ARCHGEN 703 : Design as Research

Creative Arts and Industries

2022 Semester Two (1225) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

Examines the literature on, and approaches to, research by design. Considers research processes and architectural design processes, and the ways in which these processes might be creatively combined in the context of a Masters level design thesis, in order that the thesis process and outcomes might meet the expectations of a research-based thesis.

Course Overview

Research is the act of investigation or inquiry, carried out through careful consideration, observation, or study of a subject, aimed at contributing to knowledge of a topic. In other words, it is about ‘getting to know’ something. Design research is this same act of ‘getting to know’ but carried out through the processes and modes of design making, where we ‘get to know’, or find things out through making a design. These processes and modes might be common and shared across the fields of design and architecture or they may be quite specific or idiosyncratic to an individual. The knowledge employed in design research might be obvious, but often the ways this knowledge is employed or integrated in design making is tacit – that is not openly expressed or stated. Frequently our means of knowing through design making are taken for granted.

The aim of this course is to engage in research for and through design, with the intention to prepare students for a research-based thesis in the following year. The course aims to give you these understanding and skills:
- To develop research processes for and through design
• To locate, critically evaluate and employ appropriate scholarly literature useful to your design project
• To identify a research topic or field of inquiry, and structure a research proposal to be carried out through designing
• To identify a ‘community of practice’ in which your design activities can be situated and contextualised
• To identify, analyse and articulate the actions, processes and encounters of your design research
• To gain experience in making your research intelligible through integrated forms of written and visual language, presenting your research orally to fellow students as well as though the preparation of written texts.

This course proceeds from the understanding that learning is a social process, where we learn by engaging with others. In such ‘communities of practice’ we are supported in making our thinking intelligible, to ourselves and to others. We use written, spoken and visual languages to formulate and test our ideas with each other. In order to engage in this social process we must be prepared to share our work in progress, to ‘put things on the table’. 

Course Requirements

Restriction: ARCHGEN 300

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 1: Disciplinary Knowledge and Practice
Capability 2: Critical Thinking
Capability 3: Solution Seeking
Capability 4: Communication and Engagement
Capability 5: Independence and Integrity
Capability 6: Social and Environmental Responsibilities

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Develop research processes for design such as identifying appropriate and meaningful search terms, locating relevant literature and critically evaluating texts (Capability 1.1, 2.1, 4.1 and 5.1)
  2. Gain an insight into the actions, processes and encounters of design research, identifying these in their own work and in the work of others, and articulating these through written text and visual materials (Capability 1.1, 1.3, 3.1, 4.1 and 5.2)
  3. Identify and articulate through text and image a community of practice in which their own design practice can be situated (Capability 1.3, 2.1, 2.3, 3.3, 4.1, 5.3 and 6.3)
  4. Prepare and refine a proposal for a research based design thesis (Capability 1.1, 1.3 and 5.1)
  5. Develop to a higher level your specialist vocabulary and gain experience in articulating design and design-making through written text and other media. (Capability 2.1, 3.1 and 4.1)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Assignments (Descriptive Text) 5% Individual Coursework
Assignments (Annotated Bibliography & Worksheets) 40% Individual Coursework
Reports (Design Report) 45% Individual Coursework
Assignments (First Draft Thesis Proposal) 10% Individual Coursework
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4 5
Assignments (Descriptive Text)
Assignments (Annotated Bibliography & Worksheets)
Reports (Design Report)
Assignments (First Draft Thesis Proposal)

Teaching & Learning Methods

The teaching and learning methods employed in the course are a mix of the following: Lectures and guest lectures, (tasks towards assignments will happen in lecture time), class discussions, research skills workshops (x2), writing workshops (x2), sign up tutorials, assignments, peer review and peer assessment of assignments. 

Workload Expectations

This course is a standard 15 point course and students are expected to spend 10 hours per week involved in each 15 point course that they are enrolled in.

For this course, you can expect approximately 16 hours of lectures, 2 writing workshops,  optional tutorials, 60 hours of reading and thinking about the content and 72 hours of work on assignments and/or test preparation.

Delivery Mode

Campus Experience

Attendance is expected at scheduled activities including lectures, workshops and tutorials.
Lectures will be available as recordings. Other learning activities including tutorials will not be available as recordings.
The course will not include live online events unless the campus is closed.
The activities for the course are scheduled as a standard weekly timetable delivery.

Learning Resources

Course materials are made available in a learning and collaboration tool called Canvas which also includes reading lists and lecture recordings (where available).

Please remember that the recording of any class on a personal device requires the permission of the instructor.

Student Feedback

At the end of every semester students will be invited to give feedback on the course and teaching through a tool called SET or Qualtrics. The lecturers and course co-ordinators will consider all feedback and respond with summaries and actions.

Your feedback helps teachers to improve the course and its delivery for future students.

Class Representatives in each class can take feedback to the department and faculty staff-student consultative committees.

The course will take place on campus and in person (as conditions permit) to support peer to peer interaction and learning.
Assignments 2 (40%) and 3 (45%) will receive individual written feedback. Assignment 4 (10%) will receive individual written peer feedback. Assignment 1 (5%) will not receive individual written feedback but outcome trends will be discussed generally in class.

Academic Integrity

The University of Auckland will not tolerate cheating, or assisting others to cheat, and views cheating in coursework as a serious academic offence. The work that a student submits for grading must be the student's own work, reflecting their learning. Where work from other sources is used, it must be properly acknowledged and referenced. This requirement also applies to sources on the internet. A student's assessed work may be reviewed against online source material using computerised detection mechanisms.

Class Representatives

Class representatives are students tasked with representing student issues to departments, faculties, and the wider university. If you have a complaint about this course, please contact your class rep who will know how to raise it in the right channels. See your departmental noticeboard for contact details for your class reps.

Inclusive Learning

All students are asked to discuss any impairment related requirements privately, face to face and/or in written form with the course coordinator, lecturer or tutor.

Student Disability Services also provides support for students with a wide range of impairments, both visible and invisible, to succeed and excel at the University. For more information and contact details, please visit the Student Disability Services’ website

Special Circumstances

If your ability to complete assessed coursework is affected by illness or other personal circumstances outside of your control, contact a member of teaching staff as soon as possible before the assessment is due.

If your personal circumstances significantly affect your performance, or preparation, for an exam or eligible written test, refer to the University’s aegrotat or compassionate consideration page

This should be done as soon as possible and no later than seven days after the affected test or exam date.

Learning Continuity

In the event of an unexpected disruption, we undertake to maintain the continuity and standard of teaching and learning in all your courses throughout the year. If there are unexpected disruptions the University has contingency plans to ensure that access to your course continues and course assessment continues to meet the principles of the University’s assessment policy. Some adjustments may need to be made in emergencies. You will be kept fully informed by your course co-ordinator/director, and if disruption occurs you should refer to the university website for information about how to proceed.

Student Charter and Responsibilities

The Student Charter assumes and acknowledges that students are active participants in the learning process and that they have responsibilities to the institution and the international community of scholars. The University expects that students will act at all times in a way that demonstrates respect for the rights of other students and staff so that the learning environment is both safe and productive. For further information visit Student Charter


Elements of this outline may be subject to change. The latest information about the course will be available for enrolled students in Canvas.

In this course students may be asked to submit coursework assessments digitally. The University reserves the right to conduct scheduled tests and examinations for this course online or through the use of computers or other electronic devices. Where tests or examinations are conducted online remote invigilation arrangements may be used. In exceptional circumstances changes to elements of this course may be necessary at short notice. Students enrolled in this course will be informed of any such changes and the reasons for them, as soon as possible, through Canvas.

Published on 06/12/2021 09:38 a.m.