Research Methods in the Humanistic Study of Science, Technology, Medicine, and Health

This research seminar course introduces research postgraduate (MPhil and PhD) students to the key concepts and practices in the humanistic study of science, technology, medicine, and health. By drawing on methods and theories from history, anthropology, and other related disciplines, students will develop command of the skills to pursue their chosen topic of research. The course focuses on translating research principles into practical skills that support the research process at its various stages. Areas covered include: defining research goals; planning a research strategy; using research resources effectively; organizing primary research materials; writing and dissemination.

The course aims to familiarize students with the key research skills required to successfully pursue independent research in the humanistic study of science, technology, medicine, and health. Students will understand the process of pursuing research, from the formulation of research questions and projects, through the carrying-out of archival and ethnographic research, to writing up and the preparation of publications. Students will also understand the principles guiding humanities research in general, and research in the humanistic/social study of science, technology, medicine, and health in particular, and demonstrate their application in their own work.

On completing the course, students will be able to:

1. Define the aims and methodology of their own research, defend its validity, and articulate the nature of its contribution to the field.

2. Write a research proposal.

3. Carry out research using a wide range of resources, including, but not limited to: bibliographic databases, library collections, archives, interview and ethnographic data.

4. Understand how to combine information derived from primary sources with concepts and theories derived from secondary scholarly texts.

5. Demonstrate an understanding of the requirements of writing up primary research notes as examinable or publishable texts.