Heritage Resources Management (HERM) 512

Advanced Methods in Heritage Research (Revision 5)


View previous revision

Delivery Mode: Individualized study online

Credits: 3

Prerequisite: None

Precluded Course: HERM 312/HIST 316. (HERM 512 may not be taken for credit by students who have obtained credit for HERM 312/HIST 316 . Also, students who complete HERM 512 will not be eligible to register in HERM 312/HIST 316).

Faculty: Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences

Program: Graduate Diploma in Heritage Resources Management

Check availability


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 an 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.


HERM 512 is divided into 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: Planning a Research Project & Finding and Accessing Documentary Sources
  • Unit 3: Documentary Sources: Evaluating and Interpreting Primary Text 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 Source of Evidence
  • 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

Learning Outcomes

HERM 512 introduces some of the formative issues and practices in heritage research. After completing the course, you will be able to:

  • Evaluate the multifaceted role and 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 synthesize your findings in an appropriate format. There are two options for completing your assignments—although you will learn how to undertake a research assignment in either option, you will only conduct a research project in Option 2. The latter will be particularly important to students who have a specific research assignment that they want to test.
  • Develop good interview skills and knowledge appropriate for oral history interviews.
  • Demonstrate analytical skills and the ability to present a range of viewpoints and experiences when discussing the specific issues and concerns that surround research in heritage resources management (HRM).

Course Evaluation

To receive credit for HERM 512, you must complete and submit all four assignments, and achieve an overall grade of at least C− (60 percent).

This course allows two options for the assignments. The first option is intended for students who are interested in research strategies generally. The second option is intended for students who are using the course to plan a research project.

You will be evaluated on your understanding of the concepts presented in the course and on your ability to apply those concepts. Your final grade in the course will be based on the marks achieved for the following activities.

Option 1 Activity Weight
Essay Assignment 1 A 2,000-word text evaluation. 25%
Essay Assignment 2 A 2,000-word essay from discussion topics identified in Units 1, 2, or 4. 25%
Essay Assignment 3 A 2,000-word essay from discussion topics identified in Units 5, 6, or 7. 25%
Essay Assignment 4 A 2,000-word essay from discussion topics identified in Units 8, 9, or 10. 25%
  Total 100%

Option 2 Activity Weight
Assignment 1 Research Proposal (1,000 words) 20%
Assignment 2 Research Plan (2,000 words) 25%
Assignment 3 Progress Report (1,500 words) 15%
Assignment 4 Final Paper (4,000 words) 40%
  Total 100%

There is no final exam for this course.

Course Materials

All course materials for HERM 512 are available online. All of the required readings for the course are available in the Digital Reading Room.

Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice. Courses offered by other delivery methods may vary from their individualized-study counterparts.

Opened in Revision 5, August 10, 2020.

View previous revision