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Research Methodology

Research Methodologies MA-ANG-3070
Moodle Key = Methods17

Convenor: Professor Rachel Falconer
17h15, Anthropole 5093; Spring Semester 2017

The aim of this course (worth 5 credits) is to prepare students write a mémoire in English. It is therefore principally directed at students who have chosen, or may choose, English as their principle discipline of an MA in Lettres.

Requirements for validation (Pass-Fail), worth 5 credits

: in addition to participation in the seminars, including assigned reading or activities for each week, & contributing actively and intelligently to seminar discussion, students must submit a portfolio containing FOUR written assignments, which will be assessed P/F:

To be submitted by email and in hard copy by Week 12 - 16 May. Hand in, in class or in Rachel Falconer's box, outside Office 5132 (Anthropole)

  1. Library-based research exercise. For this exercise, please refer to the workshops given by Kevin, Denis and Anita, above). Your exercise should carry out a search on one of the databases discussed, and your written account of the exercise should carefully detail the steps you took, and the discoveries you made in using these on-line tools. The write-up should be c. 1000 words (4 pages) in length.

  2. Annotated bibliography / critical review : you should compose a bibliography of secondary criticism on a given subject (see Kirsten's workshop). c. 1000 words.

  3. A selection of 3 log-book entries, and a 2-3-page commentary explaining why you chose these particular entries and what they reveal about your learning process- c. 1000 words (See Sarah Bacchianti's workshop)

  4. Synopsis and critique of a research paper (which you have heard, delivered orally), theatre performance, or other relevant live event attended. This should be c. 1000 words (4 pages) in length, and should include a description of the form and content of the research event/paper. The critique should assess the strengths of the approach, its originality and usability, etc., and then should suggest any weaknesses/areas for improvement. Finally you should indicate how this paper/event might contribute, even tangentally, to the planning or writing of your own mémoire. Note: this should not be a critique of a piece of written academic criticism; for that exercise, see no. 2 above. 

Weekly Schedule

21 Feb- Week 1. How to manage a major Research Project : Getting Started (Rachel Falconer and Anita Auer) Choosing a topic - your seminars (UG, MA); university library; life interests
Researching staff expertise  - your seminars; dept web page; staff pages
Anticipating the structure of your memoire.
+ a list of staff interests and expertise will be distributed, along with information about upcoming guest lectures and readings. Introducing Logbook exercise.

28 Feb - Week 2. How to collect and interpret research data (Anita Auer)
To prepare for this class, read the article on Moodle - "Methods of Data Collection", in van Peer et al. (2012)Scientific Methods for the Humanities. Amsterdam: Benjamins.

7 March - Week 3. How to work with manuscript sources (Denis Renevey)
Look for the following manuscripts in the following digitised manuscripts collections. Read the manuscript description carefully and consider reference to patrons, provenance, date of composition, text in its manuscript context. Study the suggested folios, looking at the ruling of the folio, inks, scripts, hands, shape of letters, abbreviations, word division, punctuation, capitalisation, etc.. In what way do you think your reading the text in one of its manuscript contexts changes your perception of the text?
a) Cologny, Fondation Martin Bodmer, MS Bodmer 48, fols 6v-7r : E-codices
b) Cambridge, Corpus Christi College, MS 402, fol. 21r+v: Corpus Christi College, Cambridge Parker Library
c) BL, MS Add 61823, fol. 6r: British Library

14 March - Week 4. How to construct a literary historical context using archival databases (Kevin Curran)
Extracts from the following databases will be used in class:
- Early English Books Online (EEBO)
- The English Short-Title Catalogue (ESTC)
- Calendar of State Papers
- Acts of the Privy Council
- Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (DNB)

21 March - Week 5. Writing mindfully: strategies for time and stress management (Sarah Bacchianti)
In preparation for this week, students will keep a weekly logbook entry reflecting on their writing strategies and difficulties. They should also fill in a questionnaire on their writing habits (see Moodle).

28 March - Week 6. How to write a research proposal (Anita Auer and Martine Hennard DR) 
Narrowing and focusing a topic ; choosing appropriate methodology
Timetabling the project - planning ahead, and what to expect from your supervisor

Guidelines for writing research proposals will be distributed.

4 April - Week 7. How to produce an annotated bibliography of secondary criticism (Kirsten Stirling)
Review of criticism - reading strategically and critically; note-taking; review of the major literary critical databases and how to search them.

11 April - Week 8. Final Stages: expert, submission, defense (Rachel Falconer and Anita Auer)
Preparation for the defence (document distributed). Examples of 'good’ and 'bad' practice during memoire defences. Notes on lit and ling memoires available on Moodle.

END OF SEMINAR WORK

Week 12 - Submission of Portfolio -by email or in hard copy placed in Rachel Falconer's box, outside Office 5132 (Anthropole)

Assessment Guidelines

Everyone must do the log-book exercise (3) and the synopsis and critique of an academic event (4). You are free to choose what kind of assessment you prepare – it could be two different types of library-based exercise (no. 1 below) plus two other kinds, or any combination. But it must be four different kinds of research exercise (i.e., only one exercise per workshop)

  1. Library-based research exercise. For this exercise, please refer to the workshops given by Denis and Anita, above). Your exercise should carry out a search on one of the databases discussed, and your written account of the exercise should carefully detail the steps you took, and the discoveries you made in using these on-line tools. The write-up should be c. 1000 words (4 pages) in length.
  2. Annotated bibliography / critical review : you can choose to compose one of a bibliography for this exercise: either a Bibliography of PRIMARY sources (Kevin's workshop); or a Bibliography of SECONDARY CRITICISM (Kirsten's workshop).
  3. A selection of 3 log-book entries, and a 2-3-page commentary explaining why you chose these particular entries and what they reveal about your learning process, based on Joanne’s workshop (see more detailed instructions on the logbook handout and Moodle week 5), c. 1000 words. 
  4. Synopsis and critique of a research paper, theatre performance, or other relevant academic event attended, not a review of an article you have read. This should be c. 1000 words (4 pages) in length, and should include a description of the form and content of the research event/paper. The critique should assess the strengths of the approach, its originality and usability, etc., and then should suggest any weaknesses/areas for improvement. Finally you should indicate how this paper/event might contribute, even tangentially, to the planning or writing of your own mémoire. 
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Check out the online version of the memoire workshop at moodle2.unil.ch. Access key available from the organisers.

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