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