I'm putting together applications for assistant professor positions and some ask for a research statement whereas others ask for a research plan (still others, although a rarity, ask for neither).

It appears there is much more advice online for writing research statements for faculty applications than for writing research plans. Is there a difference between a statement and a plan? My understanding was that a research statement is a brief statement of your research interests whereas a research plan is a longer document that is written like a short proposal with background, references and a tentative plan for how you would pursue your research; now I'm not so sure. Please help!

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Do ask the administrators in respective universities. A question of 'How long and detailed a document do you expect?' is legit and acceptable. Otherwise, you are prone to misunderstandings.

For a personal example (though it was a graduate admission), I was once asked to bring a synopsis of my research work, only to find that they wanted the actual thesis instead.

I guess, in the Research Statement one should detail their previous experience in research, and the plans for future. In the Research Plan it is mostly (or only) outline of future research.

You can get a more definite answer if you ask the contact person on the job advert.

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