MA Modern and Irish History
Semester 1 (Sept - Dec)
Co-ordinator: Prof Peter Gray
What is this course about?
This team-taught course examines the techniques of historical research and writing, methods of bibliographical research, use of archives and electronic resources, footnoting, the handling of quantitative and non-quantitative evidence (including oral and material sources), and practical writing, reviewing and editing skills. We collaborate with archival experts at the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland and Queen’s Library Special Collections in teaching this course, which involves field trips to archival repositories.
Research Methods is intended to prepare you for the demands of the MA dissertation, and we will encourage you to choose topics for practical research exercises which may be related to your potential dissertation theme. As part of the course you will also be encouraged to engage with and reflect on the research culture of the University, especially through participation in the range of historical and interdisciplinary research seminars hosted by Queen’s. The course ends with a workshop devoted specifically to identifying and planning a viable research dissertation.
How is this course taught and assessed?
Research Methods is taught through weekly seminars held at Queen’s or PRONI. These are led by members of the course team.
Assessment is by practical coursework exercises, including a bibliographic report, archival review, critical book review and research seminar review.
What can I read in advance?
There are no core texts for this module, but the following introductory guides to historical practice and method are recommended:
• L. Jordanova, History in practice (London: Arnold, 2000)
• W.H. McDowell, Historical research: a guide (London: Longman, 2002)
• R.A. Marius and M.E. Page, A short guide to writing about history (London: Longman, 2005)
• J. Tosh, The pursuit of history: aims, methods and new directions in the study of modern history (London: Longman, 2002).