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The University of Southampton

TRAN6008 Research Skills 1

Module Overview

This course is designed to serve as a practical general introduction to many of the generic and course- specific skills (academic and practical) you will require for the MA in Transnational Studies. You will be trained in the conventions of academic debate and the formulation and preparation of written assignments. We introduce you to the Hartley Library and to a range of bibliographical databases and electronic resources with which you can expand the resources available to you in Southampton. We also introduce you to a range of approaches and research methodologies appropriate to the different disciplines in the humanities and social sciences to enable you to reflect on what is involved in interdisciplinary research. This module is team taught, runs weekly throughout semester one (including week 6, the independent writing and reading week) and normally takes a workshop format. Its ethos is learning by finding out about best practice.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

• introduce you to the practical skills necessary for advanced level study, including finding, assessing and using research resources in libraries and archives and via the internet; formatting references; critical reading of primary and secondary sources; formulation of a research topic; use of evidence; construction of a complex argument; time management • provide a framework for the practice and discussion of these skills • introduce you to a range of research approaches in the fields of linguistics, literary and cultural studies, historical and political studies and the use of visual and oral media paying attention to the differences between research methodologies in the humanities and the social sciences, and the advantages and disadvantages of working across disciplines • encourage you to formulate at an early stage possible subject areas for your dissertation and to identify potential source materials for it • encourage you to identify and attend relevant seminars, workshops and conferences • assist you with planning a workshop • encourage you to develop collaborative approaches to research

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

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

  • the requirements of critical assessment of scholarship in the fields covered by the TNS course at master’s level
  • how to formulate cogent arguments in oral and written form at masters’ level
  • the importance of bibliographical databases for study and research at masters’ level
  • a range of research approaches and techniques in a number of disciplines in the humanities and social sciences, paying attention to the requirements of interdisciplinary research
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • present ideas in a clear written form appropriate to the audience
  • understand some of the ethical and political issues involving practical empirical research
  • use a range of IT and software suitable for research
  • reflect on and improve your own linguistic skills where appropriate
Subject Specific Practical Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Use appropriate online bibliographic search tools
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • formulate an effective approach to research on a chosen topic
  • develop a coherent and convincing critical response to research literature
  • assess the usefulness of particular kinds of data/resources for your research
  • evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of a range of research methodologies in the humanities and social sciences


The module begins with workshops on critical reading and writing at Masters level, moving onto a series of sessions on working with a variety of theoretical and methodological approaches. These may vary slightly from year to year but will include topics such as theories of culture and identity, theorising discourse, discourse analysis, ethnography, life history interviewing. A session on developing essay/research topics will support your work on other modules. Where needed a session will also be offered on developing a PhD application.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching activities include: • tutor-led seminars • library training in bibliographic resources Learning activities include • accessing online resources • preparing bibliographies • seminar discussion • exercises in critical reading

Independent Study126
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Cryer, P. (2006). The Research Student’s Guide to Success. 



MethodPercentage contribution
Review paper  (1500 words) 40%
Review paper  (2000 words) 60%


MethodPercentage contribution
Coursework 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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