In the academic field a grant proposal serves several purposes and can be defined as a proposal to obtain a scholarship, funding or sponsorship. The use of this type of proposal is very common in academic disciplines such as sciences, social sciences, humanities and arts for the financing of investigations.
The grant proposal is intended primarily for undergraduate and faculty students, although it is also useful for undergraduate students seeking funding for research.
The Writing Process of the Concession Proposal
The writing of proposals varies widely between disciplines, and research aimed at epistemological ends (philosophy or arts) is based on assumptions very different from those intended for practical applications (medicine or social policy research).
Although some scholars in the humanities and the arts have not thought about their projects in terms of research design or hypotheses, potential funders expect you to frame your project accordingly.
Writing a quality proposal whose ultimate intention is your acceptance is a long process that starts with an idea. Although many people think writing a proposal is a linear process, it is actually a circular process. Candidates must write their proposal, submit it, receive a notice of acceptance or rejection, and review their proposals.
Unsuccessful applicants should review and resubmit their proposals in the next funding cycle. Accepted applications and resulting research lead to ideas for further research and new proposals.
Cultivating a continuous and positive relationship with funding agencies can lead to additional subsidies in the future. So make sure you file progress reports and final reports in a timely and professional manner.
While some successful candidates may be afraid that funding agencies will reject future proposals, individuals or projects that have received grants in the past are more competitive and therefore more likely to receive funding in the future.
Some General Tips for Your Concession Proposal
- Start early.
- Do not forget to include a cover letter with your proposal.
- Answer all the questions.
- If your proposal is rejected, do not give up. Please review and resubmit.
- Follow strictly the application guidelines, it is very important.
- Be explicit and specific.
- Be realistic in project design.
- Make explicit connections between your research questions and objectives, your goals and methods, your methods and results, and your results and dissemination plan.
- Before You Begin to Write
Identify your needs and focus. To do this, answer the following questions:
- Are you conducting preliminary or pilot research to further develop a thorough research?
- Are you looking for funding for a dissertation research? Postdoctoral research? Archival research? Experimental research? Field research?
- Are you looking for a scholarship so you can write a dissertation or book?
- Do you intend to study at an institution that will offer some programmatic support or other resources to improve your project?
- Do you want funding for a large research project that will last for several years and involve multiple employees?
- Then think about the focus of your project:
- What is the theme? Why is this topic important?
- What are the search questions you are trying to answer? How relevant are your research questions?
- What are your chances?
- What are your research methods?
- Why is your research / project important? What is its significance?
- Do you plan to use quantitative methods? Qualitative methods? Both?
- Do you intend to do an experimental research? Clinical research?
- Writing Your Proposal
Most funders recruit academic reviewers with knowledge of the disciplines and / or areas of the scholarship program. So when writing, assume that you are addressing a colleague who is well-informed in the general area but who does not necessarily know the details about his research.
Remember that most readers are lazy and will not respond well to a poorly organized, poorly written or confusing proposal. Follow all guidelines carefully. This may require you to rearrange your project in a different language.
Rearranging your project to fit requirements is a legitimate and necessary part of the process, unless it totally changes your project objectives or results.
Oftentimes entities will want to ensure that the research project is well planned and feasible and that researchers are well qualified to execute it. Be as explicit as possible. It is quite common for the reviewer to ask some questions, so clarify all the points in the proposal. Here are the most common questions:
- What will we learn from the outcome of the proposed project that we do not yet know? (goals, objectives and results)
- Why does it matter? (meaning)
- How will we know that the conclusions are valid? (criteria for success)
- Keep in mind that the reviewer may not read every word of your proposal. It may happen that he reads only the summary, sections on research methodology, and budget. Write these sections as clear and straightforward as possible.
The way you write will tell the reviewers a lot about you. From reading, the reviewers will form an idea of who you are as a scholar, a researcher, and a person. They will decide if you are creative, logical, analytical if you are up to date with relevant field literature and, most importantly, able to execute the proposed project.
Regarding the organization of your proposal, although each funding agency has its own (often very specific) requirements, there are several standardized elements:
- Cover sheet
- Introduction (statement of the problem, purpose of the research or goals and meaning of the research)
- Literature revision
- Project narrative (methods, procedures, objectives, results or deliveries and evaluation)
- Staff required
- Budget and budget justification
- Format the proposal to be easy to read. Use headings to divide the proposal into sections. If it is long, include a table of contents with page numbers.
In the project narrative, anticipate all reviewers’ questions. For example, if you propose conducting unstructured interviews with open-ended questions, be sure to explain why this methodology is best suited to the specific research questions in your proposal.
Clearly and explicitly, establish the connections between your research goals, research questions, hypotheses, methodologies and results.
Consider including an exhaustive budget for your project
Make a schedule of the research project in some detail. When will you start and complete each step? It may be helpful to reviewers if you present a visual version of your timeline. For a less complicated survey, a table summarizing the project schedule will help reviewers understand and evaluate planning and feasibility.
Reviewing Your Proposal
Make a strong concession proposal delay. Start the process as soon as possible so you have time to get opinions from multiple readers. Look for a variety of readers, both experts in your field of research and non-specialist colleagues. You can also request assistance from knowledgeable readers in specific areas of your proposal.
In your review and editing, ask your readers to confirm that you have explained the connections between your research goals and your methodology.
- Did you present a convincing case?
- Have you explicitly stated your hypotheses?
- Does your project seem feasible? Is it overly ambitious? Does he have other weaknesses?
- Have you stated the means that grantors can use to evaluate the success of your project after running it?
Some Final Advice
Some people may feel ashamed to ask for money or even to do self-promotion. Often these feelings have more to do with our own insecurities than with problems in the style of our writing. If you are having problems because of these types of insecurities, the most important thing to keep in mind is that asking does not offend.
If you never ask for money, they will never give you money. Also, the worst thing that can happen is you get a no. If this happens, do not give up. Review and improve your proposal and return to the attack without fear.