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Should I mention specific questionnaires (when writing research experience) for personal statement?

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What are your thoughts on writing about specific questionnaires in your personal statement (e.g., Beck Depression Inventory)? How about familiarity with experimental paradigms?

Should one just say "gained experience administering depression questionnaires"? or "gained experience administering BDI"? Is the discernment based on whether the questionnaire is relevant to the POI's area of research? Should I talk about sub-scales, interpretation, etc.?

Mitch's guide says to go in-depth, but not sure if I'm applying the principle correctly.

 

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You want to go in depth about what your goals are and how this program/PI can help you achieve them. Administration of the BDI can just go in your CV. You want to go in depth, but it should be about the bigger picture, not the minutiae of administering a self-report assessment. They are going to teach you that in grad school anyway. 

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From a research standpoint (not clinical though), mentioning specific instruments would signal that you actually know what you are talking about and would add more credibility to your statement. Even better if you can situate it in the broader field or landscape of instruments.

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You only have so much space in your SOP to convey what your goals are, how X program can help you achieve them, and why you would be a good fit for said program. While it is great that you have experience in administering the BDI, the more important message is that you have in some context worked with those who (possibly) have MDD. The BDI doesn't require much training/skill to administer and interpret. If you were interpreting the scores on a WAIS or PAI or something, there's a bit more complexity in that, which may warrant more discussion. 

What exactly is it that you want to say about your administration of the BDI? If you can frame it into a larger context, such as your administration of this measure has led you to want to pursue research examining the cognitive-affective aspects of depression, then thats a clear explanation of the importance of this. If it's to say that you administered the BDI as part of your duties as an RA, that can just go into the CV, as most clients just complete the BDI in the waiting room and you count up the ratings to see if they meet the cut-offs. 

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I have some experience administering cognitive assessments from my undergrad lab position, but I don't think I would use space to discuss that specifically. I agree with putting that in your CV rather than SOP. Maybe talk about what using assessments taught you and how it is informing your lab choice/research directions, or how interacting with participants influenced you

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I wouldn't mention self-report measures. It doesn't speak to any particular skill you've developed, and I think it could seem a little strange to go into detail about administering something like the BDI that doesn't require any training. Since you mention that the BDI was an example and I don't know exactly what measures you have used, if you administered any structured/semi-structured interviews or assessments that take specific training to administer, I might mention those specifically in my CV (e.g., SCID, MINI, WAIS). Otherwise, I would just say that you administered questionnaires (or depression measures, if you think that noting that would be useful). 

In general, anything you mention should be for a reason. I'd ask myself, "What does this tell them about me/my training?" "What does this show I know or can do?" I think that going into detail is great if it helps to showcase your skills and talents, but I don't think that naming inventories is likely to do that.

As far as familiarity with experimental paradigms goes, if you have been involved in using those, mention them in the context of the research with which you helped. 

You only have so much room in your personal statement, so I would leave many of these sorts of things to the CV. For the SoP, write about skills/experiences which you can elaborate on to give them a better idea of your way of thinking about research and your future plans. I hope this helps! I know this is a very stressful process. Good luck!

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On 11/2/2019 at 5:25 PM, Clinical said:

I wouldn't mention self-report measures. It doesn't speak to any particular skill you've developed, and I think it could seem a little strange to go into detail about administering something like the BDI that doesn't require any training. Since you mention that the BDI was an example and I don't know exactly what measures you have used, if you administered any structured/semi-structured interviews or assessments that take specific training to administer, I might mention those specifically in my CV (e.g., SCID, MINI, WAIS). Otherwise, I would just say that you administered questionnaires (or depression measures, if you think that noting that would be useful). 

In general, anything you mention should be for a reason. I'd ask myself, "What does this tell them about me/my training?" "What does this show I know or can do?" I think that going into detail is great if it helps to showcase your skills and talents, but I don't think that naming inventories is likely to do that.

As far as familiarity with experimental paradigms goes, if you have been involved in using those, mention them in the context of the research with which you helped. 

You only have so much room in your personal statement, so I would leave many of these sorts of things to the CV. For the SoP, write about skills/experiences which you can elaborate on to give them a better idea of your way of thinking about research and your future plans. I hope this helps! I know this is a very stressful process. Good luck!

I agree with this. I think if you have experience administering semi-structured/structured assessments, those are worth mentioning, but otherwise stick to talking about the general experience of being a part of a specific study (i.e., interacting with participants, data input/analysis, etc.).

It helps thinking about the training you had to take to administer tests/questionnaires. If all it took was someone explaining to you what the measure was and how to get people to fill it out accurately, it's probably not worth talking in great depth about, but if it is something that required weeks of training (e.g., WAIS, WISC, some observational coding protocols), then it may be worth talking more about.

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