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Department of Development Studies

Research and Writing Methodology

Course Code:
Course Not Running 2014/2015
Unit value:
Year of study:
Year 1
Taught in:
Term 1

This module aims to provide students with an understanding of how to write an academic essay. This includes the technical details of referencing/plagiarism, bibliography, essay organisation, the idea of constructing an argument and critically evaluating sources (rather than memorising and repeating answers or doing small questions or maths-based problems), and how to go about researching, including the ability to distinguish good academic sources such as peer-review journals from others such as Wikipedia or popular blogs. This will provide support to students making the transition from school, where teachers advise students on what they need to know/learn, to university where research/reading/writing are self-motivated and organised. In particular students will be made aware of the expectations lecturers have of them, such as being pro-active in seeking advice, and also the role and help they can expect of module convenors, teaching assistants, year tutors, and the student support office and welfare services.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the course

At the end of the module students should be able to demonstrate:

  • an understanding of what academics in the economics and development studies departments expect from an essay;
  • an understanding of the technical requirements of writing an academic essay;
  • an understanding of how to reference correctly (including constructing a bibliography);
  • an understanding of what makes a source reliable;
  • an understanding of how to access and use research sources available.


One three-hour lecture.

Method of assessment

This module is not assessed.