Resources for Researchers

These services are provided by the Center for Research Development and Scholarship (CRDS). Should you need assistance in any of these areas, contact information for the team member who can assist is included.


Assistance with Institutional Review Board (IRB) applications

  • Identify IRB requirements for proposal should it be funded
  • Proofread and trouble shoot IRB applications
  • Monitor IRB requirements to avoid delays in project start-up
  • Provide assistance with continuing review/closure of IRB approved projects
  • Contact: Beth Donaghey


Brown bags and seminars on topics of interest

Please contact: Mariann R. Piano with names of potential speakers and/or topics you would like to have covered.  Whenever possible, CRDS will attempt to maximize attendance through scheduling in high attendance periods such as student intensives. Speakers at VUSN are posted on this website. VICTR and CTSA supported events can be identified on the Star Brite VICTR site on the VUMC Research page.


Circulation of funding opportunities and bulletins about research policy

Electronic distribution and postings of funding opportunities and research policy updates are available at the VUMC VICTR site.  Faculty and students should join relevant mailing lists in their areas of study.


Coordination of the postdoctoral fellowship program

The Postdoctoral Program at Vanderbilt University School of Nursing provides fellows with a unique opportunity to advance their research careers. If you are interested in Vanderbilt’s program, please contact Judy Vesterfelt and visit the Postdoctoral Program website.

CRDS can provide opportunities to:

  • Obtain hands-on involvement in research projects
  • Participate in on-going research projects
  • Develop new data for research
  • Participate in research conferences
  • Write and submit grant applications


Database development and management

Designing and building a data management device for your study ensure good data collection! Consultation on database design and management will be one of the areas covered in your initial project meeting with CRDS Director Dr. Mariann Piano and the CRDS staff. If you have any questions, please contact Beth Donaghey

CRDS can:

  • Obtain hands-on involvement in research projects
  • Identify a database or data collection device based on the needs of your project (REDCap, SPSS, Access, Excel)
  • Design and/or build a database
  • Troubleshoot design & collection strategies in REDCap*
  • Assist with downloads or conversion of existing data sets

*REDCap is a powerful and convenient data collection tool.  Users can design surveys or online data collection forms, or a combination of both depending on their project needs.  REDCap offers excellent tutorial and support services. Please take advantage of the training videos and consider attending their weekly support clinic with questions about your project in addition to seeking CRDS support.  For CRDS to assist you in a timely fashion, please contact us early in your project.


Faculty travel associated with research development

All travel requests for research-related funds must be approved by the Senior Associate Dean for Research as follows:

  1. Send a brief email to Dr. Mariann R. Piano and copy administrative officer Gay Nell Krauss, detailing why you are requesting research funds. Please include your best estimate as to the total cost of the trip; what amount, if any, a grant will cover; reason for trip (type of presentation, networking/recruiting, professional development, etc.) on the VUSN Travel Authorization Form (white form). 
  2. Upon receiving approval for travel and the notification of the amount of travel support, please go to The VU Travel website, and log in to ConCur to book your airfare and hotel accommodations.  If there is block of rooms with a conference rate, book your hotel and then contact World Travel so that they can upload this into your expense report.
  3. Once travel is completed you must log in to Oracle to upload any outstanding receipts and a copy of the approved white Travel Authorization Form and then submit your travel expense report for reimbursement.  If you take anyone to dinner, you must list the name(s) of your guest and reason for the dinner. The travel policy restricts payment for meals to the discretion of your Senior Associate Dean.


Grant preparation and support

Submitting a proposal is an investment in a scholar’s development and advancement. In today’s electronic world, having a compelling narrative is just part of the process; you also must be able to navigate the Vanderbilt and funding agency systems. Each submission begins with an initial meeting with Dr. Piano and her grants team.

The grants team will provide the following:

  • Review of guidelines to ensure compliance
  • Development of a grant budget and budget justification
  • Assistance with narrative and biosketches as needed
  • Assistance and submission coordination with Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) Office of Sponsored Programs

Upon notification of award, the investigator should contact Gay Nell Krauss, Grants Administrative Officer who will ensure fiscal oversight and compliance with VUMC and funding agency guidelines.

The grants team will provide:

  • Coordination of award allocation with the VUMC Finance Department
  • Monthly ledger reconciliation and periodic financial reports
  • Assistance with financial close-out at project end


Instrument development

How will you collect and measure the information you need? Instrument development is one of the areas covered in your initial project meeting with Dr. Piano and the CRDS staff. If you have questions, please contact Beth Donaghey.

CRDS can:

  • Provide survey design consultation
  • Provide advice regarding data capture forms, especially those that will be REDCap supported
  • Troubleshoot design issues


Literature searches

Have you reviewed existing literature on the topic? Literature search will be one of the areas covered in our meeting to plan your grant

CRDS can:

  • Conduct literature searches based on keywords, MeSH terms you provide.
  • Produce annotated bibliographies using EndNote.


Manuscript preparation

A manuscript that is important enough to write deserves thoughtful preparation.

CRDS can:

  • Provide a mentor to help you with
    – Organization/action plan for writing
    – Structure
  • Help you with identifying specific guidelines
  • Provide assistance in proofreading and formatting
  • Provide assistance with peer-review and editing
  • Provide assistance in submission to journals


Paper and poster preparation

Have you been asked to present at a conference? Professional talks can be stressful, so CRDS is available to help with paper and poster preparation. Consider using a poster as an effective visual communication tool. If you need assistance, please contact Dina Bahan or Caroline Taylor.

CRDS can:


Peer reviews and critiques

Whether you are doing a poster presentation, an oral presentation, or writing a manuscript you will submit for publication, peer review is essential for a successful project.

CRDS can:

  • Help with publication readiness
    - Format
    - Style
    - Proofreading
  • Help in finding the appropriate reviewer
  • Facilitate a “practice” session
  • Coordinate media services
  • Critiques of proposed work can also be obtained by asking for an expert studio.  Details are available on the VUMC research VICTR Star Brite site. For any assistance, be sure to arrange for it well before the grant or presentation deadline.


Recognition of scholarly achievements

Faculty are recognized for their scholarly achievements by submitting their citations, grant award notifications and appointments to Gay Nell Krauss for posting in the Center’s display case located on the 4th floor of Godchaux Hall.

An award is given annually to first-time published authors and authors of clinical publications most likely to influence care across America. These authors are also invited to a celebratory lunch with Dean Norman. These lunches are scheduled throughout the year.

Data on faculty achievement is also collected every semester via the Faculty Achievement Record Survey (FARS):

  • Invitation to participate (plus reminders) are sent to email addresses on the VUSN faculty list at the end of every semester
  • Faculty with publications, presentations, awards or editorships for that semester, should enter them in the FARS survey
  • This information is used for VUSN publications (Scholarly Nurse) and for annual productivity assessment


Research assistants (RAs)

How much help will you need during your project? What kinds of skills will be the best fit for your needs? Do you need long-term help or a quick push to finish some aspect of your work? Research staffing is one of the areas covered in your initial project meeting with Dr. Piano and the CRDS staff.  If you have questions, please contact Beth Donaghey.

CRDS can provide:

  • Consultation during proposal development to determine RA needs
  • Assistance with RA hiring
  • Scheduling of available staff to support research activities - Note that CRDS does not employ a cadre of research assistants available for data collection, subject enrollment, etc.


Research supply purchase and procurement

All grant related purchases for supplies, equipment or lab supplies should be handled by the Principal Investigator’s support person.  If that person is unavailable, please contact Brenda Cornett Compton.


Statistical consultation

Planning data analysis needs for a project will be one of the areas covered in the initial meeting with Dr. Piano and the CRDS team. If you have questions, please contact Beth Donaghey.

CRDS can provide:

  • Consultation for data analysis for an ongoing project can be arranged by contacting Mary Dietrich.
  • Quick data analysis services for proposals or applications can be arranged by contacting Beth Donaghey.