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Department of Social Anthropology


Prior to the submission of your research proposal, you are required to submit three essays, two Research Training Papers (RTPs) and an ethnographic case study. This is a formal research training assessment, and gaining a pass is a prerequisite for submission of the research proposal. Preparation for writing your RTPs (and also your research proposal) occurs through work with your supervisor, and through your participation in teaching courses and seminars.

The RTPs are designed to monitor your progress in the issues covered in the field methods and research seminars that are held in the Michaelmas and Lent terms, and so aid the preparation for your fieldwork project. The aims are:

  1. To monitor student progress in advance of the submission of the fieldwork proposal
  2. To provide a series of research training exercises in the hunting out of information and in the formulation of researchable problems
  3. To act as a bridge between general problems being discussed over a wide range of issues and the specific issues that may apply to the student’s own research planning
  4. To provide a framework for the translation of general theoretical concerns into precise and focused research proposals. 

Form and content

Each RTP should normally be no more than 4,000 words in length (including footnotes, but excluding tables, appendices, and bibliography), and the subject must be chosen by the candidate from a list which will be published on the PhD1 and MRes Moodle Course following approval by the Degree Committee for Archaeology, Anthropology and Sociology.

The titles should be flexible enough to enable you to interpret them in a way that is useful to your own research topic. You should decide on the topics in consultation with your supervisor, and should you wish to modify the questions in any way, please discuss this with the Director of Postgraduate Education, Dr Rupert Stasch. (please copy email correspondence to the postgraduate administrator: 


Submission deadlines are announced annually in the Pre-field Diary.

All items submitted for assessment for this course must include a signed statement of the exact word count of the piece.

All coursework (essays and thesis) must be submitted electronically in either Word or PDF format to the correct section of your Moodle Course by 12:00 (noon) BST on the day of the deadline.  

You are expected to manage your time to meet the deadlines. This includes, for example, preparing a draft well in advance, to allow reasonable time for feedback from your supervisor, and final revisions. 


  • The minimum font size for text is 12pt and 10pt for footnotes
  • The font should be Times New Roman
  • Margins should be 1 inch/ 2.5 cm all round (after allowing for binding)
  • Chapters always begin on a new page
  • Paragraphs should be indented three spaces, except for the first paragraph of each new section which should be flush with the left-hand margin
  • Section headings must be clearly indicated, but not numbered
  • Use single spacing, with an extra space between paragraphs
  • All figures, tables, illustrations, etc should be clearly numbered and listed in the table of contents.


The research training papers are read by assessors appointed by the PhD Committee. Formally, they are given either a pass or fail grade, but assessors will also be asked to give an indication of whether the RTPs that pass would gain a distinction or high pass. Papers that do not pass may be revised and resubmitted once. No one who has not passed the RTPs will be allowed to submit a research proposal. 

Course Resources


For additional teaching materials and assignment upload please see the MRes/PhD1 Moodle Course.

Please note teaching staff and students enrolled on the PhD First Year will automatically be enrolled on the MRes/PhD1 Moodle course and you will find a link to the course in the ‘My Home’ section of Moodle.