While scholars have begun to write a history of reports and instructions, little scholarship exists on the history of proposals. To fill this gap, I analyze proposals written by Dorothy Wordsworth and Anne Macvicar Grant, ca. 1800. My analysis uses contemporary rhetorical theory to determine how they structured their writing and incorporated rhetorical appeals to achieve their goals. My findings show that their texts should be placed on a continuum of the history and development of the proposal genre. Further findings suggest that their use of contemporary rhetorical theories authorized Wordsworth's and Grant's discourse to successfully affect change.
Les présentes directives ont pour but d’aider les nouveaux chercheurs et les chercheurs expérimentés à optimaliser leurs chances de réussite dans un concours de subventions jugé par les pairs. Et il s’agit bel et bien d’un concours. Avec un taux de réussite de 50 % ou moins, la différence entre la réussite et l’échec résulte souvent non seulement de la qualité de la démarche scientifique, mais aussi de la qualité de la demande de subvention. Selon toute probabilité, la qualité des projets scientifiques visés par les demandes de subvention est sensiblement comparable dans les tranches de 10 % qui se situent de part et d’autre du seuil d’approbation. Ce qui peut faire la différence, c’est la façon de préparer la demande.
This paper analyzes behaviors and mechanisms that led to successful and unsuccessful aerospace proposals written by one company over 10 years. Successful proposal managers elicited cooperation through persuasion and by successfully negotiating organizational, disciplinary, and cultural boundaries. Tracking devices that identified scheduling problems early in the project and designation of a dedicated, neutral project space located near corporate decision makers also contributed to a proposal team's success. This research suggests the need for technical writing instruction that develops students' non-coercive persuasive skills and their sensitivity to the communication challenges inherent in cross-organizational and cross-cultural contexts.
The pages that follow describe the development of a grant proposal I wrote to obtain funding from an external private funding source. In the grant I proposed to research the programmatic options, student interest, and depart- mental/administrative support available for implementing a master’s degree in professional and technical writing (PTW) at my university.
Experience from assisting in the review of 30 proposals to a major funding agency suggests that mundane aspects of proposal formatting have an effect on proposal assessment. Why do these apparent connections between mundane formatting and actual funding occur? Here are a few possibilities.
By engaging the rhetorical and technical challenges of formal requests for proposals (RFPs), observation reports, and group work plans, first-year engineering students at UC Santa Barbara demonstrate that they are able to emulate the design strategies employed by professional engineers in the production of design proposals. Because the RFPs called for products that aided the disabled, the students also became practiced in the research and questioning skills that engineers need to employ when they are designing products for a population of consumers with special needs
Identifies funding sources and describes the proposal review process. Provides example criteria and identifies ways to write proposals to meet the needs of its audience of reviewers.
Writing a request to attract project proposals or tenders can be a difficult, time-consuming and expensive task. Issues include assessing and planning both what to communicate and how.
Successful grants are as much about organizing and managing the actual process as they are about the proposal itself. You can have the most incredible idea in the world, but if you don’t jump through the granting agency required hoops (providing all of the required materials in the form and format in which they are required), you aren’t going to be successful.
I wrote a lot of grants in my first 3 years as faculty. A LOT. Nearly 30. And so I’ve read a few reviews, and a few summaries of review panel discussions that took place over my grants. I take reviewing grants incredibly seriously because I know that more often than not, someone’s career is on the line. If I agreed to do the review then the applicant absolutely deserves the most careful review that I can possibly deliver. These reviews can be very instructive if correctly written. They can also be totally useless if not carefully done. I have gotten a totally useless review or two, and that meant waiting out a year to re-submit a proposal and not knowing what to change on it in the resubmission.
Yesterday I had the privilege of talking with a guy that helps develop biomedical technologies and create spinoff companies for the technologies. He’s written a lot of grant proposals in his day, and he’s read his fair share too. We talked a bit about common sins that proposal writers commit. Here are some insights he shared with me.
This Guide for Writing a Funding Proposal was created to help empower people to be successful in gaining funds for projects that provide worthwhile social service. A major theme that runs throughout the Guide is a concern for the development of meaningful cooperative relationships - with funding agencies, with community organizations, and with the people you are serving - as a basis for the development of strong fundable initiatives. The Guide is built on the assumption that it is through collaboration and participation at all levels that long term change can be affected.
Writing proposals has become an important facet of present day scientific research. Any project which takes money or other resources will, these days, be competing with other projects. The person or organization responsible for the money will have to make a decision which will make it possible for your project to succeed. Usually such decisions are made on the basis of a written proposal.
New business proposals to the U.S. Department of Defense vary so much in their production requirements that it has never been easy to estimate the cost to prepare them. Worse, new proposal managers lack the experience to anticipate the work required to prepare a winning proposal. In many companies, marketing and technical communication organizations find it exceptionally difficult to estimate and acquire the realistic budgets needed to win. For the past three years, we have closely examined significant proposal efforts and discovered the six pillars of our department's proposal preparation costs. We have also derived a formula that characterizes proposal preparation costs in our environment. Our Cost Projection Factor estimate can be calculated in a minute and has demonstrated accuracy within 5 percent. Our purpose in preparing this article is not to reveal our proprietary proposal costs, but to demonstrate that a quick, accurate cost model can be developed for proposal publishing.
Reviewing grant proposals properly is as critical a function as writing them. What good is it to spend six months on a grant proposal only to have it trashed in the hands of an irresponsible reviewer? Never forget that when you review a proposal you sometimes hold the career of another person in your hands. So focus, pay attention, and try to be as constructive and informative as you can — and pray that someone else will show the same courtesy and responsibility towards your proposal.
Some of the biggest opportunities in technical writing are in proposal and grant writing. In fact, an American company wanted me to write proposals for them. But I refused saying that I had no experience. Of course, I lost money and a “golden opportunity”. You need not miss out on such an opportunity. If you know English and have some report writing skills, you can become a proposal writer. In India, grant writing or writing reports for grants or funding is not very popular. But in the US grant writing is big business. Technical writers are making big money writing grants and proposals. Typically, departments in universities want funding for their projects. These could come from corporations, trusts, and individuals. How do you convince them to fund your projects? That is what grant writing is about.
Grappling with grant applications at your desk is as central to scientific success as is wrestling with experimental conundrums at the bench. In the fight for research dollars, grant writing can make or break a research career no matter how good or innovative a scientist's ideas are.
The National Science Foundation ADVANCE program is a direct response to the low percentage of women who enter the professoriate upon earning degrees in fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Despite the STEM focus of NSF ADVANCE, technical communication faculty may benefit from ADVANCE grants if they are aware of the opportunities presented. This article points out ways that technical and scientific communication faculty can integrate with NSF ADVANCE initiatives on their campuses. My purpose is to provide faculty and program administrators ideas for using NSF ADVANCE as a professional development tool, and to recognize the skills we contribute to large proposal-writing teams.
In language, clarity is everything. So, too in writing research grant proposals. For many applicants, the proposal is the only opportunity to communicate with funding source reviewers. To ensure that reviewers understand your research proposal, applicants must write clearly and persuasively. In plain English, a lot of time, effort, and money rides on your ability to communicate effectively.