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Physical Address:
Morrill Hall 105

Mailing Address:
875 Perimeter Drive MS 3010
University of Idaho
Moscow, ID 83844-3010

Phone: 208-885-6689

Email: vpresearch@uidaho.edu

Web: ORED

Map

Physical Address:

Morrill Hall Room 414
Moscow, ID  83844

Mailing Address:
875 Perimeter Dr., MS 3010
Moscow, ID  83844-3010

Phone: 208-885-6162

Email: ored-ora@uidaho.edu

Web: ORA Website

Map

Physical Address:

Morrill Hall Room 103
Moscow, ID  83843

Mailing Address:
875 Perimeter Dr., MS 3020
Moscow, ID  83844-3020

Phone: 208-885-6651

Fax: 208-885-4990

Email: osp@uidaho.edu

Web: OSP Website

Map

Physical Address:
Morrill Hall 103
Moscow, Idaho

Mailing Address:
875 Perimeter Drive
MS 3003
Moscow, ID 83844-3003

Jeremy Tamsen
Phone: 208-885-4550
Email: tamsen@uidaho.edu
Web: OTT Website

Map

Physical Address:
Water Center Suite 324
Boise, Idaho

Mailing Address:
322 E. Front St., Suite 324
Boise, ID 83702

Jana Jones
Phone: 208-364-4568
Email: janajones@uidaho.edu

Guidelines for Developing a Strong Research Proposal

This document is intended to be a resource, providing general guidance for developing research proposals. At the end is a list of items reviewers often pay attention to when evaluating research proposals for scientific merit.

  1. Write a clear and concise abstract (generally less than 200 words) that at a minimum addresses your research topic and question, paradigm, use of theory (theories you incorporate, propositions, constructs), research design/methodologies, selection or sampling strategies, data capturing (collection, generation) methods, data coding and/or analysis, funders/collaborators, and proposed channels for communicating results (Write this at the very end).
  2. Present research questions and/or hypotheses you plan to address. Besides an introduction to the problem or topic you have selected you might include: key definitions, corollary research objectives and/or research hypotheses, and the key concepts/constructs and/or variables of interest you are proposing to study, describe and/or measure.
  3. Justify why the research you have described is important to conduct and explain how it will add to or refine knowledge and/or theory. In other words, what is its significance? How does it further scientific and/or practical inquiry? What is the relevance of your proposed project to the aims of the funding source? It also is often useful to discuss the audience for the research.
  4. Demonstrate the role of theory in your research. What theories, if any, have been used to study your topic in the past? What are the strengths and limitations of these theories in light of your specific research question? Demonstrate how you are proposing to test theory, apply theory, generate theory, combine theory or use theory in some other fashion (e.g. as an interpretative tool).  Depending upon how you propose to use theory, it may be useful to clearly articulate key constructs and or propositions you are borrowing or are building on. Consider including a graphic theoretical model displaying relationships among constructs as a way to more clearly and concisely present its role in your study. If appropriate, synthesize how the theory has evolved and where your work fits in terms of its continued evolution.
  5. Briefly explain your research paradigm (e.g. issues of ontology, epistemology and knowledge, desirable level of researcher intervention) and mention the aim of your research design or methodology.
  6. Be sure to address how you will ensure scientific quality. For quantitative approaches make sure you address items such as internal and external validity as well as other threats to validity. For alternative inquiry paradigms make sure you use their accepted alternative approaches to address scientific quality such as trustworthiness and authenticity. If your work involves testing theories, be sure to describe how your theories are testable.
  7. Set your boundaries, determine the sampling/selection approach (quantitative or qualitative strategies) and justify the setting/case/population you will study. Present an explanation of why you selected your unit(s) of analysis and be sure to adequately describe your sampling element, informant, case or other focus (setting, activity, etc.). Be sure to address issues of context, generalizability to a population and/or transferability to another case. Explain your instrumentation or how you will be measuring (qualitative or quantitative) attributes, justify your levels of measurement, and address relevant issues in moving from abstract levels of conceptualization to measurement levels or the reverse. Are your measurements aimed to develop a model or theory inductively, test theory or to describe some construct, case or situation? When appropriate, address measurement issues like validity and/or confirmability, reliability and/or dependability, as well as other relevant sources of error. When appropriate address the issue of researcher as instrument and insider/outsider issues as well as any ethical issues that might be involved in the generation of data.
  8. If you propose to use a measurement instrument describe it and present the strengths and weaknesses of using it. In all cases measurement should be linked to specific research questions or hypotheses to allow us to clearly see how you are operationalizing and measuring (includes describing) phenomena of interest to you and your study. The more detail you can provide the better job we can do evaluating your proposal. Please use literature to justify the logic behind your instrumentation.
  9. Select/develop and write up step-by-step procedures that you will utilize to collect/capture/generate your data. Will you be collecting primary or secondary data? How will you get from your raw data to the format you analyze (transcribing, encoding, formatting, etc.)? What will your database look like, and will you use some particular computer software to store, manage and/or manipulate your data?
  10. Develop and justify your data analysis techniques. These may be qualitative or quantitative. Address what type of statistical tests, content analyses, or counterpart qualitative analyses (coding, category construction, theme identification, etc.) you are likely to use and why. Please use literature to justify your approach. If you are still developing your statistical or contextual analysis skills you should at least explain what you want to do in your analysis and why, as opposed to detailing specific analyses techniques or tests.
  11. Develop a research action plan that includes time estimates and scheduling of necessary tasks, personnel and financial resource needs. It should include what you need to conduct your research. The level of detail needs to allow the evaluator to assess the likelihood that you can complete the project on time and within budget.
  12. Briefly describe the products that will result from your research, what will their format be, and how will you plan to disseminate them. What are the implications of these products in terms of knowledge production (new ideas or constructs, modification of theory, empirical generalizations, etc.)? Foreshadow the impacts you hope to be able to make after doing the study.
  13. Identify and address ethical issues associated with the research. For example, the need to include an animal subjects, human subjects form, etc. 
  14. Cite references. Do not forget to use citations throughout your proposal and that a separate literature review section within the proposal is not required.

Proposal evaluation insights – what evaluators look for

  1. Clarity and conciseness in presenting research topic and overall research approach in your abstract.
  2. Research purpose and research questions and/or objectives and hypotheses are clear, concise and not too complex to investigate. Key concepts and constructs or other components are clearly defined.
  3. The justification for the research is based on logic (timely, has practical and/or scientific merit, fills a research gap, will result in the refinement of theory, etc.) and is supported with citations, plus there is a likelihood that useful knowledge will emerge from the research.
  4. The role of theory is explained. You demonstrate where and how theory fits in your research process. Theories are adequately addressed relative to the role they play in your proposed research. This might involve describing the relationship of the theoretical framework to your proposed research, showing how previous theoretical research affects how you are proposing to approach your research, and using theory to explain or place in context your findings or as a way to offer alternative explanations to mention a few ways theory might be involved.
  5. Your paradigm, research methodology and/or design fit the research question(s) and this fit is justified using literature in a way that suggests you understand the relationships between macrostructures of science and research designs/methodologies.
  6. Your ways of using and making or collecting data reflect the methodology and or design you propose to employ in your research or in other words it is clear that you understand methodological congruence.
  7. Your choice of procedures to address the quality of your data and discoveries is the one(s) commonly used by the research traditions that you have chosen to use in your study.
  8. Your boundaries (population, units of analysis, etc.) are defined, and your sampling or informant identification technique is explained. Where appropriate, the target population, actual population, required sample size and sampling element are clearly defined. You make clear to the reader the intent of your sampling (e.g. is it to make generalizations to a population or does it serve some other purpose). Is it probability or non-probability and why or why not? Do you not need to talk about sampling versus selection??
  9. Qualitative or quantitative measurement issues are addressed using literature, and it is obvious that level of measurement and assumptions when working with abstract concepts at the conceptual level or variables at the empirical/measurement level have been thought through and considered. This needs to be addressed regardless of whether your research approach is dominantly inductive or deductive.
  10. Data capturing or generation procedures and techniques are explained and justified using citations, and it is evident from your presentation that the procedures you plan to follow will likely lead to defensible information. You clearly explained why you selected your particular approach or computer software to store, manage and manipulate your data.
  11. Appropriate types of coding and analyses (qualitative and/or quantitative) are proposed for use, and it is obvious that you understand the idea of measurement and its relationship to the research design and the data analyses procedures you have selected to use.
  12. The proposed research action plan is realistic and reflects the likelihood of completing the project on time (use graphic timeline) and within budget (use a table with budget categories) utilizing appropriate expertise.
  13. Ideas for disseminating results describe how you will get the knowledge you discover, produce or generate into the hands of potential users in an efficient and timely manner.
  14. Ethical issues associated with the research are identified, and procedures to address them are described.
  15. Literature cited follows an accepted format and is used throughout the proposal.

Physical Address:
Morrill Hall 105

Mailing Address:
875 Perimeter Drive MS 3010
University of Idaho
Moscow, ID 83844-3010

Phone: 208-885-6689

Email: vpresearch@uidaho.edu

Web: ORED

Map

Physical Address:

Morrill Hall Room 414
Moscow, ID  83844

Mailing Address:
875 Perimeter Dr., MS 3010
Moscow, ID  83844-3010

Phone: 208-885-6162

Email: ored-ora@uidaho.edu

Web: ORA Website

Map

Physical Address:

Morrill Hall Room 103
Moscow, ID  83843

Mailing Address:
875 Perimeter Dr., MS 3020
Moscow, ID  83844-3020

Phone: 208-885-6651

Fax: 208-885-4990

Email: osp@uidaho.edu

Web: OSP Website

Map

Physical Address:
Morrill Hall 103
Moscow, Idaho

Mailing Address:
875 Perimeter Drive
MS 3003
Moscow, ID 83844-3003

Jeremy Tamsen
Phone: 208-885-4550
Email: tamsen@uidaho.edu
Web: OTT Website

Map

Physical Address:
Water Center Suite 324
Boise, Idaho

Mailing Address:
322 E. Front St., Suite 324
Boise, ID 83702

Jana Jones
Phone: 208-364-4568
Email: janajones@uidaho.edu