Studio update: Week 4 out of 12 – Student reflection on their learning to date

By Claudia Lombard + Matthew Mukhtar

Studio 1 of Week 4 had regard to research methods and methodology. The class looked at different schools of thought and how they inform research design with particular regard to social research. We started by considering some different knowledge frameworks and disciplines such as post-modernism, psychology, geography and activist theories. We used these to identify some major themes explored in social research, specifically those of a spatial nature. It was at this point that we were prompted to think about research methods and the ways in which these methods can be chosen to best suit each particular area of study.

Some of the key methods included:

  • Relief mapping
  • Interviews
  • Mental maps
  • Policy analysis
  • Case studies

The second part of the week was used to help us begin to design our own methodology and consider the different implications it might have for our research.


It was useful to begin the week with an overview of the previous research work conducted by Andrea and Imogen in their respective fields. This allowed us to understand the connection between research questions, methodology, and results. This framed the following exploration into methodology well. By then being presented with different knowledge frameworks and methods, we were able to begin to understand what we wanted from our individual research, and how best to go about it.

The following class’ research workshop helped to consolidate we were already thinking, and provided us with some tools to design our methods with finer detail, and consider the logistics of research collection. Some of the tools we would like to use from here include: agendas, running sheets, arranged meetings, and ready-to-go plain language statements.

Application to the Studio

  • Begin by considering what you want to explore and the knowledge frameworks behind it;
  • Choose a method that responds to your research question and the type of research you wish to conduct (i.e. qualitative, quantitative, etc.);
  • Plan your methods in advance to ensure you have all the tools necessary when it comes to conducting the research.

Learning Experience

Overall, the Week 4 content has opened both our eyes to the realities and importance of social research and the various associated research methods. We have begun to understand the roles we play within research to attempt to achieve an outcome with a net social benefit.

To achieve this, social researchers must put forward a position and utilise their research to improve and apply that position to the specific social area. Our various conversations with community groups, shop owners, and workers of the MSIF have helped form our positions, the prospect of conducting the research now beckons.

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