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Durham University

Postgraduate Module Handbook 2021/2022

Archive Module Description

This page is for the academic year 2021-22. The current handbook year is 2022-23
No such Code for pgprog: R9K707

Department: Modern Languages and Cultures

MELA44230: Research Skills in the Digital Humanities (MA in Culture & Difference (Interdisciplinary))

Type Tied Level 4 Credits 30 Availability Not available in 2021/22
Tied to R9K707


  • None.


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • To provide students with rigorous introduction to the essential research skills required in the first instance for the successful completion of an MA programme in Culture and Difference (Interdisciplinary) and, in the second instance, for future research at doctoral and postdoctoral level in studies in related areas.
  • To provide students with practical research and presentation skills in digital media.


  • The module will consist of seminars on the following issues:
  • Compiling bibliographies and using scholarly referencing systems (1 seminar)
  • The stages of research (i.e., the research process, from sourcing of materials, to the proper planning and structuring of an academic essay, to strategies and skills for constructing introductions and conclusions) (1 seminar);
  • Completing research proposals in a format typically required by funding bodies (i.e. using the headings 'Aims and Objectives', 'Research Questions', 'Research Context' and 'Methodology') (1 seminar);
  • Introduction to working with digital media (website construction, video editing and basic editing);
  • Preparing and delivering conference papers, including speaking, body-language, eye-contact, the preparation and use of visual aids, and approaches to dealing with hostile post-paper questioning (1 seminar);
  • Key skills and methods in studies relating to culture and difference (5 seminars), typically including: undertaking research with different media (visual, literary, audio, online: theoretical and pragmatic issues); traditional and new directions in methodology and research methods in the Humanities; interdisciplinarity in the humanities; cutting edge research projects in the Humanities (case study: Centre for Humanities Innovation (CHI) at Durham).

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Students will have acquired knowledge of the principal research methodologies and directions found in fields in the Humanities related to the themes and topics contained within the concepts of culture and difference, understanding their individual modalities, advantages, challenges and limitations.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Students will have acquired a range of skills specific to carrying out research in fields in the Humanities related to the themes and topics contained within the concepts of culture and difference, including how to select and justify an appropriate methodology.
Key Skills:
  • Students will have acquired broad research skills including the writing of research proposals and the design and delivery of conference presentations, as well as familiarity with more field-specific skills and methods, allowing them to select and justify the appropriate method for a project.

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

  • Four seminars teach broad research skills, five teach field-specific skills. However, all must be considered as leading to all three assessments, as knowledge of appropriate methodologies is vital to research proposals, proper essay planning and construction, and conference presentations. The essay plan, introduction, and bibliography will consist of a single-page bullet-point plan, complete introduction, and bibliography of sources to be used in the essay.
  • All components of assessment will feed in to the final submitted assessment piece, which is a website to accompany the dissertation. The website will comprise a statement (proposal) of dissertation research, research evidence and appendices (eg., film, interviews, audio), plus other elements that will be outlined in teaching. A version of the website will be presented in the final week of term 3 and submitted alongside the dissertation in September.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Seminars 9 Intensive in induction week; then at regular intervals during the first 6 weeks of Michaelmas Term 2 hours 18
Student Preparation and Reading 282
Total 300

Summative Assessment

Component: Referenced essay introduction, plan and bibliography Component Weighting: 40%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Referenced Essay introduction, plan and annotated bibliography 1500 words 100% Yes
Component: Research proposal Component Weighting: 20%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Research Proposal 500 words 100% Yes
Component: Dissertation / website presentation Component Weighting: 40%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Dissertation / website presentation 15 minutes 100% Yes

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