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Learn to conduct your own research using archives and library collections.

Explore the remarkable Special Collections and Museum Collections of the University of Aberdeen. Investigate the Aberdeen City and Shire Archives to hone your skills. Find out how to access online materials relevant to your research, how archives are structured and gain training in family history research.

You’ll learn to address issues you might encounter using overseas archives and develop your transcription skills. Under the expert guidance of award-winning online tutors, you’ll ready yourself to conduct research in archives at home and abroad.

What will I study?

You’ll study the key skills required to conduct research in archival and library collections at graduate level.

You’ll cover the following modules on your course:

  • What is an archive? Local resources.
  • What is an archive? Scotland, the UK and overseas.
  • The museum sector: object-led research.
  • Speaking the word: using oral testimony.
  • The young, the poor and the sick: using education, welfare and health records.
  • Family history research: identifying the sources.
  • Family history research: deploying the sources.
  • Medieval archives & sources: Aberdeen Burgh Records.
  • Palaeography.
  • Reading the rural landscape: The Bennachie Landscapes project.
  • Reading the landscape of conflict: Aberdeen at war.

By the end of this course, you will…

  • Be able to handle manuscript and printed archival materials.
  • Know how to navigate a variety of cataloguing systems to find relevant sources.
  • Appreciate the role of archival research in scholarly work.
  • Understand the ethical issues relating to accessing and using sensitive materials.
  • Be able to undertake some transcription of manuscript material.
  • Be prepared to deploy archival sources in researching and writing a dissertation.

Why study archival research online with the University of Aberdeen?

How will I study?

Approaches to Research is a 15-week short course, delivered 100% online. You can study with us anywhere in the world and manage your own study hours to suit you.

Part of our Masters in Scottish Heritage, this course is taught at Masters level. You’ll learn from experienced researchers and academics from our History and History of Art departments.

Online teaching

Your teaching is delivered through MyAberdeen, our online Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). It holds all the materials, tools and support you’ll need in your studies. Take a look around MyAberdeen.

You can access your learning materials on computer, smartphone and laptop, 24 hours a day. You’ll find a range of resources at your fingertips, including online:

  • lectures
  • videos and audio clips
  • quizzes
  • reading materials
  • resources of our award-winning Sir Duncan Rice Library
  • discussion boards with classmates and tutors.

Archive access

You’ll enjoy access to a rich stream of written, visual and oral source materials from within the University and across Scottish archives.

You’ll have online access to our remarkable Special Collections, Museum Collections and Sir Duncan Rice Library. Here you’ll explore ancient Scottish records, manuscripts, prints, photographs and literary collections of leading Scottish writers and poets. Treasures include a large Jacobite collection, works of the Scottish Enlightenment, and one of best collections of Sir Walter Scott’s work.

Your course coordinator

Professor Marjory Harper is a Professor of History. She’s travelled the world researching Scottish emigration.

Her work in this field has led to appearances on BBC Radio 4 and Radio Scotland and a Saltire Scottish History Book of the Year award. Listen to Marjory on Radio 4.

Marjory holds an Excellence in Teaching award for her innovative and supportive online teaching.

Where will this take me?

Build your learning

You’ll earn 30 credits at Masters level (SCQF Level 11) with this course. It’s one of several Scottish Heritage short courses that we offer online:

You can use the credits you earn on each of these courses towards our innovative:

Masters in Scottish Heritage

Delve deeper into Scotland’s history with our online MLitt Scottish Heritage. Study anywhere in the world, with flexible hours to fit around your work or personal commitments.

Find out more about credits.

Am I ready?

You’ll normally have at least a 2:1 (upper-second-class) degree in an appropriate discipline, or equivalent qualifications (normally a 3.0 GPA in North America).

Don’t worry if you don’t hold these specific qualifications, we value real-world experience too. Alternative qualifications combined with relevant professional experience and supportive references may also be considered for entry.

For this course, you’ll apply through our Applicant Portal. It allows you to upload relevant qualifications and documents, which our admissions team will then review. If you don't have a formal degree qualification, you can submit a supporting personal statement via the Applicant Portal. Read How to apply via our Applicant Portal for all you need to know.

You need to apply by the course start date to ensure you are enrolled in time.

Apply for this course

Start date
28 September 2020