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Unit information: Black Humanities: Research Skills in 2019/20

Please note: Due to alternative arrangements for teaching and assessment in place from 18 March 2020 to mitigate against the restrictions in place due to COVID-19, information shown for 2019/20 may not always be accurate.

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name Black Humanities: Research Skills
Unit code MODLM0037
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Stone
Open unit status Not open




School/department School of Modern Languages
Faculty Faculty of Arts


This unit aims to introduce students to the skills and techniques needed to carry out interdisciplinary research and apply their findings in their dissertation. Students will learn how to identify a suitable topic for academic research in Black Humanities, formulate a clear research questions and develop research aims and objectives; where to locate relevant materials and secondary readings, how to organise their research materials, and how to structure and write an academic dissertation. It will introduce students to different research methods and issues. It will equip students with the necessary skills to embark on doctoral research, if they so desire.

Unit Aims

The aims of this unit are to:

  1. Explore a wide variety of research skills through the lens of black Humanities Studies;
  2. Familiarise students with the interdisciplinary methods and approaches of Black Humanities Studies, history, history of arts, Anthropology, philosophy, music, literature, film, visual art;
  3. Critically assess and evaluate data and evidence in the context of research methodologies in Black Humanities;
  4. Interpret, analyse, evaluate data relevant to the chosen topic;
  5. Research and examine, theories, concepts, and apply them to the dissertation;
  6. Plan, design, and carry out research that demonstrate independent intellectual work, which provides evidence of critical engagement with, and interpretation of, appropriate data;
  7. Present research and judgements in written forms and styles appropriate to the discipline and to M Level;

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to demonstrate:

  1. To show an understanding of methodological approaches to research, and an ability to reflect on these;
  2. Identify a suitable topic for academic research in Black Humanities, formulate a clear research questions and develop research aims and objectives;
  3. Demonstrate awareness of the evolving nature of historical, anthropological, philosophical, literary, musical, critical black thought, global black cultures analysis and interpretation;
  4. Demonstrate awareness of research ethical issues relevant to the investigation of a topic

Teaching details

Following the design of LRU based MA core units, this team taught unit will combine lecturing with seminar-style guided discussion with an emphasis on an interdisciplinary engagement with different methods key Black Humanity studies. The unit may include some fieldwork and students may be required to do some informal group work (for example, short, informal presentations in class time). Students attendance at research seminars hosted by the Centre for Black Humanities will be expected and they will also be encouraged to engage with the field by visiting relevant exhibitions and events.

Assessment Details

Dissertation proposal (pass/fail) - 50%

Oral presentation (pass/fail) - 50%

Reading and References

J. Swales and C. Feak, Academic Writing for Graduate Students (Michigan University

Press, 2004)

Wayne C. Booth, Gregory G. Colomb, Joseph M. Williams, The Craft of

Research (University of Chicago Press, 2008)

H. Ramsey Fowler, Jane E. Aaron, The Little, Brown Handbook (Pearson Education

Limited, 2014)

Alan Bond, Your Masters Thesis: How to plan, draft, write and revise (Studymates, 2006)

Diana Ridley, The Literature Review: A step-by-step guide for students (Sage, 2008)

Brian Roberts, Getting the most out of the research experience (Sage, 2007)

Fiona Devine and Sue Heath, Sociological Research Methods in Context, (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 1999).