the brief research statement

A graduate student of mine is writing up a scholarship application that includes a one-page statement of proposed research. In giving this student feedback, I offered the following advice for what to include and the order in which to present it:

My proposed study is about this. Here is why this problem is important. Here is what we know about this problem. These studies leave THIS IMPORTANT THING that needs to be found out. Here is what I will do to find that out. I will do the study this way. It will produce these results. This is the value of doing the work. This is why I am qualified to do it, and whom I’ll work with. Remember, this is the contribution my study will make.

Do you masterminds of sociology have any feedback for me on my feedback to students? After all, you have read more than your share of research proposals. Wouldn’t the world of sociology be a better place if we all knew how to write the one-pager?

10 thoughts on “the brief research statement”

  1. I also think this is great. It succinctly says what I’ve said in a much more wordy fashion. Do I have permission to copy and share it with my students?


  2. These studies leave THIS IMPORTANT THING that needs to be found out

    Sometimes the important thing isn’t a hole in the literature. Instead it’s making connections between things that haven’t been connected before.

    But yeah. Ditto. It’s great.


  3. Looks very helpful. Please spread far and wide so we can read less painful proposals.

    I recommend The Craft of Research for help with figuring out the concise statement of the research question and its significance.


  4. If only all my reviews were as positive as this one! I will now annotate my advice with a “scatterplot stamp of approval” logo. Thanks much!


  5. Thanks for this! I just sent it out to all the students our “approaches to social research” proseminar (with credit given to you, of course)!


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