Individual Researched Text

PG01IndividualResearchedTextBrief PDF

Project Title Individual Researched Text Project Value 50%
Unit Title Research Process Unit Code PG01
Level/Term [M] PG terms 1 and 2 Date of Issue 23.11.2010
Submission Date 15/02/2011
Unit Leader Jeremy Gardiner
Project Leader and Other Staff Jeremy Barr and Mark Ingham
Unit Introduction This unit introduces and applies concept creation tools and examines the role that research plays in developing and contextualising advanced practice-based projects in the creative fields of design, communication and digital technology. Most of the curriculum is delivered centrally to all MA students in the belief that the key activities of the unit – the study of methods and methodologies, contextual studies and reflection on research process – are activities that are greatly enhanced when carried out in a multi-disciplinary and therefore comparative context. It also encourages a learning culture in which exchange, mutual support and experience is shared between peers. Nevertheless, it is recognised that many students will experience and understand the concepts which they engage with in the unit from the perspective of their discipline, and subject specialist tutors will be involved to take a more strategic view and insure the Learning Plan’s viability in relation to the chosen subject. The approach taken is also underpinned by the belief that designers and communicators need to have a clear position in relation to the ethical questions raised by the conduct of research in the information age. 

Starting with the formulation of a lead question or area of enquiry, the unit focuses on the design and development of a research strategy as a means of envisaging and mapping out a systematic line of enquiry. The research strategy is evolved over the three learning cycles into a Manifesto and eventually into the Learning Plan. A Literature Review is undertaken as part of this strategy, including the exploration of significant texts and debates, as well as an exploration of established research methods and methodologies.

Driven by an iterative process of analysis, reflection and evaluation of research findings, the research strategy supports and progresses the development of an argument to its final conclusion at the end of the Research Process unit, giving rise to hypotheses, concepts or project ideas for further investigation. These contribute to the foundation of the Learning Plan and ensuing units, where the research strategy continues to play a role in the evaluation and testing of further processes and outcomes.

In parallel with the development of the research strategy, students initiate a Project Log (in PG02 – Technology Issues) to record their learning, store research and reflect upon their personal development. During the second semester academic tutorials will help students to transform and integrate the Project Log and the Learning Plan into the Research Proposal (in PG04 – Concept and Prototype) that will guide them through their masters project.

Also essential to this study is the student’s understanding of his/her MA group as an academic community and its role in the iterative process that is progressing his/her line of enquiry. Therefore much effort is invested in the iterative process of presentation and debate, first by formulating a research strategy, evolve it into a Manifesto and eventually the Learning Plan which is holistically assessed on its presentation and submitted form.

The Manifesto will help students to learn about themselves and to formulate their professional objectives in relation to a fast-moving global, digital environment. Brainstorming, discussions and debates in varying settings will provide a multifaceted learning experience helping students to gain confidence and to achieve focus.

The key role of the Learning Plan is to provide a framework which will facilitate the development of a holistic project that both integrates research and evaluation methods and places these at its core. Students need to set their own professional goals and targets, including strategies and methods, details about timelines and resources and methods of evaluating their achievements.


Project Brief  

This Individual Researched Text of 2700-3300 words [with images] becomes the ‘broader survey’ of your chosen subject. It will include an initial literature review, give an indication of the development of the research strategy and articulate the methodologies that will be used. It will be referenced using the Harvard Referencing System and have a fully annotated bibliography

So it will: Demonstrate a critical understanding of significant texts and current theoretical and contextual debates at the forefront of your practice-based discipline and help you understand what is meant by a research strategy. It will also: Show development of frameworks that lead to a coherent argument; Provide appropriate, accurate and traceable evidence of sources, methods and demonstrate skills of reflection and analysis in assessing personal learning in order to develop strategies for further academic development.

This text could become the ‘introduction’ to your Critically Argued Research Document [CARD] and is the starting point for the iterative process that this document should become. This document will be a coalescence of the theory, practice and research that will make up your overall project.


Teaching and Learning Strategies and E-Learning For project updates you are required to regularly check your emails and unit specific content in Moodle 

and PG01 Website:

The outcome is developed through student engagement with 5 weekly cycles of learning involving:

  • Lectures – delivered by expert course staff, invited external speakers and representatives from the creative industries;
  • Seminars – as a context for group discussions (of ideas and research); to encourage peer cohesion and review;
  • Group work and peer assisted learning – particularly during the ‘Residential Workshop Week’ – 5 consecutive days of required attendance and intensive group work;
  • Formative Assessment
  • Tutorials – individual and group as appropriate.

During these cycles, students are expected to engage in considerable independent and collaborative learning and this is structured and supported through a requirement to:

  • Conduct a Literature Review;
  • Develop and maintain an online Learning Log – as a repository for documentation and research and a vehicle for recording, planning and reflecting on their learning; using a website.

Engage with the VLE and other online facilities in order to collaborate and network and to support them to work flexibly or at a distance if required.


Learning Outcomes As is appropriate for creative practice based disciplines, the primary driver for the development of students’ subject specific and professional skills will be their engagement in independent and collaborative project work. 

Student’s research skills will be honed through their work on the development of a research strategy which will underpin their project work in ensuing units.

Student’s develop a critical understanding of the research methods appropriate to their idea or area of creative experimentation and deepen this through an iterative process of analysis, reflection and evaluation during the three 5 weekly cycles of learning which characterise the unit. Again, the development of the online Learning Log (and the individual learning plan which sits within it) is a crucial vehicle for developing students’ skills in reflecting critically on the materials and methods with which they engage and integrating them in a robust personal strategy.

In addition to the feedback, insights and formative advice provided by unit staff, the group working, collaboration and opportunities for virtual and face to face peer learning offered by the unit (described in section B above) allow students to accelerate their learning and to subject their strategies to the critical examination of their peers.

1.    Demonstrate a critical understanding of significant texts and theoretical, contextual and ethical debates at the forefront of the practice-based discipline, and evaluate their relevance for his/her own research strategy and in the Individual Researched Text

2.    Identify, formulate and develop a lead question, and understand its value in focusing both research and analysis. In the Individual Researched Text

3.    Evidence a critical understanding (through reflection, analysis and documentation) of the learning process involved in an extended study and practice-based project through the Learning Plan

4.    Identify, design and present a research strategy and demonstrate its use in underpinning a practice-based project in the Individual Researched Text

5.    Demonstrate a critical understanding of established and emergent research methods and methodologies and be able to evaluate their effectiveness for his/her own research strategy/ Learning Plan and in the Individual Researched Text

6.    Think creatively: analyse research findings, develop conceptual models that lead to insights, formulate a coherent argument and draw conclusions that enable further enquiry. through the Learning Plan


Assessment Criteria Students will be assessed for: 

Individual Researched Text

  • Ability to demonstrate understanding of the meaning of research strategies
  • Ability to demonstrate an understanding of the concept of directed research
  • Critical understanding of significant texts and current theoretical and contextual debates at the forefront of their practice-based discipline
  • Understanding of research methods and the ability to reflect upon their appropriateness to critical purpose
  • Ability to develop frameworks that lead to a coherent argument
  • Ability to provide appropriate, accurate and traceable evidence of sources and methods in a meaningful context
  • Skills of reflection and analysis in assessing personal learning in order to develop strategies for further academic development


Assessable Elements and Submission Requirements  

Assessable Elements Percentage of Final Grade
Individual Researched Text 

[2700-3300 words] Fully illustrated and uploaded via Moodle



Key Dates Students must refer to the detailed timetable below for times regarding sessions and lectures. 


Extensions and Mitigating Circumstances If you have any other unforeseen and serious difficulties during this unit you may apply for an extension, or mitigating circumstances. Full details of how to do this are available from the Registry intranet site at


Grading and Marking All projects at Ravensbourne College are assessed against the College Grading Descriptors.  ( 


Reading List All references must be written in the Harvard style of referencing.  Refer to the LRC Booklet ‘How to … Reference your work’.

Tenner, Edward (1996) Why Things Bite Back: Technology and the Revenge Effect, Fourth Estate, London.

A pessimistic book about strategies for change. It questions a future vested in technological imperatives by emphasising moral and ethical dilemmas that accompany processes of change. It forces readers out of their boxes, into different thinking and is often uncomfortable reading. It is advisable to read the entire book including Preface: pp ix-277. Some grounds for optimism are situated in Chapter 12: Another Look Back and A Look Ahead.

0679762906 Negroponte, N          2000   Being Digital

See also:

Vintage Books

0262633299  Mosco, V        2005   Digital Sublime: Myth, Power and Cyberspace

A cultural examination of the chronology of mass media communication and its cycles of acceptance (or not). He researches and presents technology from a cultural point of view. It is advisable to read the entire book: pp 1–184, and particularly noteworthy is Chapter 2: Myth and Cyberspace.

See also:

MIT Press website    [Multi authored]

0262134721  Maeda, J        2006   The Laws of Simplicity (Simplicity: Design, Technology, Business, Life) See also: MIT Press

0415351111  Chandler, D  2002

Semiotics: the basics

Also see:


0140296662  de Bono, E    2000

Six Thinking Hats

Also see:


0754675688  Bailey, C        2010

Revisualizing Visual Culture (Digital Research in the Arts and Humanities)  Ashgate


Learning Support Learning Support is available through Student Services and includes – English as a second language, academic writing support and dyslexia support. 

For more information on the type of support you can access, either visit the Student Services Team, or see the Support for Learning brochure which can be downloaded from –

Alternative assessment arrangements may be made or additional learning support arranged for students with disabilities or medical conditions which would impair their performance in meeting the above requirements and who have registered in advance with Student Support. This must be discussed and agreed in advance with the Subject Leader and will be reported to the Board of Examiners.


Re-Submission Requirements Students who fail this project, or parts thereof, will be required to complete a resubmission project which demonstrates that they have achieved the learning outcomes. 

Students should be aware that resubmissions are capped at an E grade (for University of Sussex Validation) or a bare pass grade (for City University London Validation) unless the mitigating circumstances panel uphold an evidenced application.

The deadline for re-submission is: 22.03.2011


Ravensbourne PG01 –Schedule – MA Space/Studio 805/Atrium

1.       Induction Week Jeremy Gardiner, Jeremy Barr, Mark Ingham
2.       TUE  26/10/2010  10.00-13.00& 14.00-17.00           Jeremy Barr, Mark Ingham 

MA Space/Studio 805 Introduction to PG01/Show Brief and Timetable + Presentation of induction project  + How to get Research Going

3.       TUE  02/11/2010  10.00-13.00& 14.00-17.00           Jeremy Barr, Mark Ingham          MA Space/Studio 805. Constructing a Literature/Practice Review: Presentation/Seminar /Workshop. Questions that will be discussed: What is a Literature/Practice Review? Why do a Literature/Practice Review? How to do a Literature/Practice Review? + Annotated Bibliographies: How they are useful in understanding sources of information and keeping a record of the ideas generated by the research.
4.       TUE  09/11/2010  10.00-13.00& 14.00-17.00           Jeremy Barr, Mark Ingham 

MA Space/Studio 805. Research Methods 1/Action Research/Research in Action :Presentation/Seminar/Workshop. Questions that will be discussed: What is Action Research? How to use it? How you might start using it? Why it could be useful to you? Other related methods and methodologies.

5.       TUE  16/11/2010                               Jeremy Barr, Mark Ingham, Jeremy Gardiner 

10.00-13.00  Visit to the British Library and exhibitions + registering as a reader

14.00-17.00  Site visit to the British Museum [How to analyse a cultural institution]

6.       TUE  23/11/2010               10.00-13.00         14.00-17.00         MA Space/Studio 805 

Jeremy Barr, Mark Ingham, Jeremy Gardiner

.Formative Assessment: Presentations of student’s nascent Literature/Practice Reviews. Presentation/Seminar/Workshop. Hand out MA Debate paper.

7.       TUE  30/11/2010               10.00-13.00                         Jeremy Barr, Mark Ingham 

MA Space/Studio 805. Critical Analysis of texts and practices: Questions that will be discussed: Where does the text/practice come from? What does the text/practice include? What are the central arguments/motivations in the text/practice? How do all the pieces fit together?

8.       TUE  07/12/2010               10.00-13.00                         Jeremy Barr, Mark Ingham 

MA Space/Studio 805. Manifestos: An introduction to a series of historical manifestos, which will then lead to the construction of the student’s own manifesto.

9.       TUE  14/12/2010               10.00-13.00                         Jeremy Barr, Mark Ingham 

MA Space/Studio 805. The MA Debate: Today you will become a debating society. You will be split into teams and asked to argue for or against and series of propositions.

10.   TUE  11/01/2011               10.00-13.00                         Jeremy Barr, Mark Ingham 

MA Space/Studio 805. Summative Assessment: Indentifying and Designing a Research Strategy

11.   TUE  18/01/2011               10.00-13.00                         Jeremy Barr, Mark Ingham 

MA Space/Studio 805. Research Methods 2: Qualitative versus Quantitative Research: Some of the debates, paradigms and their uses

12.   TUE  25/01/2011               10.00-13.00                         Jeremy Barr, Mark Ingham 

MA Space/Studio 805. On constructing a coherent easy to navigate document: The importance of the reader when writing and creating a research document.

13.   TUE  01/02/2011               10.00-13.00                         Jeremy Barr, Mark Ingham 

MA Space/Studio 805. An introduction to CARD [‘dissertation’]: The relationships between Theory, Research and practice. How all of these can COALESCE to form a coherent yet multifaceted Major Project.

14.   TUE  08/02/2011               10.00-13.00                         Jeremy Barr, Mark Ingham 

MA Space/Studio 805. Review of the course: A summation of the overall aims and objectives of the course and how it should be used in all of the practical projects.

15.   TUE  15/02/2011               10.00-13.00                         Jeremy Barr, Mark Ingham          Atrium 

Summative Assessment:  Hand in Individual Researched Text + Presentation of course work.


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