analyse primary source material
  • Structure and explain your own arguments carefully and clearly
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Organize your time effectively
  • Produce a long and complex written text
  • Present your work clearly and convincingly
  • Research and analyse large amounts of material


A dissertation is a piece of original, independent research written on a topic of your choice and using primary source materials, whether printed or in an archive and an extended engagement with existing historiography. Topics might relate to a specific collection of sources or a local archive. You might choose to research an area that interests you but is not represented in our final-year courses or you might decide to follow up on an aspect of your second year options or the group project. A dissertation is the length of an average academic article and will have, like an article, a clear research question and central argument. You will be allocated a supervisor, based on your choice of research question, who will give you advice on specialist content and will read and comment on one sample chapter.

Special Features

The information session will assist you in devising a research topic and to organise your time. Discussion with your supervisor will help you to identify and understand the primary sources that you will be using and to develop your interpretation of the material. Through your visits to archives and examination of sources you will further learn to develop and substantiate your own arguments and to critically assess the ideas in existing historiography. Your independent study and research will enable you to develop knowledge and understanding of field of historical enquiry of particular interest to you. The writing of the dissertation will improve your written communication and will encourage you to be self-motivated and organised. The completion of a piece of independent research will enable you to fully understand the work of professional historians.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching methods include  Information session (2 hours)  Individual tutorials (4 hours max) Learning activities include  Individual research  Accessing primary sources including visiting archives  Managing the project and organising your time. Innovative or special features of this module  Independent research

Independent Study294
Total study time300

Resources & Reading list

B Allison (1997). The student's guide to preparing dissertations and theses. 

R Higgins (1996). Approaches to research: a handbook for those writing a dissertation. 

MHRA Style Book: Notes for Authors, Editors and writers of Theses. 

L Hampson (1994). How’s your dissertation going?. 

J Young and J Garrard (1993). How to write a dissertation. 


Assessment Strategy

Assessments designed to provide informal, on-module feedback  Individual tutorials with supervisor  Discussion of draft chapter and contents list


MethodPercentage contribution
Diligence and Initiative  (10000 words) 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Diligence and Initiative  (10000 words) 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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