Skip to main navigationSkip to main content
The University of Southampton

ARTD6095 Methods of Cultural Inquiry

Module Overview

The module is designed to introduce you to various methods of cultural inquiry relevant to the study of contemporary cultural politics and curation. The content of this module provides a context for you to understand the intricacy of cultural politics and contemporary curation and their methodologies. The important topics discussed in this module are the main ways in which the concept of methodology might be understood, enabling you to grasp how the technical models, approaches, understandings, and terms debated throughout the MA’s are pertinent to philosophical investigation. The content of this module focuses on techniques of cultural inquiry, namely discipline specific methodologies and branches of epistemology. By comprehending these ideas, you will be able to appreciate the tensions that researchers face in assessing the methodological needs of particular techniques, specific disciplines, the acquisition and management of data, as well as numerous conceptions of the idea of research methods.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • the key methodological tendencies and questions influencing the role of contemporary cultural researchers;
  • the technical and other issues that involve methodological approaches, understandings, and terminology when conducting philosophical investigation;
  • the role of techniques in cultural inquiry;
  • the ways in which disciplines such as cultural politics and curation are shaped by their methodologies, epistemologies, and specific techniques;
  • the skills that are applicable to the acquisition and management of data inclusive of numerous conceptions of research methods.
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • understand the role of methodological and epistemological debate in contemporary cultural politics and curation;
  • critically analyse the multiplicity of issues influencing cultural research in the present period;
  • evaluate the role of representationalism, realism, anti-representationalism, poststructuralism, and postmodernism as theoretical and conceptual tools that enable you to become a more successful researcher;
  • critically assess the role of argument in research concerning a variety of knowledges, objects, realities, and socio-cultural worlds;
  • acquire profounder insights into the skills and tools needed by you to become methodologically rigorous yet self-reflexive.
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • work with and developing supportive relations within an eclectic diversity of fellow researchers;
  • solve theoretical, conceptual, and practical problems;
  • engage in written and oral communication for researchers.
Disciplinary Specific Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • demonstrate a position in writing exploring a particular methodology, derived from engagement with critical theory, which you hope to examine further in your final project’s individual written assignment (for Contemporary Curation Students).


The syllabus is designed to provide you with an overview of and a context for methods of cultural inquiry in today’s technologically complex and multifaceted research environment. • The concept of methodology • Cultural inquiry • Philosophical investigation: techniques of inquiry in contemporary cultural politics and curation • Branches of epistemology • The acquisition and management of data • Research methods • Key methodological/epistemological debates within contemporary cultural politics and curation • Representationalism (realism) vs. Anti-representationalism (poststructuralism, postmodernism) • Knowledge, objectivity, rigour, and reflexivity • Social constructionism, interpretation, and truth • Quantitative/qualitative methods of cultural inquiry • Statistics, surveys, meanings, participant observation, interviews, focus groups, and textural analysis • Qualitative methods and meaning in contemporary cultural politics and curation: ethnography, textual approaches, and audience reception studies

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching methods include The module is taught through a series of lectures and seminars. Teaching methods will place emphasis on conceptual and methodological understanding, and will include group work, guided reflection, and individual study of module and programme materials and discussion of cultural theories, philosophical ideas, and conceptions of investigation. Internationalisation This module puts great emphasis on developing an appreciation of the complexities that are inherent in techniques of inquiry in an era of globalisation. The content of the module will explicitly refer to the contemporary cultural and political diversity that is exhibited both in the student cohort and in the wider contemporary cultural, political, and curatorial research community. Learning activities include Seminar discussion Peer group learning Reflective writing Presentations A range of academic support workshops will be delivered as part of this module, so as to enable you to effectively engage with the expectations relating to academic study skills and the conventions of academic language and writing. Indicative themes and topics will include: essay writing, thinking critically, research, referencing, and academic integrity. You will be able to participate in English language support workshops available in the School.

Independent Study170
Total study time200

Resources & Reading list

Walliman, N (2010). Research Methods: The Basics.. 

Pickering, M (ed) (2008). Research Methods for Cultural Studies.. 

Burnham, P (et al) (2008). Research Methods in Politics. 

Hatt, M and Klonk, C (2005). Art History: A Critical Introduction to its Methods.. 

White, M and Schwoch, J (eds) (2006). Questions of Method in Cultural Studies. 

Bryman, A. (2012). Social Research Methods. 

Creswell, J. W. (2014). Research Design. 

Brett Davis, M (2007). Doing a Successful Research Project: Using Qualitative or Quantitative Methods.. 

Rose, G (2011). Visual Methodologies: An Introduction to Researching with Visual Materials.. 

D’Alleva, A (2005). Methods and Theories of Art History.. 

Marsh, D and Stoker, G (2010). Theory and Methods in Political Science.. 



Essay proposal


MethodPercentage contribution
Essay 40%
Essay 60%


MethodPercentage contribution
Essay 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Essay 100%


Costs associated with this module

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

In addition to this, students registered for this module typically also have to pay for:


Recommended texts for this module may be available in limited supply in the University Library and students may wish to purchase the mandatory/additional reading text as appropriate.

Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at

Share this module Share this on Facebook Share this on Twitter Share this on Weibo
Privacy Settings