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Independent Research Projects for PEARL students

Students Interview 2020

student's interview_1
RESEARCH TOPIC: “Tradition & Innovation: Italian Womenswear in Perspective”

 ”Continuation and development of the prior thesis”

1.Why did you choose to take part in the Independent Research Project for two years continuing from the previous year?

I was content to retake IRP as I found that there was nothing more rewarding and exclusive in programs offered at Keio. The first year of research was a first step forward to acknowledging the existence of the deep ocean in the field of fashion studies, and the second provided me to look from another aspect. Notably, I looked at French fashion as well as the crusades of modern fashion reboots last year, and this year, I was able to see the old tradition of Italian textiles and its current impact. These experiences built up my confidence to apply to a master’s degree program in the fashion department and continue my research on fashion studies – which I cannot be more grateful.

2.Is there any difference between taking the first year and the second year?In terms of your consciousness, etc?

Having done the process twice, I understood the importance of habitual reading and developing papers from the start of the semester. Since I did not have creative work this time, it gave me more time to focus on acknowledging the history and critical observation on the term “Made in Italy”. The most significant difference between the first and second year would be the shift to online meetings due to the pandemic. Nevertheless, Professor Batty would help me get in hold of the required books and made the experience fulfilling.

3.What was the most rewarding experience?

It’s always rewarding to have a one-to-one session with the professor and given feedback on the outcome every week. Because I focused on a field which is relative to everyday life, it enabled me to compare my thoughts before and after the research, while also critically questioning my own. IRP improved my way of writing while preparing me for academic pieces.

4.How do you apply what you have learned here to the future?

IRP was an excellent opportunity for me to step into the field of fashion, which is an interdisciplinary field on its own. My economic background helped me support and understand the mechanism of fashion. I was determined to use it to further engage with this discipline in the master’s program of Parsons Paris, the New School. The prosperous experience of researching, weekly meetings and presentations granted me with confidence in tackling a new field while also enwidening career options. I am sure that the time at Keio would not have been as interactive and productive without the participation of this program.

5. A short message to future participants

For anyone looking for a way to dive deeper into your interest in your own time, I highly recommend getting proactive and participating in IRP. Whether it’s economics, sociology, sports or arts, you will be able to engage in the field with a fresh eye and obtain affluence academically.

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student's interview_2
NAME: Lisa M. Bissen
RESEARCH TOPIC:“The emotions behind the globalization of washoku”

 ”A chance to push yourself academically and pursue your

1. Why did you choose to take part in the Independent Research Project?

I decided to take part in the independent research project because I wanted to research something that was not offered as part of the regular research seminar. The Independent Research Program allowed me to combine my interests in food history with economics and sociology. I knew that pursuing this particular field was only going to be possible by partaking in the Independent Research Project. Not only was this the reason, but having the unique opportunity to have a supervisor who guides you in the right direction throughout the year is what makes this program so personal, unique, and attractive.

2. What was the most rewarding experience?

Seeing the final product was the most rewarding part of the program. The endless hours of researching and writing then rewriting turning into a proper paper gave me such a sense of accomplishment. The Independent Research Program was the most intense and challenging experience I have had during my time at Keio. Being able to contribute even the slightest bit to the area of my research was another rewarding aspect of my research. By finding something that was not yet researched thoroughly, allowed me to look at the topic from a new angle. Looking back at the hours of hard work and the praise I have received after handing in my final submission, I am immensely proud of what I have accomplished.

3. How do you apply what you have learned here to the future?

Regarding the academic aspect, it was about how to compile extensive research into a 15,000-word essay. It was not only finding the resources that were relevant and reliable but also gaining the skill to dig deeper into the nuances and meaning behind the author’s words. But beyond that, I have learned to persevere. There were instances throughout the year when the research was hitting a dead end that I wanted to give up and not follow through. However, with the support of my supervisor, I was able to stay motivated and continue on with the adventure of the Independent Research Project. Completing this extensive research has taught me how to motivate me when things get difficult.

4. A short message to future participants

The Independent Research Project offers an exceptional experience that is tailored to each student. I would definitely recommend the program to anyone who is willing to push and challenge themselves academically. Not only do you get to research a topic you are personally invested in, but you also have the unique experience of having weekly one on one sessions with the professor of your choice.

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student's interview_2
RESEARCH TOPIC:“The Nordic Welfare State Model and Its Future Prospects:  Can It Remain a Sustainable System in Changing Times?”

 ”A great opportunity to research more deeply on a topic  that you are passionate about”

1. Why did you choose to take part in the Independent Research Project?

I decided to take part in the Independent Research Project because the economies of the Nordic type had interested me for some time and I wanted to research them more deeply. I thought that the IRP was the perfect opportunity for me to do so since it is a quite specific topic. Another important reason behind my decision to take part in the IRP was my interest in going to graduate school. Through the process of carrying out a research project independently, I thought that I could gain closer insight into academic research and prepare myself well. Furthermore, I found the small class size of this course very appealing.

2. What was the most rewarding experience?

Personally, I think that one of the most rewarding experiences I had taking this course was receiving individual, crucial advice and support for my research project from my supervisor each week. It enabled me to reflect on the progress I made in a week and think of ways to improve my research. Both the mid-year and final presentation helped me become aware of which part of my paper might be unclear to the audience and also hear their point of view through interesting questions, which offered me a new perspective on my research topic. Thanks to my supervisor, I could even learn beyond the topic I chose and expand my horizons in the fields of political economy.

3. How do you apply what you have learned here to the future?

I can definitely confirm that by taking part in the Independent Research Project, I could gain invaluable experiences and knowledge of conducting research, which will be essential for my future since my plan is to go to graduate school, as mentioned above. While my topic might have been very specific, I think that becoming much more familiar with the process of carrying out a research project in general will be a large benefit in any future situation when research is demanded. For me personally, it was the methodology part of my research paper that I could learn the most from and am likely to apply to future projects.

4. A short message to future participants

I would highly recommend you to take part in this course if there is a topic that you are strongly interested in, especially if you are considering going to graduate school. Unlike other courses, this course offers you the unique chance to conduct research under supervision either in an individual or in a very small-sized class.

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