AAMRM1-Research Methods 1

Module Provider: School of Architecture, School of Built Environment
Number of credits: 10 [5 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn / Spring / Summer module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Co-requisites: AAMAD1 Architectural Design 1 and AAMAD2 Architectural Design 2
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2020/1

Module Convenor: Prof Flora Samuel

Email: f.b.samuel@reading.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:

Research and innovation should be central to architectural practice. A key ambition of the school is to give students the research skills to advance the cause of architecture as a research discipline in the workplace, and in doing so, to promote innovation and the development of a knowledge base for the field. This module will therefore provide students with an important grounding in research methods (theory) and their development through recent history while offering an opportunity to reflect on the nature and meaning of creative practice. It will also provide students with an introduction to the research activity of the school and to their role as co-researchers with the staff team, an essential element of the research led learning curriculum at Reading. This module will prepare students to deliver a sustained and rigorous piece of work in the form of the next module AAM RM2. 


To provide a foundation in research methods relevant to contemporary issues related to  Architecture and the built environment  , as well as an understanding of their development and relationship to the history of the field of architectural practice. 


Intended learning outcomes: 

  1. Understanding of a range of research methods applicable to architectural practice; 

  2. Knowledge of the history of research, innovation and creativity within the field of architecture; 

  3. Ability to develop a robust well researched research project proposal; 

  4. An understanding of research impact and its measurement.  

  5. Critical understanding of how knowledge is advanced through research to produce clear, logically argued and original written work relating to architectural culture, theory and design; GA2.4 

Assessable learning outcomes:

At the end of this module, students will:

  1. Have ability to frame a research project articulating: aim, methodology, research context, research plan, dissemination, pathways to impact, cost and timeline.

  2. Demonstrate an understanding and knowledge of a range of research methodologies (including art practice), their appropriate usage and their place in the history of architectural knowledge; GC3.1

  3. Demonstrate knowledge of the cultur al, social and intellectual histories, theories and technologies that influence the design of buildings; GC2.1

  4. Demonstrate knowledge of the influence of history and theory on the spatial, social, and technological aspects of architecture; GC2.2

  5. Acquire knowledge of the application of appropriate theoretical concepts to studio design projects, demonstrating a reflective and critical approach; GC2.3

  6. Demonstrate knowledge of how the theories, practice s and technologies of the arts influence architectural design; GC3.1

  7. Demonstrate knowledge of the creative application of the fine arts and their relevance and impact on architecture; GC3.2

  8. Demonstrate knowledge of theories of urban design and the planning of communities; GC4.1

  9. Demonstrate knowledge of the influence of the design and development of cities, past and present on the contemporary built environment; GC4.2

  10. Critical unders tanding of how knowledge is advanced through research to produce clear, logically argued and original written work relating to architectural culture, theory and design; GA2.4

Additional outcomes:

  1. Employability skills: written, visual and verbal communication, research, project planning, ethical good practice, interviewing and data management.

  2. An understanding of a range of research methods applicable to architectural practice;

  3. Demonstrate knowledge of the creative application of such work to studio design projects, in terms of their conceptualisation and representation; GC3.3

  4. Knowledge of the history of research, innovation and creativity within the field of architecture;

  5. Ability to develop a robust well researched research project proposal;

  6. An understanding of research impact and its measurement.

Outline content:

The module will prepare students for the writing of their dissertation. In the Autumn term there will be a series of lectures on research methodology and methods from research active staff in the school and based on their current research interests. This will provide students with a choice of research methodologies and themes. In the Spring semester they will be asked to develop a dissertation research project proposal. They will be supported in this activity through a series of workshops cul minating in a Powerpoint presentation of their proposal. Once the project has been agreed students will be allocated relevant individual tutors who  will help them over the summer period to refine their project proposals and  prepare for their research work in the field of practice through the development of a literature review, ethics, etc. 

Global context:

The skills and knowledge which the student will acquire from this module have universal application. 

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

The module is tailored to a diversity of learning types as it offers a range of opportunities for learning, lectures seminars and individual tutorials. This will be backed up by resources for independent study on Blackboard (VLE). Students will have the opportunity to choose from a variety of research approaches and topics and to tailor the module to suit their own individual needs and interests. 

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 11
Seminars 11
Tutorials 1 2
Supervised time in studio/workshop 9
Guided independent study:      
    Wider reading (independent) 5
    Preparation for tutorials 8
    Preparation of practical report 10
    Completion of formative assessment tasks 10
    Essay preparation 28
    Reflection 5
Total hours by term 40 40 20
Total hours for module 100

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Project output other than dissertation 100

Summative assessment- Examinations:


Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

Final research project proposal.

Formative assessment methods:

This module includes formative assessments from both lecturer(s) and peers participating in seminars, tutorials and group discussions. 

By the week 11 in Autumn term, students will submit a reflective written report comparing the range of research methodologies presented during the autumn term and their purposes. 


By the week 11  in Spring term, students will present a Powerpoint presentation on evolving project. 

Penalties for late submission:
Penalties for late submission on this module are in accordance with the University policy. Please refer to page 5 of the Postgraduate Guide to Assessment for further information: http://www.reading.ac.uk/internal/exams/student/exa-guidePG.aspx

Assessment requirements for a pass:

A mark of 50% overall 

Reassessment arrangements:

Reassessment will be by coursework to be completed August/September 

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

  1. Required text books: Required and recommended textbooks are usually available in the University Library.

  2. Specialist equipment or materials: N/A  

  3. Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear: N/A 

  4. Printing and binding: N/A 

  5. Computers and devices with a particular specification: There is access to computers with specialist software, however, students may also wish to buy their own computers.

  6. Travel, accommodation and subsistence: N/A

Last updated: 17 August 2020


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