EL7019 - Research Methods: Traditional and Digital

What will I learn on this module?

On this module you will learn key approaches to English literary research – how to plan and carry out rigorous research using a variety of traditional and more modern tools and approaches. The module’s content will help prepare you for the challenge of completing a successful dissertation by empowering your knowledge of and proficiency with literary research tools.

How will I learn on this module?

If you choose to study on campus delivery will be primarily via student-led seminar discussion, facilitated by a tutor. If you choose to study by distance learning you can complete the module via a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE), populated with on-line learning materials. Whether you are on-site or distance learning you will study the same texts and have access to the same materials. On-site students are encouraged to take part in the discussion boards by way of building a cohort with the distance learning students. The assessment for both on-site and distance learning students is the same combination of non-assessed and assessed e-tivities (on-line tasks). You will be expected to undertake both directed and independent learning. Directed learning generally will take the form of preparation for seminars for on-site students and weekly reading guidance for the distance learning students, where you will be expected to contribute to discussion whether this is in the seminar or through the VLE. Independent learning generally will take the form of further reading and investigation, and revision/preparation for the assessment of the module. Assessments for all students taking this module will include a portfolio of e-tivities that have two roles. First, e-tivities will include non-assessed assessments that ensure the student has the technological capacity in terms of hardware and digital literacy to complete the module. Second, the e-tivities will include the assessed assessments that test the student’s aptitude in relation to the learning outcomes.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

Seminars and on-line material will enable you to interrogate the overarching themes of the module will develop your academic skills as you engage with primary, secondary, theoretical and contextual materials to allow you to attain the module learning outcomes. The module handbook provides details of weekly reading and focus, reading lists and assessment criteria and all material are made available on the VLE. The module tutor is available in the seminars for on-site students and by appointment for on-site students, as well as accessible to all via email to discuss any queries or concerns you have about how to excel academically on the module. Moreover, feedback on non-assessed work and the first assessed piece of work will also serve as ‘feed forward’, giving guidance on how to improve during the module. In addition, you have a designated Guidance Tutor throughout the entire duration of your programme. The academic side of the Guidance Tutor’s role includes:
• monitoring your ongoing academic progress
• helping you to develop self-reflection skills necessary for continuous academic development
• directing you to further available services which can help them with their academic skills (e.g. Library’s Skills Plus)

You are advised to see or contact your Guidance Tutor at least twice each semester to review your academic progress. Distance learning students will also be supported by the on-site cohort, who will engage with the discussion forums and etivities, and an Associate Tutor, who will moderate (rather than facilitate) the online discussions, thereby fulfilling the same role as the seminar tutor.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at: http://readinglists.northumbria.ac.uk
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team – http://library.northumbria.ac.uk/readinglists)

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:
1. be able to demonstrate knowledge and appreciation of a range of traditional methods and digital technologies available for research and analysis of literature

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
2. an advanced ability to use traditional and digital tools for scholarly analysis, and articulate the theoretical rationale for their use in critical writing
3. an advanced capacity to problematize theories, concepts and approaches in order to better understand research methods

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):
4. an advanced ability to approach project management, particularly with regard to research projects
5. a sophisticated ability to present logical arguments based on specialised research in both written and oral formats, conforming to appropriate standards of academic conduct.

How will I be assessed?


1. Oral presentation

15 minute presentation in which you will present an early version of your research proposal (summative assessment 2).


1. Critical review essay (50%)
This 2,500 critical review essay will explore one critical text central to your own research. This assessment is designed to develop your understanding of the ideas, concepts and theories which underpin scholarly work and develop knowledge of the critical field relevant to your own dissertation research. MLOs 2,5

2. Research proposal (50%)
This 1,500 word research proposal acts as a personal development plan for the dissertation. It will comprise of 1x 1,000 word abstract and 1x 500 word bibliography detailing research to be undertaken for the dissertation. This will provide invaluable professional experience in describing the importance and impact of a complex research topic in a succinct and focused manner and ensure that you are well prepared for the completion of their dissertation over the coming months. MLOs1-5

During the sessions, you will have an opportunity to practice and engage with the methods being discussed. The tutor will provide feedback where appropriate relating to communication, research, performance, knowledge, analysis and transferable skills. Summative feedback of the critical review essay and research proposal will be provided in writing within twenty working days of the submission date, and this will be individual focused feedback. All feedback will be provided in the context of assessment criteria provided.





Module abstract

Please find details of this module in the other sections provided.

Course info

Credits 30

Level of Study Postgraduate

Mode of Study 2 years Part Time
3 other options available

Department Humanities

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2024

Fee Information

Module Information

All information is accurate at the time of sharing. 

Full time Courses are primarily delivered via on-campus face to face learning but could include elements of online learning. Most courses run as planned and as promoted on our website and via our marketing materials, but if there are any substantial changes (as determined by the Competition and Markets Authority) to a course or there is the potential that course may be withdrawn, we will notify all affected applicants as soon as possible with advice and guidance regarding their options. It is also important to be aware that optional modules listed on course pages may be subject to change depending on uptake numbers each year.  

Contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with possible restrictions imposed by the government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors if this is deemed necessary in future.


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