HISU9X6 – Final Reflection

Now that we are coming to the end of the module, please reflect on your progress to date with the dissertation and put up a short post of between 250 and 500 words in which you consider:

a) What have been the major obstacles you have faced in putting a research project together?

b) What strategies have you adopted to overcome these obstacles?

c) What has this taught you about approaching your dissertation?

d) Which aspects of the 9X6 module have been the most useful in helping you get your project ready to start?

22 thoughts on “HISU9X6 – Final Reflection”

  1. In putting my research project together for dissertation proposal, one obstacle I faced after selecting my subject is facing the availability of literature relating to my dissertation subject, the topic was scarse in terms of recent academic publishes and this put an obstacle in my way when putting the research project together as it was challenging to identify the correct literature.

    In order to overcome this obstacle, I decided to approach my searches in a different manner, taking a step back and broadening my searches and removing specific search criteria, this allowed for more results to be revealed from the searches.

    Facing this trouble and implementing the strategy to widen the number of results I got taught me that research for a project like this takes time, and skill which comes with more practice. This skill will become better after more research practice which will be done throughout further preparation for the dissertation. It has also taught me not to panic in a situation like this, and that research results can be found when the correct steps are taken to change the search criteria.

    The aspects of 9X6 which I have found most useful in helping me to get my project in a position where it is ready to start is the sessions that were held within the library, this session helped me become comfortable with accessing newspapers which is a key part of writing the research project. I also found completing the methodology report extremely helpful as this helped me become more comfortable with the methodology that I will have to implement within my research project, the Q&A session after that assignment also provided the opportunity for me to learn about other methodologies and further understand my own which was extremely helpful.

  2. a) What have been the major obstacles you have faced in putting a research project together?

    One of the major obstacles I’ve had to overcome in putting my research project together is an unfamiliarity of the period in a broader context. I was aware of the controversy surrounding Douglas Haig in regard to the First World War but knew little about interwar Britain between 1918-36. Another was taking an original approach to a figure that had been so heavily covered by historians for the last 100 years. This in itself was daunting because there had been several works, all of which had been criticised by historians that came after them so it was difficult to find my footing with an original angle initially.

    b) What strategies have you adopted to overcome these obstacles?

    To overcome my first obstacle I had to engage in extensive secondary reading in order to familiarise myself not only with Britain in this period, but other nations as well in order to contrast the UK against other European nations between 1918-1928, with some it was easier than others as I was already familiar with German history in the period from school, but others such as France and some of the Commonwealth nations required a little more reading. In regard to Haig and the historians I spoke to my supervisor and looked at what they didn’t say as opposed to what they did, this helped me to identify what I saw as a gap in the history on Haig.

    c) What has this taught you about approaching your dissertation?

    These obstacles have encouraged me to read between the lines more, as sometimes what historians did not say was just as insightful as what they did. Additionally, some general background reading not only on the period as a whole but to other areas not directly related to my topic can help to contextualise but also compare with in order to enhance my investigation into the study.

    d) Which aspects of the 9X6 module have been the most useful in helping you get your project ready to start?

    For me personally, the aspect of 9X6 that helped the most was being able to look at previous examples of work submitted to the module and discuss what they did well and what they didn’t as it helped me to focus on certain aspects of the work that I knew previous students had either done well or done poorly. Additionally the regular meetings with my tutor, encouraged in the appropriate weeks, helped me stay on track and narrow down my dissertation to a more focused and precise topic, thus making my readings more precise and appropriate for the assessments.

  3. The biggest obstacle, as probably for many others, was finding good materials as most sources I got through provided only weak arguments, even though I found more online material than I originally anticipated. In my case, it was especially hard because I will not have access to all of the sources (both primary and secondary) until I get back to the Czech Republic in Summer. Another thing I struggled and will struggle with is the structure. I attempted to make a structure for my dissertation already in the proposal, but after thinking about it, I will need to further refine it before I start to work on my chapters next semester. The last problem I faced was narrowing down the dissertation question. The original idea was “Thirty Years War and logistics”, but as I found out, this was too broad, and it took me months to come to a way better question than I have now.
    When I was looking for secondary materials and went to the library to look for the only source I knew about, to my surprise, I also found about ten more books regarding my question. Even though they provided quite weak arguments I could still extract quite a lot of information from them. The structure will be a bigger problem. I am not yet sure how will I make my chapters as there are many angles and perspectives to my issue. As for narrowing down the question, the biggest help for me was simply starting to read about the topic. The more I read, the better image of the question I had.
    What has this module taught me about my dissertation? Simply put, there are more problems than I thought there would be. However, this is not necessarily a problem because more problems equal more things to cover in the dissertation. I will have to write in a more methodological and pre-planned way and will have to use way more literature than I would in normal essays.
    As for what the module taught me, I think the most useful lesson for me was how to orient in the library. I know that I should’ve known this already since the first year, but somehow, I felt like I came to a completely new database (even though I’ve been using it for a couple of years now). I found links to a bunch of non-university databases where I found some interesting articles. The article delivery function proved handy as well. Another thing that was fairly new for me was the methodological approach, which will be necessary for my dissertation. I will most likely get access to local Czech chronicles, that had been written by various people with various beliefs. To extract the correct information for my dissertation I will have to be careful and methodological.

  4. a) What have been the major obstacles you have faced in putting a research project together?

    The major obstacle I have faced in putting a research project together is making sure my topic is not too broad or too narrow. Female graduates in Scotland during the late nineteenth and early twentieth century has of course been discussed before but to the extent of how much secondary literature has covered different aspects of the topic was challenging to pinpoint.

    b) What strategies have you adopted to overcome these obstacles?

    Evidently, I have looked at numerous secondary sources to start to identify what my dissertation will add to the existing literature and hopefully include a new approach to female graduates who were in a lower social class. This will be made clear to me once I have collated my research. Also, effectively communicating with my supervisor on where to start has of course been extremely helpful for this.

    c) What has this taught you about approaching your dissertation?

    This may sound obvious but to really come to grips that I will be approaching my final year of university and doing my dissertation. I must now begin to research my chosen topic and what my aims will be over the summer. Also, learning about the importance of methodology is in relation to analysing primary and secondary sources has been so helpful.

    d) Which aspects of the 9X6 module have been the most useful in helping you get your project ready to start?

    I have thoroughly found most useful seeing different examples of assignment 1 and 2 along with a final history dissertation as it gives me a clear insight on what is expected in my HISU9X6 assignments and final dissertation. I am glad to have my supervisor now and can meeting regularly on campus or communicate through email. I am so thankful for this module as I can now begin really researching my interested topic throughout the summer before we return in September for our final year.

  5. Final Reflection
    Some of the major obstacles that I have faced while putting this research project together is time management as well as primary source collection. With the primary source collection the main problem was that in the 17th century in rural Scotland there was not as many primary sources available. With the time management problem the main problem was deciding when to stop looking for sources and start writing. The strategies that I have adopted to overcome these obstacles were slightly different. As for time management, I have set personal deadlines for starting to write. As for finding primary sources, after my initial meeting with my supervisor, she helped me find different primary sources that are related to my topic. This has taught me that when I being approaching my dissertation I need to make sure I create a timeline that I can stick to, as well as scheduling to find all my primary sources over the summer so that I can begin writing in September. 9X6 has been extremely helpful especial as someone who is an international student. The university structure here is very different from the structure of the universities back home. It has been a good introduction to the concept of a dissertation as well as providing a good starting point for writing my own.

  6. a) One major obstacle I faced was finding relevant sources for my literary review
    b) I have begun to read the introduction, and the conclusion, and then where available academic reviews, or articles before comitting the time to read them.
    c) It has made me more effective in not wasting time, which should be useful considering how much more reading I still need to do.
    d) Simply even forcing us to think about our disserations this early has been very useful. Other univeristies only force student’s to start think about dissertations 6 months before they are due, to have a full year and a half makes the task seem a lot more managable. The methodological research might not be particularly exciting either but it is defintely useful when deciding what methodology and sources that our dissertations are going to use.

  7. The biggest obstacle I have faced in my project was probably the lack of sources on my subject. Indeed, I had to do a very wide range of reading in order to find information and useful primary and secondary sources. In order to spare my time, I have read the introduction and conclusion of each chapter of books or articles I have looked at in order to narrow down which ones would be important and related to my subject. I also found out that reading took a lot of time indeed, but reading widely was helping me to understand the context around my subject better and thus know the subject enough to understand more precise issues.
    This module helped me have a plan in my head for the next steps for this summer and next year. Moreover, it helped me narrow down my question and have a better idea of what I was looking for in primary and secondary sources. For example, I was planning on doing my dissertation on the impact of Napoleon on Belgian nationalism and the nation-state. Thanks to this module, I have decided to focus mainly on the birth of the nation-state and the political side of it instead of the ideological side and the nationalist movement in general.
    Examples of previous assignments have been really useful in order to complete my own in a proper way. Indeed, viewing other people’s work gave me ideas on how to approach the assignments but also gave me ideas of methodologies and sources for my dissertation in itself.

  8. A) The major issue I came across putting together the basics of my project was finessing my subject down; both refining the question as well as putting it into a relevant, but manageable, time frame and perspective. This was also reflected in finding an accurate title for the piece. When I began the process of planning what I wanted to research, the topic was either far too broad, or lacked a manageable field of study (such as, as mentioned, a time-frame).

    B) The primary two were; looking over other dissertations and seeing how they refined their subject, but more importantly, making use of Supervisor meetings to clarify and discuss my topic. The former helped me primarily with a broad understanding of what a dissertation “should be”, whilst the latter was especially and specifically useful, as the insights from my Supervisor were imperative to forming the topic I am working towards now.

    C) It has taught me to be reasoned with what I attempt to research, and also that every source I find will not always be fitting for the dissertation. From this, it has taught me to take ample time getting the right sources, so that my topic and aims are clear and answered. This time is also crucial for, when sifting through sources, knowing the ones to keep at the front of my mind, but also for knowing which ones to delete and not have present; something I had not done in the past.

    D) Definitely the classes orientated around different and helpful source types, such as the class for Newspapers in the library as well as the different recommendations such as EThOS. This helped me narrow down where to find the sources I would actually find helpful for a less broad topic. In addition, the last class when we discussed an example of a full dissertation was both insightful and enjoyable, as it provided a ground level for what we are expected to produce.

  9. A) During the process of coming up with my dissertation I did meet several obstacles. Firstly although I came into the module with a general idea of the area I wanted to study my focus was too broad and I wan’t entirely sure of what I specifically wanted to investigate . Another issue came from differing primary sources from secondary sources, as my topic is so recent there is often overlap between the two.

    B) Meetings with my dissertation supervisor were very beneficial to both of these problems, as my supervisor was able to guide me in the right direction and informed me when the topic may have been too broad. Secondary material was also beneficial here as reading arguments made surrounding my topic allowed me to narrow my focus, similarly gaps in the literature have me areas to investigate so my dissertation will be able to take a new perspective.

    C) Both of these factors have taught me while approaching my dissertation not to go too broad with my investigation. I will also further use secondary sources to help emphasis constructed arguments.

    D) The whole module was incredibly helpful to my dissertation as coming into the course I only had a brief idea. Being able to meet with my supervisor was extremely helpful as I was able to discuss the direction I wanted to take my dissertation in. Similarly learning about the different historical approaches from traditional to social history had really allowed me to understand how I want my dissertation to appear. Lastly learning how to find primary sources was extremely helpful along with how to use them by methodology, thus, now I can use the methodologies when researching my dissertation.

  10. a)
    I have not met with any insurmountable problems.
    The only possible problem I face is time management, but that’s not the fault of the teaching. I know the topic I wish to research but have not found the time to study the subject enough. Some people decide what they want to base their dissertation on during the first or second year. But, I needed to attend all the modules for inspiration.
    I am rescheduling my commitments to give myself more time, being a plodder who can only work at one speed. I enjoy learning and writing about history but wouldn’t if I had to work at pace.
    I will need to allocate more time and resources than initially foreseen.
    The Dissertation Proposal Essay is helpful as it shows your strengths and weaknesses. i.e. Literature review: I’m not good at these and don’t enjoy them. Source analysis: I enjoy that and will ultimately be good at it.

    Sessions 5 & 6 are helpful as they illustrate the many strategies for learning history. The same historical events can give different answers depending on your approach.

    The fact that we are each able to call upon the knowledge of an experienced supervisor will increase the chances of achieving a successful outcome for the project.

  11. Final Reflection
    a) What have been the major obstacles you have faced in putting a research project together?
    The main obstacles which I have faced in putting my research project together is deciding on a topic which I know I have to work on for over a year. At the start this of the prep modules this I struggled with this concept as I am known for being indecisive and I also wanted to ensure that I was choosing the right topic for me.
    Another obstacle which I have faced is finding the primary literature. I was able to find many secondary sources especially due to having done the HISUG5 Black people in Britain module which meant I already have a basic understanding for some of the well know literature. However finding the primary sources and resources relating to Walter Tull and the BWIR was quite challenging as I hadn’t had much experience with it.

    b) What strategies have you adopted to overcome these obstacles?
    When choosing my topic I decided to start by doing general research on the areas that I was interested in and then went on to brainstorm ideas for questions and areas which I could discuss. By doing this I was able to identify the topic that really interested me and the one that I wanted to learn more about.
    To overcome the obstacle which I faced of finding primary literature, I used the guidance given to us by through the library session in week 3 and went on to do research using the A-Z resources. This resource made me aware of sources which I didn’t even consider looking for. Another way in which I overcame this obstacle was by going through the well-known secondary literature bibliographies and picking out sources which they used when discussing similar topics.

    c) What has this taught you about approaching your dissertation?
    This has taught me that I should go into my project with the attitude that I don’t need to have it all worked out on day 1. The project goes over a long time which will have ups and downs and to ensure that the project is successful I think I should start of being general and then work my way in to being specific. It has also taught me to be patient and not give up on a archive or library just because they don’t have the first source which I search for.

    d) Which aspects of the 9X6 module have been the most useful in helping you get your project ready to start?
    The most useful aspect of the module for me was the week where we had the activity of doing the group blog post where we read each other’s work and gave feedback on it. This session meant that we could work together to try and understand methodology a bit more and also realise that we are all in the same position. Another aspect which was beneficial was when we looked at previous assignments, both the methodology and the proposal essay. This meant that we were able to identify what it really takes to get a high grade and also meant that we were able to see the layout from a real example which was very useful.

  12. a) What have been the major obstacles you have faced in putting a research project together?

    Probably my biggest obstacle was deciding ‘exactly’ what I wanted to do. Even deciding on a broad topic was very difficult – then upon deciding on a broad topic whittling it down to something more focused also presented a problem. The idea of having to pick a single topic that I will be focusing on for the next year was no doubt the most stressful aspect for me.

    b) What strategies have you adopted to overcome these obstacles?

    Conversations with my dissertation supervisor went a long way to helping me choose what I wanted to do.

    c) What has this taught you about approaching your dissertation?

    Take advantage of help offered to you, don’t suffer alone in silence.

    d) Which aspects of the 9X6 module have been the most useful in helping you get your project ready to start?

    Getting to think about primary sources most likely, selection of these could easily make or break your project.

  13. HISU9X6 Final Reflections

    A) The main issue I found when putting my research project together one of the main issues was the availability of relevant literature. Tied to this lack of the availability of historiography, a lot of the literature is relatively dated. Another issue surrounding this research project is a lack of diverse arguments, which is a symptom of one historian dominating the subject with a lack of other historical discussions.

    B) In order to overcome this obstacle, I decided to introduce new themes to my research in order to increase the pool of literature that would be relevant. The library was also a great resource, providing multiple sources that provided great historical context to the research that allowed me to broaden my question and find different literature that is important to the question.

    C) This had helped me improve my time management. It also aided in expanding the main arguments and incorporate secondary arguments into the project. The development of my critical reading process, being able to determine a historian’s arguments, and being able to establish their omissions. Highlighting the need for extensive reading of the literature. The emphasis on methodology was a new experience and its importance to be consciously referred to and mentioned for the dissertation.

    D) The 9X6 had many different useful aspects in preparing me for the dissertation. Information about the benefits and limitations of different types of primary sources. Also presented new perspectives to look at these sources, such as Empiricism and Post-modernism. The methodology essay allowed me to consciously use methods that may have been used before but use them in a more analytical mindset. The most useful aspect of this module is the time given to begin to plan and start refining arguments for the upcoming dissertation.

  14. a) what have been the major obstacles you have faced in putting together this dissertation?

    Being unsure exactly what it was that I wanted to specialise in has certainly been my biggest obstacle in this module. This is closely followed by being stumped in locating recent scholarly literature.

    b)what strategies have you adopted to overcome these obstacles?
    To find what I wanted to specialise in, I sat down and thought about what I could realistically see myself enjoying and having the motivation to research for a year. To overcome the hurdle of a lack of recent literature, I began reading broadly, finding chapters or articles relating to my topic. I also followed the references used in other published works and searched on databases using the date published filter. In addition, my supervisor was also very helpful in pointing me in the right direction.

    c)what has this taught you about how to approach your dissertation?
    It has taught me that there isn’t just one way to write a dissertation, there are various ways. It has also enlightened me on the depth of research I will have to undertake in order to perform well on the dissertation. Furthermore, it has demonstrated to me that the time I have for the disseration is vital and I need to make the most out of all of it.

    d)what aspects of this module have been the most helpful in getting ready to start your dissertation?
    the dissertation proposal has by far been the most helpful thing on the module (despite how difficult i find writing literature reviews), as I will now have a foundation of literature that i am able to consult over summer. The methodology paper also helped me, as i had to consider the best approach to take for potential dissertation ideas and also the way in which i wanted to carry it out.

  15. Inputting my research project together, one of the major obstacles I faced following selecting my topic was understanding the period from which I was working. Before starting HISU9X6, I wished to create an understanding of homosexuality across the course of the century – following this module, I can understand why that would be a huge undertaking, and the dissertation is not quite the place to tackle such an overwhelming project.

    To overcome this obstacle, I spoke, first, to my tutor about a time period across this part of the century that I thought might be interesting and was advised against it, instead to reapproach and think on it. So, I turned to plenty of secondary sources and where some of the major changes were to what I was hoping to look at and how this affected social history and the perception of homosexuality. Returning with a detailed understanding of what I wished to discuss and why was much more fulfilling and helped me understand what my dissertation would be and how to base it within a solid timeframe.

    This has taught me that, when I am writing my dissertation, I ought to take a step back and look at the entirety of the time period as a whole – what was happening at the time contextually. My writing should reflect a solid understanding of what I am speaking about both within primary sources’ eyes and from a secondary point of view surrounding the outside. I feel much more comfortable approaching my chosen topic across the summer and feel I can be much more effective with my time and what exactly I am researching and why.

    HISU9X6 has taught me a great deal about starting my dissertation correctly. I feel exceptionally prepared for a summer of research and the formation of my dissertation. The aspects of this module that have proven to be the most useful were, in my opinion, the session which was held within the library in which we were shown how we can access both secondary and primary literature, as this opened a wide array of materials to me that I was uncertain if I could even access, such as government proceedings minutes, and official copies of the document from said government decisions. I also found how the methodology report and dissertation proposal essay were prepared incredibly helpful, as I felt it gave us a great deal of understanding of what was expected of us instead of leading us through blindly. It was an incredible opportunity to fully understand both what we were expected to write and how we could improve our writings to reflect what was presented before us within our own projects.

  16. The biggest obstacle I found at the beginning of this module was determining how to formulate an achievable dissertation topic, it was not something I had thought about before and I was unaware of what areas I would want to consider as my interests tend to be quite broad, but I seldom engage with a topic in enough depth to find a full understanding. I also had a habit of overpreparing for essays, eating into time needed to write the essay by reading to widely and without enough focus. This left a tendency to panic write as I no longer had time to formulate and redraft my essay rigorously. Throughout this module I have adopted a more stringent method for determining whether a text is useful and relevant to the topic at hand, taking the time to actually assess a piece before reading it has been incredibly useful and saved more time than it’s lost me. This has also made me better at staying on topic and has improved my time management when working on essays. This relates to the essay as I have learned it’s more important to focus research rather than engage with less relevant works that may only contain some useful information or arguments. In approaching the dissertation, it is important to be more judicious in what I actually engage with and to read work in an order of relevance building a foundation in the topic before learning more specific but less significant information. The most useful aspect of the module has been the focus on methodology. I’ve generally been repelled by theoretical thinking of any kind and have avoided actually researching this as an area of study. By actually forcing me to engage with theory I’ve been able to remove this block. In addition, I’ve gained new skills in acquiring primary sources and have achieved a more streamlined process for finding new one. These have been incredibly helpful in expanding my skillset prior to my dissertation. It’s also improved my confidence by giving me a jumping off point to work with.

  17. a) One of the major obstacles I found when putting my research project together was thinking of a direction to take my dissertation. I started with such a broad topic, and trying to find more focus in the research made it apparent that I needed to think more about what I wanted to achieve with the research. Another aspect was trying to make my topic more unique in the field of research, so I know that I can justify my work. Knowing how to focus my research and have reasons to explain why I would use particular sources for my work.
    b) To tackle any obstacles I had at the beginning of my research, I have focused on secondary literature with similar discussion points. This has allowed me to see where gaps appear in study to help me focus on what I would like to discuss further within my project.
    c) There is so much preparation and planning to be done for this to begin. I understand that it will take time, and I need to set personal deadlines to keep on track with my work. I have also become more aware of different approaches to work, and I need to take advantage of all available sources.
    d) The module has helped me immensely in many aspects. Being given information on the planning of when to do secondary reading and when to move on to primary research was helpful as the year ahead had been very daunting. This module and assistance from my supervisor have been beneficial in knowing how to start the approach to constructing my proposal and moving forward.

  18. a) What have been the major obstacles you have faced in putting a research project together?
    A difficulty I’ve faced with the research project is having to become familiar with reading work and the historical period I’m looking at. The tonal and vocabulary differences that exist between today and the 18th century are notable and requires immersing yourself in the time and language coupled with missing lots of contextual clues and implied messages that are rife and would be completely understood by a Victorian reading them.
    b) What strategies have you adopted to overcome these obstacles?
    Taking a rigorous contextual methodology to primary sources is important but is useless without copious and in-depth reading about what’s happening at the time to people in Britain and around the world. This in-depth approach helps counteract the alienness of some language in the sources and over time breeds familiarity with working with primary sources.
    c) What has this taught you about approaching your dissertation?
    That without sufficient reading a dissertation would be missing the context that makes analysis worth reading. Without sufficient background reading to understand the references and writings of Victorians or any historical culture so much nuance would be missing from a dissertation. This coupled with the necessity of secondary reading to help bridge the gap in understanding these slightly to modern eyes oddly written sources is essential.

    d) Which aspects of the 9X6 module have been the most useful in helping you get your project ready to start?

    Giving good ideas on where to start and helping to narrow down topics and where to focus on the best reading for them was really important. Starting a literature review as well as a great template for reviewing historical work for the dissertation in the future as it has given the foundations of a system to keep track of secondary sources going forward.

  19. I believe I have made some good progress in my dissertation, as I have been able to collect several secondary sources. both online and in written format. I have also created a study plan for the summer, I intend to read my secondary sources, while also organising a journey to the National Archives in London to access primary sources. However, some obstacles have appeared while carrying out research, one of these being a lack of primary sources that relate to Special Operations Executive (SOE). This is because the documents are classified, or in other cases have been destroyed by the SOE to secure secrecy of the organisation. It is difficult to counter this obstacle, but one way is to find primary sources of the event from the German or Norwegian perspective. However, this brings difficulties, such as if the source has not been translated. Another strategy is to focus on SOE as a whole and find evidence of their tactics in other European Countries, and when reading secondary sources of SOE events in Norway, evaluate if the same tactics were applied. However, I believe primary sources of the SOE might be difficult to acquire, and the secondary sources relate to the more important actions of the SOE, such as the attack on the Heavy Water Plant, as there have been books and documentaries written on this.

    This dissertation has taught me that there is more than one approach that can be used when reading sources, instead of using the traditional content analysis. The option of using Visual Material, Archival research and using technology for digital maps to understand where certain events took place, such as Operation Archery. By using maps, you can understand where the event is situated in both Norway and Britain, what kind of terrain it is, and using primary sources, roughly locate where defences would have been.

    I believe overall the module has helped me with my dissertation, as at the beginning of the module I had many topics that I wanted to do but could not decide on which one. But as the module continued and I learned of the different methodologies, approaches and having had discussions with Dr Ian Cawood, I was able to pick a topic that I had not originally considered, and as the module comes to an end, I believe that it has put me in a suitable position to continue with my research using the skills and techniques that have been taught to me within this module.

  20. a) What have been the major obstacles you have faced in putting a research project together?

    The major obstacles for putting together my research project have been gathering all of the relevant data together for it. My project combines aspects of heritage, history, and film studies and due to this, I have had to branch out of my usual areas of knowledge when looking for secondary and third-party sources for material.
    I have also reached out to organisations such as Historic Environment Scotland and the National Trust for more material to work with and it has sometimes been slow to come back to me or difficult to find the right people to ask.

    b) What strategies have you adopted to overcome these obstacles?

    Using lists and writing down what I need to do and in what time frame I need to do it in has been a great help for me in organising my workload.
    Discussions with my supervisor and being able to get his expertise on what areas to look into for relevant material has also been very helpful in pointing out places to look that I may not have thought of.
    I am also trying to focus on secondary sources for my research before I really begin to drill down into the subject as I feel I need a good base of knowledge for the disciplines before I start more focused work.

    c) What has this taught you about approaching your dissertation?

    I have learned that I need to be much more focused on my question and try not too have too broad a topic, otherwise it is very difficult to find any relevant data for a dissertation. With that said, I also know that I need a broad knowledge of the subjects to be able to talk authoritatively about them and as such I need to do a lot of primary and secondary reading over the summer to give myself the best chance of writing a compelling and relevant dissertation.

    d) Which aspects of the 9X6 module have been the most useful in helping you get your project ready to start?

    The course has helped me to remain focused on a topic and given me a lot of material to study in order to write a proper academic piece of work.
    I found that I was struggling with finding relevant materials for my dissertation but throughout the course I have been pointed at good sources and methodologies that have helped me to further my reading and studies.

  21. I think I have progressed well during this module, particularly in my research skills. Before this module I was concerned I would not be able to find enough sources on my topic, but I have been reassured due to the new tools and places I have been taught that provide sources. I am now more confident in my topic knowing there is plentiful historiography for me to utilise. The methodology techniques I have learnt in this module have put me in a good place in terms of understanding the importance of how I go about analysing sources. To further my research I have created a word document where I have been adding all the sources and historiography I come across that I feel is useful and analyse them. This organisation on the word document is becoming more and more useful as it grows as it is easy for me (and my supervisor) to track my progress and view my interpretations of the literature I have found.

    Due to my study being interdisciplinary I began to worry that I would begin to feel confused with the amount going on within one topic, however my supervisor has kept me on the right track and the methodologies have ensured I approach each source in a manner i feel is correct. During the methodology paper i thought that I had to pick only one type of methodology to apply to my study, but my supervisor cleared up this worry and made me aware of the interdisciplinary nature of this study and since then I have gained my confidence in continuing my research.

    Overall, the module has set me up with numerous skills i will keep using over my summer when adding more and more sources to the word document i mentioned earlier. Hopefully by continuing to work over the summer i am in a good place to begin writing in 4th year and i will not have forgotten the valuable skills this module has taught me.

  22. The major obstacles which I have encountered thus far with conducting my research project was identifying the rough ideas of what I would like to discuss within my dissertation. It was difficult to narrow down the factors which I was most interested in which led to the fall of the Anglo-Saxon defences. I found it difficult to come up with specific objectives which would help to measure my progress of the dissertation. This was difficult as I didn’t know what useful section/information would be measurable to begin with. Finally, I found it hard to identify more of the primary sources which I will be using to carry out my dissertation. I found this particularly difficult in the beginning as I didn’t know what would have been most useful for the period. there were many sources which could have been mentioned in my proposal however, I narrowed it down but still have others which will be further explored and used for my dissertation.
    To overcome these obstacles, I continued to read journal articles and books which helped me to identify the areas which I would further discuss and identify areas which there was not a lot of literature written about. i found that thinking more thoroughly about my aims and what I would hope to do whilst carrying out my dissertation has helped me to identify what objectives would be viable for this research project. When identifying primary evidence, I had a look to see what other authors and researchers used when discussing this topic. This allowed me to identify what was the most used and reliable evidence that I could discuss and analyse throughout my dissertation.
    I feel I have a far greater understanding of what I need to do over summer to help me fully prepare to write it when we return to uni in September. The work which I have done so far has helped me to be ready to study and what specifically will be helpful to include.
    The 9X6 module has been extremely helpful in setting me up to carry out my dissertation next semester. I feel that it has given me clear direction which I need to focus on in my study and eventually writing. Before this module, I had not thought about my dissertation but after carrying out the module, it has helped me to find a topic which prior to studying, I did not know much about.
    Overall, it has set me up comfortably in identifying areas which I need to study, how I will study and where is a great place to look for the sources and support I need to complete my dissertation next semester.

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