Research Methods

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Module Details

Module Code: HOPP 5009

Module Leader: Kelley Wilder

Module Duration: 6 weeks

Module Meetings: First Meeting October 8, 2009, 1.24 Portland Bldg. Meeting places in this module will vary according to our needs.

Assignment Due:


Research Methods are at the core of what we do, and so this module is taught at the very beginning of the programme, to give you time to develop or modify your own research methods as the MA progresses. You already have a research method, but do you know what it is? Have you thought about the implications for your work given the research method you use? Researchers at all levels are, or should be, always asking themselves questions about their research methods. How do I conduct my research? How do I find the archives I need? What do I do during archive visits? How do I form my research questions? Having a system doesn't necessarily mean that you are conducting research in the most effective way, or answering your research questions appropriately. As we spend more years researching, we evaluate and modify our research methods, sometimes even discarding the old method and using an entirely new one.

There are currently no established Research Methods standards in the field of photohistory. This is partly because in photographic studies, the 'method' has several components: handling the primary material (objects), and developing research questions and strategies for writing about the primary material (methodology). If you learned photohistory in a museum, you would learn very much about handling, object histories, and preservation. If you learned photohistory at a university in a department of art history, your training would emphasize the history of images and methodology. If you were studying Art and Design, your Research Methods would concentrate on the observation of the process by which things are designed or made. This Research Methods module will combine aspects of all areas, to give you the broadest possible skill base from which to develop your own working method.

Please not that you MUST PASS this module before you begin the Dissertation module.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this module, you will have:

1. Demonstrated an ability to handle a range of historical materials including photographs, manuscripts and objects

2. Understood the importance of citation of various styles (Chicago Manual of Style, Humanities and Author/Date) and their use in web versus print based publications

3. Demonstrated a comprehensive understanding of conceptual and practical research methods and techniques suitable to the Masters level

4. Evaluated currently available electronic and museum resources used for photographic history

5. Worked with digital images for various professional purposes

6. Written in various styles and reflected on the use and flexibility of varied writing styles

Weekly Plan