Please note: there may be some adjustments to the teaching arrangements published in the course catalogue for 2020-21. Given current circumstances related to the Covid-19 pandemic it is anticipated that some usual arrangements for teaching on campus will be modified to ensure the safety and wellbeing of students and staff on campus; further adjustments may also be necessary, or beneficial, during the course of the academic year as national requirements relating to management of the pandemic are revised.

Introduction To Computing For Historians HIST4010

  • Academic Session: 2020-21
  • School: School of Humanities
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

This course will provide an introduction to how computers can be used to address historical problems.


Tuesday 14-15 and Friday 14-16 (lab)

Requirements of Entry

Admission to honours in history


100% Continuous Assessment

Main Assessment In: April/May

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? Not applicable

Reassessments are normally available for all courses, except those which contribute to the Honours classification. For non Honours courses, students are offered reassessment in all or any of the components of assessment if the satisfactory (threshold) grade for the overall course is not achieved at the first attempt. This is normally grade D3 for undergraduate students and grade C3 for postgraduate students. Exceptionally it may not be possible to offer reassessment of some coursework items, in which case the mark achieved at the first attempt will be counted towards the final course grade. Any such exceptions for this course are described below. 

Course Aims

The aims common to all the Department's Honours modules are as follows:
1. the development of the intellectual interests and analytical skills acquired by students during their first two years.
2. awareness of previously unfamiliar methodological approaches, chronological periods and geographical areas by offering a wide and flexible choice of options.
3. to offer the opportunity to develop skills in historical computing, as well as basic IT awareness.
4. familiarity with complex historical debates and interpretations, skill in interpreting primary sources where appropriate, and to inform these discussions with new ideas derived from lecturers' current research.
5. the development of transferable skills by fostering individual initiative, personal choice, group discussion and, where appropriate, problem-solving teamwork.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course, you should be able to:
1. Demonstrate an understanding of the main forms of computer-aided analysis used by historians, particularly their use of database management and statistical software, and the ability to evaluate interpretations based upon such evidence;
2. Demonstrate familiarity with the census and with other sources which historians have analysed with the help of the computer, and understand the limitations and irregularities of such sources and methods of analysing them;
3. Be able to retrive information from simple and complex historical databases in order to address historical questions;
4. Be able to use spreadsheets and other software, as appropriate, to present data and to conduct more rigorous quantitative analysis;
5. Be able to design, create and document databases from historical sources, directed to specific research questions;
6. Have written a clear and well-supported extended essay based upon computer-based and other evidence, using graphs and tables where appropriate;
7. Have worked productively as a member of a small team.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.