Design Research

Subject ABPL90305 (2012)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2012.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 9 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2012:

Semester 1, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period not applicable
Assessment Period End not applicable
Last date to Self-Enrol not applicable
Census Date not applicable
Last date to Withdraw without fail not applicable

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 1 hr lecture, 1 x 3 hour studio / week
Total Time Commitment:

120 hours


Entry into the following 200-point programs:

Master of Architecture
Master of Landscape Architecture
Master of Urban Design

Plus completion of 2 x 25-point master's studio subjects.


Completion of the first 100 points of the following 300-point programs:

Master of Architecture
Master of Landscape Architecture

Plus completion of 2 x 25 points of master's studio subjects at second-year level or higher.


Enrolment in ABPL90115 Masters of Architecture Studio E, ABPL90072 Landscape Architecture Studio 5:Sustainable Urbanism, ABPL90061 Urban Design Studio A, ABPL90273 Urban Design Studio B or ABPL90169 Design Thesis

Recommended Background Knowledge:

Design theory and history.

Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering requests for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Description, Subject Objectives, Generic Skills and Assessment Requirements of this entry.
The University is dedicated to provide support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the Disability Liaison Unit website:


Dr Janet Mcgaw


Environments and Design Student Centre
Ground Floor, Baldwin Spencer (building 113)

Phone: 13 MELB (13 6352)

Subject Overview:

Students will learn a variety of creative research methods, critical reading skills and academic writing styles required for a scholarly and rigorous approach to Thesis subject in their chosen design masters degree.


This subject will introduce students to a range of creative research methods. As distinct from traditional ‘quantitative research’ (classical scientific research method involving systematic collection of verifiable data) and ‘qualitative research’ (in-depth inquiry into human perceptions used in social sciences often involving interviews) ‘creative research’ is a relatively new methodology. In this subject we follow de Bono’s definition that creativity involves lateral moves sideways in contrast to the logical, linear thinking inherent to traditional research methods. We follow the Oxford Dictionary’s definition of ‘research’ meaning investigation or inquiry into things. The focus of our creative research will be uncovering new knowledge that can lead to the generation of imagined futures for designed environments. On completion of the subject, students should have developed the ability to frame a design thesis question and identify appropriate creative methods through which to test it.


Week 7
1 x (Draft) Research Statement (100 words / 4 sentences
1 x Annotated Bibliography

(No marking at this stage but feedback provided in terms of satisfactory / unsatisfactory).

Week 14
1 x (Revised) Research Statement (100 words / 4 sentences, 25%

(Refined research statement in light of feedback received after interim submission).

1 x Research proposal. (approx. 2500 words) (30%)
3 x Creative research exercises, 45%, (15% x 3) that explore the research proposal, selected from the range that were taught during the semester (eg. critical mapping, rhythmanalysis, typological iterations, parametrics, prototypes, installations).

Each creative research exercise must include a brief (300 word max) exegesis.

Each creative research exercise must be communicated on 1 x A3 size sheet, landscape format.

Prescribed Texts:

On-line library guide

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:
  • Understanding creative research as a methodology
  • Awareness of and beginning skills in a range of creative research methods
  • Understanding of academic writing conventions
  • Capacity to frame a research question clearly and concisely
  • Capacity to determine the relevant research methods to explore a research question through design
  • Capacity for independent, analytical and critical thought and reflection
Links to further information:
Related Course(s): Master of Architecture
Master of Architecture
Master of Design (Urban Design)
Master of Landscape Architecture
Master of Landscape Architecture
Master of Urban Design
Master of Urban Design

Download PDF version.