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Research Exercise


  • Credit value: 30 credits at Level 7
  • Convenor: Professor Kate Retford
  • Assessment: a 6000-word research exercise (100%)

Module description

This module consists of an extended, independent research project. It builds on the core module Frameworks: Histories and Theories of Art, Architecture, Photography, and helps to prepare you for your dissertation.

The basis of this exercise is a case study on a sculpture, building or painting (or a close group of works where appropriate); photographs, drawings or objects in a museum; or a performance piece. You are also required to devise a research question about your case study.

The exercise consists of two main parts:

  • a literature review
  • your own findings based on first-hand research, including close analysis of your case study and work on any associated archival/primary sources.

You will be assigned a tutor who will supervise your essay, and take part in a work-in-progress seminar with the other students in your group. You may also consult with another member of staff who has specific subject expertise on your chosen case study.

Learning objectives

By the end of this module, you will be able to:

  • show deep knowledge and understanding of your chosen area of study
  • research and evaluate a historiographical field, able to reflect on key developments and on the current state of the discussion
  • understand the position of your own independent research within that historiographical field
  • undertake close, first-hand study of material related to the programme of study (i.e. history of art, photography or architecture)
  • conduct research using primary source material, relating directly to the case study
  • combine understanding of secondary scholarship and critical writing with original research
  • identify how original contributions can be made to an area of study.