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ARTD6117 Final Project (Communication Design)

Module Overview

This module gives students an opportunity to use the skills and knowledge gained during the programme to develop a final practice-led research project. The module is largely self-initiated with students working independently to refine their design proposals, make connections with external sources and advance their ideas. The teaching is centred on project supervision sessions with each student assigned a Personal Tutor who provides guidance and support throughout the project. This module emphasises progressive independence, a rigorous approach to design research and a deep level of enquiry into key contemporary issues within the discipline. It is a unique opportunity for students to build a body of work that reflects the professional or academic context they wish to practice in after graduation.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

• to develop a high quality information and interface design research proposal that critically engages with key contemporary issues within the industry and/or discipline; • to define a clear research question or problem space and apply valid research methods, design development and media production techniques; • to critically reflect on practice work in relation to a professional or academic context drawing on relevant concepts and theory; • to select and pursue strategies for managing projects, deadlines and consultation with external sources; • to communicate the process and outcomes of design research activities in a well-organised, logical and accessible manner.

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

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

  • how to use design research theory and practice to translate complex issues into tangible information and interface design proposals;
  • the wider contexts that the design proposal sits within (political, social, cultural, technological, and economic).
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • demonstrate expertise in sustained, in-depth and relevant research from diverse sources;
  • exhibit advanced critical and analytical skills, synthesise ideas, realise innovative and sophisticated design proposals.
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • communicate the process and outcomes of design activities at an advanced level via a range of outputs;
  • select and pursue strategies for effectively managing projects, deadlines and consultations with external sources.
Subject Specific Practical Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • demonstrate an advanced ability to apply valid research methods, design development and media production techniques;
  • demonstrate high level of fluency in a design approach relevant to a selected graduate context;
  • use an experimental approach to explore issues from a commercial and/or critical perspective.


• Design research theory and practice • Practice-led research theory • Design research methods • Concept development • Design development • Media production • Project dissemination • Reflective writing • Project management • Presentations

Special Features

Graduate Event – Graduating cohorts are encouraged to develop a strategy and outputs (such as a publication and/or website) to document and publicise their Final Project design research proposals.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching methods include: • Workshops • Lectures • Tutorials • Presentations • Site visits Learning activities include: • Design practice • Group activities • Independent study • Reading • Blogging • Reflective writing

Independent Study580
Total study time600

Resources & Reading list

Burgin, V. (2006). Thoughts on ‘Research’ Degrees in Visual Arts Departments. Journal of Media Practice. ,7 , pp. pp.101-108.

Sullivan, G. (2010). Art Practice as Research: Inquiry in Visual Arts. 

Scrivener, S. (2004). The Practical Implications of Applying a Theory of Practice Based Research: A Case Study. Working Papers in Art and Design 3. .

Cross, N., (2001). Design Research. Design Issues. ,3 , pp. pp.221-227.

Smith, H. & Dean, R. T. (2009). Introduction: Practice-led research, research- led practice - towards the iterative cyclic web in Practice-Led research, research-led practice in the creative arts.. 

Verbeek, P. P.,. What Things Do: Philosophical reflections on technology, agency, and design. 

Buchanan, D., (2001). Design Research and the New Learning. Design Issues. ,17 , pp. pp.3-23.

Frascara, J., and Winkler, D,. (2008). On Design Research. Design Research Quarterly. ,3 .



Portfolio Development


MethodPercentage contribution
Portfolio with supporting report  (1500 words) 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Portfolio with supporting report  (1500 words) 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External


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:

Equipment and Materials

The School has good computing facilities and a wide variety of media equipment including cameras, monitors and iPads available for students to borrow free of charge. The programme also provides most of the materials required for workshops and entrance fees for exhibitions visited.

Field Trips

Students will be required to meet the production costs associated with disseminating their work. Students may also be asked to meet the cost of transport to nearby cities for field visits, stationery, paper, drawing materials and sketchbooks.


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

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