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Dissertation: Research and Reflection

  • Module code: HA6101
  • Year: 2018/9
  • Level: 6
  • Credits: 30
  • Pre-requisites: None
  • Co-requisites: None

Summary

Building on the links between research and practice embedded at Level 5, the Critical and Historical Studies (CHS) Dissertation: Research and Reflection module focuses on in-depth research, critical enquiry and reflection on questions and critical issues emerging in students' own practice, and pertinent to the practice of their own discipline.

Over the module, students will initiate and develop an individual research topic; identify and evaluate appropriate archives, bodies of critical literature, visual/material sources and research methods; manage their study time; engage with and respond to tutorial dialogue and peer feedback, and apply critical and analytical skills to produce a 6,000 word written Dissertation, supported by a series of lectures, seminars and tutorials.

Following the submission of the Dissertation, and to support the realisation of studio capstone projects, students will be assisted with the conception and development of an individual Statement that enables self-reflection and locates students within the contemporary contexts of their discipline. Consolidating the research, reflexive and critical skills acquired throughout students' programme of study, the Statement engages and applies learning undertaken within CHS modules to studio practice, supporting students' self-presentation at Degree Show, in future post-graduate study, and/or professional practice in a variety of Art and Design contexts.

Aims

  • To engage students with the design and development of a substantial, in-depth, self-directed research project with a clear and sustained critical argument;
  • To encourage the enthusiastic pursuit of a research topic integral (or usefully related) to issues explored in students' own practice in Art & Design.
  • To develop students' ability to identify, analyse and critically evaluate appropriate written and visual sources and research methods; 
  • To encourage critical self-reflection by developing students' ability to identify and analyse the historical and/or contemporary contexts of their discipline; 
  • To enable and support the writing of a clear, engaging and reflective personal statement that can be taken forward into post-graduate study and/or professional practice in a variety of Art & Design contexts.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the module, students will be able to:

  • Propose, develop and organise an in-depth, well-presented extensively researched project utilising appropriate research methods, and with reference to a variety of appropriate and fully-referenced research sources;
  • Articulate an individual and original voice through an autonomous and independent approach to the process of research, writing, and time-management; 
  • Describe the relationship between their research topic and the issues explored in their own practice;
  • Identify, synthesise, analyse and evaluate arguments and critical positions pertinent to the historical and/or contemporary practice of Art & Design and relate them to their research topic;
  • Reflect on and describe their own practice in relation to contemporary research contexts.

Curriculum content

  • Imagining the 'Research Journey'
  • Mapping the field: secondary sources and critical literatures
  • Critical methodologies: identification, understanding, evaluation, application
  • Visualising the research narrative
  • Using case studies
  • Analysis and synthesis of critical positions
  • Where am I? subjectivity and self in the research process
  • Structure, organisation and argument
  • Writing reflectively 
  • Analysing the Practice Statement in Art & Design 
  • Developing a statement of practice
  • Writing, grammar, clear expression and professional communication

Teaching and learning strategy

The module depends on supported self-initiated research. Teaching and learning is supported by a variety of modes of delivery: large-scale briefing lectures and sessions devoted to development, structure, presentation and referencing; the development of topics via individual tutorials with a subject-specialist; group seminars for student presentation and peer feedback; formative feedback on drafts; and live writing workshops. All sessions are supported by use of Canvas. Advanced research skills are supported by sessions from the Learning Resources staff team. Practical advice on essay writing is provided by Academic Skills Advisors. Where possible, sessions will take place in studio.  The module will make use of the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) Canvas for communication and dissemination of information between students and staff as well as making online learning materials available to all.

All courses based in the Kingston School of Art offer students free access to the online video tutorial platform Lynda.com. This provides a wide range of subjects to choose from, many with downloadable exercise files, including software tutorials covering photography, graphics, web design, audio and music, CAD and Microsoft Office software, as well as courses on Business and Management skills. Some of these are embedded in the curriculum and offer additional self-paced learning, others may be taken at will by students wishing to broaden their employability skills in other areas.

Breakdown of Teaching and Learning Hours

Definitive UNISTATS Category Indicative Description Hours
Scheduled learning and teaching Individual tutorials, lectures, group seminars, workshops 14
Guided independent study Self-guided research, reflection and writing 286
Total (number of credits x 10) 300

Assessment strategy

The module is assessed by two components; the Dissertation (6,000 words), and the Statement (ca. 400-500 words).

The Dissertation assesses evidence of research and academic skills; application of skills in the identification, synthesis, analysis and evaluation of argument and critical positions; originality and autonomy; and students' ability to relate to issues within their own practice. Writing produced for tutorial sessions offer the opportunity for feedback on work in progress, and feed forward in the production of the final dissertation.

The Statement assesses critical reflection; awareness of contemporary contexts; application of research findings to own practice; written communication skills; independent thinking and research. Writing produced for tutorial sessions and workshops offer the opportunity for feedback on work in progress, and feed forward in the production of the final statement.

Feedback and feed forward are given on work in progress in scheduled tutorial sessions for the Dissertation and Statement.

Dissertation                                                   6,000 words               75%    

Statement                                                      400 - 500 words           25%

Mapping of Learning Outcomes to Assessment Strategy (Indicative)

Learning Outcome Assessment Strategy
1) Propose, develop and organise an in-depth, well-presented extensively researched project utilising appropriate research methods, and with reference to a variety of appropriate and fully-referenced research sources; Dissertation
2) Articulate an individual and original voice through an autonomous and independent approach to the process of research, writing, and time-management; Dissertation Statement
3) Describe the relationship between their research topic and the issues explored in their own practice; Dissertation Statement
4) Identify, synthesise, analyse and evaluate arguments and critical positions pertinent to the historical and/or contemporary practice of Art & Design and relate them to their research topic; Dissertation Statement
5) Reflect on and describe their own practice in relation to contemporary research contexts. Statement

Elements of Assessment

Description of Assessment Definitive UNISTATS Categories Percentage
Dissertation Coursework 75%
Statement Coursework 25%
Total (to equal 100%) 100%

Achieving a pass

It IS NOT a requirement that any element of assessment is passed separately in order to achieve an overall pass for the module.

Bibliography core texts

Berry, R. (1995) The Research Project: How to Write It. London: Routledge.

Gray, C. and Malins, J. (2004) Visualizing Research: A Guide to the Research Process in Art and Design. London: Ashgate.

Emmison, M and Smith, P. (eds) (2000), Researching the Visual: Images, Contexts and Interactions in Social and Cultural Enquiry. London: Sage.

Holly M. and Smith, M. (eds.) (2008). What is Research in the Visual Arts? Obsession, Archive, Encounter. Clark Institute.

Rose. G. (2001) Visual Methodologies. London: Sage.

Bibliography recommended reading

Bibliographies will vary according to individual research projects.

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