Tips for Writing a Statement of Purpose

Purpose Statement, Statement of Purpose

A purpose statement or statement of purpose typically includes what you intend to investigate, the methods that you will use, a brief statement about your sample, and the possible location for your study. Over the past 16 years as a Dissertation Coach, Chair, and research consultant, I have assisted hundreds of researchers form their purpose statements. Here are some tips to assist you:


  • Make sure your purpose aligns with your problem- Alignment is one of the biggest problems that researchers encounter. For example, if you want to study something like teachers’ perspectives on common core practices in the classroom, then you must identify a problem (in the literature or practice) that prompts the need to investigate teachers’ perspectives on common core practices.


  • Select a research design that aligns with your problem and purpose- Take time to read about the different methods and their uses. For example, if you are exploring participants’ perspectives, beliefs, and/or experiences, etc., select an appropriate qualitative approach. If you are interested in experiments, correlations, causal links, select an appropriate quantitative approach.


  • Identify an appropriate population and sample- Think about the goal of your research and identify who will be able to address your research questions/hypotheses. Brainstorm about ways you may access your sample. Think about the data you will collect. For example, if you are collecting interviews, make sure  the sample you select are willing to participate in an interview. If you are unable to access your sample, you may need to identify another topic or closely related topic that allows you access to participants. In addition, think about if your sample is vulnerable and what it may require for you to receive Institutional Review Board approval.


  • Determine the location for the study- Make sure that your location is appropriate for your study. Think about if you will collect data online, via Skype or phone, or on-site. Make sure to choose a location that is feasible.

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Purpose Statement, Statement of Purpose

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