Advice for applicants

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Advice for applicants

Writing for a lay reader

This section may only be applicable to applicants who are applying for Master's degrees with a substantial research component.

Applicant's to taught Master's degrees will not provide a synopsis of their research topic in their application. Instead, they are asked to provide a rationale for the course they have selected and why the content will enable them to progress their professional goals.

Applicants to the George Moore Scholars Programme who wish to puruse mainly research-focused Master's degrees are asked to write a summary of their research in a style suitable for ‘the lay reader’. Assessment panels will include senior academics but they may not always have specialist knowledge of your subject area. The George Moore Scholars assessment panel will also include non-academic members. Writing for the lay reader will ensure your application is jargon-free and help to give assessors a clear overview of the aims and methodology of your research.

When considering whether an application should be recommended for support, panel members will take careful note of the comments of any referees consulted. But they will form their own judgement on a project, and the lay summary is crucial for that. When we ask for information that is suitable for the lay reader, it is essential, therefore that you write in a way that allows non-subject-specialists to come to a clear understanding of your proposed research.

Writing for a lay reader means: not assuming any background knowledge about your subject area; spelling out in the clearest terms your research objectives, methodology, and intended outputs; and explaining any technical or specialist terms.

Advice on choosing a referee

We rely on references to understand how experts in the field view a proposal. Applicants should choose their nominated referees with care. The reference process is part of the application process and referees will be able to upload their reference confidentially to the application system.

References need to give a detailed appraisal of the merit of the proposed research, and a reasoned judgement about the applicant’s suitability to undertake the work.

You are advised to seek references from academics in your institution who are familiar enough with your work to offer an informed assessment.

Should referees comment on the individual applicant as well as the project?

Yes, we do need to know about the suitability of the applicant. While we don’t need a character reference, we do need to know about the suitability of applicants to undertake the research they are proposing.

What happens if we can’t secure a statement from a referee that you’ve nominated?

We advise that you check that your referees are willing and available before submitting an application.

Thinking about who to nominate? Five tips for applicants

  1. Do ask your referees before nominating them – it sounds obvious, but lots of applicants don’t ask their referees before naming them on the application form.
  2. Consider naming referees from overseas, if that’s appropriate for your application. As long as they are familiar with your work and your research plans.
  3. Check that your referees will be available during the assessment process.
  4. Choose referees who you know will have the time to do a good job: a rushed reference is rarely a strong one.
  5. Ensure that referees know what’s required of them.

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