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Independent Research Projects for PEARL students

Q & A

  • Q What is the IRP?
    • A IRP is a set of courses in which third- or the fourth-year students in the Faculty of Economics do research and complete a paper in one year on a topic of their choice under the guidance of a faculty member at the Faculty of Economics whose area of specialization is related to the student’s proposed research area. The IRP programme is one of the main pillars of the Faculty of Economics’ curriculum along with Research Seminar and PCP.
  • Q Can any topic be chosen?
    • A Students can choose economic subjects, or those related to humanities (such as arts and literature) or natural sciences. Creative work is also recognized as a research outcome. You need to find a supervisor from among the full-time faculty member of the Faculty of Economics who are on either the Hiyoshi or Mita campuses.
  • Q How can I get an introduction to a supervisor?
    • A Before formally registering for the IRP courses, you are supposed to choose the theme or topic for your research, contact a possible supervisor, and ask him/her to supervise your work. If the email address of the professor you are considering as your possible supervisor is not available on the web, the IRP coordinators ( will mediate between you and a particular professor.
  • Q Is every faculty member at the Faculty of Economics supposed to accept students’ requests of supervisions of IRP, if their research interest fits mine?
    • A It is up to each individual professor to decide whether s/he can accept a request for the supervision of an IRP project. Some Professors might prefer to use their Research Seminar to supervise research. Others will make a decision on whether to supervise an IRP according to a student’s enthusiasm or research interest. In any case, the maximum number of IRP students that one supervisor can supervise is five students. Even if a professor has accepted IRP students in the past, s/he is not allowed to do so during his/her sabbatical leave.
  • Q Can I do collaborative research in IRP?
    • A Several students can do collaborative research in IRP. In this case, all the participants must be enrolled in each of the relevant IRP courses, and show which member is responsible for what part in your presentation and final research outcomes.
  • Q What guidance and direction does a supervisor give me?
    • A Each supervisor supports your research project and academically advises you about proper research methods and directions for completing it. Students usually get coaching from their supervisors individually or in a small group (up to five students), once a week for 90 minutes from the beginning of the fall semester in late September. According to students’ research interest, however, the supervisors can hold meetings with students on an irregular basis. Each student will decide the details of these procedures in consultation with his/her supervisor when the semester starts. Students are required to keep a record of each guidance session, and obtain their supervisor’s signature on this record at the end of each semester. At the end of the course, this record must be submitted via the coordinators to the Office of Student Services.
  • Q Can I learn academic writing through IRP?
    • A All PEARL students who take the “Academic Skills” course in their first year are assumed to have acquired the basic academic writing skills for writing a research paper. As there are differences in the mode of writing and academic conventions across specialized area, students enrolled in an IRP can receive supervision about these particulars from their supervisors.
  • Q Do I have a chance to make my research public?
    • A As a part of the Independent Research Project C, the mid-term and final research presentations will held in February and July, respectively. These presentations are open to the public. If you fail to make your presentation at the final meeting, you cannot get a credit for the “Independent Research Project C.” The abstract of your final research outcome (approx. 1,000 words) will be published by Keio on the web. The full text of the research will also published on the web but with readership limited to those with accounts, if the student and his/her supervisor agree to do this.
  • Q Can I register IRP and Research Seminar at the same time?
    • A In theory, you can register for both an IRP and a Research Seminar, but the professor supervising your IRP cannot be the professor who teachers your Research Seminar. If the supervisor of your IRP and the professor of your Research Seminar agree that you will register for both classes, and only if the research subject of your IRP is different from that in your Research Seminar, it is possible institutionally to take both the IRP and a Research Seminar. However, it might be hard, if not impossible, for (especially the fourth-year) students to write their graduation thesis in their Research Seminar, while completing their research in the IRP. You need to ensure that your preparation is sufficient so that you do not fail either course.
  • Q If I fail to be accepted into a professor’s Research Seminar, can I receive the guidance of that professor in IRP?
    • A It is up to that professor to decide whether s/he accepts you as an IRP student.
  • Q Can I register for the IRP and PCP at the same time?
    • A You can, but the burden might be quite heavy. You need to ensure that your preparation is sufficient. You are advised to consult with both the IRP and PCP coordinators in advance.
  • Q Can we submit the same research paper to an IRP and to a Research Seminar?
    • A No. IRP and Research Seminar are different courses. For an IRP, you have to submit a research paper that is different from the one you submit to your Research Seminar.
  • Q Can we register for an IRP for two consecutive years?
    • A Yes, but the research topics in the two years must be different, and the research papers you submit in each year must be different. You can get coaching from the same supervisor.
  • Q What should I do in my first and second years as preparation for an IRP?
    • A First and second year students are expected to clarify their research interests and acquire the basic skills and knowledge necessary for it. You can also communicate with possible supervisors, and, if possible, you can ask them if they will agree to supervising your research in an IRP early on.
  • Q Are students attached to other faculties eligible to enroll in an IRP?
    • A Students attached to other faculties are eligible to join an IRP only as a collaborator of research led by a student(s) attached to the Faculty of Economics.
  • Q What should I do if I have some other questions?
    • A If you have further questions, please send an email to the IRP coordinators:

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