Proposal writing

icon of a pen drawing a line

Research Design and Analysis scientists are well-equipped and ready to support investigators with their research proposals. We can:

  • Advise on rigorous research design
  • Consult on randomized clinical trial methodology
  • Develop testable research questions
  • Create alignment between measures and aims
  • Conduct power analyses and provide information about sample size
  • Address attrition and baseline equivalence between groups
  • Write data analysis plans with modern statistical approaches to address aims
  • Assist in writing of data management plan
  • Assist in writing of data sharing plan

To ensure that we can give your grant our maximum attention in order to create the most persuasive grant possible, we suggest the following timeline for our help in preparing your application. We note that the targets below are not set in stone, because our capacity to assist you will always depend on the size of our queue at any given time. For example, we may be able to accommodate shorter timelines for grants to be submitted during off-peak months, whereas we will need longer timelines for grants to be submitted during peak times (e.g., IES submission in August).

10 weeks from submission

Ideally, initial conversations with the RDA about a proposal should occur at least 10 weeks prior to submission for regular grants (12 or more weeks during peak times). At this point we can help shape the design of the proposed research prior to generating an analysis plan.

5 weeks from submission

The next step, to be completed at least 5 weeks prior to submission, is for the investigator(s) to assemble ALL of the information requested in the section Necessary Input for Writing an Analysis Plan. Please keep in mind this very important step may require multiple back-and-forth conversations with the RDA and other collaborators in order to make and describe all of these decisions, and thus may take longer than initially anticipated. 

Once complete analysis plan input has been provided, it will take a minimum of 1–2 weeks for the RDA to write the first draft of the analysis plan. At this point we can also help create a reasonable, well-informed budget for our involvement (see Creating a Budget below). Upon receipt, the investigator should try to incorporate the analysis plan content into the proposal, monitoring for consistency in ideas and in wording (e.g., what constructs and measures are called).

1-2 weeks from submission

A near-complete draft of the entire research plan should then be submitted to the RDA for review at least 1–2 weeks prior to submission. We will provide feedback on the readability and consistency of the entire document, which can be helpful given our non-expert point of view for the non-analysis content. Time permitting, we can also provide preliminary feedback on the rest of the proposal prior to this final stage.

After reviewing the near-complete version of the entire research plan and our portion of the budget, we can then provide biosketches and a letter of support to reiterate our commitment to your project as needed to complete our portion of the application.