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Research Statements & Agendas

What would you like to do with your degree? Where would you like to be in 5 years? Setting research goals and proactively working towards them are integral aspects of being a scholar.

It may be advantageous to use the curriculum strategy of “backwards-planning” to guide your research and career advancement. Backwards-planning is the method of first creating summative assessments, and identifying the skills and concepts embedded in the assessments, before planning units and lesson plans.

During graduate school, there are the milestones of exams, research proposals, and dissertation defenses before the Ph.D. is awarded. In the professoriate, postdoctoral positions, research, publications, teaching, and service are all factors in evaluating one’s tenure application. In order to prepare for these milestones, one must be cognizant of what they are well in advance.

The following resources provide more information about research statements, which advanced Ph.D. students are expected to write, and the research agendas that graduate students begin and refine while on the faculty track.

Research Statements:

Duke University’s Career Center describes the format of a research statement and excerpts of sample statements across five disciplines. Cornell University also provides useful information about research statements and includes samples.

Research Agendas:

The article “Creating a Research Agenda” by Reedy and Murty includes considerations for getting started, advancing your agenda through course selection, and advice concerning conferences and publications. Here is an example of an organizational research agenda. Are there any aspects of the format that may be useful for individual researchers?