ARCH 7042 - Designing Research (M)

North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2020

This course explores a variety of understandings and methods of undertaking and delivering `research'. Research is understood as the organised activity of focused observation, recording, analysis and documented communication of a determined point of investigation. Students review a number of traditional and formalised methods for undertaking and disseminating the findings of such inquiries which are typically text-based and sequential. In addition, and appropriate to the subject under investigation, students are also encouraged to explore variations where the design process itself is proposed as a parallel potential research methodology. Based on a series of examples presented, students are required to develop their own research frameworks and proposals which demonstrate an understanding of the principles, structure and purpose of research.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code ARCH 7042
    Course Designing Research (M)
    Coordinating Unit School of Architecture and Built Environment
    Term Semester 1
    Level Postgraduate Coursework
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 3 hours per week
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Restrictions Available to M.Arch (Cswk), M.Larch, M.PlanUD and M. ConMgnt students only
    Course Description This course explores a variety of understandings and methods of undertaking and delivering `research'. Research is understood as the organised activity of focused observation, recording, analysis and documented communication of a determined point of investigation. Students review a number of traditional and formalised methods for undertaking and disseminating the findings of such inquiries which are typically text-based and sequential. In addition, and appropriate to the subject under investigation, students are also encouraged to explore variations where the design process itself is proposed as a parallel potential research methodology. Based on a series of examples presented, students are required to develop their own research frameworks and proposals which demonstrate an understanding of the principles, structure and purpose of research.
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Dr Jo Russell-Clarke

    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes

    On successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

    1. Demonstrate a practical understanding of the general principles, strategies and tactics of conventional academic research, and their potential application to Design and related ‘non-traditional’ modes of research.
    2. Outline the structure and develop the content and critical criteria of a proposal for a substantial research project relevant to a practical or theoretical issue in the environmental design disciplines
    3. Write cogently and succinctly using the conventional language of academic research
    4. Identify and review relevant literature for a particular research topic methodically and strategically
    5. Critique the work of peers objectively and constructively
    6. Exercise a rigorous and ethical approach to research
    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)
    Deep discipline knowledge
    • informed and infused by cutting edge research, scaffolded throughout their program of studies
    • acquired from personal interaction with research active educators, from year 1
    • accredited or validated against national or international standards (for relevant programs)
    Critical thinking and problem solving
    • steeped in research methods and rigor
    • based on empirical evidence and the scientific approach to knowledge development
    • demonstrated through appropriate and relevant assessment
    Teamwork and communication skills
    • developed from, with, and via the SGDE
    • honed through assessment and practice throughout the program of studies
    • encouraged and valued in all aspects of learning
    Self-awareness and emotional intelligence
    • a capacity for self-reflection and a willingness to engage in self-appraisal
    • open to objective and constructive feedback from supervisors and peers
    • able to negotiate difficult social situations, defuse conflict and engage positively in purposeful debate
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    Ther is no prescribed texts or resoiurces for this course
    Recommended Resources

    A link to the following electronic resourcecan be accessed under ‘Information’ on the MyUni on-line-learning site for this course:

    Research: Chapter 1 from Architectural Research Methods (Groat and Wang)

    See also the following links:

    Research methods:
    Writing an abstract:
    An annotated bibliography:

    Books in the reserve collection in the Barr Smith library:

    Clare, J., & Hamilton, H. (Eds.). (2003). Writing research: Transforming data into text. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone [BSL 808.042 C5913w]

    Evans, D., &Gruba. P. (2002). How to write a better thesis. 2nd Ed. Carlton South, Vic.: MelbourneUniversity Press. [808.02 E925h]

    Locke, L. F., Spirduso, W. W., & Silverman, S. J. (2007). Proposals that work: A guide for planning dissertations and grant proposals. 5th Ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. [808.066 L814p.5]

    Swales, J. M., &Feak, C. M. (2004). Academic writing for graduate students: Essential tasks and skills: A course for non-native speakers of English. 2nd Ed. Ann Arbor, MI : University of Michigan Press. [BSL 808.042 S971a].

    Swales, J. M., &Feak, C. M. (2000). English in today’s research world: A writing guide. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press. [BSL 808.042 S971e]

    Academic Support:

    The Professions Learning Centre (PLC) provides postgraduate coursework students of the Faculty of Professions free academic skills advice on critical analysis and structuring assignments, paraphrasing, referencing, oral presentation skills and other skills to assist with success at university. You are encouraged to take advantage of the service to enable you to improve your performance in your studies. To contact a Learning Advisor please send an email to
    Online Learning

    All course communication outside of scheduled teaching contact hours will be handled through the MyUni website for this course. Students should routinely check the course website and their university e-mail accounts for any general 'Announcements' issued through MyUni. Individual e-mail messages may also be issued to students by course instructors and coordinator from the MyUni ‘grade centre’.
    All assignments shall be submitted online to the MyUni ‘grade centre’, through which all assessment and feedback will also be issued

    Course Website:

    University Email:
    The school uses the University email system to get in touch with the students. So it is imperative that you check your email regularly and keep up to date with any new announcements.

    Noticeboard / Handbook:
    General information about the activities at the School is available online from the Student Noticeboard which can be accessed at Students can also access a copy of the Student Handbook at the following link:

  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes

    This course has a very strong emphasis on student centred learning and formative assessment. Seminars will feature intensive small group discussions, developing and applying material covered in lectures to current assignments. Timely completion and submission of assignments will be crucial to the effectiveness of the seminar style tutorial sessions, and the formative assessment and skills development they will provide.

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    The University expects full-time students (ie. those taking 12 units per semester) to devote at least 48 hours per week to their studies. Accordingly, students undertaking this 3 unit course are expected to devote 12 hours per weekto contact activities and self-guided studies.

    Based on this framework here are some figures that might assist workload management:
    Total workload hours: 12 Hrs per week x 13 weeks = 156 Hrs
    Total contact hours: 3 Hrs per week x 12 weeks = 36 Hrs
    Total self-guided study: 156 Hrs – 36 Hrs = 120 Hrs

    These 120 hours should be used towards preparation of weekly tasks and for completion of the various assignments associated with the course, including development of various skills requiredto complete the same. Please organise your time wisely.

    NOTE: The lecture content and assignment load of this course is concentrated in the first two thirds of the semester, to enable students to devote the final weeks to their parallel studio courses. To ensure the efficacy of small-group teaching contact, students will also meet intensively with designated tutors in smaller one-hour weekly seminar sessions, the schedule for which will be issued in wk1.
    Learning Activities Summary
    Week Lecture workshop / Seminar
    Week 1 lecture 1 (Intro) workshop: What is research?
    Week 2 lecture 2 workshop: elements of a research project
    Week 3 lecture 3 Why?: Finding/framing a research problem
    Week 4 lecture 4 Industry Forum: Reseach in Practice
    Week 5 lecture 5 workshop: literature search strategies
    Week 6 lecture 6 annotating a bibliography critically
     teaching break (2 weeks)
    Week 7 lecture 7 framing a research project
    Week 8 lecture 8 Strategies and Tactics
    Week 9 Lecture 9 workshop: writing and communicating research
    Week 10 Lecture 10 workshop: peer-reviewing research quality
    week 11 Lecture 11 (final) final seminar: individual consultations
    Specific Course Requirements

    Students are required to attend the School’s occasional ‘Speaker Series’ of public lectures on Tuesday evenings throughout the semester. Theoretical topics and design research discussed in these lectures will be assumed knowledge that students will be expected to engage in their seminar discussions and assignments.
    Small Group Discovery Experience
    (not applicable to this course)
  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    Assessment Task Task Type Weighting Due Learning Outcome
    Participation formative 10% 1,2,3,4,5,6
    Assignment 1 summative 10% week 4  1,3,5
    Assignment 2 summative 30% week 7  3,4
    Assignment 3 summative 50% week 12 1,2,3,4,5,6
    Total 100%

    Due to the current COVID-19 situation modified arrangements have been made to assessments to facilitate remote learning and teaching. Assessment details provided here reflect recent updates.

    Aside from attending online classes and completing any work for tutorials and workshops to recieve your participation and engagement mark (10%), all assessments remain the same. Three assignments will be completed, uploaded and marked online.
    Assessment Detail

    General Assessment Criteria (these apply to all assignments)
    Evidence of understanding and conformity to ‘Research writing conventions’. This is based on assessment of conventional features of academic writing in English such as would be appropriate for readers in the scholarly disciplines of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, including:
    • sentences and paragraphs which conform to the University’s policies on plagiarism and the production of independent research writing
    • follow academic expectations in terms of spelling, punctuation and paragraphing, logical flow of ideas, scholarly integration of published literature
    • consistency in presentation of bibliographical citation and referencing.
    Partcipation in formative workshop exercises is a non-graded but compulsory leanring activity in this course. Failure to engage in and submit workshop tasks or the peer-review report will result in a deduction of 5 points in each instance from the student's total of 10% of the overall marks reserved for participation.

    Assignment 1: 

    series of short written and data collection and analysis execises, and/or online quiz
    Assignment 2: Literature Review
    project title + abstract/summary (100-200 words) + annotated bibliography (1500 words) + precedent/primary source analysis (3 x 100 words or graphic equivalent)

    Task: Write another project abstract and title (following the same guidelines provided in assignment 1) but summarising the anticipated focus, aims, approach and outcomes of a research project that you, personally, propose to undertake (either hypothetically, or in the context of the Final Project studio) in semester 2. Based on a methodical and sufficiently thorough preliminary survey of literature and design precedents relevant to your selected project (including any prescribed readings and precedents that your tutor or selected studio supervisor/lab-leader may assign), the main component of this assignment is to prepare a preliminary annotated bibliography which will identify, categorise, and briefly assess critically a range of at least 15 published sources (e.g., journal articles, book chapters, government publications, research reports). These must be carefully selected for their relevance to your research topic/focus and/or methods, and their critical substance and quality. In addition, you must also identify and critically analyse in both text and graphic form, at least 3 design precedents, historical or contemporary, of clear relevance to your research topic, typology or approach.

    Assignment 3: Research Project Statement
    (final) title + abstract/summary (100 words) + (final) Project Outline (2,000 words) + additional sections 4-9

    Task: Review and polish your project title and abstract/summary (100 word), and develop a full ‘Project Outline’ to a final length of 2,000 words (max), following the specifications for section 3 of the prescribed ‘Research Statement Proforma’ for this course (see document downloadable from MyUni). 
    This assignment will be submitted incrementally, as follows: 
    • 3a: Project Outline (first Draft)
    • 3b: Peer Review Report
    • 3c: Final Research Project Statement

    See 'Assessment Summary' (above) for submission dates and weightings.

    All assignmnets are to be submitted online through the grade centre on the MyUni website for the course by 9:00am on the due date.

    Hard copies of all submssiosns are also required to be brought to the student's regular seminar session on the due date for discussion with tutors and peers.
    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy ( course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
  • Fraud Awareness

    Students are reminded that in order to maintain the academic integrity of all programs and courses, the university has a zero-tolerance approach to students offering money or significant value goods or services to any staff member who is involved in their teaching or assessment. Students offering lecturers or tutors or professional staff anything more than a small token of appreciation is totally unacceptable, in any circumstances. Staff members are obliged to report all such incidents to their supervisor/manager, who will refer them for action under the university's student’s disciplinary procedures.

The University of Adelaide is committed to regular reviews of the courses and programs it offers to students. The University of Adelaide therefore reserves the right to discontinue or vary programs and courses without notice. Please read the important information contained in the disclaimer.