ANA’s National Center for Nursing Quality

Research Proposal Submissions for NDNQI Data Use

The American Nurses Association ’s National Center for Nursing Quality is providing access to NDNQI data for research purposes. Please review the recommended proposal outline, the screening criteria, researcher qualifications, review criteria and the data variables that are available for consideration prior to writing and submitting a proposal on this website. Proposals must meet screening criteria before being considered for full peer-review. If the proposal is approved after peer-review, a data use agreement will need to be signed and a fee will need to be paid for the work to retrieve the data for the variables and time periods requested in the proposal. The data use fee includes technical assistance for the approved proposal. In-depth assistance requested prior to submission may require an additional consulting fee.


  • Must be in English
  • Must be submitted online and be limited to 6 pages
  • Will undergo an initial screening and must meet eligibility criteria prior to peer-review
  • Will undergo peer-review if they pass initial screening

Addtional Information:

  • Notification will be sent to the primary contact
  • Add to your address book white list in order to ensure you receive communication regarding your proposal submission
  • If your proposal is accepted, a data use agreement is required as well as a fee for the data extract and technical assistance.
  • Please review all requirements prior to any submission
  • All requests need to be submitted and approved by ANA prior to submission of grant funding proposals to other organizations.

Steps and Instructions:

  1. Proposal Outline

    The following are the required elements for any proposal requesting use of NDNQI data. Submit the proposalwith these guidelines (limit to 6 pages)Please use 1-inch margins, single spacing, and 12-point Times New Roman a letter of organizational support.

    Most investigators will seek permission from the American Nurses Association (ANA) to obtain an extract of NDNQI data as they prepare grant proposals for project funding. ANA’s letter approving access to the data will accompany the grant proposal only after the data request proposal to ANA has been approved.

    NDNQI project staff will give you an estimate of the cost of the extract to incorporate in your proposal budget once the proposal has been accepted and approved for NDNQI data use. The cost of acquiring an extract is based upon cost-reimbursement for work performed and will vary according to whether the investigator wants NDNQI to match files from other data sets to NDNQI (based on federal identification number or AHA number) and to deidentify the extract. Some investigators may want to include NDNQI senior researchers as investigators on their teams. In that case, the cost of their time would be included as well.

    If you have questions, email

    1. Purpose and rationale of the project (2-3 pages)
      1. Purpose
      2. Significance or impact of the study. Importance to the nursing profession. Potential for innovation.
      3. Theoretical/conceptual framework or model
      4. Brief review of the literature
      5. Specific Aims
      6. Research questions/hypotheses
    2. Methodology (2-3 pages)
      1. Research design
      2. Setting & Sample
        • Power analysis
      3. Procedures
      4. Measures
      5. Data analysis methods
      6. Limitations of study
      7. Human Subjects/ethical considerations
        • In the case of most proposals using secondary data, your Institutional Review Board (IRB) will consider your project to be in the “Exempt” class.
        • You are not required to have IRB approval for the project at the time of proposal submission, but will be asked to forward a copy of the approval to ANA once the project is operational
      8. Timetable
    3. Background of dissertation student and committee expertise (1 page)
      1. How proposed study fits in the investigators total research program
      2. List project team and describe qualifications
      3. Description of analytic support (file management, statistics)
      4. PhD students must include an appendix listing courses completed to date and proposed timeline for dissertation completion. Doctoral Research Students Only.
    4. Attach letter indicating Organizational Support
      1. The letter should be signed by the institutional official of your organization authorized to commit the organization to a research project, for example a Dean of Research, Department Chair, or Nurse Executive.
    5. Attachment
      • NIH-style biosketch of Student and Committee Chair (PHS 398 form) of Principal Investigator(s)

    NOTE: If the proposal is accepted, a data use agreement is required as well as a fee for the data extract and technical assistance.

  2. Screening Criteria & Researcher Qualifications

    The proposals submitted will go through an initial screening before being considered for complete review.

    Initial Screening

    • Experience and expertise of principal investigator is sufficient, e.g. the researcher must have prior experience in managing large datasets and hierarchical modeling
    • Data elements requested are available through NDNQI
    • Sample size of requested data sufficient to support analysis
    • Research question is phrased in a way that is consistent with NDNQI concepts (e.g., unit-level measurement)
    If the proposal meets the initial screening criteria then it is advanced for full review.

    Researcher Qualifications for Access to NDNQI Data

    • PhD or similar research doctorate (i.e.: ScD, DNSc, DrPH) in nursing, sociology, economics or other relevant field
    • Expertise in advanced statistical techniques, such as hierarchical modeling
    • Support staff skilled in file preparation and management
    • Experience in managing large datasets
    • PhD students must have an appropriately prepared mentor engaged as co-Primary Investigator. The peer review team will consider the student and mentor as a team.

  3. Proposal Criteria

    Review Criteria

    1. Purpose and rationale of the project (2-3 pages)
      1. Purpose of study
      2. Significance of the study is clearly explicated; importance to nursing and potential for ongoing research is included.
      3. The proposed study logically follows from a theoretical/conceptual framework of model and/or previous research; or is a logical first step in a new area of study.
      4. Brief review of the literature
      5. Aims are clearly stated.
      6. Hypotheses or research questions are included and relate to the purpose.
    2. Methodology (2-3 pages)
      1. The research design of the study is clearly identified and appropriate to the purpose.
      2. The sample proposed for the study is adequate, selection criteria are clear, and statistical power is sufficient.
      3. Procedures are clearly outlined.
      4. Measures are clearly described and reflect conceptual framework.
      5. Limitations of the study with proposed solutions are managed.
      6. Proposed plan for data analysis is specific and appropriate for type of data to be collected and relates clearly to the purpose(s), research questions, or hypotheses.
      7. The protection of subjects (anonymity, confidentiality, protection from harm, right to withdraw without prejudice) is adequate. Security of data files is adequate.
      8. A realistic timetable appropriate to the study is provided by the investigator.
    3. Background of investigator’s/team’s expertise
      1. Proposed study fits in the investigators research program
      2. Team is qualified to conduct the project
      3. Analytic support (file management, statistics) is adequate

  4. NDNQI Data Available

    NDNQI measures of nurse staffing, nursing care processes and patient outcomes are available quarterly. Data from the RN satisfaction and practice environment scale surveys are available annually. The unit of measurement for both data sets is the nursing unit or nursing work group.

    Select the links below to see listings of variables available for specific unit types and time periods. Quarterly data include measures of nurse staffing, nursing care processes, and nursing-sensitive patient outcomes. The sample size for each variable/unit/year/quarter combination will vary. Hospitals voluntarily participate in these indicators and missing data is common. There are three versions of the RN survey: (1) satisfaction scales, (2) short form with selected satisfaction scales, and (3) the practice environment scales. Each version of the survey also contains sections on work situations and nurse demographics. Data are available annually and may be matched to the quarterly data on the basis of the month of the quarter in which the hospital participated in the survey. Response rates vary greatly across units and hospitals.

    Quarterly MeasuresRN Survey’s - Annual
    Quarterly Data List, 2012RN Survey Data List, 2012

  5. FAQ

    • Q: What is the submission deadline for the proposals?
      A: You can submit a proposal at any time; however, the review time from start to finish can take as long as 6-8 weeks. Therefore, if data access is being considered for a grant submission, all requests need to be submitted and approved prior to grant submission.
    • Q: How long can the proposals be?
      A: The proposal is limited to 6 pages not including the required letter of organizational support and the NIH Biosketch (PHS 398).
    • Q: Can a PhD or similar research doctorate student submit a proposal?
      A: Yes; however, the student must list his/her mentor as co-Primary Investigator. Additionally, the mentor must meet the researcher qualifications (see tab) for proposal consideration.
    • Q: When will I know if my proposal has been accepted?
      A: You will receive an e-mail after the proposal has gone through a screening and peer-review process. The review can take between 6-8 weeks.
    • Q: I’ve already begun a submission, how do I return to it?
      A: When you began your submission, you should have received an e-mail which contains a link directly back to your submission. Or, you can log into your submission on the right side of this page using the ID & password provided to you in that initial e-mail.
    • Q: I began a submission, but didn’t receive any emails.
      A: Make sure that the email address entered on the title step is correct. Please also make sure that you’ve added to your address book white list.
    • Q: I don’t remember my login information.
      A: Click here and we will send you an e-mail reminder
    • Q: What is the cost range for NDNQI data extracts?
      A:Charges are based on the amount of time it takes to prepare your extract and provide technical assistance. Preparation time varies with the number of quarterly data periods or survey years that need to be extracted, whether external data sets are to be matched into the file, and the time it takes to de-identify the data. The amount of technical assistance will vary according to the investigator’s background and whether NDNQI senior researchers are part of the investigative team.

      Typically, a minimal data extract with limited technical assistance will cost at least $2,000.
    • Q: Is there a cost-effective data extract for PhD or similar research doctorate students to use?
      A: Yes. If the request is for an extract of NDNQI data only and not for extensive longitudinal data (i.e., not more than 2 consecutive years or 8 consecutive quarters), then NDNQI could provide a file for a flat, reduced fee of approximately $1,000 - $1,500. There will be additional charges if other data files need to be matched to NDNQI data or if the student needs additional data merged into the dataset.
    • Q: Are there research funds available?
      A: PhD or similar research doctorate students may apply for an American Nurses Foundtion (ANF) grant. This is a separate application and can be found at (url).
    • Q: Can I get preliminary data analysis to include in my proposal?
      A: Yes, but there may be a charge for any additional work needed by NDNQI staff. Please consult with NDNQI to determine the extent of your needs and the possible cost.
  6. General Instructions

    No names or titles should be included in the abstract text. Names will be automatically hidden during the abstract review process and will be automatically inserted and properly formatted upon publication.

    Presenting authors will be automatically informed of the unique ID numbers and passwords assigned to their abstracts. Abstracts may be viewed and modified at any time between submission and the deadline, using the assigned ID# and password.

    Technical Support

    For help in submitting an abstract online, Contact technical supportemail Tech Support.

Begin a submission to the following: