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MET5310: Methodology: Texts and History

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General information | General information | Course requirements | Course requirements | Final assessment | Final assessment | Course objective and content | Course objective and content | Literature 

Person responsible for the course:John Wayne Kaufman (
Credit points (ECTS):10
Start of studies:Spring
Study programme:Master's degree (2 years) - History of Religions
Master's degree (2 years) - Theology
Programme of professional study - Professional Degree in Theology and Ministry
Programme of professional study - Professional Degree in Theology
Department:Department of Theology and History

General information

The goal of this course is to prepare students for writing a master's thesis based on historical texts or objects broadly understood. In order to finish the thesis within the stipulated time frame, it is important that the students get started on their thesis quickly. In this course, students will learn about relevant method; find a research topic; find a supervisor; write a project description; and participate in writing and searching courses. Students are required to create part of the bibliography themselves (ca. 300 pages), literature directly connected to the thesis they will be writing. 
The course consists of three parts:
Part A. Historical Theory and the Linguistic Turn (2.5 ECTS)
Part B. Historical method (2.5 ECTS)
Part C. Thesis-related study (5 ECTS)

Course requirements

In order to complete the course, students must: 
  • Participate in the obligatory search course
  • Participate in the seminar on academic writing (minimum 75% obligatory participation)
  • Participate in the evaluation of the curriculum and/or of the learning environment, if such evaluation is stipulated in the relevant term
Part A:
  • Attend the lectures on historical theory and the linguistic turn (minimum 75% obligatory participation)
  • Pass the in-class test on theory and the linguistic turn
Part B:
  • Attend the lectures and seminars on historical method and project design (minimum 75% obligatory participation)
  • Pass the in-class test on historical method
  • Register the topic of the dissertation (100-300 words)
  • Fill out and sign the student-supervisor contract
  • Write and have approved a project description (ca 1000-1500 words)
Part C:
  • Write and have approved an annotated bibliography which presents ca. 300 pages of self-chosen literature and relates it to the thesis the student will write (2000-2500 words)
One of the obligatory course requirements is that students write a project description, in cooperation with the supervisor. The following is a recommended outline of the project description:
1) Research question and brief discussion of why this should be studied 
2) Primary material, including delimitation and motivation 
3) Method 
4) Preliminary structure of the thesis 
When course requirements are not fulfilled this will count as one examination attempt, unless you withdraw within the set deadline (1 May/ 1 November).

Final assessment

The course is assessed as pass/fail, based on whether or not the course requirements are fulfilled. All course requirements must be fulfilled in order to pass. The course must be passed before students will be allowed to begin their thesis.

Course objective and content

Part A. Historical Theory and the Linguistic Turn
The student has:
  • Good knowledge of recent developments in historical theory and the linguistic turn
The student can:
  • Reflect on the relevance of theoretical questions and the linguistic turn for historical study
Part B. Historical method
The student has:
  • Good knowledge of questions concerning primary and secondary historical sources and a broad range of methodological questions in historical research
The student can:
  • Choose and delimit the source material and research question for a thesis within history
  • Make use of historical method in order to design a master's thesis in a historical topic
Part C. Thesis-related study
The student has:
  • Good knowledge of the academic discourse which the thesis will be a part of
The student can:
  • Find and critically assess secondary literature relevant to the writing of a master's thesis


To access electronic literature when you are not at MF:
Log in to Oria, or use "External access" in the library's list of databases.

  • Evans, R. (2002). From historicism to Postmodernism: Historiography in the Twentieth Century. History and Theory, 41(1), p. 79-87. Library (Check Canvas).
  • Iggers, G. G. (2005). Historiography in the twentieth century: From scientific objectivity to the postmodern challenge (New exp. ed.). Middletown, Conn: Wesleyan University Press. Library


  • McCutcheon, R. T. (Ed.) (1999). The Insider/outsider problem in the study of religion: A reader (p. 1-22). London: Cassell. Library (Compendium)

Choose one of the following options:

  • Aasgaard, R. (2017). Idéhistorie, teologi - og Fadervår. I E. Krefting, E. Schaanning & R. Aasgaard (Ed.), Grep om fortiden: Perspektiver og metoder i idéhistorie (p. 273-292). Oslo: Cappelen Damm akademisk. Library (Compendium)
  • Amadou, C. (2017). Fra Akropolis til Akershus, og tilbake igjen: Antikkforskning, tradisjon og resepsjon. I E. Krefting, E. Schaanning & R. Aasgaard (Ed.), Grep om fortiden: Perspektiver og metoder i idéhistorie (p. 153-167). Oslo: Cappelen Damm akademisk. Library (Compendium)
  • Andresen, A., Rosland, S., Teemu, R. & Skålevåg, S. (2015). Å gripe fortida: Innføring i historisk forståing og metode (2. ed.). Oslo: Samlaget. Library


  • Tosh, J. (2015). The pursuit of history: Aims, methods and new directions in the study of history (6. ed.). London: Routledge/Taylor & Francis Group. Library


  • Students are to choose a bibliography of ca 300 pages, in cooperation with their supervisor. The literature should be directly relevant to the chosen topic of study.

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