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May 29, 2014

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IES Grant Writing Workshop May 29, 2014 Elizabeth R. Albro, Ph.D. Associate Commissioner of Teaching & Learning National Center for Education Research – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: May 29, 2014


1
IES Grant Writing Workshop
  • May 29, 2014
  • Elizabeth R. Albro, Ph.D.
  • Associate Commissioner of Teaching Learning
  • National Center for Education Research
  • Jacquelyn A. Buckley, Ph.D.
  • National Center for Special Education Research
  • _at_IESResearch

2
Purpose of the Workshop
  • This workshop will provide instruction and advice
    on writing a successful application to the
    Institute of Education Sciencesresearch grant
    programs, specifically to the
  • Education Research Grants Program (84.305A)
  • Special Education Research Grants Program
    (84.324A)

3
Grant Writing Is A Process
4
Agenda
  • Introduction to IES
  • Grant Writing Tips
  • General Requirements
  • Grant Research Topics
  • Grant Research Goals
  • Four Sections of the Project Narrative

5
What is IES?
  • Research arm of the U.S. Department of Education,
    non-partisan by law.
  • Charged with providing rigorous and relevant
    evidence on which to ground education practice
    and policy and share this information broadly.
  • By identifying what works, what doesn't, and why,
    we aim to improve educational outcomes for all
    students, particularly those at risk of failure.

6
IES Organizational Structure
Office of the Director
National Board for Education Sciences
Standards Review Office
National Center for Education Evaluation
National Center for Education Statistics
National Center for Education Research
National Center for Special Education Research
7
FY 2015 Funding Opportunities
8
RFA Changes of Note
  • Revised formatting, highlighting minimal
    requirements for an application to be sent
    forward for peer review
  • Identified research gaps in each topic domain
  • Dissemination plans are required
  • Appendices have been modified
  • Submission Guide incorporated into each RFA
  • Glossary of important terms added

9
Primary Research Grant Programs
  • Education Research Grants (84.305A)
  • Special Education Research Grants (84.324A)
  • These grant programs are organized by research
    topic and research goal.

10
Agenda
  • Introduction to IES
  • Grant Writing Tips
  • General Requirements
  • Grant Research Topics
  • Grant Research Goals
  • Four Sections of the Project Narrative

11
What You Need to Do
  • Sell your research idea, promote yourself as the
    best person to do the research, and build
    goodwill and trust.
  • How?
  • By demonstrating that you know what the problem
    is and have a way to address it.

12
Opening Paragraph
  • Sets the scene for readers
  • Identifies the significance of the work to be
    done and what actually will be done
  • Readers use it to organize information in rest of
    the application
  • You can lose your readers right off with an
    unclear opening

13
Statement of Purpose
  • Should
  • Be short and attention-getting
  • Contain the problem statement and your
    contribution to solving it.
  • Your fellow researchers, friends, and family
    members should be able to understand it and see
    its relevance.
  • NOTE Its not as easy to do as you may think.
    You have to know a lot about what it is you want
    to do before you can describe it succinctly.

14
Theory of Change (ToC)
  • The model underlying your research.
  • A roadmap to your project narrative.
  • A source for generating research questions.
  • Constantly evolving.
  • NOTE Some fields and scholars use terms like
    Logic Model or Logical Framework to mean things
    similar to what we are calling a Theory of Change
    here.

15
ToC Your Research Plan
  • In your research plan, you need to specify
    exactly what it is youre exploring, creating,
    validating, or testing. You also need to specify
    how you will do these things.
  • Strategies/Activities
  • What are the pieces that youll be
    exploring, creating, testing, etc.?
  • Outcomes
  • Indicators What will you measure, and
    how you will measure it?
  • Populations Who and where (both in treatment and
    control/comparison)?
  • Thresholds What effect (size) should you expect?
  • Timeline When should you be collecting what
    data?

16
Helpfulness of the Program Officer
  • Share your framework and statement of purpose
    with the Program Officer
  • Ensure you are submitting to the correct
    competition/topic
  • Springboard for further discussion

17
Clarity of Writing
  • Readers (e.g., application reviewers) often
    complain about lack of clarity.
  • Significance too general
  • Lack of detail regarding intervention,
    development cycle, or data analysis
  • Use of jargon and assumptions of knowledge
  • Poor writing (e.g., grammar), awkward
    constructions, etc.

18
Resources for Researchers
  • Visit links for faculty and researchers on IES
    website
  • http//ies.ed.gov/resourcesforresearchers.asp
  • Review past webinars and participate in future
    webinars for the FY 2015 competitions
  • http//ies.ed.gov/funding/webinars/index.asp

19
Agenda
  • Introduction to IES
  • Grant Writing Tips
  • General Requirements
  • Grant Research Topics
  • Grant Research Goals
  • Four Sections of the Project Narrative

20
All Proposed Studies Must
  • Measure Student Education Outcomes
  • Be Relevant to Education in the U.S.
  • Address Authentic Education Settings
  • Specify 1 Research Topic
  • Specify 1 Research Goal

21
NCER Ultimate Outcomes of Interest Student
Outcomes
Grade Outcome
Prekindergarten School readiness (e.g., pre-reading, language, vocabulary, early math and science knowledge, social and behavioral competencies)
Kindergarten Grade 12 Learning, achievement, and higher-order thinking in reading, writing, mathematics, and science progress through the education system (e.g., course and grade completion or retention, high school graduation, and dropout) social skills, attitudes, and behaviors that support learning in school
21
22
NCER Ultimate Outcomes of Interest Student
Outcomes
Grade Outcome
Postsecondary (Grades 13 16) Access to, persistence in, progress through, and completion of postsecondary education for students in developmental programs, additional outcomes include achievement in reading, writing, English language proficiency, and mathematics
Adult Education (Adult Basic Education, Adult Secondary Education, Adult ESL, and GED preparation) Student achievement in reading, writing, and mathematics access to, persistence in, progress through, and completion of adult education programs
22
23
NCSER Ultimate Outcomes of Interest Student
Outcomes
Grade Outcome
Birth - 5 Developmental outcomes and school readiness
Kindergarten High School Achievement in core academic content (reading, writing, mathematics, science), behaviors that support learning in academic contexts, functional outcomes that improve educational results and transitions to employment, independent living, and postsecondary education
23
24
Who Should Read the RFA?
  • You, the proposed Principal Investigator
  • Your team members, including your co-PIs,
    statistician, methodologist, developer
  • Your assigned sponsored projects officer
  • Anyone else participating in the preparation of
    the application

25
Agenda
  • Introduction to IES
  • Grant Writing Tips
  • General Requirements
  • Grant Research Topics
  • Grant Research Goals
  • Four Sections of the Project Narrative

26
Grant Topics
  • All applications to the primary research grant
    programs must be directed to a specific topic
  • Note on SF 424 Form, Item 4b (Agency Identifier
    Number)
  • Note at top of Abstract and Project Narrative

27
Research Topics
Education Research (305A) Special Education Research (324)
Cognition Student Learning Cognition Student Learning in SpEd
Early Learning Programs and Policies Early Intervention Early Learning in SpEd
Education Technology Technology for Special Education
Effective Teachers Effective Teaching PD for Teachers Related Service Providers
English Learners Autism Spectrum Disorders
Improving Education Systems SpEd Policy, Finance, and Systems
Mathematics Science Education Mathematics Science Education
Postsecondary Adult Education Transition Outcomes for Secondary Students with Disabilities
Reading Writing Reading, Writing Language Development
Social Behavioral Context for Academic Learning Social Behavioral Outcomes to Support Learning
Families of Children with Disabilities
28
Topics Nota Bene
  • Must address student education outcomes
  • Grade range varies by topic
  • Your project might fit in more than one topic

29
305A Topics and Their Grade Range
30
324A Topics, Grade Level, Disability Status
31
Choosing among Overlapping Topics
  • What literature are you citing?
  • To which topic is your area of expertise best
    aligned?
  • If your focus is on a specific population of
    students/teachers, go to that program/topic
  • Is your focus on a specific type of
    student/teacher (e.g., English Learners), or are
    you studying them as a subgroup of your sample?

32
New This Year Research Gaps Considerations
  • Every topic now includes a section which
    describes research gaps and/or considerations
    that the Institute has identified.

33
Agenda
  • Introduction to IES
  • Grant Writing Tips
  • General Requirements
  • Grant Research Topics
  • Grant Research Goals
  • Four Sections of the Project Narrative

34
Grant Research Goals
  • All applications to 84.305A/84.324A must be
    directed to a specific goal
  • Note on SF 424 Form, Item 4b
  • Note at top of Abstract and Research Narrative
  • The goal describes the type of research to be
    done
  • Every application is directed to a specific
    topic/goal combination

35
What Topic X Goal Fits Your Project?
36
Program Officer Role
  • As you are thinking through which is the
    appropriate topic and goal for your project, we
    encourage applicants to reach out to your program
    officers.
  • They are a valuable resource.

37
FY 2015 Research Goals
  • Exploration
  • Development Innovation
  • Efficacy Replication
  • Effectiveness
  • Measurement

38
Maximum Award Amounts (84.305A)
Goal Max. Duration Award (direct indirect)
Exploration W/ secondary data or meta-analysis With primary data 2 years, 700,000 4 years, 1,600,000
Development Innovation 4 years, 1,500,000
Efficacy Replication Follow-up study Retrospective 4 years, 3,500,000 3 years, 1,200,000 3 years, 800,000
Effectiveness Follow-up study 5 years, 5,000,000 3 years, 1,600,000
Measurement 4 years, 1,600,000
39
NCER Grants by Goal (2004-2013)
40
NCSER Grants by Goal (2006-2013)
Percentage of Funded Grants FY 2006-2013
41
Goal Requirements
  • Your application must meet all Project Narrative
    and Award Requirements listed for the goal you
    select in order for your application to be
    considered responsive and sent forward to review.
  • We strongly encourage you to incorporate the
    recommendations into your Project Narrative.
  • All applications must include a Dissemination
    Plan.

42
Exploration Projects Malleable Factors
  • Malleable factors must be under the control of
    the education system
  • Something that can be changed by the system
  • Examples
  • Student characteristics behavior, skills
  • Teacher characteristics practices, credentials
  • School characteristics size, climate,
    organization
  • Education interventions practices, curricula,
    instructional approaches, programs, and policies

43
Development Innovation Projects Key Features
  • Iterative development process
  • Well specified theory of change
  • Data collected on feasibility and usability in
    authentic education settings
  • Fidelity must be measured
  • Pilot data on student outcomes

44
Efficacy Replication Projects Key Features
  • Testing a causal question.
  • Ask what might be needed to implement
    intervention under routine practice, even if you
    intend to test under ideal conditions
  • Consider role of developer to avoid conflict of
    interest for developer-evaluators
  • Do not require confirmatory mediator analyses but
    recommend exploratory ones

45
Effectiveness Projects Key Features
  • IES expects researchers to
  • Implement intervention under routine practice
  • Include evaluators independent of
    development/distribution
  • Describe strong efficacy evidence for
    intervention (from at least 2 previous studies)
  • Does not expect wide generalizability from a
    single study
  • Expects multiple Effectiveness projects to this
    end
  • Sample size is not a key distinction from
    Efficacy
  • Does not require confirmatory mediator analyses
    but encourages exploratory ones
  • Cost of implementation is limited to 25 of budget

46
Measurement Projects Key Features
  • Assessments may also be developed in other goals,
    but not as the primary focus
  • Primary product of measurement grant is the
    design, refinement, and/or validation of an
    assessment
  • Include an assessment framework
  • Must link the assessment to student education
    outcomes

47
Expected Products
  • Expected Products for each goal can help you
    identify the right goal for your project
  • At the end of a funded project, IES expects you
    to provide

48
Agenda
  • Introduction to IES
  • Grant Writing Tips
  • General Requirements
  • Grant Research Topics
  • Grant Research Goals
  • Four Sections of the Project Narrative

49
Project Narrative
  • Four Required Sections
  • Significance
  • Research Plan
  • Personnel
  • Resources
  • Each of these sections will be scored
    individually by the peer reviewers
  • In addition, reviewers provide an overall score
    of Scientific Merit

50
The Applications Project Narrative
  • Requirements vary by program goal
  • READ THE REQUIREMENTS CAREFULLY
  • 25 pages, single spaced
  • Project Narrative is supported by Appendices, but
    all critical content for reviewers should be
    included within the 25 pages of the Project
    Narrative.

51
Significance Section
  • Describes the overall project
  • Your research question to be answered
    intervention to be developed or evaluated, or
    measure to be developed and/or validated
  • Provides a compelling rationale for the project
  • Theoretical justification
  • Theory of Change
  • Empirical justification
  • Practical justification

52
Significance
  • Do not assume reviewers know significance of your
    work
  • Do not quote back RFA on general importance of a
    topic,
  • e.g., RFA paragraph on lack of reading
    proficiency of 8th and 12th graders based on NAEP
    data
  • Do quote back RFA if your project is addressing a
    research gap identified in the RFA
  • e.g., disproportionality in discipline
    (Social/Behavioral) impact of early childhood
    policy initiatives (Early Learning)

53
Significance 2 Key Problem Areas
  • Description of Malleable Factor/Intervention
  • Unclear what intervention is confuses reviewers
  • Many components and may be applied at different
    times how fit together Graphic may help
  • Unclear how to be implemented to ensure fidelity
  • Intervention not shown to be strong enough to
    expect an impact
  • Especially true for information interventions
    e.g., provide data on students, short teacher
    workshops
  • Overly focused on actions not content
  • Ex. 20 hours of PD held over 10 weeks but no
    detail on what is to be covered in the sessions

54
Significance 2 Key Problem Areas
  • Theory of change
  • Why a malleable factor is expected to be related
    to a student outcome
  • Why the proposed intervention should improve
    outcomes versus current practice
  • Why an assessment/instrument will measure a
    specific construct
  • When well laid out, a theory of change makes
    clear what is expected to happen and in what
    order
  • Easy for reviewers to understand research plan
    why measure certain outcomes
  • Graphic can be helpful

55
Theory of Change Should Describe
  • How the intervention addresses the need and why
    it should work
  • Content what the student should know or be able
    to do why this meets the need
  • Pedagogy instructional techniques and methods to
    be used why appropriate
  • Delivery System how the intervention will
    arrange to deliver the instruction
  • Which aspects of the intervention are different
    from the counterfactual condition
  • Key factors or core ingredients most essential
    and distinctive to the intervention

56
Simple Theory of Change
57
Logic Model Graphics Dont Do This!
  • Overwhelm the reader
  • Use color as a key because applications are
    reviewed in black and white

58
Processes 3-17 repeat twice in Year 2
DEVELOPMENT MODEL FOR WL INTERVENTION DEVELOPED
BY ABC WITH THE ASSISTANCE OF DEF
17. ABC reviews/revises model based on DEF
findings
18a. ABC and DEF submit Annual Report to DOE and
schools
8a1. Coaches assist PLTs in using all data to ID
area for prof devt
16. DEF interviews coaches, SLTs, and PLTs about
PD and WL processes
8a2. Coaches assist PLTs in weekly WLs and
Debriefing through mid-year
6-8b. DEF observes PLTs, documents implementation
PLT WL Debrief
13-15b. DEF observes/consults SLTs, documents
implementation
PLT WL Debrief
15a.Coaches assist SLT in implementing PD with
faculty
PLT WL Debrief
7a. Coaches teach PLT to conduct Learning Walks
(WL)
PLT WL Debrief
PLT Begins weekly meetings
SLT 1 Implement Prof Devt
14a. SLT and Coaches create PD unit
PLT WL Debrief
6a. Coaches facilitate PLT identification of
annual instr. goal
PLT WL Debrief
approx. 3 wks after school begins
PLT WL Debrief
5. DEF guides Coaches and PLTs in constructing
and analyzing profiles based on data collected
PLT WL Debrief
PLT Profile Analysis Set instructional goals
WL focus
13a.ABC researchers train SLT to research
best-practices in PD area
PLT WL Debrief
PLT WL Debrief
4 weeks at end of prior year or beg of current
year
SLT 1 Research
4. Coaches and DEF work with PLT to collect
climate data
PLT WL Debrief
PLT appoints SLT1 to address PD Topic 1
3b. DEF develops electronic profile develop-ment
tool
PLT WL Debrief
PLT WL Debrief
PLT WL Debrief
KEY
9. DEF interviews coaches and PLTs about WL
process
Processes 4-11 repeat to mid-year
Begin Process Feedback for next
process Delegation of PD
3a. Coaches collect 3 yrs. stud. ach. demo.
data per school
10. ABC reviews/revises model based on DEF
findings
12. Coaches PLTs choose 2-4 teachers (based on
WLs) to become Dynamic Leadership Team 1
11. Coaches share/ implement revisions with PLTs
1a. PI Recruits and Trains Coaches
2a. ABC PI matches Coaches to schools (n5)
PLT Primary Leadership team SLT
Secondary Leadership team
approx. 9 wks after school begins
2b. DEF trains coaches to use all data tools
1b. DEF develops data collection tools
59
Research Plan Section
  • Describe the work you intend to do
  • How you will answer your research question
    develop your intervention evaluate the
    intervention, or develop and/or validate your
    assessment
  • Make certain Research Plan is aligned to
    Significance section
  • All research questions should have justification
    in Significance
  • Step-by-step process
  • A timeline is strongly recommended!

60
Identify Setting, Population, Sample
  • Identify the places you will be doing research
  • Identify the population you are addressing
  • Identify the sample
  • Inclusion and exclusion criteria
  • Sample size (issues of power for analysis)
  • The importance of attrition and how to address it
  • External validity can you generalize to your
    population or only to a subset of it
  • If using secondary data, discuss these for the
    datasets you will be using

61
Specify Your Outcome Measures
  • For both proximal and distal outcomes
  • Sensitive (often narrow) measures
  • Measures of broad interest to educators
  • Measures not expected to be linked can be used as
    additional evidence
  • Describe reliability, validity, and relevance
  • Do not include measures not linked to research
    questions
  • Consider issue of multiple comparisons

62
Specify Features of All Other Measures
  • Measures that feed back into iterative
    development process
  • Fidelity of Implementation
  • Operating as intended
  • Able to address comparison groups
  • Feasibility

63
Measures Derived From Qualitative Research
  • Describe
  • Actual items to be used
  • How items link to constructs the validity of
    these measures
  • Procedures for collection and coding (address
    inter-rater reliability)
  • How consent obtained for an adequate percent of
    sample
  • How qualitatively collected measures are used in
    analysis of quantitative outcomes (e.g., test
    scores)

64
Measurement Projects
  • Alternate forms horizontal equating
  • Vertical equating, if measuring growth
  • Test fairness
  • Non-student instruments must be validated against
    student outcomes

65
Analysis Depends on Design
  • Describe how your analysis answers your research
    questions
  • Describe analyses of qualitative data

66
Analysis (cont.)
  • Show your model
  • Identify coefficients of interest and their
    meaning
  • Show different models for different analyses
  • Include Equations
  • Address clustering
  • Describe plan for missing data check for
    equivalency at start and attrition bias
  • Use sensitivity tests of assumptions

67
Personnel Section
  • Describe key personnel
  • Show that every aspect of project has person with
    expertise to do it
  • Appropriate methodological expertise
  • Substantive person for all issues addressed
  • Do not propose to hire a key person with X
    expertise
  • Project management skills
  • Show that every aspect of project has enough time
    from an expert
  • Orient CVs so specific to project
  • 4 pages plus 1 page for other sources of support

68
Personnel Strategies for PI
  • Senior Researcher as PI
  • Show adequate time to be PI
  • Make credentials clear (not all reviewers may
    know)
  • Junior Researcher as PI
  • Show you have adequate expertise not only to do
    work but to manage project
  • Continuation of graduate research
  • Management skills as graduate student
  • Reviewers more comfortable if you have senior
    person(s) on project to turn to for advice
  • Co-PI, Co-I, contractors, advisory board
  • Have them on for enough time to be taken seriously

69
Resources
  • Show institutions involved have capacity to
    support work
  • Do not use university boilerplate
  • Show that all organizations involved understand
    and agree to their roles
  • What will each institution, including schools,
    contribute to the project
  • Show strong commitment of schools and districts
    and alternatives in case of attrition
  • If you have received a prior grant award for
    similar work, describe the success of that work

70
Resources (cont.)
  • Appendix D should back up the Resources section
  • Detailed Letters of Agreement from research
    institutions, States, districts, schools
  • Do letters show that partners understand their
    role in the project (e.g., random assignment to
    condition time commitments)?
  • Do letters show that you have access to all
    necessary data to do the proposed work?

71
Budget and Budget Narrative
  • Provide a clear budget and budget narrative for
    overall project and each sub-award
  • Provide detail on the assumptions used in the
    budget (e.g., assumptions for travel)
  • Budget categories are described beginning on pg.
    102 of NCER RFA, pg. 104 of NCSER RFA
  • Check RFA for specific budget requirements for
    Research Goals
  • Ensure alignment among Project Narrative, Budget,
    and Budget Narrative

72
Appendices
Appendix Content to be included
A 3 page response to reviewers for resubmitted applications
B Figures, charts, tables that supplement project narrative examples of measures to be used in the project (optional)
C Examples of materials to be used in the intervention or assessment that is the focus of your project (optional)
D Letters of agreement from partners, data sources, and consultants (optional)
E Data Management Plan (Required for Efficacy/Replication and Effectiveness Applications)
73
Important Dates and Deadlines
Application Deadline Letter of Intent Due Date Application Package Posted Start Dates
August 7, 2014 43000 PM DC Time June 5, 2014 June 5, 2014 July 1, 2015 to Sept 1, 2015
74
Finding Application Packages
  • FY 2015 Application Packages will be available on
    www.grants.gov

75
Review Application Requirements
  • Request for Applications
  • Currently available at http//ies.ed.gov/funding
  • Application Package
  • Will be available on Grants.gov on 6/5/2014

76
Peer Review Process
  • Applications are reviewed for compliance and
    responsiveness to the RFA
  • Applications that are compliant and responsive
    are assigned to a review panel
  • Two or three panel members conduct a primary
    review of each application
  • The most competitive applications are reviewed
    and discussed by the full panel

77
Peer Review Process
  • Peer Review of Grants Process
  • http//ies.ed.gov/director/sro/peer_review/applica
    tion_review.asp
  • Lists of Peer Reviewers
  • http//ies.ed.gov/director/sro/peer_review/reviewe
    rs.asp

78
Help Us Help You
  • Read the Request for Applications carefully
  • Call or e-mail IES Program Officers early in the
    process
  • As time permits, IES program staff can review
    draft proposals and provide feedback
  • Dont be afraid to contact us!

79
Wrap-up and Final QA
  • Elizabeth Albro
  • Associate Commissioner, Teaching and Learning,
    NCER
  • Elizabeth.Albro_at_ed.gov
  • (202) 219-2148
  • Jacquelyn Buckley
  • NCSER
  • Jacquelyn.Buckley_at_ed.gov
  • 202-219-2130
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