Student Research Grant

Association of School Psychologists of Pennsylvania (ASPP) Research Grant Award

1.       Purpose of Research Grant Awards

The purpose of the Association of School Psychologists of Pennsylvania (ASPP) Research Grant Award is to promote excellence in research training in school psychology, thereby enhancing the capability of students to develop and expand their research skills while advancing the science of school psychology. Although not all quality proposals submitted can be funded, each student will receive feedback intended to contribute to the student’s enthusiasm for and competence in research.

2.       Eligibility

Doctoral or Specialist level students who are matriculated in school psychology programs in a NASP-approved school psychology graduate program in Pennsylvania, and who are members of ASPP, are eligible to apply for this grant.

3.       Mentorship Requirements

Close mentorship and advisement from a faculty member on the research project is expected. A plan or consideration for advising, mentorship, and oversight by a mentor is required (see section 6).

4.       Topics

Research grants will be awarded to students conducting well-designed empirical (e.g., quantitative, qualitative, meta-analysis, single-case design) research that contributes to advancing the scientific base of school psychology. Thus, non-empirical reviews of the literature are not eligible for funding. Studies that are of high quality, employing rigorous research methods, will be considered. Topics to be considered should align with NASP’s Practice Model for School Psychologists.

5.       Size of Award

ASPP will award a maximum of $3,000 annually for Student Research Grants. Given there are two review periods (see Section 8 below), the maximum amount that can be requested is $1,500 per application in a review cycle. The awarded funds cannot be used for travel outside the scope of the research plan or payments to the applicant. The decision to award funds is at the discretion of the ASPP Research Committee. ASPP reserves the right to allocate a partial amount of the funds requested. If funds are spent in a manner other than what is outlined in the proposal, award recipients may be asked to reimburse ASPP or provide further justification of expenditures. 

6.       Application Format

The application should be consistent with the latest edition of the American Psychological Association’s Publication Manual. Proposals that exceed the stated word counts will not be reviewed.

For consistency in applications, each of the following sections must be included:

a)   Abstract/Summary (no more than 250 words)

Provide a title and summarize the substantive focus and research design of the research proposal and its contribution to the field of school psychology.

b)  Research Strategy (no more than 1,500 words). Must include the following sections:

1) Rationale and Importance of Research

Provide a brief review of relevant previous literature. Provide justification for the importance of the proposed research and its potential to contribute new knowledge about the area under study. Describe the specific aims of the proposed study, and state related hypotheses.

2) Participants

Describe the number of participants and relevant demographics (e.g., age, gender, grade, location).

3) Measures, Methods, and Research Procedures

Briefly describe each of the measures and their reliability and validity for the purposes of the research. Also describe scoring procedures when appropriate. If some of the measures are author-created (e.g., rating scales), discuss how their reliability will be tested, when appropriate.

4) Planned Data Analyses

Describe the plan for analyzing the data to answer each of the research questions. Give enough detail about statistical analyses (e.g., correlations, regression, analyses of variance, growth models, multi-level approaches) so that readers will understand the scores to be analyzed and the expected results to support the hypotheses.

c)  References

d)  Human Subjects Plan

Evidence of IRB approval from the appropriate institution must be obtained and is required prior to receipt of funding. In the case that IRB approval has not yet been obtained, an explanation of pending IRB approval by the students selected faculty mentor can be included at the time of grant proposal submission.

e)   Proposed Timeline

Describe the timeline for the work described in the research strategy section and for completing the final report.

f)   Budget and Brief Justification (no more than 500 words [excluding itemized budget])

Provide an itemized budget and narrative justification for the proposed project. The budgeted amount may not exceed $1,500. The narrative budget justification should describe how costs are derived or anticipated for each budget item. Discuss the necessity, reasonableness, and allocation of the proposed costs.

g)   Mentorship Plan

  1. Provide the name and institutional and program affiliations of all advisory members who will provide mentorship on the research proposal. Indicate one primary faculty member mentor who will act as an advisor throughout the project.
  1. Include a statement signed by the mentor certifying the mentor’s availability to act as an advisor throughout the course of the project.

h)  Applicant’s CV

Include contact information (phone number and email address); post-high school education (including dates of attendance and receipt of degrees); employment summary; graduate-level scholarships, fellowships, and assistantships; professional memberships; other relevant awards or recognitions; publications; and presentations.

i) Additional Support

If implementation of the research requires collaboration or support from other parties, such as a school district’s approval of the research or access to a database, letters of support must be included in an appendix. Appendices do not count toward the word count or page limits.

7.      Evaluation Criteria

Each of the following criteria will be evaluated on a 5-point scale (unless stated otherwise).

a)    Relevance to the Field of School Psychology

Does the project address an important problem or a significant issue in school psychology? If the aims of the project are achieved, how will scientific knowledge and/or applied practice of school psychology be improved?

b)  Innovation

Are the concepts, approaches or methodologies, instrumentation, or interventions novel to this field of research? Does the research challenge and seek to shift current research or practice in school psychology?

c)   Approach

Are the methods and analyses clear and appropriate to accomplish the specific aims of the project? Approach will be rated separately for each of the following areas:

1) Participants

Will the sample size provide sufficient power to produce potential significant effects? Are the recruitment procedures feasible and appropriate?

2) Measures, Methods, and Research Procedures

Do the measures have adequate reliability and validity for the purposes of the research? Are the measures appropriate to answer the research questions? If the measures are author-created, is there a plan to test their reliability and/or validity for the purposes of the research? Are the research procedures clearly stated and appropriate to the research questions?

3) Planned Data Analyses and Expected Results

Are the data analyses well thought out and appropriate to answer the research questions? Are the expected results clearly described and plausible? Have other possible confounding factors been considered, when appropriate?

d)   Mentorship Plan (qualifying criterion; score is not weighted)

e)   Evidence of Scholarship (score is weighted at 50%; e.g., a rating of 5 = 2.5pts)

Does the applicant demonstrate interest in and ability to pursue a productive research career that advances the science of school psychology? The applicant may demonstrate this evidence of scholarship through previous presentations, publications, or membership in professional associations. If the applicant does not have previous research or scholarship experience, anticipated future scholarship based on the research proposal should be provided.

f)   Necessity and Reasonableness of Budget (score is weighted at 50%; e.g., a rating of 5 = 2.5pts)

Does the applicant provide adequate justification for budgeted items in terms of necessity and reasonableness of costs?

8.       Submission Instructions and Notification of Awards

Applications are due by June 15th and December 15th at 11:59pm. No edits or changes to proposals may be made after this deadline. Applicants will be notified of the status of their application within 4 weeks of the submission deadline. The length of award typically will be one year. A no-cost, one-year extension may be requested; however, the request for a no-cost, one-year extension must be made in writing to the ASPP grant review committee within 60 days of the end of the funding period.

The complete application should be converted to a single pdf file with the sections organized in the order listed under Section 6, Application Format, and submitted through the ASPP website on or before the deadline noted above. The single pdf file (multiple pdf files will be returned) should be labeled with the applicant’s last name, followed by the mentor’s last name and the submission date (e.g., Doe Beckman 1-25-2017.pdf).

9.       Reporting Requirements

Within 6 months after the funding period (or within 6 months after the end of the no-cost, one-year extension period), award recipients are required to send the Final Report to the Association of School Psychologists of Pennsylvania (ASPP) describing (a) a brief summary of the findings (no more than 500 words), (b) how the funds were spent, (c) any significant deviations from the research strategy described in the application, and (d) a list of any presentations and publications emanating from the research. The Final Report should be converted to a single pdf file and submitted through the ASPP website. Recipients of the award may be asked to submit the final results of the project for presentation at the ASPP annual conference and/or submit an article for the ASPP InSight. Other attempts to disseminate the projects findings are strongly encouraged.

Submission Deadline
June 15th and December 15th Annually