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How do I put my research in context?


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Hey guys!

I'm picking up the pieces after my 4 rejections and I've on new research proposals. One of my PoI's told me that my research wasn't contextualized enough. I've been thinking about this for about two months and I just can't figure out how to tackle this problem. I know what I want to do and what I want to investigate, but I don't know what theories to use and what angle I should use towards this.

What would you guys advise me to do? I've been reading a lot of literature, comparible research, etc. but I'm not there yet. I'm at a point where I'm not moving forward anymore and I want to tackly this!


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Without knowing anything about your research, I would say the 'contextualizing' means fitting your research back into relevancy. So if you are studying A, don't just talk about A and why you like it and what you want to do with it, but how does A affect B? How can A and B then open up the possibilities for tackling C? What are the issues with current research in A? What are some ways that A can be improved? Why are you studying A? It's essentially putting your question back into the greater picture of anthropology.

I hope that rambling was helpful!

Feel free to PM if you want to discuss more! :)


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I agree with @boneflower, and I would just be sure to be very specific. It's obviously important to have an overall idea or general interests within anthropology, but it's even more important that those interests are relevant today. What is your regional focus? What specifically is it that you want to study, and why? What research questions can you propose, and what would be the value in pursuing those questions as a career? Remember, what you propose in most statements of purpose should be the thing you hope to study for the rest of your life and career--obviously things might change along the way, but you need to make it clear what exactly it is you hope to achieve through graduate study and why it could best be done at the school/program to which you are applying.

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Thanks guys! After I got the initial feedback I realized I didn't tackle this bit very well. In my SoP I talked about how my interests came about (both anthropology and animal studies), but I didn't say anything about the relevance of animal studies in anthopology in general, and how my research could be relevant for animal studies specifically.

The 2018 cycle is going to be different ant better! And more sigarets, probably.


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