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MCH8532 : Understanding Academic and Applied Research in Museum/Gallery/Heritage Studies

  • Offered for Year: 2021/22
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Bruce Davenport
  • Lecturer: Mr Philip Deans, Mrs Geraldine Hunwick, Dr Areti Galani, Dr Nick Rush-Cooper, Dr Gonul Bozoglu, Dr Joanne Sayner
  • Owning School: Arts & Cultures
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


The aim of this module is to provide students with:

A thorough understanding of the principal theories, methodologies and methods used in academic and applied research in the Museum/Gallery/Heritage sector.

A comprehensive understanding of how these research theoretical approaches and methods operate in practice.

The techniques and skills required to undertake a major research dissertation, or vocationally-oriented research project.

Knowledge of the principal ways of identifying and collecting research information, evidence or data and the specific forms of qualitative and quantitative approaches used to analyse this material in relation to Museum/Gallery/Heritage venues.

An understanding of the retrieval of information, location of evidence, analysis, interpretation and synthesis of materials, critical thought and evaluation, questioning of assumptions and, where appropriate, the ability to relate theory and practice.

Outline Of Syllabus

The module introduces students to a range of theories, methodologies and techniques used in academic and applied research projects in Museum/Gallery/Heritage Studies to: identify and collect information/evidence/data; analyse this material; and, synthesise results. Indicative topics include: understanding research in Museum/Gallery/Heritage Studies; research ethics; critical discourse analysis; visual and display analysis; using a case study research approach; qualitative research methods; quantitative research methods; questionnaire design and analysis; digital research methods; visitor studies.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials12:002:00Non-synchronous online - module introductory lecture materials
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials81:008:00Non-synchronous online: lecture materials for Masterclasses
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion145:0045:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading42:008:00Non-synchronous - directed reading - pre-reading for reading groups (theory and intro to problems)
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching32:006:00On campus - Theory reading group seminars (These can be delivered on-line if necessary.)
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching33:009:00On campus - Group workshops for Masterclasses (These can be delivered on-line if necessary.)
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops41:306:00On campus - Practical skills seminars (These can be delivered on-line if necessary.)
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1114:00114:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesModule talk21:002:00On campus - Assessment Briefing & Module Wrap-up (These can be delivered on-line if necessary.)
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The module comprises introductory lectures and a series of masterclasses. Each masterclass will be organized around linked topics and ‘real-world’ research problems identified by the teaching team and/or external partners. The students will work in groups to solve these problems by identifying pertinent research questions, defining appropriate methodologies and theoretical frameworks, and by identifying sources of data and potential analytical approaches in the time allowed. The students will present their findings in groups and reflect on their working processes throughout. The format of the workshops and the assessment allows students to enhance the skills needed to conduct a 60-credit project on the MGH programme.

Assessment Methods

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

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Oral Presentation302M30Assessed group presentation, presented in final 'Masterclass'. Max duration per group: 30 mins.
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Report2A70Critical invidual report by each student on the rationale behind their group work. 2500 words
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Students are required to give a group presentation and write an individual report in which they assess the strengths and weaknesses of the task accomplished in the course of the final workshop. The group presentation can be delivered in person or online, synchronous or pre-recorded. This allows students to familiarise themselves not only with the range of problems and issues raised by conducting independent research but also with the relationship between theory and method in answering a research question.

Reading Lists