Guidance for Research Proposals
An effective research proposal should answer the following questions:
What are the specific research questions this project will attempt to answer?
List one or more 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 the 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 method(s) will be used to conduct the research?
Detail the method(s) you will use in the study and why the identified method is the most appropriate for addressing the question at hand. These methods must be replicable and based on best practices as defined by the current scientific literature or relevant professional associations.
What type of data will be gathered?
Describe the type of research data you will collect and what measures you will take to ensure the validity and reliability of the data. Detail the methods for collecting the information along with any potential privacy and/or human subjects concerns that may arise. List potential challenges in gathering data and explain how you will address them, should they arise.
How will the data be analyzed?
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 the information be reported?
Address how you will communicate the results to a variety of target audiences with different levels of expertise.
How will the research data be managed and made available for future use (as applicable)?
If you will create an electronic dataset as a result of the proposed research, complete Part III of the Digital Content Supplementary Information Form and include it as part of the application to IMLS. Part III of this form asks you to summarize the dataset’s original purpose and scope; provide technical information about the dataset’s format, structure, and content; explain what metadata will be created about the dataset and what standards and formats will be used for the metadata; list any relevant hardware, software, or other dependencies for using the data; identify a repository where the data and metadata will be archived, managed, and made accessible; and describe the long-term preservation plan for the dataset.