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DRPS : Course Catalogue : Edinburgh College of Art : Art

Postgraduate Course: Research Methods in Art and Visual Culture (MPhil/PhD) (ARTX11043)

Course Outline
SchoolEdinburgh College of Art CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThe course provides an introduction to research methods relevant to the study of contemporary art and visual culture in its broadest sense. The course supports PhD and MPhil students in the School of Art to identify, evaluate and develop methods and methodologies specific and appropriate to their personal research projects at this level and in the context of a practice-led research environment. A key objective is to promote innovative, experimental and ambitious research that relates to academic study and creative practice at the forefront of the field of contemporary art and related disciplines.
Course description The course aims to introduce you to a variety of research methods and case studies appropriate to the study of art at postgraduate level and to generate an awareness of the links between context, theory, practice and creative postgradate research. It aims to encourage interdisciplinary approaches and foster an enthusiasm for theoretical and practical experimentation based on rigorous research skills.

The course is delivered as a 10 week, seminar-based course which deals with a specific research method, disciplinary approach or issue each week. You are expected to engage in directed learning via the LEARN VLE and to read and respond to set course materials and readings in advance of each seminar. In class, you are required to participate in group discussion with your peers and to discuss the relationship between these themes and approaches and your own research projects. Classes are based around set readings and are led by a team of academic staff, all involved in PhD supervision, who specialise in the theme or approach of each weekly seminar. Topics and themes will include sessions on (amongst others) research ethics, curatorial research, practice-led research, enthnographic research methods and interdisciplinary writing. As far as possible, the course will aim to reflect and cater to the fields and areas of research being undertaken by each annual cohort and the weekly sessions may, in some cases, be led by external guest speakers where relevant/appropriate.

Along with seminar preparation and participation, you will work collaboratively on the development of a final conference or symposium in which you will present your initial findings. In this, you will discuss your individual research projects in relation to the chosen or intended research methods and methodologies you will employ. As the final assessment you will work individually on the development of a 3000 word essay which will define, evaluate and provide a rationale for the resources, methodological approaches and disciplinary frameworks you have identified and will outline how these approaches and sources underpin and motivate your research. The presentation / paper delivered as part of the symposium (or similar event) may be used as the basis for this text, and can be used to engage in peer feedback and critical appraisal from the audience. This written essay may also be used as part of the larger MPhil or PhD project as a critical reflection on research methods and approaches.

The course is a compulsory component at the start of Phd and MPhil study and is complemented and supported by individual PhD and MPhil supervision and by research skills training offered by the Institute for Academic Development.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Research: Demonstrate your knowledge and critical understanding of a variety of specific and identifiable research methods appropriate to the materials, techniques, theories and approaches you engage with as part of your research and show an awareness of how these relate to research practices within contemporary art and cognate subject areas.
  2. Analysis: Develop a self-reflexive and critical approach to the research methods, practices and methodologies you will employ during the course of your MPhil / PhD project, showing your ability to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of your chosen methodological approach and provide a rationale for your choices.
  3. Communication: Display imagination, resourcefulness and initiative in the written, spoken and visual articulation of your research and show your ability to organise, apply and synthesise research and practice at postgraduate level. Deliver a short presentation and write a 3000 word essay defining and evaluating your chosen methodological approach.
Reading List
General Reading List:
The nature of Masters and doctoral level research means that students will be developing their own extensive bibliography of research methods literature. However, the following list provides some useful references on PhD study, research methods and critical approaches to practice-led research in art, visual culture and the humanities.

Allison, B. (2001). Research Skills for Students, London: Kogan Page.
Atkinson, P. (ed.). (2001). Handbook of Ethnography, London: SAGE Publications.
Daichendt, J (2013) Artist Scholar: Reflections on Writing and Research, Bristol: Intellect.
Barrett, E. & Bolt, B. (2010) Practice as Research: Approaches to Creative Arts Enquiry, I.B.Tauris:London.
Eco, U. (2015) How to Write a Thesis, Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press.
Elkins, J. (2009) Artists with PhDs: On the New Doctoral Degree in Studio Art.Washington, DC: New Academia Publishing, LLC.
Emmison, M. and Smith, P. (2000) Researching the Visual, London: SAGE Publications.
Gillham, B. (2001) The Research Interview (Real World Research). London: Continuum.
Gillham, B. (2000) Case Study Research Methods (Real World Research).London: Continuum.
Gillham, B. (2000).Developing a Questionnaire (Real World Research). London: Continuum.
Gray, C. & Malins, J. (2004) Visualizing Research: a Guide to the Research Process in Art & Design. Aldershot: Ashgate.
Hart, C. (2009) Doing a Literature Review, London: SAGE Publications.
Knowles, J. & Cole, A.(2008) Handbook of the Arts in Qualitative Research: Perspectives, Methodologies, Examples, and Issues. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.
Macleod, K.& Holdridge, L.(2006) Thinking Through Art:Reflections on Art as Research, London: Routledge.14
Marcuse, P. (2010) ¿In Defense of Theory in Practice¿. In: City.Vol.14 (1-2). pp.4-12
Marion, J.S. & Crowder, J.S. (2013)Visual Research: A Concise Introduction to Thinking Visually.London: Bloomsbury
Nelson, R. (2009) The Jealousy of Ideas: Research Methods in the Creative Arts. Fitzroy, Aus: Ellikon.
Pickering, M. (Ed.) (2008). Research Methods for Cultural Studies. Edinburgh: EUP
Ravelli, L, Paltridge, B, Starfield, S. (2014)Doctoral Writing in the Creative and Performing Arts. Faringdon: Libri Publishing.
Robson, C. (2002) Real World Research: a resource for social scientists and practitioner-researchers, 2nd ed., Oxford: Blackwell Publishers.
Rose, G. (2012)Visual Methodologies(3rd Edition).London: SAGE Publications.
Schön, D. (1991) The Reflective Practitioner: How Professionals Think in Action. Avebury: Ashgate.
Shapiro, M.J. (2013). Studies in Trans-disciplinary Method. London: Routledge.
Sharp et al. (2002)The Management of a Student Research Project, 3rd ed., Aldershot: Gower.
Silverman, D. (2004). Doing Qualitative Research.2nd ed. London: Sage Publications.
Sullivan, G. (2005). Art Practice as Research: Inquiry in the Visual Arts. London: Sage Publications.
Walliman, N. (2005). Your Research Project: a Step-by-Step Guide for the First-Time Researcher. 2nded. London: Sage Publications.
Yin, R. K. (2003) Applications of Case Study Research, 2nd ed., London: SAGE Publications
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills The course contributes to the development of personal and professional attributes and skills - generic and transferable skills beyond the subject of study itself - through its design to adhere and align with SCQF Level 11 Characteristics including:

Characteristic 2: Apply knowledge, skills and understanding in planning and executing a significant project of research, investigation or development.
Characteristic 3: Develop original and creative responses to problems and issues.
Characteristic 4: Communicate, using appropriate methods, to a range of audiences with different levels of knowledge/expertise.
Characteristic 5: Take responsibility for a range of resources.
Keywordsresearch methods; methodologies; practice-led research; interdisciplinary research; art
Course organiserMr Florian Hecker
Course secretaryMiss Fiona Walker
Tel: (0131 6)50 9265
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