NLPES Excellence in Research Methods Award


2019 Submission Information and Award Criteria

The NLPES Excellence in Research Methods Award is presented to an office or offices that used exemplary research methods in an evaluation or audit report released during calendar year 2018. The Excellence in Research Methods Award may be awarded to a maximum of three offices in a given year.

Each office may submit only one evaluation or audit report for consideration per award year. Any office that wins the award in a given year is not permitted to apply for the award in the following year.

Methodology Category

Applicants must indicate which methodolgy category or categories the evaluation or audit is submitted. Successful applicants must demonstrate how the evaluation or audit report meets the category or categories:

  • Exceptional breadth, depth and scope of fieldwork – successful application of a methodology that, while maintaining efficiency, takes the evaluation to a more comprehensive level.
  • Innovative or unusual applications of established methodologies – successful application of established qualitative or quantitative techniques in new areas or ways.
  • Technical difficulty and sophistication – appropriate and successful use of advanced statistical techniques or software to efficiently and effectively address issues covered in an evaluation or audit.

Selection Criteria

Judges will evaluate each application based on the information presented in the report and the four-page written narrative. Successful applicants must address how the research method used in the evaluation or audit meets the following three criteria:

  • Methodology Usefulness/Design (35%) – The submission should demonstrate the selected methodology’s applicability to the evaluation’s or audit's objectives; the design of the methodology; and the usefulness of the methodology, given any data or other limitations encountered. Information provided in this section should clearly state the desired objectives, describe the methodologies considered and state why the selected methodology was the most appropriate to meet the objectives.
  • Methodology Application (35%) – The submission should demonstrate how the selected methodology was applied during fieldwork to meet the evaluation’s or audit's objectives in the most efficient and effective manner possible. Information provided in this section should clearly explain methodology procedures and explain how the execution of the selected research method contributed to the efficiency and/or effectiveness of the field work performed.
  • Evaluation Results (30%) – The submission should demonstrate that the selected methodology and resulting conclusions were appropriate for the evaluation or audit and were clearly described for the reader. Information provided in this section should describe how the results of the methodology contributed significantly to the development of the evaluation’s or audit's findings (problems) and recommendations (solutions), and demonstrate that the methodology’s resulting conclusions were appropriately and clearly described for the reader.

Submission Instructions

Submisstion packets for the Excellence in Research Methods Award must include the following:

  • A completed Excellence in Research Methods submission form. Note: If you have problems with the online submission form, contact Brenda Erickson to request that a submission form be emailed to you.
  • A copy of the nominated evaluation or audit report.
  • A narrative of no more than four pages in length describing how the evaluation or audit report meets the selection criteria. If the report does not contain a detailed description of the evaluation methodology, you may submit any additional documentation necessary to explain the analysis as an appendix.

Note: Submissions involving contract work must demonstrate that the office's staff were integrally involved in all aspects of the evaluation or audit.

Email (preferred) or mail your submission to each of the judges listed below by the May 3, 2019 submission deadline. Applicants are responsible for submitting all documentation and materials to be considered by the submission deadline. Judges will not follow up to obtain additional materials nor will additional materials be considered after the submission deadline. Please ensure that your submission packet meets all criteria for the award. Applicants are encouraged to confirm with each judge via a separate email that their submission was received.


The NLPES Awards Subcommittee selects a panel of three judges to review award submission packets.

The winning office (or offices) will be asked to make a staff member available to be a judge for this award in the following award year.

The judges for the 2019 Excellence in Research Methods Award are listed below.

Ryan McCord (head judge)
Research Analyst
Washington Joint Legislative Audit and Review Committee
P.O. Box 40910
Olympia, WA 98504-0910
(360) 786-5186

Sarah Dinces
Program Evaluator II
New Mexico Legislative Finance Committee
State Capitol North
325 Don Gaspar, Suite 101
Santa Fe, NM 87501
(505) 986-4571

Jody Hauer
Evaluation Coordinator
Minnesota Office of the Legislative Auditor
140 Centennial Building
658 Cedar Street
St. Paul, MN 55155
(651) 296-8501

If you have questions about the Excellence in Research Methods Award process, contact the NLPES Chair:

Shunti Taylor
(404) 651-8866