TESS Special Competition for Young Investigators


Time-sharing Experiments for the Social Sciences (TESS) is an NSF-funded initiative. Investigators propose survey experiments to be fielded using a nationally representative Internet platform via NORC's AmeriSpeak® Panel (see tessexperiments.org for more information). In an effort to enable early-stage scholars to field larger-scale studies than what TESS normally conducts, we are pleased to announce a Special Competition for Young Investigators. Winning projects will be allowed to be field experiments that are significantly larger than the regular budget for TESS study (see here for the allowed size).

While anyone can submit at any time through TESS’s regular proposal mechanism, this Special Competition is limited to graduate students and individuals who are no more than 3 years post-Ph.D. (Ph.D. must have been received in 2017 or after).

We will begin accepting proposals for the Special Competition on November 15, 2020, and the deadline is January 15, 2021. Full details are below.

 

Who can submit to the Special Competition for Young Investigators?
How large can my study be?
When is the deadline for submission?
Can I submit more than one proposal for the competition?
What if I have an MD or JD instead of a PhD?
Do projects have to be experiments?
How many proposals will win this competition?
How do I submit to the Special Competition for Young Investigators?
What are formatting guidelines for proposals submitted to the Special Competition for Young Investigators?
Do I have to get IRB approval?
How will projects be reviewed?
If my proposal is rejected, can I resubmit a smaller version as a regular TESS proposal?
How are special stimuli (video clips, news articles) counted as items?

 

Who can submit to the Special Competition for Young Investigators?

The Special Competition for Young Investigators is limited to graduate students and scholars who are no more than 3 years post-Ph.D. While proposals can be co-authored, all co-authors must be early-career (no more than 3 years post-Ph.D.; i.e., Ph.D. must have been received in 2017 or later). Individuals can submit only one solo or co-authored submission for the special competition.


How large can my study be?

The table below provides sample size and unit guidelines for the TESS Special Competition. The table indicates the maximum sample sizes available for a given number of units (i.e., items) of survey length. We provide information for a general-population study, for studies that use a Black-only or Hispanic-only sample, and for a study that involves two general-population waves of data collection on the same respondents.

These are not the only possibilities for subsamples, oversamples, or other design innovations available, and further information on possibilities and their implications for admissible sample size can be see on the regular TESS FAQ. To ensure such studies are viable in the special competition, we suggest pre-submission inquiries be written to tess.experiments@gmail.com. We reserve the right to decline a proposal at any point in the process should it not prove feasible given the nature of the sample.

# items General population Black-only sample Hispanic-only sample* Two-wave gen-pop sample**
10 5200 1100 1000 1460
12 4300 1100 1000 1200
14 3600 1100 1000 1000
16 3200 1100 1000 900
18 2800 1100 1000 780
20 2500 1100 1000 700
25 1800 1100 900 500
30 1300 700 650 365
35 1100 600 550 310
* These surveys will be conducted in English and Spanish, as needed. ** For a two-wave general population data collection, the listed Ns are the number of respondents anticipated as completing BOTH waves of data, based on an expectation of about 70% retention in the second wave.


When can I submit a proposal? When is the deadline?  

We will begin accepting proposals for the Special Competition on November 15, 2020, and the deadline is January 15, 2021.


Can I submit more than one proposal for the competition?  

No. Individuals can submit only one solo or co-authored proposal for the special competition.


What if I have an MD or JD instead of a PhD? What are the eligibility rules for me? 

We use the date of the PhD in our eligibility rules because this covers the majority of those who apply, but those who have or are pursuing a JD or MD are also potentially eligible. For JDs, the eligibility window is defined by the completion of the degree. For MDs, it is defined by the completion of residency. (For those who have or are pursuing multiple terminal degrees, one is eligible so long as any one of those degrees meets the eligibility criterion.)


Do projects have to be experiments?  

Yes. See here for an elaboration of what we mean by an experimental design.


How many proposals will win this competition?  

We anticipate that between 6 and 8 proposals will be selected. We do not know the number of proposals that we will receive.  We do not wish to discourage any proposals, but we do note that this is a competition for a significant research opportunity and that, as such, we anticipate receiving far more applications than what we will ultimately have resources to support.

How do I submit to the Special Competition for Young Investigators?  

Proposals should be submitted through TESS’s Manuscript Central site (link available here). The cover letter for proposals must indicate that they are intended for consideration in the Young Investigators Proposal Competition, and investigators must also send an e-mail to tess@tessexperiments.org when they have submitted their proposal indicating that it is intended for the competition.


What are formatting guidelines for proposals submitted to the Special Competition for Young Investigators?

Submitted proposals must follow the same guidelines as regular TESS proposals, except that they are allowed to be up to 7 pages of main text instead of the usual 5. Proposers must explain why their projects benefit from the larger study size that this Competition allows than the regular TESS mechanism. As usual, experimental materials and items must be included as appendices. Proposals should be in PDF format.


Do I have to get IRB approval?

You do not have to have IRB approval to submit, but, once accepted, investigators for all TESS studies must receive appropriate approval from their institutional IRBs before we field their study. Typically, investigators wait until after their study has been approved for fielding before pursuing IRB approval.

IRB support information from NORC


How will projects be reviewed?

Proposals will be evaluated with a process that uses internal and external review. Given the anticipated number of submissions, decision times will likely be longer than the usual for TESS proposals. While all proposals will be carefully considered, not all proposals will receive external review, and while investigators will receive some feedback beyond the ultimate decision, the reasons provided for why a proposal was not selected for fielding might not be extensive. These limitations are necessary in order to maximize the overall timely execution of the competition.


If my proposal is rejected, can I resubmit a smaller version as a regular TESS proposal?  

We may invite some proposals that do not win this competition to revise-and-resubmit as a smaller study via the regular TESS mechanism, but otherwise rejected proposals cannot reapply through the regular mechanism unless invited.


How are special stimuli (video clips, news articles) counted as items?  

The ultimate arbiter of length for any TESS study are length determinations made by our survey vendor (NORC) for pricing studies.  For purposes here, a stimulus will be considered one item unless its estimated time of administration is longer than 45 seconds, in which case it will be counted as more than one item.