Today’s post is short. It’s about the Research Statement.
There’s undoubtedly a lot to say about Research Statements. But Dr. Karen doesn’t have time today, because she’s submerged in client work with looming deadlines.
So this post is simply going to introduce the Golden Rule of Research Statements. And that is:
Talk About the Research, and Not About Yourself.
What this means in practice is, beware the “I statement.” It is tempting to write a document that goes something like, “I work on transitions in the care of the elderly in Japan. I am particularly focused on the recent growth in government run care facilities. I use ethnographic methods to address the nature of the care given in these facilities, and I explore how the care is received by the patients and their families. My dissertation explores one such facility in northern Japan.”
This would be bad, because it is entirely about you, and not about the research. Instead, write something like this:
“The rapidly aging society is one of the primary challenges facing Japan in recent decades. Both the public and private sectors have hastened to respond to emerging needs of the elderly and their families. Over 200 new government run elderly care centers have been built in recent years. In my dissertation, I conduct an ethnographic study of one such facility in northern Japan, in order to explore the nature of the care provided there, as well as its reception by the elderly themselves and their family caregivers.”
I statements are not verboten. They just need to be minimized, and carefully contextualized so that the research is always forefront, and your ego is secondary.