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2023/24 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

ENGL5665M The Digital & English Studies

30 creditsClass Size: 20

Module manager: Dr Emily Bell

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2023/24

This module is not approved as an Elective

Module summary

‘The Digital & English Studies’ introduces students to a selection of digital approaches to literature, language and performance, and invites them to reflect on the intellectual questions surrounding the Digital Humanities. Can novels, plays and poetry be visualised as data? How can recognising patterns in millions of words of newspaper articles shape our understanding of literary history? And how might we explore dialect using digital tools? The module provides the opportunity to engage with the most innovative methods, as well as a grounding in the history of the field. No technical knowledge, or experience of coding or digital tools, is required; the module will give students the space and support to develop their digital skills. 


- To examine fundamental questions, concepts and practices that underpin the Digital Humanities;
- To understand the complexity involved in the making of digitised records and texts, and consider how we can engage with them;
- To empower students to use a range of different tools in their own work;
- To encourage a thoughtful, ethical and knowledgeable engagement with digital methods.

Learning outcomes
On successful completion of the module, you should be able to:
1. Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of a selection of digital methods, applying them to English research questions. 
2. Engage with some of the key issues and debates in the Digital Humanities, evidencing knowledge and understanding of the range and diversity of approaches.
3. Manage digital information in a structured and systematic way, developing digital research skills in information retrieval, the organisation of materials, and the evaluation of results.
4. Evaluate databases, digital tools and/or approaches, showing critical judgement and independent, imaginative thought.

Skills outcomes
Masters (Taught), Postgraduate Diploma & Postgraduate Certificate students will have had the opportunity to acquire the following abilities as defined in the modules specified for the programme: 
- The skills necessary to undertake a higher research degree and/or for employment in a higher capacity; 
- Evaluating their own achievement and that of others; 
- Self direction and effective decision making; 
- Independent learning and the ability to work in a way which ensures continuing professional development; 
- To engage critically in the development of professional/disciplinary boundaries and norms. 


The technological landscape is constantly shifting, and we are increasingly able to explore humanistic questions in new, digital, ways. This module will examine some of the key theoretical issues underpinning the application of digital methods to English Studies, from the issue of how to define ‘Digital Humanities’ to the landscape of the field today. It may include topics such as the politics of search and browse, digitisation as mediation of text, or ethical uses of Artificial Intelligence in research. Sessions will bring together consideration of the scholarship in this area, and the history of digital approaches to English, with case studies and practical explorations of specific methods. These case studies may include: digitisation; data cleaning; metadata and database creation; digital archives and search; corpus linguistics and stylistics; social network analysis; working with digital editions and text encoding; data visualisation. The particular databases, texts and case studies to be used may change from year to year, and will normally include texts from a selection of periods, which may include approaches to digital Victorian Studies or the Renaissance, or explorations of dialect and language; the aim is to encourage students to apply the methods showcased in the module to their own areas of interest.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours280.00
Total Contact hours20.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)300.00

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Students will have the opportunity for formative feedback in seminars and practicals, and in submitting the critique will receive feedback that supports the second assessment.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Assignment800 words Critique OR Multimodal Assessment. Students can EITHER: evaluate a digital object, tool or database; OR submit a visualisation based on one of the digital tools from the module, accompanied by a 250-word reflection.15.00
AssignmentEssay OR Multimodal Assessment. Students can EITHER write an essay of 3200 words, using at least one digital tool as the basis for the analysis, OR submit a dataset or visualisation, with 1500-word commentary.85.00
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: 15/08/2023 12:47:52


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