Dissertations and databases: the historian as software engineer
The final weeks of the summer term see the normal frantic rush of second-year students looking for a suitable topic for a dissertation. Traditionally, the aim is to produce a piece of work from ten to fifteen thousand words, comprising a significant amount of original research, drawn from primary material, and demonstrating the ability to formulate and sustain a cogent argument, evaluate evidence and communicate original ideas. All this should be within the conventional, scholarly framework, logically structured and scrupulously referenced.
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