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SSRC Eurasia Quantitative Methods Webinar Grantwriting for Quantitative Research Professor Jane Zavisca University of Arizona January 25, 2013

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Presentation on theme: "SSRC Eurasia Quantitative Methods Webinar Grantwriting for Quantitative Research Professor Jane Zavisca University of Arizona January 25, 2013"— Presentation transcript:

1 SSRC Eurasia Quantitative Methods Webinar Grantwriting for Quantitative Research Professor Jane Zavisca University of Arizona January 25, 2013

2 Developing a Quantitative Research Agenda  Possible but limited without funding  Why do you need funding?  To buy data: new fieldwork or secondary data  To buy equipment: hardware/software  To buy time: research assistance, course releases  To get/keep a job that values external grants

3 Start small and build up  Be realistic: big grants go to people with proven track records  Be ambitious: apply for leveraging grants to support a longer-term agenda

4 My trajectory  Grants as graduate student  Fulbright-Hays to support qualitative/historical research ($15,000)  NSF dissertation improvement grant (plus internal supplement) to support modest survey in one city ($20,000)  Grants as assistant professor  SSRC postdoctoral fellowship to support pilot qualitative research for new study ($20,000)  NCEEER grant to pay for qualitative data collection and to purchase quantitative data ($32,000)

5  Grants as associate professor. Co-PI with Ted Gerber, full professor at University of Wisconsin  NSF grant to support a large retrospective survey in Russia, to test hypotheses drived from my NCEEER/SSRC-supported research ($250k)  Mystery grant to support four-country, longitudinal survey, building on the NSF work ($3.5 million). [Funder has not yet announced award publicly]

6 Types of quantitative research that warrant external funding  Collect original survey data  Costly, time-consuming risky  Tailor design to your research agenda  Piggyback on existing surveys  Cheaper, logistically simpler  Constrained in length and content  New uses for existing data  Combine existing sources in new ways  Use old data to answer new questions

7 Types of funders  Area studies  NCEEER, SSRC  International/comparative studies  Fulbright. Some fellowships suffice for small scale surveys  Defense/Homeland Security. Minerva Research Initiative, DRTA, DARPA  Basic social science  NSF  NIH  Topic-based funding  Spencer Foundation (education)  Macarthur Foundation (various topics)

8 General advice on proposal writing  SSRC: The art of writing proposals  DE11-BD80-001CC477EC70/ DE11-BD80-001CC477EC70/  Great general advice  NIH: Writing a great grant application  px#hypo px#hypo  Geared toward quantitative proposals  Other resources  Ask successful grant-writers for copies of their proposals  If you are at an R1 university, take advantage of internal resources for proposal development (workshops, editing, leveraging funds)

9 Do your homework  Review existing data and literature: to generate hypotheses, and demonstrate novelty of your proposal  Start writing very early – at least 3 months before deadline (your institution’s deadline may differ from sponsor).  Line up collaborators and solicit letters of support

10 Research the funder:  What is the purpose of a given grant, and are you eligible?  What are the selection criteria?  Look for instructions given to reviewers in addition to instructions for applicants.  Structure your proposal around the criteria  Who are the reviewers, and how are they selected?  What are the funder’s broader priorities?  Who are the funder’s own funders? What are their priorities?

11 Pitching quantitative research to Eurasian studies audiences  Appeal to funder’s priorities  NCEEER is funded by US State Department, which has recently called for more quantitative work on the region.  Appeal to novelty/systematicity.  Majority of field research in the region is qualitative  Build on qualitative area expertise to develop quantitative hypotheses

12 Pitching quantitative research to Eurasian studies audiences  Demonstrate your regional knowledge and commitment  Don’t frame only as a theoretical case  Signal commitment to further study in the region  Regional languages: if you don’t know them, explain why you don’t need them for this particular project.  Don’t assume any knowledge of statistics  Use flow charts to depict models  Signal your sophistication to those who do with parenthetical citations, footnotes, appendices

13 Pitching Eurasian context to non- disciplinary audiences  Why should the funder care about your research if they don’t care about your region?  Theoretical advantages  Quasi-natural experiment due to rapid social change  Cross-national variation within comparable contexts  Logistical advantages  Relatively low cost compared to Western contexts  More stable/accessible than other semi-authoritarian regions of the world  OR: …convince them to care about the region  Security issues  Humanitarian concerns  Resources/environment

14 Questions any effective proposal should answer  What is the core question?  Why is it worth answering?  How do you plan to answer it?  What is new about your approach?  What exactly will you do with the time and money provided?  What will you produce?  Why should you be the one to do this research?  Why should the funder pay for it?

15 Writing an effective quantitative proposal  Effective quantitative proposals are more a function of research design than statistics  There should be a tight fit between research questions, concepts, measures, hypotheses, and models

16  At least half of proposal should details the nuts and bolts of what you will do:  what data you will collect (if applicable), how you will ensure its quality, and how you will analyze it.  Justify your specific design choices with reference back to your research questions, theory, and hypotheses

17 Specifics about survey design  Instrument design  Proposed measures—and what concepts they will measure  Survey medium (e.g. face-to-face, computer-assisted, web)  Plans for pretests and pilot tests  Sampling:  Generalizability: how is sample related to population of interest?  Sample size (actual and effective)  Sampling strategy

18 Specifics about survey design  Data collection  Personnel  Field procedures  Quality control  Analytical techniques  Class of statistical models  Examples of models to be tested  Data management plan  Confidentiality, quality, archiving, sharing  Making your data public gives value-added for funder

19 Be careful what you wish for  Is the budget realistic?  Is the timeline realistic?  Do you have adequate institutional support beyond what the grant can provide?  Do you really want to do the proposed research?

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