Summer Course for Research Design in the Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences
July 18 – 22, 2016
The Summer Course for Research Design (SCRD) brings together social science area experts and post-doctoral participants from the social sciences for 1 week of intensive study of research design in the social, behavioral and economic sciences (SBE). Supported by the National Science Foundation, the focus of the course is on the development of scientific research proposals. Approximately 12 participants will be selected from a competitive pool of applicants who already hold a Ph.D. in any of the social sciences disciplines under the SBE umbrella. Criteria for selection include an applicant’s interest in issues of research design and a commitment to advancing his or her proposal writing skills, as well as an interest in helping to increase the participation and advancement of under-represented groups in SBE fields or, in general, STEM fields.
Potential participants from under-represented groups are particularly encouraged to apply. This course should be of particular interest to colleagues interested in the SBE Postdoctoral Research Fellowship initiative at NSF (SPRF), which emphasizes broadening participation and interdisciplinary research in the behavioral and social sciences.
Course content covers a broad spectrum of SBE research design issues, but with a heavy emphasis on the link between theory and methods and the importance of this link in writing well-conceived research proposals.
Course Objectives and Content
The overall goal of the SCRD is to provide course participants with a well-grounded and meaningful experience in the development of a scientific research proposal. The primary objectives of the course are:
- 1.) To provide Ph.D.s in the SBE disciplines, particularly members of under-represented groups, with a basic understanding of the link between theory and scientific methodology in the social sciences.
- 2.) To improve a participant’s ability to develop and write a scientifically well-conceived research proposal.
- 3.) To give participants the skills for finding information to solve design problems as well as information about working with collaborators.
With respect to objective 1 the curriculum emphasizes the linkage between theory, design, research objectives, and methods in the social, behavioral and economic sciences. Extensive use of examples aids in demonstrating the link between theory and such logistical and methodological details as the development of research objectives, the selection of appropriate research sites or settings, the operationalization of concepts and variables, the construction of hypotheses, the choice of appropriate sampling techniques, and the use of a proper mix of methods for collecting and analyzing data.
Objective 2 is is of primary importance to the future success of participants in obtaining research funding. A well-conceived and integrated proposal demonstrates an understanding of the systemic nature of the research process. The curriculum stresses proposal development and participants are expected to conceive of and write a miniproposal by the end of the course. Participants will also learn how to avoid common pitfalls that hinder the success of proposals during review by potential funders.
For objective 3, the curriculum is designed to give participants the skills for finding information to solve design problems as well as information about working with collaborators.
Time and Place
This is the second year of the SCRD. The course is co-directed by Jeffrey Johnson (University of Florida) and Christopher McCarty (University of Florida) and involves a number of other faculty including H. Russell Bernard (University of Florida), Kirk Johnson (University of Mississippi) and John Sonnett (University of Mississippi). The SCRD runs for one week each summer and is held on the campus of the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida.
In 2016, the SCRD will run from July 18-22.
Who should apply
Those who already hold a Ph.D. in any of the social sciences disciplines under the SBE umbrella are eligible to apply. Criteria for selection include an applicant’s interest in issues of research design and a commitment to advancing his or her proposal writing skills, as well as an interest in research relevant to underserved populations. Potential participants from under-represented groups are particularly encouraged to apply.
The program covers participants’ room, board, and tuition. Participants are responsible for costs associated with travel to and from the Institute and for required textbooks.
Deadline: April 30, 2016.
Supported by the National Science Foundation