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NE2V13003 Dutch Literature III: The Middle Ages: About

This LibGuide is for BA students Dutch Language and culture, especially in the course Dutch Literature III: Middle Ages. Through a series of assignments, incorporated and described in this LibGuide, students train diverse aspects of designing a research proposal.

It assists in:

  • Finding resources (manuscripts, early prints, secondary literature)
  • Evaluating and citing resources
  • Sharing research in a poster presentation


Assignment: Design a research proposal

Case study: The discovery of a Middle Dutch book fragment

Imagine you are helping your old neighbour Rosa move out of her apartment. While carrying a box, you notice a leaflet falling to the ground. You pick it up and notice it’s a brownish single page, with black and red letters on it on the back and the front. Your heart begins to pound: what is this old thing? You try to read the text and you recognise some words as a form of archaic Dutch. Rosa gives you permission to satisfy your curiosity. You ask a fellow student for help and agree that in the next couple of weeks you are going to investigate your discovery and design a research proposal to write a thesis. As part of academic practice, you will present the proposal to your peers in a poster presentation. But first things first: let’s start by identifying the text.

Learning goals

  • Students learn the inquiry part of academic research, before testing hypotheses, by designing a research proposal

  • Students learn to develop scientific attitudes and skills: an enquiring attitude, creativity, cooperation, specialization, critical thinking-and-doing and sharing their results to peers

  • Students learn how to build on existing published knowledge, by effectively searching for and assessing relevant academic publications

  • Students learn how to work with the software tool Zotero to organize search results

Before you start

During the course you will need a notebook with the program Zotero installed, follow these instructions. If you don't have a notebook, install Zotero on your pc and make sure that you can work together with a fellow student who does have a notebook available at the workshop.

Utrecht students discover fragment of 14th century 'Natuurkunde van het geheelal'

Three UU students identified the fragment of an unknown source to be part of Natuurkunde van het geheelal, een leerdicht over de kosmos, dating around the end of the fourteenth century.

By transcribing the text on thunder, lightning and devils and then searching through Google they were able to trace other editions of the same text.

Article in Dutch:

Another example of a newly discovered fragment:

Criteria of assessment

  • Adherence to guidelines

  • Quality of research proposal (question, selection of publications, relevance, method)

  • Accuracy in style and wording, citation, references

  • Quality of pitch

  • Process of weekly preparation (quality of Zotero references and notes)


Get Access

Students and employees of Utrecht University have online access anywhere and anytime. Learn more on how to get access.

The library: online and on site

University Library City Centre

You can start your research anywhere and anytime. Both the resources for searching literature and the literature itself are often available online. Yet the library as a physical space remains important.