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Independent Research Studies

  • Module code: EL5001
  • Year: 2018/9
  • Level: Year 5
  • Credits: 30.00
  • Pre-requisites: None
  • Co-requisites: None

Summary

This module, a core module for full-field and half-field English Literature students, is all about developing your own interests and research expertise. Every year, members of staff will offer a range of texts and you will select you own special subject from amongst these, working independently but with close supervision to produce your own set of resources and an extended original essay. In recent years, available texts have included The Lord of the Rings, Never Let Me Go, Great Expectations, and Hamlet. Encouraging independent learning and research, the module develops a range of transferable critical and communication skills that are central to the degree and useful in occupations and professional tasks beyond the university, while also allowing you to develop you own critical voice.

Aims

 

  • To enhance and develop students’ ability to learn and work independently
  • To extend and improve students’ research skills in English literature and criticism
  • To develop the student’s capacity to produce a substantial and thoroughly researched piece of critical writing in English Literature
  • To encourage mastery of skills of independent work and learning that are useful in the workplace

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the module, students will be able to:

  • demonstrate proficiency in accepted research methods in the field and use research to enhance their own work
  • demonstrate an understanding of recognized categories of critical investigation within the field and use critical and/or theoretical sources successfully
  • demonstrate a detailed understanding of their primary text(s) and of its (their) relationship to the cultural and critical surrounding it (them)
  • demonstrate the ability to manage time effectively and to communicate effectively in oral presentations

Curriculum content

This module is designed to introduce students to the skills necessary for the effective use of secondary sources in their written work through the investigation of an important text or body of work that is not part of the syllabus of their regular English Literature modules. In the first teaching block, students will focus on methodological and critical options and approaches currently employed in the study of English literature. By the beginning of their second teaching block, they will have selected a text or body of writing for close analysis in a sustained critical essay. The module encourages independent learning and research into an area and text of a student’s choice, thereby developing transferable skills that are central to the degree and useful in occupations and professional tasks beyond the university.

Teaching and learning strategy

This module is delivered through a variety of lectures, personal tutorials, and workshops. Interactive lectures are designed to familiarize students with the variety of methodological approaches in the field through readings in primary and secondary texts, and to offer each student the opportunity to make an informal presentation of his/her work in progress and receive peer review on the elements of the essay. In small group and tutorial sessions, students will discuss and finally decide upon the central text for study in their independent research project and the appropriate critical approach to this object of study.

Breakdown of Teaching and Learning Hours

Definitive KIS Category Indicative Description Hours
Scheduled learning and teaching 6 two-hour interactive lectures 12 one-hour small group and tutorial sessions 12 12
Guided independent study Independent Research 276
Total (number of credits x 10) 300

Assessment strategy

Summative assessment is designed to test students’ ability to work independently, to research a topic and produce succinct, analytical summaries of their reading in an approved form, and to use that reading in the writing of a substantial essay relating to the topic. Formative assessments in workshops promote interpersonal and communication skills and independent research promotes self-awareness, time-management, and information literacy skills.

Summative assessment is through::

A bibliography with at least 8 annotated entries of 2,000 words (30%).

A short abstract of about 500 words explaining how you will use 4 of the critical and/or theoretical sources to enhance your essay (20%).

An essay of approximately 4000 words (50%).

A range of formative assessments undertaken in workshops and tutorial sessions, of relatively short duration, on content determined by the module leader will provide regular and detailed feedback to students so that they can develop an awareness of their rate and level of progress and of their strengths and weaknesses. On-going discussion via the personal tutor and module leader will assist the student in the development of strategies for improvement and enhancement.

Mapping of Learning Outcomes to Assessment Strategy (Indicative)

Learning Outcome Assessment Strategy
1) Demonstrate proficiency in accepted research methods in the field and use research to enhance their own work Abstract
2) Demonstrate an understanding of recognized categories of critical investigation within the field and use critical and/or theoretical sources successfully Annotated Bibliography
3) Demonstrate a detailed understanding of their primary text(s) and of its (their) relationship to the cultural and critical surrounding it (them) Essay of 4000 words
4) Demonstrate the ability to work and think independently, to manage time effectively, and to communicate effectively in oral presentations Formative assessment only. No summative mark awarded.

Breakdown of Major Categories of Assessment

Assessment Type Assessment Name Assessment Weighting
CWK Abstract 20
CWK Bibliography 30
CWK Essay 50
Total (to equal 100%) 100%

Achieving a pass

It IS NOT a requirement that any major assessment category is passed separately in order to achieve an overall pass for the module

Bibliography core texts

Eula, Michael, and Janet Madden, Compiling the Annotated Bibliography, 2nd edition (MLA, 2000)

Norton Anthology of English Literature, ed. Stephen Greenblatt, et al. 9th edition (Norton, 2012)

MHRA Style Guide: A Handbook for Authors, Editors, and Writers of Theses (MHRA, 2002)

Modern Criticism and Theory, ed. David Lodge and Nigel Wood, 3rd edition (Longman, 2008)

Bibliography recommended reading

Anderson, Jonathan, Assignment and Thesis Writing (Brisbane: Wiley, 2001)

 Germov, John, Get Great Marks for Your Essays, 2nd ed. (Crows Nest: Allen and Unwin, 2000)

 Griffith, Kelley, Writing Essays About Literature: A Guide and Style Sheet, 5th ed. (ForthWorth: Harcourt Brace, 1998)

  Soles, Derek, The Academic Essay: How to Plan, Draft, Revise, and Write Essays (Bishops Lydeard: Studymates, 2005)

 Stott, Rebecca et. al., Making Your Case: A practical Guide to Essay Writing (Harlow: Longman/Pearson Education, 2001)

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