Statement of Interdisciplinary Research Interest

Completing your Statement of Interdisciplinary Research Interest (SIRI)

A crucial component of your application to the IDPhD Program is the Statement of Interdisciplinary Research Interest (SIRI).

The SIRI should be a maximum of 10 pages, long enough to give the Admissions committee confidence in your ability to carry out your proposed research and should address the interdisciplinary nature and necessity of the proposed research.

The following IDPhD SIRI guidelines [PDF - 142kb] may assist you in drafting your SIRI.

The research program proposed in the SIRI must be truly interdisciplinary, drawing significantly on a minimum of two disparate areas of academic endeavour. It must also be the case that the proposed program could not be carried out successfully within the framework of another existing PhD program at Dalhousie. This consideration recognizes that the research activities of modern, “discipline-based” academic units are often multidisciplinary and strongly collaborative—enough to accommodate many interdisciplinary projects. Research programs within the IDPhD at Dalhousie must be uniquely feasible within the framework of that program only.

General Guidelines

General Statement Outlining Research Proposal and its Objectives: What is the essential question that your research is addressing? Why is this worth doing? Why does it require an interdisciplinary approach?

Critical Assessment: Provide a critical assessment of the proposed research from the point of view of each of the contributing disciplines. Include citations of relevant scientific literature.

Interdisciplinarity: Why does this research require an interdisciplinary approach? How do you propose integrating the contributing disciplines to achieve your objectives? Could you achieve your goals through any existing programs at Dalhousie, perhaps as a special stream of interest?

Background: What are you bringing to the research? What are you missing and how do you propose to fill those gaps?

Methodology: What general methodology are you intending to follow for this research? Why? How does this decision reflect the interdisciplinary nature of your research? How will the methodology allow you to integrate disciplinary insights?

Results: How do you anticipate that your research results will add to scientific knowledge? Describe how the new knowledge contributes to the disciplines.

Admissions Committee Considerations             

The Admissions Committee will be looking for a SIRI that answers the following questions:

  • Is the research interdisciplinary? Could it be done under only one of Dalhousie's existing graduate programs?
  • Do two or more disciplines actively inform your statement of research interest?
  • Have you made a strong case for the most relevant disciplines related to your research topic?
  • Do you recognize the difference between multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary approaches?
  • Is there the potential for a more comprehensive understanding than would be gained from a single disciplinary approach to the research question?
  • Did you justify the importance of your research question?
  • Did you show an understanding of the conceptualization stage of your research?
  • Have you considered the relationship between methodology and an interdisciplinary approach?
  • Is the research doable? Most students “bite off more than they can chew”. The research should be able to be completed in a reasonable time frame and with reasonable resource commitment.
  • Is the research important?