A six-paragraph model to structure your research statement

Research statement, a summary of your current research as well as future research plans, is often required for applying a position in academia. In fact, preparing this also benefits your interviews. In general, anyone who reads your RS should catch a clear idea of what your work involves and want to know you more about it. About your research plan, if you plan to publish your research as journal papers, you can mention it briefly. But remember to discuss your plans by extending beyond what you are doing now. Be careful, don’t make people feel that you have not begun to think of yourself as an independent researcher.

Give a brief context for your research interests and mention how they benefit other works. Then, discuss your plan for investigation. Be careful to explain your plan in which what you plan to do and what you did can be connected tightly, but, meanwhile, your future research should be different, important, and innovative. A very specific plan may be too limited, but a general one also make people feel like it lacks of focus. Try to mention any funding agency or organization may support your research would definately help. Always remember, if any committee member would like to ask you further questions, you are success of issuing a correct RS.

A six-paragraph model might help to construct your RS:

PARA 1: A brief paragraph sketching the overarching theme and topic of your research, situating it disciplinarily.

PARA 2: A summary of your research. It should be more detail than what you have shown in your cover letter.

PARA 3: A brief description of the contribution of your research to the related fields.

PARA 4: A summary of publications, including a plan for articles or books. Ongoing research is fine to be described here.

PARA 5: A summary of your next research plans: providing a topic, idea, a technical/theoretical orientation, and the potential contribution.

PARA 6:  A conclusion to summarize the wider impact of your research in a big picture–how it is valuable and important for your discipline, academic community, or even for all human being.


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