Community & Regional Planning School of Architecture, UT Austin

PR/Thesis Workshop
1.  PR vs. Thesis options 2.  Tips for PR/Thesis proposal 3.  Q&A

PR vs. Thesis Option
Two options for a final project to earn MSCRP: •  •  Internship (CRP 397) + Professional Report (CRP 398R) Masters Thesis (CRP 698A Thesis Research + CRP 698B Thesis Writing)

PR/Thesis in MSCRP Curriculum
Year 1, Fall Year 1, Spring CRP 980X (Mueller) CRP 386 (Paterson) Planning Theory & Practice Plans and Plan-making (Planning History and Theory) CRP 381 (Rawlins) Planning Law CRP 386 (Kahn) Quantitative Methods Elective 18 Credit Hours of Core Courses 6 Credit Hours of Electives CRP 980Y (Zhang) Planning Theory & Practice (Regional Analysis Methods) CRP 381 (Wilson) Participatory Methods Elective

Year 2, Fall CRP 980Z (Lee) Planning Theory & Practice (Physical Planning Workshop) CRP 381 (Oden) Financing Public Services CRP 397 (Zhang) Planning Internship Report or CRP 698A Thesis Research Elective 6 Credit Hours of Core Courses 12 Credit Hours of Electives

Year 2, Spring Elective

Elective CRP 398R Master’s Professional Report (PR) or CRP 698B Thesis Writing Elective

6 Credit Hours of Internship-PR or Thesis Internship done in summer or fall and credits earned in the semester when you are registered

that involves 300 or more hours of work and that promises some professional development •  Required for PR option •  An internship is any planning-related job. paid or unpaid.Internship (CRP 397) Requirement http://soa.utexas. .

your work and what you learned. •  An Internship Report: By the end of the semester registered for internship. . submit either: •  A 10-page. double-spaced report that describes your experience.Internship Requirement (con’t) •  Paper work (submit to Rosemin) •  A letter from your employer that states that he/she understands that you are earning credit for your work and that gives a brief description of the kind of work you will be doing. or •  A copy of a report/publication or project that is mainly your work along with a 2-3 page report that describes your contribution to submitted work product.




Thesis Research (CRP 698A) Requirement •  Thesis proposal approved by your thesis committee Sign up for 698A Deliverables: work out between you and your committee •  .

PR/Thesis Proposal Deadlines •  Proposal Approval (The Purple Form) –  PR proposal: One semester in advance –  Thesis proposal: Two semesters in advance •  PR/Thesis Drafts: The last class day of the semester registered for graduation .

PR/Thesis Deadlines .

The first reader must be a CRP faculty (CRP GSC member) Complete a 7-10 page full proposal approved by your readers and submit the approved proposal by the PR or Thesis Proposal deadline Complete PR/Thesis writing and submit PR/Thesis final draft to the Graduate School by the deadlines 2.  Identify a topic. conduct initial research and produce a proposal draft Identify two or more committee members (readers).  .  4.  3.Work with your PR/Thesis Committee 1.

Obtain formal format approval from an OGS Master's Degree Evaluator . and includes front and back matter sample documents. 2. copyright information. Review the Format Guidelines for the Master's Thesis and Report The manual discusses the arrangement of your thesis or PR. Meeting format requirements involves three steps: 1.PR/Thesis Format/Template Requirements OGS requires specific format for your PR/Thesis. Review the ITS Template User Guide and use the ITS thesis template Pre-formatted THESIS template (not dissertation) that contains predefined styles. 3.

et al) When will you carry out the planned research activities? •  . analytical techniques.Tips for PR/Thesis Proposal Five W’s for a research proposal •  •  •  •  What is your research about? (research question) Why is it important or interesting (to whom)? What have other people said (found) on your topic (lit. review)? How will you conduct the proposed research (method – data and ways to obtain the data.

What is your research question? Moving from Interest to Topic to Problem to Question •  Identify a topic from the area of your research interests Asking a question about the phenomenon you observed in practice or in literature Speculate some answers to the question in hypothetical conditions Ask more questions … •  •  •  •  .

Different Nature of Research Different Kinds of Questions •  •  •  •  •  •  Interpretative Descriptive Exploratory Explanatory Predictive Nature of research strongly tied with method of research .

Interpretative •  •  •  What’s been done and understood? Review Meta-study: Study of studies .

g. What is the level of job accessibility of the low-income.. TX area? . ethnic minority population in the Austin.Descriptive •  •  •  •  Precise measurement and reporting of the characteristics of the population or phenomenon What is the case? What is the nature of the relationship? E.

g. Attitude of local communities to highspeed rail development in Texas .Exploratory •  •  •  •  To develop an initial.. rough understanding of a phenomenon What is out there? Open-ended E.

g.. What factors affect the level of job accessibility of the low-income.Explanatory •  •  •  Why “Is x the case?” or Why “Is x the relationship?” E. ethnic minority population in the Austin. TX area? .

traffic. tax income .Predictive •  Forecasts: population.

–  Land use/transportation impacts: chicken-&egg –  Road pricing policy is not working in most places in the world.How to identify a research topic and define a research question •  Start from theory and test/verify it in a particular situation. Why? •  . –  Apply Alonso’s theory to study Austin’s urban spatial structure Address unresolved issues in the field.

… .How to identify a research topic and define a research question •  Evaluate a policy or action. –  Trends of inter-city travel in mega-regions –  The extent to which rail transit affect land values along the Redline in Austin. –  Proposal for a bus rapid transit line along Guatalupe –  Impacts of fare increase proposed by CapMetro •  Identify knowledge gap in the field.

a sentence ending with a question mark. •  In purpose statement format: “The purpose of this research is …” In hypothesis format: Hypo 1. In equation format: y=a + bx + cz •  •  .”?”.Refine your question by… Presenting and elaborating on your initial research question in different formats: •  In question format. .. Hypo 2.

Exercise (by yourself) •  •  •  •  What is your research question? What type of question it is (one of the above four or others)? Can you describe your question in 1-2 sentences? Can you express your question in various format mentioned before? .

Formulate Research Questions: How to do literature review .

General Remarks •  •  Research begins with a problem/question Most find the writing of a literature review a difficult task that takes patience. ‘The Literature Review’ Be critical but objective •  •  . drafts. practice. and redrafts Reviewing the Literature vs.

Reasons for reviewing the literature •  •  Informing yourself of what is happening in the field Gaining a level of topical and methodological knowledge and expertise Finding potential gaps in the literature that may point to potential research questions Critically evaluating common/typical methods Facilitating the development of your own methodological approaches •  •  •  .

Purposes of the ‘literature review’ •  •  Informing your audience of what is happening in the field Establishing your credibility as a knowledgeable and capable researcher Arguing the relevance and the significance of your research questions Providing the context for your own methodological approach Arguing the relevance and appropriateness of your approach •  •  •  .

  Where are the inconsistencies or other shortcomings in our knowledge and understanding? .Questions your literature review should answer 1.  What are the relationships between these key concepts. factors or variables? 4.  What are the key concepts or the main factors or variables? 3.  What do we already know in the immediate area concerned? 2.  What are the existing theories? Generative basis? Empirical support? 5.

Why study (further) the research problem? 9. What views need to be (further) tested? 7. What contribution can the present study be expected to make? 10. contradictory or too limited? 8.Questions your literature review should answer 6. inconclusive. What research designs or methods seem unsatisfactory? . What evidence is lacking.

relevance) clearly established? Has the author evaluated the literature relevant to the problem/issue? Does the author include literature taking positions she or he does not agree with? Is it balanced and objective? •  •  •  . severity.Ask yourself questions like these about each article you review •  Has the author formulated a problem/ issue? Is its significance (scope.

Ask yourself questions like these about each article you review •  What is the author's theoretical framework? Empirical evidence to test theory adequate and appropriate for research question? Could the problem have been approached more effectively from another perspective? Are methods and results plausible? Or problematic? What are the key findings? Measures? Future Research? How does this book or article relate to the specific thesis or question I am developing? •  •  •  .

Try to determine what the most credible research journals are in your topical area and start with those. You are likely to learn a lot in the literature review that will help you in making the tradeoffs you'll need to face. Put the greatest emphasis on research journals that use a double blind review.Some tips about conducting the literature review •  Concentrate your efforts on the scientific literature. Do the review early in the research process. •  •  .

you are to critically synthesize and evaluate the literature according to the guiding concept of your research question. This is a time investment for a program of research for the rest of your life!!! •  •  •  . Write with objective language…. Annotate.Some tips about conducting the literature review •  Do look at dissertations in your topic area. annotate. annotate…. they did lit reviews as well. Learn by example….

  Main results and findings 5. author. journal. publication year. research questions 3.  Citation: article title.  Analytical framework and methodology 4.  Main topic. take notes on the following: 1. etc.Ming’s Literature Review Template For each article/book.  Comments (strength and weakness of the study) . 2.

Another Literature Review Template Decompose each article into three parts: –  Theory/framework –  Method/Data –  Findings .

Decompose each article into 3 parts: #1 •  Theory/framework .

Decompose each article into 3 parts: #2 •  Method/Data .

Decompose each article into 3 parts: #3 •  Results/Findings .

  3rd Law of the Research Question : Your study will only make sense as long as your research question is hazy.   2nd Law of the Research Question : Only when you have clarified your research question will you discover a large body of conflicting findings. you don't understand the literature.Murphy's Laws of Research (1)   1st Law of the Research Question : If you have finalized your research question. .

the less data there is to support it. tie your materials together and give you the premise for your first book.Murphy's Laws of Research (2)   Law of Inverse Self-Reward : The more you enjoy your research.) . and forced advisers to threaten the student with bodily harm if the search is not abandoned.   Fallacy of the Library Researcher : Somewhere there is a reference (the "Ultimate Reference") which will give you a stunningly brilliant opening and conclusion. ( The search for this kind of thing has delayed dissertations for years.

it's been done.   2nd Law of Research : If you think something is important. write a book. someone else will publish it. . no one else will.Murphy's Laws of Research (3)   1st Law of Research : If you think of something new. and get on the Oprah Winfrey show. obtain a grant.   3rd Law of Research : If you throw it away.

  Law of Importance : When you think you have discovered the real problem.Murphy's Laws of Research (4)   1st Law of Theory : No theory will answer the important questions.   2nd Law of Theory : All theories seem workable in conversations. you have not. .   Corollary : When you are sure it is not important. Corollary : All theories are irrelevant.   Corollary : When your adviser is available. it is   Law of Remaining Time : If there is a significant breakthrough. you will be mired in confusion. it will occur when your adviser is out of the country.

Q&A .

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