Urban Planning and Design

Coursework – Research Report

This module is primarily an initial research training module, undertaken in the final year of undergraduate work designed to demonstrate your knowledge of a particular subject area, your skills in the conduct of research and your competence in preparing an extended report on your project of maximum 4000 words.

The major tasks of the project are:

  • Select a research topic, among a list of proposed research ideas;
  • Designing a research project;
  • Managing the research process; and,
  • Writing up the research results.

As an individual piece of work, the choice of topic should allow you to follow up a particular interest you have developed in the field of urban planning and design. You should also demonstrate your understanding of the issues involved, of practice considerations and skills related to the chosen topic.

The first stage in the research process begins with defining the individual topic. The decision will follow an initial presentation where different research ideas will be suggested.

The first stage partly overlaps with and is partly followed by the tasks of bringing together, interpreting and evaluating the relevant information (policy documents, reports, academic and professional books and journal articles, news reports, etc.) on their chosen topic. This process is known as the Literature Review. It will provide links to established knowledge and ideas and provide the basis for defining a Research Aim and Research Objectives to achieve that Aim.

The next stage comprises a study phase, which will provide the basis for writing up and reporting the student’s contribution to complementing and extending the established knowledge/literature base. Students can select from a range of urban planning and design approaches, strategies, projects and policies in London (or a city accessible to you). They should take into considerations various perspectives, namely the ones of policy makers, developers, the industry and professional bodies, communities, citizens, or a meaningful combination of them. A series of workshops/seminars will be organized during semester 1 and 2. These sessions will cover the various aspects of preparing for and writing a research report.

Project timeframe and requirements:

  • Individual Research Outline – to be submitted by 10rd October;
    You are required to submit a short research proposal of approximately 400 words. This is a statement and discussion of your initial ideas for a research topic, your aim in undertaking the research and how it might be undertaken as a project;
  • Progression Presentation on Research Plan – In class, Thursday 7th December;
    You have to prepare a presentation of your research plan, your initial literature/case study review and expected results. The presentation should be 8-10 minutes long, followed by 5‐ 10 minute questions and comments. The purpose of this is to give you feedback on your

research framework so to guide you in the implementation of your research during January- February and preparing for writing the final document. It is compulsory to attend the presentation (10% of the final mark);

  • Final presentation on Preliminary Research Results – In class, Tuesday 4st April;
    In a similar way to the first semester, you are asked to present your preliminary analysis of your field survey. The presentation is about a month in advance of the date of the final submission to allow you to get feedback on how to make improvements. The presentation is about 15 minutes, followed by questions and comments. It is compulsory to attend the presentation (10% of the final mark). Without attending the presentation, you will not be allowed to submit your final research report (unless MC with evidence are provided).
  • Final Research Report submission – by 8th May, 1 pm on Blackboard;

The report should be no longer than 4000 words, references excluded. It might be supported by maps, schemes, pictures (in total no more than 10).

Please use appropriate source material (including grey literature, government websites and so on) and please cite your sources using Harvard system of referencing. The report should have a cover page (with your ID information). Only one single PDF file (b/w or colour) should be submitted in hardcopy and digitally uploaded on Blackboard. File extension should be: your surname_REPORT_6PLAN006W (i.e. Verdini_REPORT_6PLAN006W). The report carries 100% of the final mark.

Assessment details:

1st Presentation: 10%
2nd Presentation: 10%
Report: 80%

Assessment Criteria:

The research report tests students’ ability to critically review relevant literature, synthesize source material, develop an argument and draw sound conclusions. Assessment Criteria:

1) Effective research on chosen theoretical topic (identification of a clear aim and feasible research question; critical review of literature; capability of synthesize source material);

2) Effective research implementation (Selection of the appropriate methodology and effectiveness of its implementation; Research implementation; quality of findings, solid discussion and clear conclusions)

3) Overall coherency and quality of the presentation.

RESEARCH REPORT – Knowledge and Understanding (40%)
RESEARCH REPORT – Research implementation & Critical reflection (50%) RESEARCH REPORT – Overall coherency/quality of the presentation (10%)

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