What is a Research Interest Statement?

A research interest statement is a brief document of research interests in a short essay outline form that summarizes a person’s research achievements, current work, future direction, and potential of their work. Sometimes referred to as a statement of intent or description of research interests, it is an essential document made by students for most undergraduate, graduate school, post-graduate, Ph.D. programs, and other academic job applications. It comprises a short overview of the research background which includes your past research experience, your current research work, and the future research you are planning to accomplish like any research collaboration. 

Based on a 2022 statistical report on graduate research student demographics, there are over 164,568 graduate research students currently employed in the United States and 82% of graduate research students are more likely to work at education companies compared to private business and corporate firms. There are numerous advantages and employment opportunities that graduate research students have in society as they can contribute their skills and experience from their research interests. Thus, it is very integral for undergraduate students, graduate students, and aspiring researchers to determine their research interests and construct an effective research interest statement and grad school personal statement when they apply for the graduate school of their choice.

Different Areas of  Research Interest

There are different areas and fields of research interest that you can choose from to improve research and data publication policies, research systems, and research and development strategies. Your area of research interest exists in certain issues and subject matters where you want to predominantly focus on or dwell more. What particular area and field you would like to conduct research for your studies and future research work and career?

1. Biology Research

This area of research interest focuses on the in-depth study of living things such as animals, plants, and other living organisms that exist on our planet. It involves other subcategories of research interests such as animal behavior, bioinformatics, biology education, ecology, genetics and genomics, human health, mathematical modeling, microbiology, cellular biology, parasitology, plant biology, and many others. Many universities have biology departments and faculties to help interested students to participate in carrying out biology research projects and writing research project reports to experience the actual scientific process. 

2. Chemistry Research

Chemistry is the scientific study of substances, their molecular structures, and their properties. If you want to design new molecules and materials and invent new types of chemical substances, choose this area of research interest so that you can learn how to develop new types of chemical transformation and carry out the synthesis of substances. The primary areas of chemistry research are analytical chemistry, biochemistry, inorganic chemistry, organic chemistry, and physical chemistry. Some latest research topics in chemistry research are avoiding pesticides in agriculture, medicinal chemistry and BRCA1 gene modification, photocatalysis in 3D printing, and sustainable elements synthesis.

3. Economic Research

This is an area of research interest that aims at business and economic growth, as well as statistics in wide-ranging fields including agriculture, behavioral economics, economic history, economic development, financial economics, health economics, education economics, and econometrics. Some areas of economic research interest are theoretical and applied statistics and demography, microeconomics, and macroeconomics. Focus on a specific area of economic research while using various economic research methods such as data collection, theoretical framework development, economic sales performance evaluation, and economic modeling.

4. Computer Science Research

Do you want to work in natural language processing, machine learning, computer vision, and cyber-physical systems? One of the popular fields of study is computer science as it aims at the major aspects of theoretical and practical computational processes. Several areas of research interest in this field include artificial intelligence, cloud computing, database systems, machine learning, programming languages, quantum computing, robotics, cybersecurity, and many others. 

5. Psychology Research

If you want to study how people behave, think, and feel, psychology research is the best choice for your area of research interest. From memory, reasoning, and language to mental health, psychology research is a research field where you can work on analyzing and discovering various psychology areas like developmental psychology, perception-cognition, and neuropsychology. Nowadays, some of the trending research areas and topics in psychology research are the effects of bad memories on intelligence, psychological distress, and social issues affecting children, adolescents, and families.

Basic Elements of the Research Interest Statement 

Structuring an impeccable and strong research interest statement is fundamental so that you are able to draw the attention of the readers of your research statement such as the admission committee, school administrators, and many others in your research goals and objectives. Also, it is an important document to supplement your employment application and to help you get your preferred faculty position. Take note of the basic elements of the research interest statement.

Executive Summary/Introduction: Be direct to the point when you create the executive summary or introduction of your research interest statement. Focus on the vital information that must be conveyed. Inform the admission committee why you are writing this statement as you clearly state the type of research you are interested in pursuing. Explain why you selected that area of research interest. Research Problems: Define the research concerns and issues you want to address in your main research subject area. Mention a few examples of research problems you have already solved successfully. This part helps you to build credibility and inform the public outside your field about your research interest. Discussion: What are your past, current, and future research projects? Elaborate on each research project. First, focus on the past research and explain why you started it. Second, focus on the current research and explain how this research differs from your previous work. The last part is the future research project as you provide some convincing reasons why it will be possible and beneficial to the academic institution or to the students. Conclusion: It is important to get a lasting impression of your research from the readers of your research interest statement. That’s why you need to develop a striking conclusion. Be accurate, honest, and realistic while restating your research interest. Reiterate your unique rightness for the program and what you are able to contribute in your selected research field.Professionalism: While constructing your research interest statement, you should keep the professional tone of the document, and avoid making it sound too personal. Remember that a research interest statement is a more formal academic document compared to a statement of purpose or personal statement. So, include major details like the faculty members you want to work with, the research program facilities you want to use, and many others. Avoid using too much jargon.

How to Write a Research Interest Statement

Do you still feel a bit lost while preparing your documents including your research interest statement for your Ph.D., post-doc, or faculty position? Aside from your curriculum vitae, a research interest statement is a beneficial document that explains your research work, your key interests, and your future research development plans. What are the basic steps in writing a compelling research interest statement?

Step 1: Create an Executive Summary or Introduction

The first step is you need to create a clear and well-integrated executive summary or introduction of your research interest. Consider these questions: ‘Why is my research work essential?’, ‘What are my long-term research goals and objectives?’, and ‘What are my career goals?’ When you make this section, always use “I” and “my”. Polish and adapt your executive summary to suit the job description.

Step 2: Define the Purpose

Next, state the purpose of your research work. Reflect on your research interests and outline your academic specialty and interests, passion for research, and compatibility with departmental, school, and university research efforts. Also, demonstrate your qualities in operating as an independent and professional researcher and writer.

Step 3: Explain the Recent, Current, and Future Research

If you are one of the current undergraduate students or recent graduates, discuss your dissertation and other major projects from graduate school. Explain why you became interested in your research topic and why it continues to interest you. Describe any relevant recognition your research has received like awards and publications. Articulate your contribution to the research projects when you discuss team-based research projects. When explaining your future research work, identify your short-term and long-term research goals and discuss two or three feasible research ideas that interest you.

Step 4: Be Realistic and Practical

The statement should be well-considered, logical, realistic, and practical. Incorporate sufficient information to express the depth of knowledge without going overboard or making your statement complex to read. Add some preliminary data like charts, graphs, tables, illustrations, and other visual representations in your document.

Step 5: Organize the Format

Make sure that your research interest statement has one to three pages. The format of your research interest statement should be brief and well-organized. Check if the introduction summarizes the contents of the research interest statement properly and if you include all the right information that the departments need to know.

Step 6: Finalize your Research Interest Statement

Have some time to review your overall research interest statement. Read the document a few times and see if you have some grammatical, spelling, or punctuation errors. Edit and revise the research mission statement of interest as soon as possible. Also, the overall look of the research interest statement should be visually appealing and easy to read. It must have single-spaced or 1.5-spaced, concise paragraphs and clear subject headings, as well as short, bulleted lists. Lastly, finalize your document.


How to make an engaging research interest statement?

First, you need to write about how your interest in research studies started as you describe your research goals and why you are still interested in them. Tell a memorable and thought-provoking story about your research interests to catch the attention of your reader. Show any worthwhile recognition you received like awards, grants, and presentations.

How to write a statement of research interest for a summer research internship?

If you are planning to join a summer research internship, write a captivating research interest statement or academic research statement. List down your personal strengths and wholesome qualities. Mention some things that you can accomplish for them and what you seek to obtain from the research opportunity. Expound on how the work attunes to your research goals and objectives.

What are some examples of research interest statements?

Some examples of research interest statements are research interest and goals statement, research interest personal statement, department of computer science research interest statement, research interest and vision statement, current and future research interest statement, doctor of education research interest statement, research contribution statement of interest, and leadership research interest statement. 

How long should a research interest statement be?

A research interest statement usually has 500 to 1,000 words. This document takes more than a few pages to highlight your point. Admission committees typically read hundreds of research interest statements and they are mostly looking for compelling research statements that have 1-2 pages.

Does the research interest statement need references?

Yes. The reader of your research interest statement for a faculty job must be informed on how your research work fits into the bigger area of research in a specific field. So, it is important to include citations so that the reader will think that you really understand citation ethics.

Although writing a good and meaningful research interest statement can be challenging and overwhelming, you can search for a wide array of sample research interest statement templates that you can easily use and customize when you are preparing for a graduate school application, a Ph.D. program, or a post-graduate position. Give your best in creating a compelling research interest statement so that you can achieve your research goals. Follow the aforementioned tips and steps in this article so that you are able to easily and quickly craft an engaging research interest statement and graduate research statement.