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Hey everyone. 

I'm really sorry if you've seen this sort of thread a billion times and have gotten sick of it, but I had trouble locating a thread like this that actually applies directly to me. 

I graduated this year with a BA from University College London, and am set to begin a master's course at LSE this fall. 

For my undergraduate education, I had to write a 10000 word dissertation based on my original research, and will have to write a 15000 for my master's course. After I am done at LSE, I hope to undertake a PhD in political science (focusing on political philosophy and theory) at an institution like Harvard, Columbia, or Georgetown. 

My question is, do I have a chance considering I have no real research experience in the sense that my name has not appeared on any peer reviewed or published academic journals? Or do my undergraduate/graduate dissertations count as research experience? 

Any help would be greatly appreciated.


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I'm applying to PhD programs in political science right now. My understanding is that research experience encompasses many things, including, but by no means limited to, peer reviewed publications. 

I, for example, have a decent amount of training in quantitative methodology. This counts as research experience or, at worst, research training. 

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Research experience =/ publications. Lots of research is done that isn't published for any number of reasons. I would think about the skills you learned and used in your BA and MA dissertations and how that can apply to future projects you're interested in doing. Did you, for example, take courses in statistics and use R, SAS, STATA, or SPSS to analyze a large data set for your dissertation? Did you conduct qualitative research where you can discuss the skills you learned regarding data analysis (which could include software like Atlas.ti or NVivo)? Worry more about that and less about publications.

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