I am a PhD student, and I am applying to be part of a cohort of graduate student researchers who will be using data from a national survey (that everyone in my field wants to get to) to answer policy questions. The dataset will most likely be a part of my dissertation.
The application requires a cover letter that needs me to explain certain parts of my research.
Here is what i wrote:
My current research interest is concerned with the interactions between families, students, teachers and staff in Head Start programs; specifically families who frequently encounter structural barriers due to their race, ethnicity and/or limited English proficiency. This work is important because of many reasons, but to name a few: the current climate of uncertainty experienced by families from diverse cultures/ethnicity/nationalities and how it pervades the education of their children, the forecasted minority/majority shift our population is going under and the overall right to equal access afforded to every child in the United States. I believe my work will contribute to a better understanding of the barriers these families confront on a daily basis and to a dialogue about practical solutions in the form of policy changes in order to ameliorate said barriers
I asked my adviser for feedback, and she said
You have said why the work is important and how you will contribute. But from what you have written, I do not know what it is that you are doing that will contribute to the field. What is your research, exactly? Why is your study, specifically, important?
I am really not getting it. I have been grappling a lot but i end up writing things like my methods. Any way you can illuminate will be appreciated.