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Heritage Resources Management (HERM) 512
Advanced Methods in Heritage Research

Revision 1 closed, replaced by current version.

Delivery mode: Grouped study.

Credits: 3

Prerequisite: None.

Centre: Centre for Integrated Studies

Program: Graduate Diploma in Heritage Resources Management


Research is basic to all heritage activity. Without detailed knowledge and understanding of the past, it is impossible to develop useful and accurate interpretive programs or to preserve and promote heritage resources. Because heritage resources are so varied, research strategies and methodology are equally varied. This course offers understanding of the place of research in heritage preservation. On successful completion of this course, you will have knowledge of, and an appreciation for, the techniques and methods crucial to research projects that support a range of heritage activities

Course Structure

HERM 512 introduces you to some of the central issues, sources, and skills for heritage research. The course is made up of ten units, and requires you to do a number of readings and assignments.

  • Unit 1: The Big Picture: Perspectives on Heritage Research and the Public
  • Unit 2: Getting Started: Planning a Research Project; Finding and Accessing Documentary Sources
  • Unit 3: Documentary Sources: Evaluating and Interpreting Text Primary Records
  • Unit 4: Documentary Sources: Examining Pictorial Records
  • Unit 5: Oral History: The Document and the Research Method
  • Unit 6: Material Culture: Artifact-based Research and Interpretation
  • Unit 7: Material Culture: Archaeological Resources and Heritage Research
  • Unit 8: Architectural Heritage Resources: Documenting, Researching, and Interpreting Buildings
  • Unit 9: The Resources of Place: Researching and Interpreting Landscapes
  • Unit 10: Putting It All Together: A Case Study in Heritage Research

Course Objectives

HERM 512: Advanced Research Methods introduces students to some of the formative issues and practices in heritage research. After completing the course, you should be able to:

  • Evaluate the multifaceted role and associated challenges of research  in the multidisciplinary field of heritage resources management.
  • Demonstrate evaluative skills in selecting and assessing research sources, verifying evidence, and summarizing findings.
  • Plan and undertake comprehensive historical research on a given topic, using a variety of source types and methodologies, and synthesizing your findings in an appropriate format.
  • Demonstrate good interview skills and knowledge appropriate for oral history interviews.
  • Demonstrate collaborative skills and knowledge appropriate to research in a collegial team environment.

Course Evaluation

Your final mark in HERM 512 will be based on your grades on four assignments and participation in online discussion forums:

Assignment Weight
Participation in online discussions
Assignment 1: Research Plan Overview
Assignment 2: Oral History Interview
Assignment 3: Material Culture Analysis and Evaluation
Assignment 4: Final Project

Course Materials

Textbooks/Resource Materials

Northwest Women’s History Project. Good Work, Sister! Women Shipyard Workers of World War II: An Oral History. Portland: Northwest Women’s History Project, 1982, 2006. (DVD, 20 minutes).

Athabasca University Materials

The course print materials also include a reading file.

The course electronic materials include

  • A course Moodle home page
  • A Digital Reading Room
  • An online Student Manual
  • An online Course Information File
  • A Study Guide

Students are encouraged to browse the Athabasca University’s library website to review the Library’s collection of journal databases, electronic journals and digital reference tools.