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Finding programs based on methodology


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Hi all, 

I am seriously considering applying to a PHD in the fall, in either Sociology or Anthropology (possibly Geography or Latin American studies - the methods I am interested in using and learning are used by a few different disciplines and I would be flexible, with the priority of finding faculty support for the kinds of research I am interested in). 

I have fairly specific research interests, including the types of methods I want to use (participatory action research, community based participatory research, and social cartography), the region/area of focus (Latin America, particularly Colombia and Honduras), and I have specific topical issues/questions I want to propose. 

However, I'm having trouble figuring out how to efficiently find professors who are a good fit for these research areas. So far I have been just looking at the faculty pages of universities, but I'm wondering if there is a more efficient ways to approach the search. I've thought about tracing back through articles that use the methods I am interested in, or possibly conference programs or associations (like the Latin American Studies Association). Does anyone have recommendations or ideas for what has worked best for them? 

Thank you!! 

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  • 2 weeks later...

When I was applying to programs, I found it most helpful to identify potential advisors by searching the authors of papers that I liked. This can be good not only because it connects you to potentially good advisors, but also gives you something to talk about with them (referencing their prior work is a great way to show you're serious). Another sure-fire way is to ask current anthropologists you know (could be professors, grad student friends, or undergrads at other institutions) if they know anyone doing work related to what you're interested in. Having a common connection is a great way to get your foot in the door.

I am a biological anthropologist so can't say much about specific cultural anthropology methods. However, I would suggest that you consider the benefits of different types of advisors. For example, one that specializes in the methods you are interested in will obviously be able to help you learn the methods. However, an advisor that works in Colombia and Honduras will likely be able to connect you to many more people who do research there. I would say reach out to both types! There is certainly plenty of time to decide, and you will likely sadly talk to a decent number of people who just aren't interested in working with you and/or you realize your personalities aren't a good fit. Reach out to a lot of people and narrow from there.

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  • 1 month later...

Thank you, this is helpful! Yes, I was thinking of rounding it out with country and topic experts also, but I am perhaps most concerned about how to find methods experts, because my main motivation to go back to study would be to learn new methods and be able to apply them, since I have a lot of experience working in the countries in other capacities... but reaching out to people and seeing from there seems like good advice, thank you! 

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Also thank you, the looking through papers hint is very helpful, I'm now going through articles I've liked! and will do some more outreach to friends in anthro programs! 

 

 

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