URBP 298 Prerequisites
Prerequisites for enrolling in URBP 298A for SPRING 2013
To enroll in URBP 298A, the first semester of the 298 process, students must meet three prerequisites. First, students must pass the WST if they joined the MUP program in Fall 2006 or later. Second, students interested in enrolling in URBP 298A in the Spring must attend one of the preliminary proposal workshops offered during Spring 2013 and indicate their intent to enroll in URBP 298A (an e-mail will be distributed to all students with additional information). In addition, all students must complete a Preliminary Proposal by TB. Follow the steps below to complete this process and obtain an enrollment code for the course.
Step 1: Review the URBP 298 course web site to learn what will be expected of you.
Browse through this 298 course website. In particular, familiarize yourself with the Research Proposal, IRB, and Literature Review assignments posted on the URBP 298A Information website. The guidelines for the assignments may change slightly for the Spring 2013 semester, but the assignments will remain substantially the same.
Step 2: Request an URBP 298 advisor.
Each student in URBP 298 works with a faculty advisor.
If you have identified a preferred advisor, contact him/her directly to say you hope to work with him/her. If space is not available with that advisor, then ask to be put on his/her waiting list. Alternatively, you can contact the URBP 298 coordinator (Prof. Asha Agrawal), and ask to be put on a general waiting list for an advisor.
Please note that the department cannot guarantee who your advisor will be. However, we make every effort to match students with their preferred advisor.
Step 3: Complete assigned readings on how to develop a research question and bibliography.
Read Chapters 1, 2, 3, and 4 of Kate L. Turabian’s A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations, seventh edition. Note that you must read the seventh edition, which is a newer version than some of you may already own.
Step 4: Prepare a Preliminary Proposal.
Using what you have learned from the Turabian readings, prepare a preliminary proposal that contains the following 9 items:
- A statement that you have passed the WST or a statement that you were admitted to
the MUP program before Fall 2006 and so are exempt from the WST requirement.
- The proposed title of your 298 report.
- Your research question in one or two sentences (no more).
- A statement of the audience for whom you plan to write.
- A list of all courses you have taken that have prepared you to research this topic.
- An explanation of why your question is an important one to study (one or two pages maximum).
To prove that your question is an important one, worth studying, you must answer for readers the "who cares?" question. To do so, this section must explain why answering your specific research question will provide valuable information to improve planning practice in general and/or the conditions within a specific community. In writing this section of the proposal, think both about the relevance of your general topic and also about the relevance of your specific question.
- A description of the methods you will use to gather the data needed to answer your
research question (one paragraph minimum).
Examples of methods you might use are conducting interviews, surveying people, or analyzing a pre-existing data set like the census, etc. To get a sense of methods that other 298 students have used, review the sample 298 research proposals by Donlon [.pdf], Fauria [.pdf], and Kim [.pdf] that are posted at this 298 website.
Once you decide you may use a particular method (e.g., surveys), you should review at least one textbook with advice on using that method. If you are using quantitative methods, for example, you can review relevant texts you read in URBP 204A or URBP 204B. If you plan to do a policy or program analysis, you should review relevant texts from URBP 236. For both quantitative and qualitative methods, you will find a good list of suggested readings at the UC Berkeley Environmental Design Library's website Preparing for Thesis and Dissertation Research.
- An annotated bibliography of at least 30 sources on your topic.
For each item in the bibliography, include the full source citation formatted in Turabian bibliography style, a summary of the author’s main points in 100 words or less that is written in your own words, and a one-sentence statement of how you envision using this information in writing your Planning Report.
At least 10 of the 30 items must be research articles published in peer-reviewed journals. None of the required 30 items may be newspaper articles, though you may include such articles in addition to the required 30 items.
If you need a refresher on how to find planning-related research articles, see the 298 handout on on-line research tips.
- A list of all on-line databases or library catalogues that you have searched, plus
a list of the search terms you used at each one.
Library catalogues you may want to use include the SJSU MLK Library's catalogue, as well as the University of California's Melvyl catalogue. As for databases, there are dozens that may be useful to you, but common ones used by planning students include Academic Search Premier, ScienceDirect.com, and Web of Science.
If you were using ScienceDirect.com and looking for research on traffic circles, your entry would look something like this: "ScienceDirect.com: I searched various combinations of the following keywords: traffic circle, roundabout, traffic calming, safety, accidents."
Step 5: Submit the Preliminary Proposal to an advisor by TBD.
By TBD, email your Preliminary Proposal to your advisor (add codes will be distributed over the summer). If you have not yet been assigned a specific advisor, then submit your proposal to the URBP 298 coordinator (Prof. Asha Agrawal) for Spring 2013.