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Unit information: Research Skills for Musicians in 2020/21

Unit name Research Skills for Musicians
Unit code MUSIM0035
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Williams
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of Music
Faculty Faculty of Arts


This unit will focus on research skills that are particularly relevant to musicians: - handling library collections and archives; - good practice in compiling a bibliography; - oral presentation skills, using Powerpoint. The unit will be taught in a mixture of music-department based classes and more general skills training offered by the Graduate School


This unit aims to offer guidelines to research in arts subjects in general, with the addition of methodologies relating specifically to Music.

Intended learning outcomes

(1) Successful completion of this unit will enable students to make strategic use of primary and secondary sources, of the most up-to-date research tools and of established research methodologies.

(2) Students should also be in a position to select research topics advisedly and to present research findings in a clear and coherent form.

This module also measures general learning outcomes for the MA in Music as follows:

(3) Demonstrate familiarity with a range of methodologies (including those imported from other disciplines)

(4) Display a sincerity of belief in particular ideas and methodologies, yet retaining a sympathy for and tolerance towards alternatives

(5) Be able to identify subtly different shades of interpretation and display sensitivity towards the consequences of their application

(6) students will demonstrate effective verbal presentation

(7) experience in seeing a project through from conception to planning, blueprint realisation, and execution

Teaching details

Teaching will be delivered through a combination of synchronous and asynchronous sessions, including seminars, tutorials, and self-directed exercises.

Assessment Details

Assessment is by coursework:

  • one bibliography project comprising c. 100 items (set in Week 1) - 50%
  • oral presentations pf c. 15-20 minutes in Weeks 10-11 on any aspect of the student's research - 50%

Reading and References

  • V. Duckles and M. Keller: Music reference and research materials: an annotated bibliography (New York, 1988)
  • K. L. Turabian: A manual for writers of research papers, theses and dissertations (London, 1982)
  • G. Watson: Writing a thesis (London, 1982)