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Research Methodology

The aim of this course (worth 5 credits) is to prepare students to 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:

  1. Library-based research exercise (workshops of Denis, Kevin and Anita).
  2. Annotated bibliography / critical review of major secondary criticism (Kirsten's workshop).
  3. A selection of 3 logbook entries, and a 2-3-page commentary explaining why you chose these particular entries and what they reveal about your learning process (see more detailed instructions on the Logbook handout). (Joanne's workshop)
  4. Synopsis and critique of a research paper, theatre performance, or other relevant academic event attended (this does NOT include published academic criticism). (independent work)


Date Topic Teacher
Week 1 How to Manage a Major Research Project : Getting Started R. Falconer and J. Thorburn
Week 2 How to Collect and Interpret Research Data A. Auer
Week 3 How to Work with Manuscript Sources D. Renevey
Week 4 How to Construct a Literary Historical Context Using Archival Databases K. Curran
Week 5 How to Produce an Annotated Bibliography of Secondary Criticism K. Stirling
Week 6 How to Write a Research Proposal J. Thorburn and M. Hennard Dutheil
Week 7 Writing Mindfully: Strategies for Time and Stress Management J. Chassot
Week 8 Final Stages: Expert, Submission, Defense R. Falconer and A. Auer
Week 12 Submission of Portfolio: by e-mail 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. 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), ca. 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 ca. 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.


Moodle Forum

Check out the online version of the memoire workshop at moodle2.unil.ch. Access key available from the organisers.

Offices #5065-70 - Anthropole - CH-1015 Lausanne  -  Tel. +41 21 692 29 13  -  Fax +41 21 692 29 35
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