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Research Statement

500-1000 words. A Research Statement, written in narrative form, briefly describes your accomplishments as a scholar (your dissertation and any publications) and lays out a plan for your future projects.

If your projects are interdependent, they might best be laid out chronologically. If they are relatively autonomous, they can be described thematically, with care to show their feasibility and coherence. The statement must situate you within the field of American Studies and any disciplines (e.g., History, Literature, Political Theory) or related fields (e.g., Ethnic Studies, Film Studies, Indigenous Studies) to which your scholarship will contribute. It should show that you have sufficient mastery of your field to be able to discern the cutting edges. In a concise and engaging way, the statement should articulate the central questions you seek to answer, and the methods you will use to answer them. Above all, the research statement has to demonstrate that your scholarship will be genuinely new, interesting, and useful both to the field and to any other public audiences you might wish to address—for example, to policy-makers, educators, social activists, or a general readership. As needed, the research statement should be tailored to the particular college or university to which you are applying, bearing in mind its particular mission, location, resources, research center or other pertinent factors. Finally, the statement should indicate that you understand the challenges of funding research, mentioning your strategies for seek funding or other forms of support.