Modes of Inquiry: Research and Scholarship (ARCF9001)


This unit is a seminar with mini-lectures, presentations by members of the academic staff about research and scholarship methods in which they are most expert, critical review of readings, and discussions based on the seminar material, readings and research pre-proposals. Objectives and Learning Outcomes: To provide newly admitted research students with a fundamental understanding of the nature of inquiry through research, the philosophy of scientific research and interpretive scholarship and a range of fundamentally different epistemologies or 'modes of inquiry.' The modes of inquiry explored include (1) empirical, field-based epistemology used heavily in architectural science, urban planning and other field-based research, including experimental, quasi-experimental, survey, naturalistic, ethnographic and case study methods; (2) text-based, interpretive epistemology used heavily in architecture and the allied arts and other humanities, including archival, historical, theoretical, interpretative, discourse analysis and other text based methods; (3) computationally-based epistemology used heavily in design computing and other IT-based disciplines, including axiom and conjecture based, simulation, virtual reality, and prototype development methods; and (4) policy-oriented, communication-contingency and modelling epistemologies used heavily in urban and regional planning and other policy-based disciplines, including archival, strategic and evidence-based policy research, communications and morphological analyses and quantitative modelling; as well as (5) interdisciplinary combinations, triangulations and mixed modes.

Further unit of study information


Four hours average class time per week; activities comprise, lectures seminars, workshops and tutorials


written research proposal (50%), oral research proposal (50%)

Faculty/department permission required?


Study this unit outside a degree

Non-award/non-degree study

If you wish to undertake one or more units of study (subjects) for your own interest but not towards a degree, you may enrol in single units as a non-award student.

Cross-institutional study

If you are from another Australian tertiary institution you may be permitted to underake cross-institutional study in one or more units of study at the University of Sydney.