Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2011-2012 (archived)

Module HIST43915: Critical Practice

Department: History

HIST43915: Critical Practice

Type Open Level 4 Credits 15 Availability Available in 2011/12 Module Cap None.


  • None.


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • to gain knowledge and understanding of the skills and methods appropriate to pursuing independent historical research at an advanced level, with particular reference to oral presentation, and to apply those skills and methods to a specified area of history.


  • Together with the complementary module on Archives and Sources, this module introduces students to the key skills necessary for advanced historical research on any period. The module introduces students to issues in academic presentation, including an awareness of structure and balance within presentations, and timing and delivery. The module encourages the development of independent research and presentational skills by requiring the application of training in this area to a specific field to produce a conference-style presentation of research undertaken by the student. Training in presentation will be provided.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • advanced knowledge and understanding of the skills and methods appropriate to independent historical research
  • advanced knowledge and understanding of presentational skills for academic presentation
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Subject specific skills for this module can be viewed at: http://www.dur.ac.uk/history.internal/local/PGModuleProformaMap/
Key Skills:
  • Key • Key skills for this module can be viewed at: http://www.dur.ac.uk/history.internal/local/PGModuleProformaMap/

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

  • Student learning is facilitated by a range of teaching methods.
  • Seminars and individual discussion require students to reflect on and discuss their prior knowledge and experience, set reading of appropriate readings, and information provided during the session. Seminars provide a forum in which to assess and comment critically on the observations of others, defend their conclusions in a reasoned setting, and advance their knowledge and understanding of history. Individual supervision provides a forum in which ongoing work can be discussed in a focused manner with a subject expert, and in which the student is able to acquire and enhance their knowledge and understanding of a specialised field.
  • Attendance at research seminars (department, centre or university research institute) enables critical observation of presentation in practice, exposure to different presentational styles and media.
  • Voice training provides formal training in projection and delivery, essential to successful oral presentation.
  • Structured reading requires students to focus on set materials integral to the knowledge and understanding of the module. It specifically enables the acquisition of detailed knowledge and skills which will be discussed in other areas of the teaching and learning experience.
  • Assessment is by means of a 15 minute oral presentation and 5 minutes of question time, which requires the student to demonstrate abilities in gathering, assessing and presenting relevant information, and advanced knowledge and understanding of a specific historiographical area. Work must be presented in a clearly structured form, and with appropriate apparatus.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Attendance at research seminars 3 three a term 1.5 hrs 4.5
seminar 1 once a term 1 hour 1
individual supervision 1 one a term 1 hour 1
voice training 1 one a term 3 hours 3
discussion formum 1 once a term 0.5 hrs 0.5
structured reading and essay preparation 140

Summative Assessment

Component: Coursework Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Conference Presentation 15 minutes + 5 minutes Q&A 100%

Formative Assessment:

One or more short assignments delivered orally and discussed in a group context; supervisor comments on a draft of each written report.

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