Medieval Research Skills (HISM182)
|Staff||Dr Helen Birkett - Convenor|
|Duration of Module||Term 1: 11 weeks;|
You will learn how to handle, read and transcribe medieval texts, and to recognise different scripts and abbreviations. The module will also teach you how to understand the technical descriptions of manuscripts found in printed and online catalogues, as well as directing you towards the key printed and online resources used by professional researchers. To help develop these practical skills, some seminars will be held in research libraries with access to original documents (e.g. Special Collections at the University of Exeter, Exeter Cathedral Library, and/or Devon Record Office) and you will gain experience of conducting research in these environments.
ILO: Module-specific skills
- 1. Identify the main letter-forms and abbreviations used in the most common forms of medieval script.
- 2. Understand the basic principles of transcription and know how to transcribe medieval documents with an acceptable level of accuracy, within the limits of individual linguistic capabilities.
- 3. Locate primary sources and understand the technical descriptions provided by cataloguers and archivists.
ILO: Discipline-specific skills
- 4. Develop practical research skills relevant to the primary material you will study as an independent researcher.
- 5. Recognise the differences between source types and our approaches to them.
- 6. Understand and apply the correct terminology when discussing medieval scripts and documents.
- 7. Gain experience of archival and library repositories central to research in the discipline.
ILO: Personal and key skills
- 8. Demonstrate capacity for independent critical study and thought.
- 9. Work as an individual and with a tutor and peers in an independent, constructive and responsive way (e.g. lead a group discussion or task).
- 10. Follow bibliographical leads and be able to use dictionaries and lists of abbreviations as appropriate.
- 11. Gain knowledge of a variety of professional and public working environments.
The module consists of seven seminars which will cover palaeography, diplomatic and codicology. Where relevant, seminars will take place in research libraries and will involve handling medieval material.
- Formal Scripts to c.1200
- Formal Scripts from c.1200
- Late Medieval Cursive Scripts
- Bibliography and Using the Archives
Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)
|Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activities||Guided independent study||Placement / study abroad|
Details of learning activities and teaching methods
|Category||Hours of study time||Description|
|Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activities||14||7 x 2 hour seminars|
|Guided Independent Study||136||Private study and preparation, online learning exercises|
|Form of assessment||Size of the assessment (eg length / duration)||ILOs assessed||Feedback method|
|Online exercises linked to seminars (seminars 1, 5 and 6: multiple choice questions; seminars 2, 3 and 4: transcriptions)||Multiple choice: 3x approx. 30 mins||1-9||Online feedback; verbal comments in individual tutorials (if requested)|
Summative assessment (% of credit)
|Coursework||Written exams||Practical exams|
Details of summative assessment
|Form of assessment||% of credit||Size of the assessment (eg length / duration)||ILOs assessed||Feedback method|
|Portfolio of transcriptions from medieval sources||50||2000 words||1-9||Written comments on portfolio; verbal comments in individual tutorial|
|Online examination (combination of transcriptions, multiple choice questions and interpretative commentary)||50||2 hours||1-9||Online feedback; verbal comments in individual tutorial|
Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)
|Original form of assessment||Form of re-assessment||ILOs re-assessed||Timescale for re-assessment|
|Portfolio of transcriptions from medieval sources||Portfolio||1-9||Ref/def period|
|Online examination||Online examination||1-9||Ref/def period|
Indicative learning resources - Basic reading
- M. P. Brown, A Guide to Western Historical Scripts from Antiquity to 1600 (London, 1990)
- B. Bischoff, Latin Palaeography: Antiquity and the Middle Ages (Cambridge, 1990)
- A. Derolez, The Palaeography of Gothic Manuscript Books (Cambridge,2003)
- M. Drogin, Medieval Calligraphy: Its History and Technique (New York, 1989)
- S. Harrison Thomson, Latin Bookhands of the Later Middle Ages, 1100-1500 (Cambridge, 1969)
- M. B. Parkes, English Cursive Hands 1250-1500 (Oxford, 1969)
- B. Shailor, The Medieval Book (Toronto, 1991)
Module has an active ELE page?
Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources
Manuscripts and Book History
- The Evolution of the Medieval Book
- Medieval Manuscript Manual
- Medieval Writing: History, Heritage and Data Source
- Anglo-Norman Palaeography
- National Archives, Latin Palaeography (1086-1500)
Available as distance learning?
Last revision date
Key words search
medieval studies, research skills, palaeography, manuscripts