Worth mentioning unproductive researhc ex. in SOP?

axiomofchoice
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Worth mentioning unproductive researhc ex. in SOP?

Postby axiomofchoice » Sun Dec 05, 2010 2:50 am

One of my research experience is completely unproductive. Well, I did manage accomplish *something* but I don't think I make any impact on anything or anyone (well maybe my PhD supervisor finish the thesis just a bit quicker because of my program). The unproductivity is only partly (I would say only a small part) my fault since the project is not well-defined, nor did I get much useful guidance.

I'm putting the experience in my CV just because it is a significant time commitment, but it is worth it to mention it in my SOP? More importantly, if I do mention it, should I mention the negative part (that the project is unorganized, blahblah) at all? I do have other experiences (which are much more positive and productive) to talk about.

pqortic
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Re: Worth mentioning unproductive researhc ex. in SOP?

Postby pqortic » Sun Dec 05, 2010 3:18 am

only because you didn't benefit anybody, research is not to be unproductive. it only takes more time to get to the point where results come out. however, waiting to get organized and fix the trivial problems is also part of any research program. if you learned something which is worth mentioning, put it in your CV and if it is not really impressive don't talk about it in SOP. try to make your SOP coherent and interesting to read in such a way that when one reads it, they don't skim a paragraph because your research experience is not too much interesting.

axiomofchoice
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Re: Worth mentioning unproductive researhc ex. in SOP?

Postby axiomofchoice » Mon Dec 06, 2010 1:10 am

It more a programming job then research. But I'll probably just glide over it in my SOP.

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grae313
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Re: Worth mentioning unproductive researhc ex. in SOP?

Postby grae313 » Mon Dec 06, 2010 12:36 pm

axiomofchoice wrote:One of my research experience is completely unproductive. Well, I did manage accomplish *something* but I don't think I make any impact on anything or anyone (well maybe my PhD supervisor finish the thesis just a bit quicker because of my program). The unproductivity is only partly (I would say only a small part) my fault since the project is not well-defined, nor did I get much useful guidance.

I'm putting the experience in my CV just because it is a significant time commitment, but it is worth it to mention it in my SOP? More importantly, if I do mention it, should I mention the negative part (that the project is unorganized, blahblah) at all? I do have other experiences (which are much more positive and productive) to talk about.


Absolutely mention it, unless you have so much other productive research experience that there isn't room for it. A research idea doesn't always accomplish important results and that's just the nature of it. No one knows the answer beforehand, and sometimes we wander down unfruitful paths. It's all part of the process. I wouldn't focus on the organizational aspects that made things difficult, just use the experience to highlight what you've learned about doing research and being productive. If you had better experiences later on you can write about how this experience helped prepare you.

ryan6
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Re: Worth mentioning unproductive researhc ex. in SOP?

Postby ryan6 » Thu Dec 09, 2010 12:59 am

If its any consolation, your not the only one. I had a COMPLETELY unproductive research streak with a professor that really had no objective or real interest in the matter. However, I will be mentioning it simply because I, personally, took a lot away from the experience. I learned a lot about physics, programming, and more importantly, independent research. Also, the importance of finding a group/subject/professor that I can safely commit to. I think graduate admission committees like to see students who have probably already been through this "learning experience" rather than wasting the precious time/resources in grad school. With that being said, I certianly wouldnt draw much attention to it.

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InquilineKea
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Re: Worth mentioning unproductive researhc ex. in SOP?

Postby InquilineKea » Mon Apr 04, 2011 4:25 am

Here's a similar thread I posted on PF, with a similar conclusion:

http://physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=482039

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sphy
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Re: Worth mentioning unproductive researhc ex. in SOP?

Postby sphy » Mon Apr 04, 2011 11:34 am

axiomofchoice wrote:One of my research experience is completely unproductive. Well, I did manage accomplish *something* but I don't think I make any impact on anything or anyone (well maybe my PhD supervisor finish the thesis just a bit quicker because of my program). The unproductivity is only partly (I would say only a small part) my fault since the project is not well-defined, nor did I get much useful guidance.

I'm putting the experience in my CV just because it is a significant time commitment, but it is worth it to mention it in my SOP? More importantly, if I do mention it, should I mention the negative part (that the project is unorganized, blahblah) at all? I do have other experiences (which are much more positive and productive) to talk about.

I strongly think that you should definitely mention it because no research is unproductive and even the Big Names in Physics have done research with no result at all beside their works with good results. If you can mention something like the things that you learn from that research then that will be even more fruitful.
Take care.

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HappyQuark
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Re: Worth mentioning unproductive researhc ex. in SOP?

Postby HappyQuark » Mon Apr 04, 2011 12:13 pm

This thread is about 5 months old and the OP has already applied and been accepted to a number of great programs. I don't think she needs advice any more.

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InquilineKea
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Re: Worth mentioning unproductive researhc ex. in SOP?

Postby InquilineKea » Mon Apr 04, 2011 12:18 pm

Well, it's a general question not just for the OP - others will find the advice useful as well.




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