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

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, work placement research project or vocationally-orientated 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, 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; synthesise results; and communicate the research findings appropriately. 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
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops46:0024:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1176:00176:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The workshops (‘masterclasses’) will be organized around a series of ‘real world’ practical 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, identifying sources of data, and carrying out preliminary analysis of data 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 Presentation302M30Group Presentation - The last of the four workshop presentations will be assessed (20 mins talking + 10 mins for questions)
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Report2A70Self-reflective individual report on the workshop process and outcomes (2500 words)
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Students are required to write a report in which they assess the strengths and weaknesses of the task accomplished in the course of the final workshop. 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