Institute of Archaeology


Sources and social research methods for heritage and archaeology

This module provides an overview of the key sources, methodologies, and practical frameworks used in qualitative research in the fields of heritage studies and archaeology. Topics include ethnography in theory and practice, research ethics, visual and object-based methodologies, archival science, participant observation, audience research, internet ethnography and digital methodologies, spatial methodologies, and research design. Throughout, the emphasis is on linking theory with practice across a variety of global and situational contexts, and equipping students to think critically about their own research. Students will learn to engage with the methods underpinning current research, as well as to develop and defend their own methodological decisions. The course will provide opportunities to develop professional skills like conducting interviews and observations, analysing qualitative data, and writing research proposals.

Aims and Objectives of the course

  • Engage students with different kinds of source material (textual, visual, material, spoken, and spatial), their contributions, demands, and limitations.
  • Provide conceptual and practical ability in current qualitative research methods in heritage studies and archaeology.
  • Develop critical faculties to assess (in debate and in writing) inter-disciplinary research, focusing on theory, practice, and quality of evidence.
  • Introduce students to major ethical debates in heritage studies and archaeology.
  • Examine the ways in which evidentiary sources and their treatments vary across global and situational contexts.
  • Equip students to design research projects that are methodologically rigorous and ethically sound.

Learning Outcomes

  • Critical engagement with primary and secondary sources
  • Reference skills, especially pertaining to diverse sources and their relevant institutions
  • Hands-on learning skills
  • Observation and critical reflection
  • Writing critical essays (from the research essay assignment)
  • Designing and writing proposals (from the project proposal assignment)

Teaching Methods

This course is assessed by means of a total of 4,000 words of coursework, divided into one essay of 1,900-2,100 words and one research proposal of 1,900-2,100 words.

Course information

For registered students

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  • Not Running in 2020/21