Research Methods

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Writing Your Proposal

Wits puts great emphasis on the proposal because the proposal is becomes the foundation for your research project. Without a clear cut direction and solid research question you cannot go ahead with your research project.

The MA Proposal Process

  1. You will first be required to submit an expression of interest.
  2. You will then be allocated an appropriate supervisor.
  3. You will work closely with your supervisor to write the first draft of your proposal.
  4. This is then presented at a Readers Presentation, in which you will expand on your proposal and aim.
    The Reader (an expert in the field you are intending to research) will read the proposal and respond by giving you feedback and suggestions.
  5. If your Reader is satisfied, your proposal is submitted with their report to Faculty for review.
    If not you will make changes or rewrite your proposal based on the Readers recommendations.
    More often than not your supervisor will make sure this is done and then you can submit your proposal to Faculty for review.
  6. You and your supervisor are then notified by Factually when your report has been accepted and you can get started on writing your research paper.

A proposal for a research report is expected to be 3 000 - 4 000 words.
The final research report should fall in the range of 20 000 - 25 000 words.

The Honours Proposal Process

  1. You will first be required to submit a Preliminary Proposal as a seminar presentation during the Digital Art Theory course.
  2. Supervisors will then be allocated to the projects.
  3. Working closely with your supervisor you will write a first draft Proposal consisting of two parts: A Written Proposal and A Seminar Presentation
  4. From the feedback given to you first draft proposal you will then compile a final Proposal in close contact with your supervisor.
  5. If your supervisor is satisfied with the proposal you can then begin writing your long essay.

A proposal for a long essay is expected to be approximately 2 000 words.
The final long essay should be approximately 8 000 words.
A detailed description of the process can be found here: media:Honours_LongEssay_Criteria.pdf


Additional information on proposals and research papers:

  1. Example of a good research proposal: Media:Rob_Mills_approved_proposal.pdf
  2. Faculty - How to Write a Proposal Booklet: Media:HOW_TO_WRITE_A_PROPOSAL_Booklet.pdf
  3. Guidelines to Honours, MA and PHD research: Media:Guidelines_Honours_MA_PhD.pdf‎


MLA Reference Style


The Digital Art Division expects all work to follow the MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing 3rd ed.
Students may also refer to the sister text the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers 7th ed.
Both are available in the Library and it is highly recommended that students refer to the original MLA Guides. Be sure to check the edition number on the Guide you are working from. Some introductory summaries are included below:

  1. Quick Reference Style Guide for Creating Works Cited Lists(University of Washington Libraries): Media:Quick_Reference_Style_Guide .pdf
  2. Quick reference guide to MLA In-Text Citations (Summarised from The Purdue OWL): Media:QuickReferenceGuideToMLA InTextCitations.pdf
  3. MLA 7th ed Formatting and Style Guide Summary (The Purdue OWL): Media:Formatting_and_Style_Guide_Summary_OWL.pdf


Additional online resources:
Official Website of the Modern Language Association
Purdue Online Writing Lab

Writing & Grammar Tips

The following are great sources on 'how' to write, which include rules for quoting and paraphrasing.

Quoting Sources & Paraphrasing
Grammar and Punctuation, very important for correct comma and semi-colon use!


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