Both scientific research on character development and the design of interventions intended to promote it require measures of, or techniques for assessing, virtues in individuals. In the research domain, cumulative progress in understanding virtues and their development depends on the existence of measures that are construct-valid and widely-adopted. Similarly, the creation of evidence-based virtue education efforts requires good evidence in the form of measures or assessments that not only meet scientific standards of validity and reliability, but also are usable by non-specialists and provide results that can be related to the “real world.”
Very few such measures exist today, for several reasons. First, many of the measures that are currently used by researchers and evaluators to assess virtues were not created specifically for that purpose. Rather, most of them rely either on well-validated measures of related but different traits (for example, measures of narcissism or self-esteem in research on humility),or on measures created for specific research or evaluation projects (which may be valid and reliable, but are not widely adopted). Second, most extant measures rely heavily on verbal self-reports, which are not only susceptible to various response biases and other threats to validity, but also cannot provide direct information about behavior and motivation, which are crucial components of virtues.
Our 2013 funding competition “New Assessments and Measures of Virtues” aims to support the development of meaningful, valid, and reliable measures or assessments of virtues, especially virtues that are enumerated in the Foundation’s charter (see http://www.templeton.org/what-we-fund/core-funding-areas/character-development) and virtues that are closely related to these.
Applicants should propose a plan for developing innovative, scientifically valid, and practically useful methods for assessing or measuring particular virtues, and should address one or more of the following “big questions”:
Budget range and term for individual projects
Proposals may request up to $250,000 for projects of up to two years in duration. The Foundation will award up to $3 million in grants in this competition.
The Foundation has a two step application process, the first stage of which is the submission of an Online Funding Inquiry (OFI). OFIs for this competition are due no later than April 1, 2013. (Instructions for completing an Online Funding Inquiry can be found on the Foundation’s web site.) Applicants invited to submit Full Proposals will be notified by May 3, 2013 and invited Full Proposals will be due no later than September 3, 2013.
Please note the following requirements for OFIs and Full Proposals for this competition.
Online Funding Inquiries
In addition to the information requested in the OFI form, the Project Description section should include a brief statement of the specific virtue or virtues on which the project will focus, the applicant’s general theory of the virtue(s), and the assessment techniques or methods that the project will explore.
Based on a competitive review of all of the OFIs received, the Foundation will invite selected applicants to submit Full Proposals. The requirements and guidelines below apply to invited Full Proposals and not to Online Funding Inquiries. Nevertheless, all prospective applicants are encouraged to review them carefully in deciding whether to submit an OFI for this competition.