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SOP. Goal of study, title or subject of research, and detailed study plan for KGSP Scholarship

Hello again! I have to write about my study plan with the following: Goal of study, title or subject of research, and detailed study plan.

I've never done an study plan before so I'm not really sure if it's okay but I wrote a little draft about it. If it's too short please let me know. I hope you can help me with this essay as well and thanks for everything.


Currently in the research center where I work I have the opportunity to interact constantly with a doctor specialist in pulmonology, who always tells me about international conferences in which he has participated and the various research topics that have been presented in them. One of the topics that caught my attention was Cystic Fibrosis, a multisystem disease caused by the mutation of a gene on chromosome 7, which is quite frequent in our country due to the great variety and mixture of ethnicities that we present.

During my years of master's study I would like to develop this topic and contribute to the related advances presented. According to studies and reports presented by Korean researchers, I have noticed that there are not many articles about Cystic Fibrosis as it is a rare disease in the Asian community. However, I am convinced that it would be very useful to develop new studies to be able to reaffirm the knowledge about this disease, to improve them and to have more revisions of it for future projects. I would like to, with the guide and help of my professors, carry out a research work of descriptive type in which we can observe more clearly the clinical manifestations and other findings that allow us to diagnose this disease early as it can sometimes be camouflaged like any other one. Due to the low incidence of this disease in Korea, this work will be a challenge that will undoubtedly leave us satisfied once it is concluded and published in the scientific community, contributing to the Korean population with a more detailed study of this rare disease.

In addition, I would like to obtain more knowledge about the diagnostic methods of genetic study in Cystic Fibrosis in order to be able to implement them or to accommodate them in some way to my country and thus have the best technology for the diagnosis. This knowledge would be of great importance in my country that has a greater incidence of this disease, to have within reach a definitive diagnostic method that supports and confirms the clinical and radiological suspicions of our specialist doctors would be of great help to our entire community.

Feb 16, 2017   #2
Hi Caro. The essay that you wrote is more of an outline of what you want to present in your study plan. It doesn't really follow the format nor the required content of a study plan at the moment, but it is a good start. The one important thing that you have to remember with regards to a study plan is this, specifics are paramount. Do not be vague as you are now. Do you remember how you wrote your thesis proposal in college? That is exactly how you should approach your masters thesis study plan. Let's see if I can outline the steps to developing this study plan for you.

1. Think of the course you are interested in. What brought about this interest?

2. What specific field are you now interested in? Why? How far has your country gotten in terms of treatment research related to the topic of your interest? Is this why you feel Korea offers you a better opportunity to study the problem and develop a possible solution to the problem?

3. What is the problem that most attracts you to this research? Explain the reasons for the attraction. Why would this be a good topic for research?

4. Do you have a specific university of interest that you plan to apply to in Korea? Do they specialize in this sort of research?

5. What is the current research that the university is doing in your line of interest? Does it align with the problem that you hope to resolve with your own research?

6. Is there a specific professor you want to mentor you as you write your thesis? What makes you think that he / she would be able to help you further advance your research?

7. How can the university help you achieve your study goals?

By answering these 7 questions, you should be able to develop a far more comprehensive study plan for yourself.
Thank you very much! I'll follow this, write a new essay and post it here again!
Oh and I have a quick question related to my Self-Introduction Letter, I just enrolled in a Harvard University course called "Principles and Practice of Clinical Research" that can be taken online. This course will be starting on March 2nd, should I add it to my first essay? if I should, can I re-open my previous thread to get some advice once I include it to my essay? Thanks again for all your help.
Feb 16, 2017   #4
Since the course you mentioned has not started yet, there is no need to mention it in the self introduction. The self introduction should only include existing or already completed academic presentations. I have a feeling that you will be submitting the letter way ahead of the start of the course right? It would be a different case if your course at Harvard started before the deadline for the submission of your application. It would have been relevant in that instance as part of your ongoing academic training. There is no need for you to reopen the old thread. The information cannot be used in the self introduction letter anyway. Hold on to that qualification though. You might find it useful in the future should you decide to apply for other scholarships or university admission. You never know. Don't ever disregard the importance of your upcoming accomplishments. It will be useful when you least expect it.
I'll be applying through the university track and the deadline is on March 26th so I was planning to collect all the documents required for early March or last days of February, that's why I was not sure if I should include it or not.

I tried to write another essay but I feel like I'm stuck in it... I know it's still too vague but I can't seem to understand how to do it... or maybe I can't really develop this topic... I'm kind of frustrated haha. One essay at a time please.
Feb 21, 2017   #6
Caro, you actually have the basis for your study plan almost spelled out for you in this essay. It just lacks a more comprehensive and professional presentation. What I found within your essay is that you lack a definitive discussion regarding cystic fibrosis in relation to its existence as an illness in Korea. Now, since you have already indicated that Korea does not have much information about the illness, that does not mean that there is no research about it or that the illness does not exist in Korea. So your study goal should focus on the emergence of Cystic Fibrosis in Korea. You could do a comparison study of the current treatment of the illness when applied to Asians, Koreans in particular. Your goal would be to create a vaccine or line of treatment that would address the differences in DNA structure, drug responsiveness, or whatever within Asians, with Koreans as the focal point of your study. This is just a topic that I thought of off the top of my head but I think it is something that can help you get started on properly creating a study plan. I hope it helps.
Thank you for your help. This study plan is making me go crazy haha so I should add that to my 2nd paragraph, right? If I add that would the rest of the essay be okay as it is? I really feel like I'm having a mental block right now :(
Feb 21, 2017   #8
That is not a formal study plan yet. Even if you add the information to the second paragraph, you still have to do more work on the presentation. There is no predicted outcome yet. There is no reference as to how you plan to conduct the study, there are still a number of considerations you have to present. I suggest that you take a step back from the essay for now. Take a few days off. Don't think about it for now. Rest your brain. It sounds like you are totally burned out. You need a fresh set of eyes and perspective in order to complete the remaining requirements of the essay. You cannot do that if you are stressed. So just relax and take it easy for a few days. You won't get anything done properly if you do it in this state of mind. It won't hurt. All scholarship applicants with a mental block need to rest at least 48 hours and then come back to the paper you are writing. I guarantee it will help you complete the paper properly. Chill for now.

The thread will remain open until you decide to formally close it. Don't worry about having to start a new thread. As long as the essay remains on the same topic, you can post it here as a continuation of our discussion. While you are on rest, try to look into the possible information you can add to the study goal like a potential thesis mentor, his work in the field of cystic fibrosis and how you might connect your research with his. This is the only part of your application that actually requires research on your part so take your time in completing it. This is a highly critical essay for your application so don't take it lightly. Apply yourself as best as you can by creating an impressive study plan that stands out from the other applicants in the same field.
May I ask a question regarding study plan here? I will delete this if it wasn't allow.

According to your suggesting on other thread below.

5. What is the current research that the university is doing in your line of interest? Does it align with the problem that you hope to resolve with your own research?


6. Is there a specific professor you want to mentor you as you write your thesis? What makes you think that he / she would be able to help you further advance your research?

In my case, one professor has track records of involvement in the area that I interest, but he did not mention much about utilizing computational methodology and I am only able to find two papers that were in Korean with his name in english. Then, the school has other 2 professors with research that utilized those and other interesting computational methods but they normally apply it for different things.

What should I talk about in this part of my study plan?

Thank you
Mar 1, 2017   #11
First up, there is no need to discuss the fact that you will try to do your best to pass the language requirement. The assumption of the goal of study is that you have already passed all qualifying exams and are now ready to submit to the format masters degree course of study. So open with the thesis statement instead. Do not speak so much of the background of your thesis as being based on other people's observations. That makes it sound like you are incapable of doing actual research in a field that interests you. A clearer reference to the thesis topic is necessary at this point. Since you say that this illness is prevalent in the Caucasian race, then you mean the Americas and Europe. What significance will this study have among Asians then? That means you must first, establish that there is a need for this type of screening in Asia and then explain the relevance of the study from that point. The essay is way too hypothetical at the moment and doesn't really seem to have a clear methodology for your research. You must indicate how you plan to do the research even if it is only in a preliminary state. The final paragraph about why you have chosen the university is not required. It is already assumed that you have been admitted to the university and are now, proposing a research topic for your masters graduation research. So explaining why you chose the university is irrelevant yet again. The university track explanation belongs in the self introduction remember?
Mar 1, 2017   #13
Caro, totally remove your first two paragraphs. These are overly long introductions to the topic statement. You need to focus the attention on your goal of study as soon as you can or you will lose the interest of the reviewer. The problem now, is that you compressed all relevant aspects for discussion within the third paragraph instead of spreading it out within fully developed topic paragraphs. What you have to do now is separate every action involved in the research into a different paragraph, then totally develop the topic discussion within 3 sentences or more. The third paragraph carries the relevant discussion for your goal of study so focus on developing those parts as the components of your study plan. You are getting substance into the essay already. You should be done soon.
Mar 5, 2017   #15
What is the expected outcome of the methodology? How will the results of your screening tests be useful to the future studies or treatment of cystic fibrosis? These are all good points for research. The method of research is sound, but does not serve a purpose aside from gathering data. How do you hope to use this information? What is it that you really want to do within the study? Discover the genetic mutation in Koreans and then? If the genetic mutation does exist, what could this mean for Koreans? Will it require an immediate scientific solution? Or will it just be something to be filed away in the event that this information will be required in the future? If you are at a loss as to the expected outcome, try to develop a response that could end with your work being published in a Korean medical journal for the consideration of other experts in the field whose own research into the topic might benefit from your own discoveries.
hmmm i tried to add what you suggested me, does this sound better?

Although I am fascinated by the idea of ​​acquiring greater knowledge in Medical Genetics and the various diseases that have their basis in it, I am really interested in a particular disease called Cystic Fibrosis so I would like to develop a research project on this.

Cystic fibrosis is a multi-system disease affecting the lungs, digestive system, sweat glands, and the reproductive tract. Patients with cystic fibrosis have abnormal transport of chloride and sodium across secretory epithelia, resulting in thickened, viscous secretions in the bronchi, biliary tract, pancreas, intestines, and reproductive system. Cystic fibrosis is caused by mutations in a single large gene on chromosome 7 that encodes the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) protein. I find it really interesting to see how different mutations in the same gene can cause the same disease, more than 2000 different mutations have been reported in the CFTR gene that can develop this disease. The most common mutation is F508del which describe the deletion of three DNA bases coding for the 508th amino acid residue phenylalanine so I would like to carry out a study in which we can see if this prevalence is also present in the Korean community or what type of mutation is mostly presented, and perhaps make a comparative study between the Korean and Peruvian population regarding the different genetic mutations.

To achieve this, we would use the results of genetic studies performed on patients with cystic fibrosis. Although the commonly used diagnostic test is the sweat chloride testing, in some cases DNA testing is used for confirmation or further investigation of patients with intermediate sweat chloride results and for prognostic and epidemiologic purposes in individuals with positive results of sweat chloride testing. In this study we would use the patients' records and observe the kind of genetic mutation that occur in the various cases of cystic fibrosis. As a result of this study, we would not only confirm the knowledge already known but it could also help scientific doctors to carry out an epidemiological mapping of this disease in the Korean territory and develop a panel for population screening. I know there are not many studies of this disease in Korea, so I am convinced that this study will be beneficial to the community and the scientific society in general because this information could be use in future studies and would benefit others experts' research.
Mar 7, 2017   #17
This is an impressive goal of study if I ever read one. It has a clear scientific purpose and has the potential to be beneficial not only to the Koreans, but Asians in general. Good work. This presentation actually works as the best version of the study plan that you have presented so far. This is sure to be well received by the reviewer and the university thesis supervisor should you decide to pursue this in actuality during your time of study. Needless to say, this is the version that you should be presenting with the rest of your application.

If you want to nitpick though and really try to find something else to fix as a final measure, I suggest paying attention to your first paragraph. While the first paragraph can be improved by providing an overview of your research topic, I think that this short version will suffice. If you want to remove that paragraph altogether since it doesn't really help to move the essay along, all the better. The essay will then open immediately on the goal of the study instead of having an introduction that doesn't really work that well to hold the interest of the reviewer.
Oh wow thank you very much! I'll delete the first paragraph and print it out! It took me a while to finish this essay, I must admit I was getting frustrated haha but thank you for all your suggestions and recommendations. It was really hard but you helped me a lot, I'm really glad I joined this forum!

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