module specification

AR7P40 - Design Research and Techniques (2017/18)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2017/18
Module title Design Research and Techniques
Module level Masters (07)
Credit rating for module 40
School The Sir John Cass School of Art, Architecture and Design (The Cass)
Total study hours 600
540 hours Guided independent study
60 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Seminar 10% 50 Interim presentation sem1
Seminar 10% 50 Interim presentation sem2
Coursework 80% 50 Research document (Local Submission)
Attendance Requirement 0%   Attendance
Running in 2017/18
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Year City Wednesday Morning

Module summary

Module Title: Design Research and Techniques
Description: This module asks the student to establish a critical position with the context of
an MA Architecture Specialism. Working within an MA design unit, the student
will develop techniques which will allow them to engage pro-actively with the
area of study and to establish a particular field of research.
Semester: Autumn / Spring
Assessment: 20% Seminar Presentations, 80% Research Documentation

Prior learning requirements

ADPP41N, Design Project

Module aims

This module is taught throught an MA specialism, within the MA Architecture Programme. Within this module the aim is to encourage and to develop a students ability to engage with the specialism and its wider context.
The student will be asked to build creatively upon the knowledge acquired within the specialism specific Specialist Knowledge module in Semester A and to apply it to their own field of study, or to their specific agenda. The intention is that this will allow the student to develop a critical position in relation to the area of study. The student will be asked to identify and establish a research interest and will, through the course of the module, be encouraged to develop that area of research. From it, the student will be asked to generate a programme of study, in dialogue with the tutors. The student will be expected to develop their ability to rigorously test and represent the body of research in an articulate, visually, verbally and technically literate manner. Throughout the module the student will be introduced and asked to develop a range of appropriate skills and techniques which will aid them in these aims.
The module runs across both Autumn and Spring Semesters, it operates in conjunction and in parallel with the MA Architecture module: Design Project. Throughout the year, the student will be asked to apply the skills and knowledge gained and to further explore their developing area of research, through this related module. This reflective and iterative process will allow the student to construct a more precise understanding of the parameters and direction of their research. The student should, over the duration of the module, develop an increasingly precise and sophisticated ability to understand how the particularity of circumstance within a design project can refine a conceptual proposition and vice versa.


The MA Architecture Programme offers the opportunity for specialised areas of study to be undertaken, within the context of the broader subject. It is taught primarily within these specialisms, in order to fulfill the various parameters of this module, through the establishment of specific, focussed briefing documents. These set out the manner in which particular interests, within the specialism, will be addressed through the course of the academic year. The briefing documents are underpinned by the formal teaching of the individual Specialist Knowledge modules which pertain to the specialisms and which are co-requisite to this module. Courses of specialised study within the MA Architecture Programme result in an award of MA Architecture and (Specialism) as set out in the course specification.

Learning and teaching

The student will learn and be taught through the following
- Discussions and Seminars within the studio environment.
- Talks and workshops involving the student group, tutors and external input.
- Individual and group work, developing skills in a range of media, techniques and
processes, relevant to the specialism.
- Site and other visits, relevant to the specialism.
- Critical evaluation, individually, in discussion with the tutors and in the context of the group,
examining the effectiveness and value of processes, methods of working and means of
- An individual reflective and iterative process of evaluating the relationship between the
research and conceptual development undertaken within this module and the process of
development within the parallel Design Project module.
- Individual development of methods and areas of research, drawing upon the work
undertaken above and in accompanying modules.
- Individual development of a comprehensive and precise research document, that fully
states the processes of development and intentions of the research, within the context of
the field of study and which articulately and effectively communicate these, both visually
and verbally.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module, the student shall be able to:
- Develop and evaluate appropriate, relevant methods of engagement with a field of
study, within the context of an area of specialism.
- Develop systems for gathering, analysing, interpreting, spatialising and otherwise using
research material, in order to establish and progress a defined and distinct area of study.
- Understand and effectively employ the skills, tools and techniques demonstrated and
generated through the MA specialism programme of seminars, workshops and tutorials,
alongside self-directed study.
- Construct effective processes which can rigorously test ideas and information in terms of
their relevance to a given area of study or situation.
- Formulate and communicate, through the development of a research proposal, a clear and
well founded conceptual framework.
- Reflect upon and develop the manner in which such a conceptual framework might inform
and engage with a particular working process or situation, in an iterative manner.
- Understand how working within the circumstances of a particular context or programme, will
inform and potentially adjust or transform an established conceptual framework.
- Critically engage with the potentials and issues raised by the developing research
programme, including being able to identify and adjust to unintentional consequences.
- Effectively and articulately communicate the ideas and intentions established by the body of
research, through appropriate forms of representation, both visual and verbal.
- Articulate and defend a defined position within the field of study, established through a
comprehensive and precise programme of research and tested through design.

Assessment strategy

The student will be assessed as follows
1. Interim Presentation in semester 1 - format to be agreed within MA Design Unit. 10%
2. Interim Presentation in semester 2 - format to be agreed within MA Design Unit. 10%
3. Research Document - 80%
modes of documentation may include: drawings, photographic material, multi media, records of
3D models experimental constructions and prototypes, quantative and qualitative data, primary
and secondary data


This will be included in the briefing documentation provided by the tutors and specific to individual specialisms with the MA Architecture Programme