Can study participants fall outside the age range of 5 to 25?
Yes, but the primary research questions must focus on children or youth within the 5 to 25 age range.
Do you allow/prefer applications that incorporate both research focus areas, e.g., both the use of research evidence and reducing inequality?
Applicants are welcome to study both research focus areas. However, we have found that few applicants are able to do this well. The most successful applications address a few research questions within a single area.
Do you still accept proposals on social settings?
Are there aspects of inequality in which you are particularly interested?
We are interested in inequality on the basis of race, ethnicity, economic standing, and/or immigrant origin status.
The application guide suggests specifying the dimension of inequality to be studied. What does this mean?
It means specifying the basis of the inequality. We are interested in inequality on the basis of race, ethnicity, economic standing, and/or immigrant origin status.
Will you consider proposals examining inequality on the basis of gender, sexual orientation, or other areas?
Research on disparities in other areas (e.g., gender, sexual orientation) may also be considered if applicants make a compelling case that this research will improve youth outcomes. If appropriate, we are also interested in the ways these forms of inequality intersect (e.g., race and gender, income and sexual orientation).
Are there youth outcomes in which you are particularly interested?
Yes. We are currently focused on academic, behavioral, social, and economic youth outcomes. However, we will consider research on other outcomes.
Are you interested in inequality in systems and settings other than education?
Yes. We are interested in programs, policies, and practices to reduce youth inequality across a range of systems, including child welfare, juvenile justice, mental health, and employment, and in varied settings, such as neighborhoods, schools, families, and communities.
Would you fund a study that describes the nature of inequality and/or describes its causes?
We anticipate that most funded proposals will study specific programs, policies, or practices. In some areas, more formative work may be needed. In those cases, applicants should provide a compelling case that improved understanding of the nature or causes of inequality will have clear implications for identifying, building or improving policies, programs, or practices.
The Use of Research Evidence
Does data “count” as research evidence?
The Foundation defines research evidence as empirical findings derived from systematic data collection and analyses. Thus data in themselves do not constitute research evidence. When data are used in a planned investigation, this more closely aligns with the Foundation’s definition. Applicants should provide their definition of research evidence and a strong rationale to support the definition proposed.
Do you have a preference for particular conceptual frameworks on use of research evidence?
No. We welcome theories and conceptual frameworks from multiple disciplines, but applicants must articulate a compelling rationale for the framework or lens they are adopting and how it will guide interpretation of the findings.
What is the relationship between your interest in understanding the use of research evidence and translational research, dissemination research, or implementation science?
All of these efforts—including the Foundation’s—aim to understand how to enhance the uptake of research evidence. Dissemination research, translational research, and implementation science often focus on moving research from the producer to the user (e.g., better packaging interventions, improving communication, and developing better strategies for program adoption). The Foundation is also interested in relationships between the user and other conveyors of research as well as the organizational conditions that support the productive use of research evidence.
Are you interested in studies of evidence-based programs?
It depends. We are interested in understanding the uptake and application of evidence-based programs if it tells us something about the role of research evidence in adoption, implementation, and adaptation decisions. Applicants should not simply equate the use of an evidence-based program with use of research evidence.
Are you interested in studies of research-practice partnerships?
We support studies that examine attempts to improve the use of research evidence, including research-practice partnerships. We are interested in understanding the conditions that support partnerships that positively impact the use of research evidence and thus youth outcomes.
Do you favor proposals that study research use in federal policy as opposed to the state or local level?
Applicants need to make a compelling case for the level of policy they propose to study and how it will advance theory about the use of research evidence. The rationale should support the study’s focus on a specific group of users and explain why the proposed body of research evidence is relevant to policymakers at that level.
Will the Foundation fund a strategy I developed to increase policymakers’ and practitioners’ use of research evidence?
The Foundation will not support the improvement effort itself. The Foundation does support research focused on learning from such attempts. This may involve descriptive studies that follow promising cases or studies that examine intentional attempts to improve research evidence use.
Study Designs and Methods
Do you prefer particular research designs and methods?
We do not privilege one type of research design over another. We start our reviews by looking at the research questions and the goals of the study. Next we evaluate whether the theoretical approach usefully informs the questions and whether the proposed methods and designs are well-aligned with the interests. Given the diversity of important research questions, we support studies using a wide range of designs and methods, such as field experiments, non-experimental longitudinal studies, ethnographies, and comparative case studies.
Do you fund evaluation studies?
Yes. Proposed evaluation studies should specify a theoretical basis for the program, policy, or practice and enhance understanding of its effects. This may include considering the mechanisms through which effects occur or variation in intervention effects. Thus, studies should shed light not solely on “what works,” but on what works for whom, under what conditions, and why.
Do you fund syntheses or reviews of research?
Yes. The Foundation supports high-quality research syntheses.