Professional/Short Course Research in Context

Entry year
Course code
Professional/Short Course
School of Architecture and Environment
12 sessions over 16 weeks (October to January)
On campus seminars
Course Director
Michael Horswell

Page last updated 12 October 2023


This course is suitable for professionals who are currently undertaking research, or intending to undertake research, as part of their job or further study (e.g. Postgraduate Research). Research can be in any applied setting, for example transport, housing, sustainability, public health, social prescribing.

This course focuses on different ways of understanding the world (research philosophy) and critical writing. It is important that prior to attending the student has identified an area of research to follow through on this module.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students will achieve the following learning outcomes:

  • Demonstrate a critical awareness of and engagement with current issues and/or methodological or practice developments in their discipline
  • Critically evaluate the utility of a range of advanced theories, philosophical thinking and methodological approaches in their discipline
  • Defend an epistemological and ontological position related to their field of research
  • Compose a comprehensive literature review aligned with their research interests

Entry requirements

Participants are expected to have a first degree at 2.1 level or above (or equivalent), or alternatively have relevant work experience.

If you are a non-UK student you will need to show your valid passport on entry to the UK. Please check your eligibility to visit and study in the UK here. If you are a non-Irish EU national currently resident in Ireland please contact us for further advice.

If English is not your country's first language, you will be required to provide evidence to show you meet the UK Border Agency and the University's minimum English Language requirements.

We strongly recommend that you speak to the course tutor prior to the course if you are unsure about your suitability to complete the assessment.

Careers / Further study

If the assessment is successfully completed this module counts towards a MRes Award in Social Research (Sustainable Futures) or Social Research (Health and Wellbeing).



The first half of the module will focus on how knowledge is produced (i.e. epistemology and ontology). It will utilize student led workshops to explore how different philosophical perspectives (e.g. scientific paradigms, sociology of scientific knowledge, critical realism, feminism etc.) shape research to be evaluated through individual presentations. The second half of the module provides students with support in developing their critical thinking and writing skills focused on selected research publications in the students' chosen subject area.

Learning and Teaching

The course will be taught through face-to-face seminars and workshops, in which students will be expected to come prepared for in class discussion and/or writing. It is important that time is given to self-study outside of the classroom in order to gain the most from this module. 

There will be a set of compulsory weekly readings for the research philosophy sessions. Students will be expected to independently research an area of their own interest (usually related to the intended dissertation or other work-based research project) to consider the application of research philosophy, and to critically evaluate selected peer reviewed publications for the written assignment.

Study time

The learning will be through 12 face to face seminars and workshops, including in-class assessments and 1:1 tutorial sessions.

Students are expected to undertake directed and independent study between and after the contact sessions. To complete the course and assessment (if taken), we recommend students allocate approximately 300 hours including taught sessions and personal study time. This is only a guideline and will depend on the participants' motivation and learning abilities.


Assessment for this module has two elements: a written assignment and individual presentation.


Study facilities

UWE Bristol is superbly equipped with libraries and computer labs, and an excellent campus environment. Our online learning environments deliver an integrated learning experience to you and you also have access to a vast number of professional and academic journals and databases online through the UWE Bristol library. 

Find out more about the facilities and resources UWE has to offer.

Get a feel for the Architecture facilities we have on offer here from wherever you are.

Prices and dates

Supplementary fee information

Course dates

Cohort September 2024TimeLocation
TBCTBCFrenchay Campus

Course fees

All prices are VAT exempt.

CohortAs a guide the previous year's fees are below - there may be a small increase for 2024
UK participants£1,583
International participants£2,666

For information on fees, managing your money and determining your fee status, please go to our fees and funding pages.

Course location

UWE Bristol, Frenchay Campus, Coldharbour Lane, Bristol BS16 1QY

How to find UWE Bristol

How to apply

As this module carries university accreditation, please note that once you have submitted your booking form, you will be required to provide the following supporting information for the Programme Leader to review and formally accept your application as required by the university:

  • An up-to-date copy of your Curriculum Vitae (including contact details of a work or academic reference)
  • A brief personal statement to support your application
  • A copy of your highest qualification certificate and transcript of modules studied
  • For UK students, a copy of your photographic proof of ID (i.e. driver's licence/passport)
  • For non-UK students, a copy of your passport. Please note you may need a Visitor Visa to come to the UK to study. Visit UWE's Visas website for more information.
2024 Enquire Now

For further information

  • Email: For specific questions in relation to the course, i.e. content, suitability, assessments, etc. please contact the Module Leader, Michael Horswell ( For queries regarding administration aspects of registration, i.e. dates, fees, etc. please contact us using the online enquiry form link or telephone number below.
  • Telephone: +44 (0)117 32 81043 (option 1, then option 3)