Module code: MUSM078

Module Overview

This module introduces students to core research skills for musicologists and music practitioners (performers or composers) and develops their ability to use these research skills in their own work. The module, thus, provides essential preparation for other knowledge and skills encountered throughout the Masters Programme. In this module, emphasis is placed on developing the ability to: formulate appropriate research questions in relation to the students’ chosen topic(s) of interest; conduct literature searches (using appropriate online tools and bibliographic databases); write effective abstracts; review scholarly literature and extract, synthesize and critique relevant information from literature searches; compile a comprehensive bibliography list (as it relates to the students’ own work, both oral presentation and written essay); and communicate ideas and present work (orally and in writing) to a standard equivalent to Masters level. Additionally, this module introduces students to the paradigm of artistic-practice-as-research and to a range of qualitative research methods (i.e., ethnographic techniques, phenomenology, and reflective/reflexive practice) as they relate to conducting music research in a range of contexts including practice-led research. Ultimately, this module develops postgraduate students’ independence as learners and researchers, resilience and resourcefulness (through equipping them with a range of skills), and employability through the development of both music-specific and transferable skills (e.g., in writing, presenting, communicating, debating, critiquing and using scholarly or other sources of information).   

Module provider

Music and Media

Module Leader

VOLIOTI Georgia (Music & Med)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 7

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Overall student workload

Workshop Hours: 8

Independent Learning Hours: 109

Lecture Hours: 14

Tutorial Hours: 1

Guided Learning: 4

Captured Content: 14

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

The module content includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Session(s) on research skills in which students explore, through guided examples from real published research, the importance of formulating appropriate research questions and how to address them.

  • Session(s) on conducting literature searches with hands-on demonstration of online tools and bibliographic databases.

  • Lecture-based content on a range of qualitative methods appropriate to music research, with a focus on ethnographic techniques, phenomenology and reflective/reflexive practice.

  • Lecture-based content on artistic-practice-as-research in music, its disciplinary developments and its applications in a range of contexts.

  • Reading workshops based on class discussion of set reading (drawn from the module reading list).

  • Session(s) on how to write and present academic work at Masters level, including how to write effective abstracts and compile bibliography lists (with guided examples).

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework 2000-WORD WRITTEN ESSAY 50

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate:

  • The ability to present research appropriate to Masters level of study in both oral and written form on either a topic of the students’ choice (i.e., for the oral presentation) or drawn from a list of essay questions related to the module content (i.e., for the written essay).

  • Knowledge and application of core research skills (e.g., literature reviewing, referencing, compiling bibliographic lists, formulating cogent research questions, and understanding the use of different methods in different research contexts).

  • Critical understanding and application of scholarly work relating to the topics covered in the module.  

  • A professional approach to the academic presentation (oral and written) of research.


  Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

  • A 20-minute oral presentation. This is in the style of a conference paper, on a topic of the students’ choice. The presentation will be illustrated with audiovisual resources and will include a 150-word supporting abstract (summarising the topic of presentation). An additional 10 minutes is provided for questions and answers at the end of the oral presentation. (Addresses learning outcomes 1, 2, 3 and 5).

  • A 2000-word essay of marks. In the essay students are expected to explore critically and in greater depth a topic drawn from a list of questions related to the module content. The essay question should be different to the topic covered in the oral presentation, enabling students to demonstrated breadth of engagement with the module content and its scholarly sources. (Addresses learning outcomes 1, 2, 4 and 5)  


Formative assessment

  • A 10-minute mock oral presentation around halfway through the module.

  • A draft essay plan (no more than a single side of A4) outlining the choice of essay topic, the basic essay structure, and key bibliographic references.



          Feedback on formative assessment:

  • Written/oral feedback on practice ‘mock’ oral presentations (via email and/or tutorial).

  • Written/oral feedback on draft essay plans (via email and/or tutorial).

  • General class discussion / feedback throughout the module.  


         Feedback on summative assessment:

  • University-standard written feedback (returned to students via SurreyLearn) on assessed 20-minute oral presentation and 2000-word written essay.


Module aims

  • Develop music students' core research skills at Masters level, enabling them to conduct independent research in a range of contexts (e.g., musicology, performance, composition, and/or practice-led research).
  • Introduce students to a range of research methods relevant to investigating music across different cultural contexts, including areas relevant to the students' interests and experiences.
  • Develop postgraduate students' skills in presenting their academic work, both orally and in writing, to a standard equivalent to Masters level.
  • Prepare students for other areas of the Masters Programme by developing their critical skills and their autonomy as researchers.

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
002 Formulate appropriate research questions and address them critically. KC 2
003 Present your research orally with clarity to an academic standard appropriate for Masters level. KCPT 3
004 Write critically about a research related topic (i.e., for the essay) demonstrating an awareness of current scholarly issues and knowledge of relevant methods. KC 4
005 Gain fundamental research skills and experience in preparation for further postgraduate research. KCPT 5
001 Conduct primary research on a topic related to music efficiently and effectively making use of a range of physical and online resources. KCPT 1

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to:

Facilitate students’ understanding of ways to apply appropriately core research skills in a range of research contexts, including to their own interests and/or practice (e.g., musicology, performance or composition).

The learning and teaching methods include:

  • Lectures

Covering issues in research design and methodology, qualitative research methods relating to music (e.g., ethnographic techniques, phenomenology and reflective/reflexive practice), and disciplinary developments in artistic-practice-as-research in music (introducing students to the work of key scholars in this field).


  • Reading workshops

Based on discussing and debating set reading drawn from the module, aimed at facilitating students’ understanding and application of key concepts encountered in the module.


  • Sessions with guided/practical content

Covering practical ‘how to do’ skills in conducting literature searches; compiling bibliographic lists; applying referencing styles; and developing appropriate oral and written presentation skills (at Masters level).


  • Tutorials

These are available via prior arrangement with the module lecturer on an one-to-one basis, and will be tailored around individual students’ particular academic needs.

Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: MUSM078

Other information

The Department of Music & Media is committed to developing graduates with attributes encompassing employability, digital skills, global and cultural awareness, sustainability as it relates to music and the wider arts and, finally, resourcefulness and resilience.

This module provides opportunities to engage with these in a number of ways, including:

Digital skills: Students will develop a range of digital research skills through conducting online literature searches and using online bibliographic databases. Students will also develop their digital presentation skills using appropriate presentation software to design and deliver their oral presentations to an academic standard equivalent to Masters level.

Global and cultural awareness: Through the study of music and related practices in a range of cultural and research contexts, students will expand their awareness of music as a diverse (and global) cultural practice. They will also gain an appreciation of the range of methods that the study of music as diverse social-cultural practice attracts and necessitates.

Employability: Through the development of a range of subject-specific and transferrable skills (relating primarily to research training), students will enhance their employability.

Resilience and resourcefulness: The module assignments (oral presentation and written essay) and the new content encountered throughout the module will require that students meet these academic demands with resourcefulness and a resilient mindset.

Sustainability: An awareness of issues of sustainability is made evident through both research training practices (e.g., using online bibliographic sources and other tools) and module content (e.g., awareness of environmentally friendly research methods, such as conducting interviews online etc.).

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Music MMus 1 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2025/6 academic year.