SOAS University of London

Department of History, School of History, Religions & Philosophies

H201 Historical Research: Approaches and Methods

Module Code:
FHEQ Level:
Year of study:
Year 2
Taught in:
Term 1

This module introduces students to the methods and approaches to historical research. What historians have meant by history and how they have done it has changed considerably over time. We survey the ways in which historians have approached the past -- from event-driven narratives, through the structural analysis of economy, society, and culture, to contemporary debates about postmodernism, postcolonialism, and presentism. Throughout, we pay close attention to the way in which the study of the past changes when one looks at the world from a non-Western perspective. We thereby consider the rich variety of questions, sources, and methods that have been generated as the study of history has evolved. This module provides the methodological basis for the intermediate-level study project.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

At the end of the course, students will:

  • LO1. Demonstrate solid knowledge and understanding of the main subfields of the historical discipline;
  • LO2. Demonstrate a good understanding of the key methodologies, ideas and concepts historians are using in their study of the past;
  • LO3. Engage actively with some of the key debates that have shaped the field;
  • LO4. Present their work effectively in both oral and written form in a way that demonstrates their developing capacity to think like a historian.

Method of assessment

  • AS 1- Weekly online quizzes (40% of total mark for the module)
  • AS 2 - Essay 2,000 words (60% of total mark for the module)


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules