Design Research

Subject ABPL90305 (2016)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2016.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 9 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2016:

Semester 1, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period 29-Feb-2016 to 29-May-2016
Assessment Period End 24-Jun-2016
Last date to Self-Enrol 11-Mar-2016
Census Date 31-Mar-2016
Last date to Withdraw without fail 06-May-2016

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 2 hours of lectures and 2 hours of studios per week in weeks 1-7; 4 hours per week allocated for one-on-one tutorials by appointment in weeks 8-11.
Total Time Commitment:

170 hours


Admission into one of the following courses:

MC-ARCH2Y Master of Architecture (200 points)
MC-LARCH2Y Master of Landscape Architecture (200 points)
MC-URBDES 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:

MC-ARCH Master of Architecture
MC-ARCH3Y Master of Architecture (300 points)
MC-LARCH Master of Landscape Architecture
MC-LARCH3Y Master of Landscape Architecture (300 points)

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 request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Student Support and Engagement Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Overview, Learning Outcomes, Assessment and Generic Skills sections of this entry.

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and Student Equity and Disability Support:


Dr Janet Mcgaw



The Eastern Precinct (building 138)
(between Doug McDonell building and Eastern Resource Centre)

Current Student:

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.

Learning Outcomes:

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 4:
Draft Research Statement (100 words) and Draft Annotated Bibliography (450 words) (Hurdle requirement for preliminary feedback) (No marking at this stage but feedback provided in terms of satisfactory /unsatisfactory).
Week 8:
Creative Research (3 no. pieces, equivalent to 1650 words), (30%)
Revised research question & revised bibliography (statement 100 words, and annotations to bibliography approx. 450 words = 10%)
Week 12:
Elaboration of the research proposal: An essay integrating text with the creative research submitted in week 8 (3,300 words = 60%)

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
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: 200 point Master of Architecture
200 point Master of Landscape Architecture
300 point Master of Architecture
300 point Master of Landscape Architecture
Melbourne School of Design multidisciplinary elective subjects

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