ARC2020 : Dissertation Studies and Research Methods

Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0


The aims of this first part of students' dissertation studies are:

- to introduce students to a range of research methodologies, critical appraisal, research and study skills towards their dissertation or dissertation project (submitted at the end of ARC3060)through lectures

- to support the development of their individual area of interest, initial research and project planning through tutorials

- to gauge the viability of their topic and research methods through a short fully referenced dissertation proposal submitted at the end of ARC2020 in Stage Two Semester Two, and establish which dissertation route is most appropriate for them

EITHER i) an 8,000 word dissertation

OR ii) a 5,200 word dissertation project report supported by project materials (for example; creative practice output, prototyping or documentation of experiments, fieldwork, data collection or analytical recordings).

Outline Of Syllabus

The dissertation spans:
Stage 2: Semester 2, and Stage 3: Semester 1
The basis of the academic method is as follows:
Academically the dissertation or dissertation project will be an excellent piece of work if it is very well informed in its subject-area and draws valid and potentially original conclusions from the evidence presented and considered.
Architecturally the dissertation or dissertation project will be excellent if it addresses an issue of general concern within the architectural community. Typically topics examine architectural theories and issues in practice, design approaches, design and construction techniques, aspects of architectural history, the historical development of buildings, ideas and movements in architecture, or research and applications in a specific context.
The structure of the syllabus allows students to develop research and technical skills, critical and evaluative abilities and a capacity for clear and succinct expression in writing, by:
(a) Introducing students to the nature of research and research methods in architecture.
(b) Equipping students with the ability to devise their own research strategies for their dissertation or dissertation project.
(c) Providing an overview for developing a research hypothesis, selecting appropriate research methods and preparing a dissertation research proposal.
(d) Giving an opportunity to present a major piece of work involving a range of professionally-orientated transferable skills.

Stage Two (ARC2020) and relationship to ARC2024 dissertation elective:
Students develop a basis for their area of interest and an understanding of appropriate methods, literature and output during the 6 week dissertation elective undertaken in Semester Two of Stage Two (part of ARC2024), which concludes with an assessed presentation on a chosen seminar theme. ARC2020 further develops skills in accessing library and other resources to support these emerging areas of specialization, as well as fluency with appropriate tools and conventions of academic research and writing. Following discussions with their dissertation tutor (normally the same person who tutored the elective), students submit a short fully referenced dissertation proposal at the end of Semester Two, Stage Two, which outlines their individual research topic, intended research methods and outputs, and declares whether they will be taking the dissertation OR dissertation project route in ARC3060. The production of this proposal to a passing standard is a formal prerequisite for registration on ARC3060.

Dissertation or dissertation project approaches, choice of topic,
research methods, forms of evidence, literature surveys, synopsis development, case studies, database searching, technical briefing, referencing, production and binding, assessment criteria.
Hand-in: Dissertation or dissertation project proposal after Easter Semester Two, Stage Two.

Stage Three (ARC 3060): Work mainly independently, but in association with a tutor/supervisor, to develop a draft into the completed dissertation or dissertation project.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion127:0027:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture32:006:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading132:0032:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDissertation/project related supervision60:303:00Includes group and individual tutorials
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study132:0032:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Teaching is through lectures, tutorials – group and individual - and tasks, involving the examination of current dissertations and dissertation projects and the use of public databases; research workshops; also tutorials with individually allocated tutors/supervisors.

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Research proposal2M1001000 word dissertation or dissertation project proposal - assessed on a pass/ fail basis
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The mark awarded for ARC3060 is based on the completed dissertation or dissertation project, and is weighted to take into account credits for ARC2020. However it is necessary to pass ARC2020 to progress to ARC3060. To pass ARC2020 a short dissertation or dissertation project proposal is required (approx. 1000 words). The proposal should include a title, a relevant captioned image, a description of the topic, the general approach to be taken and the proposed final output, which should be identified at this stage in agreement with the tutor. The final output can be either a written 8000 word dissertation, or a 5200 word project report and additional project submission (for example; creative practice output, prototyping or documentation of experiments, fieldwork, data collection or analytical recordings). The proposal should be fully referenced, and include a short literature survey of at least 6 relevant texts.

The proposal will have been developed with the dissertation elective (ARC2024) tutor allocated at the start of Semester Two, Stage Two who will normally continue as the dissertation tutor. Following the submission of the proposal, and in response to feedback and discussion with the tutor, independent study and detailed research can continues through the summer. The main body of the research and a plan for the structure of the dissertation or dissertation project should be in place for the start of Semester One, Stage Three.

Dissertation completed in stage 3: Assessment of the 8000 word dissertation or the 5200 word project report and additional project submission is carried out by main readers, including the Module Leader, and other staff as appropriate, who evaluate the work as a demonstration of: the student’s knowledge and understanding of a topic, critical skills in surveying existing work, ability to research and develop an argument, and capacity to present findings in an appropriate manner. Each dissertation is double-marked and, if necessary, triple-marked.

Reading Lists