Module HDA-3075:
Archaeology Dissertation

Module Facts

Run by School of History, Philosophy and Social Sciences

40 Credits or 20 ECTS Credits

Semester 1 & 2

Organiser: Dr Euryn Roberts

Overall aims and purpose

This module brings together all the skills and experience related to History and Archaeology learnt in years 1 and 2 through the successful completion of a historical or archaeological research project (10,000-12,000 words in length). You will produce a substantive piece of independent research on a topic of your choice, and you will also manage how you research it and how you write it. Each student is allocated a dissertation supervisor who will normally meet with them on a one to one tutorial basis to supervise their research and discuss their progress. The work for you dissertation may consist of library and archive research, archaeological fieldwork, data organisation and writing up. Dissertations will vary in nature according to their discipline (history, archaeology, heritage, interdisciplinary studies); according to the period they examine; and to the nature of the sources they use. The dissertation should contain an element of originality (in the sources used and/or in their analysis) and should include primary material.

Course content

The report and dissertation will set the chosen research in its broader context e.g. historiography, theoretical framework, archaeological/geographical framework. It will set research questions and a structure will be worked out. It will describe and analyse the chosen topic using a range of relevant secondary and primary archaeological evidence. The project will be written up in an ordered and academic manner.

Assessment Criteria

threshold

Threshold students (lower 40s) will demonstrate satisfactory research skills in at least parts of their chosen topic, and will make at least partly successful attempts to interrogate and analyse the information and to write up the project in an academic manner.

good

Good students (C-, C, C+ [50s]) will demonstrate some solid research skills, and will make a successful attempts to interrogate and analyse the information and to write up the project in an academic manner. Very good students (B-, B, B+ [60s]) will show a solid level of achievement in all the criteria listed.

excellent

Excellent students (A-, A, A+, A* [70s and above]) will show this solid achievement across the criteria combined with originality, extensive knowledge of the chosen topic in its broader context and subtlety of argument and analysis.

Learning outcomes

  1. The student will have learnt how to gather primary and secondary research material for their project.

  2. The student will have learnt how to set this evidence/data in a broader context.

  3. The student will have learnt how to construct an argument/analyse the evidence/data in a relevant manner.

  4. The student will have learnt how to organise the report and dissertation and write at a sustained length in the latter.

  5. The student will have learnt how to prepare the project (including any illustrations) satisfactiorily for submission.

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
Dissertation Report 10
Oral Presentation 10
10,000-12,000 word Dissertation Final submission 80

Teaching and Learning Strategy

Hours
Individual Project

The student will produce a substantive piece of indepenedent research and writing using a specific archaeological case-study drawing on their own research. This may consist of library and archive research, archaeological fieldwork, data organisation and writing up.

392
Tutorial

Each student is allocated a dissertation supervisor who will normally meet them on a one to one tutorial basis to supervise the research and discuss progress.

5
Workshop

3 x 1 hour long Training Workshops on the Written Dissertation Progress Report, Oral Presentation, Writing-up the Dissertation

3

Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • Computer Literacy - Proficiency in using a varied range of computer software
  • Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
  • Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
  • Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
  • Inter-personal - Able to question, actively listen, examine given answers and interact sensitevely with others
  • Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
  • Presentation - Able to clearly present information and explanations to an audience. Through the written or oral mode of communication accurately and concisely.
  • Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting

Subject specific skills

  • problem solving to develop solutions to understand the past
  • understanding the complexity of change over time; in specific contexts and chronologies
  • being sensitive to the differences, or the "otherness" of the past, and the difficulty to using it as a guide to present or future action
  • being sensitive to the role of perceptions of the past in contemporary cultures
  • producing logical and structured arguments supported by relevant evidence
  • planning, designing, executing and documenting a programme of research, working independently
  • marshalling and critically appraising other people's arguments, including listening and questioning
  • demonstrating a positive and can-do approach to practical problems
  • demonstrating an innovative approach, creativity, collaboration and risk taking
  • presenting effective oral presentations for different kinds of audiences, including academic and/or audiences with little knowledge of history
  • preparing effective written communications for different readerships
  • making effective and appropriate forms of visual presentation
  • making effective and appropriate use of relevant information technology
  • making critical and effective use of information retrieval skills using paper-based and electronic resources
  • appreciating and being sensitive to different cultures and dealing with unfamiliar situations
  • critical evaluation of one's own and others' opinions
  • engaging with relevant aspects of current agendas such as global perspectives, public engagement, employability, enterprise, and creativity

Resources

Resource implications for students

This is subject to the nature of the research topic.

Reading list

BOOKS ON RESEARCH AND STUDY SKILLS

Abbott, M. (ed), History Skills: A Student’s Handbook (2nd ed., London, 2008) [contains a chapter on dissertations] Booth, W.C. et al., The Craft of Research (Chicago, 1995) Chambers, E. and A. Northedge, The Arts Good Study Guide (Oxford, 1997) Fairburn, G.J. and C. Winch, Reading, Writing and Reasoning (2nd ed., Ox-ford, 1996) Sharp, J.A. et al., The Management of a Student Research Project (3rd ed., Farnham, 2007) 41 Mann, T., The Oxford Guide to Library Research (Oxford, 1998) Marshall, L., A Guide to Learning Independently (2nd ed., Oxford, 1993) Northedge, A., The Good Study Guide (Oxford, 1990) Partridge, E., Usage and Abusage: a guide to good English (Harmondsworth, 1973) Storey, W.K., Writing History: A Guide for Students (New York, 1998) Truss, L., Eats, Shoots & Leaves: the Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctua-tion (London, 2003) Turabian, K.L., A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Disser-tations (7th ed., Chicago, 2007)

On Sources

Barber, S. and C. Peniston-Bird (eds), History beyond the Text: a student's guide to approaching alternative sources (London, 2009) Dobson, M. and B. Ziemann (eds), Reading Primary Sources: The Interpreta-tion of Texts from 19th and 20th Century History (London, 2009) Harvey, K.A., History and Material Culture: A Student’s Guide to Approaching Alternative Sources (London, 2009)

Courses including this module