UtahPhi wrote:ph14 wrote:vissidarte27 wrote:
Re: publishing -- my interests are all over the map. Do you think it's okay to explore them and have a more varied portfolio or do I need to sit down and choose a particular research area so that my work will be more concentrated? If I can get an article out this year, I'd like to be able to do that, but I don't want to pigeon-hole myself into one area without the freedom to research other things.
No. It's okay to be all over the map at this stage. It's more important to find out where your interests are.
Expanding on this, my limited involvement as a student on faculty hiring committee's is that they like to see flexibility in your topic choice. If you can write quality articles on a variety of aspects, it speaks well to your writing ability.
That being said, if you get to the interview process, you will need to put across that you aren't just absent-minded and that you can eventually become an expert in an area.
Vissidarte--if you get a note published this year, it doesn't have to be on a particular topic relevant to your future interests. If faculty are doing reads on your note years from now, that means something went very, very wrong since you should be striving to have hopefully two maybe even three published articles by the time you go on the market. You should be developing potential research projects right now, which means exploring multiple areas. (Read Volokh's Academic Legal Writing--he's got good advice on developing topics and writing notes and articles.) If you have an interest in Criminal Law and theory right now, take Crim Pro, Evidence, and seminars that involve this stuff. It's pretty common for wannabe academics to have a few different major classes that they really want to teach, and for crim law people it's criminal law, crim pro, and evidence.
As for whether you should have a concentrated research agenda or have variety: The advice I've been given is to try and find an area where you could produce a few different articles. You can of course jump between very different topics, but if you do that you really need to also develop a comprehensive research agenda for what your future projects will look like.