Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2017-2018 (archived)

Module ENGL51130: Research Methods and Resources

Department: English Studies

ENGL51130: Research Methods and Resources

Type Open Level 4 Credits 30 Availability Available in 2017/18 Module Cap


  • None


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • to offer a fitting training in research methods and resources in literary studies;
  • to facilitate the transition from undergraduate studies to postgraduate research;
  • to stimulate critical thinking about bibliographical issues and their relation to literary studies;
  • to foster an awareness of the wider scholarly community and of the standards and conventions concomitant with membership of that community;
  • to inculate academic standards of accuracy, consistency and integrity in the presentation of material and the deployment of secondary sources;


  • This compulsory module is designed to introduce students to methods of literary research and to research resources in Durham. It may, as appropriate, include sessions on issues such as: the principles and practices of literary editing; information technology skills of special interest to students of English literature; making use of Library resources and the Library’s Special Collections; research management (e.g. writing a dissertation or research proposal); authorship, readership, reception history; the material nature of texts; print and manuscript cultures; palaeography; bibliographical practice

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • to demonstrate an appropriate awareness of research resources, understanding of research methods, and mastery of scholarly conventions of presentation and documentation of sources, tested through coursework as indicated below;
  • to distinguish, where appropriate, between different kinds of knowledge;
  • to handle an appropriate range of bibliographical terms;
Subject-specific Skills:
  • to reflect critically on some of the bibliographical and/or editorial issues raised by the texts chosen for inclusion in the annotated bibliography;
Key Skills:
  • Students studying this module will develop:
  • an advanced ability to analyse critically;
  • an advanced ability to acquire complex information of diverse kinds in structured and systematic ways;
  • an advanced ability to interpret complex information of diverse kinds through the distinctive skills derived from the subject;
  • expertise in conventions of scholarly presentation and bibliographical skills;
  • an independence of thought and judgement, and ability to assess acutely the critical ideas of others;
  • sophisticated skills in critical reasoning;
  • an advanced ability to handle information and argument critically;
  • a competence in information-technology skills such as word-processing and electronic data access;
  • professional organisation and time-management skills

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

  • Through a variety of teaching activities and approaches, seminars will facilitate the development of research skills. Sessions will introduce a range of bibliographical, critical, theoretical and professional topics, contexts and frameworks to aid the development of skills in analysis and research.
  • Summative coursework (see below) will assess the competencies and outcomes outlined above and foster advanced independent study.
  • Typically, directed learning may include assigning student(s) an issue, theme or topic that can be independently or collectively explored within a framework and/or with additional materials provided by the tutor. This may function as preparatory work for presenting their ideas or findings (sometimes electronically) to their peers and tutor in the context of a seminar.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Seminars 10 Fortnightly 2 hours 20
Independent student research supervised by the Module Convenor 10
Preparation and Reading 270
Total 300

Summative Assessment

Component: Coursework Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Research proposal with bibliography (1,000 words excluding bibliography) 1,000 words 40%
Reflective Essay 1,500 words 60%

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