申请香港和英国的大学，一般在要求提交个人陈述的同时，都要你提交一份研究计划，即Research Proposal。也有时候有学校让你交Study Plan，不过Study Plan比较泛泛，谈背景，谈兴趣等等，和PS更加类似，而Research Proposal要专业一些，有点象文献综述之类的东西，是用来和教授进行学术交流沟通的引子。请大家在申请之前仔细看清楚学校的要求，如果只要求Study Plan，你的任务会轻松许多。
5.研究此问题的意义，该Project的Value and Significance，简要阐述一下它的Outcome
至于后面要讲到的Writing Sample，那基本上是一篇学术论文，那个和研究计划又不一样。研究计划和你未来的研究项目有很大关系，但是Writing Sample纯粹只是看你现在的研究能力，和以后没有很大关系。并且Writing Sample一般只是美国大学的文科所要求的。
顺便提一下，英国的Program有两种，一种是by taught的;另一种是by research的。前者只需要上课就可以获得学位，后者需要你做研究，有了研究成果，出了论文才能授予学位。如果你申请前者这样的项目，那么你的研究计划就无所谓了，随便写点就可以，基本上问题不大;如果你申请后者，那么就需要认真对待。不过就我所知一般人都申请后者，那样的学位才有点价值。
When you are applying for a research degree, like the PhD, you will very probably have to write a research proposal as a part of your application file. A PhD is awarded mainly as the result of your making a genuine contribution to the state of knowledge in a field of your choice. Even though this is not the Nobel Prize yet, getting the degree means you have added something to what has previously been known on the subject you have researched. But first you have to prove you are capable of making such a contribution, and therefore write a research proposal that meets certain standards. The goal of a research proposal (RP) is to present and justify a research idea you have and to present the practical ways in which you think this research should be conducted.
When you are writing a RP, keep in mind that it will enter a competition, being read in line with quite a few other RPs. You have to come up with a document that has an impact upon the reader: write clearly and well structured so that your message gets across easily. Basically, your RP has to answer three big questions: what research project will you undertake, why is important to know that thing and how will you proceed to make that research.
In order to draw the researcher’s attention upon your paper, write an introduction with impact, and that leads to the formulation of your hypothesis. The research hypothesis has to be specific, concise (one phrase) and to lead to the advancement of the knowledge in the field in some way. Writing the hypothesis in a concise manner and, first, coming up with a good hypothesis is a difficult mission. This is actually the core of your application: you’re going to a university to do this very piece of research. Compared to this, the rest of the application is background scenery. Take your time to think of it. When you have an idea, be careful at the formulation. A well-written hypothesis is something of an essay’s thesis: it provides a statement that can be tested (argues ahead one of the possible answers to a problem), it is an idea, a concept, and not a mere fact, and is summed up in one phrase. In some cases, you will have no idea what the possible answer to a problem worth being researched is, but you will be able to think of a way to solve that problem, and find out the answer in the meantime. It’s ok in this case, to formulate a research question, rather than a hypothesis. Let those cases be rare, in any way.
Another piece of advice when writing your hypothesis, regarding the trendy research fields: chances are great that they’re trendy because somebody has already made that exciting discovery, or wrote that splendid paper that awoke everybody’s interest in the first place. If you’re in one of these fields, try to get a fresh point of view upon the subject; make new connections, don’t be 100% mainstream. This will make the project even more stimulating for the reader. Imagine that you are writing about the trendiest subject, with absolutely no change in the point of view, and you are given the chance to make the research. Trends come and go, fast; what are the chances that, in four years’ time, when your research is done and you are ready to publish your results, one of those well-known professors who dispose of huge research grants has already said whatever you had to say?
Remember how, in a structured essay, right after the thesis you would present the organisation of your essay, by enumerating the main arguments you were going to present? Same thing should happen in a RP. After stating your thesis, you should give a short account of your answers to those three questions mention earlier. State, in a few phrases, what will be learned from your research, that your project will make a difference, and why is that important to be known. You will have to elaborate on both of these later in the paper.
The next step in writing your proposal is to prove that that particular piece of research has not been done yet. This section is usually called Literature Review. Inside it, you have to enumerate and critically analyze an impressive list of boring bibliography. The conclusion you should – objectively! – reach is that your idea of research has not been undertaken yet. Even more, you use this opportunity to prove solid theoretical knowledge in the field, and build the theoretical bases of your project. One tip: don’t review all the articles and books in the fields even if you mention them in the bibliography list; pay attention in your analysis to those you will build on. Another one: avoid jargon when writing your RP. The chances are great that the person(s) who will read your and another 1000 research proposals are not specialists in that very field – niche you are examining. If you are applying for a grant with or foundation or something similar, it might happen that those reading your paper are not even professors, but recruiters, donors, etc. And even if they actually are professors, one of the reasons busy people like them agree to undertake a huge, and sometimes voluntary, work, is the desire to meet some diversity, some change from their work – so maybe they’ll read applications for another specialisation. The capacity to get your message across in clear, easy-to-grasp concepts and phrases is one of the winning papers’ most important advantages.
So far, you have proven you have a research idea, that you are familiar with the field, and that your idea is new. Now, why should your project be worth researching? Because it advances knowledge, ok. But is this knowledge that anybody will need? Maybe nobody knows for sure how the shoelaces were being tied in the XIXth century, but who cares, beyond two lace-tying specialists? Find arguments to convince the reader that s/he should give you money for that research: practical use, accelerating the development of knowledge in your or other fields, opening new research possibilities, a better understanding of facts that will allow a more appropriate course of action are possible reasons. Be clear and specific. Don’t promise to save the world, it might be too much to start with. Even James Bond succeeds that only towards the end of the movie.
We approach now one of the most difficult parts of writing a research proposal: the methodology. In short, what actions are you going to take in order to answer the question? When will you know whether the hypothesis has been proven wrong, or has survived enough tests to be considered, for now, valid? Those tests and the way you are supposed to handle them to give rigor to your research is what is understood under methods. Methods divide in qualitative (interviews, questionnaires) and quantitative (statistics, stuff that deals intensively with numbers). For some projects qualitative methods are more appropriate, for some quantitative, while for most a mixture of the two is adequate. You should pick your methods and justify your choice. Research methodology, however, is too a complicated thing to be explained here. And this is why it’s so tough: not much attention is given to teaching it in Eastern Europe. Try, before writing your RP, to read a bit more about methodology – on the Internet you will find for sure some articles – and decide which methods suit your project best. Don’t forget: reading theoretical pieces of your work and providing a critical analysis of those is also a kind of research. It’s fine to provide a rough schedule of your research; some grant programs will also require a detailed budget, even though for scholarships this is unlikely.
Conclusions: After working your way through the difficult methodological part, you only have to write your conclusions. Shortly recap why your hypothesis is new, why it advances knowledge, why is it worth researching and how, from a practical point of view, are you going to do that. Overall, the capacity of your project to answer the research question should come out crystal clear from the body of the paper, and especially from the conclusions. If this happens, it means you have a well-written RP, and you have just increased you chances for having a successful application.
One last word: how big should your RP be? In most cases, this is specified in the application form. If it is not, we suggest that you keep it at about 1500 words (that’s 3 pages, single-spaced, with 12 size Times New Roman). In fewer words it can be really tough to write a good RP. With more you might bore your readers. Which we hope will not happen.
Research Proposal (1): Qualitative orientation
Crystal Loh Wai Ying; M. Phil Proposal; Dept. of Sociology, HKU.
(I) Proposed Title
(III) Brief Literature Review
Environmental Variables and Crime
Crime Prevention Through Environment Design (CPTED)
Analysis of Official/Unofficial Statistic
(V) Proposed Research Time-Table
(I) Proposed Title
The Relationship between Juvenile Delinquency and Environmental Variables in New Town, Tuen Mun
The problem of juvenile delinquency in Tuen Mun’s new town’ has become more and more alarming in recent years. According to recent police statistics, the figure of 662 recorded juvenile arrests in Tuen Mun was the highest among all police districts in the territory in the first half of 1996. Such figures raise public concern about the occurrence of juvenile delinquency in the context of planned housing in the new towns. A number of questions arise, such as: ” Why does Tuen Mun suffer more Juvenile Delinquency than other places? ” ; ” Is the environment of Tuen Mun more favorable for Juvenile Delinquency than other places? ” and ” How far do the environmental features influence the chances of delinquency occurring? “. Hence, the following hypothesis will be examined in my proposed study: ” The environment of Tuen Mun’s new town invites and provides more opportunities for juveniles to commit delinquency than other new towns and urban areas of HK.”
I will compare juvenile delinquency in Tuen Mun’s new town with two other areas in order to make the study more interesting. The first area, also a new town, is Tseung Kwan O, which has similar environmental features to Tuen Mun. The second
area, Kowloon City, is an urban district and has different characteristics to Tuen Mun.
I will employ the “environmental perspective” in my study in order to attempt to explain the nature of juvenile delinquency. In addition, the related “situational crime prevention” approach which focuses on the “rational choice” of offenders will also be critically used to supplement an understanding of the factors involved in juvenile delinquency.
The following proposal presents the “What” and “How” of my study. Using the “environmental” approach to study juvenile delinquency is a novel attempt in Hong Kong; therefore, I will rely on the ideas and methods developed in the west by, for example, Newman(1972), the Brantingham(1990) and Clarke and Felson(1993).
(III) Brief Literature Review
Environmental Variables and Crime
The work of the pre-world war II Chicago researchers Shaw and Mcay made a major contribution to criminology by developing the “Ecological” approach to the understanding of the interaction between society and environment in crime causation. They theorized about social relations, urban social structure and their relationship with crime. Their study “Juvenile Delinquency and Urban Areas”(1942) showed that high crime areas usually straddled the industrial zone which was characterized by very high rates of residential turnover and low rates of home ownership.Shaw and McKay explained this phenomenon by the theory of “social disorganization”. In short, they argued that differences in delinquency rates between areas was correlated with environmental variables like housing conditions, demographic stability and ethnic/social status.
Later, a geographer Davidson (1981) tried to give a full explanation for the relationship between environmental variables and crime. He classified environment into two categories– physical environment and social environment. Physical environment referred to the structure and design of an area. For example, parks, leisure grounds, street patterns, commercial complexes and centers are the basic components of the physical environment. Social environment referred to a set of contexts which form the basis for social interaction outside the home such as school, recreation and neighborhood. Davidson’s study suggested how both the social and physical environment provide opportunities for delinquency.
The latest studies about physical environment and crime by Taylor and Harrell (1996) show how physical features like housing design or block layout, land use, territorial features, and physical deterioration relate to crime risk. My study will attempt to define and examine the pattern of such environmental variables in Tuen Mun, Tseung Kwan O and Kowloon City. Differences in the kinds of environmental factors found in the three study areas may provide hypothetically an explan
ation for differences in juvenile crime in Hong Kong.
Clarke (1983, 1993) has applied the “rational choice” perspective to a range of crimes. His studies examined how offenders think about a crime situation and how they choose the most “suitable” environment and opportunity to operate in or target to select. It suggests that the environmental features of a place will prob
ably affect a potential offender’s perceptions about a possible crime site, their evaluations of the likelihood of success and the availability and visibility of guardians. (Clarke, 1983, 1993, Felson, 1994, Taylor and Harrell, 1996) Therefore, my study will explore how juvenile offenders perceive such environmental variables and test whether they commit delinquency in a rational fashion.
A study by Beavon (1984, cited in Felson,1994) demonstrated this rational choice assumption by showing that a shop located in an area with more converging streets suffered more crime than those located elsewhere. Because the street junctions and intersections made the offender feel that it was more convenient to access, escape and hide. With this kind of example in mind, my study seeks to find out how similar sorts of environmental features in Tuen Mun influence juvenile delinquents to make this type of rational choice.
Crime Prevention Through Environment Design (CPTED)
CPTED studies provide numerous detailed description and explanations of the relationship between crime and place with a view to minimize crime. For example, Jane Jacobs(1961) found a greater tendency for crime to occur in large publicly accessible areas created by the newer forms of urban planning. She pointed out that the new forms of design broke down many of the traditional controls on criminal behavior, for example, the ability of residents to watch the street and the presence of people using the street both night and day. She suggested that the lack of “natural guardianship” in the environment promoted crime. A decade later Oscar Newman (1972, 1980) contributed a seminal work on crime prevention and environment, using such concepts as “defensible space”, “natural surveillance”, and “community of interest”. Concerning the relationship between the prevalence or absence of “guardianship” or “surveillance” and crime occurrence, my study will examine whether the environment of Tuen Mun’s new town provides insufficient “natural guardianship” compared to Kowloon City which leads to a high elinquency rate.
Another major work on environmental criminology by Pat and Paul Brantingham (1990) further developed the concept of CPTED. The Brantinghams’ suggested that “routine activity” such as the way the potential offenders live, work or go to school, and engage in leisure could influence the offenders to search for crime targets. For example, places near McDonald’s restaurants and 7-eleven stores where youths like to gather after school may suffer more property crime than other places. Hence, the Brantinghams’ suggested that schools should be kept away from shopping malls and convenience-stores so youths do not congregate at these places after school or at lunch time. Such a change of space or place could reduce some delinquency such as shoplifting. My research following the Brantinghams’ suggestion will examine and compare what sorts of places and why they are prone to high juvenile crime in Tuen Mun.
In order to test the hypothesis of the study and examine the main questions raised, the following methodology will be employed.
Participant observation with a group of juvenile delinquents or marginal youths in Tuen Mun will be carried out. The aim is to collect more qualitative information about their life style and behaviour. Through cautious participation and observation of the juvenile delinquents’ daily and routine activities, I hope to find out how their delinquent patterns have been influenced by environmental factors. I propose to associate myself with Tuen Mun’s juvenile delinquents through the help of the district outreaching social work team. I will ask them to introduce me to their clients and rely on a “snowball effect” to approach more subjects. This means making friends with one or more clients and then asking him/her to introduce their friends to me.
Individual interviews by a way of structured questionnaire will also be used to collect information about the juvenile delinquents’ perception of the environment. The interview is especially important for examining questions like “What kind of environment could encourage juveniles to make the rational choice’ to commit delinquency?”. I will also attempt to interview police officers and security guards about the effectiveness of both natural and official “guardianship” in these communities.
To collect information about the physical features of Tuen Mun, Tseung Kwan O and Kowloon City, systematic observations will be carried out. Through several community surveys of the physical settings, I will measure the prevalence or absence of environmental features suggested by CPTED as significant to crime control. By comparing the physical environment of the three studied areas the different environmental influences on the opportunity for juvenile delinquency can be gauged.
Analysis of Official/Unofficial Statistic
In order to gain a fuller picture of the situation of juvenile delinquency in Tuen Mun, Tseung Kwan O and Kowloon City, a comprehensive analysis of the official statistics will also be undertaken. Besides official data, other sources of statistical data produced by agencies such as District Social Service Center or Youth Committee and Hong Kong Census and Statistics Department (Crime Victim Survey) will also be used. I will pay especial attention to information about the location of juvenile delinquency and the types of delinquency committed in particular places.
(V) Proposed Research Time-Table
Sept 1996—-Apr 1997 :
- Literature review
- Official contact with the outreaching social work team, RHKPF and other agencies- Community surveys of the three areas
- Design the questionnaires- Collection of official and unofficial statistic
May 1997—-Jun 1997 :
- Statistical analysis of crime and place- Find the targets- Community observation (Tuen Mun)
Jul 1997—-Sept 1997 : – Field Work
- 1st session Participant Observation of Tuen Mun’s JD
Oct 1997—-Nov 1997 :
- Field Work
- Community observation (Kowloon City and Tseung Kwan O)- Interview the police officers and security guards
Dec 1997—-Feb 1998 :
- Field Work
- 2nd session Participant Observation of Tuen Mun’s JD
Mar 1998—-Apr 1998 :
- Analysis of the data obtained from the field work
May 1998—-Aug 1998 :
- Write the Thesis
1. Beavon, D.J.(1984) Crime and Environmental Opportunity Structure: The Influence of Street Networks on the Patterning of Property Offenses Unpublished master’s thesis, Simon Fraser University, British Columbia, Canada.
2. Brantingham, P.J.and Brantingham,P.L.(1990) Environmental Criminology. Prospect Heights,IL: Waveland.
3. Clarke, R.V.(1983) “Situational Crime Prevention: Its Theoretical Basis and Practical Scope” in M. Tonry & N. Morris (Eds.) Crime and Justice: An Annual Review of Research Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
4. Clarke, R.V.and Felson, M.(1993) Routine Activity and Rational Choice; Advances in Criminology Theory (Vol.5) New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Books.
5. Davidson, R.N.(1981) Crime and Environment London: Croom Helm.
6. Felson, M.(1994) Crime and Everyday Life: Insights and Implications for Society Thousand Oaks: Pine Forge Press.
7. Jacobs,J.(1961) Death and Life of Great American Cities New York: Random House.
8. Newman, O. (1972) Defensible Space: Crime Prevention Through Urban Design New York: Macmillan.
9. Newman, O. (1980) Community of Interest Garden City, NY: Anchor.
10. Shaw,C. and Mckay, H. (1942) Juvenile Delinquency and Urban Areas Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
11. Taylor, R.B. and Harrell, A.V. (1996) Physical Environment and Crime U.S.A.:National Institute of Justice.
Research Proposal for Visiting Scholar Program
Ph.D., Management, Sun Yat-Sen University
Assoc. Prof., Economics, Department of Business, Guangzhou University
1. Research Topic, Goal and Expectation
My final research topic is “Informal Public Products and The Political Reform of China”. But because of the time limitation, during my stay at your university, I will just prepare one part of the research work that is the “literature survey”.
The goal of the research is to improve the progress of the political reform of China with a new angle of view, a new perspective, and a new system of thoughts.
The research expectation is to prepare a “literature survey” of the scholarship already published in English that is relevant to my theory of “informal public goods” and its relationship to the modernization of Chinas Political & legal system.
My expectation is that the visiting scholar program will offer me the opportunity to build a strong theoretical foundation for my further research after I return to China.
After I return to China, I will have a good foundation to finish my final research “Informal Public Products and The Political Reform of China”.
2. Reasons of Topic Selection（1）
The reform progress of China has entered into a new phase, that is political reform period. The period of economic reform of China has passed away. So there is an urgent need of theories to guide the political reform progress of China.
（2） The current, single discipline-based, and dominant academic concepts, research topics, and research coverage can’t give a satisfactory explanation and feasible answer to the political reform of China, and also can’t be accepted by most of Chinese people and Chinese government and officials. There is an urgent need to develop a new concept and a new angle of view to provide a theoretical guide for the political reform of China.
（3） The research of “informal public products” a newly-developed multidisciplinary topic that covers economics, management, political science, legal science, public policy management, behavior science, and behavior philosophy, etc. So this topic can provide a wide platform and angle of view to do research about the political reform of China. It is believed that the research results will be more academic, more rational, more systematic, and more accepted by Chinese officials, Chinese people, and Chinese government.
3. Brief Contents of My Final Research Paper
Informal Public Products and The Political Reform of China
（1） Literature Survey (to be prepared during my time at UW law school)
（2） New Concept and Structural Model of Informal Public Product
§ New Concept of Informal Public Product
§ Structural Model of Informal Public Product
§ Evolution and Trend Model of Informal Public Product
（3） Informal Public Products in China
§ The Contemporary Top 10 Informal Public Products in China
§ The Structural Model of Informal Public Products in China
（4） Informal Public Products in America
§ The Contemporary Top 10 Informal Public Products in America
§ The Structural Model of Informal Public Products in China
（5） Comparison and Differences between China and America in Informal Public Products
§ Gap in Structure
§ Gap in Evolution
§ Gap and Intersection in Trend
（6） The Effect of Informal Public Products to Formal Public Products and Political Reform
§ The Effect of Informal Public Products to Formal Public Products
§ The Effect of Informal Public Products to Political Reform
（7） Development of Informal Public Products and Its Effect on Political Reform in China
§ Development and Common Trends of Informal Public Products
§ Development and Common Trends of Informal Public Products and Political Reform in China
（8） Conclusion and Political Suggestion to Political Reform of China with The Angle of View of Informal Public Products
§ Informal Public Products: The Main Field, Obstacle and Potential of Political Reform in China
§ How to Consider, Treat, and Utilize Informal Public Products in China
The contents may be modified up to the further research.
During my stay at UW, I will just prepare the “Literature Survey”. My final research paper will be written and finished after I return to China.
4. Forms or Ways of My Research
Because my research is multidisciplinary and relatively advanced, I would like the following forms or ways to do my research:
（1） Go to the UW library, and spend my time at UW preparing a “literature survey” of the scholarship already published in English that is relevant to my theory of “informal public goods” and its relationship to the modernization of Chinas legal system. This will include:
§ A survey of books and articles published in English on “public goods”
§ A survey of books and articles published in English on “informal sector”
§ A survey of books and articles published in English on the modernization of Chinas economy, political system and legal system.
This literature survey could take the form of an “annotated bibliography.” I would find the most important books and articles in each area, read it and write a one-paragraph summary of its main points.
（2） Audit classes that are relevant to my research.
For “public goods” I would like to audit these law school courses:
§ Law and economics
§ Administrative law
For “informal sector” I would like to audit these law school courses:
§ Law reform in transition economy
§ Comparative law seminar
§ International trade law
For “Chinas modernization” I would like to audit these courses:
§ Chinese law
§ Introduction to the Interdisciplinary Study of China
§ A course on Chinese government offered in International Studies graduate program
§ A course on Chinese economy offered in International Studies graduate program
Auditing these courses will help me prepare the annotated bibliography by giving me a deeper understanding of the books and articles I are reading that are related to my research on “informal public goods”. If I audit these courses or other similar courses and prepare an annotated bibliography during my year in the UW Visiting Scholar program then after my return to China I will be better prepared to write my theory of “informal public goods” with comparisons between China and the US or other Western countries.
（3） Meet with my mentor. Most of the information I can get about US theories will come through auditing classes and library, and not from personal meetings with professors. So I just meet with my mentor one time each month or two months for one or two hours to discuss my progress on my annotated bibliography.
5. My Preliminary Thoughts and Viewpoints to be Tested and Proved
（1） My final goal of research is to improve the political reform of China. But I think that single discipline and current mainstream research topics cannot give a satisfactory explanation to this field. So I have developed a new and non-mainstream research topic (Informal Public Products) to do this challenged area. The concept of Informal Public Products, defined by my research, is some kind of public products that are not accepted by laws. So law and principles of law is the key of my definition on Informal Public Products.
（2） My research attempts regarding policies as products, and regarding formal/ informal public products as formal/ informal public products. Here public products are different from public goods stated in Economics. The former are intangible, and the latter are mostly tangible.
（3） Informal Public Products, most of them are intangible products, are those public products (public policies) that are not recognized by laws and other formal rules, but are really existing and playing real role in almost every public sector of the world. Informal Public Products, not formal public products, are the real products provided to the general public. Informal Public Products are determined by public management mechanics, informal culture, current productivity, and so on.
（4） Informal Public Products consist of Informal Political Products, Informal Economic and Financial Products, Informal Social Products, and Informal Cultural Products, etc.
（5） Informal Public Products are playing more and more important role in all aspects of our life, especially in transit economy and society, such as China. Without the study and consideration of Informal Public Products, we cannot explain why so many political, social, economic, and cultural activities have been happening.
（6） There is a dialectic relationship between Informal Public Products and Formal Public Products. Informal Public Products have more essential meaning and play dominant and real role. These two kinds of products play different role in the real world and can transform each other under some conditions.
（7） Informal Public Products Theory should become the new dominant theory for political reform of China. My research on Informal Public Products is a multidisciplinary job which may covers law, economics of law, political science, etc.
（8） The Development, formalization, legalization of informal public products of China may be the basic path and process of the political reform of China.
2. How to write a research proposal：http://19720605.fyfz.cn/b/589269