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An Assessement of the Small Business Innovation Research Program: Project Methodology
Collection and analysis of agency databases and studies,
Survey of firms and agencies,
Conduct of case studies organized around a common template, and;
Review and analysis of survey and case study results and program accomplishments.
As per the Memorandum of Understanding between the NRC and the agencies, the study is structured in two-phases. Phase I of the study, beginning on October 2002, focuses on identifying data collection needs and the development of a research methodology. Phase II of the study, anticipated to start in 2004, will implement the research methodology developed in Phase I of the study.
This document outlines the methodological approach being developed under Phase I of the study. It introduces many of the methodological questions to be encountered during Phase II of the NRC study. Finally, it outlines strategies for resolving these questions, recognizing that some issues can only be resolved in the context of the study itself.
Given that agencies covered in this study differ in their objectives and goals, the assessment will necessarily be agency-specific.24 As appropriate, the Committee will draw useful inter-agency comparisons and multiyear comparisons. In this regard, a table with the agencies in one dimension and all of the identified SBIR objectives in the other may be a useful expository tool. The study will build on the methodological models developed for the 1999 NRC study of the DoD’s Fast Track initiative, as appropriate, clearly recognizing that the broader and different scope of the current study will require some adjustments.25 Additional areas of interest, as recognized by the Committee, may also be pursued as time and resources permit.
Particularly, with respect to DoD, methodological comparability will be sought to enable multiyear comparisons. Where possible and appropriate, tracking of progress of previously surveyed/interviewed firms will be considered as well.
In particular, the objective of the Fast Track study was to compare Fast Track awards and non-Fast Track awards within the DoD SBIR program, in order to determine the efficacy of Fast Track. See National Research Council, The Small Business Innovation Research Program: An Assessment of the Department of Defense Fast Tack Initiaive, C. Wessner, ed., National Academy Press, Washington, D.C., 2000.