Research Dissertation A: Contextualisation, Theory and Research Design

This information is for the 2019/20 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Jordan Claridge SAR 505


This course is compulsory on the MSc in Economic History (Research). This course is not available as an outside option.

This course is taken in combination with EH497.

Course content

The dissertation must draw upon the research training provided through the core courses for the MSc (Research) and the generic courses taken by the student, and present the results of an original enquiry into a carefully defined problem. Students are expected to show an ability to draw on relevant social scientific concepts, an understanding of the advanced literature in one or more areas of economic history, and of the nature of historical explanation and analysis. Where appropriate, students are also expected to show the ability to use relevant quantitative techniques for data collection and analysis. The dissertation is intended as preparation for a research degree. Students expecting to continue on the MPhil/PhD programme within the Department may write their MSc dissertation on a different topic from that on which they plan to research at MPhil/PhD level.


Co-taught with EH497.

Starting in the first term, students will receive advice on choosing a topic and how to tackle it, both from the Department (in the form of a document) and, individually, from their supervisors. There will be several taught sessions in Michaelmas Term for all students on the programme in addition to meetings with supervisors during the course of the year.

Formative coursework

Students are expected to complete a sequence of preparatory stages during the year. (1) The title must be approved by the student's supervisor; (2) an outline of the Essay must be submitted in Lent Term (3) a presentation at a dissertation workshop; (4) a one-page project summary and an extended draft by the end of the Summer Term. Supervisors will not normally provide comments on drafts submitted after that date.


Dissertation (100%, 15000 words) post-summer term.

The final dissertation, is equivalent to two full modules (EH496 and EH497), and will be awarded two separate percentage marks. The first of these marks (EH496) will be based on the formulation of the dissertation topic, its historical and historiographical context (including critical literature survey), its creativity and originality, and overall presentation. The second mark (EH497) will relate to the student's research design and discussion of methods, their collection and evaluation of primary and secondary sources, and the quality of analysis of evidence and interpretation. The dissertation should not exceed 15,000 words, excluding tables, references and bibliography. Presentation must be in accordance with appropriate academic conventions as laid down in the MSc Handbook. Work that fails to meet appropriate academic standards of presentation, including English language, will be subject to a maximum deduction of 15% from the first percentage mark. Marks will be deducted for late submission in accordance with the guidelines laid down in the MSc student handbook.

Key facts

Department: Economic History

Total students 2018/19: 14

Average class size 2018/19: Unavailable

Controlled access 2018/19: No

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication
  • Application of numeracy skills
  • Specialist skills