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Research Project / Dissertation

  • Module code: AR7407
  • Year: 2018/9
  • Level: 7
  • Credits: 60
  • Pre-requisites: None
  • Co-requisites: None

Summary

This final module provides you with the opportunity to design and execute an original research project related to your specific interests within the field of historic building conservation. You will develop a theoretically informed body of work that integrates both theory and practice. It may take the form of a dissertation, practice project, or experiment-based project. Within the module you will develop a sound grounding in research principles and methodologies. Through a series of lectures and seminars, supported by tutorials, you will be encouraged and enabled to develop your critical reasoning powers in the design of relevant research strategies.

Aims

  • To develop in students a critical knowledge of the concepts and theories relating to research as applied to the conservation of the historic environment;
  • To enable students to develop knowledge and understanding of a range of research tools and techniques and to explore, practice and evaluate a range of primary research methodologies and to design a research project proposal;
  • To support students to investigate in depth a topic and produce an original and authoritative body of work which integrates practical and theoretical considerations as a culmination of their learning from the programme;
  • To provide the opportunity for students to deliver and defend their research in open forum.

Learning outcomes

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

  • Demonstrate conceptual and critical understanding of research and the barriers and challenges to data collection and veracity;
  • Evaluate the usefulness and appropriateness of different research methodologies for varying applications and formulate alternative hypotheses and methodological initiatives for masters' level research projects appropriate to their discipline.
  • Conduct systematic research, using both primary and secondary sources of data to structure and present a cogently argued research proposition;
  • Create an original and authoritative body of work relating complex theoretical concepts to their chosen investigation; and
  • Deliver and defend, in an open forum, their original research findings.

Curriculum content

  • Nature and purpose of research
  • Nature of sources including research journals and conferences
  • Citation, referencing and bibliographies
  • Secondary data sources, literature reviews etc.
  • Primary research, surveys, questionnaires, interviews and case studies
  • Means of analysis and the art of deduction.
  • Oral and visual presentation techniques
  • Software packages for data collection, storage, retrieval and analysis
  • Initiating and justifying topics.
  • Defining and deciding on appropriate methodology, quantitative and qualitative.
  • Research limitations, constraints and dilemmas
  • Ethics in research
  • Writing research proposals.

Teaching and learning strategy

It is assumed that students will have already developed relatively high levels of study skills (including key skills) or general work experience and that they will be well-motivated learners.  A combination of learning and teaching methods adopted will reflect this.  The major components of this strategy will be lectures to introduce key concepts and impart knowledge; workshops to enable students to learn and hone their skills and tutorials and workshops to guide students through their assessment tasks.  Tutorials will provide the opportunity for coursework feed-forward and thus help students to develop the research, academic writing and presentation skills in preparation for their research project.

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. Students should check this site on a daily basis for module information, timetables, sign-ups, updates and additional information and teaching materials.

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 activities Lectures (presentation) Tutorials (small group/individual) Workshops (large group) 50
Guided independent study Applied reading, preparation for lectures, tutorials, preparation and completion of assessments 550
Total (number of credits x 10) 600

Assessment strategy

Attainment of the learning outcomes will be evidenced through three elements of assessment. The first comprises the submission of an initial 3,000 word research project proposal and plan. This will include the justification for the research rationale, methodology and programme, together with due acknowledgement of constraints including ethical considerations.

The major element of assessment is the production of a self-designed and executed Research Project or Dissertation, constituting an original and authoritative body or work. The work will vary in type depending on the topic and can take the form of a practice-based project, a dissertation or a design proposition. In all cases the student is mentored and normally the project will build on the previously submitted research plan. Text-based projects will normally be in the order of 12,000 - 15,000 words; experimentation, practical or design-based projects will be commensurately shorter in terms of word count.

The final element of assessment is by illustrated presentation of the complete work or aspects of the work, at which students are required to explain and defend their project. This form of assessment will also include defence under questioning.

A supervisor will be appointed who will agree with the student a programme of work detailing the aim and objectives and success criteria to be applied.  Opportunities for formative assessment through discrete tasks together with feedback and feed-forward tutorials will be provided throughout the delivery of the module.

Mapping of Learning Outcomes to Assessment Strategy (Indicative)

Learning Outcome Assessment Strategy
1. Demonstrate conceptual and critical understanding of research and the barriers and challenges to data collection and veracity; Research Project Proposal & Plan
2. Evaluate the usefulness and appropriateness of different research methodologies for varying applications and formulate alternative hypotheses and methodological initiatives for masters' level research projects appropriate to their discipline. Research Project Proposal & Plan and Research Project Submission/ Dissertation
3. Conduct systematic research, using both primary and secondary sources of data to structure and present a cogently argued research proposition; Research Project Submission/ Dissertation
4. Create an original and authoritative body of work relating complex theoretical concepts to their chosen investigation; Research Project Submission/ Dissertation
5. Deliver and defend, in an open forum, their original research findings Illustrated Presentation

Elements of Assessment

Description of Assessment Definitive UNISTATS Categories Percentage
Research Project Proposal Coursework 20%
Research Project Submission/ Dissertation Coursework 70%
Illustrated Presentation Practical Exam 10%
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

Bibliography will vary according to the focus and nature of the research project but it is expected that students will consult key texts and sources related to research principles and methodology.

Knight, A and Ruddock, L (2008) Advanced Research Methods in the Built Environment  Oxford: Blackwell

Oliver, P (2012) Succeeding with your Literature Review Maidenhead: Open University Press

Bibliography recommended reading

Bell, J (2010) Doing your research: a guide for the first time research in education and social science (3rd edition) Buckingham: Open University Press

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

Coghlan, D. and Brannwick, T. (2004) Doing action research in your own organisation London: Sage publications

Collis, J and Hussey R (2009) Business research: a Practical Guide to Undergraduate and Postgraduate Students  Basingstoke: Macmillan

Greenfield, T. (Ed.) (2002) Research Methods: guidance for postgraduates London: Arnold

Lewins A and Silver C (2007) Using Software in Qualitative Research: a Step-by-step guide London: Sage Publications

Saunders, M, Thornhill, A and Lewis, P (2009) Research Methods for Business Students Harlow: Pearson Education

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