The Ministry of Manpower commissioned a study about experiences of migrant domestic workers (MDWs) and their employers last year. According to the study, a smaller percentage of MDWs had at least one rest day a month in
2021 than in 2015. This decline might be because some MDWs were concerned about the COVID-19 pandemic and chose to stay home on rest days.
Nevertheless, this 2021 study found an increase in MDWs’ satisfaction with their work and lives in Singapore, as compared to the findings of the 2015 study. This recent study reported increases in MDWs’ satisfaction with various aspects, such as accommodation, emotional support and food sufficiency.
The Ministry of Manpower has been working over the years to strengthen support for MDWs and their employers via different measures. For example, the implementation of a compulsory monthly rest day for MDWs towards the end of 2022 aims to help improve MDWs’ physical and mental well-being. Moreover, the Centre for Domestic Employees has been conducting interviews with MDWs regularly to learn about their working and living experiences.
Suppose the Singapore government would like to know more about the working and living experiences of migrant domestic workers in the local context. You are tasked to submit a research proposal that will elaborate on how you can apply relevant concepts and research methods to study the topic. Your proposal should be written as an essay and include the following five parts.
(a) Title and Abstract of Research Proposal:
Propose a title that fits your research proposal. Also, include an abstract that properly describes and summarises your proposed study. The abstract must not exceed 150 words.
Both the title and abstract should be included in your total word count.
The title should clearly indicate what your proposed study is about.(b) Background and Literature Review:
Examine relevant literature on an issue related to the working and living experiences of migrant domestic workers that you would like to study. Analyse the identified literature, examine the research methods used in the existing studies, and critique the strengths or weaknesses of these
Following your literature review, you should propose a specific and clear research question that you would like to study. The research question should be about the working and living experiences of migrant domestic workers in Singapore. You should also discuss the importance of the study you have proposed.
You can choose to study any topic related to the working and living experiences of migrant domestic workers in Singapore. The key is that you clearly describe the topic you would like to study based on your literature review. Examples of possible topics include the following:
opportunities/challenges that migrant domestic workers face when working and living in Singapore, how migrant domestic workers cope with challenges at work or in their lives, impact of a proposed policy or intervention on migrant domestic workers’ physical/emotional well-being, and so on.
For your literature review, you need to include at least five academic journal articles that are relevant to the topic of your choice. It is acceptable if one or more journal articles that you have selected are not done in Singapore. The key is that you should explain explicitly how the selected journal articles inform your proposed research.
In your literature review, you should critically evaluate the strengths or weaknesses of the selected journal articles, rather than merely present the methods or findings of these previous studies in a descriptive manner. Based on your literature review, discuss the importance of the study you propose, such as how your proposed study addresses a specific limitation of the past studies, any theoretical or practical contribution(s) your research finding(s) may make, etc.(c) Research Design:
Apply relevant concepts and propose a research design to address your research question with respect to the following aspects: (i) explain whether you plan to use quantitative or qualitative method and why, (ii) briefly describe your proposed method and discuss critical elements in your research procedure, and (iii) discuss possible threats to the validity of your research and explain how you will address these threats.
You should first explain whether you plan to use quantitative or qualitative method. Provide at least two reasons to explain why you choose one method over another. If you choose to use both quantitative and qualitative methods, provide at least two reasons to justify your choice too.
Next, discuss the critical elements in the research procedure. You are required to at least describe your sampling strategy, data collection method(s), and procedure of data collection.
For sampling strategy, at a minimum specify the population your study targets (for example, single migrant domestic workers between the ages of 21 and 65 in Singapore), the number of participants you will recruit, and how you will recruit participants for your study.
For data collection method(s), if you choose to use a quantitative method, you need to include the survey. If you choose to use a qualitative method, you need to include the interview (either semi-structured interview or focus group) questions. You should explain clearly whether you plan to develop the survey/interview questions from scratch, use existing survey/interview questions, or adapt existing survey/interview questions to study your research question. You need to include all survey or interview questions that you propose to use in the Appendix.
Describe the procedure of administering the survey or conducting interviews. You should also discuss at least two possible concerns in the use of survey or interview method that may threaten the validity of your research. Explain how you will address these concerns.
(d) Ethical Issues:
Recognise and appreciate at least two ethical issues in your proposed study that concern research participants. Discuss action(s) you will take to address each issue, to ensure that your proposed study will be conducted ethically.
The two ethical issues that concern research participants (for example, protection of participants’ autonomy) should be discussed specifically in the context of your proposed study.
(e) Limitations of Research:
Discuss at least two limitations of your proposed study in understanding the chosen topic about the working and living experiences of migrant domestic workers in Singapore.
Examples of possible limitations you can discuss include the planned sampling strategy, limitations in the chosen data collection method(s), etc. The discussion should focus on the limitations of the chosen methodology to address the research question of your proposal.
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