Guidance for Research Proposals
An effective research proposal should answer the following questions:
What are the specific research questions your project will attempt to answer?
List the question or questions that will drive your proposed activities. Research questions should be clear and concise to help reviewers understand what you wish to learn.
What is the relevance of your proposed research for current practice?
Demonstrate how the research will lead to improved museum or library practice and that you are familiar with current research literature.
What research methods will you use to conduct the research?
Detail the methods you will use and why they are the most appropriate for addressing the question at hand. The methods must be replicable and based on the best practices identified in the scientific literature or by relevant professional associations.
What type of data will you gather?
Describe the type of research data you will collect and what measures you will take to ensure its validity and reliability. Detail the methods for collecting the information along with any potential privacy or human subjects concerns that may arise. List potential challenges in gathering data and explain how you will address them.
How will you analyze the data?
Outline an analysis plan that links a set of testable hypotheses to the proposed research question(s). Identify the variables of interest that are key to the investigation, and explain how you will deal with alternative explanations for the observed phenomena.
How will you use the data?
Describe how you will analyze the results of your research and compare them to your research questions. Identify the interpretive framework or context you will use.
How will you report the information?
Address how you will communicate the results to a variety of target audiences with different levels of expertise.
How will you manage the research data and make it available for future use (as applicable)?
Explain how you will manage, share, preserve, and document the information and research products you will create during the project. To do this, complete the Digital Stewardship Supplementary Information Form and include it as part of the application to IMLS.