Pattern of inquiry

Increasing scope and depth
Research careers develop over time, increasing in scope, depth and means of dissemination.  New faculty members benefit greatly from thinking ahead to where they would like to be in 1, 5 or 10 years and outlining a path to accomplish the goal in that timeframe.  The process of thinking forward, in and of itself, is a great exercise that helps focus decisions about what to study, under what circumstances, and where to share the resulting findings.

Pattern of increasing scale
Peer review committees look for evidence of a pattern of increasing scale of projects as they review files for retention, tenure or promotion decisions.  Things they may look for include: increasing amounts of grants applied for, deeper complexity of research projects, and widening venues for dissemination.

Organizational research agendas
In addition to individual research agendas, many organizations lay out their research agendas in hopes of attracting researchers to study the issues of importance to them.  Look for these when exploring funding agencies, looking for collaborators, and seeking places to disseminate findings.  By linking with others whose agendas are similar to your own, the work you are doing will enter the larger conversation more quickly and be more likely to influence the course of the dialogue.

Flexible research agenda
The time taken to outline a research agenda is well spent, and is useful as a guide to future projects.  It remains flexible, however, in order to take advantage of the inevitable unexpected opportunities that arise from interacting with researchers with similar interests and commitments.  This loosely constructed planning tool can make the difference between successful researchers and those that spend large amounts of time on projects that do not further their larger vision.

Creating a Research Agenda

Mapping Out a Research Agenda
Xie, T. (June, 2010). Department of Computer Science, North Carolina State University
These slides are designed to walk a junior faculty member through the process of outlining plans for a series of research projects.

Planning Your Research Agenda
New Faculty Institute, University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth
These suggestions outline ways for new faculty to develop a research agenda.

Writing a Research Plan
Austin, J. (July, 2002). Bio International Convention, Science Careers from the Journal Science
Nearly every applicant for a tenure track faculty job is expected to include a research plan, and rarely do doctoral programs teach graduate students how to do so.  This article outlines how to go about setting up an effective plan.

Example Research Agendas

CDC Research Agenda
Center for Disease Control and Prevention
This is one example of an organization that outlines its various agendas to encourage researchers to apply for and participate in related activities while furthering the goals of the organization.

A Robust Research Agenda on Media and Democracy in Fragile States: Getting a More Serious Conversation Going
Deane, J. (2009). Blog on Communication, Media, and Development Policy
This posting argues for the importance of focusing the conversation about media and democracy by outlining an appropriate research agenda.

Increasing the Scale of a Research Agenda

TESOL Research Agenda
Borg, S. et al. (2004).
This article argues that knowing a list of high priority research questions in the field would really help move a concerted agenda forward by serving as a place to consult when graduate students, advisors, and faculty in the field are looking for their next research project.

Research Agendas and Collaboratories
Journal of Empirical Research on Human Research Ethics
This journal calls for authors to set forth their research agendas and encourage other investigators to use similar methods in different settings as they study similar phenomena.

A Proposal for a Research Agenda in Computer Human Interaction
LaPlant, W. (2008). Statistical Research Division, US Bureau of the Census
This paper offers a review of the factors that necessitate a revolution in human accessibility to intelligent technologies, proposing a comprehensive approach to the reporting of past and current research, and the planning of future research.

Attack of the Clones: A Pragmatic Guide to Maintaining a Research Agenda
Harrelson-Stephens, J. & Galatas, S. (2008). Political science and politics, Vol. 41, No. 2, p. 297-299, Cambridge University Press
This paper argues that duplicate research presentations can be an effective way to maintain an active research agenda, absent other institutional incentives to do so.  The authors teach in a setting with modest incentives to do research, and considerable incentives to teach and do service. 

Research Agendas
Mazzone, J. (2009). Concurring Opinions Blog, the Law, the Universe, and Everything
In this post the research agendas that candidates for law school faculty positions present as part of the application process are criticized as heavy on agenda and light on research.  Examples are given and critiqued by the blogger, and there are many comments about his critique.

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