Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Research Methods in Art and Design

LEVEL 05 - Postgraduate Modular Diploma or Degree Course



DESCRIPTION Research in art & design involves a cyclic process of practice and reflection which develops both an aesthetic sensibility and the capacity to be creative through an informed standpoint. The tangible outcomes of engagement with these characteristics are equally varied in art and in design, but both require the development of particular cognitive qualities. The role of inventiveness and imagination in the creative process is vital in developing the capacities to observe and visualise, in the identifying and solving of problems, and in the making of critical and reflective judgements. Whilst convergent forms of thinking, which involve rational and analytical skills, are developed in art & design, they are not the only conceptual skills within the repertoire employed by artists and designers. More divergent forms of thinking, which involve generating alternatives, and in whichthe notion of being 'correct' gives way to broader issues of value, are characteristic of the creative process.

The outcomes of the study and practice of art & design at Masters level contribute to both the cultural development and the economic well-being of the individual and of society. In both cases, an understanding of the context of the practice is essential. In the former it enhances their intellect through critical awareness. In the latter, it provides knowledge of how an individual's practice relates to that of others which is the cornerstone of originality and personal expression. Without such knowledge an individual would not have any sense of the nature of their own creativity nor the culture in which it is set. Students also understand the broad vocational context within which their study sits and the range of professional practices that inform it such as: anticipating and responding to change, knowledge and application of business systems, public presentation of work, entrepreneurial skillsand client/audience negotiation skills.

Study-unit Aims:

- Provide an introduction to key aspects of postgraduate research, including research tools, methods,ethical and legal questions;
- Support students in the development of their research project and approach;
- Encourage students to reflect critically on the processes of research;
- Assist students in the articulation of a critical language appropriate to their research aims and interests;
- Encourage the development of a supportive research environment;
- Enable students to learn from cross-disciplinary communication, which means being familiar with the range of research practices applicable to the sciences, humanities, social sciences, and art and design;
- Provide pointers to further investigation into appropriate research methods.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:
- Understand the practicalities of research, including setting and achieving realistic goals, planning, working in a team, using resources, presentation skills, and meeting institutional requirements and expectations of good practice;
- Apply the techniques for advancing knowledge and understanding, such as setting up a programme of reading, literature review, techniques of archival research,interviewing, observation studies, ethnographic research, gathering evidence, quantitative methods, and creative practice and design as research;
- Develop a critical framework in which to review research and research methods, taking account of the contested nature of research practice.

2. Skills:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:
- Develop skills in preparing, delivering and documenting a research presentation within a seminar context;
- Provide an introduction to the broader aspects of developing a theoretical and critical line of enquiry on a range of research related questions related to their subjectdiscipline.
- Investigate contemporary strategies used by artists and designers to disseminate their research methods and creative practice to audiences through media’s communications vehicles as well as through galleries, site-based/ public projects and other interventions.

Main Text/s:

- Gray, Carole and Malins, Julian (2004). Visualizing Research: A guide to the Research Process in Art and Design. Ashgate.

Supplementary Readings:

- Balkema, Annette W. (2004). Artistic Research. Rodopi.
- Barrett, Estelle and Bolt, Barbara (2007). Practice as Research: Approaches to Creative Arts Enquiry . I.B. Tauris.
- Macleod, Katy (2006). Thinking through Art. Routledge.
- McNiff, Shaun (1998). Art-based Research. Kingsley.

Other journal articles related to the topic will bemade available on the study-unit e-Learning website.

STUDY-UNIT TYPE Lecture, Independent Study and Group Learning

Assessment Component/s Resit Availability Weighting
Presentation No 40%
Assignment Yes 60%

LECTURER/S Vince Briffa

The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
It should be noted that all the information in the study-unit description above applies to the academic year 2017/8, if study-unit is available during this academic year, and may be subject to change in subsequent years.