The purpose of this workshop is to familiarise new MPhil/PhD students with the practical research and writing skills necessary for the preparation of a first-rate PhD thesis in history, and to discuss some general methodological and theoretical issues in international history as a research field.
Schedule of meetings 2017-18
Wednesdays, 12:00-14:00, 32L.LG.20
Convenor: Professor Vladislav Zubok
The nature of a PhD thesis. The university regulations. The PhD upgrading requirements. The originality requirement. Examples of previous theses and thesis topics. Selecting a topic. Relationship to other researchers in the field.
Methodological aspects: the making of history
History and its relationship to the social sciences. International history and other forms of history. What do historians do when they do history? What are its claims to objectivity? Interpretation and controversy in history. History and post-modernism. Please do some reading beforehand and come prepared with questions.
Participants: Dr Imaobong Umoren and Dr Megan Black
Notes and record keeping
One of the main tasks of the historian is to accumulate evidence from written and oral sources on which to base their work. We will discuss how we can do this effectively and to minimise problems of storage and recovery.
Participant: Dr Paul Keenan
Electronic sources for historians
A valuable opportunity to run through the search tools available on-line via the Library. Note: this meeting will take place in LRB.R08 on the lower ground floor of library.
Participant: Dr Paul Horsler (History librarian, LSE Library)
Oral History and Interviewing
A useful, and occasionally the only, method of obtaining information on contemporary issues is by interviewing witnesses. There are, however, important issues of technique, confidentiality, reliability and record-keeping that arise from this procedure. Before attending this meeting, please consult one of the relevant items on the reading list and/or the website of the Oral History Association.
Participant: Professor Nigel Ashton
Working in the archives
An informal discussion of aspects of archival research at home and abroad, with practical advice offered by several faculty members.
Participant: Dr Taylor C. Sherman
The Writing Process
An informal discussion of aspects of thesis writing. Please note: bring to this meeting at least one example of GOOD historical or other non-fiction writing and be prepared to explain why you chose it.
Participant: Dr David Motadel
Presenting Papers at Seminars and Conferences
An informal discussion on how to give a paper: preparation and delivery, how to deal with criticisms and questions. IT aids: PowerPoint. How to get published: academic journals and book publishers: sources of advice. What makes a good paper/article?
Participants: Professor David Stevenson and Dr Ronald C. Po
There will probably be three or so meetings in the Summer term, depending on the number of first- year students who are preparing for the upgrade. The meetings will be given over to presentations by students of the draft chapter they will be submitting for the upgrading exercise. Two students will normally make presentations at each meeting. They will be asked to summarise their chapter, explaining its thesis and how it is underpinned. The order of appearance will be decided toward the end of the Michaelmas term.