Proposal Writing Muhammad Tahir Public Health Epidemiologist Acknowledgements: Dr. Naveed Zafar Janjua
Course overview • During the course duration students will practice writing a grant proposal on the research question of their interest • Students will submit sections of their proposal at each deadline which will be reviewed and graded • At the end of course students will submit a 15 page proposal
Course objectives • To learn skills in organizing and writing a research proposal • To learn elements and requirement of grant proposal submitted to PMRC or any other funding agency for grant • Understand the principles of power analysis and sample size calculations for research studies • Understand the principles that guide the protection of human subjects and ethical issues in research as documented in research proposal • Prepare a grant proposal ready for submission to an funding agency
Purpose of the course • This course is designed to help students develop the critical thinking and writing skills relevant to the preparation of a grant application • The class will be interactive and students will learn by practicing writing of each element of the proposal and come prepare in class to discuss in front of whole class. The faculty and peer will give feedback for improvement • It is mandatory for each student to submit section of their proposal at each deadline. • At the end of this course, each student will submit a final proposal including all sections.
Course pre-requisite • This course is not intended to teach methods though there will be some discussion to refresh concepts and issues. Therefore, students are expected to have taken and passed the fundamentals of biostatistics and basic epidemiology courses.
Course enrollment requirements • Selection of supervisor • Identification of an idea/topic leading to research question • Preparation of one page about planned research, bring with you on first day of class
Class attendance/Evaluation • As per institute and University policy
Milestones/Deadlines • Specific aims/objectives…….. • Literature search/Critique….. • Intro/Background……………. • Methods……………………… • Questionnaire & tools………. • Human subject consideration…. • Operational plan……………….. • Draft submission…………………
Plagiarism • The plagiarism is defined as the misappropriation of the work of others as one’s own, whether found in print or electronic media. • Any paper submitted by a student for formal assessment during the course, must be written by the student in his/her own words, except for quotations from published and published sources, which shall be clearly indicated and acknowledged. • The plagiarism may be in the following forms: • The verabatim copying of another person’s work without acknowledgement • Paraphrasing of another person’s work by simply changing a few words or altering the order of presentation, without acknowledgement • Quotation of phrases from another person’s work without due acknowledgent
Research • A systematic investigation, including research development, testing and evaluation, designed to develop or contribute to generalizable knowledge (DHHS US) • A structured activity which is intended to provide new knowledge which is generalizable (i.e. of value to others in a similar situation) and intended for wider dissemination (UK Department of heatlh, 2002)
What is a proposal/Protocol • It is the formal design or plan of an experiment or research activity • A document detailing research plan • The protocol includes a description of the research design or methodology to be employed, the eligibility requirements for prospective subjects and controls, the treatment regimens, and the proposed methods of analysis that will be performed on collected data. • It is the plan submitted to the grant agency for research support
Why a proposal needed • The proposal act as a manual for members of the research team to ensure they adhere to the methods outlined • As your research ideas develop into a workable study a written protocol will help to formalize your ideas and gain feedback from others through peer review • A well written protocol is also necessary for your application of: • Funding agencies • Ethics commitees • Research governance commitees • As your study gets underway, the proposal can then be used to monitor the study’s progress and evaluate its outcomes • The protocol encourages the reader to think about the study rigorously and provides communication between all of the people involved
Elements of proposal • Summary • Background & significance • Aims and objectvies • Research methods • Setting • Study design • Study population • Sampling and recruitment • Exposure assessment • Outcome assessment
Elements of proposal cont.. • Intervention • Randomization • Data collection • Quality assurance and quality control • Sample size and power • Data management • Plan of analysis • Expected benefits/expected impact • Human subjects consideration • Time line • Budget • Plan of dissemination • Operation planning/manual of operations etc
Abstract/Summary • Summarize the aims or objectives of the study and give a brief outline of the design and methods • Last thing to write before proposal submission
Background/Introduction • The introduction should outline the background to the research, including a critical review of the current knowledge or literature, including published and unpublished work in the area • Any gaps in the evidence should be identified as should the potential value of furthering knowledge in this field, such as theoretical or clinical applications of the study outcomes. If applicable, the research hypothesis should also be included in this section, with an explanation of the reasons for undertaking the work.
Aims and objectives • Outline concise and precise objectives that should follow on from the hypothesis
Methods • Study design: what study design is most appropriate to answer your particular research question • Setting: where will the research take place? Your study may take place in a number of different sites, or you may be visiting patients in their homes • Subjects/Patients: • Define who will be study population. • What is rationale and why they were chosen • Inclusion and exclusion criteria • In long term studies and trials more details criteria of completed enrollment etc
Methods cont.. • Randomization methods: some research stratified, randomized control studies, require a random allocation of patients to the different experimental groups or interventions. You will need to explain the randomization methods you will use. • Methods of assessment or measurement: what data will be collected and why. What instruments will you use and are they the most appropriate? If you are using any equipment, it should be clearly described. • Outcome measures/Objectives: the measurement outcomes used to support or reject the hypothesis can be stated and separated into primary and secondary outcomes. E.g. primary outcomes or endpoints are most important to your hypothesis, there may be only 1 or 2. secondary outcomes may provide support to the hypothesis, but without primary outcomes they could not confirm the hypothesis.
Methods cont.. • Intervention (if applicable): not all studies will involve any intervention, but where ever it is applicable, its description should be given. If you are giving a treatment or investigation, the dose, timing, method of administration, should be detailed. All necessary safeguards and potential risks should be made clear, including the methods by which intervention will be monitored.
Methods cont.. • Data collection, management & analysis: • Explain how the data will be collected and managed. Who will have access to it. The methods of the data analysis should be specified and may include following points: • Method of data entry • Plan of analysis, including assumptions of analysis • Data analysis package • Presentation of demographic and outcome data summaries • Planned presentation of the data i.e. graphs, tables, and figures
Implement new ideas Make a clinical obseration Problem Do a literature search Refine the observation into research qestion Built a research team Meet with area specialists Apply for grant funding Satisfy requirements Move your protocol into action Collect data Analyze data Communicate results
Research Question • Identification of problem or question to solve • Start general to narrow down • Why a good research question? • Drives researcher by providing focus • Guide towards design • What is the good research question?
Research Question • FINER-O • Feasible • Interesting • Novel • Ethical • Relevant • Operationalized (Hyully & Cummings, 1988)
Research Question • Feasible: • Adequate number of subjects • Adequate technical expertise • Affordable time and money • Manageable in scope • Interesting: • To the investigators, peers, funding agency and journals
Research Question • Novel: • New information, confirms or refutes previous findings • Application of findings in one population to others • Improved measurement techniques for exposure disease relationships • Ethical: • Study should not be pose unacceptable physical risks or invasion of privacy
Research Question • Relevant: • To scientific knowledge • To clinial and health policy • To future research directions
Reaching at a research question • Observation and clinical experience: • Irritation about a particular thing in your practice • Interest into problem • Do literature search • What has already been investigated • Identify data gaps
Research question • Locate relevant literature • Access your local library • MESH terms • Search databases and search widely • Utilize web based resources • Other sources of information: • Confrence proceedings • Colleagues • Product information
Research question • Review literature: • Global review for a broad understanding of the area • Defined review for depth of understanding • Critically review the literature • Access both qualitative and quantitative studies • Identify what is known about your question • Now, identify the gaps which then leads you to refining your research question
Examples • What is a relationship between health and perinatal outcomes? Is it appropriate?? Critique??
Problems in above question? • Vague • Broad • Not operationalized • population
Does women aged 20-45 living in karachi who have Hb <11g/dl more likely to give birth to low birth weight (<2500g) babies? • Is it appropriate?? • Critique??
Questions vs objectives • Statement of question vs. statement of action • Objective stem from question • Start with “to” • To estimate proportion of health care workers who received sharp injureis during past 6 months at general practitioners clinics in Swabi, NWFP
Objectives • Always backed up by the specific explicit hypothesis • Should include • Exposure • Outcome • Confounder if any specific • Population • Time bound