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I am writing my statement of purpose for my Ph.D. application. As you may or may not know, the candidates mainly elaborate on their research experience in the statement of purpose. My intended Ph.D. field is field_A, but I do have some experience in field_B, which I would also like to mention.

In such a case, can I say "I dabbled in field_B" and then elaborate on this experience? Will "dabble in" here carry a negative connotation, something like "playing around"?

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    it's too casual. you could use it if you are truly a badass. ("Einstein was a physicist, and he dabbled in Maths...")
    – Fattie
    Commented Oct 27, 2014 at 15:28
  • Your profile is hilarious, BTW :)
    – Fattie
    Commented Oct 27, 2014 at 15:29
  • @JoeBlow True. I ain't no badass though. So I guess I am not using it. ;) Commented Oct 27, 2014 at 15:32

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Dabble can have a negative connotation, depending on the circumstances

Take part in an activity in a casual or superficial way: he dabbled in writing as a young man [Oxford Dictionaries Online]

While a person may use the term in a self-deprecating way, even when they have some meaningful measure of skill, in a formal setting the term suggests that your exosure to the alternate field was trivial.

You could simply say something like

While my work has focused on field A, I also have some experience in field B.

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