When writing short descriptions of research experiences as a student (undergrad or postgrad), what are the key points that professors, potential collaborators and admission committees would like to see?

These might be very short descriptions in a space constrained academic CV, or slightly less short descriptions on an online profile or research statement. What are the key essentials (in the CV case) and the additional points (statement/website case)?

  • 1
    Different people are likely to look for different things: teachers, collaborators, admission and hiring committees at various levels would look for very different things. Maybe you should specify your question?
    – F'x
    Feb 4, 2013 at 19:12
  • This is a very interesting question. Have you searched the internet for any answers or tips?
    – user4511
    Feb 4, 2013 at 19:53
  • @VahidShirbisheh - I searched around a bit and read advice from career departments of universities but none seem to answer this qns directly. There are some webpages that do (e.g. eHow) but they sound very general and I thought it would be better to get advice from people in academia.
    – Legendre
    Feb 7, 2013 at 13:44
  • @F'x - I suppose there won't be a "right" answer. Perhaps it would be useful to have a range of opinions? Especially from people in academia that would be reading the resumes/statements (rather than career department staff).
    – Legendre
    Feb 7, 2013 at 13:47

1 Answer 1


In a one-sentence statement, I want to state as precisely and concisely as possible as much relevant detail about the project I was working on. For instance

Analysis of Widget Manufacturing

doesn't tell me much about what you did. On the other hand

In-situ XYZ Experiments and Numerical Modeling of the Parametric Influence of Temperature, Humidity, and Cooling Time on the Strength of Widget X under Load-Bearing Conditions

tells me much more about the problem you're working on.

If you have perhaps a paragraph, then I went a short summary of your work. You should provide: a motivation for the problem, an overview of what you did, and a summary of the main methods, results, and conclusions of the work.

  • What about: 1) skills used/gained (random e.g. Fortran programming, Topology, worked with DNA datasets). 2) non-technical description (to show you can communicate your work to a general audience), 3) Future work/directions/applications?
    – Legendre
    Feb 7, 2013 at 13:51
  • (1) That would fall under "methods"; presumably you learned how to use the methods you used. (2) For the audiences you specified, a non-technical description is unimportant. (3) Future work and directions falls under "conclusions" under normal circumstances, and only when space allows.
    – aeismail
    Feb 7, 2013 at 17:55

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .