module specification

SJ5057 - Research Methodology and Ethics in Creative Writing (2017/18)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2017/18
Module title Research Methodology and Ethics in Creative Writing
Module level Intermediate (05)
Credit rating for module 15
School The Sir John Cass School of Art, Architecture and Design (The Cass)
Total study hours 150
45 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
105 hours Guided independent study
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 40%   2000 word portfolio
Coursework 50%   3500 word extended portfolio
Attendance Requirement 10%   Seminar performance (attendance, preparation and contribution)
Running in 2017/18
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Spring semester North Wednesday Morning

Module summary

This module explores the research skills required for the production and publication of literary texts and places the process in its ethical context. The module will explore methods of research, use of researched knowledge to underpin creative production, as well as considerations of incorporating the knowledge into writing. The module will place both research activity and its incorporation into creative production into ethical and philosophical contexts, including but not limited to issues of censorship, self-censoring, and personal and collective sensitivities. It will explore matters of ownership and appropriation, including ideas and laws about intellectual property rights as applicable to writing as well as encourage students to consider their own production in context of ethical conduct regarding ideas, texts and publications. The module will engage with many forms and cultural examples of ethical questions in and about writing, and will enable students to consider their own reading and writing practice in a critical manner.   

Module aims

• To identify broad historical understanding regarding writing and its ethics and familiarise students with contemporary debates in the field.
• To consider a range of critical and practical skills required for research for creative writing and consider issues of incorporating knowledge into creative practice.
• To contextualise issue of writing, research and publication in cultural, social, religious and political terms.
• To develop an informed sense of writer’s own cultures, attitudes and beliefs and how they inform choices of research, topics, writing practices and the decisions regarding publication.


Ethical considerations contribute a great deal to what is written and published. The syllabus will reflect the historical and cultural diversity of the ethical issues and written responses to them. The module will study a variety of texts, while engaging with the issues surrounding their production and publication. There will be some attention to the historical development of writing about political, religious, social and sexual matters. Attention will also be paid to different genres and questions about how and why they are regulated differently e.g. how do conventions in writing for the theatre differ to, say, film or fiction?  The module will also encourage awareness of age appropriate writing and publication and questions of censorship.

Learning and teaching

This module will be taught by a programme of weekly sessions for each of the fifteen weeks in which it runs. The sessions will combine lectures, writing practice, seminar discussion, research tasks, small group activities and some film viewing. The module will incorporate guest speakers when appropriate and may include guided visits to theatre, galleries and/or specific libraries. Independent learning will include guided reading, weekly research and writing tasks, set texts and preparation for seminars. The module will be supported by a web-learn site containing lecture notes, bibliographies, web links and set texts.  Students will be encouraged to carry out independent research and incorporate it critically into their writings. Employability skills are embedded into the module as part of visits to galleries and libraries, discussions with guest speakers and writing practitioners, and in the development of seminar contribution and presentation skills, as well as disciplined research and publishing concerns.

Learning outcomes

By the end of this module, students will be able to:

• Identify and understand a range of writing concerned with ethical issues from various locations, different historical periods and styles.
• Produce their own writing that engages the ethics of writing and publication in an informed and considerate way.
• Demonstrate a creative and critical engagement with the ethics of writing and publication.  

Assessment strategy

● Formative assessment will comprise weekly oral and written exercises both creative and critical, contribution to seminars and discussions.
● Summative assessment will comprise of written presentation: creative writing demonstrating knowledge of research tools and methods and incorporation of the same in practice; reflective writing on the issues of research and ethics and their impact on creative practice.


Indicative Bibliography:

Achilles, Sabrina Literature, Ethics And Aesthetics Palgrave Macmillan, 2012
Booth, Wayne C. Ethics, Literature and Theory Altamra Press, 2005
Briscoe, Constance Ugly Hodder and Stoughton, 2006
Fincher, David dir. Sorkin Aaron and Mezrich, Ben The Social Network 2010
Freud, Sigmund
Pojman, Louis The Moral Life Oxford University Press, 2003.
Pulman, Phillip His Dark Materials Scholastic, 2008
Rushdie, Salman Haroun and the Sea of Stories Puffin, 2001
Wiesel, Elie and Wiesel, Marion Night