Research and Evaluation for Socially Engaged Museum and Gallery Practice

Module code: MU7547
Richard Sandell

Research-led practice characterises socially engaged museum and gallery work. This module focuses on the approaches to, and rationale for, research and evaluation in socially engaged museum and gallery practice, in particular, their role in demonstrating the value and purpose of museum work on audiences and wider society. 

This module develops your professional research skills in a variety of ways. It looks at varied areas of practice from a number of perspectives including the need to evidence the impact of museums and galleries on society, and the role of research in problem solving towards more engaging, ethical and purposeful museum and gallery provision.

Students will take two intertwining paths through this module: one thematic path which is focused on how we can shape new, more successful socially engaged projects and programming through research; and a second path that explores the research process including objectives, methods, ethics, analysis and dissemination. 

Topics covered

  • Visitor studies
  • Audience research
  • Objects and collections research
  • Participatory research
  • Commissioning and management of research in museums and galleries.  


  • 80 hours of interactive lectures and activities (mainly online) and reading tasks
  • 1 one-hour seminar
  • 2 tutorials
  • 10 hours of fieldwork (self-directed study visits)
  • Guided independent study and assignment preparation time


  • Short essay, 1500-2,000 words (30%).
  • Critical review, 2,500-3,000 words or equivalent (70%).