Final Reflection – Shane Kelly

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

The biggest major obstacle would be the methodology aspect. In the beginning I struggled to grasp the different concepts of the research methods themselves, such as ‘lingustic analysis’. I would also add is the obvious COVID-19 restrictions, whilst planning my research I had to ensure that my research could be conducted entirely online. Thirdly would be the amount of reading expected could be heavy at times, when all modules are considered together.

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

Firstly, the reading provided on Gunn & Faire offered a lot of clarity on these different researching methods and theories, this helped me overcome this obstacle. Secondly, the COVID-19 restrictions can be of little hinderance due to the availability of primary source material that has been digitised and uploaded online. However, it would still be beneficial if the restrictions were (hopefully) lowered by next semester, therefore the use of archives can help with research and documents that are not accessible online. Thirdly, I have had to become much better organised, at times I would skim my reading in order to dedicate my time towards other modules that have more trickier reading.

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

Firstly, approaching my dissertation I will make use of the readings provided through this module such as Gunn & Faire, and also those other historians such as Walker. Secondly, pproaching my dissertation I am aware that a significant part of my dissertation will require online research, therefore the COVID-19 restrictions should bare little hinderance, however make use of archives if they are available. Thirdly, approaching my dissertation I am aware that there will be heavy amounts of reading involved, therefore this year could be good practice in preparation for next year.

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

The first assignment was useful as Dr. Cawood provided useful feedback and explained that my research topic was not exactly clear and had to be narrowed down and stick to what I have choosen. After receiving this feedback it was clear to me on what I had to focus on. The classes were also useful, immediately before this module I had no idea what my research project would be, however after being told to do general reading on history and to approach a topic that is quite original, I had no issues. On top of that my supervisor was a great help in guiding me to narrowing down my topic area.

Jordan Scott – Blog post reflection 

Jordan Scott – Blog post reflection 


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

Before my initial research into primary sources, I was aware of the difficulties that may occur due to the scarcity of the sources. During the research period, I was not shocked at the difficulties of acquiring information from medieval chronicles and sagas. Reading into the historiography was a difficult task as there are multiples theories, contradictions, and criticisms throughout the literature. Though this was necessary to eradicate false claims and bias from past scholars.  


What strategies have you adopted to overcome these obstacles? 

Firstly, addressing the vertical and horizontal methods of conversion and finding the literature to support my answer was a concerning obstacle of mine. From researching the independent factors of conversion, I established the factors I wanted to analyse and discuss (e.g., political, geographical, societal economic, and religious) From doing this I find my reading skills have improved from analysing such literature. This has also improved my proofreading in the process. I find my methods of accessing such literature have also improved by finding new sites containing academic literature. 


What has this taught you about approaching your dissertation? 

The use of relevant sources cornering the context of Norway at the time is vital for me giving a correct narrative of the history in my dissertation. Consistent research into both primary and secondary sources must be achieved to eradicate unproved facts and events that may influence my argument in the wrong way. I must use appropriate methodological approaches in order to gather the information. The use of textual analysis, comparative and oral history theories are all important to achieve this. 


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

Overall, I am thankful for the support and learning experiences from the lecturer and tutors who supported me in finding my question and assisting in any way they could. The module goals were very clear in every aspect of creating and planning a dissertation. I also learned new approaches to my dissertation from the set assignments and reading blog posts from other students.  

Final Reflection

Reflection Post – Chloe Fergus
A) What have been the major obstacles you have faced in putting a research project together?
– The obvious major obstacle has been with libraries being shut due to Covid-19 restrictions as well as the Stirling library not holding the required books.
– Having to meet with tutors online has also been somewhat challenging due to technical difficulties but I also feel that in-person conversations offer more clarity and are more engaging.
– Having to somewhat narrow down my question and not stray from my topic or try and take on too much.

B) What strategies have you adopted to overcome these obstacles?
– I have been fortunate, and my assigned tutor sent me over some e-books. Due to libraries being closed and the university not stocking my required books, it has encouraged me to look wider for resources and I managed to obtain articles/ebooks online that I originally thought I would only be able to find in the national library.
– Regarding meeting with my tutor, I have been writing out questions prior to get the most out of online meetings as I can. Also, my tutor has been very friendly and approachable, and I have been able to email them with queries to aid in my understanding and make me feel more confident in approaching my proposal.
C) What has this taught you about approaching your dissertation?

– That organisation is key, and I need to have contingency plans in place in case I am unable to access the national library for material.
– That maintaining regular contact with my tutor is important as they can offer insights or advice I do not know about and that I should not worry about asking for help and in fact reach out for guidance as needed.

D) Which aspects of the 9X6 module have been the most useful in helping you get your project ready to start?
– The module as a whole has been useful in helping me get my dissertation project started and has made me feel more comfortable with the process. Being given rough dates for when the first chapter will be due, and the penultimate deadline is useful for me setting personal targets. Also, being able to look at previous students work has been helpful and seeing what merits a first result has been beneficial. Furthermore, submitting the annotated bibliography near the beginning of the semester has been useful in looking back upon and aided in the methodology paper and dissertation proposal as it already outlined a good base of knowledge on sources, therefore this was a very helpful task.

Final Reflections – Molly McAllister

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

I knew I wanted to discuss the important theme of conversion to Christianity  during my research but I had to make sure I placed this within a relevant historical context in order to meet the criteria for a history dissertation. Also, the dissertation topic was a bit vague so I had to remedy this. Additionally, I also struggled understanding methodology and choosing one.

What strategies have you adopted to overcome these obstacles?

Through detailed research of a variety of sources I have placed my dissertation in the time period of the 10th century Iceland. This therefore set my dissertation in a key historical context and make my topic more relevant to events today which helped when it came to justifying my topic. I did further readings about methodology to consider what one would be the most suitable and that helped to consolidate my understanding as well.

I utilised the sources given in this module such as JSTOR which is good database for sources, this provided a lot of sources that could not be accessed on the online university catalogue so this really helped collate evidence for my findings.

What has this taught you about approaching your dissertation?

Through the systematic ways of first finding a research question suitable, and researching the appropriate methodology in order to have a strong core base for my dissertation in order to produce a higher standard and quality of work overall.

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

The supervisor meetings I felt were the most helpful in assisting my starting point of my dissertation and then throughout the module in a means to aid my concerns in the research topic overall. Additionally, the lectures which outlined various different parts such as how to find a research question helped to consolidate my understanding of how I was to go about starting research for my dissertation topic as a whole.

Alice Pearson – Final Reflections

  1. The most difficult aspect of preparing for my dissertation is narrowing my topic down into one that is more plausible. As well as this, I have found it more difficult than expected to understand methodology and how to use it when planning my dissertation. I have also been surprised by the amount of secondary reading to be done in preparation for writing about my dissertation.
  2. I have managed my time well in order to be more realistic about how much my dissertation can cover. By doing so I have been able to narrow down the time period that I am able to cover and the range of events, too. Breaking down tasks into sections made them more manageable – especially when it came to secondary reading around the topic.
  3. I have learnt that approaching my dissertation requires good planning to allow plenty of time for exploring my topic in every way I would like to. I have also learnt not to be too ambitious in what I would like to cover in my dissertation.
  4. Speaking with my supervisor during the course of this module has been the most useful in getting my ideas straight and planning what exactly my dissertation will cover. I also think that the assignments were very helpful in building up knowledge of the previous literature in the field. Understanding methodology was also useful in preparing for my project because I have a better idea of how methodology can improve my research. Finally, I feel much more confident about my dissertation that at the beginning of the module, and have a clearer idea of how my project will be completed over the next year.

Module reflection

Due to the current climate there have been several issues in regards to choosing my dissertation topic. Keeping in mind that I would have limited resources and these would be restricted to online materials this has been at the forefront of my mind whilst picking a topic. In addition, the restrictions put in place with regards to library access has prevented a private place of study that is required for high quality learning. This brings forward the obstacle of everyday home life which can often cause obstructions.


In order to overcome these obstacles i have been using a variety of the university’s materials and kept to jstor as well as online archives in order to gain as much primary insight as possible. As well as the issue of at home struggles this was dealt by with a strict routine and a private learning space.


As the pandemic has changed the course itself this has forced the way i approach university in a whole other light. However, in another way it has made the subject of the dissertation easier to narrow down as again i was limited more due to not being able to physically access materials. This has also allowed me to strip back the dissertation topic choices previously outlined.


As a whole I believe that the module has been very useful in creating the starting steps towards my final dissertation. Prior to this module the thought of starting a dissertation seemed very daunting and there was a certain type of restriction in the way in which this would have started. However this module has given me the opportunity to see the dissertation stripped back as a whole and has allowed me to take time to decided on the topic of choice and given that this module is a year before the final dissertation is due I have the chance to use the time given well.


Final Reflection Post – Shannon Murphy

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

I think trying to decide exactly what to focus on and how to go about discussing my topic has been an obstacle for me. From conducting more research, my ideas and questions on the historical issue changed every time and sometimes made it hard to focus on one thing. I learned from the methodology paper that I was focussing on too many different issues at the one time and analysing issues together that should be looked at separately. As well as this, trying to wrap my head around methodology and how to use it in my dissertation was really complex and I struggled with this. However, I think from completing the dissertation proposal it is starting to make a lot more sense to me. Lastly, I think trying to find relevant primary sources online has been a lot harder than expected.

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

Planning everything out properly has helped me to overcome these. I think at the start I was stressing myself out by not effectively planning exactly what I wanted to say, what questions I had and what sources I plan to use. I done a lot more reading and research for the dissertation proposal and this made my understanding of the topic a lot clearer. Also, I have read a lot more into collective biographical analysis and decided that this is the easiest way to get access to memoirs and diaries for my specific topic.

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

It has taught me to plan effectively and read as much secondary material as possible. Taking time to read multiple sources and understand the wider debates and scholars perspectives has helped me bring together my dissertation aims and objectives. By doing this, it has also made me raise questions on the topic and what needs to be discussed more at length.

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

Selecting and meeting with a supervisor has been very effective. It is definitely important to have an early start on such an important and lengthy project as it will make the process easier and less stressful. I feel a lot more content that I have a good idea of exactly what angle I want my dissertation to take.

Final Reflections – Antony Mcfadyen

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

One issue I faced when putting my research together was the vast amount of knowledge, I would need to sieve through to assure I found correct and relevant information for my topic.

What strategies have you developed to overcome these?

The strategies I have used to overcome the problem of an overload of sources have been to further develop my critical reading. In doing so I will be able to take a critical textual approach to my research and be able to assure the information obtained is accurate. Meeting with my supervisor to go over information would prove useful as well when facing this issue as I can question if I am going down the right route.

What has this taught you about approaching your dissertation?

This has taught me that I will need a vast number of primary and secondary sources, putting a large amount of time towards reading and analysing before sitting down to write my dissertation. I have also realised that I will need to better manage my time so to allow myself enough time to look for a suitable amount.

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

I found the breaking down of the dissertation process throughout the seminars have been useful and will set me up well for approaching next year’s dissertation. The module has also highlighted how much work I will need to put in for my dissertation, especially when looking for source material. Having previous student’s work to look at and break down within seminars was also extremely useful as it would be a template for the standard and the direction our work should be going in.

Alex Patterson. Final Reflection Blog Post.

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

It was difficult to tie down a relevant and unique dissertation topic and argument. This was because the Scottish Wars of Independence has already been exhaustively covered by many historians.

Having chosen an area of Scotland – Moray – to study, there is a lack of Primary material from the time period. Of which, only some has been translated into english. A final issue, once having chosen Moray, is that there is not a a definitive definition of what, geographically, Moray looked like.


What Strategies have you adopted to overcome these obstacles?


Sitting down with my supervisor, Michael Penman, helped me move away from the obvious and well researched subjects of William Wallace and Robert the Bruce and pointed me towards a biographical study of an area of Scotland and argue its significance in the Wars of Independence.

Michael Penman directed me towards online archives that will help with primary material that will give more information about Moray. This will mainly involve taking a small amount of information from each source and use numerous sources. The language barrier will be hard to overcome accurately. The use of a basic translate platform will allow me to get an idea of what the source is talking about.


What has this module taught you about your dissertation?


This module has taught me that reading, more reading, and further reading will be key to a good dissertation. Without the sample dissertation, it would not have been clear the amount of reading that will be needed. It has taught me that I will need to, restrictions permitting, need to travel up to Moray to undertake in person research of the area. Finally the module has taught me that setting deadlines for stages of my dissertation will be important instead of having an overall deadline for the dissertation submission.


Which aspect of the 9X6 module have been the most useful in helping you get your project together?


I have found the breakout rooms very helpful in getting ideas and perspectives of how to tackle each part of writing a dissertation. They were also very useful for discussing our dissertations as a whole, time permitting; which gave me confidence that I was on the right track. The module has given me greater examples and insight on how to find and access resources for the dissertation. Previously, my coursework research has been limited to the Stirling University Library.

Cameron Scott – Final Reflection

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

Initially finding an area of research about Napoleon was an obstacle because there has been so much work done. I knew that I wanted to do something related to him or to the period but finding a topic that could be done without reusing other people’s work was challenging.

Another obstacle perhaps was that I found myself spending time looking at primary sources for my topic aiming to see if there was enough for the project. However, looking back now this seems like a waste of time beyond the initial search to confirm that there was enough.

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

Talking with my supervisor helped a great deal in overcoming any problems I had. Then using the Bibliography of British and Irish History Online was probably the most useful in narrowing down my topic and finding an area where I could look at. I also think that the assignments examples were very useful as both were types of essay’s that I had not attempted before.

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

I think that it has made me aware of necessary historiography necessary in even just picking a topic. Therefore for the actual dissertation, I will need to comprehensively understand the literature available, something that I think I have begun with the proposal essay but not finished.

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

The parts covering methodology were particularly useful as it was to me personally the most difficult part to understand. Also, I think that the lecture given at the start of the module by the librarian, I think it was, was very useful in pointing me towards the subject guides page on the portal which I have been going back to throughout this module and will continue to for the rest of the dissertation I imagine.