Center for Social Research

Projects - Frequently Asked Questions

At any given time, CSR is generally supporting or conducting several long-term projects and at least a dozen shorter-term projects. Please visit our weblog's Projects section to see the latest news on current CSR projects. You may also go directly to our Project Proposal Form to apply for CSR support for your project. See the FAQ below for more information on project proposals.

FAQ Summary

Click the question text to see a longer answer to each question.

What are CSR's priorities for projects?

As part of Calvin College, we are first and foremost an educational institution. Our top goal and chief specialization is helping our clients develop and advance their own social research skills, especially in large-scale quantitative data collection and analysis. While CSR's internal capacity to conduct research directly is growing, we'll always be most interested in active collaboration with our clients at Calvin and elsewhere. We benefit Calvin College and the community most by identifying, learning, and disseminating new modes of research and new logistical tools.

CSR's top priority is to maintain a high level of service to long-term, significant social research projects, particularly those led by Calvin faculty with an academic publishing agenda. A high but secondary priority is service to community and Christian organizations, including the Christian Reformed Church in North America. Third, we serve Calvin faculty, staff and students through smaller-scale consultation on social-research-related aspects of scholarly and administrative projects, with limited direct participation in such projects.

How do I request CSR's help with a project?

We are always happy to talk with you in person and provide advice and encouragement for your work. Contact Neil Carlson to schedule an appointment to discuss your ideas, 616 526-6420.

CSR cannot commit to direct participation in projects until a formal application, budget agreement and schedule are in place. This process can take time, since the planning process itself often reveals the need for revisions to the overall research concept and time line. Prospective clients are encouraged to contact CSR early in the project imagination process and let us help you think it through from the beginning.

To manage high levels of interest in CSR services, in fall 2006 we initiated a project screening and scheduling process to help us prioritize and manage our work. We hope you will find the process helpful both in defining the scope of our collaboration and imagining new uses of the wide array of services CSR can provide.

Request assistance or propose a project to CSR!

Will CSR fund my project?

Our Small Grants program makes limited funding available to Calvin College employees for social science research projects. Generally, awards above $1,000 are not given; in rare cases an award slightly above that amount might be approved for an exceptionally important project. The program is intended to make available funds for research purposes that would not be covered by Calvin's CRFs, Alumni Association grants or other commonly available internal funds. The CSR offers prompt review of applications and availability of funds.

The CSR governing board reviews applications at its regular meetings (usually four per year) during the academic year, and disburses up to $8,000 total each academic year.

Does CSR approve research with human subjects?

Calvin College's Institutional Review Board is responsible for reviewing research projects for adherence to legal and ethical standards of protection for human research subjects. For advice and support, please do contact us. However, all official IRB-related correspondence should be directed to the current chair of the IRB, not the Center for Social Research. Please visit the IRB web site for more information.

Thank you for your interest!