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When Original Ideas Do Not Work Out

Grant Information & Application

Not every idea for research ends up as a publishable study.  NTR asked grant recipients, “If your original ideas did not work out, but opened up a new line of inquiry, where did what went wrong send you?”  Although unsuccessful studies are disappointing, there is much to learn from them.  Here are some lightly edited to protect IP insights from NTR grant recipients.


The original idea didn’t work but based on the results, I developed a new hypothesis that I am now testing.
I stuck pretty close to the proposal I submitted and hope to have a publication to share soon!
We originally proposed a theoretical framework to explain when and why individuals avoid negotiating. Through the investigation and review process, we became more interested in a different factor that we hypothesize motivates reluctance to negotiate. While we remain interested in the propensity to avoid negotiating, we are currently focusing more on this new factor, its underlying mechanisms, and boundary conditions.
Numerous attempts have not found support for differences in negotiation tactics or outcomes for online samples. Currently looking for alternative ways to assess.
I ran some original experiments that didn’t work well – I then realized that I needed to do more theory building. I reverted to conduct a more extensive literature review which has culminated in a qualitative study. I am slowly working my way through interviews and early analysis. This slight change in inquiry has me filled with positivity and I am certain will make a contribution both theoretically and practically.
Still working on original idea
I found that the research question I originally proposed was too large for a single study. Therefore, I broke it into two studies focusing on different elements (locus of causality and locus of control).
I think both of these studies, as well as the novel task I developed, are promising and stand to make noteworthy contributions to the field.
We are currently working on the computational model portion of the grant. Based on the results of this model, we will begin developing the task.
Our project is still very similar to our proposed line of research, only that we narrowed our focus somewhat onto how the strategic use of our construct (IV) can help negotiators claim value in negotiations while protecting and building relationships.