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128302 AR Research Methodology (MA / Literature) (2021S)

5.00 ECTS (2.00 SWS), SPL 12 - Anglistik
Continuous assessment of course work


Note: The time of your registration within the registration period has no effect on the allocation of places (no first come, first served).


max. 25 participants
Language: English



Monday 16:15-17:45
Starts on: 08.03.2021


Aims, contents and method of the course

This course provides students with a theoretical and practical toolkit for the writing of an M.A. thesis in literary and cultural studies. The emphasis of the course is not so much on the WHAT, but on the HOW of a research project, that is on the whole process of planning, organising and carrying out your thesis project.
Topics covered include, among others, the stages involved in a research process, research methodologies and critical approaches, information research and the use of databases, and formal aspects of a research paper.

We will discuss:
- how to find a topic and identify gaps in research about your material;
- the process of working from interest to topic to thesis statement;
- argumentative patterns and the creation of a table of contents;
- methods for close reading;
- strategies for writing and how to deal with writer’s block;
- the relevance of editing, correcting and re-reading your own texts;
- the differences between projects from literary and cultural studies.

If participants already work on a thesis project, they will have the opportunity to present and discuss their work with the group. Ideally, you will bring an idea or outline for your thesis project to the course, because you can then use our discussions and the portfolio tasks to actually work on your project.

The class is designed to prepare and support students with their master theses and general research. We will discuss both practical questions of how to begin such a research project as well as general research methods. We will read exemplary texts as well as theoretical texts that can help formulate your ideas. Students will be given the chance to develop a project over the course of the class, if they do not already have one. We will talk about the appropriate scope of a topic and strategies to match one's ideas to the formal requirements of a thesis. Students do not have to have a project yet; this can be developed in class. By the end of term some might have arrived at a concrete research and writing plan. We will discuss existing research texts for their relevance and suitability, so students should be prepared to fulfill a certain amount of reading and writing tasks per week.

Assessment and permitted materials

1. Regular attendance and preparation of session material (students may miss two sessions)
2. General participation in class, including individual contributions as well as work in groups
3. Expert group presentation on assigned readings or individual presentation of your thesis project
4. Four portfolio tasks in the course of the semester

Minimum requirements and assessment criteria

- Active participation and contributions in class: 20%. This includes:
a) Writing assignments in class
b) Preparation of assigned texts & active participation in discussions
- Portfolio tasks: 50%
- Expert presentation or individual presentation: 30%

Students must attain at least 60% of each to pass the course.

Marks in %:
1 (very good): 90-100%
2 (good): 80-89%
3 (satisfactory): 70-79%
4 (pass): 60-69%
5 (fail): 0-59%

Examination topics

• Input phases combined with group work and classroom discussion
• Student input from your expert session or individual presentation
• Students' research projects (portfolio and expert presentation)

Reading list

Fabb, Nigel, and Alan Durant. How to Write Essays and Dissertations: A Guide for English Literature Students. 2. ed. New York: Routledge, 2005. Online Edition.
Dunleavy, Patrick. Authoring a PhD. London: Palgrave, 2003.
Lipson, Charles. Doing Honest Work in College. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 2004.
Pope, Rob. Textual Intervention: Critical and Creative Strategies for Literary Studies. London and New York: Routledge, 1995.
Wisker, Gina. The Postgraduate Research Handbook. 2. ed. Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008.
Relevant excerpts from these publications will be provided at the beginning of the semester.

As for primary texts and material, this depends on the participants' individual projects and will be decided upon with the group.

Association in the course directory

Studium: MA 844; MA 844(2)
Code/Modul: MA3; MA 2.1
Lehrinhalt: 12-0116

Last modified: We 21.04.2021 11:26