Quantcast

MD/PhD Research Essay

This forum made possible through the generous support of SDN members, donors, and sponsors. Thank you.

narla_hotep

Full Member
5+ Year Member
Joined
Feb 24, 2016
Messages
293
Reaction score
322
For the research essay prompt, it says " Please describe your significant research experiences. In your statement, please specify your research supervisor's name and affiliation, the duration of the experience, the nature of the problem studied, and your contributions to the project."

But, does this mean only describe the research itself - methods, results, etc - or also talk about more personal things like what skills I learned, how each experience helped me become a better researcher, etc.? It's kind of hard to nail down the exact tone of this one - like a research report, or a bit more personal? Mine is currently mostly "hard science" and talking about the research itself, but it's a bit more relaxed than something in a paper and I tend to use more first person, active voice, etc. I was talking to another applicant the other day and they said my essay should be longer (I'm using almost half of the 10,000 character space) and more oriented to what I learned from research and what fields I'm interested in. But I already said a lot of that stuff in the "Why MD/PhD" essay...

Is there a right or wrong way to do the research essay? What kind of tone should it have?
 

floured

Full Member
2+ Year Member
Joined
Jul 20, 2015
Messages
36
Reaction score
26
I think the prevailing wisdom in this forum is to write it as a narrative. That means without citations and more informal. I wrote a broad chronological description of my own research describing my reasoning between each major experiment. At the end I listed the outcome of my research, future plans, and things I learned. I used about 7000 chars; you should just use as much space as you need to describe your work clearly and concisely.
 

narla_hotep

Full Member
5+ Year Member
Joined
Feb 24, 2016
Messages
293
Reaction score
322
I've tried to make my research essay more personal and add a short paragraph after each experience talking about what I learned... But I feel like I'm just repeating myself over and over again. I talk about presenting my research in my personal statement (as part of an anecdote), I spend literally half of my MD/PhD essay talking about my research interests and what I learned from research (lab skills, independence, presentations skills, reading papers, etc.) and how it helped me develop perseverance and time management, etc. And I say something similar again in my Work/Activities section again as part of my "most meaningful experience" description. I'm running out of new ways to phrase this same sentiment...

Would it seriously hurt my application if I just use the research essay to talk about my two main projects? It gets a bit technical but the tone is semi informal - first person, no citations, etc.
 

floured

Full Member
2+ Year Member
Joined
Jul 20, 2015
Messages
36
Reaction score
26
Would it seriously hurt my application if I just use the research essay to talk about my two main projects? It gets a bit technical but the tone is semi informal - first person, no citations, etc.

This sounds like the right idea. First person, no citations. Technical is fine as long as someone outside your field can get a good idea of what you're doing. Not sure if you already submitted your PS, but my impression for the primary application is to write your PS more MD focused, and then really expand on why the combined degree in the MD/PhD essay. That way you aren't repeating yourself so much.
 
Top