2014 Distance Research Guidelines

General Overview of the Research Fund

Beginning in the Fall of 2013, the Dean of the University College (UC) allocated a small fund to be used for targeted research projects related to distance learning.  Each year, the UC will announce requests for proposals (RFP) to address those needs.  Unsolicited proposals not related to a particular RFP will only be considered with the prior approval from the Associate Dean of the UC.  A call for research proposals will go out to the faculty at large in the spring of each academic year.  The principal investigator on all proposals must be a full-time MTSU faculty member (i.e., tenure-track, tenured, or full-time temporary).  Researchers who are not full-time faculty (e.g., adjuncts, graduate students) may be included as co-PIs or consultants.

General Proposal Requirements

Proposals should include each of the following sections:

1.    Introduction:  State the nature of the problem, the current status of the research literature related to this problem, and what   hypotheses or questions will be addressed by the proposed project. Please indicate how this project is related to the specific call for proposals that was issued.
2.    Method:  Provide sufficient detail on the participants, measures, design, and procedures to be used in the project.
3.    Data analysis:  Provide a description of how the data will be analyzed and reported.
4.    Discussion:  Give an overview of the likely implications of the study for Distance Learning and/or the University College.
5.    References:  Include representative citations of literature related to the research question.

Sections 1-5 should not exceed 6 pages, double-spaced, 12-point font.

6.    Qualifications of investigator(s):  Provide a 1-page summary of the applicant's experiences and expertise relevant to the particular call for proposals.
7.    Project timeline:  Include a clear timeline for project implementation, 1 page maximum. Be sure to indicate when the project is expected to begin and when it will be completed.
8.    Budget:  Provide a detailed budget, indicating all expenses and justification for these. Proposals may include requests for a 1-course (3-hour) reassign time or an equivalent extra compensation stipend. The provision of gift cards to research participants is prohibited. 1-2 pages maximum.
9.    IRB approval:  Obtain and provide evidence of IRB approval. This approval can be obtained after the funding decision.
10.    Total length:  Length of the entire proposal should not exceed 10 pages, double-spaced, 12-point font.

Evaluation of Proposals

Proposals will be reviewed by an ad hoc committee consisting of three Distance Education Committee faculty members, two UC staff members, and the Director of Faculty Development at the LT&ITC.  This committee may also be charged with issuing calls for proposals in consultation with the UC Dean and Associate Dean.

Final Report

All grant recipients are required to submit a final report on their project, no later than 2 months after its completion.  The final report should be 2-3 pages in length (double-spaced, 12 point font).  The final report must include the following information:

1. A description of what you accomplished during the project period and how these accomplishments helped you to reach your stated project goal(s) and objective(s).

2. A description of any challenges you faced during the grant period and what actions you took to address these challenges.

3. An overview of how the findings from your grant project help to contribute to the research literature on the topic you studied.

4. A listing of any presentations or publications that have (or will) result from the project.

Failure to submit a final report will preclude the recipient from having any future proposals considered by this funding mechanism.