The Statement of Purpose

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Posted on 18 Apr 2013 21:16

Christina Moawad

Betty Samraj and Lenore Monk conducted a qualitative research study on the genre of “personal statement” or “statement of purpose.” This genre is unmentioned by Swales, and only a few studies existed before their research. The data for their study was gathered from successful statements of purpose submitted to master’s programs in three departments, Linguistics, Electrical Engineering and Business Administration. Their different methods of research included websites, surveys, books and interviews. They then analyzed things like functionality of the statement, organization, approaches taken, and crucial information included and left out. Their conclusions and results include specifically focusing on cross-disciplinary differences and on statements written for entrance to master’s programs.

The author’s methodology included recourses common amongst many other research studies. They particularly choose 10 websites that purported to provide information for graduate programs based on common and specific knowledge. The websites fit into categories of websites that provided knowledge with a fee, websites seen to be electronic equivalents and websites generated by university career centers. They also choose books on three categories; program not specified, programs specified as graduate programs and specific specialized programs. They also conducted one interview with one informant from each category of someone important in the graduate admissions process. With the methodology used, the authors intended to gather information from common and most prevalent sources just as prospective applicants would find them. These methods expose the most accurate sources available to students applying to these programs. It also does allow them great range in their research, as their three methods are relatively different.

This methodology does seem useful and feasible for my own writing research project. All three of the techniques used in this research article would be beneficial in a project of my own. Website would be helpful because it does offer great practicality and availability. Books also do allow for great research, as often there will be information in books not covered in full on the Internet. Interviews and surveys are also great because it gives the opinions and perspectives of others, and so you are able to compare many individuals at once through these processes.

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