Code: DESI 1103 School: Architecture & Construction

Course Title: Design Dissertation

Course Coordinator: Mark Ingham

Level: 6                                                        Credit:            30

Department: Design Futures

Aims: (these should be long-term and strategic and identify the overall rationale/ purpose of the course)

An important part of the work of a contemporary designer is to research and present ideas to a critical audience. This course deals with the research and composition of a dissertation that can satisfy both academic and professional criteria. The dissertation must show evidence of a thorough investigation and it must deal with a range of issues, including contemporary design, practice and theory and cultural issues.

This course aims to give you the opportunity to make a detailed personal investigation and evaluation based on comprehensive research methodologies. This involves collecting evidence, creating arguments, critical analysis and judgments in a form which can communicate them effectively. The form this dissertation ‘document’ takes and its position in relation to the ‘practice’ element will be negotiable. It could be a web-site, a presentation, a film, a traditionally written and illustrated text, but no matter what form it takes it has to implement of all of the above elements.

Learning Outcomes: (statements of what a learner can do, know and understand as a result of successfully completing the course)

On completion of this course you will be able to:

  • Carry out in depth research using first and secondary sources and on the basis of this research, to structure your ideas as a logical argument.
  • Contextualise your research in the form of a review of the literature/practice.
  • Draw valid conclusions based on a preceding argument and your research.
  • Present your dissertation in the form of a sequential presentation, which is a finished piece of work in its own right.
  • Document the evolution of the project from the outset as an iterative and reflective process.
  • Give references to their sources in the approved academic manner and to compile a annotated bibliography.


Initially you will select a topic that is appropriate to your design discipline. This must have the approval of the Course Coordinator before proceeding with the research. This will then be followed by a construction of a literature/practice review. The Course Coordinator must also approve the form of the presentation. References to the sources and the bibliography must be presented in a suitable form on paper or digitally in the approved academic manner.

Learning and Teaching Activities: (these should reflect the learning outcomes and how they may be achieved)

Using active learning methods this course will be delivered using a number of learning and teaching strategies that will enable the student to be in control of their own learning and educational development. Along with lectures, individual presentations, group seminars and group and individual tutorials a sustained period of self-initiated research will be carried out. There will be a formatively assessed presentation at the beginning of the course, which will be based on your reflective learning journal/blog.








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