Writing for a lay reader

Applicants to taught master's programmes 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 pursue 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 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.

Tips 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.

Thinking about which referee to nominate? Five tips for applicants

  1. Ask your referees before nominating them.
  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.

Tips for referees

You will receive a link from the MindAClient application system once the student for whom you are providing a reference has submitted their application. We would be grateful if you could provide a one-page, considered assessment of the academic ability and other qualities of the student, drawing on specifics where possible (courses, grades, engagement in course or programme, other engagements known to you) to validate your perspective. Please note that not all applicants will be selected for interview, so your reference is important in making the case for the student.

The reference must be uploaded to the MindAClient application system using the link you have received from the applicant. Please confirm the deadline for completed references with the applicant.

Link to Application Guide