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Interim Appraisal

It is a condition of those students holding Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and Gates awards that they submit their work for appraisal. The PhD Committee may also decide to appraise the work in progress of other students at the writing-up stage. Appraisal normally takes place some nine months after return from the field but the date will be determined with the supervisor on an individual basis.

It is expected that, by this stage, the student will have a dissertation outline, with plans for individual chapters sketched out and a basic bibliography prepared for each chapter.

How much of the dissertation will have been written must depend on the ratio between writing and analysis; it is however expected that there will be at least one chapter in draft (approximately 10,000 words), a detailed outline of another chapter (2,000 to 3,000 words), along with a preface on methods and on the conditions under which fieldwork was carried out. The first chapter to be written does not have to be ‘chapter 1′ of the dissertation. This presumes that approximately 12-15 months have been built into the writing-up timetable. Funding and other constraints may alter the timing radically.

The student will be asked to submit a short report, to consist of:

  • A plan of the dissertation, or the contents page, with synopses of chapters (two to three pages)
  • A brief account of what they have been working on since returning from the field or otherwise completing basic data collection (two pages)
  • A brief account of methods of research and analysis currently being employed, with information on training already received and identification of any new or more advanced training needed. This is to accompanied by a sample chapter, with a one-page summary of where it is intended to fit in the dissertation. 
All items require endorsement by the supervisor.

The student’s work will be read by a member of the Division appointed by the PhD Committee, who will hold an interview with the student.

The interview will be in appraisal (not examination) mode. Students will have the opportunity to raise questions as well as be asked them. Feedback will normally be given at the interview, with a brief report available to both student and supervisor. Signs of problematic or weak work will be reported to the PhD Committee.