module specification

FA7044 - Research for Practice (2024/25)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2024/25
Module title Research for Practice
Module level Masters (07)
Credit rating for module 40
School School of Art, Architecture and Design
Total study hours 400
319 hours Guided independent study
81 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 100%   An essay comprising of a literature review, debate and case study (total 3000-4000 words)
Running in 2024/25

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
No instances running in the year

Module summary

The module supports students’ practice-based research to identify research questions and methodologies appropriate to their practice. Through seminars, lectures and tutorials, postgraduate students interrogate and discuss their self-directed research project.  The research for, and testing of, practice undertaken during the module, is intended as both preparation for and complementary to work on the project modules and will explore connections between research, thinking and making with an emphasis on locating critical contexts for study through practice.

The module aims to:

• prepare students with the necessary reflective and research skills to tackle the challenges and demands of their project work;

• develop students’ independent and individual research-led working strategies;

• provide students with an educational framework from which they can explore and interrogate the critical context associated with their field of practice;

• provide students with the opportunity to develop subject-related theoretical understanding in their practice facilitating their development as independent practitioners.

The overall aim of the module is to support students to develop the necessary conceptual, research and practical skills to inform and frame their practice to support the development of an ambitious project.


The module involves students in actively testing and developing specific approaches to research to support their art or design practice. It is supported by a thematic studio that will enable them to share and discuss ongoing research in relation to a specific theme. Key areas that will be considered during the module include:

• the construction of meaning through methods of making and presentation or exhibition display;  LO5

• the social, political, ethical and socio-economic functions of their field of practice;  LO1

• research methods employed by practitioners in their field; LO2/LO3

• theoretical frameworks related to different forms of practice;  LO4

modes of writing and discourse within practice-based research;  LO6

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

Scheduled teaching ensures that independent study is effective and addresses the learning outcomes and assessment tasks. Students are expected to (and to have the opportunity to) continue with their studies outside of scheduled classes. There will be a range of learning strategies deployed and individual learning styles will be accommodated. The module’s learning outcomes, its contents and delivery, have been scrutinised and will be regularly reviewed to ensure an inclusive approach to pedagogic practice.

The module and course utilise the University’s blended learning platform to support and reinforce learning, to foster peer-to-peer communication and to facilitate tutorial support for students. Reflective learning is promoted through assessment items and interim formative feedback points that ask students to reflect on their progress, seek 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 reflections on progress and achievement.

The School’s programme of employability events and embedded work-related learning within the curriculum supports students’ personal 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, the student will be able to:

1. locate the central research question(s) of their work within current debates in contemporary art;

2. define a research methodology appropriate to their practice;

3. independently plan and organise the processes of research relevant to their practice;

4. demonstrate a critical understanding of the field of practice within which they are operating through written visual and theoretical analysis of relevant work;

5. evaluate the relationship between material, form and concept within their field of practice;

6. articulate a coherent position and sustain an argument in relation to their research question(s).


Key texts are:

Aranda, J., Wood, B. K. and Vidokle, J. [eds.] (2010), What is Contemporary Art?, Berlin: Sternberg Press

Biggs, M. and Karlsson, H. (eds) (2010) The Routledge Companion to Research in the Arts, London and New York: Routledge

Blaxter, L., Hughes, C. and Tight, M. (2006) How to Research, Maidenhead: Open University

Elkins, J. (2012) What Do Artists Know? University Park, PA: Pennsylvania University Press.

Gray, C. and Malins, J. (2004) Visualizing research: a guide to the research process in art and design, Farnham: Ashgate

Joselitt, D. (2012), After Art, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press

Knowles, G. and Cole, A. (2008) Handbook of the Arts in Qualitative Research: Perspectives, Methodologies, Examples and Issues, New York: Sage

McNiff, S. (2009) Art as Research; Opportunities and Challenges, London: Jessica Kingsley

Nelson, R. (2013) Practice as Research in the Arts: Principles, Protocols, Pedagogies, Resistances, London: Palgrave Macmillan

Osborne, P. (2013) Anywhere or Not at All: Philosophy of Contemporary Art, London: Verso

Steyerl, H. (2017) Duty Free Art: Art in the Age of Planetary Civil War, London: Verso