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ARC8064 : Thesis Research Document

  • Offered for Year: 2023/24
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Nathaniel Coleman
  • Owning School: Architecture, Planning & Landscape
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


Module Outline:
Production of the Thesis Research Document provides students with an opportunity to undertake research that informs development of their ARC8060 design thesis. Students are expected to identify and explore a range of existing and emergent issues related to architectural invention and buildings and cities, primarily concentrated on identifying potential strategies relevant to developing their design thesis. The material covered in the module will vary according to a student's particular interests, but it is expected that the document will cover a range of relevant architectural and/or urban themes. It is expected that individual students will pursue further independent work specific to their own design thesis project themes.

Module Aims:
•       To Develop a critical historical understanding of how knowledge can be advanced through research to produce clear, logically argued and original written work relating to architecture culture, theory and design;
•       To Develop problem solving skills, professional judgment, and the ability to take the initiative in problem seeking and to making appropriate decisions in complex and unpredictable circumstances;
•       To Develop an ability to identify individual learning needs; including framing research questions and designing an approach to resourcing and producing a sustained written output;
•       To Facilitate detailed investigation and research into a range of cultural, technological, regulatory and professional issues; to declare this research; to relate it to the specifics of the architectural ‘problem-at-hand’, and to utilize it in the subsequent development of the ARC8060 design thesis.

Outline Of Syllabus

The Thesis Research Document is a student-centred module, providing students with opportunities to develop a program of independent, student-led, research entailing declaration of an aspect of architecture of particular interest to the individual student. The module is linked directly to the Stage 06 Design Thesis, Architectural Design Module ARC8060, and aims to provide students with opportunities to construct an intellectual foundation for their Design Thesis, undertaken during semester 2 of Year 2 of the MARCH.

Students are expected to identify a topic, to research it in some detail, and to work with a tutor on the production of a written document. Students will be expected to explore and familiarize themselves with a range of issues covering cultural context, technology, environment and regulatory frameworks, and to suggest how these might influence subsequent development of design proposals inflected by their chosen Thesis Research Document theme(s).

The module aims to facilitate developing student awareness of the various factors that shape and inform issues relevant to architectural design across many scales. Amongst other potential research topics, this could include the study of user requirements, site analysis, architectural precedent, the broader historical, contextual, theoretical and technical context of most any architectural problem. Broadly speaking, research projects associated with developing thesis designs will concentrate on architectural history, theory, technology, and representation, in relation to the architectural invention and cities. In all instances, forays into disciplines external to architecture will be grounded within the architectural discipline itself.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion196:0096:00Reflective learning activity.
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading196:0096:00Reflective learning activity.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching23:006:00Present-in-Person, and/or Synchronous on-line discussion.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDissertation/project related supervision40:302:00Present-in-Person, and/or Scheduled synchronous on-line contact time.
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activities, including Small group teaching and Dissertation/project related supervision will be Present-in-Person if possible, dependent on the Public Health situation. Otherwise, synchronous on-line contact, including supervisory meetings between individual students and tutors, or small group discussions including the module cohort, facilitated by the module leader, will be offered. If students cannot participate in either Person-in-Person or Synchronous Small group teaching or Dissertation/project related supervision activities, structured non-Synchronous alternatives will be offered in the form of written comments provided to students on electronically shared written/visual material, if they are unable to attend scheduled activities (whether online or in person).

Supervisor and supervisee will meet in-person whenever possible by mutual agreement. However, if necessary, dissertation/project related supervision could instead be provided remotely, by agreement, during synchronous online meetings.

Guided Independent Study, including Assessment preparation and completion and Directed research and reading are student-led, guided by Dissertation Supervisors and the Module Leader, so could take place either remotely or on-campus (including library-based research), as required by individual students.
The nature of this module makes it very well-suited for shifting between Present-in-Person, synchronous, and non-synchronous learning and teaching activities as required, depending on circumstances, of a Public Health nature but also in response to student, and/or tutor requirements.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Dissertation1A1005000 word fully illustrated Written Report
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The written Thesis Research Document gives students an opportunity to demonstrate their developing knowledge and understanding of contemporary architectural issues, their ability to articulate those issues in written and visual terms, and to demonstrate their communication and presentation skills.

All dissertations are marked by the dissertation tutor and module leader. In cases where there is a significant variance of marks, another internal reader will act as third reader, or as second reader where the module leader and dissertation tutor is the same person. Marks are agreed by all readers together at a separate M.Arch. Dissertation Meeting and tabled at the Departmental Examination Board.

The assessor might downgrade the mark if the word count of the submission is outside of +/- 10% of that required.

Assessment Criteria:
* Evidence of systematic independent research
* A focused analysis/description of the subject matter
* A proper substantiation of arguments including the competent usage of academic writing conventions
* The ability to communicate ideas effectively in clear and concise English
* High-quality visual presentation

The assessor might downgrade the mark if the word count of the submission is outside of +/- 10% of that required.

Reading Lists