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2018/19 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

CLAS5500M Principles and Practices of Research in Classics

30 creditsClass Size: 20

Module manager: Dr Paul White

Taught: Semester 1 View Timetable

Year running 2018/19

This module is not approved as an Elective

Module summary

This module introduces students to key principles and practices of research in Classics. It discusses questions of research design, methods of enquiry into the ancient world, evaluation of different source materials, the classical tradition of scholarship and the continuing development of the discipline in the present day. Seminars will offer training in the use of specialist classical databases (for texts, artworks and ancient sites) and in key research skills: editing, writing abstracts, reviewing and presenting papers. At the end of the taught component of the module, a research symposium will be held during which each student will make a research presentation with ample opportunity for discussion and feedback. This mini-conference will provide an authentic academic environment for students to hone their ideas with peers and academic staff, and lay a solid foundation for their dissertation.


The aim of this module is to introduce postgraduate students to some of the key principles and practices of research in Classics, and to provide training in intellectual and practical 'tools of the trade'. The module begins with lectures providing an overview of the Classical tradition of scholarship, including topics such as transmission of texts and preservation of artefacts, with particular attention to the Italian Renaissance. Lectures will consider how knowledge of the ancient world has been transmitted and received over centuries, for example through the early transmission of manuscripts. The second part of the lecture series will move to more recent developments in the discipline, including the application of new theoretical approaches to Greek and Roman literature, history and material culture and the rise of classical reception studies. A guiding principle of the module will be to keep in view the various ways that classical research is continually brought to new and wider audiences through new media. The lecture programme will help to contextualise the students’ own choice of research areas, principally for the Dissertation, illuminate their own working practices and stimulate a fuller awareness of the significance and vitality of the discipline. Seminars will focus on the development of practical skills including formulating their independent research topics, compiling a relevant bibliography and project-managing the dissertation.

Learning outcomes
By the end of the module, students should be able to:
- understand key issues, problems and challenges involved in interpreting surviving evidence from the ancient world
- critically assess the different disciplinary and methodological approaches to the surviving ancient evidence
- understand the significance of the Classical tradition of scholarship and how this has shaped their own research choices and practices
- identify and articulate their own research questions
- formulate, design and carry out independent research projects
- access libraries and international databases providing continually updated sources and evidence for classical research
- understand the principles and practices of editing, abstracting, and reviewing academic work
- deliver an effective presentation in the form of a short conference paper.

Skills outcomes
- accessing the ancient world - research challenges and strategies
- making effective use of the established and emerging online databases of primary sources from the ancient world


The topics in the module include:

History and Development of the Discipline
- transmission of ancient texts
- preservation of ancient artefacts and sites
- the role of the classical commentary
- the impact of translations
- the scholarly community today.

Research Principles and Practices
- accessing the ancient world - methodological challenges and strategies
- understanding and evaluating scholarship (including use of reviews and abstracts)
- making effective use of the established and emerging online databases of primary sources from the ancient world
- formulating sound and innovative research projects
- research project management skills
- communicating research (including writing and editing skills, and preparing conference abstracts and papers)

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Mini Conference18.008.00
Independent online learning hours38.00
Private study hours234.00
Total Contact hours28.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)300.00

Private study

In this module it is envisaged that students will spend their time as follows:
(i) preparation of assignments, proposal and presentation for end-of-module research symposium
(ii) preparation for lectures and seminars (readings and use of classical online databases)
(iii) completion of online tutorials on academic integrity / referencing and library database tutorials offered by Skills@Library.

Specifically, time will be spent on:
Independent online learning (38 hours)
Skills@Library online tutorials: 8 hours
Guided independent use of Classical databases: 3 hours per week (30 hours)

Private study (234 hours)
Preparatory reading for lectures and seminars, 5 hours per week (50 hours)
Short weekly assignments for seminar skills development, 3 hours per week (30 hours)
Essay research and writing (70 hours)
Reading for and writing independent research proposal (for the Dissertation) (40 hours)
Preparation for research symposium presentation and participation (44 hours)

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Weekly formative assignments for submission and/or discussion in seminars.
Tutor feedback on: submitted plans for the week 6 essay, research proposal (for the Dissertation), and short presentations for the end-of-module research symposium.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay3,000 words50.00
Oral PresentationMRes Research Symposium Oral Presentation25.00
Research Proposal1,500 words25.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 16/09/2019


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