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PhD SoP (for humanities) - How much detail to include?

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Hey guys,

I've been brainstorming for my SoP and am curious how you all have approached it/plan to approach it. In particular:

1) When discussing current research interests, how much detail have you gone into? I'm concerned about going into too much detail, accidentally mentioning something that is not exactly accurate or feasible (since, after all, I have yet to research the specific problem in great depth), and appearing as though I lack knowledge. For a PhD application, is it best to keep this discussion focused but general, or is it best to go into as much detail as possible (e.g. briefly mention specific texts, previous academic perspectives, etc.)?

2) If you have several ideas for future research in mind, how do you decide which two (or so) to focus on?

Is anyone willing to share an example? Thanks so much in advance for any thoughts!

Edited by Hierophany
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Detail is good. It's best if you can clearly lay out previous research you've done / a research project you're currently working on, and then talk about the questions it raises that you would like to pursue in your PhD (+ why University X is the ideal place to continue this study). At the same time, you don't want to be soooo specific that you sound like someone who has only one interest.

For example, say you did some type of analysis of some type of documents from a particular historical period. You could describe what you found out, and how it fits with the field in general. Then you would discuss what questions this made you want to answer next. Maybe you want to look similar documents from a different historical period, or maybe there are other sources of information from the same historical period that you want to compare.

Remember that you will only have 2 pages or so, what it can't be too long or too detailed... but including things like reference to specific texts helps to show that you are serious and have some real sense of what the field if all about.

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