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.