93164 - Research Design, Dissemination and Valorization (LM)

Course Unit Page

  • Teacher Helen Dawson

  • Credits 4

  • SSD L-ANT/10

  • Teaching Mode Traditional lectures

  • Language English

  • Campus of Bologna

  • Degree Programme Second cycle degree programme (LM) in Archaeology and Cultures of the Ancient World (cod. 8855)

  • Teaching resources on Virtuale


This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

Quality education Gender equality Reduced inequalities

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course students will be able to verify the procedures used in archaeological research, exploring the entire process from discovery to publication. They will have acquired interdisciplinary knowledge relating to field work, responsibility for technical and scientific productions and designing international research. The skills acquired will enable them to address the problems of research, conservation and protection of the archaeological heritage within their respective competences. They will be able to adapt the design process to different contexts and to the advancement of research.

Course contents

This module, part of the course “Archaeological Theory and Practice”, will explore current themes and challenges in global research frameworks. The course will begin by reviewing the development of archaeological research in its wider historical context and move on to a critical assessment of theoretical, methodological, practical, and ethical aspects of research projects and their relevance to contemporary issues. Students will learn gradually about conceptual problems and practical challenges in interdisciplinary project design and management. By the end of the course, students will be able to draft a project design, adapting the elements provided in this course to specific questions. Moreover, they will appreciate the relevance of archaeological research to broader societal concerns.

The course is broadly divided into two blocks:

Block 1: Research Design & Interpretation

This first block will introduce students to different approaches to research design and explore in detail the entire research process, from conception to implementation. Following this, we will discuss different research methods and learn about data collection and analysis. We will look at different case studies and critically assess their strengths and weaknesses. Topics will include:

  • Critical Approaches to Research Design
  • The Research Process
  • Research Methods
  • Data Collection, Analysis, and Management
  • Modelling the Past

Block 2: Dissemination & Valorisation

The second block will focus on the social value of research and reflect on ways in which research can make a positive contribution to society. After considering how best to interpret and present research results, we will compare different dissemination and communication strategies. Finally, we will look at valorisation practices in archaeology and heritage, such as open science and citizen science. Topics will include:

  • Interpreting and Presenting Results
  • Archaeology, Heritage, and Social Values
  • Dissemination and Communication Strategies
  • Valorisation Practices in Archaeology and Heritage
  • How Can Research Contribute to a Fairer Society?


The following reading list provides an introduction to what will be covered, a full list for the lectures and seminars will be provided at the start of the course

Banning, E.B. 2002. The Archaeologist’s Laboratory. Interdisciplinary Contributions to Archaeology. Springer, Boston, MA.

Black, S.L. and Jolly, K. 2003. Archaeology by Design. Walnut Creek, California: Altamira Press.

Gardner, A. and Cochrane, E. (eds) 2011. Evolutionary and Interpretive Archaeologies. A Dialogue. Walnut Creek, CA: West Coast Press.

Johnson, M. 2010. Archaeological Theory: An Introduction. (2nd edition). Oxford: Blackwell.

Kristiansen, K. 2019. Who is deterministic? On the nature of interdisciplinary research in archaeology. Archaeological Dialogues 26(1): 12–14.

Malainey, M.E. 2011. A Consumer's Guide to Archaeological Science. Springer-Verlag New York.

Moshenska, G. (ed.). 2017. Key Concepts in Public Archaeology. London: UCL Press

Teaching methods

The typical class (2 hours) will consist of 1-hour lecture followed by 1-hour student discussion or presentation seminar 

Assessment methods

Assessment includes the following components:

1. Participation in the seminar discussion (10% of the final grade)

2. Project Design: Oral presentation (45% of the final grade)

3. Project Design: Written assignment (45% of the final grade)

Details of the project design will be provided in class.



Teaching tools

Teaching tools, including the syllabus and other course material, will be posted for download on the Virtuale platform by the start of the course.

Links to further information


Office hours

See the website of Helen Dawson