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I am new to the site, so apologies for any redundant questions, I think I initially posted this in a different place. 

I am a few years out of school with a BA in Poli Sci/Econ and an MA in Area Studies.  I am looking to go back for a Comparative Politics PhD. I work in international development, not in academia or policy, so have no new research I can write about it my statement. I don't have anyone who can seriously work through my statement with me, and I feel like I am already asking a huge favor of professors writing my recommendations. I know my general areas of interest, and know who I want to work with at perspective schools, I am struggling with how specific my research question should be in the SoP? Do I need to talk at length about others doing similar research?   Do I need to know which countries/populations I want to hone in on?  If intensive methods courses are part of the PhD, how can I identify which I will be using before taking any of them?  

For example--I have taken econometrics, but presumably this knowledge will deepen during the program, as will my use of qualitative methods.

I have learned from my 2 year MA experience that interests change, and projects evolve and shift over the course of study. Sometimes you realize that your question is too ambitious or unanswerable, and you need to narrow your question. It seems very presumptuous to lay out a very detailed question without the preliminary work. 

If anyone has any tips here, please share.  

If you know anyone willing to share sample SoPs or ones from past years please let me know.

Edited by sinni
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If you have a Professor writing you a recommendation, they aren't going to mind looking over your SOP and providing some pointers. Go into the prior application cycle threads and see what people have to say about what they thought made their applications successful or not. Some people put in those threads that they are willing to share SOPs. 

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With respect to your methods training, you could write something along the lines of: "This training has prepared me for further coursework in statistical methods." With respect to your research interests/question, I would advise you to identify a gap/puzzle in the literature and then write about it in your SOP. You've already completed an MA program, so presumably you've had to identify weaknesses in the literature, understudied/theorized areas, etc. Build on those.

What region is your area studies MA focused on? 


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Thank you for your suggestions. My MA focused on Eastern Europe (I know its out of vogue, but still a passion).

The issue is that my MA was deeply interdisciplinary, and I probably took more history courses than Poli Sci ones (at the time I was still thinking about a history PhD).  I think focusing on gaps is a good approach. I'm mostly interested in civil society development in post-communist societies. 

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