Learning outcomes

This course aims to help you be able to:

  • Understand the meaning of 'research' and 'research methodology' in the humanities
  • Understand the dynamic relationships between your chosen research questions and your research methodology
  • Recognise different research methodologies, and be able to select those relevant or appropriate for your research topic and questions
  • Understand the need for appropriate research methodologies for different kinds of research material
  • Understand the place of different research methodologies in multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary contexts
  • Understand the difference between critical thinking and a theoretical approach.

Using the module

Welcome to Research Methods in the Arts and Humanities. This course aims to develop your awareness of the practical and conceptual skills that support effective independent scholarly research in the arts and humanities. The goal is to help you understand the issues involved in making an informed choice about the research methodology and approach most suitable for your own specific project.

If this is the first time you have accessed Research Methods in the Arts and Humanities course, or if you need a brief reminder, here is some information on how the screens are organised, and some of the tools and features that are used throughout:


Content

  • The centre of each screen contains the core content for each course, presented either as text, interactive activities, graphics, videos or animations
  • Text highlighted in a box preceded by an arrow contains instructions on how to navigate the activities that follow
  • Note that your responses to the note-making and text entry activities (where you type responses in the space provided) can be printed and used as part of your ongoing work
  • At the top of each screen you will see an indication of the approximate time it will take to complete the core content. These estimates include time to watch videos and complete activities in the central section, but not to complete the 'Optional activities'.

Pods

Throughout this course, you will see additional learning opportunities in 'pods'. The pods in this course contain useful links to further resources and sources of guidance, as well as additional information expanding on the material in the main part of the screen. Exploring the information provided in the pods will enrich the learning experience.


Quiz

At the very end of each module, you have the opportunity to test your learning further with a multiple-choice quiz. This consists of five questions and can be taken more than once (a new set of questions will appear).

The Research Methods in the Arts and Humanities course is designed to gradually build up your understanding and skills. We recommend that you complete the modules in the order given, but they have been designed so you can access each of them independently according to your own requirements and those of your institution.

Expert panel

Authors

Revised Edition

Dr. Helen Laville

Dr. Helen Laville

Helen Laville is the Head of the Department of American and Canadian Studies at the University of Birmingham, and a member of the Arts and Humanities Research Council Peer Review College. Her research field is American women's history, with a focus on the Cold War period. She has also published work on gender and film, and on international gender history. She is currently researching the role of women in the civil rights movement.


First Edition

Dr. Helen Laville

Dr. Helen Laville

Helen Laville was also the author of the first edition of this course.


First Edition

Dr. Deborah Longworth

Dr. Deborah Longworth

Dr. Deborah Longworth is a Senior Lecturer in English Literature at the University of Birmingham. She has a BA and MA from the University of Reading, and a Ph.D. from Birkbeck College, University of London. She joined the Department of English at Birmingham in 1998, and teaches and researches primarily in late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century literature and women's writing. Between 2008 and 2010 she was Deputy Director of the College of Arts and Law Graduate School, and between 2007 and 2010 she was an AHRC Peer Review College member. In 2012 she was made a Fellow of the English Association. Publications include Streetwalking the Metropolis (OUP 2000), Djuna Barnes (Northcote House, 2003), Theorists of the Modernist Novel: James Joyce, Dorothy Richardson and Virginia Woolf (Routledge, 2007), and The Oxford Handbook of Modernisms (OUP, 2010).


Reviewer

First Edition

Professor Stephen Taylor

Professor Stephen Taylor

Stephen Taylor is Professor in the Department of History, IAS Fellow and Pemberton Fellow at Durham University. Formerly Professor of Early Modern History and Director of the Graduate School in Arts and Humanities at the University of Reading, and a member of the Arts and Humanities Research Council Peer Review College, he has published widely on the political and religious history of the late seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Since 1999, he has been a Director of 'The Clergy of the Church of England Database 1540–1835', a major research project funded by the AHRC.


Accessibility advisor

Revised Edition

Wilma Alexander

Wilma Alexander

Wilma Alexander is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy with Master's degrees in Human-Computer Interaction, Linguistics and Information Science. She has over 15 years of experience as a manager with the online learning team at the University of Edinburgh, where she specialised in usable and accessible digital practice, tutored on the groundbreaking Master's degree in Digital Education and developed online staff training on accessible e-learning and online tutoring skills. Since retiring from the University at the end of 2015, Wilma has provided consultancy services on all aspects of online learning, with a special focus on accessibility and usability issues.


Developed in conjunction with:

The Research Skills programme has been developed in conjunction with the following institutions:

  • Cardiff University
  • City University London
  • Cranfield University
  • Durham University
  • Heriot-Watt University
  • Imperial College London
  • King's College London
  • Lancaster University
  • London Metropolitan University
  • Loughborough University
  • University College Dublin
  • University College London
  • University of Aberdeen
  • University of Bath
  • University of Birmingham
  • University of Bristol
  • University of Cambridge
  • University of Limerick
  • University of Liverpool
  • University of Oxford
  • University of Reading
  • University of Strathclyde