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NIU launches Research Methodology Services, unit helps faculty to improve grant proposals

September 18, 2012

Photo of three professionals collaborating on a reportAs the competition for research funding has intensified, institutions such as the University of Michigan, the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) and the University of Illinois Chicago (UIC) have developed specialized service units that help faculty improve the quality of the design, analysis and statistical sections of their grant proposals.

Now, thanks to funding from the Great Journeys Strategic Plan, NIU is able to offer faculty the same kind of service.

The Research Methodology Services (RMS) unit provides free statistical and methodological expertise to all faculty at NIU submitting proposals for external funding. Faculty members Alecia Santuzzi (Department of Psychology) and Terry Lu (Division of Statistics) and a number of graduate students serve as the RMS staff.

“We are very excited to be able to offer this service to our faculty,” said David Stone, associate vice president for research. “As competition for grant funding intensifies, we need to be able to provide our faculty services that will allow them to compete effectively and bring new projects to our campus and our students.”

Services include attending meetings to discuss the project, its design, and its statistical needs; consultation on the analysis requirements for the project; and primary responsibility for the write-up of the statistical sections of the grant proposal. The RMS can contribute to plans for study design, sample size, statistical analysis and management of large or complex data sets, and other methodological issues.

RMS offers access to standard statistical software such as SPSS, Stata, SAS and S-PLUS/R, as well as more specialized software.

Topics addressed by the RMS include:

  • Basic univariate analysis (e.g., ANOVA, correlation, linear regression)
  • Bayesian Modeling
  • Bootstrap and other resampling procedures
  • Design features (e.g., sample size determination and power analysis)
  • Dyadic data analysis
  • Factor Analysis (exploratory and confirmatory)
  • Generalized Linear Models
  • Linear and non-linear mixed-effects models
  • Logistic and other regression methods for discrete data
  • Missing data issues
  • Multilevel models for nested data (e.g., longitudinal data, individuals in groups)
  • Multivariate analysis (MANOVA, MANCOVA, Canonical Correlations, Cluster Analysis, Discriminant Analysis, and Profile Analysis)
  • Psychometric analysis
  • Structural Equation Modeling
  • Survival Analysis
  • Time Series Analysis
Terry Lu and Alecia Santuzzi

Terry Lu and Alecia Santuzzi

The RMS will provide consultation to faculty on external funding proposals at no cost.

However, must faculty agree to budget the RMS in their proposals to participate in data analysis at a rate of $53.75 per hour.

As guidance, a basic univariate analysis usually requires eight to 40 hours, depending on the amount of data management required, the complexity of the data, problems that might occur in the diagnostics phase of the analysis and degree of interpretation of results requested. More complicated latent variable models tend to require 50 to 100 hours.

Faculty are encouraged to engage with the RMS early in the development of their proposals to discuss data analysis procedures and estimated time required of RMS.

To begin, or for more information, faculty should contact their Office of Sponsored Projects research development specialist or Stone at [email protected] or (815) 753-9282.