Stage 3 of the MW Study Programme is fully dedicated to the Research Paper. Only candidates who have already passed the Theory and Practical parts of Examination may proceed to embark on the Research Paper.
The Research Paper is an individual piece of work of between 6,000 and 10,000 words in length, and is the final part of the Master of Wine Examination.
Candidates propose wine-related topics from any area of the sciences, arts, humanities, social sciences or any other discipline. They also have the freedom to choose the way that they explore their topic, as long as it enables them to provide a rigorous interpretation of the subject and it makes a contribution to the understanding of the world of wine.
The Institute provides all candidates with preparatory workshops on the Research Paper throughout the Study Programme, well before they actually start work on their own research.
The Research Paper process also involves a pool of trained MW Advisors. Each of these Advisors will be both a Mentor and an Examiner at various times allowing for clarity and transparency of requirements and standards.
The Research Paper stage will begin with the allocation of an MW Advisor, immediately following the results from the MW Exam in September. There will then be opportunities for candidates to have a small group meeting with their Advisor and an RP Coordinator during the autumn.
Also in September, candidates will advise their likely choice of topic and will work closely with their Advisors on the development of the Research Paper Proposal (RPP).
During October and November candidates will prepare their RPP for review and approval. Advisors will submit the RPP’s on behalf of their candidates. A review panel will evaluate each Proposal and provide feedback to candidates via Advisors.
By April, candidates will finalise their analysis and revise their research context based on previous feedback. By 1 May, candidates should advise the Institute if they intend to submit their RP in June of that year. This intention to submit should be based on discussion with their Advisors. If it is decided that the RP will not be ready for submission in June, then there is another opportunity to submit in December of the same year.
A final draft of the RP has to be submitted to Advisors four weeks before the final submission date to the Institute in June or December. This time can be used for final amendments, according to recommendations made by Advisors.
Research Paper Advisors
The candidate will have an MW Advisor who will act as a mentor for writing the Research Paper.
Candidates are encouraged to work closely with their MW Advisor throughout the entire process in the third stage of their MW studies. Students will be able to communicate with their MW Advisor directly, and with the RP Panel Chair or RP Coordinators via the Executive Office. A submitted Research Paper will be considered by two Examiners, who will report to the Panel Chair.
Support and training
The Institute endeavours to provide comprehensive support, but ultimately the third part of the MW Examination remains self-study in style similarly to the closed-book parts, i.e. the Theory and Practical papers.
MW candidates enjoy the following support in their pursuit of completing the Research Paper successfully:
- Comprehensive and clear information on the Research Paper and relevant processes and procedures (Research Paper Guide, passed Research Papers and previous Dissertations on the Institute’s website)
- A dedicated presentation on the Research Paper at the residential Seminar in the first stage of the Study Programme
- Skills development workshops at the residential Seminars in both the first and second stages of the Study Programme
- Online resources and distance learning throughout Stages 1 and 2 of the Study Programme
- Research paper assignments in Stage 2 of the Study Programme
- Advisors in Stage 3 of the Study Programme
- Special training in Stage 3 of the Study Programme
It must be noted that the training sessions provided by the Institute do not aim to teach or train candidates in specific methods, analytical tools, etc. The objective of all the training workshops is to help candidates develop their understanding of the principles, best practice and common pitfalls in conducting wine industry research.