Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2010-2011 (archived)

Module THEO40830: Resources, Methods and Interpretation

Department: Theology and Religion

THEO40830: Resources, Methods and Interpretation

Type Open Level 4 Credits 30 Availability Available in 2010/11 Module Cap


  • None


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • To develop students’ skills in documentary and social-scientific sourcing, bibliography and referencing, research analysis, synthesis and writing.
  • To encourage students’ awareness of, and engagement with, appropriate research methods and approaches in the study of theology and religion.
  • To encourage intradisciplinary dialogue between students on different approaches to research in theology and religion.


  • Seminars will focus on resources, methods and interpretation in theology and religion T
  • There will be a number of seminars on resources and methods, covering such topics as library and archival resources, IT usage, bibliography and referencing for dissertations and research projects, developing a dissertation topic, applying for doctoral study and research funding.
  • Other seminars will focus on particular areas and approaches in the study of theology and religion, such as biblical hermeneutics, philosophical and psychoanalytical approaches, and historical and social-scientific methods.
  • The Research Programme and Literature Review assess students’ research skills, their ability to determine a research area; define methods and approaches; comprehend and synthesize appropriate material; and analyse and present arguments. The assessment also focuses on preparation for the dissertation, with tutorials serving to determine and refine students’ research projects. The Research Proposal and Literature Review will normally be submitted by or on the first day of Epiphany Term.
  • Detailed guidelines for format, procedures and deadlines will be made available in the Department’s MA Handbook.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • By the end of the module, students should understand the significance of the range of research approaches to the development of the discipline in Theology and Religion
Subject-specific Skills:
  • By the end of the module students should possess:
  • the skill to use appropriate printed and electronic resources competently in their research and learning;
  • be able to reference those resources and produce a corresponding bibliography that follows prescribed conventions
  • be able to identify a cogent research topic
  • be able to analyse and utilise relevant research methods and approaches
  • be able to write a research proposal and literature review
Key Skills:
  • By the end of the module students should have acquired:
  • advanced research skills, including the ability to locate, summarise and evaluate key sources, both in print and online, and be able to cite them in a professional and academic manner.
  • advanced communication skills, including the ability to construct well-supported and sophisticated arguments, presented in clear, concise and convincing prose

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • Seminars allow for the presentation of resources and for the teaching and learning of research methods and skills, as well of approaches in the study of theology and religion. Students will learn, not least through the sessions provided by the University Library, how to find, order and present the array of resources now available; as well as how to use their findings in the service of academic argument within their chosen subject area. Guided by the Course Director and dissertation supervisors (identified in the course of Michaelmas Term) students will be able to demonstrate these skills in their summative assignments: the Research Programme and Literature Review.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Tutorials 2 Twice in Michaelmas term 0.5 1
Seminars 16 Weekly and twice-weekly in Michaelmas Term 1.5 24
Preparation and Reading 275
Total 300

Summative Assessment

Component: Dissertation Proposal and Literature Review with Bibliography Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Dissertation Proposal and Literature Review with Bibliography 5,000 words 100%

Formative Assessment:


Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University