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Formulating a convincing rationale for a research study

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❶Federal Sector The federal governmentrecognizes its responsibil- ity as a major source of support forbasic research.

Mistake 1: The rationale does not mention who the research is helping.

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Mistake 3: The rationale has a poorly defined scope.

It is a necessary first step in meeting the research and educational challenges that lie ahead National Research Council, b. Each year, hundreds of technically meritorious pro- posals submitted to the USDA competitive grants program go unfunded, and if funding prospects were better, many more proposals would probably be sub- mitted. Goals for the distribution of funding by type of 25 grant should apply to the total program, not to each of the six major program areas.

The awarding of funds should be governed by the creativity that scientists demonstrate in proposing to tackle problems and by the relevance of the proposals, not by a priori distribu- tional goals. But the distribution of funds through the four types of grants would also depend, to some degree, upon the goals and priorities set for research. When new plant biotechnolo- gies are being adapted and assessed for widespread commercial use, a different mix of grant types will be expected, including mission-linked multidisciplinary team grants.

The distribution of funds by grant type and across the six major program areas will also be influenced by the priorities of the executive and legislative branches of the federal government. Growing concern about both the protection of water quality and changes in global climate, for example, might lead to an increase in the funding appropriated to the natural resources and the environment program area.

Targets for the distribution of funds by type of go ant arepresentedinTable3. These are goals to strive for rather than binding rules, and they apply only to a fully funded program.

The emphasis given to principal. In counting and comparing the total number of proposals submitted, grants awarded, and grants funded, one runs the risk of mixing apples with oranges. Most grants cover a time period of more than 1 year, and a grant awarded for a 3-year period, for example, may appear in the statistics overtime either as one grant or as three grants, depending on whether it is a simple or a continuing grant.

In the case of a simple grant, the full 3 years of funding are obligated in 1 fiscal year, so the grant appears only once in the statistics. Supplemental funds are small additions to a grant to cover an unanticipated need to complete the research, such as the need to purchase a special instrument. Thus, statistics on the SUCCESS rate of grant applications can compare the number of proposals received and reviewed within a fiscal year with the number of new grants competitively awarded in that year, but not with the total number of grants funded during that same year.

In contrast, both NSF and the institutes at NIH obligate roughly two-thirds of their funds to continuing grants in each fiscal year. The data presented in Table 3. In the NSF, NIH, and USDA competitive research grants pro- grams, principal investigator grants have been, and continue to be, highly successful in advancing sci- ence, and they constitute the primary basis of research progress.

They must be given a major emphasis in the expanded USDA competitive grants program. Assuming that a principal investigator grant repre- sents funding for one senior scientist, a student, and a technician for 3 years; that a fundamental multidisci- plinary team grant represents funding for at least two collaborating senior scientists and staff for 4 years; and that a mission-linked multidisciplinary team re- search grant represents funding for a team headed by four senior investigators for 4 years, then one can construct a table see Table 3.

Since the size and duration of research-strengthening grants will vary depending on the need for fellowship or program support, their number is not included in the estimates in Table 3. Still excluding research-strengthening grants, an estimated 4, principal investigators or senior scientists would be supported in any 1 year more than five times the number under the current program which supports about scientists per year: In comparison, NIH awards about 6, grants annually.

About one-third of the propos- als submitted each year to NIH result in grant awards. NSF awards about 2, biosciences grants each year twice the number proposed for the expanded USDA program; about 20 percent of the proposals result in grant awards. For comparative data for FY , see Table 3. The estimates in Table 3. This conclusion is based on the size of the pool of agricultural and biological scientists who are expected to be interested in the expanded program.

This group is already interested in the current program, as indicated by the high proportion of proposals judged meritorious that go unfunded each year.

The proposed expansion in program scope and the increased size and duration of grants should secure their interest even more. In addition, the proposed expansion will also provide for graduate assistantships and postdoctoral appointments that will maintain a continuing influx of high-quality young scientists. Comparable data for physical and social scientists and engineers cannot be examined because the scope and emphasis of the current pro- gram do not attract their attention, but it is wholly reasonable to expect them to be highly interested in the 27 expanded program, as they are for comparable NSF and NIH programs.

This represents 56 percent of the 8, agricultural scien- tists working in traditional agricultural science fields, mainly at land-grant universities Table 3. How- ever, the grants will also go to scientists outside the traditional agricultural science fields, just as grants in biomedicine go to scientists both inside and outside biomedical fields.

To illustrate the potential involve- ment of scientists outside traditional agricultural sci- ences, consider only the 40, biological scientists see Table 3. If all 4, grants were awarded to these scientists, the US DA program would tee support- ing about 12 percent of them.

But, of course, a mix of scientists will be supported. If the proposed program were to fund agricultural and biological scientists in the same proportions as at present about 70 percent of the grants now go to scientists at land-grant universi- ties , then about 3, agricultural scientists about 39 TABLE 3.

CResearch-strengthening grants would vary in size and number and are not estimated here NA, not applicable. Grants Grants Agricultural scientists8, NA, Not available; percentage cannot be estimated on the basis of available information. These are not part of the land-grant university agricultural experiment station system.

In comparison, about 45 percent of the 40, biological scientists conducting research in re- ceivedNIHgrants. Therefore, the 1, grants awarded per year are still insufficient to fund agricultural scien- tists even to the level of NlH's funding of biological scientists and can involve biological scientists only to a very small extent. Thus, 1, grants per year should be seen, over the long term, as only a minimum number of grants for the USDA competitive grants program.

Yet, the needs and opportunities warrant the proposed action. This section presents three reasons for the need for new, not redirected, funding: Based on constant dollars, the purchasing power of USDA re. Yet, the environment in which agriculture must operate has changed substantially.

The macroeconomic condi- tions that effect the farmer end producer global trade policy, the federal budget, and the value of U. The regulatory climate is different and in flux, which increases the complexity and expense of doing business throughout the agricultural and food sector. And science and technology continue to evolve, altering farming prac- tices, markets, the cost of inputs, and overall produc- tivity.

First, without the prospect of a sufficient and acces- sible source of funds, the agricultural, food, and envi- ronmental research system will find it difficult to bring younger scientists into the system and induce them to establish research careers there.

This takes on greater significance since the large cohort of highly produc- tive scientists who have been in the system since the ls will soon be retiring. Second, without growth, opportunities for gradu- ate education and research experiences within the systemcannotbemaintained. Yet,graduate education is a major product of the U. Some would even argue that it is its most important product.

Educational opportunities emphasizing agricultural research are the source of the skilled talent on which agriculture depends. This is partly because the entire character of science has changed, particu- larly science for agriculture and biology. Instruments, techniques, and supplies have become extremely sophisticated and accurate.

In addition, since many of the problems are now more multifaceted, more emphasis must be placed on mul- tidisciplinary work, and this, too, has raised costs, particularly in the field- and clinic-based studies nec 29 essary to understand the complex phenomena in- volved in agriculture. Redirection of state funds and the securing of new state funds have also occurred through interactions within the state-federal partnership in research.

In a very real sense, the agricultural research sector has already been redirecting its funds. However, new demands are being made on the research system. For example, new information and analysis are required within the regulatory environ- ment. Much more caution and thoroughness are required in developing and using new technologies, such as biotechnology for plants and animals, than have been required for conventional plant and animal breeding in the past.

And there are research questions connected to the relationship between agriculture and the environment-for example, when the environ- ment is actually or potentially polluted by the contin- ued use of pesticides and natural and chemical fertil- izers, by agricultural and food processing wastes, and by leachates.

State-Federal Partnership The partnership between the states and the federal government in research, development, and applica- lion related to the agricultural and food sector involves both state end federal agencies and scientists. The partnership is strong and well estab- lished, and one of its key elements is collaboration in research and application. This collaboration is helped. States use a large portion of their total research funds to do research that is relevant to the entire nation.

One recent example of nationally relevant research by states is biotechnology research, which many states have emphasized and which, in most instances, is fundamental research. The significance of an ex- panded USDA competitive grants program is that it would use federal funds to provide major necessary support for fundamental research of national value, thereby lessening some of the competition for state funds, which could then appropriately be applied, in part, to state and regional problems.

There are no excess funds in this partnership for doing this essential job. As noted elsewhere in this proposal, if funds are taken away from the partnership or redi- rected to other activities-even to an expanded com- petitivegrantsprogram thenation's capacity to keep research, development, and application flowing will be diminished. Fiscal Realities Finally, there is the matter of fiscal realities: Where would it come from?

What are the implications of shifting funds from one pro- gram to another? At this time of fiscal constraint, the executive and legislative branches of the federal government must reduce the national debt and at the same time set priorities among competing federal expenditures to enact programs that maintain the welfare, infrastruc- ture, security, and continued economic growth of the United States.

The goal of simultaneously reducing expenditures and attending to essential national needs requires fiscal prudence. Trade-Offs Given the current era of fiscal constraints, this proposal for an increased investment in the agricul- tural, food, and environmental research system re- quires that several possible trade-offs be considered.

Can some current research programs be dis- continued in an effort to strengthen competitively supported research? The necessary funds could be directed to re- search from other USDA budget categories. The funds couldbe shifted from other parts of the federal budget into USDA.

Does the consistently high return on the agricultural research investment over- ride the need for funds in other areas of national interest? The investment in agricultural, food, and envi- ronmental research could be deferred until deficit re- duction has been achieved. But investing new funds now can hasten future economic growth and scientific benefits. What will be gained-or lost by postpon- ing the investment? Thus, agricultural research is already substan- tially underfunded, given the continuing needs and the many new needs.

It follows that a redirection of funds within an appropriation that is already too small will not allow the agricultural, food, and environmental research system to address fully the challenges con- fronting it. However, some might argue that current. Atleast three points should be made in response. First, many observers believe that the political prospects for redirection are nil to modest.

Second, any funds derived from redirection within the USDA research budget would diminish the capac- ity of the research and delivery system itself. It is this very system that is responsible for capturing the re- sults from competitively funded, formula- and state- funded, and other research, formulating them into technologies and applications and then delivering them to users.

Redirection of funding would under- mine not only the system's capacity for innovation but also continuing efforts to strengthen its research capa- bilities.

Thus, taking funds from the research and delivery system would diminish it precisely when it needs to be more effective. This proposal strongly recommends against the redirection of funds within the USDA research budget for the reasons given above. If no growth in the USDA research budget is possible, then decisions to redirectUSDA's research funds are judgments that elected and other public officials may choose to evaluate.

Investment of Subsidy Savings As U. If that occurs, pant of this funding should be reinvested in research programs that can strengthen the knowledge that supports the production of agricultural commodi- ties and the food and fiber industries of the country. Such redirection is appropriate because the research will directly benefit those commodities: Investment Using Non-USDA Funds Beside reinvesting savings from the decreases in subsidy payments, another possibility is reinvestment from other nonresearch portions of the federal budget.

The first reason is economic, the second is scientific, and the third combines both. In addition, investment in the environmental component of the system will have a substantial direct monetary value as less expensive and more effective environ- mental management systems are used involving more effective, less environmentally problematic fertiliz- ers, insecticides, and herbicides and their integrated systems.

Furthermore, money spent ensuring envi- ronmental quality for the agricultural and food system will keep problems from building and will thus save on future remedial costs.

Increased funding can be used to major advantage. The necessary scientific talent in the physical, biological, engineering, and social sciences as well as in agriculture and related disciplines is also available and ready to compete for this new funding. Moreover, USDA has shown that it can professionally administer and manage a competitive grants program.

The third reason that this substantial increase should be enacted in a single year is a reflection of the broadened scope of agricultural, food, and environ- mental research and of the importance of sustained agricultural advancement for the U. The agribusiness complex contributes an estimated In addition, the ties between farming and its linked industries continue to increase because the value added to agricultural products be- yond the farm continues to increase.

In the U. In light of the value of the agricultural complex to the U. The in- crease will thus provide substantial economic benefits for the nation. Even so, a commitment of this magnitude is essential, and any stepwise increase in funding should reach the full increased amount as soon as possible, preferably within 3 years. The actions taken by the federal government should also firmly state the goal of increasing the investment in research through competitive grants.

The specific organizational environment for the proposed expanded program within USDA is analyzed in Chapter 6. The department has special responsibilities and expertise in agricultural production, food safety, environmental protection, and human nutrition. The department administers several programs that develop new knowledge and technology and other programs that help refine tech- nology and transfer it into widespread use.

Second, USDA has responsibility for the national laboratories for agricultural research ARS , for fed- eral agricultural regulatory and economic analytical services, and-in cooperation with the states-for the network and capacity for transferring technology to productive use. It also extends outward to other federal agencies. Third, USDA has proved itself able to manage a competitive grants program characterized by high quality, timeliness, and professionalism.

Ongoing ARS programs correspond closely to the proposed six major program areas. ARS scientists can participate in the expanded competitive grants program by applying for grants, by identifying the mission-linked research needs and priorities of USDA and other federal agencies, and by serving on peer review panels.

ARS scientists and engineers have experience in key engineering disci- plines, instrumentation, new product and process development, natural resource stewardship, and other critical areas. Moreover, ARS scientists are among those most familiar with mission agency needs and with ongoing government regulatory, grading, and related program activities.

A major fraction of all public funding for research on agricul- ture and food is spent through the SAESs, and the combined state and federal support for the SAESs is approximately three times the federal support for ARS see tables in Appendix A. The work of the SAESs involves basic research on fundamental biological processes, more applied work on the problems and issues confronting agricultural and food production systems, and technology development and application aided by the CES and the private and federal sectors.

Many SAKS scientists have combined teaching, re. The role of the SAESs and their participating scientists has become broader, not narrower, in recent years.

They are involved not only in their traditional responsibilities in agricultural research but also in laboratory-based fundamental research such as mo- lecular and cellular genetics, and they interact closely with non-SAES biological scientists. Concurrently, SAKS scientists are also involved in the assessment and implementation of agricultural policy issues. For example, throughout the SAKS, extensive work has been done to respond to issues on water quality, pesticide use, and the competitiveness of agriculture.

In addition to competing for grants from the ex- panded competitive grants programs, SAKS scientists will have important roles to play in serving on com- petitive grants program advisory committees and peer review panels, defining program priorities, identify- ing mission-linked research issues, and reviewing multidisciplinary research proposals. Important but sometimes ignored in the university- based agricultural research system are the scientists who are not operationally within the SAKS system but who are interested in and contribute to research impor- tant to agriculture.

This group includes scientists at the land-grant universities outside the colleges of 33 agriculture, human ecology, and veterinary medicine and scientists at non-land-grant universities, both public and private. This group must be seen as potential collaborators with USDA in developing and applying new results and technologies to the agricul- tural, food, and environmental system.

The CES uses a network of extension specialists and county-based agents who are supported through combinations of federal formula funds, state funds, and county or regional funds. This confederation of extension agents is unique in provid- ing the communication and education link between users and researchers. Keep a working thesis draft somewhere from the time you start to brainstorm, until you have finished revising.

It may need to change at every step of the process. Your thesis should probably reference the literature, and ideal note a gap in that literature. For a rationale, you may also be able to specifically mention the importance of your work. Here is a simple example of a rationale thesis: Few researchers have considered and compared the effect that the hopping height of early rabbits had on the development of modern rabbit-humanoids.

Filling this gap could teach us more about how natural selection lead to the evolution of the advanced species. Before you get too far into your rationale, you need to define your terms. Consider what words have the most general definitions. Can you get more specific? If not, devote a sentence or two to defining the term as it applies to your paper and rationale. It is also a good idea to define any of the most important words as you see fit.

What single words does the understanding of your paper hinge on the most? Make a list and devote a sentence early in your rationale to each. You need to make a point about what you are hoping to accomplish with this research. Establish goals as you draft your outline. You will want to keep them in mind as your begin to draft your rationale.

Questions to keep in mind: What are the benefits of the research you are doing? Can you identify someone you are helping? Your topic is important to you.

You should relay this importance to your audience at some point in our draft. If you are having a hard time starting, this can be a good place. You need to provide a survey of the literature relevant to the topic you are researching. You should include a brief summary of each of the readings.

Do not forget to provide citations to each of the passages you mention. You need to provide a survey of all of the literature relevant, and you need to analyze that literature. Tell the audience what you know. What literature do you find most relevant and what literature is promising. Were there any problems with how the research was conducted? This is very important with regard to stating your problem.

Do you have questions after reading everything available to you? You should directly confront any of the literature that you have an issue with. Within the research that you are discussing, where is there further research needed? Note limitations that apply to the existing literature. You need to provide a both in depth and easy to understand overview of what it is exactly you are researching. Do not let your audience forget about the importance of your topic.

Give a report of your ideal trajectory for your research. Consider explaining why you chose to do this. Give some of the specifics of your method.

What is the theory behind your process? Tell the audience here if you have any doubts about other research and how your method will correct or avoid these issues. Discuss each phase of the research. In the rational, always be pushing the importance of your work. You need others to understand what drove you in a clinical writing style. If you can, name a few practical applications of your research. And there are three huge mistakes that many students make in their rationales.

Correcting these mistakes can contribute to a higher grade. Always double check your rationales for these free points. It may even be a good idea to include a specific Beneficiaries section in your rationale. If you can show your audience tangible ways you are helping people—always remain clinical—but lay it on thick. Consider giving a timeline of how long it may take for these benefits to reach other researchers and the public. You may surprise yourself with the applications of the research you are pitching.

You should be excited about how your research can apply to the real world, let your audience see that, but first you must have turned every stone under which a person aided by your research might be hiding. Be sure to apply this knowledge to your rationale in order to succeed in your research paper and to avoid mistake number 1!

It often happens that a student will write a really awesome rationale for a research paper, but then rationale does not fit this particular paper.

This happens when a student does not revise the rationale after completing the rest of the paper. Because the rationale comes first, students will write it first. This is a good idea, because it helps to keep the rationale in mind as you progress. As noted in Chapter 1, contributions can be of various kinds, including.

Outcomes derived from applying existing theories or methods of investigation to events, individuals, groups, or institutions not yet studied in such a fashion.

The following examples illustrate two ways of wording research proposals so that they a specify the question to be answered, b locate the study in a domain of knowledge or practice, and c identify the study's intended contribution. Double Encryption Security System guarantees no one can access your private data or credit card info.

We deal with academic writing, creative writing, and non-word assignments. Defining Key Terms Thesis Hhypothesis. Synonyms Describing your data collection methods.

Providing A Rationale A rationale typically consists of a line of reasoning that performs two principal functions. Roles for the Rationale The rationale plays a role at two stages of your project: Preview a Paper Sample From essay, assignments and personal statements to case studies.

Research Proposal Anterior Cruciate Ligament: Term Paper Human Resource Management. Placing your work in context Locating your study in a context consists of identifying a domain of life into which the research fits. Among theories of social change, the most prominent types. The literature on family structure can be divided into.

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Rationale for the study needs to be specific and ideally, it should relate to the following points: 1. The research needs to contribute to the elimination of a gap in the literature.

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A rationale is a kind of sub-proposal within a proposal: it offers the reasons for proceeding to address a particular problem with a particular solution. A rationale for research is a set of reasons offered by a researcher for conducting more research into a particular subject -- either library research, descriptive research, or experimental research.

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Explaining the purpose of a research study and providing a compelling rationale is an important part of any research project, enabling the work to be set in the context of both existing evidence (and theory) and its practical applications. Providing A Rationale. A rationale typically consists of a line of reasoning that performs two principal functions. It describes a context within which to locate the intended project and suggests why doing such a study is worthwhile.

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Somewhere in the introduction you need to inform the reader of the rationale of your research. This is a brief explanation of why your research topic is worthy of study and may make a significant contribution to the body of already existing research. Aug 28,  · Mainly, a rationale will need to have stated your research problem, defined the key terms, noted objectives and noted the importance of the subject. In addition, a rationale will need to have reviewed and summarized the available literature, noted any gaps in this literature or in the study of the topic/5(62).