• March 12th, 2016

Architecture, Building and Planning

Paper, Order, or Assignment Requirements

The essay consists of 2500 words. It can in one way or another be linked to the interests you have pursued in your Design Studio projects, but will not be a description or explanation of them. This means that you can focus on an area you are working on as part of your studio project or work on a theme that you think is key to your practical work. But what distinguishes a research-based essay is that it is a critically and conceptually oriented analysis of a research question that you develop in consultation with your tutors.
Exactly what, then, is a research question?
It is a question that indicates three aspects:
(1) focus of your conceptually oriented critical analysis, and (2) the context you will engage with in light of the latter, (3) you object of study which comes from that context. It is something of a contract that you are laying out at the beginning to guide the rest of your research and write-up. When setting a research question, it is best to keep the following in mind:
You will not reinvent the wheel·
You will study a particular aspect of a broader issue that has already been researched·
You will resarch something that you are interested in and passionate about·
The research can be related to your Design Studio project or to a particular aspect of it·
The research will have to be manag·eable

What a research question is not about:
Historical description·
Technical reports·
Repeating what others have said·
Repeating what you yourself have said·
Exactly what, then, are the three above-mentioned components of the research question are about?
(1) The focus of your conceptually oriented critical analysis: this can be an established theory you are drawing on or a concept many others have written on, which you will use when you are analyzing the field your research is engaging with.·
Examples: phenomenology, social inclusivity, the notion of ‘public’, ruination, etc.
(2) The context your research is engaging with, and (3) the cases or examples of practice or objects of analysis that come from that context: this concerns the empirical part of your work and indicates the field you would like to better understand through your analysis. It is defined by setting a few parameters, which typically involve answering one or more of the questions of when, where, and by whom. Examples: derelict buildings in East London that have over the past two decades been turned into museums, Zaha Hadid’s public buildings outside of the UK, privately owned open spaces in central Manchester that have been architecturally transformed in the past five years, etc. As evident in these examples, this is the context that the cases you will study in your essay come from.·

Typically, a research-based essay consists of the following five sections:
Introduction (250 words): this is where you lay out what the rest of the essay says and does·
Theory / literature (750 words): this is where you discuss at greater length and depth the ideas·
and concepts through which you will analyse the context and cases you will be analysing
Context· & background (500 words): this is where you lay out the wider context to your research.
This is often the context that your cases come from. This can be a historical context (e.g., past two decades, the turn of the 20th century), a spatial context (i.e., East London, the Mediterranean basin), or, in some cases, even a discursive context (e.g., current debates on sustainability).
Case study / argumentation / analysis (750 words): analysis of cases through literature and vice versa.·
Conclusion (250 words)·
Referencing: You will use Harvard style of referencing.
Do not forget that, regardless of whether you use in-text citation or footnotes, your essay will have to have a Bibliography at the very end.
The Bibliography will have to have 20 items, the bulk of which will consist of authoritative sources (i.e., books or journal articles) that you will use especially to build up your critical analytical lens.
Word count: Please put this down on the title page of your essay, in the following way: “Word count: xxxx”
Plagiarism: This is the use of previously published work without referring to the source that it comes from. It constitutes one of the most series academic offenses. The question of whether one has plagiarised or not is independent of intentionality. If you want to avoid plagiarism, the best way to start doing this is by avoiding copying and pasting the sources you encounter and use in writing your essay. Correct referencing is also key to producing plagiarism-proof work. The software Turnitin, which is included as an add-on to Studynet alongside our submission link, helps you run a final check to see to what extent your work resembles previously published work.

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