Theories and Evidence in Economic History

This information is for the 2020/21 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Patrick Wallis and Dr Eric Schneider SAR.5.18


This course is compulsory on the BSc in Economic History, BSc in Economic History and Geography, BSc in Economic History with Economics, BSc in Economics and Economic History and BSc in Economics with Economic History. This course is not available as an outside option nor to General Course students.

Course content

This course teaches students how to conduct, evaluate and interpret research in economic history. Taking a practical, applied approach, students will design and conduct three research projects drawing heavily upon the archival material available in the LSE Archives and Library. The course also introduces students to critical interpretation and analysis of primary sources and research methodologies, and the nature of historical knowledge. By the end of the course, students will have a good understanding of research design, historical sources and methods, which will leave them well-prepared for their dissertation in their final year. In addition, they will have a non-technical understanding of more complex quantitative methods such as regression so that they can engage critically with current scholarship in economic history.


This course is delivered through a combination of classes, workshops and lectures totalling a minimum of 40 hours across Michaelmas Term and Lent Term. This year, some or all of this teaching will be delivered through a combination of virtual classes and flipped-lectures delivered as short online videos.

This course includes a reading week in Week 6 of Michaelmas and Lent Term.

Formative coursework

Students are expected to write two formative essays and complete other shorter formative coursework for the course.

Indicative reading

J Tosh, The Pursuit of History (2002), L Jordanova, History in Practice (2000), CH Feinstein and M Thomas, Making History Count (2002), and P Hudson, History by Numbers (2000)


Project (20%, 4000 words) in the MT.
Project (50%, 3000 words) in the ST.
Research proposal (10%) and in-class assessment (10%) in the LT.
Class participation (10%) in the MT and LT.

Assessment comprises a group project (20%, 4000 words) in the MT; a research proposal (10%) in the LT; an individual project (50%, 3000 words) due in ST; a summative in-class exercise (10%) in the LT; and 10% for participation and submission of formative work.

Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2020/21 academic year some variation to teaching and learning activities may be required to respond to changes in public health advice and/or to account for the situation of students in attendance on campus and those studying online during the early part of the academic year. For assessment, this may involve changes to mode of delivery and/or the format or weighting of assessments. Changes will only be made if required and students will be notified about any changes to teaching or assessment plans at the earliest opportunity.

Key facts

Department: Economic History

Total students 2019/20: 67

Average class size 2019/20: 17

Capped 2019/20: 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