Is 3 pages too long for a research statement (3 pages includes future directions, too)? What's the typical length of research statement? Thanks in advance for any advice!
Date: 06 Oct 2009 20:34
Number of posts: 6
RSS: New posts
I have been told by more than one person that 3 pages is the typical length.
The advice from the Chronicle forums likely reflects the assumption that a grad student hasn't done enough research to fill 3 pages. That is not always the case. If you've been a productive grad student, then it seems entirely reasonable to have a 3-page research statement.
When I went on the market my advisor told me to make it 1 page - I got it down to one in a half. This was a person that got a Ph.D. from on Ivy League school and went straight to a tenure track position at another Ivy (without a post-doc) so I trusted she knew what she was talking about. Having served on search committees, I realized folks won't take the time to read 3 pages, so if you want to make it that long make sure all the important stuff is in the first 2-3 paragraphs.
I've heard that it's not all about length, but about readability. As we all know from countless hours reading, three well-written pages that have a "plot" are faster to read than one page laden with too much information. If I tried to describe my work in one page, it would be much too heavy and burdensome to read. As it stands now, I have three pages but I think they read quickly and easily.