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SRG: Application


Proposals submitted to RISA are reviewed by skilled researchers and sometimes by persons who are knowledgeable in the pertinent field of study. If necessary, feedback on proposals is provided in order to strengthen the likelihood of funding.

Below, are the four criteria used in evaluating a proposal. It is suggested that these criteria are carefully considered when writing a proposal.

Criterion 1: Clearly defined research purpose or question.

  • Is the research question or purpose that guides the study clear?
  • Has sufficient and specific information been given as to what the study will test, determine, learn, and/or describe?
  • Is it feasible within the limitations of funding and time?

An effective proposal articulates a specific research question or purpose that can be accomplished within the program funding limits and within the time limit of one year. Careful articulation of the research question or purpose is crucial because it is the reviewer's primary basis for appraising the effectiveness of the research methods presented in the proposal. The statement of the study's research purpose remains the same throughout the proposal. The proposal presents concepts and defines terminology needed for the reviewer to understand the study's purpose. A proposal that does not respond well to this criterion leaves the reviewer uncertain about the focus of the investigation. Also, an inadequate proposal may not define key terminology, and/or it may state a purpose or multiple purposes that are beyond the scope of what can be accomplished within the limitations of time and funding.

Criterion 2: Significant research question/purpose.

  • Has it been clearly stated how the study addresses a gap in theoretical or practical knowledge?
  • Is the potential gain worth the investment?

This section should emphasize the contribution that the study will make to the academic field. What is the uncertainty or information gap in the field that justifies the investigation? An effective proposal makes a persuasive case that the findings from the research will constitute a worthwhile contribution to the field, justifying the investment of effort and/or resources. The significance may be based, for example, on potential contributions to improve professional practice, resolve an arguable gap or inconsistency in the literature of the field, or add new knowledge, including extending or reinforcing existing knowledge. When appropriate, the proposal grounds the study in a larger theoretical context in a manner that is selective, given the page limits of the proposal. When the application is by a student, there should be indications that the study is likely to foster a productive educational experience. If the study is a pilot study, the proposal should make a case that such preliminary work is needed prior to a more complete study. An inadequate proposal fails to state a rationale for consuming time and resources in order to address its research question.

Criterion 3: Effective research methods.

  • Are the procedures suitable for the research questions?
  • Is the data collection and analytic approach explained in detail?

The proposal should identify, define, and justify the procedures that will be used to accomplish the research study’s purpose or answer the research question. The methods of the study can include such components as site selection, choice of archives, sample characteristics, data collection methods, experimental design, and data analysis. When judging the merit of study methods, proposal reviewers must evaluate whether each component of the methodology addresses the study's stated purpose. Thus, a well articulated purpose or question is crucial to a determination of whether the study's methods are effective. An inadequate proposal fails to describe the methods with sufficient detail for the reviewer to judge whether they respond effectively to the research question/purpose. A proposal also may be inadequate because a component of the methodology is either inappropriate for responding to the research question, or because a necessary component is missing.

Criterion 4: Major conclusions and implications.

  • What key points will be made in the analysis? What are the important or unexpected implications that can be drawn from the research study?
  • What are the researcher’s thoughts on the larger meaning of the study?
  • Are there possibilities of new or expanded ways of thinking as a result of this study?

The most important part of any research project is the meaning and implications of the results. The results will need to be interpreted with the research question and hypotheses in mind and all possible outcomes considered. Even if the hypothesized outcome wasn’t realized, the actual findings may still have important meanings that should be explored. It should also set up questions and considerations for future research projects on the topic.






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