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Research Request

application instructions
code of ethics
The Research Request

A research request is an application from researchers to conduct research or fieldwork in the prisons.

The research request system facilitates all such applications from researchers within and external to the Singapore Prison Service.

Basic Requirements

(Statement of Research Principles to be read and understood before submitting request)

Aim and Scope of Research

    * The aim of any research should not conflict with the Vision, Mission and strategic objectives of the Singapore Prison Service.
    * Research within the Singapore Prison Service should not compromise the rights, safety and well-being of research participants.
    * Research conducted should be intended to benefit the Singapore Prison Service or enhance academic knowledge.
    * Applicants should review research previously conducted in the same area to avoid unnecessary duplication.
    * If the research design changes materially during the period of the research, the researcher should inform the research contact – the Correctional Research Branch, Singapore Prison Service.

Access and Dissemination of Research Study

    * Researchers should make clear in their application, the extent to which the study will be disseminated. Researchers should consult the Correctional Research Branch if there are any changes to the dissemination.
    * Researchers should state in their application how their research will be used and disseminated.
    * Research participants should also be made aware of who will have access to the research findings.
    * Prior to dissemination of the thesis/report, researchers must send the draft of the thesis/report to the Correctional Research Branch for comments and to check for factual inaccuracies.
    * The final copy of the thesis/report must be extended to the Correctional Research Branch.
    * All information pertinent to the research may not be disseminated without prior written approval from the Correctional Research Branch.

Data Security

    * Researchers should store all data securely and ensure that the data is coded in a way that maintains the confidentiality and anonymity of research participants.
    * Researchers are obliged to abide by the Official Secrets Act and required to sign an undertaking to safeguard official information.


    * Research studies should be methodologically sound with a clear and logical design.

Time Frame

    * The request for research must be submitted early enough before the expected date of submission of the research study to allow ample time for facilitation of data collection.

Data Collection

    * Researchers must ensure that data collection sessions do not compromise the security, operations and smooth functioning of the institutions.
    * Informed consent must be obtained from participants before starting data collection.
    * Please note that voice recording of the interviews is subjected to approval and may be screened.

Estimated completion time of the eForm is 15 minutes.

Research Request Process



The first step is to provide a brief overview of your research study via the online research request portal.


At this stage, research request submissions will be evaluated for suitability and relevance.

Applicants will be notified of the preliminary outcome of the application within 14 working days from the submission date.

During this period, applicants might be contacted in the interim to clarify any issues in the proposal.


Upon advice, researchers are to submit a detailed proposal of their research study.

A sample of research proposal format is available here


Submissions will be reviewed in detail and applicants will be informed of their application status within 14 working days from their submission of the detailed proposal. Successful applicants will need to attend a briefing at Prison Headquarters.

Each approved study will be managed by an in-house Research Officer who handles all facilitation and liaison matters for the researchers’ data collection sessions with the institutions, or any other branches within SPS.

For more information, please refer to the Code of Ethics for doing research with the Singapore Prison Service. Successful applicants are obliged to abide by the Official Secrets’ Act.

Frequently Asked Questions
Question 1. How long will it take for my request to be approved?

The whole approval process may take up to 2 months, depending on the type, scope and sensitivity of the proposed research. You will be required to submit a Research Request Form which can be found on the Singapore Prison’s Website, under Research Request.

Question 2. What will the liaison for each data collection be like?

A Research Officer from Singapore Prisons Service will be the point of liaison for all data collection sessions. This Research Officer will be in charge of all administrative arrangements with the institutions. Once a session is confirmed, the Research Officer will send an ‘acknowledgment’ email to you with the details.

Question 3. How many days will it take to hear from us after submission?

Once the research request is submitted through the Prisons Internet, you will receive an email message within 1 or 2 working days acknowledging your submission.

Question 4. What will I need to prepare?

You will need to prepare a full proposal with introduction, literature review, methodology, proposed sample etc. A proposal with greater details, especially in the methodology section, will allow us to have a better understanding of the proposed study which will aid to speed up the approval process. For an example of a research proposal format, click here.

Question 5. What are the kinds of research requests approved for facilitation by Research Section?

Currently, we are only accepting research request submissions by individuals undergoing their fourth year or Honours’ program, Masters or PHD candidates.

Question 6. What measures will be in place to ensure personal safety when interacting (e.g. interview, data collection) with inmates?

For all data collection sessions, prison officers will patrol the area throughout the session. Individual interview sessions or data collections with high risk inmates may be conducted in interview rooms with built-in glass panels that separate the inmate(s) from the interviewer. Alarms and call buttons for emergency use will also be available.

Question 7. Are there any rules that I have to observe when I am conducting research in Prisons?

All researchers are required to dress conservatively when entering any institutions. Researchers in revealing clothes will not be allowed to proceed with their data collection. Items that are not related to the data collection session are to be kept in the lockers outside the institutions. These include but are not limited to cash, keys, mobile phones and water bottles. Researchers are also expected to behave in a professional manner throughout their time in the institution. More details will be provided to the applicant when his/ her research request has been approved.

Question 8. What kind of topics / areas is Prisons interested in?

Prisons will be interested in any research that adds to the current pool of knowledge in the field of forensic and correctional research. We will review your chosen topic when you submit your research request.

Question 9. What kind of topics / areas is out of bounds?

Sensitive topics such as those involving race, religion and gang involvement will not be accepted.

  © 2012 Singapore Prison Service