Preparing High Quality Research Proposals For ACEI • Dr. Michael F. Kelley Arizona State University West • Dr. Linda Bennett University of Missouri-Columbia • Dr. Lin Moore Texas Woman’s University Presented at the ACEI Annual Study Conference, San Diego, CA. April 5, 2002.
Review the proposal submission process. Discuss the proposal evaluation process. Review the proposal evaluation criteria. Highlight the proposal decision factors. Discuss important factors to include in your proposal. Highlight important presentation features once your proposal has been accepted. Audience questions. Presentation Outline
Proposal Submission Process • Review the call for proposals and the submission deadline. The deadline is usually June 1, prior to the year of presentation. So, if you want to present in April of 2006, the proposal must be submitted by June, 2005. • Highlight how your proposal addresses the conference theme/sub-topics, and emphasis areas as outlined in the call for proposals. • Follow all items listed in the submission requirements (paper copy, disk copy, 3 single-spaced, type-written pages that address the 7 proposal elements, and your desired presentation format).
Proposal Evaluation Process • Each proposal is submitted to ACEI headquarters (HQ) and must be postmarked by the due date. • ACEI HQ compiles all proposals and forwards them to the research chair (currently Dr. Ernest). • Research chair contacts committee members and prepares proposals for blind review by 3 separate readers (end of June). • Proposals are reviewed by committee members using the proposal evaluation criteria (usually around Aug. 15th). • Proposal decisions forwarded to ACEI HQ (Sept. 30th).
Proposal Evaluation CriteriaSee the last page of the handout for the proposal evaluation form. • How well does the Title introduce the study? This criterion is not formally rated, but it is considered in the overall evaluation process. • How well does the Abstract describe the research study? • Are the Research Questions adequately defined? • Does the Rationale justify the purpose for the study and/or place it within the context of current theory and practice?
Evaluation Criteria cont. • Is the Methodology clearly described and well matched to the research questions? • Is the Analysis of Data adequately described, or a plan of analysis is presented, if the study is in progress. • Are the Findings clearly identified? • Are the Implications for future research, classroom practices, or policy discussed?
Proposal Decision Factors • Each proposal is evaluated on 7 elements (the Title is not rated) using a 5-point Likert scale. Thus a total of 35 points is available for each review. • The vast majority of proposals accepted score at least 20 or higher. • Reviewers recommend the appropriate presentation format when the author fails to do so. • Reviewer comments are forwarded to the primary author of the proposal prior to the ACEI conference.
Proposal Decision Factors cont. • The number of papers accepted is determined by the size of the conference. • The proposal’s originality, relationship to the conference theme, and quality also impact decisions. • Finally, we seek to achieve appropriate distribution of age levels addressed, professional and geographic distribution of participants, and involvement of minorities.
Important Factors to Consider • Prepare the abstract carefully. Rejected proposals often have confusing abstracts that don’t match the body of the paper. • Provide some context for your research. Clearly state your research questions and indicate why they are of importance. A direct link to previous research is helpful. • Make sure that the methodology you use is appropriate for the research questions you’ve identified. Inappropriate methodology often results in the rejection of the proposal.
Factors to Consider cont. • In the methodology section, carefully describe the sample characteristics, the measures employed in the study, and the relevant procedures. Remember, the proposal must make sense to the reviewers. • If your research is “in progress” make sure that you state this and provide a brief timeline for completion. • The next few slides were developed from J. Fraenkel & N. Wallen (1996), How to design and evaluate research in education (3rd Ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill, Inc., p. 442.
Quantitative Methods Preferences for precise hypotheses and definitions stated at the outset. Data reduced to numerical scores. Major focus on assessing and improving reliability of scores obtained from instruments. Assessment of validity with reliance on statistical indices. Qualitative Methods Preference for hypotheses and definitions that emerge as study develops. Data are typically narrative descriptions. Reliability of inferences is often assumed to be adequate. Validity is assessed through cross-checking sources of information (triangulation). Quantitative and Qualitative Methods
Quantitative Methods Preference for random techniques for obtaining meaningful samples. Preference for precise descriptions of procedures. Preference for design or statistical control of extraneous variables. Preference for specific design control for procedural bias (procedural and measurement integrity checks). Qualitative Methods Preference for expert informant (purposive) sample. Preference for narrative/literary descriptions of procedures. Preference for logical analysis in controlling or accounting for extraneous variables. Primary reliance on researcher to deal with procedural bias (yet, integrity checks are still critical). Quantitative and Qualitative Methods
Quantitative Methods Preference for statistical summary of results. Preference for breaking down of complex phenomena into specific parts for analysis. Willingness to manipulate aspects, situations, or conditions in studying complex phenomena. Qualitative Methods Preference for narrative summary of results. Preference for holistic description of complex phenomena. Unwillingness to tamper with naturally occurring phenomena. Quantitative and Qualitative Methods
Presentation Features • If accepted for a Research Forum Session, then you will have approximately 15 minutes to present. • Use visuals to accentuate the main components of the paper and consider the following timeframe: • In 2 minutes highlight the purpose and the research questions. • In 1-2 minutes establish the context and purpose of the research. • In 2 minutes highlight the methodology used, including the key measures and data collection procedures.
Presentation Features cont. • In roughly 2 minutes report the statistical procedures or qualitative processes used to identify significant patterns or findings. • Within 2-3 minutes discuss the findings and implications of the research. • This will allow for roughly 5 minutes or so for questions from the audience. Bring at least 25 copies of your completed paper for distribution. • Remember, whenever using visuals, increase the font size so that participants in the back of the room can read the material. • Finally, practice your presentation ahead of time.
Presentation Features cont. • If selected for the Highlighted session, there will be 30 minutes for each presentation. This expanded format will allow for a more in-depth presentation and review of the findings, and an increase in audience questions and comments. • Roundtables and Poster sessions are designed to be very interactive with considerable audience participation. They usually run 90 minutes in length. • Poster session research papers are presented through the use of visual displays. Large tabletop tri-fold posters are available for presenters to mount large-print titles, descriptions, tables and graphs. • Roundtable sessions allow for rich discussion and participation between authors and audience. Often papers are grouped by themes to facilitate the exchange of ideas and suggestions.
Questions • What questions do you have of the panel or each other?