Please note! Course description is confirmed for two academic years, which means that in general, e.g. Learning outcomes, assessment methods and key content stays unchanged. However, via course syllabus, it is possible to specify or change the course execution in each realization of the course, such as how the contact sessions are organized, assessment methods weighted or materials used.


The student will recognize the intrinsic features, methodological opportunities and the multidisciplinary nature of design disciplines such as architecture. The student will have the basic skills to follow the research scene and apply research methods and results critically and independently in their professional practice. The course will introduce the student to the key resources to develop one's scientific thinking, academic argumentation skills and knowledge of good scientific practices. 

Credits: 5

Schedule: 02.03.2022 - 25.05.2022

Teacher in charge (valid for whole curriculum period):

Teacher in charge (applies in this implementation): Anni Vartola

Contact information for the course (applies in this implementation):

Please feel free to contact me by email ( if you have any questions or concers about this course.

CEFR level (valid for whole curriculum period):

Language of instruction and studies (applies in this implementation):

Teaching language: English. Languages of study attainment: English


  • valid for whole curriculum period:

    The course will introduce to the basics of architectural research and design research, their methods and core ideals. We will analyse research articles and dissertations from the field of architecture and design, and discuss doing research in the light of topical examples and small exercises. We will also meet scholars, designers and other professionals who have recently completed their doctoral theses, work as researchers or apply research in their own practice.

  • applies in this implementation

    The classes are held remotely in Zoom. Coursework entails analyses and discussions of the course literature; short lectures and relating quizzes on MyCourses; analyses of research papers; and Q&A sessions with visiting scholars. There will also be regular homework such as position point preparations and a few small hands-on exercises at class such as concept definitions and information retrieval drills.

    The course literature consists of textbooks and papers (or excerpts of books) related to architectural and design research. The course literature is studied in a collective and discursive way: the book reviews are done in groups; course homework is done individually.

Assessment Methods and Criteria
  • valid for whole curriculum period:

    The course is a discursice series of classes that convenes every other week; altogether 7 times à 2,5 hrs. The students must be present at all the 7 classes; any absence must be compensated with individually negotiated extra coursework.


  • applies in this implementation

    The assessment is pass/fail. The completion of the course (pass) entails attendance at all the classes and completing all the coursework. In case of absence, the student must contact the teacher and negotiate substituting work and its deadline. 

    The substituting assignments are usually a short essay or an oral presentation about a book, a journal issue, a research topic or equivalent. For essays, the requested length is c. 600 words / 1 absence; for an oral presentation, the requested length  is 15 minutes / 1 absence. 

    Due to the time limits of the course schedule, the oral presentations may have to be scheduled after the official course programme as a separate event. 

  • valid for whole curriculum period:

    The workload amounts to 5 credit points which entails an estimated amount of 133 hours of work: 17,5 contact hours, 17,5 hrs group work, and 98 hrs of independent work.

    In order to have enough time to read and reflect on the course material, the classes are every 2nd week. 

  • applies in this implementation

    The course yields 5 credit points (c. 133 hrs) which, at a rough estimate, entails 8–10 hrs of work per calendar week. In 2021, the workload comprises of following activities: 

    • 7 classes à 2,5 hrs every 2nd week (18 hours of contact learning)
    • Book Reviews as group work; entails also individual work such as reading and preparation for the group meetings (estimate c. 85 hours)
    • Individual homework as listed in the program on the course MyCourses site (estimate 30 hrs)

    As the course language is English and the course material is written in academic style, the workload depends greatly on the individual student’s language skills and experience in reading scholarly English.


Study Material
  • valid for whole curriculum period:

    The study material includes textbooks on architectural and design research and research methodology as well as a selection of recently published research papers. The full list of readings will be announced on the course's MyCourses platform at the start of the course.

  • applies in this implementation

    All the course material will be available in electronic format (either links or pdfs). 

Substitutes for Courses


Further Information
  • valid for whole curriculum period:

    Teaching Period:

    2020-2021 Spring IV-V

    2021-2022 Spring IV-V

    Course Homepage:

    Registration for Courses: Sisu replaces Oodi on 9 August, 2021. Priority order to courses is according to the order of priority decided by the Academic committee for School of Arts, Design and Architecture:

    The quota for doctoral students is max 5 students.

    The order of priority for admitting students to courses at Aalto ARTS 1.1.2018 onwards (approved by The Committee of Arts, Design and Architecture on 10.10.2017)

    The order of priority is as follows:

    1.    students for whom the course is compulsory for their major/programme and who have scheduled it for the current academic year in their personal study plan (HOPS);

    2.    exchange students for whom the course is a part of his/her officially approved learning agreement and scheduled to be taken during the current semester;

    3.    students for whom the course is compulsory for their major/programme and who have not completed it yet;

    4.    students, for whom the course is part of his/her major s or programme s alternative studies and has been scheduled in the student's PSP (HOPS) for the current academic year

    5.    students, for whom the course is part of his/her major s or programme s alternative studies and who have not completed the requisite number of credits for alternative studies yet;

    6.    students for whom the course is compulsory for their minor;

    7.    students, for whom the course is part of his/her minor subject s alternative studies and who have not completed the requisite number of credits for alternative studies yet;

    8.    students who have applied for the course through a student mobility scheme (internal mobility within Aalto University, flexible study right (JOO) studies etc.);

    9.    other students.


    Courses that are intended to be multidisciplinary (e.g. UWAS courses) may apply an order of priority based on the learning outcomes of the course, while bearing in mind the university obligation of enabling students to complete their degrees within the normative duration of study set for the degree. The order of priority does not apply to courses organised by the Centre for General Studies or doctoral courses.

    This decision on the order of priority does not influence the right of the teacher to define prerequisites for the course.