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A research plan is a framework that shows how you intend to approach your topic. The plan can take many forms: a written outline, a narrative, a visual/concept map or timeline. It's a document that will change and develop as you conduct your research. Components of a research plan

1. Research conceptualization - introduces your research question

2. Research methodology - describes your approach to the research question

3. Literature review, critical evaluation and synthesis - systematic approach to locating,

    reviewing and evaluating the work (text, exhibitions, critiques, etc) relating to your topic

4. Communication - geared toward an intended audience, shows evidence of your inquiry

Research conceptualization refers to the ability to identify specific research questions, problems or opportunities that are worthy of inquiry. Research conceptualization also includes the skills and discipline that go beyond the initial moment of conception, and which enable the researcher to formulate and develop an idea into something researchable ( Newbury 373).

Research methodology refers to the knowledge and skills required to select and apply appropriate methods to carry through the research project ( Newbury 374) .

Method describes a single mode of proceeding; methodology describes the overall process.

Method - a way of doing anything especially according to a defined and regular plan; a mode of procedure in any activity

Methodology - the study of the direction and implications of empirical research, or the sustainability of techniques employed in it; a method or body of methods used in a particular field of study or activity *Browse a list of research methodology books  or this guide on Art & Design Research

Literature Review, critical evaluation & synthesis

A literature review is a systematic approach to locating, reviewing, and evaluating the published work and work in progress of scholars, researchers, and practitioners on a given topic.

Critical evaluation and synthesis is the ability to handle (or process) existing sources. It includes knowledge of the sources of literature and contextual research field within which the person is working ( Newbury 373).

Literature reviews are done for many reasons and situations. Here's a short list:

Sources to consult while conducting a literature review:

Online catalogs of local, regional, national, and special libraries

meta-catalogs such as worldcat , Art Discovery Group , europeana , world digital library or RIBA

subject-specific online article databases (such as the Avery Index, JSTOR, Project Muse)

digital institutional repositories such as Digital Commons @RISD ; see Registry of Open Access Repositories

Open Access Resources recommended by RISD Research LIbrarians

works cited in scholarly books and articles

print bibliographies

the internet-locate major nonprofit, research institutes, museum, university, and government websites

search google scholar to locate grey literature & referenced citations

trade and scholarly publishers

fellow scholars and peers


Communication refers to the ability to

  • structure a coherent line of inquiry
  • communicate your findings to your intended audience
  • make skilled use of visual material to express ideas for presentations, writing, and the creation of exhibitions ( Newbury 374)

Research plan framework: Newbury, Darren. "Research Training in the Creative Arts and Design." The Routledge Companion to Research in the Arts . Ed. Michael Biggs and Henrik Karlsson. New York: Routledge, 2010. 368-87. Print.

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Except where otherwise noted, this guide is subject to a Creative Commons Attribution license

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  Routledge Companion to Research in the Arts

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How to write a research plan: Step-by-step guide

Last updated

30 January 2024

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Today’s businesses and institutions rely on data and analytics to inform their product and service decisions. These metrics influence how organizations stay competitive and inspire innovation. However, gathering data and insights requires carefully constructed research, and every research project needs a roadmap. This is where a research plan comes into play.

There’s general research planning; then there’s an official, well-executed research plan. Whatever data-driven research project you’re gearing up for, the research plan will be your framework for execution. The plan should also be detailed and thorough, with a diligent set of criteria to formulate your research efforts. Not including these key elements in your plan can be just as harmful as having no plan at all.

Read this step-by-step guide for writing a detailed research plan that can apply to any project, whether it’s scientific, educational, or business-related.

  • What is a research plan?

A research plan is a documented overview of a project in its entirety, from end to end. It details the research efforts, participants, and methods needed, along with any anticipated results. It also outlines the project’s goals and mission, creating layers of steps to achieve those goals within a specified timeline.

Without a research plan, you and your team are flying blind, potentially wasting time and resources to pursue research without structured guidance.

The principal investigator, or PI, is responsible for facilitating the research oversight. They will create the research plan and inform team members and stakeholders of every detail relating to the project. The PI will also use the research plan to inform decision-making throughout the project.

  • Why do you need a research plan?

Create a research plan before starting any official research to maximize every effort in pursuing and collecting the research data. Crucially, the plan will model the activities needed at each phase of the research project.

Like any roadmap, a research plan serves as a valuable tool providing direction for those involved in the project—both internally and externally. It will keep you and your immediate team organized and task-focused while also providing necessary definitions and timelines so you can execute your project initiatives with full understanding and transparency.

External stakeholders appreciate a working research plan because it’s a great communication tool, documenting progress and changing dynamics as they arise. Any participants of your planned research sessions will be informed about the purpose of your study, while the exercises will be based on the key messaging outlined in the official plan.

Here are some of the benefits of creating a research plan document for every project:

Project organization and structure

Well-informed participants

All stakeholders and teams align in support of the project

Clearly defined project definitions and purposes

Distractions are eliminated, prioritizing task focus

Timely management of individual task schedules and roles

Costly reworks are avoided

  • What should a research plan include?

The different aspects of your research plan will depend on the nature of the project. However, most official research plan documents will include the core elements below. Each aims to define the problem statement, devising an official plan for seeking a solution.

Specific project goals and individual objectives

Ideal strategies or methods for reaching those goals

Required resources

Descriptions of the target audience, sample sizes, demographics, and scopes

Key performance indicators (KPIs)

Project background

Research and testing support

Preliminary studies and progress reporting mechanisms

Cost estimates and change order processes

Depending on the research project’s size and scope, your research plan could be brief—perhaps only a few pages of documented plans. Alternatively, it could be a fully comprehensive report. Either way, it’s an essential first step in dictating your project’s facilitation in the most efficient and effective way.

  • How to write a research plan for your project

When you start writing your research plan, aim to be detailed about each step, requirement, and idea. The more time you spend curating your research plan, the more precise your research execution efforts will be.

Account for every potential scenario, and be sure to address each and every aspect of the research.

Consider following this flow to develop a great research plan for your project:

Define your project’s purpose

Start by defining your project’s purpose. Identify what your project aims to accomplish and what you are researching. Remember to use clear language.

Thinking about the project’s purpose will help you set realistic goals and inform how you divide tasks and assign responsibilities. These individual tasks will be your stepping stones to reach your overarching goal.

Additionally, you’ll want to identify the specific problem, the usability metrics needed, and the intended solutions.

Know the following three things about your project’s purpose before you outline anything else:

What you’re doing

Why you’re doing it

What you expect from it

Identify individual objectives

With your overarching project objectives in place, you can identify any individual goals or steps needed to reach those objectives. Break them down into phases or steps. You can work backward from the project goal and identify every process required to facilitate it.

Be mindful to identify each unique task so that you can assign responsibilities to various team members. At this point in your research plan development, you’ll also want to assign priority to those smaller, more manageable steps and phases that require more immediate or dedicated attention.

Select research methods

Research methods might include any of the following:

User interviews: this is a qualitative research method where researchers engage with participants in one-on-one or group conversations. The aim is to gather insights into their experiences, preferences, and opinions to uncover patterns, trends, and data.

Field studies: this approach allows for a contextual understanding of behaviors, interactions, and processes in real-world settings. It involves the researcher immersing themselves in the field, conducting observations, interviews, or experiments to gather in-depth insights.

Card sorting: participants categorize information by sorting content cards into groups based on their perceived similarities. You might use this process to gain insights into participants’ mental models and preferences when navigating or organizing information on websites, apps, or other systems.

Focus groups: use organized discussions among select groups of participants to provide relevant views and experiences about a particular topic.

Diary studies: ask participants to record their experiences, thoughts, and activities in a diary over a specified period. This method provides a deeper understanding of user experiences, uncovers patterns, and identifies areas for improvement.

Five-second testing: participants are shown a design, such as a web page or interface, for just five seconds. They then answer questions about their initial impressions and recall, allowing you to evaluate the design’s effectiveness.

Surveys: get feedback from participant groups with structured surveys. You can use online forms, telephone interviews, or paper questionnaires to reveal trends, patterns, and correlations.

Tree testing: tree testing involves researching web assets through the lens of findability and navigability. Participants are given a textual representation of the site’s hierarchy (the “tree”) and asked to locate specific information or complete tasks by selecting paths.

Usability testing: ask participants to interact with a product, website, or application to evaluate its ease of use. This method enables you to uncover areas for improvement in digital key feature functionality by observing participants using the product.

Live website testing: research and collect analytics that outlines the design, usability, and performance efficiencies of a website in real time.

There are no limits to the number of research methods you could use within your project. Just make sure your research methods help you determine the following:

What do you plan to do with the research findings?

What decisions will this research inform? How can your stakeholders leverage the research data and results?

Recruit participants and allocate tasks

Next, identify the participants needed to complete the research and the resources required to complete the tasks. Different people will be proficient at different tasks, and having a task allocation plan will allow everything to run smoothly.

Prepare a thorough project summary

Every well-designed research plan will feature a project summary. This official summary will guide your research alongside its communications or messaging. You’ll use the summary while recruiting participants and during stakeholder meetings. It can also be useful when conducting field studies.

Ensure this summary includes all the elements of your research project. Separate the steps into an easily explainable piece of text that includes the following:

An introduction: the message you’ll deliver to participants about the interview, pre-planned questioning, and testing tasks.

Interview questions: prepare questions you intend to ask participants as part of your research study, guiding the sessions from start to finish.

An exit message: draft messaging your teams will use to conclude testing or survey sessions. These should include the next steps and express gratitude for the participant’s time.

Create a realistic timeline

While your project might already have a deadline or a results timeline in place, you’ll need to consider the time needed to execute it effectively.

Realistically outline the time needed to properly execute each supporting phase of research and implementation. And, as you evaluate the necessary schedules, be sure to include additional time for achieving each milestone in case any changes or unexpected delays arise.

For this part of your research plan, you might find it helpful to create visuals to ensure your research team and stakeholders fully understand the information.

Determine how to present your results

A research plan must also describe how you intend to present your results. Depending on the nature of your project and its goals, you might dedicate one team member (the PI) or assume responsibility for communicating the findings yourself.

In this part of the research plan, you’ll articulate how you’ll share the results. Detail any materials you’ll use, such as:

Presentations and slides

A project report booklet

A project findings pamphlet

Documents with key takeaways and statistics

Graphic visuals to support your findings

  • Format your research plan

As you create your research plan, you can enjoy a little creative freedom. A plan can assume many forms, so format it how you see fit. Determine the best layout based on your specific project, intended communications, and the preferences of your teams and stakeholders.

Find format inspiration among the following layouts:

Written outlines

Narrative storytelling

Visual mapping

Graphic timelines

Remember, the research plan format you choose will be subject to change and adaptation as your research and findings unfold. However, your final format should ideally outline questions, problems, opportunities, and expectations.

  • Research plan example

Imagine you’ve been tasked with finding out how to get more customers to order takeout from an online food delivery platform. The goal is to improve satisfaction and retain existing customers. You set out to discover why more people aren’t ordering and what it is they do want to order or experience. 

You identify the need for a research project that helps you understand what drives customer loyalty. But before you jump in and start calling past customers, you need to develop a research plan—the roadmap that provides focus, clarity, and realistic details to the project.

Here’s an example outline of a research plan you might put together:

Project title

Project members involved in the research plan

Purpose of the project (provide a summary of the research plan’s intent)

Objective 1 (provide a short description for each objective)

Objective 2

Objective 3

Proposed timeline

Audience (detail the group you want to research, such as customers or non-customers)

Budget (how much you think it might cost to do the research)

Risk factors/contingencies (any potential risk factors that may impact the project’s success)

Remember, your research plan doesn’t have to reinvent the wheel—it just needs to fit your project’s unique needs and aims.

Customizing a research plan template

Some companies offer research plan templates to help get you started. However, it may make more sense to develop your own customized plan template. Be sure to include the core elements of a great research plan with your template layout, including the following:

Introductions to participants and stakeholders

Background problems and needs statement

Significance, ethics, and purpose

Research methods, questions, and designs

Preliminary beliefs and expectations

Implications and intended outcomes

Realistic timelines for each phase

Conclusion and presentations

How many pages should a research plan be?

Generally, a research plan can vary in length between 500 to 1,500 words. This is roughly three pages of content. More substantial projects will be 2,000 to 3,500 words, taking up four to seven pages of planning documents.

What is the difference between a research plan and a research proposal?

A research plan is a roadmap to success for research teams. A research proposal, on the other hand, is a dissertation aimed at convincing or earning the support of others. Both are relevant in creating a guide to follow to complete a project goal.

What are the seven steps to developing a research plan?

While each research project is different, it’s best to follow these seven general steps to create your research plan:

Defining the problem

Identifying goals

Choosing research methods

Recruiting participants

Preparing the brief or summary

Establishing task timelines

Defining how you will present the findings

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  • How to Write a Research Proposal | Examples & Templates

How to Write a Research Proposal | Examples & Templates

Published on October 12, 2022 by Shona McCombes and Tegan George. Revised on November 21, 2023.

Structure of a research proposal

A research proposal describes what you will investigate, why it’s important, and how you will conduct your research.

The format of a research proposal varies between fields, but most proposals will contain at least these elements:


Literature review.

  • Research design

Reference list

While the sections may vary, the overall objective is always the same. A research proposal serves as a blueprint and guide for your research plan, helping you get organized and feel confident in the path forward you choose to take.

Table of contents

Research proposal purpose, research proposal examples, research design and methods, contribution to knowledge, research schedule, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about research proposals.

Academics often have to write research proposals to get funding for their projects. As a student, you might have to write a research proposal as part of a grad school application , or prior to starting your thesis or dissertation .

In addition to helping you figure out what your research can look like, a proposal can also serve to demonstrate why your project is worth pursuing to a funder, educational institution, or supervisor.

Research proposal length

The length of a research proposal can vary quite a bit. A bachelor’s or master’s thesis proposal can be just a few pages, while proposals for PhD dissertations or research funding are usually much longer and more detailed. Your supervisor can help you determine the best length for your work.

One trick to get started is to think of your proposal’s structure as a shorter version of your thesis or dissertation , only without the results , conclusion and discussion sections.

Download our research proposal template

Receive feedback on language, structure, and formatting

Professional editors proofread and edit your paper by focusing on:

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See an example

research plan of science

Writing a research proposal can be quite challenging, but a good starting point could be to look at some examples. We’ve included a few for you below.

  • Example research proposal #1: “A Conceptual Framework for Scheduling Constraint Management”
  • Example research proposal #2: “Medical Students as Mediators of Change in Tobacco Use”

Like your dissertation or thesis, the proposal will usually have a title page that includes:

  • The proposed title of your project
  • Your supervisor’s name
  • Your institution and department

The first part of your proposal is the initial pitch for your project. Make sure it succinctly explains what you want to do and why.

Your introduction should:

  • Introduce your topic
  • Give necessary background and context
  • Outline your  problem statement  and research questions

To guide your introduction , include information about:

  • Who could have an interest in the topic (e.g., scientists, policymakers)
  • How much is already known about the topic
  • What is missing from this current knowledge
  • What new insights your research will contribute
  • Why you believe this research is worth doing

As you get started, it’s important to demonstrate that you’re familiar with the most important research on your topic. A strong literature review  shows your reader that your project has a solid foundation in existing knowledge or theory. It also shows that you’re not simply repeating what other people have already done or said, but rather using existing research as a jumping-off point for your own.

In this section, share exactly how your project will contribute to ongoing conversations in the field by:

  • Comparing and contrasting the main theories, methods, and debates
  • Examining the strengths and weaknesses of different approaches
  • Explaining how will you build on, challenge, or synthesize prior scholarship

Following the literature review, restate your main  objectives . This brings the focus back to your own project. Next, your research design or methodology section will describe your overall approach, and the practical steps you will take to answer your research questions.

To finish your proposal on a strong note, explore the potential implications of your research for your field. Emphasize again what you aim to contribute and why it matters.

For example, your results might have implications for:

  • Improving best practices
  • Informing policymaking decisions
  • Strengthening a theory or model
  • Challenging popular or scientific beliefs
  • Creating a basis for future research

Last but not least, your research proposal must include correct citations for every source you have used, compiled in a reference list . To create citations quickly and easily, you can use our free APA citation generator .

Some institutions or funders require a detailed timeline of the project, asking you to forecast what you will do at each stage and how long it may take. While not always required, be sure to check the requirements of your project.

Here’s an example schedule to help you get started. You can also download a template at the button below.

Download our research schedule template

If you are applying for research funding, chances are you will have to include a detailed budget. This shows your estimates of how much each part of your project will cost.

Make sure to check what type of costs the funding body will agree to cover. For each item, include:

  • Cost : exactly how much money do you need?
  • Justification : why is this cost necessary to complete the research?
  • Source : how did you calculate the amount?

To determine your budget, think about:

  • Travel costs : do you need to go somewhere to collect your data? How will you get there, and how much time will you need? What will you do there (e.g., interviews, archival research)?
  • Materials : do you need access to any tools or technologies?
  • Help : do you need to hire any research assistants for the project? What will they do, and how much will you pay them?

If you want to know more about the research process , methodology , research bias , or statistics , make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples.


  • Sampling methods
  • Simple random sampling
  • Stratified sampling
  • Cluster sampling
  • Likert scales
  • Reproducibility


  • Null hypothesis
  • Statistical power
  • Probability distribution
  • Effect size
  • Poisson distribution

Research bias

  • Optimism bias
  • Cognitive bias
  • Implicit bias
  • Hawthorne effect
  • Anchoring bias
  • Explicit bias

Once you’ve decided on your research objectives , you need to explain them in your paper, at the end of your problem statement .

Keep your research objectives clear and concise, and use appropriate verbs to accurately convey the work that you will carry out for each one.

I will compare …

A research aim is a broad statement indicating the general purpose of your research project. It should appear in your introduction at the end of your problem statement , before your research objectives.

Research objectives are more specific than your research aim. They indicate the specific ways you’ll address the overarching aim.

A PhD, which is short for philosophiae doctor (doctor of philosophy in Latin), is the highest university degree that can be obtained. In a PhD, students spend 3–5 years writing a dissertation , which aims to make a significant, original contribution to current knowledge.

A PhD is intended to prepare students for a career as a researcher, whether that be in academia, the public sector, or the private sector.

A master’s is a 1- or 2-year graduate degree that can prepare you for a variety of careers.

All master’s involve graduate-level coursework. Some are research-intensive and intend to prepare students for further study in a PhD; these usually require their students to write a master’s thesis . Others focus on professional training for a specific career.

Critical thinking refers to the ability to evaluate information and to be aware of biases or assumptions, including your own.

Like information literacy , it involves evaluating arguments, identifying and solving problems in an objective and systematic way, and clearly communicating your ideas.

The best way to remember the difference between a research plan and a research proposal is that they have fundamentally different audiences. A research plan helps you, the researcher, organize your thoughts. On the other hand, a dissertation proposal or research proposal aims to convince others (e.g., a supervisor, a funding body, or a dissertation committee) that your research topic is relevant and worthy of being conducted.

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Creating a Research Plan

Creating a Research Plan for a Science Project Before starting work on a science project, a research plan should be created. While many researchers merely do this “in their head”, it should be formally contained within a document. The research plan describes many aspects of the project. It will help both the researchers and mentors understand the overall approach that is planned for the project. The contents of this web page should serve as a guide for creating a research plan.

A written research plan should contain a description of the following. 1. The goals of the project 2. The hypothesis 3. The factors that will be studied 4. The responses (results) that will be observed 5. How the data will be analyzed and interpreted 6. The materials and equipment that will be used 7. The experimental methods (procedure) that will be used 8. The facilities where the work will be done 9. How the research plan might change 10. Summary

11. A bibliography that includes at least five major references.

NOTE : Steps 1-5 are focused on setting up the overall ideas and objectives. Steps 6-8 are focused on the specifics of the experimentation, such as what, how, and where the experimentation will be performed. Steps 9-11 are important for anyone looking over the project, but are particularly important if you are applying for pre-approval because it gives those reviewing the application a better sense of how well the planning was done.

The Goals of the Project A description of the goals of the project should be a general discussion of the project. What will be studied? Why is it of interest? What do you hope to learn? This will set the stage for the rest of the research plan.

The Hypothesis Here is where the scientific hypothesis is laid out. A proposal is made about the factors to be studied and how they might affect the responses of interest. For example, a hypothesis about the growth of maple tree saplings might start with: “We believe that recently-sprouted maple tree saplings will have their growth stunted by excessive exposure to ultraviolet light.” From here, the hypothesis is discussed in enough detail for the reader to understand exactly what is being proposed about the state of the natural world that you hope to either prove or disprove.

The Factors That Will Be Studied In this section, you will spell out which factors will be studied in your research project as well as those that will be held constant. The factors that you study are the ones that you vary in a controlled fashion in order to explore the hypothesis. The factors that are held constant are factors that you do not want to affect the outcome of your experiment. A perfect example of these two kinds of factors at work would be growing plants in a greenhouse. The factors that are varied (for example, adding nutrients to the soil) will have the best chance of being the ones that affect the plants’ growth. By using a greenhouse, the factors that you do not wish to affect the outcome of your experiment (such as exposure of the plants to wind, rain, or animals) will not have a chance to affect the outcome.

The Responses (Results) That Will Be Observed The response is the result you observe as the output of your experiments. An observation may be qualitative (for example, a change of color) or quantitative (for example, a change in height determined by a measurement). In a chemical experiment the product of the reaction is the response. A botanical experiment might have the change in height of the plant or the number of leaves on the plant at the end of the growing period as the response. Mention should be made if you plan to get assistance in measuring your response by using an outside expert in the field of study.

How the Data Will Be Analyzed and Interpreted This section should discuss how the responses (results) will be treated in order to make conclusions about your work. How will the data be compared in order to make a conclusion? Will an average response be calculated? Standard deviation? Will a visual examination of the experiments be used as the basis of the data analysis? Include any details that will help the reader understand how the responses that were observed will be turned into understandable conclusions about your project.

The Materials and Equipment That Will Be Used In this part, the materials (expendables) and equipment that will be used for the science project are discussed. Will the materials be collected from nature? Will they be purchased from a scientific supply house? Will you use special glassware that is provided by your school? Describe the materials and equipment in enough detail so that someone can understand how they will be used in your science project.

The Experimental Methods (Procedure) That Will Be Used This section will cover how you will carry out your experiments. You will describe the methods (procedures) that you will use during your experiments. For example, a chemistry project might involve running a reaction and measuring the yield of a chemical that you make. The description would include how the chemical reaction will be run in special glassware and how the work up will isolate the product. You would also describe how the yield will be measured, such as weighing the resultant product on a balance. At the end of this section of the research plan, the reader should understand the general work flow of your experiments and how they will be run.

The Facilities Where the Work Will be Done Describe where the experiments will be done. Your home? Your school? A special laboratory? Give enough detail for the reader to understand where you will work on your science project.

How the Research Plan Might Change A research plan is just that, a plan! Plans don’t always proceed exactly as you envisioned them. If you have thought about changes that might need to be made as you are running your experiments, mention them here. This will indicate that you have thought about your work in great depth and are prepared to adjust accordingly.

Summary For this section, provide a general summary of your research plan. Tell the reader what you hope to accomplish and how you will do it.


Provide at least five major references that relate to the project.  This helps reviewers to understand better the depth of research that has been done in preparation for doing the research project.

2024 Fair results!

What a great fair!  The 2024 NHSEE fair was held on March 14, and we’re already looking forward to the 2025 fair – we hope you are too.

You can see the complete list of awards here. Besides the trophies and medals, we awarded a number of Special Awards provided by companies and associations that love helping students get and stay excited by science, and scholarships to the New Hampshire Academy of Science (NHAS) summer program .  Check out the list!

In the meantime, start thinking of an amazing project for 2025, how you can help a student with one, or how you can help the NHSEE 2025 fair. Judge, volunteer, sponsor? Let us know!

See the results here - Who won? We are ISEF Affiliated! Mentors Available -->

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How to Write a Research Plan for a Science Project

How to Make a Rough Draft on Science Projects

How to Make a Rough Draft on Science Projects

A research plan outlines your proposed science fair project and must be approved by a science fair committee before experiments are done. For this reason, it contains no experimental data but instead offers the questions you plan to address, the significance of questions, background information and experimental design. Since a committee must approve your plan, provide a proposal that represents your ideas as important, doable and unique in its approach.

Make a list of "what, when, where and how" questions that relate to your topic. Be specific. Start with all the possible questions, then eliminate those that are too vague or those you cannot answer, given your time and resources. Science Buddies provides an example of this.

Describe the significance of your questions by considering how answering them might be helpful to others in the future. Think big but not unreasonable. Answering questions about bacteria growth, for example, has implications on disease prevention. Research each implication and offer statistics or solid facts on how knowing more would be important. Keep track of your information for your bibliography.

Build a foundation for your questions with background information. Determine what is already known, who figured it out and how these finding have already affected the world. Make sure your questions are not already answered by the work of other people. If they are, find holes in the background information and find new questions that address them. Ask anyone with experience on your topic for help if you have difficult finding background information. Keep track of where you get all information for your bibliography.

Describe a detailed step-by-step method for answering your questions. Individual experiments may be necessary for individual questions. List the necessary materials and equipment. Include exact amounts and explicitly state data collection methods.

Anticipate the results you might get through the method you outlined. Consider any problems you may encounter in your experiments and how you will address them. Think critically about your planned experiments. Make sure they address the questions you stated. If not, redo either your method or your question list.

Formalize a research plan. Make it easy to read and include the following sections: questions, significance, background and materials and methods. Possible problems may be its own section or part of the materials and methods section. Follow school guidelines regarding accompanying paperwork and the order of your sections. The bibliography has its own section and is always last. Check for good grammar and spelling.

  • Always cite whenever you use information from the Web or from books or people. Citations from reliable resources gives credibility to your project.
  • Network at your local university. Students and faculty doing research on a related topic can be a valuable resource.

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  • Research Process

Writing a Scientific Research Project Proposal

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Table of Contents

The importance of a well-written research proposal cannot be underestimated. Your research really is only as good as your proposal. A poorly written, or poorly conceived research proposal will doom even an otherwise worthy project. On the other hand, a well-written, high-quality proposal will increase your chances for success.

In this article, we’ll outline the basics of writing an effective scientific research proposal, including the differences between research proposals, grants and cover letters. We’ll also touch on common mistakes made when submitting research proposals, as well as a simple example or template that you can follow.

What is a scientific research proposal?

The main purpose of a scientific research proposal is to convince your audience that your project is worthwhile, and that you have the expertise and wherewithal to complete it. The elements of an effective research proposal mirror those of the research process itself, which we’ll outline below. Essentially, the research proposal should include enough information for the reader to determine if your proposed study is worth pursuing.

It is not an uncommon misunderstanding to think that a research proposal and a cover letter are the same things. However, they are different. The main difference between a research proposal vs cover letter content is distinct. Whereas the research proposal summarizes the proposal for future research, the cover letter connects you to the research, and how you are the right person to complete the proposed research.

There is also sometimes confusion around a research proposal vs grant application. Whereas a research proposal is a statement of intent, related to answering a research question, a grant application is a specific request for funding to complete the research proposed. Of course, there are elements of overlap between the two documents; it’s the purpose of the document that defines one or the other.

Scientific Research Proposal Format

Although there is no one way to write a scientific research proposal, there are specific guidelines. A lot depends on which journal you’re submitting your research proposal to, so you may need to follow their scientific research proposal template.

In general, however, there are fairly universal sections to every scientific research proposal. These include:

  • Title: Make sure the title of your proposal is descriptive and concise. Make it catch and informative at the same time, avoiding dry phrases like, “An investigation…” Your title should pique the interest of the reader.
  • Abstract: This is a brief (300-500 words) summary that includes the research question, your rationale for the study, and any applicable hypothesis. You should also include a brief description of your methodology, including procedures, samples, instruments, etc.
  • Introduction: The opening paragraph of your research proposal is, perhaps, the most important. Here you want to introduce the research problem in a creative way, and demonstrate your understanding of the need for the research. You want the reader to think that your proposed research is current, important and relevant.
  • Background: Include a brief history of the topic and link it to a contemporary context to show its relevance for today. Identify key researchers and institutions also looking at the problem
  • Literature Review: This is the section that may take the longest amount of time to assemble. Here you want to synthesize prior research, and place your proposed research into the larger picture of what’s been studied in the past. You want to show your reader that your work is original, and adds to the current knowledge.
  • Research Design and Methodology: This section should be very clearly and logically written and organized. You are letting your reader know that you know what you are going to do, and how. The reader should feel confident that you have the skills and knowledge needed to get the project done.
  • Preliminary Implications: Here you’ll be outlining how you anticipate your research will extend current knowledge in your field. You might also want to discuss how your findings will impact future research needs.
  • Conclusion: This section reinforces the significance and importance of your proposed research, and summarizes the entire proposal.
  • References/Citations: Of course, you need to include a full and accurate list of any and all sources you used to write your research proposal.

Common Mistakes in Writing a Scientific Research Project Proposal

Remember, the best research proposal can be rejected if it’s not well written or is ill-conceived. The most common mistakes made include:

  • Not providing the proper context for your research question or the problem
  • Failing to reference landmark/key studies
  • Losing focus of the research question or problem
  • Not accurately presenting contributions by other researchers and institutions
  • Incompletely developing a persuasive argument for the research that is being proposed
  • Misplaced attention on minor points and/or not enough detail on major issues
  • Sloppy, low-quality writing without effective logic and flow
  • Incorrect or lapses in references and citations, and/or references not in proper format
  • The proposal is too long – or too short

Scientific Research Proposal Example

There are countless examples that you can find for successful research proposals. In addition, you can also find examples of unsuccessful research proposals. Search for successful research proposals in your field, and even for your target journal, to get a good idea on what specifically your audience may be looking for.

While there’s no one example that will show you everything you need to know, looking at a few will give you a good idea of what you need to include in your own research proposal. Talk, also, to colleagues in your field, especially if you are a student or a new researcher. We can often learn from the mistakes of others. The more prepared and knowledgeable you are prior to writing your research proposal, the more likely you are to succeed.

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One of the top reasons scientific research proposals are rejected is due to poor logic and flow. Check out our Language Editing Services to ensure a great proposal , that’s clear and concise, and properly referenced. Check our video for more information, and get started today.

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Developing a Research Plan

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How To Make A Research Plan For A Science Project

Table of Contents:

How to Plan Ahead to Get the Most Out of Your Time in the Lab . Follow these tips and download templates to help you plan your time in the lab and boost your efficiency.

Always do a mock run of the experiment step by step in your mind a couple of days before doing the actual experiment. List down all reagents/machines you will need and (consider) if the design of the experiment makes sense. This will help you identify loopholes. . . and give you enough time to make corrective measures before launching the experiment.

  • Planning Template
  • Nine Habits of a Highly Productive Researcher
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Video advice: Research Plan/Project Summary

Step-by-step explanation on how to compose a Research Plan/Project Summary for SY2014-2015. Emphasis is placed on what is new this year and the common mistakes that students make such as generalized procedures and using internet sites as major references.

How To Make A Research Plan For A Science Project

Plan Experiments Early

Making (and maintaining!) a to-do list on a regular basis is one of the most effective ways to increase your productivity in the lab. Take a few minutes at the end of each week to plan for the next one and identify the highest priority tasks. Similarly, at the end of each day, take a few minutes to review and adjust your plans for the following day. This approach will help give you the most productive start to each day and keep you on track to meet your goals.

How to Write a Convincing Science Fair Research Proposal

In this post, we outline the purpose of a research proposal for the science fair, the common elements of such a proposal, and how you can go about writing a one.

Within this section you’ll give a precise, thorough description of methods you intend to check your hypothesis and just what tools or materials you’ll have to do so. Summarize your experimental design, particularly talking about how to control and replicate the experiment. Also list the gear and materials that you’ll want for undertaking your experiment.

First, ask yourself what you’re interested in. You will be more likely to feel engaged and passionate about a project that is genuinely interesting to you, so take some time to carefully consider the areas of science that you find the most fascinating. Even if they don’t seem particularly well-suited to a science fair project at first, you never know what you might be able to come up with through some collaboration with mentors or through some background research. Keep a running list of areas of science that sincerely fascinate you.

How to Write a Research Plan for a Science Project

At this point, you have a general idea of what your project will entail. It is now time to put together a more detailed plan on how to complete the project. In general, a research plan should outline the steps that will be taken to reach the project purpose or prove the hypothesis.

An investigation plan must be detailed. It’s not sufficient to state, “I will make an plane” or “I will observe how a plant grows in dirt. ” The program must indicate all of the steps you intend on taking so that someone else studying the study plan could repeat your process. An investigation plan outline could be a helpful beginning point.

The research plan should address the entire project, including any preparation that is necessary, such as building research apparatus or acquiring specialized research materials. It should present any experiments and how results will be evaluated. For an engineering project a research plan should outline the steps that will be taken. This may include preparation of scaffolding or other support or background requirements. It should describe the components and how they will be assembled or how they work together.

How To Write a Proposal

Abstract: The abstract should summarize your proposal. Include one sentence to introduce the problem you are investigating, why this problem is significant, the hypothesis to be tested, a brief summary of experiments that you wish to conduct and a single concluding sentence. (500 word limit)

Introduction: The introduction discusses the backdrop and value of the issue you’re investigating. Lead the readers in the general towards the specific. For instance, if you wish to talk about the function that Brca1 mutations play in cancer of the breast pathogenesis, talk first about the value of cancer of the breast like a disease in americaOrglobe population, then about familial cancer of the breast like a small subset of breast cancers generally, then about discovery of Brca1 mutations in familial cancer of the breast, then Brca1’s normal functions in DNA repair, then about how exactly Brca1 mutations lead to broken DNA and start of familial cancer of the breast, etc. Certainly include figures with correctly labeled text boxes (designated as Figure 1, Figure 2, etc) here to higher illustrate your points which help your readers go through unfamiliar science.

How to prepare a Research Proposal

Health research, medical education and clinical practice form the three pillars of modern day medical practice. As one authority rightly put it: ‘Health research is not a luxury, but an essential need that no nation can afford to ignore’. …

Video advice: Making a Research Plan

The lesson teaches how to make a research plan, a quick guide to beginning research projects in seven stages or steps: manage your time, consider your situation, choose your topic, read broadly, discover your question and problem, focus your research, and draft a working thesis statement, or hypothesis, to get started. By following this plan, you will work smarter because you’ll understand the research essay’s complex genre and the required steps to fulfill its generic expectations in view of target readers. You will also save time by avoiding false starts, dead ends, and wandering through the project. This guide is geared for writers of qualitative research in the humanities, but all research writers will benefit from understanding or reviewing the research plan and process leading to a quality product.

How To Make A Research Plan For A Science Project

Abstract – AbstractHealth research, medical education and clinical practice form the three pillars of modern day medical practice. As one authority rightly put it: ‘Health research is not a luxury, but an essential need that no nation can afford to ignore’. Health research can and should be pursued by a broad range of people. Even if they do not conduct research themselves, they need to grasp the principles of the scientific method to understand the value and limitations of science and to be able to assess and evaluate results of research before applying them. This review paper aims to highlight the essential concepts to the students and beginning researchers and sensitize and motivate the readers to access the vast literature available on research methodologies. Most students and beginning researchers do not fully understand what a research proposal means, nor do they understand its importance. 1 A research proposal is a detailed description of a proposed study designed to investigate a given problem.

Science Fair Tips // Science Fair // University of Notre Dame

Students in grades 3-12 from Elkhart, Fulton, Marshall and St Joseph counties are eligible to participate in the Northern Indiana Regional Science and Engineering Fair at the University of Notre Dame.

I have learned through experience and buddies the more passionate looking any project, the greater excited the idol judges is going to be about this. Also, help make your project appear wonderful, because in many ways it most likely is, but additionally recall the limitations of the project. Recognizing the constraints of information is really a answer to just about any scientific pursuit.

  • Consult Your Adult Sponsor
  • Write a Research Plan

Pick Your Topic

You should try to find someone to act as your mentor for support and suggestions. Nevertheless, it is not always required to work in a large institution with a specialist in your area of interest. I spent my time working at home in my father’s workshop, using parts I found around the house to build my inventions and to solve a few problems. I also spent time working at school in the workshops and labs or out on the lake. A mentor is a guide, not a solution.

Step 6 – A research plan outlines your proposed science fair project and must be approved by a science fair committee before experiments are done. For this reason, it contains no experimental data but instead offers the questions you plan to address, the significance of questions, background information and experimental design. Since a committee must approve your plan, provide a proposal that represents your ideas as important, doable and unique in its approach. Step 1 Make a list of “what, when, where and how” questions that relate to your topic. Be specific. Start with all the possible questions, then eliminate those that are too vague or those you cannot answer, given your time and resources. Science Buddies provides an example of this. Step 2 Describe the significance of your questions by considering how answering them might be helpful to others in the future. Think big but not unreasonable. Answering questions about bacteria growth, for example, has implications on disease prevention.

SOW/Research Plan

Overview The Project Description/Research Plan describes the project work to be performed on a research project or sponsored activity. On a subagreement, a similar document is known as the Statement of Work. Each sponsor has specified guidelines for these sections.

Probably the most critical aspects of a Harvard proposal that’s a subaward, may be the Statement of labor (SOW). At least, the SOW ought to provide a complete and detailed explanation from the suggested activity, typically including project goals, specific aims, methodology, and Investigator responsibilities. It ought to be no shorter than the usual paragraph long.

  • Research Plan
  • Source: NIH
  • Source: NSF

Statement of Work (SOW)

A description of the rationale for your research and your experiments. Your Research Strategy is the nuts and bolts of your application, where you describe your research rationale and the experiments you will conduct to accomplish each aim. Information you put in the Research Plan affects just about every other application part. This section will vary in length determined by the sponsor and the particular RFA to which you are applying. You’ll need to keep everything in sync as your plans evolve during the writing phase.

How to Do a Project

North Carolina Science & Engineering Fair.

Interpret results and knowledge, draw conclusions, consider applications. Talk to teachers or any other scientists. Construct models, illustrations, and/or displays. Finish research paper. Get ready for dental presentation from the project report. Remember, probably the most helpful information may come from speaking to individuals that are curious about your subject.

Be sure your project will follow all ISEF Rules! All ISEF rules must be followed. The rules change from year to year so it is essential to review the rules carefully with your adult sponsor. Use the ISEF rules wizard carefully to be sure you read and understand all the warnings, rules, and forms that apply to your project. Many projects recommended in books and on the web do not meet ISEF standards and will not be accepted at the NC Science and Engineering Fair.

Video advice: Science Fair Research Plan

Recorded with http://screencast-o-matic.com

How To Make A Research Plan For A Science Project

How do you write a science research plan?

  • Step 1: Define the problem statement. ...
  • Step 2: Identify your objectives. ...
  • Step 3: Choose the right research method. ...
  • Step 4: Recruit participants. ...
  • Step 5: Prepare the brief. ...
  • Step 6: Establish the timeline. ...
  • Step 7: Define how you'll present your findings.

What is a science project plan?

The Research Plan/Project Summary is a succinct detailing of the rationale, research question(s), methodology, and risk assessment of your research project and should be completed before the start of your experimentation. Any changes you make to your project should be added to the final document.

What is research for science projects?

It's a review of the relevant publications (books, magazines, websites) discussing the topic you want to investigate. The long answer is that the research paper summarizes the theory behind your experiment . Science fair judges like to see that you understand why your experiment turns out the way it does.

What are the steps to making a science project?

Steps in a Science Fair Project

  • Pick a topic.
  • Hypothesis.
  • Experiment.
  • Construct an exhibit for results.
  • Write a report.
  • Practice presenting.

How do you start a background research?

The background study for a thesis includes a review of the area being researched, current information surrounding the issue, previous studies on the issue, and relevant history on the issue. Ideally, the study should effectively set forth the history and background information on your thesis problem.

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Writing the Research Plan for Your Academic Job Application

By Jason G. Gillmore, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Chemistry, Hope College, Holland, MI

A research plan is more than a to-do list for this week in lab, or a manila folder full of ideas for maybe someday—at least if you are thinking of a tenure-track academic career in chemistry at virtually any bachelor’s or higher degree–granting institution in the country. A perusal of the academic job ads in C&EN every August–October will quickly reveal that most schools expect a cover letter (whether they say so or not), a CV, a teaching statement, and a research plan, along with reference letters and transcripts. So what is this document supposed to be, and why worry about it now when those job ads are still months away?

What Is a Research Plan?

A research plan is a thoughtful, compelling, well-written document that outlines your exciting, unique research ideas that you and your students will pursue over the next half decade or so to advance knowledge in your discipline and earn you grants, papers, speaking invitations, tenure, promotion, and a national reputation. It must be a document that people at the department you hope to join will (a) read, and (b) be suitably excited about to invite you for an interview.

That much I knew when I was asked to write this article. More specifics I only really knew for my own institution, Hope College (a research intensive undergraduate liberal arts college with no graduate program), and even there you might get a dozen nuanced opinions among my dozen colleagues. So I polled a broad cross-section of my network, spanning chemical subdisciplines at institutions ranging from small, teaching-centered liberal arts colleges to our nation’s elite research programs, such as Scripps and MIT. The responses certainly varied, but they did center on a few main themes, or illustrate a trend across institution types. In this article I’ll share those commonalities, while also encouraging you to be unafraid to contact a search committee chair with a few specific questions, especially for the institutions you are particularly excited about and feel might be the best fit for you.

How Many Projects Should You Have?

research plan of science

While more senior advisors and members of search committees may have gotten their jobs with a single research project, conventional wisdom these days is that you need two to three distinct but related projects. How closely related to one another they should be is a matter of debate, but almost everyone I asked felt that there should be some unifying technique, problem or theme to them. However, the projects should be sufficiently disparate that a failure of one key idea, strategy, or technique will not hamstring your other projects.

For this reason, many applicants wisely choose to identify:

  • One project that is a safe bet—doable, fundable, publishable, good but not earthshaking science.
  • A second project that is pie-in-the-sky with high risks and rewards.
  • A third project that fits somewhere in the middle.

Having more than three projects is probably unrealistic. But even the safest project must be worth doing, and even the riskiest must appear to have a reasonable chance of working.

How Closely Connected Should Your Research Be with Your Past?

Your proposed research must do more than extend what you have already done. In most subdisciplines, you must be sufficiently removed from your postdoctoral or graduate work that you will not be lambasted for clinging to an advisor’s apron strings. After all, if it is such a good idea in their immediate area of interest, why aren’t they pursuing it?!?

But you also must be able to make the case for why your training makes this a good problem for you to study—how you bring a unique skill set as well as unique ideas to this research. The five years you will have to do, fund, and publish the research before crafting your tenure package will go by too fast for you to break into something entirely outside your realm of expertise.

Biochemistry is a partial exception to this advice—in this subdiscipline it is quite common to bring a project with you from a postdoc (or more rarely your Ph.D.) to start your independent career. However, you should still articulate your original contribution to, and unique angle on the work. It is also wise to be sure your advisor tells that same story in his or her letter and articulates support of your pursuing this research in your career as a genuinely independent scientist (and not merely someone who could be perceived as his or her latest "flunky" of a collaborator.)

Should You Discuss Potential Collaborators?

Regarding collaboration, tread lightly as a young scientist seeking or starting an independent career. Being someone with whom others can collaborate in the future is great. Relying on collaborators for the success of your projects is unwise. Be cautious about proposing to continue collaborations you already have (especially with past advisors) and about starting new ones where you might not be perceived as the lead PI. Also beware of presuming you can help advance the research of someone already in a department. Are they still there? Are they still doing that research? Do they actually want that help—or will they feel like you are criticizing or condescending to them, trying to scoop them, or seeking to ride their coattails? Some places will view collaboration very favorably, but the safest route is to cautiously float such ideas during interviews while presenting research plans that are exciting and achievable on your own.

How Do You Show Your Fit?

Some faculty advise tailoring every application packet document to every institution to which you apply, while others suggest tweaking only the cover letter. Certainly the cover letter is the document most suited to introducing yourself and making the case for how you are the perfect fit for the advertised position at that institution. So save your greatest degree of tailoring for your cover letter. It is nice if you can tweak a few sentences of other documents to highlight your fit to a specific school, so long as it is not contrived.

Now, if you are applying to widely different types of institutions, a few different sets of documents will certainly be necessary. The research plan that you target in the middle to get you a job at both Harvard University and Hope College will not get you an interview at either! There are different realities of resources, scope, scale, and timeline. Not that my colleagues and I at Hope cannot tackle research that is just as exciting as Harvard’s. However, we need to have enough of a niche or a unique angle both to endure the longer timeframe necessitated by smaller groups of undergraduate researchers and to ensure that we still stand out. Furthermore, we generally need to be able to do it with more limited resources. If you do not demonstrate that understanding, you will be dismissed out of hand. But at many large Ph.D. programs, any consideration of "niche" can be inferred as a lack of confidence or ambition.

Also, be aware that department Web pages (especially those several pages deep in the site, or maintained by individual faculty) can be woefully out-of-date. If something you are planning to say is contingent on something you read on their Web site, find a way to confirm it!

While the research plan is not the place to articulate start-up needs, you should consider instrumentation and other resources that will be necessary to get started, and where you will go for funding or resources down the road. This will come up in interviews, and hopefully you will eventually need these details to negotiate a start-up package.

Who Is Your Audience?

Your research plan should show the big picture clearly and excite a broad audience of chemists across your sub-discipline. At many educational institutions, everyone in the department will read the proposal critically, at least if you make the short list to interview. Even at departments that leave it all to a committee of the subdiscipline, subdisciplines can be broad and might even still have an outside member on the committee. And the committee needs to justify their actions to the department at large, as well as to deans, provosts, and others. So having at least the introduction and executive summaries of your projects comprehensible and compelling to those outside your discipline is highly advantageous.

Good science, written well, makes a good research plan. As you craft and refine your research plan, keep the following strategies, as well as your audience in mind:

  • Begin the document with an abstract or executive summary that engages a broad audience and shows synergies among your projects. This should be one page or less, and you should probably write it last. This page is something you could manageably consider tailoring to each institution.
  • Provide sufficient details and references to convince the experts you know your stuff and actually have a plan for what your group will be doing in the lab. Give details of first and key experiments, and backup plans or fallback positions for their riskiest aspects.
  • Hook your readers with your own ideas fairly early in the document, then strike a balance between your own new ideas and the necessary well referenced background, precedents, and justification throughout. Propose a reasonable tentative timeline, if you can do so in no more than a paragraph or two, which shows how you envision spacing out the experiments within and among your projects. This may fit well into your executive summary
  • Show how you will involve students (whether undergraduates, graduate students, an eventual postdoc or two, possibly even high schoolers if the school has that sort of outreach, depending on the institutions to which you are applying) and divide the projects among students.
  • Highlight how your work will contribute to the education of these students. While this is especially important at schools with greater teaching missions, it can help set you apart even at research intensive institutions. After all, we all have to demonstrate “broader impacts” to our funding agencies!
  • Include where you will pursue funding, as well as publication, if you can smoothly work it in. This is especially true if there is doubt about how you plan to target or "market" your research. Otherwise, it is appropriate to hold off until the interview to discuss this strategy.

So, How Long Should Your Research Plan Be?

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Here is where the answers diverged the most and without a unifying trend across institutions. Bottom line, you need space to make your case, but even more, you need people to read what you write.

A single page abstract or executive summary of all your projects together provides you an opportunity to make the case for unifying themes yet distinct projects. It may also provide space to articulate a timeline. Indeed, many readers will only read this single page in each application, at least until winnowing down to a more manageable list of potential candidates. At the most elite institutions, there may be literally hundreds of applicants, scores of them entirely well-suited to the job.

While three to five pages per proposal was a common response (single spaced, in 11-point Arial or 12-point Times with one inch margins), including references (which should be accurate, appropriate, and current!), some of my busiest colleagues have said they will not read more than about three pages total. Only a few actually indicated they would read up to 12-15 pages for three projects. In my opinion, ten pages total for your research plans should be a fairly firm upper limit unless you are specifically told otherwise by a search committee, and then only if you have two to three distinct proposals.

Why Start Now?

Hopefully, this question has answered itself already! Your research plan needs to be a well thought out document that is an integrated part of applications tailored to each institution to which you apply. It must represent mature ideas that you have had time to refine through multiple revisions and a great deal of critical review from everyone you can get to read them. Moreover, you may need a few different sets of these, especially if you will be applying to a broad range of institutions. So add “write research plans” to this week’s to do list (and every week’s for the next few months) and start writing up the ideas in that manila folder into some genuine research plans. See which ones survive the process and rise to the top and you should be well prepared when the job ads begin to appear in C&EN in August!

research plan of science

Jason G. Gillmore , Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Chemistry at Hope College in Holland, MI. A native of New Jersey, he earned his B.S. (’96) and M.S. (’98) degrees in chemistry from Virginia Tech, and his Ph.D. (’03) in organic chemistry from the University of Rochester. After a short postdoctoral traineeship at Vanderbilt University, he joined the faculty at Hope in 2004. He has received the Dreyfus Start-up Award, Research Corporation Cottrell College Science Award, and NSF CAREER Award, and is currently on sabbatical as a Visiting Research Professor at Arizona State University. Professor Gillmore is the organizer of the Biennial Midwest Postdoc to PUI Professor (P3) Workshop co-sponsored by ACS, and a frequent panelist at the annual ACS Postdoc to Faculty (P2F) Workshops.

Other tips to help engage (or at least not turn off) your readers include:

  • Avoid two-column formats.
  • Avoid too-small fonts that hinder readability, especially as many will view the documents online rather than in print!
  • Use good figures that are readable and broadly understandable!
  • Use color as necessary but not gratuitously.

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Developing a Five-Year Research Plan

Cathy binger and lizbeth finestack, doi: 10.1044/cred-pvd-path006.

The following is a transcript of the presentation videos, edited for clarity.

What Is a Research Plan, and Why Do You Need One?

Presented by Cathy Binger

research plan of science

First we’re going to talk about what a research plan is, why it’s important to write one, and why five years—why not one year, why not ten years. So we’ll do some of those basic things, then Liza is going to get down and dirty into the nitty-gritty of “now what” how do I go about writing that research plan.

research plan of science

First of all, what is a research plan? I’m sure some of you have taken a stab at these already. In case you haven’t, this is a real personalized map that relates your projects to goals. It’s exactly what it sounds like, it’s a plan of how you’re going to go about doing your research. It doesn’t necessarily just include research.

It’s something that you need to put a little time and effort into in the beginning. And then, if you don’t revisit it, it’s really a useless document. It’s something that you need to come back to repeatedly, at least annually, and you need to make it visible. So it’s not a document that sits around and once a year you pull it out and look at it.

It can and should be designed, especially initially, with the help of a mentor or colleague. And it does serve multiple purposes, with different lengths and different amounts of detail.

I forgot to say, too, getting started, the slides for this talk were started using as a jumping off point Ray Kent’s talk from last year. So some of the slides we’ve borrowed from him, so many thanks to him for that.

research plan of science

But why do we want to do a research plan? Well, to me the big thing is the vision. Dr. Barlow talked this morning about your line of research and really knowing where you want to go, and this is where that shows up with all the nuts and bolts in place.

What do you want to accomplish? What do you want to contribute? Most of you are at the stage in your career where maybe you have started out with that you want to change the world scenario and realized that whatever you wanted your first research project to be, really, is your entire career. You need to get that down to the point where it is manageable projects that you can do—this is where you map out what those projects are and set reasonable timelines for that.

You want to really demonstrate your independent thinking and your own creativity, whatever that is that you then establish as a PhD student, postdoc, and beyond—this is where you come back to, okay, here’s how I’m going to go about achieving all of that.

This next point, learning to realistically gauge how long it takes to achieve each goal, this for most of us is a phenomenally challenging thing to do. Most of us really overestimate what we can do in a certain amount of time, and we learn the hard way that you can’t, and that’s another reason why you keep coming back to these plans repeatedly and learning over time what’s really manageable, what’s really doable, so we can still reach our goals and be very strategic about how we do that.

When you’re not strategic, you just don’t meet the goals. Your time gets sucked into so many different things. We need to be really practical and strategic.

Everything we do is going to take longer than we think.

I think this last one is something that maybe we don’t talk about enough. Really being honest with ourselves about the role of research in our lives. Not all of you are at very high-level research universities. Some of you have chosen to go elsewhere, where research maybe isn’t going to be playing the same role as it is for other people. The research plan for someone at an R One research intensive university is going to look quite different from someone who is at a primary teaching university. We need to be open and practical about that.

research plan of science

Getting sidetracked. I love this picture, I just found this picture the other day. This feels like my life. You can get pulled in so many different directions once you are a professor. You will get asked to do a thousand different things. There are lots of great opportunities that are out there. Especially initially, it’s tempting to say yes to all of them. But if you’re going to be productive, you have to be very strategic. I’m going to be a little bit sexist against my own sex here for a minute, but my observation has been that women tend to fall into this a little bit more than men do in wanting to say yes and be people pleasers for everything that comes down the pike.

It is a professional skill to learn how to say no. And to do that in such a way that you are not burning bridges as you go down the path. That is a critical skill if you are going to be a successful researcher. I can’t tell you how many countless people I’ve seen who are very bright, very dedicated, have the skills that it takes in terms of doing the work—but then they are not successful because they’ve gotten sidetracked and they try to be too much of a good citizen, give too much service to the department, too much “sure I’ll take on that extra class” or whatever else comes down the line.

I just spoke with a professor recently who had something like five hours a week of office hours scheduled every single week for one class. Margaret is shaking her head like “are you kidding?” That’s crazy stuff. But he wanted to really support his students. His students loved him, but he was not going to get tenure. That’s the story.

So we have to be very thoughtful and strategic, and what can help you with this, and ASHA very firmly recognizes which is why we’re here—is that your mentors in your life should be there to help you learn these skills and learn what to say yes to, and learn what to say no to. I’ve learned to say things like, “Let me check with my mentor before I agree to that.” And it gives you a way out of that. The line that I use a lot is, “Let me check with my department head” or, I just said this to somebody last week, “I just promised my department head two weeks ago that I would only do X number of external workshops this year, so I’m going to have to turn this one down.” Those are really important skills to develop.

And having that research plan in place that you can go back to and say, know what, it’s not on my plan I can’t do it. If I do it—I have to go back to my research plan and figure out what I’m going to kick off in order to review this extra paper, in order to take on this extra task. The plan also helps me to know exactly what to say no to. And to be very direct and have a very strong visual.

I actually have my research plan up on a giant whiteboard in my office, so I can always go back to that and see where I am, and I can say, “Okay, what am I going to kick off of here? Nothing. Okay, I have to say no to whatever comes up.” Just be strategic. This is where I see most beginning professors really end up taking that wrong fork in the road—taking that right instead of that left, and ending up not being the successful researcher that they wanted to be.

research plan of science

What evidence supports research planning? This was something Ray Kent had found. That a recent analysis had found that postdoc scholars who developed a written plan with their postdoc advisers were much more productive than those who didn’t. And your performance during a postdoc—and I know many of you have either finished your postdoc or decided not to—so more simply, just during those first six years, the decisions you make really do establish the foundation for the rest of your professional life. It’s very important to get started and get off on the right foot.

research plan of science

I love this quote, I just found it the other day: “Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort.”

research plan of science

What we see with productivity is that postdoc scholars who developed written productivity expectations with their advisers were more productive than those who didn’t. You see 23% more papers submitted, 30% more first-author papers, and more grant proposals as well.

research plan of science

So why five years? I’m going to start with number 5. It’s long enough to build a program of research, but short enough to deal with changing circumstances. That’s really the long and the short of the matter. As well as these other things as well that I won’t take the time to go through point by point.

What Should a Five-Year Plan Include?

Presented by Lizbeth Finestack

research plan of science

So, thinking about a five-year research plan, I like to think about it like your major “To Do List.” It’s what you’re going to accomplish in five years. Start thinking: What is going to be on my to do list?

research plan of science

You can also think about it like: Okay, I have research. I’ve got to do research. Maybe think about this as one big bucket, or maybe one humongous silo. I have some farm themes going on. Cathy was just on a farm, so I thought I’d tie that in.

So here’s your big silo. You can call that your research silo.

research plan of science

But more realistically, you need to think about it like separate buckets, separate silos, where research is just one of those. Just like Cathy indicated, there’s going to be lots of other things coming up that you’re going to have to manage. They are going to have to be on your to do list, you need to figure out how to fit everything in.

What all those other buckets or silos are, are really going to depend on your job. And maybe the size of the silos, and the size of the buckets are going to vary depending on where you are, what the expectations are at your institution.

That’s important to keep in mind, and Cathy said this too, it’s not going to be the same for everyone. The five-year plan has to be your plan, your to do list.

research plan of science

Here are some buckets or some silos that I have on my list and the way that I break it up, this is just one example, take it or leave it.

The first three are all very closely related, right? Thinking about grants, thinking about research, thinking about publications. I’m going to define grants as actual writing, getting the grant, getting the money.

Research is what you’re going to do once you get that money. Steps you need to take before you are getting the money. Any sorts of projects, the lab work, that’s why I have the lab picture there. Of course, publications are part of the product—what’s coming out of the research—but it also cycles in because you need publications to support that you are a researcher to apply for funding and show you have this line of research that you’ve established and you’ll be able to continue. So, those first three are really closely related. And that’s where I’ll go next. And then have teaching and service you see here at the bottom.

research plan of science

So thinking about research, in that broad sense. As you’re writing your five-year plan you’re going to want to think of, “What’s my long-term goal?” There’s lots of ways to think of long-term goals. You could think, before I die, this is what I want to accomplish. For me I kind of have that. My long-term goal is that I’m going to find the most effective and efficient interventions for kids with language impairment. Huge broad goal. But within that I can start narrowing it down.

Where am I within that? Within the next five years or maybe the next ten years, what is it I want to accomplish towards that goal. Then start thinking about: In order to accomplish that goal, what are the steps I need to take? Starting to break it down a little bit. Then it’s also going to be really important to think: where are you going to start? Where are you now? What do you need to have happen? And is it reasonable to accomplish this goal within five years? Is it going to take longer? Maybe you could do it in a couple years? Start thinking about the timeline that’s going to work for you.

research plan of science

Then thinking about your goals—and everyone’s program is going to be different, like I said, there’s going to be a lot of individual needs, preferences. So it might be the case that you have this one long-term goal that you’re aiming for. Long-term goal in the sense of, maybe, what you want to study in your R01, perhaps something like that. But in order to get to that point, you’re going to have several short-term goals that need to be accomplished.

research plan of science

Or maybe it’s the case that you have two long-term goals. And with each of those you’re going to have multiple short-term goals that you’re working on. Maybe the scope of each of these long-term goals is a little bit less than in that first scenario.

Start thinking about my research, what I want to do, and how it might fit into these different circumstances.

research plan of science

Also thinking about your goals, this is a slide from Ray Kent from last year, was thinking about the different types of projects you might want to pursue, and thinking about ones that are definitely well on your way. They are safe bets. You have some funding. They are going to lead directly into your longer-term plan.

Those are going to be your front burner—things you can easily focus on. That said, don’t put everything there.

You can also have things on the back burner. Things that really excite you, might have huge benefits, big pay. But you don’t want to spend all of your time there because they could be pretty risky.

Start thinking about where you’re putting your time. Are you putting it all on this high-risk thing that if it doesn’t pan out you’re going to be in big trouble? Or balancing that somewhat with your front burner. Making that steady progress that will lead directly to help fund an R01 or whatever the mechanism that you’re looking for.

research plan of science

Then, thinking about your goals—if you have multiple long-term goals, or thinking about your short-term goals, you could think about your process. Is it something where you need to do study 1 then study 2, then study 3—each of those building on each other, that’s leading to that long-term goal. In many cases, that is the case, where you have to get information from the first study which is going to lead directly to the second study and so forth.

research plan of science

Or is it the case that you can be working on these three short-term goals simultaneously? Spreading your resources at the same time. Maybe it will take longer for any one study, but across a longer period of time you’ll get the information that you need to reach that long-term goal.

Lots and lots of different ways to go about it. The important thing is to think about what your needs are and what makes the most sense for you.

research plan of science

Here’s my own little personal example. Starting over here, I have my dissertation study. My dissertation study was this early efficacy study looking at one treatment approach using novel forms that really can’t generalize to anything too useful, but it was important.

Then I did a follow up study, where I was taking that same paradigm, looking to see where kids with typical development perform on the task. So I have these two studies, and they served as my preliminary studies for an R03. So I just finished an R03 where I was looking at different treatment approaching for kids with primary language impairment. At the same time, while conducting my R03, I’m also looking at some different approaches that might help with language development. Also conducting surveys to see what current practices are.

I have these three projects going on simultaneously, that are going to lead to a bigger pilot study that are going to feed directly into my R01. All of this will serve as preliminary data to go into an R01.

Start thinking about your projects, what you have. Maybe starting with your dissertation project or work that you’re doing as a postdoc as seeing how that can feed into your long-term goal. And really utilizing it, building on it, to your benefit.

research plan of science

That’s all fine and dandy. You can draw these great pictures. But you still have to break it down some more. It’s not like, “Oh, I’m just going to do this project.” There are other steps involved, and lots of the time these steps are going to be just as time consuming.

Starting to think about: well, if you have the funding. Saying, “I want to do this study, but I have no money to do it.” What are the steps in order to get the money to do it? Do you have a pilot study? What do you need?

Start thinking about the resources? Do you need to develop stimuli, protocols, procedures? Start working on that. All of these can be very time consuming, and if you don’t jump on that immediately, it’s going to delay when you can start that project.

Thinking about IRB. Relationships for recruitment, if you’re working with special populations especially? Do you have necessary personnel, grad students, people to help you with the project? Do you need to train them? What’s the timeline of the study?

Start thinking about all these pieces, and how they are going to fit in that timeline.

research plan of science

This is one way that might help you start thinking about the resources that you need. This is online—Ray Kent had it in his talk, and when I was doing my searches I came across it too and I have the website at the end. Just different ways to think about the resources you might need.

research plan of science

Let’s talk about mapping it out. You have your long-term goal. You have your short-term goals. You’re breaking it down thinking about all those little steps that you need to accomplish. We gotta put it on a calendar. When is it going to happen?

This is an example—you might have your five years. Each month plugging in what are you going to accomplish by that time. Maybe it’s when are grant applications due? It’s going to be important to put those on there to go what do I need to do to make that deadline. Maybe it’s putting when you’re going to get publications out. Things like that.

Honestly, looking at this drives me a little bit crazy, it seems a bit overwhelming. But it’s important to get to these details.

research plan of science

This is an example from, I did Lessons for Success a few years ago and they had their format for doing your plan. I wrote out all my projects, started thinking about all the different aspects. So if something like this works for you, by all means you could use that type of procedure.

research plan of science

Here’s a grid that Ray Kent showed last year. We’re breaking it down by semester. Thinking about each of your semesters, what manuscripts you’re going to be working on, what data collection, your grant applications. Starting to get into some of those other buckets: course preparation, conference submissions.

research plan of science

We also need to include teaching and service.

You probably can’t see this very well. This is similar to that last slide Ray Kent had used last year.

I have my five year plan: what studies I want to accomplish, start thinking about breaking it down.

Then at the beginning of each semester, I fill in a grid like this. Where at the top, I have each of my buckets. I have my grant bucket, my writing bucket which is going to include publications. I also include doing article reviews in my writing bucket, because that’s my writing time. My teaching bucket, my research bucket. Then at the end, my service bucket.

At the beginning of the semester, I think about the big things I want to accomplish. I list those at the top. Then at the beginning of each month, I say, okay what are the things I’m going to accomplish this month, write those in. Then at the beginning of each week, I start looking at whether I’m dedicating any time to the things I said I was going to do that month. I start listing those out saying, this is the amount of time I’m going to spend on that. Of course, I have to take data on what I actually do, so I plug in how much time I’m spending on each of the tasks. Then I graph it, because that’s rewarding to see how much time you’re spending on things, and I get a little side-tracked sometimes.

Think about a system that will help you keep on track, to make sure you’re meeting the goals that you want to meet in terms of your research. But also getting the other things done that you need to get done in terms of teaching and service.

Discussion and Questions

Compiled from comments made during the Pathways 2014 and 2015 conferences. (Video unavailable.)

Building Flexibility into Your Five-Year Plan Comments by Ray Kent, University of Wisconsin-Madison

The five-year plan is not a contract. It’s a map or a compass. A general set of directions to help you plan ahead. It’s not even a contract with yourself, because it will inevitably be revised in some ways.

Sometimes cool things land in your lap. Very often it turns out that through serendipity or whatever else, you find opportunities that are very enticing. Some of those can be path to an entirely new line of research. Some of them can be a huge distraction and a waste of time. It’s a really cool part of science that new things come along. If we put on blinders and say, “I’m committed to my research plan,” and we don’t look to the left or the right, we’re really robbing ourselves of much of the richness of the scientific life. Science is full of surprises, and sometimes those surprises are going to appear as research projects. The problem is you don’t want to redirect all your time and resources to those until you’re really sure they are going to pay off. I personally believe, some of those high risk but really appealing projects are things you can nurse along. You can devote some time and build some collaborations – far enough to determine how realistic and viable they are. That’s important because those things can be the core of your next research program.

It’s very easy to get overcommitted. We all know people who always say “yes”—and we know those people, and they are often disappointing because they can’t get things done. It’s important to have new directions, but limit them. Don’t say, “I’m going to have 12 new directions this year.” Maybe one or two. Weigh them carefully. Talk about them with other people to get a judgment about how difficult it might be to implement them. It enriches science: not only our knowledge, but the way we acquire new knowledge. A psychologist, George Miller—this is the guy with the magic number 7 +- 2—when we interviewed him years ago at Boystown, he said, “My conviction is that everybody should be able to learn a new area of study within three months.” That’s what he thought for a scientist was a goal.

The idea is that you can learn new things. And that’s very important because when you think of it in terms of a 30-year career, how likely is it that the project that you’re undertaking at age 28 is the same project you’ll be working on at age 68? Not very likely. You’re going to be reinventing yourself as a scientist. And reinventing yourself is one of the most important things you can do, because otherwise you’re going to be dead wood. Some projects aren’t worth carrying beyond five or ten years. They have an expiration date.

Building Risk into Your Five-Year Plan Comments by Ray Kent, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Your doctoral study should generally be low-risk research. As you move into a postdoctoral fellowship, think about having two studies—one low-risk, one high-risk with a potential for high impact. At this time you can begin to play the risk factor a little bit differently.

When you are tenure-track you can have a mix of significance with low-risk and high-risk studies. And when you are tenured, then you can go for high risk, clinical trials, and collaborations. Because you have established your independence, so you do not need to worry about losing your visibility. You can be recognized as a legitimate member of the team.

As you plan your career, you should take risk into account. Just as you manage your money taking risk into account, we should manage our careers taking risk into account. I have met people who did not really think about that, and they embarked on some very risky procedures and wasted a lot of time and resources with very little to show for it. For example, don’t put everything into an untested technology basket. You want to be using state of the art technology, but you want to be sure it is going to give you what you need.

Other Formats and Uses of Your Research Plan Audience Comments

  • If you do your job right with your job talk, there’s a lot of cross-pollination between your job talk and your research plan. Ideally your job talk tells your colleagues that this is the long-term plan that you have. And they shouldn’t be surprised when you submit a more detailed research plan. They should say, “okay this is very consistent with the job talk.” In my view, the job talk should be a crystal summary of the major aspects of that research program. Of course, much of the talk will be about a specific project or two—but it should always be embedded within the larger program. That helps the audience keep sight of the fact that you are looking at the program. You can say that this is one project that I’ve done, and I plan to do more of these, and this is how they are conceptually related. That’s a good example of why the research plan has multiple purposes – it can be a research statement, it can be the core of your job talk, it can be the nature of your elevator message, and it can be a version of your research plan for a K award application or R01 application or anything else of that nature.
  • I think what’s useful is to actually draft your NIH biosketch. The new biosketch has a section called “contributions to science.” It’s really helpful to think about all your projects. It’s hard to start with a blank sheet of paper. But to have it in the format of a biosketch can be really helpful.

Avoiding Overcommitment Audience Comments

  • One of the things that is amazing about planning is that if you put an estimate on the level of effort for each part of your plan, you’ll quickly find that you are living three or four lives. Some 300% of your time is spent. It’s helpful for those of us who might share my lack of ability to see constraints or limitations to reel it back and say, “I have a lot on my plate.” Which allows you to say no—which is not something we all do very well when it comes to those nice colleagues and those people you want to impress nationally and connect with. But it allows you to look at what’s planned and go, “I don’t know where I’d find the time to do that.” Which will hopefully help you stay on track.
  • I keep a to do list, but I also keep a “to not do” list. One of the things I will keep on my plan is the maximum number of papers I will review in a year. If I hit that number in March, that’s it. I say no to every other paper that comes down the pike. That’s something to work out with your mentor as far as what’s realistic and what’s okay for you. Every time I get a request, I think, “That’s my reading and writing time, so what am I willing to give up. If it means I won’t be able to write on my own paper this week, am I willing to do this?”

Staying on Schedule with Reading, Writing, and Reviewing Audience Comments

  • You have to do what works for you. Some people do wait for big blocks of time for writing—which are hard to come by. But the most important thing is to block off your time. Put it on your schedule, or it is the first thing that will get pushed aside.
  • Another thing I’ve done with some of my colleagues is writing retreats. So maybe once a year, twice a year, we’ll get together. Usually we’ll go to a hotel or somewhere, and we’re just writing. It’s a great way to get a jumpstart on a project. Like, I need to sit down and start this manuscript, and you can keep going once you’ve got that momentum.
  • My input would be that you really have to write all the time, every day. It’s a skill. I’ve found that if I take time off, my writing deteriorates. It’s something you need to keep up with.
  • I would look at it like a savings account that you put money into on a daily, weekly, monthly basis. The flip side of writing is reading. I would read constantly, widely, and not just in the discipline. That will give you not only a breadth in terms of your understanding of your field and the world around you, but it will also give you an incentive to make your own contributions. I think we don’t talk enough about the comprehensive side to this, and being receptive to the reading. I have a book, or something, by my bedside every night. And I read that until I fall asleep every night. And it’s done me in good stead over the years.
  • Reviewing articles can help advance your career, but it is something you need to weigh carefully as a draw on your time. You get a lot from it. You get to see what’s out there. You get to see what’s coming down the pipe before publication. To me that’s a huge benefit. You get to learn from other people’s writing, and that’s part of your reading you get to do. But it is time consuming. And it depends on the kinds of papers you get. Sometimes you’re lucky and sometimes you’re not.
  • If someone else is reviewing your grants and your articles, at some point you owe it back. You should at least be in break-even mode. Now, pre-tenure or postdoc your mentor should be doing that or senior faculty in the department. But there are so many articles to review. I review so many articles, but I am also at the tail end of my career. The bottom line is, if you don’t put on your schedule that if you don’t put time on your schedule for reading, reviewing articles forces you to look at and think about the literature, so you can be accomplishing what you owe back to the field—and at the same time, staying one step ahead knowledge wise. It forces you to do what you should be doing all along, which is keeping up with the literature.

Further Reading: Web Resources

Golash-Boza, T. (2014). In Response to Popular Demand, More on the 5-Year Plan. The Professor Is In . Available at http://theprofessorisin.com/2014/05/09/in-response-to-popular-demand-more-on-the-5-year-plan

Kelsky, K. (2010). The Five-Year Plan for Tenure-Track Professors. Get a life, PhD . Available at http://getalifephd.blogspot.com/2010/07/five-year-plan-for-tenure-track.html

National Association of Geoscience Teachers (NAGT). (2012). Planning Worksheets . Planning your Research Program (Available from the Science Education Resource Center at Carelton College Website at http://serc.carleton.edu/).

Pfirman, S., Bell, R., Culligan, P., Balsam, P. & Laird, J. (2008) . Maximizing Productivity and Recognition , Part 3: Developing a Research Plan. Science Careers. Available at http://sciencecareers.sciencemag.org/career_magazine/previous_issues/articles/2008_10_10/caredit.a0800148

Cathy Binger University of New Mexico

Lizbeth Finestack University of Minnesota

Based on a presentation and slides originally developed by Ray Kent, University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Presented at Pathways (2015). Hosted by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association Research Mentoring Network.

Pathways is sponsored by the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) through a U24 grant awarded to ASHA.

Copyrighted Material. Reproduced by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association in the Clinical Research Education Library with permission from the author or presenter.


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What is Scientific Research and How Can it be Done?

Scientific researches are studies that should be systematically planned before performing them. In this review, classification and description of scientific studies, planning stage randomisation and bias are explained.

Research conducted for the purpose of contributing towards science by the systematic collection, interpretation and evaluation of data and that, too, in a planned manner is called scientific research: a researcher is the one who conducts this research. The results obtained from a small group through scientific studies are socialised, and new information is revealed with respect to diagnosis, treatment and reliability of applications. The purpose of this review is to provide information about the definition, classification and methodology of scientific research.

Before beginning the scientific research, the researcher should determine the subject, do planning and specify the methodology. In the Declaration of Helsinki, it is stated that ‘the primary purpose of medical researches on volunteers is to understand the reasons, development and effects of diseases and develop protective, diagnostic and therapeutic interventions (method, operation and therapies). Even the best proven interventions should be evaluated continuously by investigations with regard to reliability, effectiveness, efficiency, accessibility and quality’ ( 1 ).

The questions, methods of response to questions and difficulties in scientific research may vary, but the design and structure are generally the same ( 2 ).

Classification of Scientific Research

Scientific research can be classified in several ways. Classification can be made according to the data collection techniques based on causality, relationship with time and the medium through which they are applied.

  • Observational
  • Experimental
  • Descriptive
  • Retrospective
  • Prospective
  • Cross-sectional
  • Social descriptive research ( 3 )

Another method is to classify the research according to its descriptive or analytical features. This review is written according to this classification method.

I. Descriptive research

  • Case series
  • Surveillance studies

II. Analytical research

  • Observational studies: cohort, case control and cross- sectional research
  • Interventional research: quasi-experimental and clinical research
  • Case Report: it is the most common type of descriptive study. It is the examination of a single case having a different quality in the society, e.g. conducting general anaesthesia in a pregnant patient with mucopolysaccharidosis.
  • Case Series: it is the description of repetitive cases having common features. For instance; case series involving interscapular pain related to neuraxial labour analgesia. Interestingly, malignant hyperthermia cases are not accepted as case series since they are rarely seen during historical development.
  • Surveillance Studies: these are the results obtained from the databases that follow and record a health problem for a certain time, e.g. the surveillance of cross-infections during anaesthesia in the intensive care unit.

Moreover, some studies may be experimental. After the researcher intervenes, the researcher waits for the result, observes and obtains data. Experimental studies are, more often, in the form of clinical trials or laboratory animal trials ( 2 ).

Analytical observational research can be classified as cohort, case-control and cross-sectional studies.

Firstly, the participants are controlled with regard to the disease under investigation. Patients are excluded from the study. Healthy participants are evaluated with regard to the exposure to the effect. Then, the group (cohort) is followed-up for a sufficient period of time with respect to the occurrence of disease, and the progress of disease is studied. The risk of the healthy participants getting sick is considered an incident. In cohort studies, the risk of disease between the groups exposed and not exposed to the effect is calculated and rated. This rate is called relative risk. Relative risk indicates the strength of exposure to the effect on the disease.

Cohort research may be observational and experimental. The follow-up of patients prospectively is called a prospective cohort study . The results are obtained after the research starts. The researcher’s following-up of cohort subjects from a certain point towards the past is called a retrospective cohort study . Prospective cohort studies are more valuable than retrospective cohort studies: this is because in the former, the researcher observes and records the data. The researcher plans the study before the research and determines what data will be used. On the other hand, in retrospective studies, the research is made on recorded data: no new data can be added.

In fact, retrospective and prospective studies are not observational. They determine the relationship between the date on which the researcher has begun the study and the disease development period. The most critical disadvantage of this type of research is that if the follow-up period is long, participants may leave the study at their own behest or due to physical conditions. Cohort studies that begin after exposure and before disease development are called ambidirectional studies . Public healthcare studies generally fall within this group, e.g. lung cancer development in smokers.

  • Case-Control Studies: these studies are retrospective cohort studies. They examine the cause and effect relationship from the effect to the cause. The detection or determination of data depends on the information recorded in the past. The researcher has no control over the data ( 2 ).

Cross-sectional studies are advantageous since they can be concluded relatively quickly. It may be difficult to obtain a reliable result from such studies for rare diseases ( 2 ).

Cross-sectional studies are characterised by timing. In such studies, the exposure and result are simultaneously evaluated. While cross-sectional studies are restrictedly used in studies involving anaesthesia (since the process of exposure is limited), they can be used in studies conducted in intensive care units.

  • Quasi-Experimental Research: they are conducted in cases in which a quick result is requested and the participants or research areas cannot be randomised, e.g. giving hand-wash training and comparing the frequency of nosocomial infections before and after hand wash.
  • Clinical Research: they are prospective studies carried out with a control group for the purpose of comparing the effect and value of an intervention in a clinical case. Clinical study and research have the same meaning. Drugs, invasive interventions, medical devices and operations, diets, physical therapy and diagnostic tools are relevant in this context ( 6 ).

Clinical studies are conducted by a responsible researcher, generally a physician. In the research team, there may be other healthcare staff besides physicians. Clinical studies may be financed by healthcare institutes, drug companies, academic medical centres, volunteer groups, physicians, healthcare service providers and other individuals. They may be conducted in several places including hospitals, universities, physicians’ offices and community clinics based on the researcher’s requirements. The participants are made aware of the duration of the study before their inclusion. Clinical studies should include the evaluation of recommendations (drug, device and surgical) for the treatment of a disease, syndrome or a comparison of one or more applications; finding different ways for recognition of a disease or case and prevention of their recurrence ( 7 ).

Clinical Research

In this review, clinical research is explained in more detail since it is the most valuable study in scientific research.

Clinical research starts with forming a hypothesis. A hypothesis can be defined as a claim put forward about the value of a population parameter based on sampling. There are two types of hypotheses in statistics.

  • H 0 hypothesis is called a control or null hypothesis. It is the hypothesis put forward in research, which implies that there is no difference between the groups under consideration. If this hypothesis is rejected at the end of the study, it indicates that a difference exists between the two treatments under consideration.
  • H 1 hypothesis is called an alternative hypothesis. It is hypothesised against a null hypothesis, which implies that a difference exists between the groups under consideration. For example, consider the following hypothesis: drug A has an analgesic effect. Control or null hypothesis (H 0 ): there is no difference between drug A and placebo with regard to the analgesic effect. The alternative hypothesis (H 1 ) is applicable if a difference exists between drug A and placebo with regard to the analgesic effect.

The planning phase comes after the determination of a hypothesis. A clinical research plan is called a protocol . In a protocol, the reasons for research, number and qualities of participants, tests to be applied, study duration and what information to be gathered from the participants should be found and conformity criteria should be developed.

The selection of participant groups to be included in the study is important. Inclusion and exclusion criteria of the study for the participants should be determined. Inclusion criteria should be defined in the form of demographic characteristics (age, gender, etc.) of the participant group and the exclusion criteria as the diseases that may influence the study, age ranges, cases involving pregnancy and lactation, continuously used drugs and participants’ cooperation.

The next stage is methodology. Methodology can be grouped under subheadings, namely, the calculation of number of subjects, blinding (masking), randomisation, selection of operation to be applied, use of placebo and criteria for stopping and changing the treatment.

I. Calculation of the Number of Subjects

The entire source from which the data are obtained is called a universe or population . A small group selected from a certain universe based on certain rules and which is accepted to highly represent the universe from which it is selected is called a sample and the characteristics of the population from which the data are collected are called variables. If data is collected from the entire population, such an instance is called a parameter . Conducting a study on the sample rather than the entire population is easier and less costly. Many factors influence the determination of the sample size. Firstly, the type of variable should be determined. Variables are classified as categorical (qualitative, non-numerical) or numerical (quantitative). Individuals in categorical variables are classified according to their characteristics. Categorical variables are indicated as nominal and ordinal (ordered). In nominal variables, the application of a category depends on the researcher’s preference. For instance, a female participant can be considered first and then the male participant, or vice versa. An ordinal (ordered) variable is ordered from small to large or vice versa (e.g. ordering obese patients based on their weights-from the lightest to the heaviest or vice versa). A categorical variable may have more than one characteristic: such variables are called binary or dichotomous (e.g. a participant may be both female and obese).

If the variable has numerical (quantitative) characteristics and these characteristics cannot be categorised, then it is called a numerical variable. Numerical variables are either discrete or continuous. For example, the number of operations with spinal anaesthesia represents a discrete variable. The haemoglobin value or height represents a continuous variable.

Statistical analyses that need to be employed depend on the type of variable. The determination of variables is necessary for selecting the statistical method as well as software in SPSS. While categorical variables are presented as numbers and percentages, numerical variables are represented using measures such as mean and standard deviation. It may be necessary to use mean in categorising some cases such as the following: even though the variable is categorical (qualitative, non-numerical) when Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) is used (since a numerical value is obtained), it is classified as a numerical variable: such variables are averaged.

Clinical research is carried out on the sample and generalised to the population. Accordingly, the number of samples should be correctly determined. Different sample size formulas are used on the basis of the statistical method to be used. When the sample size increases, error probability decreases. The sample size is calculated based on the primary hypothesis. The determination of a sample size before beginning the research specifies the power of the study. Power analysis enables the acquisition of realistic results in the research, and it is used for comparing two or more clinical research methods.

Because of the difference in the formulas used in calculating power analysis and number of samples for clinical research, it facilitates the use of computer programs for making calculations.

It is necessary to know certain parameters in order to calculate the number of samples by power analysis.

  • Type-I (α) and type-II (β) error levels
  • Difference between groups (d-difference) and effect size (ES)
  • Distribution ratio of groups
  • Direction of research hypothesis (H1)

a. Type-I (α) and Type-II (β) Error (β) Levels

Two types of errors can be made while accepting or rejecting H 0 hypothesis in a hypothesis test. Type-I error (α) level is the probability of finding a difference at the end of the research when there is no difference between the two applications. In other words, it is the rejection of the hypothesis when H 0 is actually correct and it is known as α error or p value. For instance, when the size is determined, type-I error level is accepted as 0.05 or 0.01.

Another error that can be made during a hypothesis test is a type-II error. It is the acceptance of a wrongly hypothesised H 0 hypothesis. In fact, it is the probability of failing to find a difference when there is a difference between the two applications. The power of a test is the ability of that test to find a difference that actually exists. Therefore, it is related to the type-II error level.

Since the type-II error risk is expressed as β, the power of the test is defined as 1–β. When a type-II error is 0.20, the power of the test is 0.80. Type-I (α) and type-II (β) errors can be intentional. The reason to intentionally make such an error is the necessity to look at the events from the opposite perspective.

b. Difference between Groups and ES

ES is defined as the state in which statistical difference also has clinically significance: ES≥0.5 is desirable. The difference between groups is the absolute difference between the groups compared in clinical research.

c. Allocation Ratio of Groups

The allocation ratio of groups is effective in determining the number of samples. If the number of samples is desired to be determined at the lowest level, the rate should be kept as 1/1.

d. Direction of Hypothesis (H1)

The direction of hypothesis in clinical research may be one-sided or two-sided. While one-sided hypotheses hypothesis test differences in the direction of size, two-sided hypotheses hypothesis test differences without direction. The power of the test in two-sided hypotheses is lower than one-sided hypotheses.

After these four variables are determined, they are entered in the appropriate computer program and the number of samples is calculated. Statistical packaged software programs such as Statistica, NCSS and G-Power may be used for power analysis and calculating the number of samples. When the samples size is calculated, if there is a decrease in α, difference between groups, ES and number of samples, then the standard deviation increases and power decreases. The power in two-sided hypothesis is lower. It is ethically appropriate to consider the determination of sample size, particularly in animal experiments, at the beginning of the study. The phase of the study is also important in the determination of number of subjects to be included in drug studies. Usually, phase-I studies are used to determine the safety profile of a drug or product, and they are generally conducted on a few healthy volunteers. If no unacceptable toxicity is detected during phase-I studies, phase-II studies may be carried out. Phase-II studies are proof-of-concept studies conducted on a larger number (100–500) of volunteer patients. When the effectiveness of the drug or product is evident in phase-II studies, phase-III studies can be initiated. These are randomised, double-blinded, placebo or standard treatment-controlled studies. Volunteer patients are periodically followed-up with respect to the effectiveness and side effects of the drug. It can generally last 1–4 years and is valuable during licensing and releasing the drug to the general market. Then, phase-IV studies begin in which long-term safety is investigated (indication, dose, mode of application, safety, effectiveness, etc.) on thousands of volunteer patients.

II. Blinding (Masking) and Randomisation Methods

When the methodology of clinical research is prepared, precautions should be taken to prevent taking sides. For this reason, techniques such as randomisation and blinding (masking) are used. Comparative studies are the most ideal ones in clinical research.

Blinding Method

A case in which the treatments applied to participants of clinical research should be kept unknown is called the blinding method . If the participant does not know what it receives, it is called a single-blind study; if even the researcher does not know, it is called a double-blind study. When there is a probability of knowing which drug is given in the order of application, when uninformed staff administers the drug, it is called in-house blinding. In case the study drug is known in its pharmaceutical form, a double-dummy blinding test is conducted. Intravenous drug is given to one group and a placebo tablet is given to the comparison group; then, the placebo tablet is given to the group that received the intravenous drug and intravenous drug in addition to placebo tablet is given to the comparison group. In this manner, each group receives both the intravenous and tablet forms of the drug. In case a third party interested in the study is involved and it also does not know about the drug (along with the statistician), it is called third-party blinding.

Randomisation Method

The selection of patients for the study groups should be random. Randomisation methods are used for such selection, which prevent conscious or unconscious manipulations in the selection of patients ( 8 ).

No factor pertaining to the patient should provide preference of one treatment to the other during randomisation. This characteristic is the most important difference separating randomised clinical studies from prospective and synchronous studies with experimental groups. Randomisation strengthens the study design and enables the determination of reliable scientific knowledge ( 2 ).

The easiest method is simple randomisation, e.g. determination of the type of anaesthesia to be administered to a patient by tossing a coin. In this method, when the number of samples is kept high, a balanced distribution is created. When the number of samples is low, there will be an imbalance between the groups. In this case, stratification and blocking have to be added to randomisation. Stratification is the classification of patients one or more times according to prognostic features determined by the researcher and blocking is the selection of a certain number of patients for each stratification process. The number of stratification processes should be determined at the beginning of the study.

As the number of stratification processes increases, performing the study and balancing the groups become difficult. For this reason, stratification characteristics and limitations should be effectively determined at the beginning of the study. It is not mandatory for the stratifications to have equal intervals. Despite all the precautions, an imbalance might occur between the groups before beginning the research. In such circumstances, post-stratification or restandardisation may be conducted according to the prognostic factors.

The main characteristic of applying blinding (masking) and randomisation is the prevention of bias. Therefore, it is worthwhile to comprehensively examine bias at this stage.

Bias and Chicanery

While conducting clinical research, errors can be introduced voluntarily or involuntarily at a number of stages, such as design, population selection, calculating the number of samples, non-compliance with study protocol, data entry and selection of statistical method. Bias is taking sides of individuals in line with their own decisions, views and ideological preferences ( 9 ). In order for an error to lead to bias, it has to be a systematic error. Systematic errors in controlled studies generally cause the results of one group to move in a different direction as compared to the other. It has to be understood that scientific research is generally prone to errors. However, random errors (or, in other words, ‘the luck factor’-in which bias is unintended-do not lead to bias ( 10 ).

Another issue, which is different from bias, is chicanery. It is defined as voluntarily changing the interventions, results and data of patients in an unethical manner or copying data from other studies. Comparatively, bias may not be done consciously.

In case unexpected results or outliers are found while the study is analysed, if possible, such data should be re-included into the study since the complete exclusion of data from a study endangers its reliability. In such a case, evaluation needs to be made with and without outliers. It is insignificant if no difference is found. However, if there is a difference, the results with outliers are re-evaluated. If there is no error, then the outlier is included in the study (as the outlier may be a result). It should be noted that re-evaluation of data in anaesthesiology is not possible.

Statistical evaluation methods should be determined at the design stage so as not to encounter unexpected results in clinical research. The data should be evaluated before the end of the study and without entering into details in research that are time-consuming and involve several samples. This is called an interim analysis . The date of interim analysis should be determined at the beginning of the study. The purpose of making interim analysis is to prevent unnecessary cost and effort since it may be necessary to conclude the research after the interim analysis, e.g. studies in which there is no possibility to validate the hypothesis at the end or the occurrence of different side effects of the drug to be used. The accuracy of the hypothesis and number of samples are compared. Statistical significance levels in interim analysis are very important. If the data level is significant, the hypothesis is validated even if the result turns out to be insignificant after the date of the analysis.

Another important point to be considered is the necessity to conclude the participants’ treatment within the period specified in the study protocol. When the result of the study is achieved earlier and unexpected situations develop, the treatment is concluded earlier. Moreover, the participant may quit the study at its own behest, may die or unpredictable situations (e.g. pregnancy) may develop. The participant can also quit the study whenever it wants, even if the study has not ended ( 7 ).

In case the results of a study are contrary to already known or expected results, the expected quality level of the study suggesting the contradiction may be higher than the studies supporting what is known in that subject. This type of bias is called confirmation bias. The presence of well-known mechanisms and logical inference from them may create problems in the evaluation of data. This is called plausibility bias.

Another type of bias is expectation bias. If a result different from the known results has been achieved and it is against the editor’s will, it can be challenged. Bias may be introduced during the publication of studies, such as publishing only positive results, selection of study results in a way to support a view or prevention of their publication. Some editors may only publish research that extols only the positive results or results that they desire.

Bias may be introduced for advertisement or economic reasons. Economic pressure may be applied on the editor, particularly in the cases of studies involving drugs and new medical devices. This is called commercial bias.

In recent years, before beginning a study, it has been recommended to record it on the Web site www.clinicaltrials.gov for the purpose of facilitating systematic interpretation and analysis in scientific research, informing other researchers, preventing bias, provision of writing in a standard format, enhancing contribution of research results to the general literature and enabling early intervention of an institution for support. This Web site is a service of the US National Institutes of Health.

The last stage in the methodology of clinical studies is the selection of intervention to be conducted. Placebo use assumes an important place in interventions. In Latin, placebo means ‘I will be fine’. In medical literature, it refers to substances that are not curative, do not have active ingredients and have various pharmaceutical forms. Although placebos do not have active drug characteristic, they have shown effective analgesic characteristics, particularly in algology applications; further, its use prevents bias in comparative studies. If a placebo has a positive impact on a participant, it is called the placebo effect ; on the contrary, if it has a negative impact, it is called the nocebo effect . Another type of therapy that can be used in clinical research is sham application. Although a researcher does not cure the patient, the researcher may compare those who receive therapy and undergo sham. It has been seen that sham therapies also exhibit a placebo effect. In particular, sham therapies are used in acupuncture applications ( 11 ). While placebo is a substance, sham is a type of clinical application.

Ethically, the patient has to receive appropriate therapy. For this reason, if its use prevents effective treatment, it causes great problem with regard to patient health and legalities.

Before medical research is conducted with human subjects, predictable risks, drawbacks and benefits must be evaluated for individuals or groups participating in the study. Precautions must be taken for reducing the risk to a minimum level. The risks during the study should be followed, evaluated and recorded by the researcher ( 1 ).

After the methodology for a clinical study is determined, dealing with the ‘Ethics Committee’ forms the next stage. The purpose of the ethics committee is to protect the rights, safety and well-being of volunteers taking part in the clinical research, considering the scientific method and concerns of society. The ethics committee examines the studies presented in time, comprehensively and independently, with regard to ethics and science; in line with the Declaration of Helsinki and following national and international standards concerning ‘Good Clinical Practice’. The method to be followed in the formation of the ethics committee should be developed without any kind of prejudice and to examine the applications with regard to ethics and science within the framework of the ethics committee, Regulation on Clinical Trials and Good Clinical Practice ( www.iku.com ). The necessary documents to be presented to the ethics committee are research protocol, volunteer consent form, budget contract, Declaration of Helsinki, curriculum vitae of researchers, similar or explanatory literature samples, supporting institution approval certificate and patient follow-up form.

Only one sister/brother, mother, father, son/daughter and wife/husband can take charge in the same ethics committee. A rector, vice rector, dean, deputy dean, provincial healthcare director and chief physician cannot be members of the ethics committee.

Members of the ethics committee can work as researchers or coordinators in clinical research. However, during research meetings in which members of the ethics committee are researchers or coordinators, they must leave the session and they cannot sign-off on decisions. If the number of members in the ethics committee for a particular research is so high that it is impossible to take a decision, the clinical research is presented to another ethics committee in the same province. If there is no ethics committee in the same province, an ethics committee in the closest settlement is found.

Thereafter, researchers need to inform the participants using an informed consent form. This form should explain the content of clinical study, potential benefits of the study, alternatives and risks (if any). It should be easy, comprehensible, conforming to spelling rules and written in plain language understandable by the participant.

This form assists the participants in taking a decision regarding participation in the study. It should aim to protect the participants. The participant should be included in the study only after it signs the informed consent form; the participant can quit the study whenever required, even when the study has not ended ( 7 ).

Peer-review: Externally peer-reviewed.

Author Contributions: Concept - C.Ö.Ç., A.D.; Design - C.Ö.Ç.; Supervision - A.D.; Resource - C.Ö.Ç., A.D.; Materials - C.Ö.Ç., A.D.; Analysis and/or Interpretation - C.Ö.Ç., A.D.; Literature Search - C.Ö.Ç.; Writing Manuscript - C.Ö.Ç.; Critical Review - A.D.; Other - C.Ö.Ç., A.D.

Conflict of Interest: No conflict of interest was declared by the authors.

Financial Disclosure: The authors declared that this study has received no financial support.


How to Prepare a PhD Research Plan/Schedule?

PhD research plan is a structured schedule for completing different objectives and milestones during a given timeframe. Scholars are usually unaware of it. Let us find out how to prepare it. 

Between March 2021 to 2022, I read almost 15 different research proposals from students (for their projects) and only a single one, I found, with a comprehensive research plan for 3 years. Which is still not, kind of practical, probably copied from other students. 

Such entities are not known to over 90% of students, if some know that because their university asked for but unfortunately, this basic procedure lacks penetration among students. I don’t know the exact reason, but students lack a basic understanding of the research process. 

Meaning, that they don’t know or perhaps don’t complete their course work needly. PhD research requires many documents, SOPs and write-ups, before even starting it. For example, a rough research plan, research proposal, initial interview, competence screening, grant proposal and so on. 

However, the requirement varies among universities and thus knowledge regarding basic procedures often also varies among students. So I’m not blaming students but certainly, it is the fault of the university side, as well.  

When you come up with a research proposal with a research schedule or entire plant, certainly it will create a positive image and good reputation. So it is important. But how to prepare it? 

Hey, there I’m Dr Tushar, a PhD tutor and coach. In this article, we will understand how we can prepare a structured plan for the PhD research and how to execute it. 

So let’s get started.  

How to prepare a PhD research plan/schedule?

A PhD research plan or schedule can be prepared using the GANTT chart which includes a month, semester or year-wise planning of the entire PhD research work. 

First, enlist goals and objectives.

It’s not about your research objective enlisted in your proposal. I’m talking about the objectives of your PhD. Take a look at some of the objectives.

Note that these are all the objectives that should be completed during the PhD, but not limited to a specific subject. Note you have to show how you can complete or achieve each objective during the entire tenure of your work. 

And that is what the plan/schedule is all about. Next, explain the time duration. The time required to complete each goal, roughly. For example, a semester or a year to complete the course work or 4 to 8 months for completion of ethical approval. 

Now two things must be known to you, at this point in time. 

  • First, enlist the time required to complete each objective, as aforementioned. 
  • Second, what goals would you complete during each semester?

For instance, course work takes a semester to complete, but during the period a scholar can also craft their PhD research title, research proposal, ethical approval and grant proposals. 

Now it is also crucial to know that there is no time bound to complete goals, but it should be completed as you explained. Let’s say you can plant it for 3 years, 4 or even 5 years depending on the weightage of your work. 

In summary, the answer to the question of how to prepare a research plan is, 

  • Enlist your goals or objectives. 
  • Decide the time required to complete each goal.
  • Prepare a GANTT chart.  

Now you have prepared zero-date planning for your research but how to present it? The answer is a GANTT chart.   

GANTT chart for PhD research plan: 

GANTT chart is a task manager and graphical presentation of how and how many tasks are completed or should be completed against a given time duration. Take a look at the image below. 

The example of the GANTT chart.

How can you prepare one?

Open MS Excel (on Windows) or numbers (on Mac).

Enlist goals or objectives in a column. 

Enlist years (duration of PhD) in a row and bifurcate them into individual semesters. You can also prepare a month-wise plan, that’s totally up to you. In my opinion, semester-wise planning is good because research is a lengthy and time-consuming process. So monthly planning would not work. 

To make a chart more attractive and readable use colors, as I used. Now mark a ‘cell’ against a column and row showing the objective which you are going to complete in a semester. Take a look. 

After the end of this, your GANTT chart would look like this. 

A screenshot of an ideal GANTT chart.

You can prepare a month-wise planning, individual semester-wise planning and goal-wise planning etc. I will explain these things in upcoming articles on 5 different types of GANTT charts for PhD.  

Custom writing services: 

If you find difficulties in preparing a research plan, synopsis, proposal or GANTT chart. We can work on behalf of you. Our costume services are, 

  • Synopsis writing 
  • Project writing 
  • Research proposal writing 
  • Research planning and GANTT chart preparation. 

You can contact us at [email protected] or [email protected] to get more information. 

Wrapping up: 

Planning and executing a research schedule are two different things. Oftentimes, students just prepare as per the requirements and then do work as per their convenience. Then they are stuck in one place and just work around the time. 

Plan things. Make your own GANTT chart, put it on your work table or stick it on a wall so that you can see it daily. Try to achieve each goal in time. Trust me things will work and you will complete your PhD before anyone else.  

Dr Tushar Chauhan

Dr. Tushar Chauhan is a Scientist, Blogger and Scientific-writer. He has completed PhD in Genetics. Dr. Chauhan is a PhD coach and tutor.

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Environmental Sciences Ph.D. (EVS) Research Plan

Your ph.d. research plan.

The Environmental Sciences Ph.D. Program is a research-based degree program requiring a written and orally defended research dissertation. Since research is a primary component of this program, the Graduate Advisory Committee must approve the student's Research Plan.

  • The Research Plan is not meant to be in the form of a formal research proposal. There is a separate course (required for Chemistry Concentration students) that teaches students how to prepare a formal research proposal.
  • The Research Plan should be viewed like a contract between the student, the student's mentor, and the student's Graduate Advisory Committee. Changes to the Research Plan may occur while the research is carried out over the course of the student's tenure. The Graduate Advisory committee should be made aware of any substantial changes should this need arise.

Biology Concentration

The project must be defended by the end of the second semester or by the time the student has completed 15 hours of graduate coursework.

Chemistry Concentration

The Research Plan must be completed by the end of the third semester, excluding summer semesters.

Part Time Students

For part-time students, the Research Plan should be completed at a time agreeable with the students Graduate Advisory Committee.

Research Plan Guidelines

  • The Research Plan should be a concise literature review of your proposed research. It should also include any preliminary results obtained by the student as well as the proposed experimental procedures and methods.
  • The experimental procedures and methods should contain sufficient detail in order for the Graduate Advisory Committee to evaluate the proposal and judge its probability of success. Equipment and supplies necessary for this research should be adequately described.
  • The Research Plan should include a bibliography; any other pertinent information may be included in the Research Plan.

Changes to Your Research Plan

  • If changes are suggested at the time of the Research Plan Defense, then the corrected copy is the one that should be forwarded to the Directors office, along with the Research Plan Cover Sheet and any pertinent forms.
  • If the Research Plan is abandoned and a new one is put in place, the Research Plan should be rewritten, presented to the student's Graduate Advisory Committee and forwarded to the Director's office with a revised Research Plan Cover Sheet and any other applicable forms.
  • Research Plan Cover Sheet

The cover sheet must be attached to the Research Plan and copies of both must be forwarded to the Director of the Environmental Sciences Ph.D. Program.

Program of Study

  • The appropriate completed Program of Study form should also be included with the Research Plan bearing all applicable signatures.
  • The Director will then forward the Program of Study to the Graduate School Office.
  • If a Program of Study has previously been filed, and if changes are made to the Program of Study at the time of the Research Plan, the Substitution Form should be sent to the Director as well.
  • The Director will sign these forms and forward them to the Graduate School Office and retain copies for our records.
  • School of Environmental Studies: Homepage
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Arctic Research Plan Active

The new 5-year Arctic Research Plan, 2022-2026 is a high-level research strategy that outlines key research goals for the region. The plan provides pathways to improve coordination among federal agencies working in the Arctic, as well as to strengthen relationships between federal agencies and Indigenous communities, academic and non-federal researchers, the state of Alaska, nonprofits, and private sector and international organizations. 

USGS Science Helps Guide 5-year IARPC Arctic Research Plan

The White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy released the new 5-year Arctic Research Plan, 2022-2026 . 

The Arctic is the most rapidly changing place on Earth. To help combat these changes, the USGS has once again joined with the  Interagency Arctic Research Policy Committee (IARPC)   to develop a  new Arctic Research Plan that will guide and enhance federal investment in Arctic over the next five years, from 2022 to 2026. By participating in IARPC, USGS joins  16 federal groups  and partners from the public and private sector who share their work and team up to tackle key issues facing humans, wildlife, and natural resources in the Arctic. 

Arctic Research Plan  

The Plan is a high-level research strategy that outlines key research goals for the region. The plan provides pathways to improve coordination among federal agencies working in the Arctic, as well as to strengthen relationships between federal agencies and Indigenous communities, academic and non-federal researchers, the state of Alaska, nonprofits, and private sector and international organizations. 

The four Arctic Plan priorities include: 

  • Community Resilience and Health  – Improve community resilience and well-being by strengthening research and developing tools to increase understanding of interdependent social, natural, and built systems in the Arctic.  
  • Arctic Systems Interactions  – Enhance our ability to observe, understand, predict, and project the Arctic’s dynamic interconnected systems and their links to the Earth system.  
  • Sustainable Economies and Livelihoods  – Observe and understand the Arctic’s natural, social, and built systems to promote sustainable economies and livelihoods.  
  • Risk Management and Hazard Mitigation  – Secure and improve quality of life through research that promotes an understanding of disaster risk exposure, sensitivity to hazard, and adaptive capacity. 

USGS Role  

The USGS works across disciplines to monitor and assess the natural world and those factors affecting the well-being, stewardship, security, and understanding of Artic. In doing so, USGS provides valuable, objective research that is used to make well-inform decision making. Some of the aspects the USGS is involved in include those that:  

  • Enhance understanding of health determinants and improve well-being of Arctic residents 
  • Increase understanding of the structure and function of Arctic marine ecosystems and their role in the climate system and advance predictive capabilities 
  • Understand and project the mass balance of glaciers, ice caps, and the Greenland Ice Sheet, and their consequences for sea level rise 
  • Advance understanding of processes controlling permafrost dynamics and the impacts on ecosystems, infrastructure, and climate feedbacks 
  • Advance an integrated, landscape-scale understanding of Arctic terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems and the potential for future change 
  • Strengthen coastal community resilience and advance stewardship of coastal natural and cultural resources by engaging in research related to the interconnections of people, natural and built environments 
  • Enhance frameworks for environmental intelligence gathering, interpretation, and application toward decision support. 

USGS staff work with diverse partners on topics in the Arctic that are highly relevant to the priority areas and foundational activities of the new plan. The USGS Director serves as DOI Principal to the IARPC Oversight Board. In addition to conducting research, the  USGS Alaska Regional Office  also serves as DOI agency point of contact and consolidates DOI agency input on the Arctic Research Plan components, including providing USGS bureau input from each mission area. The Alaska Regional Director serves as “Plan Champion” and many USGS staff serve lead roles on IARPC writing teams and on the various collaboration teams. USGS also contributes financially to support many IARPC tasks, including forthcoming development of the biennial Implementation Strategy for this new plan. 

We encourage Arctic residents and researchers to continue to engage with the Plan and support its implementation via the  IARPC Collaborations website and collaboration team meetings. Contributions and leadership from all non-federal partners help IARPC and our member agencies support the health of the Arctic environment and the well-being of Arctic communities.

Caribou grazing near the Dalton Highway in the northern part of Alaska.

Changing Arctic Ecosystems

research plan of science

BC junior Sancia Sehdev wins Goldwater Scholarship

Boston College biology major Sancia Sehdev ’25, a member of the Gabelli Presidential Scholars program who plans to pursue research in environmental health and epidemiology as a foundation for climate advocacy, has received a Barry Goldwater Scholarship, the nation’s premier undergraduate award in the sciences. Sehdev, a native of New Delhi who is minoring in medical humanities—an interdisciplinary, humanistic, and cultural study of illness, health, health care, and anatomy—is on the pre-med track. Her career goal is to practice medicine as a neurologist or psychiatrist, conduct environmental health research focused on the brain, and serve as an active climate advocate. “I am very honored to be named a Goldwater Scholar, and I am grateful for the support and confidence that the Goldwater Foundation has expressed in my future as a scientist,” said Sehdev.

“ The idea of pursuing a M.D./Ph.D. in environmental health excites me. I hope to attend an institution that can provide me with the same abundant resources and support as BC has. ”

The Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation was established by Congress in 1986 to serve as a living memorial to honor the lifetime work of Barry M. Goldwater, who served his country for 56 years as a soldier and statesman, including 30 years as a United States senator from Arizona. Goldwater Scholarships—grants for up to two years of graduate studies—are awarded based on academic merit to the country’s most promising sophomores and juniors who intend to pursue research careers in the natural sciences, mathematics, and engineering.   Sehdev is the 21st Goldwater recipient from BC, and the first since Henry Dieckhaus ’20 in 2019.   “The idea of pursuing a M.D./Ph.D. [doctorate of medicine and philosophy] in environmental health excites me,” said Sehdev, whose initial interest in attending BC was driven by its excellent academic program in biology, its opportunities in environmental and public health, and emphasis on medical advancement and health care in Greater Boston.  “I hope to attend an institution that can provide me with the same abundant resources and support as BC has. “While I currently plan to focus my doctoral research on the impact of climate change on brain health and its potential role in the progression of Parkinson’s disease, the specific focus may evolve as the field grows. Post-graduation, I intend to undertake a neurology or psychiatry residency, and engage in environmental health research and advocacy.” “I congratulate Sancia Sehdev on her selection as a Goldwater Scholarship recipient,” said Professor of Biology Philip J. Landrigan, M.D., director of the Program for Global Public Health and the Common Good. “She has been actively engaged in research since her first summer at BC, when she examined the impacts on human health of common lands management in rural India, under the mentorship of [BC School of Social Work Dean] Gautam Yadama. Since then, she has worked on the creation of novel amino acids in BC’s Laboratory of Synthetic Biology and Biochemistry with the guidance of Chemistry Professor Abhishek Chatterjee, and she has investigated the impact of air pollution on brain structure at the Laboratory for Research in Neuroimaging Laboratory in Lausanne, Switzerland. “Currently, Sancia is working under my mentorship on a project to identify chemicals in the environment known or suspected to cause disruptions in brain development in young children. The Goldwater Scholarship will provide Sancia with an extremely important assist on her life’s journey.” “Sancia’s curiosity, genuine care for research, perseverance, ability to work independently, and collaborative spirit make her an exceptional individual,” said Bogdan Draganski, M.D., director of the Laboratory for Research in Neuroimaging, who served as her research advisor during her stint there last summer studying air pollution’s impact on human brain tissue properties.  “I believe her dedication to pursuing medicine, coupled with her strong focus on research, will undoubtedly lead to a successful and impactful career.” As of now, Sehdev plans to take a gap year following graduation to continue working on her research in brain structure and environmental health with Landrigan and Dr. Draganski.  

The Future Is Now

UCLA has always dreamed big . Back in 1920, Ernest Carroll Moore, UCLA’s first chief executive, opined of the fledgling institution, “We shall look with much amazement upon its development, for it is certain to be far greater than the imagination of any of us can foresee.”

Would that Moore could be around to see just how prophetic his words have become. Almost a century after he helped lead the effort to transform some undeveloped barley fields into the UCLA campus, that pioneering Bruin spirit remains in full blossom. And it has ramped up at a dizzying pace.

Over a span of just 15 mind-boggling months that culminated in January, UCLA announced three historic acquisitions:  UCLA South Bay , the university’s largest land addition since it planted stakes in Westwood;  UCLA Downtown , a historic building in the city’s vibrant core; and the  UCLA Research Park , a defunct Westside mall that will be resurrected as a dynamo of scientific discovery. It's all part of moving the needle to address the pillars of the university's new, exciting, forward-looking f ive-year Strategic Plan.  

Even given UCLA’s relatively short history, which has seen it move from a backwater cousin of UC Berkeley to a global force and the No. 1–ranked public university in the nation, this period of rapid expansion certainly rates among the most transformative. 

It’s worth taking a quick look at how we got here. 

research plan of science

Since the beginning, UCLA has never stood still. The university has continuously looked toward growth to better serve the needs of the people of Southern California, the state and the world. 

Before it was UCLA, the Southern Branch of the University of California — established in 1919 with a student body of about 1,500 — was located on Vermont Avenue in Hollywood. As the city’s population exploded, doubling in size to 1.2 million between 1920 and 1929, and the demand for higher education mushroomed, the branch quickly outgrew its digs. In 1927, the university broke ground on a plot of several hundred acres in far-off Westwood. Within a couple of years, the first four Romanesque-style buildings had been erected around what is today Dickson Plaza. The university never looked back. 

Classrooms, new schools, residence halls, laboratories, athletic facilities and a teaching hospital sprang up in the years following World War II as the university continued to keep pace with the growing city. Throughout the remainder of the 20th century and the dawn of the 21st, additional structures, including a medical center and a crop of new residence halls, were completed. By 2022, UCLA, with approximately 47,000 students, became the first — and only — campus among the UCs to guarantee housing to all undergraduate students. 

Yet today, with nearly 230 buildings and the smallest physical footprint among UC campuses, at 419 acres, serving the needs of our city and state requires looking beyond Westwood. 

It’s not simply a matter of square footage. Los Angeles has become a truly global megalopolis, and with nearly 4 million city residents and almost 10 million countywide, reaching and welcoming the region’s incredibly diverse populations means meeting them where they are. That is precisely what makes the recent acquisitions, spread across the neighborhoods and communities of Southern California, such a crucial step in advancing the university’s mission.

research plan of science

UCLA, in many ways, has become synonymous with Los Angeles. The university has evolved with the city and today is continuing to build its connective tissue throughout the region. 

Nowhere is this better illustrated than in UCLA’s acquisition last June of the historic Trust Building in downtown L.A.. The newly christened UCLA Downtown, an 11-story property on South Spring Street that was built in 1928 — one year before UCLA’s Westwood campus opened — sends a clear signal that the university is deeply committed to both the future of the city’s diverse communities and to creating positive change in the lives of both Bruins and Angelenos.

The university’s presence downtown isn’t new. For years, it has supported research and arts initiatives, service projects, internships, and experiential learning programs for students and faculty. UCLA Extension has offered continuing and professional education to all. And the university’s downtown health clinics have cared for scores of local residents. UCLA Health’s street medicine program has served more than 10,000 unhoused individuals, and the university’s James Lawson Jr. Worker Justice Center, in nearby MacArthur Park, provides services to the area’s lower-income and immigrant working populations.

Now, with UCLA Downtown, that commitment becomes permanent. The university will breathe new life into the 334,000-square-foot Art Deco/Moderne landmark, creating a hub where Bruins can partner with local community members and organizations on a range of academic, research, arts-related and outreach initiatives focused primarily on social justice and advocacy on behalf of underserved and vulnerable populations.

Last month, UCLA  selected 31 community-focused programs  to move into the space, with more to follow. 

research plan of science

In 1925, Rancho Palos Verdes was in the running as a potential new site for UCLA. A hundred years later, the university has finally arrived. 

Thirty miles south of Westwood, amid the rolling bluffs of the Palos Verdes Peninsula, the UCLA South Bay campus sits on one of the most quintessentially Californian swaths of coastline. The idyllic spot boasts stunning views of the blue waters of the Pacific, with Catalina Island in the distance. This property and a residential site in neighboring San Pedro were purchased in September 2022 from Marymount California University, which had recently shuttered its doors. The land acquisition — some 36 acres in total — was the largest in UCLA’s history.

At the new campus, academic programs will focus on sustainability, climate change and environmental justice, with the site’s ocean setting and its proximity to the largest port in North America providing ample opportunities for research and partnerships around those themes. As the university develops these instructional programs, UCLA South Bay will continue to host conferences, retreats and other events for the Bruin community, and UCLA Extension will begin offering courses there this summer.

UCLA was already the nation’s most-applied-to university  before  the new beachfront property came on board. Imagine what an ocean view will do!

research plan of science

It’s a long way from Claire’s and Orange Julius: The empty former Westside Pavilion shopping mall, once a vibrant retail center and gathering spot, will be reborn as the UCLA Research Park, an engine of innovation, discovery and economic growth for Southern California and beyond. 

The university acquired the sprawling 700,000-square-foot property, two miles south of campus at the intersection of Pico and Westwood boulevards, in January 2024. The site will house the California Institute for Immunology and Immunotherapy at UCLA and the UCLA Center for Quantum Science and Engineering.

At the state-of-the-art facility, scientists, industry partners, government agencies, startups and students will pool their expertise to expand the boundaries of science, medicine and technology. Quantum computing, for example, will be a top priority for the quantum center, with interdisciplinary teams seeking to harness the strange behavior of subatomic particles to construct machines far more powerful than anything imaginable today. And researchers at the immunology and immunotherapy institute will pursue treatment and vaccine breakthroughs in a variety of areas, from cancer and immune disorders to infectious diseases, allergies, heart conditions and organ transplantation. 

In addition to flexible work spaces, the former mall also features a 12-screen multiplex movie theater that could serve multiple uses for the center, the institute and programs across campus. The ambitious effort to turn a former bustling hive of commerce into a bustling hive of transformative research is one that will most certainly pay dividends for UCLA, the people of Los Angeles and the world. So grab your popcorn. 

“Leveraging the next waves of technology and science,” said California Gov. Gavin Newsom, “the UCLA Research Park will cement California’s global economic, scientific and technological dominance into the 22nd century, and beyond.”

Learn about the UCLA Strategic Plan — and what it means for the future — in an enlightening Q&A with Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Darnell Hunt.

Read more from UCLA Magazine ’s Spring 2024 issue .

research plan of science

Top UCLA News

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Gerrie Zvara leads effort for a more effective, efficient campus

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UCLA Downtown springs to life as 31 community-focused programs prepare to move in

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UCLA to lead $4 million cell research project funded by Chan Zuckerberg Initiative

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Surge in 2024 transfer applications, uptick in first-year California applicants

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Biden-harris administration announces preliminary terms with tsmc, expanded investment from company to bring world’s most advanced leading-edge technology to the u.s., office of public affairs.

With Up to $6.6 Billion in Proposed CHIPS Direct Funding, TSMC Announces 2 Nanometer Technology at Second Fab and a New Third Fab to Produce 2 Nanometer or More Advanced Chips

Proposed CHIPS Investment in Arizona Would Support AI, High-Performance Computing, 5G/6G Communications, and More Applications

Today, the Biden-Harris Administration announced that the U.S. Department of Commerce and TSMC Arizona Corporation (TSMC Arizona), a subsidiary of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company Limited (TSMC), have signed a non-binding preliminary memorandum of terms (PMT) to provide up to $6.6 billion in direct funding under the CHIPS and Science Act. This proposed funding would support TSMC’s investment of more than $65 billion in three greenfield leading-edge fabs in Phoenix, Arizona, which will manufacture the world’s most advanced semiconductors.

Through this proposed investment in TSMC Arizona, the Biden-Harris Administration would take a significant step in strengthening U.S. economic and national security by providing a reliable domestic supply of the chips that will underpin the future economy, powering the AI boom and other fast-growing industries like consumer electronics, automotive, Internet of Things, and high-performance computing. After initially announcing two fabs in the U.S., TSMC Arizona is committing to build an additional third fab before the end of the decade. With this proposed funding, TSMC Arizona would be ensuring the formation of a scaled leading-edge cluster in Arizona, creating approximately 6,000 direct manufacturing jobs, more than 20,000 accumulated unique construction jobs, and tens of thousands of indirect jobs in this decade and bringing the most advanced process technology to the United States.

“Semiconductors – those tiny chips smaller than the tip of your finger – power everything from smartphones to cars to satellites and weapons systems. America invented these chips, but over time, we went from producing nearly 40% of the world’s capacity to close to 10%, and none of the most advanced chips, exposing us to significant economic and national security vulnerabilities. I was determined to turn that around, and thanks to my CHIPS and Science Act – a key part of my Investing in America agenda – semiconductor manufacturing and jobs are making a comeback,” said President Joe Biden . “TSMC’s renewed commitment to the United States, and its investment in Arizona represent a broader story for semiconductor manufacturing that’s made in America and with the strong support of America’s leading technology firms to build the products we rely on every day.”

“One of the key goals of President Biden’s CHIPS and Science Act was to bring the most advanced chip manufacturing in the world to the U.S., and with this announcement and TSMC’s increased investment in their Arizona campus, we are working to achieve that goal,” said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo . “The leading-edge semiconductors that will be made here in Arizona are foundational to the technology that will define global economic and national security in the 21st century, including AI and high-performance computing. Thanks to President Biden’s leadership and TSMC’s continued investments in U.S. semiconductor manufacturing, this proposed funding would help make our supply chains more secure and create thousands of good-quality construction and manufacturing jobs for Arizonans.”

“America’s ability to maintain our competitive edge in advanced technologies like artificial intelligence is essential to igniting the next generation of research, innovation, development, and production,” said Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology and National Institute of Standards and Technology Director Laurie E. Locascio . “Our proposed support for TSMC Arizona represents an inflection point for America’s innovative capacity that would restore our nation’s leadership in an industry that is foundational to the U.S. and global digital economy.”

“The proposed funding from the CHIPS and Science Act would provide TSMC the opportunity to make this unprecedented investment and to offer our foundry service of the most advanced manufacturing technologies in the United States,” said TSMC Chairman Dr. Mark Liu. “Our U.S. operations allow us to better support our U.S. customers, which include several of the world’s leading technology companies. Our U.S. operations will also expand our capability to trailblaze future advancements in semiconductor technology.”

“We are honored to support our customers who have been pioneers in mobile, artificial intelligence and high-performance computing, whether in chip design, hardware systems or software, algorithms, and large language models,” said TSMC CEO Dr. C.C. Wei . “They are the innovators driving demand for the most advanced silicon that TSMC can provide. As their foundry partner, we will help them unleash their innovations by increasing capacity for leading-edge technology through TSMC Arizona. We are thrilled by the progress of our Arizona site to date and are committed to its long-term success.”

TSMC is widely recognized as a global leader in semiconductor manufacturing, having pioneered the pure-play foundry business model in 1987, and now manufactures over 90% of the world’s leading-edge logic chips. In Arizona, TSMC’s three fabs are expected to bring a suite of the most advanced process node technologies to the United States: the first fab  will produce 4nm FinFET process technologies; today, TSMC Arizona announced that the second fab will produce the world’s most advanced 2nm nanosheet process technology, in addition to previously announced plans to produce 3nm process technologies; and TSMC Arizona’s third fab will produce 2nm or more advanced process technologies depending on customer demand. At full capacity, TSMC Arizona’s three fabs would manufacture tens of millions of leading-edge chips that will power products like 5G/6G smartphones, autonomous vehicles, and AI datacenter servers. TSMC Arizona expects to begin high-volume production in their first fab in the U.S. by the first half of 2025.

Thanks to investments like those at TSMC Arizona, the United States is now on track to produce roughly 20% of the world’s leading-edge chips by 2030. With total capital expenditures of more than $65 billion, TSMC Arizona’s investment is the largest foreign direct investment in a greenfield project in U.S. history. TSMC Arizona’s investment in the United States is catalyzing meaningful investment across the supply chain, including from 14 direct suppliers that plan to construct or expand plants in Arizona or other parts of the U.S., further strengthening U.S. domestic supply chain resilience.

TSMC’s advanced chips are the backbone of core processing units (“CPUs”) for servers in large-scale datacenters and of specialized graphic processing units (“GPUs”) used for machine learning. Through the proposed funding for TSMC Arizona, the United States would onshore the critical hardware manufacturing capabilities that underpin AI’s deep language learning algorithms and inferencing techniques. This would help strengthen America’s competitive edge in science and technology innovation. Furthermore, through its Arizona fabs, TSMC will be able to better support its key customers, including U.S. companies AMD, Apple, Nvidia, and Qualcomm, among others, by addressing their leading-edge capacity demand, mitigating supply chain concerns, and enabling them to compete effectively in the ongoing digital transformation era. With the proposed incentives, TSMC Arizona has also committed to support the development of advanced packaging capabilities – the next frontier of technology innovation for chip manufacturing – through its partners in the U.S., creating the opportunity for TSMC Arizona’s customers to be able to purchase advanced chips that are made entirely on U.S. soil.

The PMT also proposes $50 million in dedicated funding to develop the company’s semiconductor and construction workforce. To build the long-term construction workforce needed to support these projects, TSMC Arizona recently signed an agreement with the Arizona Building and Construction Trades Council. The company also plans to utilize registered apprenticeship programs to meet a 15 percent apprenticeship utilization rate on the Phoenix construction site.

As part of its commitment to developing local talent, TSMC Arizona established one of the first state-supported Registered Apprenticeship programs for semiconductor technicians, with support from the City of Phoenix. TSMC's U.S.-based recruiting team is also actively collaborating with university engineering programs around the country, including Arizona State University, University of Arizona, and Purdue University, and is partnering with Maricopa Community Colleges and career technical education programs on initiatives to develop the skills for a career in the semiconductor industry. Site employees have access to discounts, reimbursements, and priority enrollment through partnerships for local area early education and childcare centers.

In addition to the proposed direct funding of up to $6.6 billion, the CHIPS Program Office would make approximately $5 billion of proposed loans – which is part of the $75 billion in loan authority provided by the CHIPS and Science Act – available to TSMC Arizona under the PMT. The company has indicated that it is planning to claim the Department of the Treasury’s Investment Tax Credit, which is expected to be up to 25% of qualified capital expenditures.

As explained in its first Notice of Funding Opportunity, the Department may offer applicants a PMT on a non-binding basis after satisfactory completion of the merit review of a full application. The PMT outlines key terms for a potential CHIPS incentives award, including the amount and form of the award. The award amounts are subject to due diligence and negotiation of a long-form term sheet and award documents and are conditional on the achievement of certain milestones. After the PMT is signed, the Department begins a comprehensive due diligence process on the proposed projects and continues negotiating or refining certain terms with the applicant. The terms contained in the long-form term sheet and the final award documents may differ from the terms of the PMT being announced today.

About CHIPS for America

The Department has received more than 630 statements of interest, more than 180 pre-applications and full applications for NOFO 1, and more than 160 small supplier concept plans for NOFO 2. The Department is continuing to conduct rigorous evaluation of applications to determine which projects will advance U.S. national and economic security, attract more private capital, and deliver other economic benefits to the country. The announcement with TSMC is the fifth PMT announcement the Department of Commerce has made under the CHIPS and Science Act, with additional PMT announcements expected to follow throughout 2024.

CHIPS for America is part of President Biden’s economic plan to invest in America, stimulate private sector investment, create good-paying jobs, make more in the United States, and revitalize communities left behind. CHIPS for America includes the CHIPS Program Office, responsible for manufacturing incentives, and the CHIPS Research and Development Office, responsible for R&D programs, that both sit within the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) at the Department of Commerce. NIST promotes U.S. innovation and industrial competitiveness by advancing measurement science, standards, and technology in ways that enhance economic security and improve our quality of life. NIST is uniquely positioned to successfully administer the CHIPS for America program because of the bureau’s strong relationships with U.S. industries, its deep understanding of the semiconductor ecosystem, and its reputation as fair and trusted. Visit www.chips.gov to learn more.

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Onward Toward the Future: The JKU Unveils its 2030 Strategic Development Plan

As part of its new strategic development plan, the Johannes Kepler University Linz has defined its strategic objectives up to 2030.

Rector Stefan Koch; photo credit: Robert Maybach

Drafted by the Rectorate in cooperation with the other governing bodies, the plan provides the basis for upcoming negotiations regarding the 2025-2027 performance agreement.

JKU Rector Stefan Koch explains: "Our enormous range of subject areas and disciplines means we can break new ground and offer a variety of opportunities to pursue future-oriented educational programs and research, particularly as part of our university-wide focus on digital transformation and sustainable development."

Strategic Flagship Projects The 2025 – 2030 JKU Strategic Development Plan essentially includes several strategic flagship projects geared toward the university's priorities as a whole:

· The Linz Institute for Transformative Change, LIFT_C for short, will serve as a new hub to promote and support interdisciplinary research relating to the bridging topic of "transformation". LIFT_C's goals and mission will be presented during a press conference at the end of February.

· The JKU's Faculty of Medicine will celebrate its 10 th anniversary and the Faculty’s success story is far from over. The "Uni-Med-Impuls 2030" program has created new opportunities in teaching and research, and boosted the number of spots in the program. The goals include supporting cross-faculty and interdisciplinary partnerships, particularly in future-oriented AI and in medicine. This includes, for example, projects that facilitate large amounts of data processing, and supporting personalized medicine, thereby contributing to the future of high-tech medicine.

· Taking advantage of years of expertise and pioneering work in the field of artificial intelligence to create an interdisciplinary competence center in support of university didactics and incorporating AI in education at the JKU.

· In support of a hands-on approach to teacher education studies, plans are in the works to create the first Austrian university school at the JKU as part of the JKU Linz School of Education.

· Building bridges between art and science is set to continue: The ongoing partnership with the University of Applied Arts Vienna will remain active, and, together with the University of Arts Linz, the JKU is planning to launch the “Linz Academy of Design”, focusing on Design Science and Design Thinking.

· As part of a large growth process, the JKU campus will become even more attractive for everyone at the university. Together with the city of Linz, plans are in the works to improve transportation connections and provide better connections between the JKU and the city center, as well as provide better connections between the main JKU campus and the inner-city JKU Medical Campus.

Positioning the JKU as an Attractive Employer As a university in a competitive job market, the JKU is also planning to focus on employer branding by 2030 and position itself even more strongly than before by presenting itself as an attractive employer, supporting its strongest resource - its employees - and providing opportunities to support work/life balance.

The JKU Goes Europe The JKU is also looking to become even more international by 2030: The JKU's recent membership to the EC 2 U alliance - the European Campus of City Universities - represents an important step towards this goal and, in the long term, is expected to result in a higher number of international students and employees.

Stepping up Scholarly Communication The strategic development plan emphasizes the JKU's "third mission" and just how important science communication is. Rector Koch added: "As a university, our responsibility to society is something we intend to actively pursue in the future. Be it through our common goal of becoming a climate-neutral university by 2030, or by means of various interactive formats - such as the Circus of Knowledge or the JKU medTALK - we intend to demonstrate just what science does and why it is so important to society."

The 2025-2030 JKU Strategic Development Plan is available at: https://www.jku.at/die-jku/ueber-uns/leitbild-strategie/

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Additional news stories you may be interested in

Photo credit: JKU. Pictured from left: Karl-Heinz Stadlbauer (Medical Director), Martina Binder-Radinger (KUK Office of Strategic Human Resources Development), Stefan Koch, Georg Viehböck, Alberta Bonanni, Christine Hinterleitner, Klaus Luger, Manfred Hublein, Valentin Bernauer, Ulrike Huemer (city director of the City of Linz), Mehmet Tasdemir, Wolfgang Högler, Adriana Estrada, Michelle Wolfgang, Layla Barakat

EC2U: The JKU Joins the Alliance to Support Research and European Values

As the world grows closer, working together to address global issues, such as climate change, and growing an international network, is becoming more important.

von links: Manfred Heublein (JKU), Heather Hunt, Ludovic Thilly (beide EC2U)

The EC 2 U Coordination Team Visits the JKU

The JKU becomes a member of the European University Alliance EC 2 U.

von links: Bast, Lukas; Credit: Daniel Hinterramskogler

Transformation Studies. Art x Science: A Partnership between the JKU and the University of Applied Arts Vienna

Imagination, a visionary mindset, creativity, and a passion to conduct experiments: A joint program by the JKU and University of Applied Arts Vienna brings art and science together.

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O.J. Simpson will be cremated; estate executor says 'hard no' to controversial ex-athlete’s brain being studied for CTE

A lawyer who represented O.J. Simpson, who died from cancer last week at 76, said Sunday that the former NFL star’s body will be cremated in the coming days, and there are no plans to have his brain donated to science.

“On at least one occasion, someone has called saying he’s a CTE guy who studies the brain,” said attorney Malcolm LaVergne, referring to chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a degenerative brain disease that has been studied in former football players and is associated with behavioral and cognitive issues related to repeated head injuries.

“That’s a hard no,” LaVergne added. “His entire body, including his brain, will be cremated.”

News of the cremation and the request to study his brain was first reported by the New York Post .

LaVergne, who is now serving as the executor of Simpson’s estate, said there are tentative plans for a “celebration of life” gathering limited to close friends and family. Simpson had three children with his first wife, Marguerite Whitley, and two children with his second wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, whom he divorced in 1992. In 1995, Simpson was famously acquitted in the murder of Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman.

LaVergne on Sunday also clarified comments made to the Las Vegas Review-Journal on Friday in which he said he didn’t want Goldman’s family to be able to collect any money from Simpson’s estate and it was “my hope that the Goldmans get zero, nothing.”

He said he was referring to a debt collection lawyer working with the Goldman family who, “within an hour we announced Simpson’s death, is bashing Simpson and all this stuff, ‘We’re going to do this and that.’”

“In hindsight, in response to that statement that ‘it’s my hope they get zero, nothing,’ I think that was pretty harsh,” LaVergne added. “Now that I understand my role as the executor and the personal representative, it’s time to tone down the rhetoric and really get down to what my role is as a personal representative.”

As he works to calculate the worth of Simpson’s estate and take inventory of his assets and belongings, LaVergne said he would invite a legal representative of the Goldmans to review his findings.

“We can get this thing resolved in a calm and dispassionate manner,” LaVergne said.

Following Simpson’s death, Goldman’s father, Fred Goldman, expressed no sympathy for the fallen Hall of Fame icon turned Hollywood pitchman, telling NBC News that “it’s no great loss to the world. It’s a further reminder of Ron’s being gone.”Simpson, who long maintained his innocence in the deaths of Brown Simpson and Goldman, died without having paid off most of a $33.5 million wrongful death judgment awarded in 1997 in a lawsuit filed by the victims’ families.

LaVergne said he welcomes Fred Goldman and his lawyer, David Cook, trying to ascertain any other financial assets, but with Simpson’s death, the estate must distribute money to creditors who have claims “according to priority.”

“Goldman and the other creditors for decades now have played, ‘Hey, if I get to find something of Simpson’s first, I get it or I get most of it,’” LaVergne said.

“But keep in mind, if he finds $1 million, he no longer gets to keep that $1 million,” he added. “The $1 million is going to come into the estate first, and then we see where the priorities are, and then he gets to keep it because he’s No. 8 on the list” of priorities.

LaVergne has said among Simpson’s debts is money owed to the Internal Revenue Service. In the wake of the lawsuit against him three decades ago, many of Simpson’s possessions, including footballs, jerseys and other sports memorabilia, were seized from his Brentwood estate in California to pay off the judgment. Simpson was living in Las Vegas before his death.

Cook said Sunday that there will be intense interest from lawyers for various parties seeking restitution as Simpson's finances are laid bare.

But "everybody knows when O.J. left, he left without penance," Cook said.

Goldman and Cook have said the litigation against Simpson was not about the money but seeking justice after his acquittal.

“It’s holding the man who killed my son and Nicole responsible,” Fred Goldman said in a previous statement after winning his civil trial.

Simpson’s will asks that LaVergne also set aside money for a “suitable monument” at his gravesite. It also says that Simpson wants the document to be administered “without litigation or dispute,” and if any beneficiary or heir fails to follow that dictate, they “shall receive, free of trust, one dollar ($1.00) and no more in lieu of any claimed interest in this will or its assets.”

research plan of science

Erik Ortiz is a senior reporter for NBC News Digital focusing on racial injustice and social inequality.


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  1. Writing a Research Plan

    The research plan, however, serves another, very important function: It contributes to your development as a scientist. Your research plan is a map for your career as a research science professional. As will become apparent later in this document, one of the functions of a research plan is to demonstrate your intellectual vision and aspirations.

  2. Writing a Science Fair Project Research Plan

    To make a background research plan — a roadmap of the research questions you need to answer — follow these steps: Identify the keywords in the question for your science fair project. Brainstorm additional keywords and concepts. Use a table with the "question words" (why, how, who, what, when, where) to generate research questions from your ...

  3. How To Write a Research Plan (With Template and Examples)

    If you want to learn how to write your own plan for your research project, consider the following seven steps: 1. Define the project purpose. The first step to creating a research plan for your project is to define why and what you're researching. Regardless of whether you're working with a team or alone, understanding the project's purpose can ...

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    A research plan is a framework that shows how you intend to approach your topic. The plan can take many forms: a written outline, a narrative, a visual/concept map or timeline. It's a document that will change and develop as you conduct your research. Components of a research plan. 1. Research conceptualization - introduces your research question.

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    A research plan is a documented overview of a project in its entirety, from end to end. It details the research efforts, participants, and methods needed, along with any anticipated results. It also outlines the project's goals and mission, creating layers of steps to achieve those goals within a specified timeline.

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    A research plan helps you, the researcher, organize your thoughts. On the other hand, a dissertation proposal or research proposal aims to convince others (e.g., a supervisor, a funding body, or a dissertation committee) that your research topic is relevant and worthy of being conducted.

  7. Write Your Research Plan

    Review and Finalize Your Research Plan; Abstract and Narrative; Research Plan Overview and Your Approach. Your application's Research Plan has two sections: Specific Aims—a one-page statement of your objectives for the project. Research Strategy—a description of the rationale for your research and your experiments in 12 pages for an R01.

  8. Creating a Research Plan

    Creating a Research Plan. Before starting work on a science project, a research plan should be created. While many researchers merely do this "in their head", it should be formally contained within a document. The research plan describes many aspects of the project. It will help both the researchers and mentors understand the overall ...

  9. How to Write a Research Plan for a Science Project

    Step 6. Formalize a research plan. Make it easy to read and include the following sections: questions, significance, background and materials and methods. Possible problems may be its own section or part of the materials and methods section. Follow school guidelines regarding accompanying paperwork and the order of your sections.

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    Abstract: This is a brief (300-500 words) summary that includes the research question, your rationale for the study, and any applicable hypothesis. You should also include a brief description of your methodology, including procedures, samples, instruments, etc. Introduction: The opening paragraph of your research proposal is, perhaps, the most ...

  11. PDF Writing a Science Fair Project Research Plan

    To make a background research plan — a roadmap of the research questions you need to answer — follow these steps: 1) Identify the keywords in the question for your science fair project. Brainstorm additional keywords and concepts. 2) Use a table with the "question words" (why, how, who, what, when, where) to generate research questions from ...

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    In science, many things have changed since 2002, when "Writing a Research Plan" was written, but many things have also stayed the same. Here's one thing that hasn't changed: It was hard to get a tenure-track faculty position 12 years ago, and it's still hard today. In fact, with the number of tenure-track faculty positions remaining flat and ...

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    Choose a title that identifies the content of your project. The title can include the nature of the study, the species used, and the place of field studies. It should reflect the principal objective of the investigation. Hypothesis: Based on your reading and information research, organize everything you have discovered, and then make an ...

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    A research proposal is a written document, concerned with a comprehensive description of a proposed research plan or programme on a specific subject matter or topic to substantiate the need and relevance of carrying out the research [].Research proposals should draw attention to the proposed study's benefits and possible research outcomes, backed by informative and convincing evidence.

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    The research plan should address the entire project, including any preparation that is necessary, such as building research apparatus or acquiring specialized research materials. It should present any experiments and how results will be evaluated. For an engineering project a research plan should outline the steps that will be taken.

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    Good science, written well, makes a good research plan. As you craft and refine your research plan, keep the following strategies, as well as your audience in mind: Begin the document with an abstract or executive summary that engages a broad audience and shows synergies among your projects. This should be one page or less, and you should ...

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    Presented by Cathy Binger. First we're going to talk about what a research plan is, why it's important to write one, and why five years—why not one year, why not ten years. So we'll do some of those basic things, then Liza is going to get down and dirty into the nitty-gritty of "now what" how do I go about writing that research plan.

  18. What is Scientific Research and How Can it be Done?

    Research conducted for the purpose of contributing towards science by the systematic collection, interpretation and evaluation of data and that, too, in a planned manner is called scientific research: a researcher is the one who conducts this research. The results obtained from a small group through scientific studies are socialised, and new ...

  19. How to Prepare a PhD Research Plan/Schedule?

    A PhD research plan or schedule can be prepared using the GANTT chart which includes a month, semester or year-wise planning of the entire PhD research work. First, enlist goals and objectives. It's not about your research objective enlisted in your proposal. I'm talking about the objectives of your PhD.

  20. PDF Research Plan (Example)

    Intel International Science and Engineering Fair ". On the next page, click again on " Intel International Science and Engineering Fair ". Scroll down to"Rules, Forms, and . Resources". Click on " Forms ". Scroll down to "Form 1A: Student Checklist/ "Research Plan". • May be written stepwise, in sections, or in phases ...

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    Background Research Plan Checklist. Add Favorite Remove Favorite Print Email Share Menu. Facebook; Pinterest; Twitter; More Menu. Report a Problem ... For additional information about using Science Buddies with Google Classroom, see our FAQ. Explore Our Science Videos. Finding Pi Using Everyday Objects. Build a Mini Trebuchet. DIY Mini Drone ...

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    The Environmental Sciences Ph.D. Program is a research-based degree program requiring a written and orally defended research dissertation. Since research is a primary component of this program, the Graduate Advisory Committee must approve the student's Research Plan. The Research Plan is not meant to be in the form of a formal research proposal.

  23. Arctic Research Plan

    Arctic Research Plan. By Alaska Region December 15, 2021. Overview. Science. The new 5-year Arctic Research Plan, 2022-2026 is a high-level research strategy that outlines key research goals for the region. The plan provides pathways to improve coordination among federal agencies working in the Arctic, as well as to strengthen relationships ...

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    Boston College biology major Sancia Sehdev '25, a member of the Gabelli Presidential Scholars program who plans to pursue research in environmental health and epidemiology as a foundation for climate advocacy, has received a Barry Goldwater Scholarship, the nation's premier undergraduate award in the sciences. Sehdev, a native of New Delhi ...

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  28. Onward Toward the Future: The JKU Unveils its 2030 Strategic

    The strategic development plan emphasizes the JKU's "third mission" and just how important science communication is. Rector Koch added: "As a university, our responsibility to society is something we intend to actively pursue in the future. Be it through our common goal of becoming a climate-neutral university by 2030, or by means of various ...

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    of these efforts, I'm directing the Chief of Naval Research to develop a series of S&T Execution Plans. These plans will align with the CNO's NAVPLAN Implementation Framework and the Commandants Force Design. They will ensure we adapt to new modalities and S&T tradecraft in our Basic and Applied Research portfolios.

  30. O.J. Simpson will be cremated; estate executor says 'hard no' to

    A lawyer who represented O.J. Simpson, who died from cancer last week at 76, said Sunday that the former NFL star's body will be cremated in the coming days, and there are no plans to have his ...