Emily Nisbet – Final Reflection

a) The biggest obstacle has of course been the pandemic. Although there is a lot of material online there are a few things that I would really like to read or have access to that are only available in places that are either closed just now or I just can’t get to until the restrictions lift. 

b) To overcome this I have tried to just make the best use of the material that I can access and have used the different filters on sites like JSTOR, or on the library catalogue to only show things that are available online. That way I am not wasting time having to wade through search results showing material that can only be accessed in person. I have a document on my laptop which is just a list of things that I want to read or I think will be useful to read, and anytime I am on a site like JSTOR reading something I have a look at the suggested articles and add anything that looks like it has potential to that list. So now I have a list of material to work through that is all available online. 

c) This has taught me a lot about the quickest ways to find the most suitable material – in this case, e-journals and e-books. It has shown me to use the time before libraries etc. open up to read as much of the online material as I can. By doing that, when libraries do open up I give my full attention to those sources that are only available in person. If there is still going to be restrictions on quarantining material or how long you can spend in the library then I need to be well organised and use that time as effectively as possible. 

d) I think overall the module as a whole has been really helpful and I feel well-prepared to get a lot of work done over the summer. I think it has given me the momentum and motivation to get my research well underway. Having to think about my methodology and what I actually want to achieve has been really helpful because now I will know just from reading the introduction or the abstract of a source if it is going to be any good for me. If I didn’t know what it was that I was aiming to do then I don’t think I could do that. 

Leah McCallum – Final Reflection

a) The main obstacle that I faced in putting together my research project was being able to narrow the topic down enough so that it wasn’t too broad, at the beginning I didn’t fully understand how difficult it was to come up with a dissertation topic and a question until the methodology paper and trying to find sources that would answer a narrowed down project topic.

b) One strategy that I have developed to overcome these obstacles would be talking to other students who are also struggling to narrow down their topic questions enough to be able to bounce ideas off of each other and help each other come to a narrowed down enough idea to take to our supervisors. Another strategy that I developed would be being in constant contact with my supervisor with my ideas of my topic ideas and sending him any sources that I have come across to make sure that they are credible to use in my dissertation.

c) This module has taught me to make sure I continue the reading and researching for this dissertation throughout the summer to ensure I am not falling behind at the beginning of next semester. This module has also taught me to ensure that I have plenty of access to primary sources online in the event of another lockdown and libraries being closed for access.

d) An aspect of the 9X6 module that has been the most useful in helping getting my project ready to start would be the different stages of the module being focussed on the beginning stages on a research project without making it too complicated to understand. Having tutors that are always available to help with any questions that I may have made it much easier to understand what I was being asked to do in terms of not only the dissertation but also the preparation work that was required.

3: Final Reflection Post – Ross Farmer

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

Quite a significant obstacle that has affected my research was gaining access to certain crucial secondary sources. Although I was available to obtain the vast majority of secondary material myself, specific books and articles which directly pertain to my research topic were either not accessible digitally or through the university library. Finding material to assist in putting a medieval research project that was accessible and instructive was often difficult (Most of materials provided in the module related and aided primarily with modern history).


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

Thanks to the assistance of my supervisor, I was able to source PhD theses that the missing secondary works were based upon. My supervisor was also able to provide certain key articles that he had access to, which have been fruitful in my research. He was able to help me understand on how to approach a medieval research project, answering my questions and providing material that would assist in developing a better understanding of the theory. Outside the help of my supervisor, I would attempt to search for equivalent, or supplemental articles or books that might an alternative which would suffice in place of the original. Locating academic reviews of these inaccessible material also provided insight on the usefulness and strengths/weaknesses of them.


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

Whilst there are numerous online and digital resources available, not everything that would be useful and required for my dissertation was. Ultimately I needed to be creative in order to source as much research material and content that might be of interest for my dissertation. Online repositories such as the Internet Archive and MEMSO have ensured I have all the primary source evidence and research necessary to carry out my dissertation (If restrictions on archive and library visits are not lifted). I have also been given a lot more thought into the methodological approaches that I could utilise in my dissertation. Even though my dissertation covers a medieval topic, I can still consider a number of different methodologies to approach my research; if there is sufficient evidence to use them. Finally, the emphasis on starting as early as possible in gather sources, constructing a bibliography, evaluating methodological approaches has ensured I have construction a strong framework and foundation in order to easily begin my dissertation over the summer.


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

Practical and previous examples of the methodology paper, the dissertation proposal, and a completed dissertation have been extremely fruitful and insightful. These were incredibly helpful in developing approaches and plans for my project, and critically evaluating previous work was useful in obtaining a better understanding of what a dissertation project requires to be successful. In additional to course material, meetings and discussions with my supervisor have been extremely useful in building my project up. Their advice, expertise, and guidance have built up my confidence in my topic, and has prepped me to begin undertaking my dissertation research.


Overall, I am grateful and happy that I had taken this module. Thanks to the work of the module co-ordinator and other staff members, I feel confident in undertaking my dissertation; equipped with the material, knowledge, and skills to tackle the research and develop an approach to structure and write my findings.

Final Reflection – Eilidh Sinclair

Whilst putting my research project together I encountered various obstacles. Firstly, devising my initial question was quite difficult, I had a few ideas but turning them into a suitable project and a question that had good detail and was not too broad I found quite challenging initially. Also, making sure not to recycle ideas was something I was wary of. Secondly, and I’m sure most people have encountered similar issues, was the problem of services being unavailable due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Places where I may gather research, such as libraries and archives have been closed for a long period of time and restrictions will still be in place when they re-open.

To overcome these obstacles, in terms of my initial question; I emailed back and forth with my supervisor who was very helpful and helped to develop my ideas by suggesting different authors and places to look for further analysis. This allowed me to then decide on my final question which was suitable and accepted by my supervisor. In terms of searching for materials given the current situation, I researched online through various archives to see if there was enough digitised materials in the event that physical archives may remain closed for a further period of time.

This module has taught me various aspects of the dissertation and the research project I probably wasn’t aware really existed. Learning how to look for materials and the different methods used to approach these materials has been invaluable, as I am now able to confidently research and know exactly what I am looking for, and how I will use this within my dissertation. The two assignments have also helped me approach my dissertation better as reviewing literature, deciding on a methodology etc has helped form the basis of my project and I feel I am in a good place to continue on myself once university is finished for the summer.

Finally, the most useful aspects of the module to me were the two assignments. They allowed my project to take shape initially with the methodology paper, laying out exactly how I would carry it out and some of the issues previous authors have discussed allowed me to also from the basis of an argument which was really helpful when it came to writing my dissertation proposal which I have found challenging but also has aided in forming an argument by reviewing more sources and setting out my aims and objectives has made the project feel like it is eventually taking shape. The module overall has been very valuable as it has helped to understand more about what the dissertation will consist of and with a year until it is due, having a good start on it in terms of research and reading will prove invaluable when it comes to working on it over the summer and into 4th year.

Rachel Bow- Final Reflective Blog Post!

This module has definitely been very useful in progressing with my dissertation as I started with a completely different topic idea in mind as to what I am now doing!

The biggest obstacle in putting my research project together has definitely been understanding research methodology itself and then finding a methodology that would be best suited to my topic. To overcome these obstacles the meetings with my dissertation supervisor and emailing Ian with any extra questions have been useful. Additionally, messaging other students on the course through group chats, etc has been very helpful. To summarise, I think not being afraid to ask for help when it’s needed is very important to make sure you are on the right track!

In terms of approaching my dissertation, I now understand how important it is to plan every step in advance, making sure you have enough primary and secondary sources as to not get overwhelmed, as this is a massive piece of work.

For me, the most useful part of the 9X6 module was the week on research methodology including the pre-recorded lecture and the seminar, and the meetings with my supervisor. Research methodology is not something I have done previously in university and with it being such an important part of a dissertation that week and those meetings were crucial!

Final reflection

The pandemic may have been an obvious obstacle during this semester, as it has for everyone. But the lack of face to face seminars or meetings has been difficult, as well as ‘everything’ we do is on a screen. It has been helpful for me to put my thoughts and notes on paper, and also hoarding books, rather than reading everything online. In other words; I really miss studying at the library.
The major focus this semester has been to develop my writing skills, and to become more coherent and concise in my writing. My strategy to improve is to continue to read historical writings, and also to recognise feedback given to my assignments, and adapt appropriately.

My plans are to continue to improve my writing and analysis skills so that I can produce a great quality dissertation. I plan to spend my summer researching my chosen topic and methodology needed to create the dissertation of my expectations. To read and analyse arguments made by different scholars concerning the witchcraft topic, and attempt to distinguish a gap in the literature that I can use for my dissertation.

Guidance by reading and picking apart other student’s work has been surprisingly helpful, and also working in groups to hear how other people think has been useful. The lack of reassurance that what I’m doing is correct has been slightly inconvenient, since we’re not able to meet face to face, and communication is restricted to online. Adapting to this has been challenging in some ways. I hope the circumstances of the pandemic can improve so that it is safe to return to campus for education purposes.

Also the reading list of this module has been very helpful!

Final Reflection – Julia Wnuk

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

One of the key obstacles I have found when approaching my research project concerning the coverage of racial violence during the period of the Great Migration and its connection to projecting white supremacist ideology, lies in the multitude of case studies I attempt to examine. It can be easy to get lost in simply retelling the narrative which may offer immediate assumptions but this can lead to drifting away from recognising the broader theoretical framework which encapsulates the evolution of change occurring as a result of these events. Additionally, I will be relying on newspaper and visual aids as my sources which need careful analysis in order of avoiding bias.

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

There are however ways of combatting this. By taking a comparative method when analysing these case studies, I can better recognise the connection they hold to the way in which coverage in the media changed and pin point the reasons why, instead of relying on the assumption that such social change was ‘inevitable’ and unrelated to the influence of media.  Through the application of  a postmodernist theory, a better relationship of the power relations of the intentionality behind publications and editorial choices can be exposed. Moreover, newspapers are an excellent source for understanding the power structures behind them and therefore through close analysis, bias can be overcome.

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

By looking more closely at methodology, I have gained a new perspective on the research of racial discourse. It has taught me to look more intently to the intentionality of the media and the major role it played in facilitating social change.

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

I believe that I have gained a clearer understanding on the variety of methods which can be used for research topics and more importantly, this module has taught me the significance of choosing the most appropriate one as this can impact the success of my study. Lastly, it has made the process of attempting a dissertation seem like a much less daunting task.


Final Reflection

Please reflect on your progress with the dissertation to date 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?

Annotated Bibliography – Jordan Scott

My dissertation will focus on the impacts of conversion in Norway around the year 1000. I aim to discuss a variety of factors that ultimately caused the country to convert to Christianity. The factors I will be focusing on vary from the context of the situation in Norway and the societal, political, religious, and significant implications that caused the conversion to succeed.

Primary Sources:

Winroth, 2014, The Age of Vikings

This primary source provides extensive information on Norse religion as well as several examples of factors that contribute to the argument of how the conversion came to happen.

Anglo Saxon Chronicle

This source provides specific detail about Norse history around the time of the Norweigan conversion. Draws in several factors concerning political-religious pressure.

From Viking Stronghold to Christian Kingdom
State Formation in Norway, C. 900-1350
By Sverre Bagge · 2010
The Viking Age: A reader
Demonstrates the development of the Viking Age from the first foreign raids to the fall of empires. Also provides intensively researched information on high chieftains in Norway as well as the religious status at the time.
Morkinskinna, The Earliest Icelandic Chronicle of the Norweigan Kings (1030-1157)
This saga covers the in-depth information surrounding the high-status chieftains and kings in Norway during their reign and how their actions help influence the nation into conversion.
Secondary Sources:
Modeling religious experience in Old Norse conversion narratives: the case of Óláfr Tryggvason and Hallfreðr vandræðaskald
Abram Christopher
Both sources provide more in-depth information regarding the societal, political, and geographical factors that were happening in the country at the time.

Annotated Bibliography for Blog, Marcus Moller-Jensen

My Dissertation will focus on the influence of Roman writings, on the evolution of medieval warfare. More specifically, at the moment, I will be focussing on how methods and tactics from ancient military manuals that were incorporated into the tactics used by the Byzantine Empire during the early Middle Age period.

Primary Sources

Flavius Vegetius Renatus, ‘De Re Militari (Concerning Military Affairs):the Classic Treatise on Warfare at the Pinnacle of the Roman Empire’s Power’(Leonaur 2012) :

This primary source is a military manual from the Late Roman Period recording the various tactics, disciplines and methods used by the Roman Army during the late republic. The manual itself is considered one of the most influential and widely used military handbooks throughout the middle ages especially by the Byzantine Empire. This source will not only give valuable insight into the structure of the Roman army, but will also allow me to compare it to the military structure of the Byzantine military so that a connection can easily be established.

Maurice’s Strategikon: Handbook of Byzantine Military Strategy (The Middle Age Series), University of Pennsylvania 2001 :

Maurice’s Strategikon is a military handbook created by Emperor Maurice (582-602) that details the military tactics of the Byzantine/East Roman Empire. The purpose of the manual was to combine ancient and modern tactics, drawing on knowledge from the tactics of Ancient Rome, in order to better prepare the future generations of army officers. This source is particularly useful as evidence of Roman writings influencing the future tactics of the byzantine military in the early middle ages.

Taktika of Emperor Leo VI the Wise, Revised Edition (Dumbarton Oaks Texts 2014)

This later Byzantine military manual is heavily influenced by Aelianus Tacticus, a Greek military writer who lived in Rome. Its updated edition in the 10th century, Sylloge Tacticorum, written by Leo’s son Constantine VII draws upon numerous Greek and Roman military techniques. This can be used as another example of Roman writing influencing middle age Byzantium.

Secondary Sources

Keen, Maurice, ed. Medieval Warfare : A History. Oxford: Oxford University Press, Incorporated, 1999. Accessed February 7, 2021. ProQuest Ebook Central.

This source details the evolution of medieval warfare throughout the middle ages, to its end in 1500. It is particularly useful as it mentions that Roman defences were re-used in areas such as Winchester, highlighting an influence from the ancient world. Furthermore, Maurice also mentions that Vegetius’s manual, as mentioned above, was used throughout this time period, thus showing us the legacy of the Roman Army being put to use.

Haldon, John. Warfare, State and Society in the Byzantine World 560-1204. London: Taylor & Francis Group, 1999. Accessed February 7, 2021. ProQuest Ebook Central.

This source details the structure of the Late Roman Army after the Diocletian and Constantine reforms highlighting the change in structure of the Roman army so it could adapt to new challenges regarding the preservation of its borders. Haldon also examines the evolution from the Late Eastern Roman Empire to the Byzantine, accounting for the values, methods and standards that remained and continued throughout this change from the ancient to middle ages. This can be used to shows us how military methods evolved from Roman to Byzantine, allowing us to appreciate the influence that Roman writings had on its successor.

Dahm, Murray. “Learning from the Romans: The Use of Vegetius in the Middle Ages.” Medieval Warfare 5, no. 6 (2016): 50-53. Accessed February 7, 2021. doi:10.2307/48578518.

This article details the influences of Vegetius’s manual throughout the medieval world. What’s useful about this source is the Dahm, gives examples of battles in which the influences of this manual can be seen. This can be used to give a more specific account as evidence of Roman influence.