module specification

DN4020 - Research and Visual Communication (2024/25)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2024/25
Module title Research and Visual Communication
Module level Certificate (04)
Credit rating for module 30
School School of Art, Architecture and Design
Total study hours 300
228 hours Guided independent study
72 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 100%   A portfolio of visual research and communication work addressing the tasks and criteria as set in the briefs.
Running in 2024/25

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Year City Monday Morning
Year City Thursday Afternoon
Year City Thursday Morning
Year City Monday Afternoon

Module summary

This module introduces and develops a range of knowledge, skills and approaches for the research and communication of information and ideas for 3D disciplines and artefacts in visual form. The ability to draw and communicate visually for research, as well as design development, is critical to the success of a designer in any 3D discipline. Subject specialist skills in drawing and communicating ideas are the central component of this module.

You will take part in a range of studio sessions, workshops and lectures that introduce a wide range of traditional and contemporary drawing, visual research and communication media, methods and practices to help you explore, record, select from, analyse and interpret your environment and the world of images, spaces and artefacts for a range of purposes. Discipline-specific professional approaches to the recording, visualisation and presentation of your designs will ensure that you begin to acquire vital employability skills.

Discipline-specific projects will explore the recording and expression of line, colour, form, structure, light, space and perspective, texture, detail and context appropriate to the requirements of the field in a range of media and formats. Through learning these skills, the module will support your development as a designer with an in-depth understanding of research and communication methods that underpin design process and outcome strategies and the communication of your creative practice and identity.

Prior learning requirements

Available for Study Abroad? NO


Through taught sessions and your work on your individual projects, you will develop knowledge and experience of a range of drawing techniques such as observational drawing, mark making, collage, and freehand sketching; and techniques of visual recording such as photography, film (where appropriate) and annotation.

The module will also deliver sector-specific communication skills in hand or digital communication media to describe material, construction and surface, and design proposals and outcomes.

Through the project briefs you will encouraged to adopt a personal approach to visual research and communication relevant to the discipline, and to develop a habit of regular drawing and sketching, so that fluency in this vital skill is acquired over time.


Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

Scheduled teaching provides the guidance and foundation to ensure that independent study is effective in addressing the module’s learning outcomes and assessment tasks.

In-class activity makes use of varied student-centred approaches such as active, flipped and blended learning, so that a range of learning strategies is deployed, and individual learning styles are accommodated. Information is provided through a range of means and sources to minimise and remove barriers to successful progress through the module. The course team seeks to embed the University’s Education for Social Justice Framework in fostering learning that is enjoyable, accessible, relevant and that takes account of the social and cultural context and capital of its students.

Activities foster peer-to-peer community building and support for learning. Reflective learning is promoted through interim formative feedback points that ask students to reflect on their progress, receive help where they identify the opportunity for improvement in learning strategies and outcomes and make recommendations to themselves for future development. Throughout the module, students build a body of work, including written reflections on progress and achievement.

The School’s programme of employability events and embedded work-based learning within the curriculum supports students’ personal and career development planning. Through these initiatives, students are increasingly able, as they progress from year to year, to understand the professional environment of their disciplines, the various opportunities available to them, and how to shape their learning according to their ambitions.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the module, to the standard expected at Level 4, you will be able to:

Knowledge and Understanding

1. Effectively use a range of visual techniques to record, analyse and interpret your environment, its inhabitants and artefacts, and to represent your creative thinking;

Cognitive Intellectual Abilities

2. Use visual research and communication techniques to support your of design thinking, development and making;

Transferable Skills

3. Express and communicate to others, ideas or proposals employing an appropriate range of professional visual techniques and media, relevant to your discipline;

Subject Specific Practical Skills

4. Demonstrate your growing confidence in the regular use of your personal visual research and communication techniques as fundamental creative tools for design practice;

Professionalism and Values

5. Evidence research into materials and processes that support a sustainable approach to design and production in your discipline.