Research Affairs / 
Researcher's Alert for November 28, 2011

Research Affairs receives regular requests for information about studies on particular subjects.  A query may be for all studies on diabetes, cancer or exercise.  At present we search for that information by scanning for key words in the title, by looking at studies originating from particular departments or by examining the studies performed by PIs associated with that area of study.  All of these methods are seriously flawed. Researches pursued by members of a department are often highly diverse. New investigators begin work on unfamiliar topics and veterans move to new fields. Cancer and diabetes studies may have dozens of different words for specific types of cancer or for different aspects of diabetes in their titles.

To address this issue we plan to introduce the use of key words for all research activities – grant applications, contract requests, IRB applications and IACUC protocols.  Transmittals and application forms would have at least three fields for key words.  The first field would provide a drop-down menu of general areas of study, the second would have a drop-down for a more specific area under the broader subject, and the last would be a word or phrase of the investigator’s choice. 

We need your help

This should take about five minutes:

  1. Please download our draft of taxonomy of research topics for the first two key word fields.  The bold, underlined headings are suggested as choices for general areas of study.  The numbered items are suggested as drop-down menus for a second, more specific key word under each general area. 
  2. Please look for a general area that encompasses your research.  If you don’t find one, please add it to the document in a distinctive font
  3. When you find or suggest a general area, look for a more specific term for your research interest.  If you don’t find one, please add it in a distinctive font.   
  4. If you have time to make specific recommendations for research areas outside of your own, please insert those suggestions as well.
  5. You may send your questions or suggestions to Sherie Donahue, ext. 83911 or


Thank you for your contribution to this project.