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  • v.9(2); Apr-Jun 2018

Research methodology workshops: A small step towards practice of evidence-based medicine

Nithya jaideep gogtay.

Department of Clinical Pharmacology, Seth GS Medical College and KEM Hospital, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

A recent issue of a leading journal celebrated advances in the field of infectious diseases in the past 17 years. Some examples quoted were genome sequencing for real-time monitoring of the development of artemisinin–piperaquine resistance, the substantially improved outlook for people living with HIV-AIDS (including access to drugs), and vaccines to control the Ebola virus outbreak.[ 1 ] A recurring theme among all three examples is research, the quality of research, and methodology used therein. From the early controlled studies by James Lind for scurvy,[ 2 ] to the randomized study of the use of streptomycin for tuberculosis,[ 3 ] to the stepped wedge design (a study design that permits rigorous scientific evaluation albeit under logistic constraints),[ 4 ] or the basket and umbrella designs in cancer precision medicine,[ 5 ] the nature, repertoire, and complexity of scientific methodology has only grown. Given this, researchers and clinician researchers need to keep abreast of these changes to interpret and use evidence-based medicine (EBM) effectively. One way of doing this is through attending research methodology training programs.

In the current issue of the journal, Shrivastava et al. conducted a study that evaluated 153 heterogeneous participants who attended a 4-day basic research methodology workshop.[ 6 ] Participants filled out a pretest and a posttest questionnaire, with a significant improvement being seen in the latter scores. The authors concluded that research methodology workshops were a useful way to improve both knowledge and awareness about research. They also acknowledged that the assessment conducted by them was not long term.

A research methodology workshop can be likened to the more familiar continuing medical education (CME) program at one level. The goal of CMEs is to primarily plug gaps in knowledge over the duration that it is conducted.[ 7 ] Most countries worldwide also use it for recertification of practitioners. CMEs are expected to improve health-care outcomes and are based on a “felt need” of the participant to both maintain and improve clinical performance. Unlike the CME, a participant in a research methodology workshop may not truly feel the need to learn about the research process or even see value in it. This is likely true of at least some postgraduates who are required to mandatorily attend these workshops as part of fulfillment of requirements toward their degrees. However, the tremendous value that these workshops bring can be best understood by understanding the basis of EBM. In the era of EBM that we live in today, evidence gleaned through scientific method forges practice and even changes paradigms. The very basis of EBM is research, more research, and constant research! An altruistic reason for doing research is progress of science and society, but the process also brings great personal satisfaction and peer recognition and contribution to the nation's health needs. So then, should every one of us attend research methodology workshops? And if yes, then what after that? And what kind of training should these workshops really impart?

A good place to begin learning about the need for research and the process involved therein is at the undergraduate level. This helps sow that seed for potential researchers and clinician researchers. It also helps when moving to the postgraduate level where a thesis is compulsory, rather than being faced with research for the first time at this level. The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) is at the forefront with short-term studentship (STS) programs for undergraduate medical students.[ 8 ] Dr. MG Deo conducted a series of research and laboratory method workshops between 2010 and 2011 and invited undergraduate students who were ICMR undergraduate STS awardees to participate in them. He noted a 3-fold increase in the proportion of students who “passed” the evaluation test postconduct of the workshop.[ 9 ] Several workshops of this nature are now conducted regularly in the country both at the undergraduate (usually voluntary) and at the postgraduate level.

Will attending workshops beyond the postgraduate level help? Faculty in academic institutions themselves need to be trained so that they become good mentors. Several of us would be testimony to the often-repeated statement, “I only read the conclusion of the paper or I always skip the section on statistics or I only read the abstract” which occurs at several levels both in academia and in private practice. The latter who are usually quicker to implement EBM would find it useful to know why they do what they do. Policymakers need to have a grasp of EBM so as to implement key decisions. It can thus be argued that anyone who enters medicine or is currently practicing it needs to understand at least a little bit about the research process.

The second question of what after is slightly more difficult to address. One does not expect everyone who exits a research methodology workshop to carry out research. It is also likely that much of the knowledge imparted is lost over time. But what a research methodology does is that it sheds light on a path that was hitherto unknown and shows that it can be walked, and if not walked, at the least understood. Solomon et al. [ 10 ] evaluated the impact of National Institutes of Health-sponsored medical student research programs at two medical schools in the United States and looked at both short-term and long-term outcomes. The study showed an interest among the participants in pursuing academic careers. Many were currently engaged in research, presenting papers and publishing their work. The research programs thus appeared to foster the growth of physician - scientists.

Finally, where do we stand with respect to research as a country? The inadequate research output from the country has already been bemoaned [ 11 ] as also lack of good-quality public health research.[ 12 ] A recent study on clinical trials in India has shown them not to be commensurate with her health-care needs.[ 13 ] Against this backdrop, training workshops such as the ones conducted by Shrivastava et al are useful. However, they need to be (1) structured, (2) range from basic to advanced, (3) need to be spread all over the country with the help of institutions like the ICMR and other major players in research, (4) include e-learning and use technology to reach a wider audience, (5) cater to diverse levels of participants, (6) link EBM to research, (7) have evaluation of long-term outcomes, and (8) motivate participants to learn research as a way to better practice medicine. This, it is hoped will foster the growth of scientific method and physician-scientists in the country in a small, but significant way.

Grad Coach

Free Webinar

Research Methodology 101

Get started with the basics of research methodology. In this free webinar, you’ll learn:

– What research methodology is (and it’s purpose) – The 4 core components of a methodology – What assessors/markers are looking for – How to get started developing a methodology

Dissertation coaching awards

What’s this all about?

The 45-minute webinar is an engaging online workshop covering the basics of research methodology, specifically within the context of dissertations and theses.

The webinar is tailored toward students undertaking research for Master’s and Doctoral-level degrees within the sciences  (natural and social). That said, you’ll still benefit even if you don’t fit this description, as the requirements are largely consistent across disciplines .

Key Details:

– When : On-demand (instant access) – Where : Online (video or audio) – Duration : 45 minutes – Cost: 100% free

Meet Your Host


Kerryn Warren (PhD) is one of our friendly coaches. Having lectured and tutored students for over 10 years in subjects ranging from biology (natural science) to archaeological heritage (social science), Kerryn brings a unique blend of skills and perspectives.

Watch The Webinar Now

Instant Access. 100% Free.

Awards and accreditations

What you’ll get

The research methodology webinar is more than just a one-way presentation.

proposal for research methodology workshop

A-Z Workshop

The presentation will cover the basics of research methodology so that you can make informed decisions.

proposal for research methodology workshop

Engaging Chat

Join in on the conversation with students from around the world – learn and share throughout the webinar.

proposal for research methodology workshop

Free Resources

You’ll receive access to a host of free resources, including detailed guides, comprehensive templates and practical exercises.

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proposal for research methodology workshop

Committee on Quantitative Methods in Social, Behavioral, and Health Sciences

The Workshop on Quantitative Research Methods in Education, Health, and Social Sciences (QMEHSS) serves as an important venue on the University of Chicago campus for building an intellectual community of colleagues who share methodological interests. Workshop participants meet biweekly to discuss working papers and brainstorm solutions to methodological problems encountered in ongoing research. Participants have included faculty members, researchers, and students from the Social Sciences Division, Health Studies, Statistics, Public Policy, the National Opinion Research Center, the Consortium for Chicago School Research, and colleagues from the University of Illinois in Chicago. In addition, we have invited speakers from other major universities to share with us their latest work. 

A pre-workshop session is designed to prepare students for active participation in intellectual discourse in the workshop. The pre-workshop sessions will be held in a hybrid format this year (2023-2024) before each workshop session, and will be scheduled at the beginning of each quarter based on MAPSS QMSA students’ schedules. Please contact Yanyan Sheng ([email protected]) for specific information about attending pre-workshop session. Our workshops meet bi-weekly on Fridays from 10:30am until 12:00pm CST unless otherwise noted.

Please Note: The Workshop has resumed in person at 1155 E. 60th street Room 295B for the Spring quarter. For those who wish to attend virtually, there is a Zoom backup option that can be accessed by emailing Aasha Francis [email protected] or by subscribing to our email list. 

If you would like to be added to the workshop email list please email Aasha Francis, Administrative Specialist  afranci [email protected]

Autumn 2023

October 3, 2023

Scott de Marchi , Professor of Political Science and Director of the Decision Science program at Duke University

“Making and Breaking Governments 2.0: Using Computation for Theoretical Models” Co-Sponsored  with Comparative Politics Workshop

Click here for the Paper

October 6, 2023

Xiao Li Meng , Professor of Statistics, Harvard University

Privacy, Data Privacy, and Differential Privacy

Click here for the Abstract Click here and here for Recommended Background Reading

October 20, 2023

Simon DeDeo , Associate Professor, Ph.D. Astrophysics, Carnegie Mellon University

Uh-huh, Mhm, Wow: surprise, meta-information, and the problem of common ground

Click here for the Abstract

November 3, 2023

Shuyang Sheng , Department of Economics, University of California at Los Angeles

Social Interactions with Endogenous Group Formation

November 17, 2023

Elizabeth Ogburn , Associate Professor of Biostatistics, Johns Hopkins University

Nonsense associations in dependent data Click here for the Abstract

December 1, 2023

Xiang Zhou , Professor of Sociology at Harvard University

Disparity Analysis: A Tale of Two Approaches

Click here for the Abstract Click here for the Paper

Winter 2024

Friday January 5, 2024

Soojin Park , Assistant Professor of Quantitative Methods, UC Riverside

Causal Decomposition Analysis with Time-Varying Mediation and Outcomes: Designing Individualized Interventions to Reduce Social Disparities

Friday January 19, 2024

Dalton Conley , Professor in Sociology, Princeton University

How Genetics Can Help Social Science

Friday February 16, 2024

Dennis Feehan , Assistant Professor, Department of Demography, UC Berkeley

Validating Social Network-based estimates of adult mortality with high-quality vital records: Evidence from 27 cities

Friday March 1, 2024

Felix Elwert , Professor of Sociology, University of Wisconsin-Madison

 “A New Approach to the Causal Decomposition of Group-Based Disparities” a joint work with graduate student Ang Yu

Spring 2024

March 29, 2024

Xinran Li , Assistant Professor, Department of Statistics and the College University of Chicago

Randomization inference and sensitivity analysis for quantiles of individual treatment effects

Click here for the Abstract Click here and here for related Papers

April 12, 2024

Robert Vargas , Associate Professor; Deputy Dean of the Social Sciences

Propositions on the Politics of Randomized Control Trials in Policing

April 19, 2024

Ethan Fosse , Assistant Professor of Sociology, University of Toronto, Scarborough

“ Norman Ryder’s Lost Legacy? The Promises and Pitfalls of Cohort Analysis in Social Research”

Click here for the Abstract Click here and here for the Papers

April 26, 2024

Genevieve Bates , Assistant Professor of Political Science University Wisconsin-Madison

Exploring Public Perspectives: The Power of Free-Write Responses in Understanding ‘Defund the Police’ Discourse

May 10, 2024

Bruno Ferman , Associate Professor, Sao Paolo School of Economics

Inference with Few Treated Units

May 24, 2024

Student Presentations

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April 25 to april 27, 2024 stanford university, palo alto, california, usa.

2024 Mixed Methods Presenters and Participants

This 3-day intensive workshop was created for individuals who wish to design or analyze a mixed methods research project using qualitative and quantitative methods. Participants will complete the workshop with a personalized design and implementation plan for their projects.

To sign up for our newsletter and to be put on the registration wait list, please send an email to:, [email protected]. , 2024 workshop agenda.

Mixed Methods Research Workshop Agenda Day 1 Page 1

Workshop Highlights:

In this 3-day interactive workshop, the Stanford- Surgery Policy Improvement Research & Education (S-SPIRE) Center has assembled an interdisciplinary team of mixed methods experts.

We will help you design and analyze a mixed methods research project or create a proposal, using qualitative and quantitative methods. Participants will complete the workshop with a personalized design and implementation plan for their projects.

Who Should Attend:

Researchers, faculty, staff, and students motivated to design a mixed methods research project using both qualitative and quantitative methods.

What to Expect:

• Work on your mixed methods proposal, research study, or manuscript

•  Refine your project with guidance from leading methodologists

•  Improve your project with rigorous methodology using a participatory format

•  Build your Mixed Methods Research presentation skills

Virtual Format:

The safety and well-being of our attendees, faculty and staff continues to be our primary concern. We will continue to monitor the status of COVID-19 nationally and will be prepared to pivot to a virtual format if necessary.

Requirements for Enrollment:

Participants who will benefit the most from this workshop will be actively designing, conducting, revising, or analyzing a mixed methods project.

See Frequently Asked Questions list  

Stanford registration fee:.

Faculty Rate: $1,200 Trainee Rate: $850 * *If you’re registering as a Trainee, please e-mail proof of status to [email protected]

Withdrawal and Refund Policy:  Participants who withdraw from the workshop prior to January 1, 2024, will be subject to a $100 administrative fee. Withdrawals done between January 1 and February 1, 2024, will be subject to a late withdrawal fee of $350. There will be no refunds for withdrawing on or after February 1, 2024.

Testimonials from Mixed Methods Research Workshop Participants

University of global health equity, rwanda, africa.

"The 3-day Stanford S-SPIRE Mixed Methods workshop has revolutionized my approach to mixed methods research, based on the close expert mentorship, interactive group sessions, and the hands-on nature of the course."

~ Barnabas Alayande, MBBS, PgDth, MBA, FMCS ~

University of Washington, United States of America

“I got so much more done during this 2.5 days at this workshop than I would have on my own—it was thought provoking, enjoyable, efficient, and super productive!"

~ Erin Blakeney, PhD, RN ~  

Toronto Metropolitan University, Ontario, Canada

"The content of the workshop was incredibly useful, and I was impressed by the level of expertise demonstrated by the faculty. They conveyed complex concepts in a way that was easy to understand and apply. Overall, I feel much more confident in my ability to design and conduct mixed methods research studies after attending this workshop.”

~ Charlotte Lee, PhD, RN ~

Stanford Guest House

ACCOMMODATIONS The Stanford Guest House

2575 Sand Hill Road Menlo Park, CA 94025 Phone: 650-926-2800  Fax: 650-926-5388

The Stanford Guest House has provided a discounted rate for registrants attending the S-SPIRE Spring workshop.


  • Hotel Keen, 425 High Street (off Lytton), Palo Alto, CA 94301   Phone: (650) 327-2775  
  • The Clement Hotel Palo Alto, 711 El Camino Real, CA 94301   Phone: (650) 322-7111  
  • Westin Palo Alto, 673 El Camino Real, Palo Alto, Ca 94301   Phone: (650) 321-4422  
  • The Epiphany Hotel, 180 Hamilton Avenue, Palo Alto, CA 94301   Phone: (650) 666-3311  
  • Cardinal Hotel, 235 Hamilton Avenue, Palo Alto, CA 94301   Phone: (650) 323-5101    

See hotel full list

Closest airports to stanford.

Norman Y Mineta San Jose International Airport (SJC): 18.2 miles. Directions

San Francisco International Airport (SFO): 20.2 miles. Directions

Inquiries: Ana Mezynski and Ashley Duby  [email protected]  

Workshop director.

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Arden M. Morris, MD, MPH, FACS Professor and Vice Chair of Clinical Research Director, S-SPIRE Center Department of Surgery Stanford University School of Medicine

Keynote Address

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Daphne C. Watkins, Ph.D. Professor of Social Work and a  University Diversity and Social Transformation Professor Director, Vivian A. and James L. Curtis Center University of Michigan

Writers Workshop


Research Proposals

On this page: .

  • Basic Structure
  • Getting Started

Research proposals make an argument about why the research you want to conduct is significant and deserves funding. They back this argument up by providing evidence, and they are written for audiences that may hold alternative viewpoints and raise potential complications. ​

The purpose of a research proposal is threefold:

To explain the need for this research to be undertaken, to provide a clear plan for accomplishing the research, to demonstrate your qualifications as a researcher

Basic Structure: 

Most research proposals will follow a basic structure:

Title: Usually short (around 10-15 words), accurate, and clear. Uses appropriate keywords and avoids acronyms and technical jargon.

  • “Advancing Engineering Education through Virtual Communities of Practice” ​
  • “Backlash and Admiration from Racial In-Groups as a Result of Counter-Stereotypical Success” ​

Introduction: Makes a “pitch” and gets the reader excited about your topic. The length is often about 1-3 paragraphs, and it will briefly answer the following:

  • What is the central research problem? ​
  • What is the topic of study related to that problem? ​
  • What methods will be used to analyze the problem? ​
  • Why should someone care about the potential outcomes of the study? ​

Background: This section makes clear what the research problem is and what has been accomplished in this area. It also provides evidence of your competence in this field and demonstrates why previous work needs to be continued. Should answer the following:

  • What key concepts or terms do readers need to understand this research problem? ​
  • What are key texts or studies about this research problem? What is the current state of scholarship on this research problem? ​
  • How does the present study builds on the prior research? (e.g., new directions, addressing flaws, filling in gaps, etc.) ​

Research Methodology : Provides a research design that allows readers to understand how you will answer your research question(s) in a realistic timeline. Should answer the following:

  • What type of study is this? ​
  • How will you collect data? ​
  • What is the timeline for carrying out your research? ​
  • How will you make sense of your data? ​
  • Do you have the technical expertise to carry out these procedures? ​

Budget : Identifies anticipated costs for everything that will be needed to complete the project, usually in table form. This table usually includes the item, cost per item, a justification, and total cost. Common categories include:

  • Travel, equipment, supplies, professional services, payment to research subjects

Qualifications (optional): This section shows that you’re the right person to conduct this research. Should answer the following:

  • What are your related skills and experiences? ​
  • If you don’t have a necessary skill, how will you get it? ​
  • How will this project help you meet your academic or professional goals? ​

Conclusion (optional): In one or two paragraphs, this section reiterates the importance of your research and briefly summarizes the study. ​ Can briefly answer the following: 

  • Why should this study be conducted? ​
  • What are the main implications of the study?

References:  Cite your sources in a standard format that follows your discipline’s conventions. This section typically doesn’t count toward the total page length of your proposal.

Getting Started:

Begin by identifying your research problem and research objectives:

What do I want to study?​ Why is the topic important?​ What problems will it help solve?​ How does it build upon prior research?​ What should I plan to do, and can I get it done in the time available?​

Expect to work through several drafts of your proposal, with several rounds of feedback from friends, faculty mentors, Writers Workshop consultants, etc.

Overcome writer’s block: ​

proposal for research methodology workshop

Give yourself time to revise . You can ask yourself:

  • Does my project feel too big? (scope) ​
  • Do the different sections of my proposal match? (coherence) ​
  • Am I likely to accomplish my sequence of proposed actions in the allotted time? (feasibility) ​
  • Is the proposal detailed yet concise? (precision and clarity) ​

The Illinois Office of Undergraduate Research is another great resource for undergraduates looking to learn to conduct disciplinary research. ​The Library also has information for researchers .

​Related Links:

  • Make an Appointment
  • Workshops and Class Presentations 

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Research Methodology and IEEE AuthorshipLab Workshop

IEEE ComSoc has taken this initiative to propagate and conduct the Research Methodology Workshop extensively to help the youngster to do quality research in his/her field. Primary focus of this workshop is to improve research quality , create an environment and culture for the research. The contents are unique. The 2-day workshop will consist of all the components required in the research cycle. It has been noticed that our quality of research and published papers are not of standards (in many cases). We dont blame only youngster/scholars who are new to this. In a deliberated discussions with some of the senior professional, we have found significant issues with senior people who are experienced do not pay attention to this and may be youngster are not being guided properly. The workshop addresses all the issues and therefore, useful for ALL. Normally, planned to have 3-4 workshop every year including outside Bangalore.  Organizations/Institutions who want to host the workshop are requested to contact Dr Navin For Industry/Organizations  One day Package is available. However, for academic Institutions, two days are suggested. Contents are normally:
You can also download here: ResearchMethodologyWorkshop_Details_FinalJuly2018
Workshop Objectives: At the end of this workshop, the audience should be able to: understand some basic concepts of research and its methodologies identify appropriate research topics select and define appropriate research problem and parameters prepare a project (thesis) proposal (to undertake a project/thesis) organize and conduct research (advanced project) in a more appropriate manner write a research report, article/paper and thesis write a research proposal (grants) Review an article and submit the report (peer review process) The workshop is divided into 4 modules (four session each of 3-31/2 hrs : Module 1 – Identifying a problem ( Problem Definition ) Module 2 – Tackling and addressing the problem ( Doing Research ) Module 3 – Reporting the research (Report/thesis writing/publishing includes IEEE AuthorshipLab ) Module 4 – Peer Review Process and Proposal Writing Institutions/Organizations interested in hosting the workshop are requested to contact Dr Navin Contact – Dr Navin Kumar @ navinkumar@ieee.org For Industry – One day workshop is packaged with the main focus and emphasize on Writing and Publishing. Tentative SCHEDULE MODULE 1 Defining a Research Problem Day/ Time Subject/Topic/Title to be covered Prospective Speakers (Pls list/recommend) Day 1 09:00- 13:00 Defining a Problem? [1] Overview of Research and its Methodologies ·       Concepts of research ·       The need for research ·       Types of research ·       Steps in conducting research [2] Literature review ·       What is literature review? ·       Why the need for literature review? ·       How to carry out a literature review? [3] Selecting and defining a research problem ·       Problem formulation – why the need for this? ·       What are the criteria for selecting a problem? ·       Identifying variables ·       Evaluating problems ·      Functions of a hypothesis MODULE 2 Approach to Solve the Problem  (Conducting Research) Day 1 14:00 – 17:30 Approach to Solve the problem? [4] Conducting the research ·       Research activities ·       Preparations before conducting your research [5] Examples of Research at the University ·       Differences among Postgraduate and Undergraduate Research ·       Research at the postgraduate level (PhD and MSc) ·       Research at the undergraduate level (BSc) ·      Preparations for an Undergraduate Final Year Project MODULE 3 Publishing / Reporting Research work (Includes Writing Research Report or Thesis) Day 2     09:00 – 13:00 While describing publication, copyright comes and so CR and Patenting can be discussed. Including related other terms like Copyright transfer, etc. Patent vs copyright, including coauthors, etc [6] Writing Research Reports and Thesis Writing Research Paper ·      Why the need to write papers and reports? ·      Writing a research report ·      Writing a technical paper IEEE AuthorshipLab     Thesis Writing ·      Contents of a Thesis ·      Case Study MODULE 4 Reviewing Article & Proposal writing (Peer Review) Day 2     14:00-17:00 Peer Review ·      What, why (Importance) ·      Review process ·      Plagiarism, etc. ·      Review submission   Contact – Dr Navin Kumar @ navinkumar@ieee.org


      7th Workshop was organized at Christ University, Lavasa, Pune

          date : 13-14 sep 2019.

Over 50 faculties and research scholars attended the sessions. They appreciated the workshop contents. The feedback was excellent.

6th Edition (13-14 April, 2019)  ComSoc and CMRIT Sponsor  @  CMRIT, ITPL Road, Kundanhalli Bangalore 560037 The workshop concluded with a regular attendance of over 75 faculties and scholars. All of them attended all the modules and enjoyed the session. Some of the faculties/professionals with several years of experience in Industry gave an excellent feedback for this Practial/Example based workshop   Research Methodology Workshop
research ability, the paper quality, the skills in writing paper, and bring awareness and adaptation of professionalism, and bring confidence in scholars and professionals the ability of search and define problems understand the peer review importance and write comments for a review; and many more..

IEEE ComSoc Bangalore Chapter came up with Research Methodology Workshop Series Event Plan. It is utmost needed. At least 2-3 events per year, in and around Bangalore will be conducted.

The July edition is jointly sponsored by IEEE Bangalore Section and IEEE ComSoc Bangalore Chapter . Scheduled on 8-9 July, 2017 @ AMRITA SCHOOL OF ENGINEERING, Kasavanahalli, Bangalore, 560035

You can find some details here:

IEEE ComSoc Chapter and IEEE Bangalore Section
Jointly Organizes Two Days (8-9 July, 2017) Workshop on Research Methodology
  Unique Contents, 4-Sessions, 4 Experts (like Tutorial Session)
LIMITED SEATS ! REGISTER  HERE: https://in.explara.com/e/research-methodology-workshop
Registration Includes Lunch, Tea/Coffee/Biscuits/Snacks (certificate Soft Copy) Details – Download the Schedule: ResearchMethodologyWorkshop_nkv3 @ Amrita School of Engineering, Kasavanahalli, Bangalore – 560035


Previous Workshop

Two days workshop on, research methodology.

8- 9 May, 2017 @ CMRIT, ITPL Road

proposal for research methodology workshop

Quick Enquiry

Publish your research.

Duration: 2 hours

Participants: Research scholars, early career researchers and faculty members engaged in research Minimum participants: 20


Publishing research is not just a critical need of pursuing an academic and research career, but it has significant implication for your and your organization’s success, recognition and contribution to research and knowledge. The seminar is designed to address the needs of those who are seeking to publish their research for the first time as well as those who are stuck in writer’s block and waiting for some breakthrough. This 2-hour seminar is designed to encourage and make researchers at ease in writing their research findings. In this workshop you will learn:

  • The purpose of your research writing
  • Overcoming your mental blocks in writing a research paper
  • Layout and structure of your research paper
  • Organizing your thoughts and findings to form constructive arguments
  • Dealing with review comment comments and suggestions

Additional service: Get personalized feedback on your working draft from research experts (fees: 2000/-rupees per paper)


Managing research timing is not just essential to produce result but also for its publication. Many research couldn’t get publish because of its old data and consequent findings that become irrelevant in the changed context. This seminar helps you to address your critical barriers in managing your research time efficiently. The seminar is designed to address the needs of both early career researchers as well as established research faculty juggling to find a balance between research and teaching timings. This 2-hour seminar is designed to empower researchers to manage their research timing so that their world load and demands of research publication do not overwhelm them. In this seminar you will learn to:

  • Set an efficient timeline for your research
  • Address your individual research barriers
  • Overcome delays attributed to your other accountabilities
  • Manage your research workload efficiently
  • Produce results in the given deadlines.

Additional service: Get your research planner to manage your research timings & efficiency (charges apply).


Description :

Funding is a critical research barrier, particularly when you are not aware of it. Research funding comes in multiple forms and channels. This seminar not only sheds light on various opportunities and challenges of research funding, but also suggest pathways for success. The seminar is designed to address the needs of both early career researchers as well as established research faculty to enhance their research profile by taking advantages of various funding opportunities. This 2-hour seminar is designed to empower researchers to apply and secure research funding to promote their research career. In this seminar you will learn:

  • Type and nature of research funding
  • Research funding for beginners, early career and established researchers
  • Associated opportunities and challenges
  • Meeting critical requirements
  • Managing funding applications

Additional service: Get personalized support services for your research funding application (charges apply).


Managing research productivity is essential to ensure your consistent growth and success in academics or research career. This seminar brings forth various strategies to enhance your research productivity. The seminar is designed to address the needs of both early career researchers as well as established research faculty to enhance their research profile. This 2-hour seminar is designed to empower researchers to manage their research workload efficiently for consistent growth and success. In this seminar you will learn to

  • Plan your research outcome in advance
  • Strategies to manage your research outcomes
  • Overcome barriers of procrastination and delays
  • Optimize your success with team work
  • Avail various opportunities to add on your research productivity

Additional service: Get personalized advice to manage your research productivity (charges apply).


Duration: 3 hours

Participants: Research scholars, early career researchers and faculty members engaged in research Minimum participants: 10

Research begins with a research proposal. It is an essential requirement for your research career either to join as a PhD student to do research on your area of interest. This workshop not just sets the context but also removes your barriers in writing research proposal by addressing your questions and concerns. This 3- hour workshop led by a research expert enables you to:

  • Learn characteristics of a winning research proposal
  • Familiarize with various technicalities of a research proposal
  • Understand criticality of your approach
  • Organize your contents for better results
  • Assess your chances for success and failure
  • Get onetime personalized feedback on your working draft.

Additional service: Online sessions are also available on request for students and research scholars living out of Delhi and NCR


Duration: 3 weeks (2 sessions per week)

Participants: Research scholars, early career researchers and faculty members engaged in research Minimum participants: 1

This 3-week long workshop is designed for those who are aiming to submit their proposal and need greater support in its conceptualization, formulation and submission. The personalized guidance enables its participant to build confidence in his/her work and enhances its chances of acceptance by addressing various gaps and shortcomings. This workshop is perfect for those who don’t have any training in research or how to write a research proposal. Starting from the scratch, this workshop enables you to learn and write a successful research proposal in 3 weeks.


This workshop is designed to help you to design a suitable methodology to address your research objectives. In this course you will learn:

  • Significance of research methodology
  • Methodology for different types of research
  • Advantage and disadvantages of different research methods.
  • Applicability and suitability of various research methods for your study
  • Building on the credibility of your own research design.


Participants: Research scholars, early career researchers and faculty membersengaged in research Minimum participants: 20

This workshop is designed to help you to design and learn your own field research for maximum data output to fulfill on your research objectives. In this workshop you will learn:

  • Significance of field research
  • Field techniques for qualitative research
  • Field techniques for quantitative research
  • Advantage and disadvantages of different techniques
  • Design your own field research


This workshop is designed to help you to learn and understand different data and database that can help you to fulfill on your research objectives. In this course you will learn:

  • Different types and nature ofresearch data
  • Database for research
  • Opportunities and constraints of different database
  • Handling large dataset
  • Applicability and drawing findings from large database

Full-day Training Workshop

Scenatio-building approach for participatory research.

Duration: 7 hours (09.00am – 05.00pm)

Scenario-building approach has been applied in various fields including military and business planning, and has gained further attention to its more recent applications in the field of global challenges including climate change, and economic crises. This training session not only informs you about various uses and applicability of this method but also trains you to use it for your participatory research for a better outcome. In this full day training you will learn:

  • History and types of scenario-building methods
  • Opportunities and constraints of different scenario-building methods and processes
  • Contribution of scenario-building approach in generating qualitative and quantitative data
  • Forecasting a future by using scenario-building approach
  • Apply scenario-building process in your research.

Additional service: Personalized guidance for the application of scenario building method to your research (charges apply)


Qualitative research has become all the more significant and relevant in the increasingly complex situation of modern India. It is frequently used across all social sciences and humanities to draw significant findings about various social issues. This training session not only familiarizes you with various qualitative research methods but also trains you to use it to fulfill your research objectives.

In this full day training you will learn:

  • Methods of qualitative research
  • Advantages and constraints of different qualitative methods
  • Various ways to overcome your field work challenges
  • Drawing relevant findings and conclusions
  • Addressing issues of confidentiality and research ethics.

Additional service: Personalized service to design your qualitative research study (charges apply)


Quantitative research primarily deals with data and numbers and can be applied to various fields across both natural and social sciences. However, some crucial technicalities need to be always addressed in order to apply your research findings in a larger context. This training session not only familiarizes you with various quantitative research methods but will also trains you to use it to fulfill your research objectives.

  • Types and use of quantitative research
  • Methods of quantitative research
  • Advantages and constraints of different quantitative methods
  • Differences between quantitative and qualitative methods
  • Drawing the relevant findings and conclusions

Additional service: Personalized service to design your research study (charges apply)

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Research Proposal Writing Workshop


August 2021

Scientists and researchers based across developing countries are often unable to compete for funding awards due to scarcity of opportunities but also other reasons, such as lack of writing skills. Our Research Proposal Writing Workshop provides scientists and researchers with the skills and tools they need to write a strong research proposal which is the first step towards securing a funding opportunity.

This workshop was delivered as a 4-day online workshop on the 5th, 12th, 19th and 26th August 2021 (see detailed programme). The workshop was organised into open lecture sessions for "observers" and subsequent practical tutoring sessions for "full participants". There was live translation in English and Spanish. To understand the overall objectives, hypothesis, justification, methodology and expected results of your planned study you can watch all the lecture recordings below. They will guide you through the process of writing a proposal to obtain financing. We also recommend you have a look at the Q&A of the event. There are many interesting questions that you may also have, which are answered by experts. 

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Research Method

Home » How To Write A Proposal – Step By Step Guide [With Template]

How To Write A Proposal – Step By Step Guide [With Template]

Table of Contents

How To Write A Proposal

How To Write A Proposal

Writing a Proposal involves several key steps to effectively communicate your ideas and intentions to a target audience. Here’s a detailed breakdown of each step:

Identify the Purpose and Audience

  • Clearly define the purpose of your proposal: What problem are you addressing, what solution are you proposing, or what goal are you aiming to achieve?
  • Identify your target audience: Who will be reading your proposal? Consider their background, interests, and any specific requirements they may have.

Conduct Research

  • Gather relevant information: Conduct thorough research to support your proposal. This may involve studying existing literature, analyzing data, or conducting surveys/interviews to gather necessary facts and evidence.
  • Understand the context: Familiarize yourself with the current situation or problem you’re addressing. Identify any relevant trends, challenges, or opportunities that may impact your proposal.

Develop an Outline

  • Create a clear and logical structure: Divide your proposal into sections or headings that will guide your readers through the content.
  • Introduction: Provide a concise overview of the problem, its significance, and the proposed solution.
  • Background/Context: Offer relevant background information and context to help the readers understand the situation.
  • Objectives/Goals: Clearly state the objectives or goals of your proposal.
  • Methodology/Approach: Describe the approach or methodology you will use to address the problem.
  • Timeline/Schedule: Present a detailed timeline or schedule outlining the key milestones or activities.
  • Budget/Resources: Specify the financial and other resources required to implement your proposal.
  • Evaluation/Success Metrics: Explain how you will measure the success or effectiveness of your proposal.
  • Conclusion: Summarize the main points and restate the benefits of your proposal.

Write the Proposal

  • Grab attention: Start with a compelling opening statement or a brief story that hooks the reader.
  • Clearly state the problem: Clearly define the problem or issue you are addressing and explain its significance.
  • Present your proposal: Introduce your proposed solution, project, or idea and explain why it is the best approach.
  • State the objectives/goals: Clearly articulate the specific objectives or goals your proposal aims to achieve.
  • Provide supporting information: Present evidence, data, or examples to support your claims and justify your proposal.
  • Explain the methodology: Describe in detail the approach, methods, or strategies you will use to implement your proposal.
  • Address potential concerns: Anticipate and address any potential objections or challenges the readers may have and provide counterarguments or mitigation strategies.
  • Recap the main points: Summarize the key points you’ve discussed in the proposal.
  • Reinforce the benefits: Emphasize the positive outcomes, benefits, or impact your proposal will have.
  • Call to action: Clearly state what action you want the readers to take, such as approving the proposal, providing funding, or collaborating with you.

Review and Revise

  • Proofread for clarity and coherence: Check for grammar, spelling, and punctuation errors.
  • Ensure a logical flow: Read through your proposal to ensure the ideas are presented in a logical order and are easy to follow.
  • Revise and refine: Fine-tune your proposal to make it concise, persuasive, and compelling.

Add Supplementary Materials

  • Attach relevant documents: Include any supporting materials that strengthen your proposal, such as research findings, charts, graphs, or testimonials.
  • Appendices: Add any additional information that might be useful but not essential to the main body of the proposal.

Formatting and Presentation

  • Follow the guidelines: Adhere to any specific formatting guidelines provided by the organization or institution to which you are submitting the proposal.
  • Use a professional tone and language: Ensure that your proposal is written in a clear, concise, and professional manner.
  • Use headings and subheadings: Organize your proposal with clear headings and subheadings to improve readability.
  • Pay attention to design: Use appropriate fonts, font sizes, and formatting styles to make your proposal visually appealing.
  • Include a cover page: Create a cover page that includes the title of your proposal, your name or organization, the date, and any other required information.

Seek Feedback

  • Share your proposal with trusted colleagues or mentors and ask for their feedback. Consider their suggestions for improvement and incorporate them into your proposal if necessary.

Finalize and Submit

  • Make any final revisions based on the feedback received.
  • Ensure that all required sections, attachments, and documentation are included.
  • Double-check for any formatting, grammar, or spelling errors.
  • Submit your proposal within the designated deadline and according to the submission guidelines provided.

Proposal Format

The format of a proposal can vary depending on the specific requirements of the organization or institution you are submitting it to. However, here is a general proposal format that you can follow:

1. Title Page:

  • Include the title of your proposal, your name or organization’s name, the date, and any other relevant information specified by the guidelines.

2. Executive Summary:

  •  Provide a concise overview of your proposal, highlighting the key points and objectives.
  • Summarize the problem, proposed solution, and anticipated benefits.
  • Keep it brief and engaging, as this section is often read first and should capture the reader’s attention.

3. Introduction:

  • State the problem or issue you are addressing and its significance.
  • Provide background information to help the reader understand the context and importance of the problem.
  • Clearly state the purpose and objectives of your proposal.

4. Problem Statement:

  • Describe the problem in detail, highlighting its impact and consequences.
  • Use data, statistics, or examples to support your claims and demonstrate the need for a solution.

5. Proposed Solution or Project Description:

  • Explain your proposed solution or project in a clear and detailed manner.
  • Describe how your solution addresses the problem and why it is the most effective approach.
  • Include information on the methods, strategies, or activities you will undertake to implement your solution.
  • Highlight any unique features, innovations, or advantages of your proposal.

6. Methodology:

  • Provide a step-by-step explanation of the methodology or approach you will use to implement your proposal.
  • Include a timeline or schedule that outlines the key milestones, tasks, and deliverables.
  • Clearly describe the resources, personnel, or expertise required for each phase of the project.

7. Evaluation and Success Metrics:

  • Explain how you will measure the success or effectiveness of your proposal.
  • Identify specific metrics, indicators, or evaluation methods that will be used.
  • Describe how you will track progress, gather feedback, and make adjustments as needed.
  • Present a detailed budget that outlines the financial resources required for your proposal.
  • Include all relevant costs, such as personnel, materials, equipment, and any other expenses.
  • Provide a justification for each item in the budget.

9. Conclusion:

  •  Summarize the main points of your proposal.
  •  Reiterate the benefits and positive outcomes of implementing your proposal.
  • Emphasize the value and impact it will have on the organization or community.

10. Appendices:

  • Include any additional supporting materials, such as research findings, charts, graphs, or testimonials.
  •  Attach any relevant documents that provide further information but are not essential to the main body of the proposal.

Proposal Template

Here’s a basic proposal template that you can use as a starting point for creating your own proposal:

Dear [Recipient’s Name],

I am writing to submit a proposal for [briefly state the purpose of the proposal and its significance]. This proposal outlines a comprehensive solution to address [describe the problem or issue] and presents an actionable plan to achieve the desired objectives.

Thank you for considering this proposal. I believe that implementing this solution will significantly contribute to [organization’s or community’s goals]. I am available to discuss the proposal in more detail at your convenience. Please feel free to contact me at [your email address or phone number].

Yours sincerely,

Note: This template is a starting point and should be customized to meet the specific requirements and guidelines provided by the organization or institution to which you are submitting the proposal.

Proposal Sample

Here’s a sample proposal to give you an idea of how it could be structured and written:

Subject : Proposal for Implementation of Environmental Education Program

I am pleased to submit this proposal for your consideration, outlining a comprehensive plan for the implementation of an Environmental Education Program. This program aims to address the critical need for environmental awareness and education among the community, with the objective of fostering a sense of responsibility and sustainability.

Executive Summary: Our proposed Environmental Education Program is designed to provide engaging and interactive educational opportunities for individuals of all ages. By combining classroom learning, hands-on activities, and community engagement, we aim to create a long-lasting impact on environmental conservation practices and attitudes.

Introduction: The state of our environment is facing significant challenges, including climate change, habitat loss, and pollution. It is essential to equip individuals with the knowledge and skills to understand these issues and take action. This proposal seeks to bridge the gap in environmental education and inspire a sense of environmental stewardship among the community.

Problem Statement: The lack of environmental education programs has resulted in limited awareness and understanding of environmental issues. As a result, individuals are less likely to adopt sustainable practices or actively contribute to conservation efforts. Our program aims to address this gap and empower individuals to become environmentally conscious and responsible citizens.

Proposed Solution or Project Description: Our Environmental Education Program will comprise a range of activities, including workshops, field trips, and community initiatives. We will collaborate with local schools, community centers, and environmental organizations to ensure broad participation and maximum impact. By incorporating interactive learning experiences, such as nature walks, recycling drives, and eco-craft sessions, we aim to make environmental education engaging and enjoyable.

Methodology: Our program will be structured into modules that cover key environmental themes, such as biodiversity, climate change, waste management, and sustainable living. Each module will include a mix of classroom sessions, hands-on activities, and practical field experiences. We will also leverage technology, such as educational apps and online resources, to enhance learning outcomes.

Evaluation and Success Metrics: We will employ a combination of quantitative and qualitative measures to evaluate the effectiveness of the program. Pre- and post-assessments will gauge knowledge gain, while surveys and feedback forms will assess participant satisfaction and behavior change. We will also track the number of community engagement activities and the adoption of sustainable practices as indicators of success.

Budget: Please find attached a detailed budget breakdown for the implementation of the Environmental Education Program. The budget covers personnel costs, materials and supplies, transportation, and outreach expenses. We have ensured cost-effectiveness while maintaining the quality and impact of the program.

Conclusion: By implementing this Environmental Education Program, we have the opportunity to make a significant difference in our community’s environmental consciousness and practices. We are confident that this program will foster a generation of individuals who are passionate about protecting our environment and taking sustainable actions. We look forward to discussing the proposal further and working together to make a positive impact.

Thank you for your time and consideration. Should you have any questions or require additional information, please do not hesitate to contact me at [your email address or phone number].

About the author

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Muhammad Hassan

Researcher, Academic Writer, Web developer

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proposal for research methodology workshop

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proposal for research methodology workshop

Five Day Workshop on Research Methodology

Five Day Workshop on Research Methodology.

proposal for research methodology workshop

May 8th to 12th 2023 

School of Research Methodology

Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Deonar, Mumbai

The workshop is organised by School of Research Methodology

About the Programme

The aim of the Five Day Workshop on 'Research Methodology' is to enable  the participants both social sciences research approaches – Qualitative and quantitative .

Workshop Objectives

The objective of this workshop are:

To  provide  a comprehensive over  view  of  qualitative  and quantitative research framework.

Course Content

Different approaches of social science research.

Fundamental of social science research

Tools and methods of data collection for qualitative and quantitative research

Research based on secondary data

Data analysis using statistical software

Reporting and presentation

Citation, reference management tool and plagiarism

Workshop Dynamics

Basic understanding of the concept of research methodology is necessary to appreciate the program. Hence, the workshop will start with some theoretical input sessions so as to help the participants to brush the knowledge in basic research methods. Thus both theoretical and practical sessions will be arranged so that the participants could understand, appreciate and able to meaningfully interpret the output.

Participant Selection

The participants will be selected on the first come first serve basis

   The seats  are limited, if  the number of seats  gets  filled  before the last  date of application,  no subsequent applications will be accepted


Researchers, M. Phil/Ph.D research scholars, teachers and NGO working in social sciences subjects in any sector will benefit from participating in this workshop.

Course Fees: Note: The workshop course fee on Qualitative Research Methodology is Rs. 5,000.00 and for TISS Alumni Rs. 4000.00 per person . The fee will cover course materials, workshop certificate, group photograph, tea and lunch during the workshop.  Payment can be made through online registration through the link.  The number of participants for the workshop is restricted to 40. Last date for registering to the programme is 1st May 2023.

Registration link :  https://support.tiss.edu/

Accommodation: a limited seats on twin share basis will be available in guest house @ 1500/- per person per day if informed in advance. Participants will have to bear their own expenses for travel, boarding and lodging.

Resource Persons

Prof. Anil Sutar, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai

Prof. R. B. Bhagat, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai

Dr. D. P. Singh, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai

Course co-ordinator

Prof. D. P. Singh

Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai

For any queries regarding workshop contact

Mob: + 91 9819177709

E-Mail: [email protected] , [email protected]

proposal for research methodology workshop

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proposal for research methodology workshop

  • Tata Institute of Social Sciences, V.N. Purav Marg, Deonar, Mumbai-400088.

proposal for research methodology workshop

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  • Published: 03 June 2024

Use of systems thinking and adapted group model building methods to understand patterns of technology use among older adults with type 1 diabetes: a preliminary process evaluation

  • Anna R. Kahkoska 1 , 2 , 3 ,
  • Cambray Smith 4 ,
  • Laura A. Young 2 &
  • Kristen Hassmiller Lich 4  

BMC Medical Research Methodology volume  24 , Article number:  126 ( 2024 ) Cite this article

42 Accesses

Metrics details

A growing number of older adults (ages 65+) live with Type 1 diabetes. Simultaneously, technologies such as continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) have become standard of care. There is thus a need to understand better the complex dynamics that promote use of CGM (and other care innovations) over time in this age group. Our aim was to adapt methods from systems thinking, specifically a participatory approach to system dynamics modeling called group model building (GMB), to model the complex experiences that may underlie different trajectories of CGM use among this population. Herein, we report on the feasibility, strengths, and limitations of this methodology.

We conducted a series of GMB workshops and validation interviews to collect data in the form of questionnaires, diagrams, and recordings of group discussion. Data were integrated into a conceptual diagram of the “system” of factors associated with uptake and use of CGM over time. We evaluate the feasibility of each aspect of the study, including the teaching of systems thinking to older adult participants. We collected participant feedback on positive aspects of their experiences and areas for improvement.

We completed nine GMB workshops with older adults and their caregivers ( N  = 33). Each three-hour in-person workshop comprised: (1) questionnaires; (2) the GMB session, including both didactic components and structured activities; and (3) a brief focus group discussion. Within the GMB session, individual drawing activities proved to be the most challenging for participants, while group activities and discussion of relevant dynamics over time for illustrative (i.e., realistic but not real) patients yielded rich engagement and sufficient information for system diagramming. Study participants liked the opportunity to share experiences with peers, learning and enhancing their knowledge, peer support, age-specific discussions, the workshop pace and structure, and the systems thinking framework. Participants gave mixed feedback on the workshop duration.


The study demonstrates preliminary feasibility, acceptability, and the value of GMB for engaging older adults about key determinants of complex health behaviors over time. To our knowledge, few studies have extended participatory systems science methods to older adult stakeholders. Future studies may utilize this methodology to inform novel approaches for supporting health across the lifespan.

Peer Review reports

Type 1 diabetes is a chronic disease in which the pancreas no longer produces insulin, the hormone critical for blood glucose homeostasis [ 1 ]. Exposure to elevated blood glucose levels (i.e., hyperglycemia) over time is associated with the development of multiple chronic complications, including neuropathy, retinopathy, nephropathy, and cardiovascular disease, while episodes of low blood sugar (i.e., hypoglycemia) can be life-threatening and require urgent attention [ 1 , 2 ]. As a result, constant self-management is required to maintain blood glucose levels as near-normal as possible. Unfortunately, self-management is made challenging by dynamic insulin needs, which can be influenced by dietary intake, physical activity, stress, and illness — and thus vary hour-to-hour, day-to-day, and over longer arcs of time impacting health in important ways [ 2 ]. As a result, individuals living with Type 1 diabetes are tasked with regularly measuring their blood glucose levels, assessing and accounting for dietary intake, dosing and timing exogenous insulin delivered through injection or insulin pump modalities, responding to hyper- and hypoglycemia, and accounting for other factors such as physical activity, stress, and illness [ 2 ].

Older adults with type 1 diabetes

As the US older adult population (≥ 65 years) grows and the life expectancy associated with a diagnosis of Type 1 diabetes increases, a sizable population of older adults living with Type 1 diabetes has emerged; this population is expected to continue expanding in upcoming years [ 3 ]. From a clinical perspective, care and management of Type 1 diabetes in older adulthood is often complex, as patients vary according to age, functional health, presence of frailty, and comorbidity profiles [ 4 ]. Compared to younger adults living with Type 1 diabetes for whom the primary focus of care and self-management is on robust glucose control, older adults living with Type 1 diabetes should primarily be focusing on the avoidance of hypoglycemia. Older adults have an increased risk for hypoglycemia, which remains a grave clinical concern due to high morbidity and mortality [ 4 , 5 , 6 ]. In addition to ensuring patient safety through the avoidance of hypoglycemia, accommodating patient preferences and preserving quality of life have been outlined as objectives for care [ 7 , 8 , 9 , 10 ]. However, more specific and applied data to guide care in this population are currently scant, largely owing to relatively recent expansion of this patient population [ 4 , 5 , 10 ].

Technologic approaches for type 1 diabetes management

New technologic approaches for both glucose monitoring and insulin delivery have been developed to improve strategies for Type 1 diabetes management [ 2 ]. One such development is continuous glucose monitoring (CGM), a remote monitoring approach to blood glucose measurement. CGM systems include three components: an on-body sensor with a subcutaneous catheter to measure interstitial glucose approximately every five minutes, a Bluetooth “transmitter,” and an external receiver that displays the real-time blood glucose [ 11 , 12 ]. CGM is offered currently in two forms, including real-time CGM, or systems that measure and display real-time or near real-time glucose levels at all time, and intermittently scanned CGM, systems that require individuals to scan their device against the sensor to access glucose information [ 12 ]. Both types of CGM offer several major advantages over alternative, invasive self-monitoring approaches for blood glucose, which require individuals to frequently obtain a small blood sample via finger prick and use a glucometer to measure glucose levels therein. These advantages include access to real-time or near-real time blood glucose information, data on glucose trends (including the rate of rising and falling glucose levels), and less invasive testing methods. Based on growing evidence to suggest clinical and patient-oriented benefits of CGM use, including improved glycemic control and psychosocial wellbeing, clinical practice guidelines now suggest that CGM be offered for all adults with Type 1 diabetes [ 12 ]. Practice guidelines specify that adults with diabetes must be capable of using CGM themselves, which may include help from a caregiver, and the specific selection of device should reflect individual patient circumstances, preferences, and clinical needs [ 12 ].

Benefits and challenges of continuous glucose monitoring for older adults with type 1 diabetes

Despite the advantages, a major knowledge gap exists regarding how older adults with Type 1 diabetes interact with, and may ultimately benefit from, diabetes technology like CGM. This gap was highlighted as a critical area for future research in a 2020 consensus statement published on behalf of the International Geriatric Diabetes Society [ 4 ]. Data from efficacy-based studies suggest that CGM may confer a significant safety benefit for this age group; in a randomized control trial, use of CGM modestly reduced hypoglycemia over six months among older adults with T1D [ 13 ]. The trial measured the duration of hypoglycemia, or the time that blood glucose levels were below 70 mg/dL [ 13 ]. Importantly, the reduction in hypoglycemia occurred concurrently with improvements in overall glycemic control, as measured by hemoglobin A1c as well as the time-in-range, or duration of time that blood glucose levels were measured between 70 mg/dL and 180 mg/dL [ 13 ]. This finding was important in showing that the reduction in hypoglycemia did not come at the cost of more time spent in hyperglycemic ranges. A handful of observational studies have further reinforced positive effects of CGM in older adults, including decreased hypoglycemia [ 14 ], reduced hemoglobin A1c and glycemic variability [ 15 ], and increased well-being and feelings of security [ 16 ].

Although estimates of the prevalence of CGM use in real-world populations of older adults vary, they range between approximately 30–70% in various studies and settings, suggesting opportunities to increase uptake [ 14 , 17 , 18 ]. It is further established that the general use of medical technology may represent a complicated issue for older adults, particularly with regards to unique, age-specific barriers and the range of biopsychosocial needs that exist across the population [ 19 ]. For example, physical symptoms, functional limitations, barriers to care, and psychosocial wellbeing all impact on disease self-management and may impact technology uptake. The growing number of chronic medical conditions accrued in older adulthood lends further complexity to integrating tools that may help improve quality of life. Accessibility features are lacking, including those to address changes to dexterity, visual acuity, and hearing loss [ 19 ]. From a psychosocial perspective, older adults may find learning new technologies to be challenging [ 14 ] and may require more time for education and training to use CGM and learn to interpret data [ 17 ]. Compared to younger adults, studies using questionnaire data have shown older adults perceive substantially higher burdens of technology such as CGM, including concerns that sensor readings cannot be trusted, information from CGM may cause too much worry, and that the technology will be too hard to understand [ 17 ]. Interestingly, differences in perceived burdens were substantially less pronounced across age groups in those who use CGM, suggesting that with adequate time, training, and support, older adults can use CGM effectively and experience clinical benefits [ 13 , 15 , 17 ]. However, complex interventions such as this are often plagued with challenges [ 20 ], and so identifying the most critical elements to support success as efficiently as possible will increase the likelihood of successful translation across the broader population.

Objective of the study

There are very limited data on what supports uptake and sustained use of CGM from the perspective of patients and their caregivers, how this technology impacts disease self-management, lived experiences, and clinical outcomes, and what suboptimal responses to technologic approaches over time may occur and why [ 4 , 21 ]. Our objective thus was to understand the complex nature of older adults’ experiences associated with initiating and sustaining use of CGM, including changes in different clinical, behavioral, and psychosocial variables over time, and how these variables interact to ultimately produce patterns of effective use versus less effective use or nonuse.

These data are needed to inform how clinical recommendations and supports can be developed to help all individuals with Type 1 diabetes incorporate the ever-evolving technologic aspects of diabetes management into their care regimes, regardless of biologic, clinical, and psychosocial differences [ 22 ]. As the population of older adults with diabetes grows, these data are also needed to ensure existing and emerging diabetes technology remain accessible across the lifespan.

Selection of the research methodology

We applied concepts and methods from systems science, specifically Group Model Building (GMB) – a stakeholder-engaged approach to systems thinking from the system dynamics perspective. Key terms relevant for systems thinking and system dynamics are shown in Table  1 along with their definitions.

The rationale for this approach is as follows. We hypothesized that a complex system of factors may shape older adults’ experiences with diabetes self-management and technology use over time, and that a scientific approach to capture dynamic complexity in these experiences may offer insights into future interventions. A complex system is a set of interconnected elements that interact with each other to produce emergent effects or collective behaviors that is distinct from the behavior of any of the subcomponents in isolation [ 24 ]. These effects persist over time and adapt to changing circumstances [ 32 ]. In the setting of technology use, the system could include factors such as physical symptoms or clinical outcomes, lifestyle and behavioral aspects of disease management, wellbeing and psychosocial changes, as well as individual preferences, social and environmental forces, and healthcare resources. Systems science offers methods that can model the structure and complex dynamics of systems (here, those affecting CGM use), while simultaneously looking for direct mechanisms between variables and important points of intervention [ 33 , 34 ]. Dynamic complexity is an emergent behavior of complex systems, and refers to situations in which effects over time are not easily explained through simple cause and effect, but rather represent the influences from multiple interacting factors that may be non-linear, occur over variable durations of times, and trigger powerful feedback loops to reinforce or counteract earlier changes within the web of interconnections [ 25 , 26 , 35 ].

We specifically aimed to generate a conceptual model of the larger hypothesized system of factors that interact to shape CGM use trajectories (and individuals’ embedded experiences) over time. The model can serve as a way to visualize key pathways where effective technology use and self-management break down, elucidate the problematic outcome trajectories and the constraints of real-life care and support systems, and identify opportunities for change that are aligned with individuals’ experienced system structure.

We thus explored how a participatory (i.e., method that engages stakeholders such as patients and caregivers) system dynamics method called GMB could be leveraged to understand the factors, feedback loops, and system changes that most affect CGM use over time [ 33 , 34 ]. GMB is a participatory approach to System Dynamics in which diverse stakeholders can exchange their perceptions and experiences to collectively consider the causes of a dynamically complex problem [ 30 , 35 , 36 , 37 ]. To our knowledge, no GMB studies have yet been published that adapt these methods to specifically engage older adults in improving clinical care by developing a better understanding of broad forces affecting their interactions with evidence-based medical technologies and clinical outcomes.

Materials and methods

We sought to apply GMB methods to collect data from older adults living with Type 1 diabetes and their caregivers, with considerations to accommodate logistical constraints (e.g., welcoming participants bringing heterogeneous clinical, personal, and professional backgrounds, and limiting the study duration to no more than three hours initially). With this approach, we aimed to bring a systems thinking framework and system dynamics techniques to represent and model the complex processes and outcomes of older adults initiating and using CGM over time and to uncover factors relating to sustained and effective use in daily life. As part of this study, we therefore also explored how systems thinking could be taught to older adult research participants.

Study design

We developed a facilitation guide and applied it within a series of small ( n  = 3–8), parallel GMB workshops to understand perspectives of older adults with Type 1 diabetes initiating and using CGM over time. The study included two main components: a series of three-hour, in-person, small-group GMB workshops and an optional follow-up series of one-on-one virtual validation interviews. Upon completion of the study, all participants received a $100 (USD) incentive for their time and effort. All study procedures were approved by the Institutional Review Board at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (IRB Study # 21-2331). Participants provided written informed consent prior to participating in the study.

Study participants

Eligibility criteria.

For the in-person workshops, patient participants were eligible if: they had a diagnosis of Type 1 diabetes documented in the electronic medical record, were ≥ 65 years of age at the time of recruitment, used an insulin regimen of pump or multiple daily injections, were able to manage their diabetes independently or with the help of a caregiver, had a Hemoglobin A1c level measured within the past year of ≤ 10.0%, and comprehended written and spoken English. Patients were eligible to participate regardless of CGM use. Participants were ineligible if they had a significant medical or psychiatric condition that may have prohibited completion of the workshop, a clinical diagnosis of dementia, or were not fully vaccinated against COVID-19 at the time of recruitment (decreasing risk of transmission within in-person sessions during the pandemic). All potential patient participants were invited to bring a caregiver with them to the research study. Caregiver participants were eligible for the study if they were invited by participants living with diabetes and serve a ‘caregiver’ role in the sense that they provide daily or regular care or support with regards to specific aspects of care or daily management for an older adult (≥ 65 years) with Type 1 diabetes.


Study recruitment spanned November 10, 2022–December 13, 2022. Patients were recruited from a single outpatient diabetes clinic at an academic medical center. For the in-person workshops, potentially eligible participants were identified via the electronic health record system and contacted via email and telephone outreach. All interested participants were ultimately contacted by telephone following a standardized recruitment script in which participants were provided information about the study and invited to optionally bring a caregiver to the workshop. CGM use status and vaccination status were determined by chart review and confirmed verbally. Participants were scheduled for a workshop on a rolling basis and provided with a series of confirmation and reminder emails.

All participants of the in-person workshop were invited to participate in optional validation interviews; they indicated their preference in writing at the close of the workshop and provided an email address for further contact/questions. There were no incentives offered for the optional validation interview.

Group model building procedures

Each in-person workshop followed a uniform structure including: (1) completion of a brief questionnaire; (2) the GMB session, including both didactic components and structured activities; and (3) a brief focus group discussion. The workshop lasted three hours, with our agenda shown in Table  2 .

Each workshop was facilitated by two people, which always included the project lead/first author supported by a second facilitator (co-author or research assistant). The workshop was held in a moderate-sized conference room in an outpatient clinical care site with a designated meeting space for clinical research. The room included a large table, up to 12 chairs, a projector with HDMI connector cables, a screen at the front of the room, and ample wall space for posting study materials adhered with blue painters tape (i.e., wall-safe adhesive). Each study participant was provided with an assigned seat and a clipboard that contained the consent form and HIPAA authorization, the questionnaire, and the workshop packet. Each participant’s seat at the table was marked with a name tag, and there were multiple black and colored pens, two individual whiteboards and colored markers, and two small pads of sticky notes. Due to COVID-19 and the need to maintain masking, no beverages or food were provided, although participants were encouraged to take breaks to eat and drink as needed.

The workshop opening included open-ended prompts for introductions, an icebreaker, and sufficient time for study participants to interact and build rapport before we began the structured aspects of the workshop so that participants would feel comfortable sharing their views and brainstorming in a group. Following brief introductions of the research team, participants were asked sequentially to introduce themselves and describe, to the extent they were comfortable, their relationship to Type 1 diabetes. The introduction prompt was selected to allow for a range of possible responses, which may include narratives surrounding diagnosis, experiences with changing treatment regimens or self-management, attitudes towards Type 1 diabetes, and experiences as caregivers. A separate, informal icebreaker was chosen for each workshop, including, “What is your favorite Thanksgiving food?” and “What is your favorite ice cream flavor?” Although icebreakers are not a requisite aspect of GMB, providing participants with an open structure to tell their stories and allowing time for reactions from other participants early in the workshop aimed to facilitate group bonding to support the rest of the workshop activities.

Didactic component

Each workshop opened with a short presentation by the facilitator that included an overview of the rationale for the study, the goals for data collection, and a series of “ground rules.” The ground rules encouraged participants to share their thoughts freely (and to listen to others respectfully), to draw upon their experiences as the ‘experts’ in the room, and to take breaks as needed. An iceberg metaphor was used to introduce the concept of systems thinking [ 38 ], in which isolated events were framed as the ‘tip’ of the iceberg, while related and concerning trends (e.g., root causes,) and problematic aspects of underlying system structure and mental models were reflected as the part of the iceberg that was below the waterline (Fig.  1 ). Of note, the “Iceberg Model” represents a commonly used image to teach systems thinking by linking events to patterns of system behavior to underlying system structures and mental models [ 39 ].

figure 1

Didactic study components used to present systems thinking. Panel A shows the general framework, while Panel B shows its extension to understand Type 1 diabetes self-management experiences ( B ). The goal is to work down the iceberg to understand why events/outcomes are happening, and then to use this understanding to identify changes from the bottom up (i.e., in goals, values, and system structure) capable of improving outcomes and trends. Note: the ‘Iceberg Model’ [ 38 ] is a widely used approach for teaching introductory systems thinking [ 39 ]. The iceberg image is work by Uwe Kils. http://www.ecoscope.com/iceberg/ . Creative Commons CC BY-SA 3.0

The iceberg metaphor was then extended from a general framework to apply to Type 1 diabetes self-management (Fig.  1 B), in which participants were invited to help the research team understand the experiences that happen “below the waterline” as it relates to initiating and using CGM.

The facilitator provided an example of how the systems thinking framework would be applied, which focused on two hypothetical older adult characters in a relatable but distinct example, with the goals of making the method feel practical but not locking thinking into only what is presented in the example. In the example, the characters were friends who set the same New Year’s Resolution to walk 10,000 steps per day and had different outcomes over the following six months. The example was used to introduce two key GMB concepts, including drawing, discussing, and analyzing graphs of system behavior over time, as well as reference modes, which are depictions of real-world patterns of behavior over time that can be “referred to” (i.e., explained) as part of systems thinking exercises [ 31 ].

The example and didactic language are presented in full in Appendix A : Primer to Systems Thinking and Systems Mapping.

Reference modes

Following the example of systems thinking, the rest of the workshop focused on CGM use in older adults. We selected four reference modes, or real-world patterns of behavior over time, to reflect common trajectories of optimal and suboptimal CGM use over the first six months following initiation of therapy (i.e., consistently high use, moderate use increasing to high use, continually declining use, and intermittent use/oscillation). We aimed to present sufficiently different reference modes to capture the breadth of common real-world use patterns, while avoiding excessive or redundant trends that may contribute to participant fatigue (i.e., we strived to illustrate the smallest set of distinct reference mode shapes that would elucidate the breadth of qualitatively distinct feedback structures). Each reference mode was presented as a hypothetical older adult character ”persona,” which were used to introduce a 6-month behavior-over-time graph of CGM use (see Fig.  2 ). We defined CGM use (i.e., Y-axis) as both wearing the CGM and using the readings to make decisions for Type 1 diabetes management, such as ingesting carbohydrates or dosing insulin. Throughout the study, the research team referred to the reference modes by the name of the corresponding older adult character – with the goal of understanding each common behavior-over-time profile. For each reference mode, we strove to draw out stories about key feedback loops operating at different points of time as described in Fig.  2 (e.g., the reinforcing loop that might drive use up or down; balancing loops that slow change – either limiting improvement or counteracting undesired drops in use).

figure 2

Reference modes provided during the group model building workshop. The reference modes were presented as named characters representing older adults living with Type 1 diabetes who began using CGM as part of their diabetes management. The graphs show the probability of CGM use, defined as both wearing the monitor and using glucose information for diabetes management, over the first six months after CGM is introduced. Four reference modes were selected, including one to represent consistently high use (Stanley), moderate use increasing to high use (Patricia), continually declining use (John), and intermittent use (Wendy)

Behavior-over-time graphs

Following presentation of the reference modes, the workshop transitioned to drawing and group discussion activities. Behavior-over-time graphs were presented as graphs that focus on patterns of change over time, rather than on an isolated event or outcome, to help people and researchers think about how and why these changes are happening (Table  1 ). The facilitator introduced the concept of related trends, including guidelines for drawing and annotating trends, and suggested trend topics. Guidelines for brainstorming related trends included: (1) there are no right or wrong answers; (2) trends typically represented nouns or something that can increase or decrease over time unambiguously; (3) there is no need for a formal scale or measurement (i.e., it could be numbers/a specified range or a more qualitative range – low to high); and (4) trends can be consequences or causes of CGM use over time. The facilitator presented an example of how to draw a graph over time, carefully labeling the X-axis as “Time,” noting the start time and end time. The Y-axis was labeled with a variable name and scale, and the understood trend(s) was (were) drawn on the graph and annotated (i.e., reasons the trend changed at specific points in time were noted).

Over the course of the pilot study, we experimented with a range of approaches to encourage the drawing of behavior-over-time graphs. In the first four workshops, study participants were invited to use their Workbook Packet or personal whiteboards to draw their own CGM use patterns and related trends. In the latter five workshops, participants were asked to use their Workshop Packet to identify which reference mode best reflected their own CGM use pattern. Former-users were asked to select the graph which represented their experience, while never-users were asked to select their imagined experience. Participants were then asked to identify and draw three emotions and three benefits or challenges that changed over their first six or more months of using CGM. A sample workshop packet from the latter five workshops can be found in Appendix B : Group Model Building Workshop Packet.

In any workshop, the facilitator answered questions, clarified tasks, and encouraged participants to ask for help if they experienced confusion. If participants were unable to draw themselves, members of the research team offered to listen to their stories and draw behavior-over-time graphs on their behalf. Following drawing exercises, the facilitator led a discussion in which each participant was asked to share and ”annotate” (or explain) their drawings through storytelling and to react to other participant’s drawings and stories.

Collective annotation of the reference modes

To collect data for causal loop diagrams to model the system structure underlying common CGM use patterns, we applied a facilitated GMB process based on published scripted group exercises [ 30 , 40 ].

For each reference mode, the facilitator posed a series of open-ended questions meant to uncover key variables, causal linkages, and feedback loops explaining change over time to be represented within the causal loop diagram. Feedback loops are closed chains of causal connections, which can be reinforcing (i.e. when change in a variable triggers a series of changes or ”ripple effects” that ultimately loop back to drive further change in earlier variables) or balancing (i.e. when change in a variable causes a series of changes that ultimately loop back to counteract the effects of the earlier change) [ 41 , 42 , 43 , 44 ]. While reinforcing feedback loops can cause exponential growth or decline, balancing loops seek equilibrium within systems; feedback loops may have variable time delays [ 42 , 44 ]. None of these dynamics is innately good or bad; it depends on desired trends. Our probing questions related to the shape of studied reference modes are shown in Fig.  2 . The reference modes were displayed on 24-inch x 36-inch laminated posters around the room, and participants’ ideas were scribed onto small sticky notes and used to annotate the diagram. The facilitator highlighted the feedback thinking for all four reference modes. At the point where a feedback chain became closed, the research team checked with the entire group to see if the chain was correct and complete. Throughout, participants were encouraged to brainstorm together and react to ideas across the group.

Throughout data collection, the research team periodically assessed saturation of themes proposed during the collective annotation of the reference mode. Saturation was defined as the point when no new or original themes emerged. Recruitment ended when saturation was achieved and confirmed through one final meeting in which no new themes emerged.

Other data collection

Focus group discussion.

Participants were engaged in a brief focus group discussion at the end of the workshop to provide a final opportunity for sharing thoughts about CGM use in older adults. The focus group discussion was guided by the following four questions: (1) We just talked through four examples here today. Can you think of a story of CGM use over time (i.e., a new reference mode) that we haven’t talked about? (2) With all of this in mind, what do you think are the top three things that we should know, study, or change to help older adults have positive experiences using CGM? (3) When you think about the things you do to take care of your diabetes every day, what are the ways that CGM can help the most? (4) What are expectations and goals that caregivers, doctors, and other members of the care team could have that would be supportive for older adults when they use CGM?

Feedback on the research study

At the close of the workshop, participants were asked to use their Workshop Packets to provide feedback on the GMB session to understand how the group model building methodology was perceived among older adults with Type 1 diabetes. Participants were asked to rate their comfort level sharing all their experiences and thoughts (Likert scale; 1–5) and offered an opportunity to share in writing anything additional with the research team that they did not feel comfortable sharing with the group. Participants were also provided space to indicate what they liked and did not like about the workshop. Finally, they were provided with a brief ‘primer’ on systems thinking for optional take-home reading, which reinforced didactic content from the workshop and included additional information about causal loop diagrams (see Appendix A : Primer to Systems Thinking and Systems Mapping.).

Workshop packets were collected and scanned. Photography was used to capture individual and group drawings that occurred outside of the packets, as well as the collective annotations of the reference modes. Workshops were audio-recorded and transcribed. All data were de-identified for analysis.

Causal loop diagramming

Given overlap in variables generated through GMB across the four reference modes, the research team consolidated and merged data from each reference mode into one collective causal loop diagram depicting the factors, experiences, outcomes, and events that may interact to drive optimal versus suboptimal CGM use patterns over time (Table  1 ; [ 45 ]). As our goal was understanding lived experiences relating to CGM use, we established a system boundary as factors intrinsic to a patient, in a patients’ life (home, social, etc.), or their clinical care environments shaping their CGM use. We designed a core structure to capture factors relating to uptake of CGM and ongoing use of CGM, as well as a subset of ‘endogenous’ drivers of CGM use — factors that affect use and are affected by use (i.e., they are contained within feedback loops that also contain CGM use). Often causal linkages emerged across narratives, but operate in different directions (with directions of initial change determining consequences, and ultimately driving increases or decreases in CGM use). The nature of the relationships between variables was indicated by marking polarity on arrows; an “S” indicates the factors move in the same direction (an increase/decrease in the first variable triggers an increase/decrease in the second) whereas an “O” indicates the variables move in opposite directions (an increase/decrease in the first factor triggers a decrease/increase in the second). In cases where participants’ direct language was deemed to be the most accurate representation of a sentiment or concept in the map, in vivo factors were used.

Validation of the diagram

A key component of stakeholder-engaged systems science involves iterative refinement and updating of system models with new or changing information [ 32 ]. As explicit diagramming was not a part of the in-person workshop, we elected to validate our diagram in follow-up interviews. Participants of the in-person workshop were offered the opportunity to review final causal loop diagram components and offer their feedback through an individual, virtual follow-up interview. The objective of this validation scheme was to ensure that diagrams retained fidelity to the raw data and lived experiences of study participants. Because the full causal loop diagram included many variables and feedback loops, different components of the map were validated in detail with different participants. Validation interviews were 30-minutes and followed a standardized script including a brief overview of the objectives of the research study, a narrative overview of main findings, a viewing of the full causal loop diagram, and a “step-by-step” walk-through of the overall diagram structure and one detailed segment of it (i.e., a subset of loops). Feedback was structured around the following questions: (1) What are your reactions to the full system map (causal loop diagram)? (2) What part of the focused diagram resonates most? (3) What pieces of the focused diagram are the most important in determining CGM use over time? (4) What is missing from the focused diagram that feels as or more important? This may include making changes such as adding factors, removing factors, or drawing new connections between factors. Participant feedback was scribed. Validation interviews were performed as dyadic interviews when caregivers were also present. The causal loop diagram was revised iteratively over the course of conducting interviews.

Ethics approval and Informed Consent : Ethical approval for this study was obtained from the Institutional Review Board at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (IRB Study # 21-2331). Participants provided written informed consent prior to participating in the study.

We adapted GMB methods, a participatory approach to system dynamics, to model experiences and trajectories of CGM use among older adults with Type 1 diabetes. We completed nine in-person GMB workshops with older adult patients and their caregivers and generated an integrated causal loop diagram. An in-depth description of study participants and the resulting causal loop diagram are provided elsewhere [ 45 ].

Herein, we illustrate data collected through each component of the GMB process, as well as other evaluation measures including recruitment outcomes and feedback on the study from participants as a form of process evaluation.

Recruitment and attendance

Nine workshops were held between November 15, 2022 and December 15, 2022. Each workshop had between two and six participants. A total of 33 older adults and caregivers participated, of which four were caregivers and the rest were individuals living with Type 1 diabetes. The mean age of the sample was 73.3 ± 4.3 year, with a range of 66–85 years. 55% identified as women, 82% identified as non-Hispanic white, and 12% were non-CGM users.

During recruitment, the main reasons cited for lack of interest or inability to participate included competing medical or surgical appointments, conflicts relating to the winter holidays, and non-local temporary or permanent residence. There were two major challenges for recruitment of an adequately diverse sample. First, the majority of eligible participants for the study within the medical center were non-Hispanic White race and ethnicity. The imbalanced recruitment pool was reflected in a study sample that was majority White and non-Hispanic. Second, there was a small number of eligible participants who were not CGM users, resulting in the majority of study participants being active CGM users.

Attendance of the workshop by recruited individuals was relatively high. A total of four participants did not show for their scheduled workshop. One of those participants was rescheduled for a subsequent workshop, two were unable to be rescheduled, and one was not successfully re-contacted.

Individual drawing activities proved to be the most challenging aspect of the workshop for study participants, particularly when the drawing prompts were left open-ended. Approaches that facilitated older adults drawing included providing an example of a drawing, pairing a participant with a facilitator to draw on their behalf and in response to their storytelling, and providing more specific prompts, such as asking for graphs of named emotions associated with using CGM or benefits yielded over the first six month. Figure  3 depicts a sample of drawings of emotions and benefits from study participants, including both users and non-users of CGM.

figure 3

Selected illustrative examples of raw data generated as part of the in-person group model building workshop. Panel A shows a subset of individual behavior-over-time graphs drawn by older adults living with Type 1 diabetes and their caregivers. Panel B shows the collective annotations of the “moderate use increasing to high use” reference mode

When not all study participants felt comfortable drawing, we found that those who did tended to lead storytelling, which revealed complex dynamics, catalyzing rich group discussions that were captured in the study transcripts and coded for inclusion in the final causal loop diagram. These discussions would draw other participants into the discussion, and also contributed to a significant amount of group bonding, particularly when participants found resonance in their drawings or stories.

Workshop participants were successfully engaged through a series of discussion questions to elicit information necessary for causal loop diagramming. Figure  3 B shows an example of the raw data produced by collective annotation of the reference modes. Although some themes were constant across groups, different groups generated unique collective ideas, resulting in rich heterogeneity in the annotations across groups. Saturation was achieved in the themes of group annotations by the eighth workshop and confirmed through completion of the ninth workshop.

Study feedback

Participants expressed that they felt comfortable sharing their thoughts and experiences in the group format, where the mean comfort level was rated as 4.97 on a scale of 1–5 (5 is the highest; n  = 26 respondents), citing open discussion, a safe and/or welcoming environment, and a clear explanation of how the data will be used as the main reasons for comfort. Several participants expressed value in creating dedicated space for older adults to discuss age-specific aspects of Type 1 diabetes management: “There is great value in listening to the not so good outcomes as we old ducks struggle with the technology…. How best to supply thoughtful, personal support to overcome hesitancy and get folks to actually embrace the technology [Workshop 1, Participant 2].” One participant additionally shared with the research team, “Having the experiences of others was most helpful. Being diabetic sometimes makes you feel alone. Getting to share with your age group was therapeutic [Workshop 3, Participant 4].” Other participant feedback on the GMB workshop is summarized in Table  3 , in which participants indicated they liked sharing information and learning from others, finding peer support through shared experiences, the structure and pace of the workshop including small group sessions, age-specific discussions, the systems thinking framework, and the opportunity to contribute to research. Key aspects of feedback for future sessions focused on the duration of the session (where some participants indicated they would like a longer session and other indicated preference for a shorter session) and the lack of food or beverages provided by the research team.

The four focus group questions provided an opportunity to collect any last feedback or perspectives from study participants, but in general, did not reveal new themes or dynamics underlying CGM use that had not been identified through the preceding GMB activities. Participants expressed the sentiment that they had already shared their material they felt to be important relating to CGM use and non-use in older adults.

Validation interviews

27 of the 33 in-person study participants indicated that they were interested in providing feedback on the diagram. Following completion of the causal loop diagram, eight virtual validation interviews were conducted between March and April 2022. Each interview focused on validating a specific component of the diagram, including the core structure (i.e. the central drivers that impacted CGM use among older adults) and the key feedback loops. Revisions made in validation were minor (i.e., modification of variable names and addition of missing components) and included (1) connecting reactions from caregivers to a perceived sense of intrusiveness, (2) an additional variable to indicate that alarm fatigue would be driven by frequency of alarms, and (3) clarifying that improved HbA1c is associated with a sense of prolonging life alongside preventing complications, both of which promote future CGM use.

We applied GMB, a participatory approach to system dynamics modeling, to collect data from older adults with Type 1 diabetes and their caregivers through group workshops and individual validation interviews to learn about their experiences using technology as part of glucose monitoring regimens. Compared to standard approaches such as surveys, interviews, or focus groups, this systems thinking approach is able to capture the complexity of multiple, interconnected variables that are relevant to an older adult’s experience using CGM, including the feedback loops capable of dramatically impacting long-term CGM use by reinforcing or counteracting earlier changes – sometimes for better and other times for worse. Though the systems thinking approach and methodologies may not be familiar to the readership of clinical journals, there is a growing interest in how systems science methods can be applied to population health and clinical research [ 33 , 34 ]. Given the richness of our findings and the value the approach added above and beyond more typical approaches (e.g., interview, survey, focus group), we aim to disseminate our approach to introducing and using systems thinking and systems science to diagram the diverse, interrelated factors affecting sustained use of evidence-based technologies in older adult populations.

To our knowledge, few studies to date have extended participatory systems science methods to engage older adult patients. Thus, we consider our study to be a substantial contribution to the literature in that it demonstrates feasibility, acceptability, and value of this methodology to engage older adult patients and stakeholders in research relevant to their health and well-being. This is thus a highly novel study in the field of qualitative systems science approaches as it relates to increasing the diversity of patient stakeholders who are included; older adults have historically been excluded from many clinical research projects. It is unclear why there are so few other studies to employ this method among older adults. One possibility is that the cognitive complexity of GMB may not be seen as feasible among older adults. A recent editorial in the Journal of the American Medical Association stated that “structural, or institutional, ageism is not only one of the most potent forms of bias that exists today, but also one of the least acknowledged ” [ 46 ]. The authors proceed to cite a report from the World Health Organization that underscores the long-standing history of institutional ageism and the ways in which ageism has become normalized across many domains both in and out of healthcare [ 47 ]. A key finding of our study, where we explored best practices to teach systems thinking to older adult research participants, was that the didactic component of the study was well-received, and participants expressed positive feedback for the systems thinking framework, with more than 80% indicating interest in further engagement (i.e., providing feedback on the causal loop diagrams produced). By contrast, the most challenging aspect of the study involved strategies to encourage drawing of behavior-over-time graphs to describe personal experiences with CGM. Future studies that apply GMB with older adult stakeholders will continue to shed insight on how the methodology can be made most accessible and best leveraged to elevate older adult voices as part of the clinical literature that informs future interventions for care and self-management.

Several aspects of the GMB study proved to be effective. The single-session, three-hour long workshop was associated with efficient recruitment and high attendance rates. Although we explored GMB in varied group sizes, we found that data collection was optimized at a group size of between four and six participants, as this size allowed for sufficient exchange of ideas but provided enough time for each participant to speak. Presenting an example of the systems thinking approach as part of the didactic component helped to solidify the framework and prepare participants for the activities to come. We intentionally presented an example focused around a potentially stigmatizing lifestyle change—increasing physical activity—to implicitly reinforce the value of GMB for diving deeper into clinical outcomes or trajectories that may be similarly stigmatized in clinical settings. We hoped that by showing the complexity underlying individual health-related decision-making, that participants would feel comfortable exploring the deeper trends that led to “less than ideal” CGM monitoring. We also drew and provided reference modes for the study, rather than asking study participants to brainstorm and co-create them. In the context of our research question, as well as the time-constraints and need to avoid participant fatigue, we found this approach to be effective. Further, personalizing the reference modes through named older adult characters helped to bridge the graphs to storytelling as part of the collective annotation.

A powerful aspect of the in-person workshops involved the ways in which participants and groups bonded over the duration of the study. We found that bonding occurred regardless of differences in demographics or clinical histories and was largely driven by resonance in day-to-day experiences in managing Type 1 diabetes or age-specific changes in older adulthood. The value of this peer support was reflected in study feedback. From a study design perspective, allowing time and space for long-form introductions prior to the structured presentations and activities was critical. Participants were generally eager to exchange tips or resources for Type 1 diabetes management and effective CGM use, although the research team always stressed the importance of talking with a healthcare provider about any clinical changes to their healthcare plan. Several participants expressed interest in continuing to meet with other participants in their workshops to continue conversations and the exchange of information and experiences.

There were several aspects of the study that were more challenging. One of the major limitations was the ability to recruit an adequately diverse sample to reflect the heterogeneity of the population of older adults living with Type 1 diabetes. The limited number of participants from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups (e.g. those who identified as Black and/or Hispanic) and non-CGM users likely reflects a combination of selection bias related to recruiting from a single academic medical center, as well as a degree of survivor bias in which individuals with diabetes who did not have access to high-quality treatment or the ability to self-manage effectively earlier in disease duration were not represented; in cohort studies, excess mortality associated with Type 1 diabetes has been shown to disproportionately affect African American individuals compared to their White counterparts [ 5 ]. Given the in-person component of the study, the majority of study participants were also local to the city in which the academic medical center was located. Further, the selection bias associated with the COVID-19 vaccination requirement likely represents a complex medical and social bias, the effect of which on the study findings is difficult to characterize. Future work to include more diverse participants within group sessions is critically needed to ensure that conceptual models and diagrams are valid for this population.

There are other limitations to external generalizability of the findings as our study did not include older adults with cognitive, visual, or hearing impairments, or HbA1c greater than 10%. Future work is needed to engage populations with additional health challenges that may complicate diabetes management, as well as the subpopulations for whom hypo- and hyperglycemia represent major clinical issues. Because GMB focuses on working together to describe stories, having a group that shares the same language is also a requirement, further narrowing our sample and thus the overall representativeness of this study.

Future GMB studies for older adults may consider the following points of learning. First, data collection may be enriched with regards to underrepresented views, including one or more group study sessions dedicated to capturing the experiences of such individuals, without dilution or bias from influence of subgroups that tend to be over-represented [ 48 ]. In our study, a small proportion of older adults living with Type 1 diabetes elected to bring a caregiver with them to the study. Future studies which aim to integrate diverse stakeholder perspectives, such as those from caregivers, may consider recruiting these stakeholders independently for participation in a focused workshop of caregiver participants only. Although we included a brief focus group discussion as part of our workshop, we found that participant responses were very brief or largely redundant with data collected through the drawing and annotation exercises; thus, this section of the study did not significantly expound upon or enrich data. We believe this reflects, in large part, the open-ended nature of the preceding GMB activities and vigorous group discussion. Finally, in review of the transcripts of the study, we found that participant narratives yielded significant contextual information, personal narrative, or other ‘foreground’ for clinical questions that are well-suited for inductive qualitative analysis techniques. Our research team aims to explore how the results from system dynamics analyses and varied qualitative analyses [ 49 ] can be triangulated to provide a complementary, comprehensive view of the lived experiences of older adults with Type 1 diabetes, as well as their complex experiences with technology.

There are several questions remaining. It remains unclear how best providers can be integrated into GMB, and if the potential for power dynamics between patient and provider stakeholders may influence the quality of GMB in mixed groups. Recruiting patient and provider stakeholders across institutions or holding provider-specific workshops may avoid this problem, although validation between groups may prove more challenging for the latter. It is also unknown how the causal loop diagrams may change if older adult participants are directly involved in the diagraming process, and how the diagrams would change between sessions. Studies that include older adult participants in direct diagraming may need to explore various study formats to ensure that burden remains low, and participants do not experience significant fatigue. Given that the number of feedback loops in our causal loop diagram exceeded 100, it is likely that generating comprehensive diagrams with participants directly may involve more than one workshop, thus increasing the burden of the research study and potentially hampering recruitment outcomes. Alternatively. research teams might explore the potential of having workshops build on earlier diagrams, adding content believed to be as or more important as what was included in prior sessions.

It has been argued that systems thinking and systems science methods, such as system dynamics, remain underutilized for complex health problems [ 33 , 34 , 50 , 51 ]. For the study objective, which demands an awareness of more dynamic complexity than traditional research methods [ 34 ], GMB provided a novel approach among older adults to comprehensively investigate and describe multiple, interrelated factors that determine the uptake and use of medical technologies, as well as their complex interactions over time. The holistic view of experiences as the behavior of a complex system offers the opportunity to not only describe, but start to untangle the mechanisms that shape older adults’ experiences with technology and how it fits into broader chronic disease self-management [ 42 , 52 ]. In related work, our team used the causal loop diagrams to identify outcome sets which represent ‘suboptimal CGM responses’ that signal the need for additional resources, education, or support, as well as the system structure of the factors that interact to produce each response; we will use this problem definition as the basis for efforts to develop new strategies to address and prevent suboptimal trajectories associated with CGM use in older adults with Type 1 diabetes [ 45 ]. We are also enthusiastic to extend the GMB methodology, and integrate lessons learned in the present study, to continue to engage older adults as primary stakeholders in research to promote the access to and use of medical technology for longevity and healthy aging across a range of clinical contexts.

Data availability

The data that support the findings of this study are available upon reasonable request from the corresponding author, ARK. The data are not publicly available due to their containing information that could compromise the privacy of research participants.


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We are grateful to the participants of the CGM Older Adult Stakeholder Mapping Workshop research study. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the NIH. Damilola Ayinde, Kabir Dewan, Maya Loga, and Sharita Thomas provided research assistance during the workshops.

ARK is supported by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, National Institutes of Health, through Grant KL2TR002490. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the NIH. The project was supported by UL1TR002489 from the Clinical and Translational Science Award program of the Division of Research Resources, National Institutes of Health and the Diabetes Research Connection.

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A.R.K., L.A.Y, and K.H.L contributed to the conception and design of the research study. A.R.K and C.S. contributed to the acquisition of and analysis of the data. A.R.K. drafted the initial manuscript text and prepared the figures. All authors contributed to interpreting the data and revising the manuscript for important intellectual content. All authors approved the manuscript.

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Kahkoska, A.R., Smith, C., Young, L.A. et al. Use of systems thinking and adapted group model building methods to understand patterns of technology use among older adults with type 1 diabetes: a preliminary process evaluation. BMC Med Res Methodol 24 , 126 (2024). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12874-024-02252-z

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proposal for research methodology workshop

2024 Methods Workshop recap

Dr. Holmes Finch headlines the annual event.

Washington State University’s Learning Performance Research Center (LPRC) hosted its 10th annual Methods Workshop June 3-4, 2024, with both an in-person and online option.

proposal for research methodology workshop

Themed as “Examining Heterogeneity with Mixture Models”, the workshop focused on mixture modeling with an emphasis on application.

The workshop presenter this year was Holmes Finch, the George and Frances Ball Distinguished Professor of Educational Psychology at Ball State University. Prior to going to Ball State in 2003, Finch managed the Statistical Consulting Laboratory at the University of South Carolina.

proposal for research methodology workshop

Like previous years’ guest presenters, Finch brings a wealth of expertise and experience to the event. This includes having published more than 200 articles, books, chapters, and software, making contributions to both applied and methodological literatures in measurement, statistics, and beyond.


The workshop, as set by the LPRC, included:

  • Latent class analysis for categorical observed variables and its counterpart for continuous observed variables, latent profile analysis.
  • Comparing and contrasting these mixture modeling approaches to cluster analysis, another method for finding groups in data.
  • Latent transition analysis, which is designed for finding mixtures in longitudinal data.
  • Considering mixture models that identify population subgroups based on model parameters from regression analyses and factor analysis. In this, participants were provided with computer code to carry out these analyses using R and Mplus, as well as the example datasets.

proposal for research methodology workshop


Thanks to funding from the Berry Family Distinguished Professorship fund, the Learning and Performance Research Center, and the College of Education’s Educational Psychology program, registration for this workshop — including course materials and in-person refreshments — was provided for the participants at no cost.

In the news…

The following includes past news coverage of the Methods Workshop:

  • May 04, 2021. May 12: Annual Methods Workshop to feature Tenko Raykov
  • April 05, 2019. May 9-10: Methods Workshop back for seventh time
  • May 10, 2016. May 11-12: Statistical measurement, analysis workshop hosted
  • July 07, 2014. July 21-24: Pilot workshop about STEM teaching with a twist

Office of the Vice President for Research

Registration is open for grant writing workshop.

University of Iowa faculty and research team members are invited to register for a daylong grant writing seminar sponsored by the Research Development Office, a unit of the Office of the Vice President for Research. 

The  Writing Winning Grant Proposals (Phase I) seminar will be led by Dr. John Robertson, Managing Member of Grant Writer's Seminars and Workshops (GWSW) on Friday, September 20, 2024, 8:30am - 4:30pm at the Iowa Memorial Union. A virtual option is available.

“For nearly two decades, we have partnered with GWSW to provide their winning approach to our researchers,” said Aaron Kline, director of the Research Development Office. “The Phase I seminar provides attendees with an actionable framework to apply to their next grant proposal.”  

The registration fee for the workshop is $150, which includes a grant writing workbook and lunch. Participants are encouraged to check the  registration website  to see if sponsored registrations are available from their college or department. The registration deadline is September 8.

Phase II Workshop

For faculty members who are interested in receiving one-on-one coaching and virtual consultations about a grant proposal over a 4-6 month period, a  Phase II Intensive Worksho p will be offered in January 2025. The Phase II workshop is limited to 25 participants who previously participated in the Phase I seminar and who are nominated by their collegiate associate dean. 

“Phase II provides participants an opportunity to work with Dr. Robertson on the application of the GWSW framework to a real-world proposal. Both of these programs are valuable tools for researchers to develop their grantsmanships skills, enabling future research success,” said Kline.

To participate, faculty should discuss sponsorship with their collegiate Associate Dean for Research and DEO, and also  complete the Phase II registration form by Monday, September 30, 2024. 

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A river flood warning in effect for columbia county, how student loan debt is affecting those who are ready to retire.

Karin Caifa, CNN

As a new crop of grads leaves college, the struggles of student loan debt can take center stage.

Student loan debt is typically viewed as an issue facing younger Americans, but new research finds that the struggles aren’t limited to Americans in their 20s.

Millions of older Americans have made costly decisions about student loans that could impede their retirement plans.

The new analysis shows a burden on some Americans over age 55 that could clash with retirement security.

“It’s not what you usually think that they took out student debt for their children. It’s actually for themselves,” said Teresa Ghilarducci a professor of Economics at The New School.

Check out our weekly newsletter compiled by Consumer Investigative Reporter Tiffany Salameh.

Student loans have often been described as “good debt” with borrowers taking on loans in the hopes higher education will boost income over time.

But a new analysis by the Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis at The New School finds more than 2.2 million Americans over age 55 carrying student loan debt.

Ghilarducci specializes in retirement and older worker issues.

“It’s only good debt for the young and it’s only good debt if it’s a low amount of debt,” Ghilarducci said.

Older borrowers tend to see income narrow at retirement age and are more likely to carry other debts like mortgages and car loans, than younger workers.

Karthik Manickam, author of The New School report, said that can lead to tough choices

Karthik Manickam/Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis Research Associate:

“It’s likely to affect their retirement ability because they have to either sort of decide between extending their working life and continue to work to repay their debt or reduce the amount of retirement savings that they may be able to save,” Manickam said.

Another potential consequence that could diminish retirement income, Manickam said, is delinquent *federal* student loans, which can result in garnishment of Social Security benefits.

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    Washington State University's Learning Performance Research Center (LPRC) hosted its 10th annual Methods Workshop June 3-4, 2024, with both an in-person and online option. Themed as "Examining Heterogeneity with Mixture Models", the workshop focused on mixture modeling with an emphasis on application. The workshop presenter this year was Holmes.

  26. Registration is open for grant writing workshop

    The Writing Winning Grant Proposals (Phase I) seminar will be led by Dr. John Robertson, Managing Member of Grant Writer's Seminars and Workshops (GWSW) on Friday, September 20, 2024, 8:30am - 4:30pm at the Iowa Memorial Union. ... The Phase II workshop is limited to 25 participants who previously participated in the Phase I seminar and who are ...

  27. How student loan debt is affecting those who are ready to retire

    But a new analysis by the Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis at The New School finds more than 2.2 million Americans over age 55 carrying student loan debt. Ghilarducci specializes in ...