Research Design & Methods

How are you going to do the work? Describe the proposed research design and methods in sufficient detail. Remember that your reviewers may be familiar with the the subject, but this doesn't mean you can leave out the details. Reviewers will be looking for specific information that demonstrates your thorough understanding of the subject and proposed methods.

Present the methods you plan to use for each specific aim in logical sequence. (Make sure your specific aims are presented in the same logical sequence.) Convince reviewers that you have experience with the chosen methods, that they are well established and that they are appropriate for the specific aims of your project. If you are using an innovative method, explain how it differs from established methods and why it is advantageous. Describe the potential difficulties and limitations of the proposed methods and identify possible alternatives for achieving the specific aims. Describe the kind of results you can expect from proposed methods and the potential value and limits of those results. Demonstrate that you understand the comlexity of the subject and will be able to handle the results appropriately. If applicable, describe the statistical methods you intend to use in analyzing results and include a qualified statistician as a collaborator. Provide a realistic estimate of how much time you will need for each stage of the research.

For some project types--such as social science, educational, behavioral or training programs--it is helpful to use graphics, such as tables or flow charts, to show how project goals relate to the proposed methods and specific activities. Include who will be responsible for each activity, the anticipated timeframe for completing each activity and how you plan to monitor progress and evaluate results. Presenting this information visually helps reviewers quickly understand the overall scope and sequencing of the proposed program.

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