Reading the Evidence - MT867

Sorry, this module is not currently running in 2019-20.




MEMS MA Students only



This core course introduces students to different types of evidence, and to the relationship between evidence, disciplinarity, interdisciplinarity, analysis, method and argument. The teaching is based around categories of evidence and the ways in which scholars have written about them, using detailed work on primary-source examples. In addition to this explicit engagement with interdisciplinarity, which introduces students to the different approaches they will encounter in the weekly research seminar and in the series of options courses taught by staff across the Faculty, the course encourages students to think about the process of constructing a dissertation in relation to published work within the field. The assessment relates to both of these interrelated aims.


This module appears in:

Contact hours

The course will be taught by 12 fortnightly two-hour seminars over the two terms. Students will be asked to make written comments on material in advance; they will contribute to seminar discussion and record their altered responses to the material after each seminar. In addition, students will be expected to use their seminar work to enable them to respond critically to the issues of disciplinarity, evidence and method which arise from the Centre's weekly Research Seminars. This course therefore requires attendance at those seminars, and contact hours therefore average out at 2.5 hours per week, with a further three hours of independent study and writing.

Method of assessment

Assignment 1: Review Essay
The purpose of this assignment is for you to practice the scholarly assessment of recent work on a medieval or early modern topic of your choice. Indicative word length: 1500 words.

Assignment 2: Annotated Bibliography
The annotated bibliography should consist of approximately ten items, including primary and secondary sources, all of which are related to the topic you have chosen for your dissertation. Indicative word length: 1500 words.

Assignment 3: Dissertation Proposal
The proposal for your MA dissertation should explain what your topic is, setting it briefly into an intellectual and methodological context. Make sure you think carefully through the various stages of a research proposal: defining the topic, establishing the key research questions, identifying your primary resources, describing the methodology, and setting out a preliminary outline of how the dissertation will present its argument (including introduction, main sections of the work, and conclusion). Indicative word length: 2500 words.

Indicative reading

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

• Students will improve their skills of 'close reading' and 'close looking', enabling them better to analyse primary and secondary sources
• Students will develop working knowledge of the various sources and resources which exist for the study of the medieval and early modern periods from an interdisciplinary perspective
• Students will develop the ability to conceive, develop and plan a project of independent study by engaging critically with the methods and arguments of a range of secondary literature

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