HUM20040 Primary Source Research in the Humanities A: Exploring UCD Cultural Heritage Collections

Academic Year 2023/2024

The module gives students - as individuals and in groups - the opportunity to work with materials in the UCD Cultural Heritage Collections, particularly UCD Special Collections. Building on basic research skills embedded at Stage One, the module provides structured support to help students develop more advanced skills in primary source research in the Humanities. The module will therefore provide essential scaffolding for the major research project to be undertaken by BA Humanities students in Year 4. The module will alert students to the research opportunities within UCD Cultural Heritage Collections, develop key skills and competencies to fully utilize these resources, and facilitate the students in the development of bold and original dissertation topics using primary sources in later stages of their programme.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

On successful completion of this module students should be able to demonstrate:
1. Knowledge of the UCD Cultural Heritage Collections and the different repositories, collections, and materials preserved there.
2. Primary source literacy, including the ability to name, define, and provide examples of the different kinds of primary sources, and the critical skills of identifying and applying key questions to the interpretation of primary sources.
3. Developing research skills, including the ability to identify, locate and utilize appropriate primary and secondary materials in the analysis of primary sources.
4. Analytical skills, including the abilities to assess the distinctive values and methodologies of different disciplines and critically analyse a range of primary sources within their social, cultural and historical contexts.
5. Group work skills, including working effectively as part of a team, making an equitable individual contribution to group activities and supporting others to do the same, and dealing with difficulties.

Indicative Module Content:

The module will cover topics including:

UCD Cultural Heritage Collections
Primary Source Literacy
Materiality of Objects
Collections and Repositories

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours
Specified Learning Activities


Autonomous Student Learning




Small Group




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
This module will be taught through a series of themed lectures and weekly tutorials where students work in smaller groups. There will be hands-on work with primary sources. 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
HUM20050 - Primary Source Research B

Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade In Module Component Repeat Offered
Assignment: Record of an item in UCD Special Collections Week 7 n/a Graded No


Assignment: Critical reflection on your experience working on the exhibition Week 12 n/a Graded No


Group Project: Glossary of key terms for primary source literacy Week 5 n/a Graded No


Group Project: Exhibition using primary sources from UCD Special Collections Week 12 n/a Graded No



Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Spring No
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, on an activity or draft prior to summative assessment
• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment
• Group/class feedback, post-assessment
• Peer review activities
• Self-assessment activities

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Written feedback will be provided by the teaching team on group and individual assignments. There will be opportunities for informal peer, self and other feedback throughout the semester.

Name Role
Mr Niels Caul Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Assoc Professor Lucy Collins Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Ms Evelyn Flanagan Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Annie Khabaza Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Dr Elizabeth Mullins Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Salome Paul Tutor