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Assessment 1-A /2547

A: Reflective journal [40%]

  • 6 x 200 words
  • represents 40% of final grade
  • Submit whole journal (all six responses) by Tuesday 17th March 2020 (w25)
    – submit via Turnitin (by 12 noon)

Each case study seminar topic (in weeks 7-8, 9-10, 16-17, 18-19) has a set of questions that you will need to prepare for prior to the seminar. Each lab (in weeks 4-5, 20-21) will require in-class exploration of data sources. For each case study, a reflective commentary question related to that case study will be published at the end of the seminar (on Blackboard and the module site).

So, for each of the case studies you have done in class you will also need to write a brief response to an aspect of that case identified by the relevant question. Your reflective commentary for that case should:

  • Build on the discussion and activity in class and your own preparation for the case study discussion
  • Incorporate your reflection on the case issues
  • Address the specific question set for that case’s commentary.

You should ensure that you offer a coherent and suitably structured response to the question chosen and that there is appropriate analysis, drawing on relevant theoretical models where appropriate.

The reflective journal as a whole will comprise all six reflective commentaries. Please ensure that your document clearly identifies and separates the six different responses and presents them in the order that the case seminars have taken place. The most effective approach is likely to be to write up your reflective response for each case within a relatively short period after that seminar, so that the matters discussed are relatively fresh in your mind. Attempting to produce all six responses just before the submission deadline is unlikely to produce the best outcomes.

Further research and reading beyond the case study materials is required, as you are aiming to produce a deeper and more considered response that builds on the discussion in class. You may need to add further examples, data or illustration of the issues and draw on the base of established academic literature.

Feedback on the journals will be provided on this pro forma.

Reflective commentary questions [these will be added sequentially]

week 4/5

“Limitations to data quality also means that estimating the growth of GDP per capita over many decades, or even centuries, is a hazardous undertaking that, despite the best effort of statisticians and researchers, will always be surrounded by a degree of uncertainty.”
Bolt et al (2018:4)

What implications does such uncertainty have for the economic historian attempting to build a picture of past economic activity?

week 7/8

Wrigley’s work “acknowledges the importance of institutional factors as well as “scientific advances” yet rejects the notion there can be a “single, ‘true’ account of the industrial revolution.”” (Jonsson, 2012:692)

What conclusions can one draw regarding the causes of the industrial revolution?

week 9/10

Where would one rank the ‘steam revolution’ against later waves of technological change, such as electrification in the early 20th century or IT in the later 20th century (and on what basis)?

week 16/17

To what extent do the Bank of England’s actions in relation to Overend Gurney provide a template for responses to subsequent financial crises?

week 18/19

What lessons should later policymakers have drawn from Britain’s experience with the Gold Standard in the inter-war period?

week 20/21

“Kristalina Georgieva, the IMF’s managing director, said higher marginal tax rates for the better off were needed as part of a policy rethink to tackle inequality.
In a sign of how the IMF has moved away from the tax-cutting approach that once formed a central part of its policy advice, Georgieva said there needed to be a different approach to tackling what had become “one of the most complex and vexing challenges in the global economy”.”
(Elliott, 2020)

Given past data on wealth and income inequality, are high marginal tax rates for the very wealthy an effective means to counter such inequality?

Learning Outcomes

Assessments relate directly to the module’s learning outcomes (below). The coursework’s assessment criteria will reflect the following learning outcomes:

  1. Explain relevant concepts and models in economic history
  2. Discuss and analyse key themes and events in economic history, utilising suitable analytical tools and concepts
  3. Critically assess the relevance of economic history to current institutions, policy and events
  4. Develop understanding of the development of economic thought in relation to economic history
  5. Critically survey published literature from a variety of sources and engage effectively with online (re)search tools

Reflective journal assessment criteria

Each commentary in the journal must:

  • Respond explicitly to the reflective question set for that case.
  • Show suitable reflection and development from the discussion in class for that case.
  • Demonstrate a clear and concise writing style.
  • Where required, provide evidence of suitably relevant reading and research (and reference work appropriately using the Harvard format).
  • Where relevant, demonstrate the student’s understanding of the theoretical concepts that the case addresses.


  • Each commentary should be set in 12 point Arial or Helvetica (with 1.5 line spacing) and follow an essay-style format (in the sense of being written in developed paragraphs, rather than bullet lists).
  • Each commentary should be on a separate page.
  • There should be a single reference list for the whole journal.
  • The maximum word count is 200 words per case study. Commentaries should not be less than 180 words.
  • It must be submitted in digital form to the Turnitin assignment drop-box on the module’s Blackboard site. Digital submissions must be received by the assignment deadline. Don’t assume instantaneous delivery.
  • Good referencing and academic practice will be credited, as will good standards of written English.
  • Any evidence of plagiarism will be dealt with severely in accordance with DMU regulations.

Reassessment opportunity

Non-submission of the commentaries (and thus a zero mark for that component) and/or non-attendance at seminars causing an overall fail in coursework will normally lead to the Faculty’s standard referral process, with a reassessment in August.

Summer Reassessment – deferral/referral: there is a reassessment coursework which replaces the seminar P&E activities and the reflective journal. Please see the module’s Blackboard presence. Do not submit reflective journal responses for reassessment.