School of History

Methods and Interpretations of Historical Research - HI878

Location Term Level Credits (ECTS) Convenor 2015-16 2016-17 2017-18
Canterbury Autumn and Spring Masters
Undergraduate or postgraduate masters level module
30 (15) Dr S P Goebel inactive active active

The information below applies to the 2015-16 session


This course investigates the nature of historical research at its highest level. While postgraduate students are expected to become highly specialised researchers in their own particular field or subfield, this course encourages them to consider history as a wider discipline and to broaden their approach to evidence and interpretation. Students will be expected to engage with a variety of intellectual viewpoints and methodological approaches to the discipline, and consider the impact that other disciplines have had on the study of History. A number of dissertation workshops will be arranged to help students with their dissertations.

Part I: Paradigms
Historicism: the emergence of ‘historical science’ in the 19th century
Structural history: the challenge of the social sciences
Cultural turns: history after the end of the master narrative

Part II: Fields
Religious history
Oral history
Military history
Propaganda studies
Environmental history
History of medicine

Part III: Portfolio and Dissertation workshops
Book reviews
Annotated bibliographies and historiographical reviews
Dissertation outlines

In addition, we will undertake field trips to archives and research libraries.


This module appears in:
Contact hours
Contact Hours: 3 hours per week

Method of assessment

100% coursework: Assessment will be based upon the keeping of a portfolio (or workbook) related to the seminars. The portfolio is a tool designed to get students to think critically about a range of issues, debates and approaches to the discipline of history. Students will be assessed, therefore, on the basis of their understanding and capacity to appraise critically the core readings and the various questions asked and issues raised. The portfolio will consist of seven pieces of work, and the total word count should not exceed 10,000 words.

Preliminary reading

  • Burke, Peter, What is Cultural History? (Cambridge: Polity, 2004; 2nd edn 2008) Evans, Richard J., Cosmopolitan Islanders: British Historians and the European Continent (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009) Jenkins, Keith and Munslow, Alun (eds.), The Nature of History Reader (London: Routledge, 2004) Mcintyre, Stuart, Maiguashca, Juan and Pók, Attila (eds.), The Oxford History of Historical Writing, vol. 4: 1800-1945 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011) Poriciani, Ilaria and Raphael, Lutz (eds.), Atlas of European Historiography: The Making of a Profession, 1800-2005 (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010) Rublack, Ulinka (ed.), A Concise Companion to History (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011) Schneider, Axel and Woolf, Daniel (eds.), The Oxford History of Historical Writing, vol. V: Historical Writing since 1945 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011) Woolf, Daniel, A Global History of History (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011)

Learning outcomes

  • The aims of this module are • to explore the history of historical research and the current research landscape; • to engage with theoretical and methodological questions; • to introduce particular fields of historical enquiry; • to equip students with research techniques.


All students (both Research and Taught) must pass HI878 in order to progress.


No pre-requisites

School of History, Rutherford College, University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NX

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Last Updated: 10/11/2011