Module UXS-4052:
Research Design

Module Facts

Run by School of Music and Media

30 Credits or 15 ECTS Credits

Semester 1

Organiser: Dr Eben Muse

Overall aims and purpose

At the end of this module, you should be able to:

  1. Demonstrate an advanced understanding of key terms and concepts across 20th and 21st century critical theory.
  2. Demonstrate an advanced ability to apply a number of methodological frames to media and other cultural forms.
  3. Demonstrate an advanced capacity to assess the scope and limits of each method.
  4. Demonstrate an advanced ability to clarify and refine individual positions as critics, theorists and creative practitioners.
  5. Demonstrate an ability to make an independent and sophisticated contribution to the study of media and other cultural artefacts.

Course content

The purpose of this module is to prepare you to design, plan and complete a major research project (practice-based or empirical). We will begin by working to create a research space by identifying the area of interest and our own means of access into that area. You will engage with all aspects of the research process: identifying a research paradigm, selecting a qualitative or quantitative approach and methodological strategy, constructing research questions, collecting and analysing data. You will have the opportunity to assess research quality and to develop informed opinions regarding the ethics and politics that surround any research project. In addition to weekly seminar sessions, a variety of workshops on specific research skills will be provided each week. During the module you will develop a research proposal presenting your project methodology, background, and design; you will present this proposal in poster form at a half-day poster symposium in the School, and revise the proposal based on the tools you gain from the module.

Assessment Criteria


C/50% Submitted work is adequate and shows an acceptable level of competence . Evidence of knowledge and understanding of key concepts is limited and weak. . Evidence of awareness of relevant critical issues is limited. . Literature base is insufficient and/ or insufficiently current. . Over use of unsubstantiated generalised assumptions. . Evidence of analytical and critical thinking is weak and lacks depth. . Literature used superficially. . Ability to apply theory to practice is limited and weak. . The writing tends to be disjointed and lacking in structure.


B/60% Submitted work is competent throughout and distinguished by superior style, approach and choice of supporting materials. . Evidence of a good level of critical understanding of main concepts. . Evidence of good understanding of relevant critical issues. The writing is contextualised within recent research/ professional literature. . Strong ability to apply theory to practice. . The writing has a clear logical/systematic structure. Good (C) Submitted work is competent throughout and occasionally distinguished by superior style, approach and choice of supporting materials. . Evidence of knowledge and understanding of key concepts is sufficiently sound. . Awareness of relevant critical issues is sound. . Literature base is sufficient, current and appropriate. . The literature base is used to inform awareness of relevant issues. . Adequate evidence of ability to apply theory to practice. . The writing has structure, coherence and flow but may be lacking in consistency and rigour.


A/70% All unit learning outcomes achieved at an excellent/outstanding level . Evidence of deep knowledge and insightful understanding of key concepts and problems/issues at the forefront of the area in terms of academic and professional knowledge and understanding. . Fluency and confidence in use of the literature and current thinking/ research/professional literature. . Presents counter arguments; identifies key issues/problems and justifies conclusion. . Excellent ability to apply theory and practice, with insight, rigour and consistency. . Insightful observations into standard and unpredictable situations. . The writing is fluent coherent, well-structured and reads well

Learning outcomes

    1. Demonstrate an advanced and critical understanding of current research methodologies and issues in creative studies and media, and the ways in which these approaches relate to individual research plans
    1. Effectively use a variety of resources available for research in creative studies and media
    1. Understand the differences between quantitative and qualitative research methods as related to creative studies and media
    1. Correctly deploy academic conventions relating to citations and bibliographical information in the writing up of research
    1. Articulate and substantiate, both verbally and in written form, the aims and methods of the student’s own research approaches and plans  

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
WRITTEN PLAN Research Proposal 30
WRITTEN PLAN Revised Research Proposal 50

Teaching and Learning Strategy


Identify and attend workshops provided by the School, College and University on specific areas of research development.

Lecture 22
Private study 257

Individual tutorial sessions with project supervisors


Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
  • Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
  • Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
  • Inter-personal - Able to question, actively listen, examine given answers and interact sensitevely with others
  • Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
  • Presentation - Able to clearly present information and explanations to an audience. Through the written or oral mode of communication accurately and concisely.
  • Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting
  • Self-awareness & Reflectivity - Having an awareness of your own strengths, weaknesses, aims and objectives. Able to regularly review, evaluate and reflect upon the performance of yourself and others


Courses including this module

Compulsory in courses: