Methodology and Measurement in the Behavioral and Social Sciences R01)

Environmental Health Perspectives, April 2007 | Go to article overview

Methodology and Measurement in the Behavioral and Social Sciences R01)


The behavioral and social sciences offer insights into the comprehensive understanding of human health, including disease etiology and treatment, and the promotion of health and well-being. To encourage the investigation of the impact of social and behavioral factors on health and disease, the participating institutes and centers invite qualified researchers to submit research grant applications on methodology and measurement in the behavioral and social sciences. Methodology and measurement encompass research design, data collection techniques, measurement, and data analysis techniques. The goal is to encourage research that will improve the quality and scientific power of data collected in the behavioral and social sciences, relevant to the missions of the NIH Institutes and Centers (ICs). Research that addresses methodology and measurement issues in diverse populations, issues in studying sensitive behaviors, issues of ethics in research, issues related to confidential data and the protection of research subjects, and issues in developing interdisciplinary, multimethod, and multilevel approaches to behavioral and social science research are particularly encouraged, as are approaches that integrate behavioral and social science research with biomedical, physical, or computational science research or engineering. Applicants are encouraged to contact the Program Contact for Scientific/Research issues (see "Agency Contacts") of the IC that most closely matches their research focus to determine the IC's interest in the research topic.

This Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) encourages applications addressing four general areas of methodology and measurement research in the social and behavioral sciences. These areas include research design, data collection techniques, measurement, and data analysis. Within the broad spectrum of research defined by these areas, applicants are encouraged (but are not required) to consider studies that address one or more of the following key issues: 1) methodology and measurement issues in developing innovative interdisciplinary, multimethod, and multilevel research designs for use in behavioral and social science research, with emphasis on developing new technologies and addressing the analytical complexities associated with the integration of behavioral, social, and biological data; 2) methodology and measurement issues in research relating to diverse populations, e.g., populations that are distinctive by virtue of age, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, culture, including culture-specific medical systems, socioeconomic status, literacy, language, or disability; 3) methodology and measurement issues in studying how dramatic changes in economic, social, environmental, physical, or political context affect human health and well-being, including developing new methods if older ones are no longer valid in the face of significant changes in populations and societies over the last several decades; 4) methodology and measurement issues in studying potentially sensitive behaviors, such as sexual behavior and abortion, and covert or illegal behaviors such as drug use, abuse, and violence; 5) methodology and measurement issues concerning ethics in research, with emphasis on the topics of informed consent, assessment of risk and benefit, and selection and retention of subjects, and ensuring subjects' confidentiality.

Multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary approaches are strongly encouraged. Potential applicants are urged to explore the ideas and methods developed in social science and behavioral fields other than their own and to consider the development and integration of behavioral and social science measures with those of the biomedical, physical, or computational sciences or engineering. Consulting relevant literature and collaborating with colleagues from other disciplines may provide important opportunities for cross-fertilization in developing improved methodology and measurement. …

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