The Faculty of Technology, Design and Environment’s Research Methods Festival

Friday, 06 March 2020

RMF organisers

The Faculty of Technology, Design and Environment’s Research Methods Festival took place on Friday 6th March 2020 in the Abercrombie building. This year’s Research Student conference in TDE took a different direction from the usual format to focus on celebrating and sharing research methods and methodologies. At the request of students it was also open to non-student researchers as a way of linking students to ongoing research and applied methods. Presentations took the form of papers, performances and posters and the day sought, as Dr Tim Jones said, to remind us of the ‘joy of doing research’.

During the opening address, Mr Paul Inman (Pro Vice-Chancellor and Dean of the Faculty) noted that "in previous years, research students in the Faculty have participated and organised our annual Research Student Conference, presenting findings from their Doctoral research. This year we’ve made changes to the annual event and launched our first-ever Research Methods Festival, giving an opportunity to staff and research students to present their work within a more focused theme”.

Mr Inman added that “the rich interchange of research content and methodology fits well within the Faculty’s strategic priority of promoting interdisciplinary working. It’s also enabled us to platform the quality of research relationships and partnerships built up between staff and students.”

The event was organised by a team of volunteer research students: Ms Aline Barata (School of Built Environment), Mr Shadi Eltanani and Ms Juan Wang (both from the School of Engineering, Computing and Mathematics). Another first for the event was the involvement of the School of Built Environment’s Visiting Research Student from Turkey (Ms Beste Ozyurt) in the event planning as well as two additional staff members (Dr Juliet Carpenter and Mr Ben Spencer).

As in previous years, Professor Sue Brownill (Chair of the Doctoral Training Programme) and Ms Allison Stevens (Research Administrator) also provided planning support.

Professor Nigel Crook (Associate Dean: Research and Knowledge Exchange) commented during the event’s opening that “this annual event has become the most prominent event in the Faculty's Doctoral Training Programme and has produced an exciting new academic programme that opens up the dialogue around research methods among both staff and students in the different schools of arts, computing, built environment, engineering and architecture.

Professor Crook added that “it is a time when we can all get together as researchers in various disciplines to share research approaches and network with colleagues and friends at different stages of their academic career”.

The programme featured research method presentations on big data; mobile methods; augmented reality; arts-based methods; qualitative research; film-based methods as well as an interdisciplinary workshop that sought to cross disciplinary boundaries through research methodologies.

Participants had an opportunity in any one session to see how PhD students and staff were using particular methodologies across a diverse range of research fields. While participants could at times see similarities across various disciplines in the application of methodologies, other times they could see how an approach was being used in a novel way in a research area that was completely different from their own.

The event also showcased an Installation and Poster Exhibition and participants were all asked to evaluate the best poster. This resulted in Isabel Zozaya (School of Built Environment) receiving first prize for her poster, “Defining and restoring Cultural Landscapes and Place-Identity of historic Cities: the Case of Mérida, Yucatán, Mexico” and Serkan Gunay (School of Architecture) receiving second prize for his poster, “3D Visualization with Mobile Digital Technologies”.

Presentations were captured digitally and will be available soon via the university’s internal research student portal, Moodle.