A directory of resources inthe field of technical communication.


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Answering the Call: Toward a History of Proposals   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

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.

Meloncon, Lisa. Journal of Technical Writing and Communication (2010). Articles>Grants>Proposals>History


L'Art de Préparer une Demande de Subvention

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.

Kraicer, Jacob. University of Western Ontario (1997). (French) Articles>Grants>Proposals


The Art of Grant Writing

Do you enjoy writing factual material? Can you present your facts in a convincing manner? Do you feel strongly about a particular cause? Then, perhaps, grantwriting is for you.

Ehrenkranz, Penny Lockwood. Writing World (2001). Articles>Grants>Proposals


Back to Fund-amentals: The Business Realities of Funding for Performance Support Projects   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

Although electronic performance support systems (EPSSs) sound like exciting projects to technical communicators and instructional designers, many proposed EPSSs stay on the drawing boards because the organizations for whom they were designed choose not to fund them. In general, EPSSs require more up-front investment than traditional documentation and training. That additional expense, sometimes increasing up-front expenses by several times, could be enough to stop a project unless the designers can explain how the organization can benefit from this additional investment. In fact, most often, these organizations decline to fund the proposed EPSSs because the financial benefits of the EPSSs are not explained, and so the proposed EPSS is perceived to exceed the cost of designing and developing it. In other words, the businesses do not perceive that the EPSS is a good investment of their money.

Driscoll, Margaret and Colin Hynes. Technical Communication Online (2002). Articles>Content Management>Proposals


Best Practices for Developing Sales Proposals   (PDF)

Help differentiate your company from the competition by using Schoenecker's suggestions to create effective sales proposals.

Schoenecker, Michelle M. Intercom (2004). Articles>Business Communication>Proposals


Bridging Boundaries, Negotiating Differences: The Nature of Leadership in Cross-Functional Proposal-Writing Groups   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

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.

Kent-Drury, Roxanne. Technical Communication Online (2000). Articles>Grants>Proposals>Writing


Crafting the Perfect Proposal

Proposal are also the cause of a great deal of anxiety for many creatives--especially those new to the industry. They're usually not on the list of most creative-related classes in school. But, fear not, oh ye creative bethern. I'm going to take you step-by-step and show you how it's put it together.

Tortorella, Neil. Creative Latitude (2004). Careers>Graphic Design>Proposals


Does Typography Affect Proposal Assessment?   (PDF)

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.

Berleant, Daniel. Communications of the ACM (2000). Articles>Grants>Proposals>Typography


The Dynamics and Challenges of Interdisciplinary Collaboration: A Case Study of 'Cortical Depth of Bench' in Group Proposal Writing   (peer-reviewed)

This study contributes to a discussion on collaboration and technical/professional communication in indeterminate zones or less familiar sites for collaboration. The interdisciplinary group for this case study collaborated to write a project proposal to solicit funds from the US government for constructing a test bed for immune buildings as a tactic for combating potential biological and chemical terrorist incidents. Their approach to collaboration coincided with several approaches previously addressed in professional and technical communication research. Novel and creative approaches emerged as a result of this collaboration, but in some instances, disciplinary differences, as manifested by disputes over concepts and terminologies, posed obstacles to collaboration. Such challenges necessitated strong leadership, which was also critical for managing group process.

Gooch, John C. Social Science Research Network (2005). Articles>Collaboration>Proposals


Editing Reports and Proposals

Businesses, non-profit organizations, government departments, and other groups produce a lot of proposals and reports. This article summarizes some features of reports and proposals that are not the same as books, news items, manuals, magazine articles, memos and many other documents.

Hollis Weber, Jean. Technical Editors Eyrie (2001). Articles>Editing>Proposals>Reports


Engineering for the Disabled: Using RFPs and Producing Design Proposals for the Needs of the Physically Challenged   (PDF)

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

Applen, J.D. STC Proceedings (1998). Articles>Grants>Proposals>Engineering


Essential Elements of a Writing Course Proposal

At some point in their careers, many writers may teach writing courses, either before a 'live' classroom audience or, these days, online. But how does a new teacher develop that first course proposal? What elements should go into it?

Dreifus, Erika. Klariti (2005). Articles>Education>Proposals>Writing


Estimating Project Times and Costs Without Losing Your Shirt--Or Your Sanity

Determining how long it takes to complete a job is essential for planning and for budgeting your time, whether you're a wage slave or a freelancer. In this article, I'll focus on the needs of the freelancer, but the same approach will work equally well for managers of teams of technical communicators and even for lone writers.

Hart, Geoffrey J.S. Geoff-Hart.com (2006). Careers>Freelance>Proposals


Example Proposal   (PDF)

This is a real proposal for a real client. We changed the name of the client and the product. Download to see what we detail in our plans.

Anthrobytes Consulting (2003). Careers>Workplace>Proposals


Finding Funding: Writing Winning Proposals for Research Funds   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

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.

Grove, Laurel K. Technical Communication Online (2004). Articles>Grants>Proposals>Rhetoric


Finding Proposal Money for Nonprofits   (PDF)

Offers tips on how nonprofit organizations can search for and attain funding.

Munger, Roger H. Intercom (2001). Careers>Business Communication>Proposals>Nonprofit


Finding the Perfect Match—Writing Requests for Proposals   (PDF)

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.

Durham, Marsha. STC Proceedings (1999). Articles>Grants>Proposals


Five Easy Steps (and One Completely Crazy Step) for Surviving a Grant Proposal

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.

Watrall, Ethan. Prof Hacker (2010). Articles>Grants>Proposals>Writing


Five Industry Best Practices to Improve Your Proposals and Technical Documents

Industry best practices are business processes that assist companies, government agencies, and non-profit organizations in maintaining the highest level of quality in the products or services that they are offering. A lot of it might seem like common sense, but if you saw some of the things that I have seen in the different projects I’ve been on, you’d realize that sometimes you can just rely on that. Here are five industry best practices that you should adopt, regardless of the type of organization that you are running.

Polastre, Shevonne. Chicwriter (2011). Articles>Documentation>Proposals>Standards


General Thoughts on Writing Useful Reviews

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.

Blue Lab Coats (2010). Articles>Grants>Proposals>Assessment


Good Money--and Good Causes   (PDF)   (members only)

Grant writing is a high-paying market for talented writers, and knowing the 'rules' for writing grants makes the task easier to manage. Discover ten strategies for winning the grant award.

Stokes, Karina. Intercom (2008). Articles>Grants>Proposals>Writing


Grant Writing for Educators

A collection of links to grant resources for educators.

Michigan eLibrary. Resources>Grants>Proposals>Writing


Grant Writing Tips

This page includes a list of grant planning questions and a list of basic proposal elements that I use when I offer grant-writing workshops.

Seanet. Articles>Grants>Proposals>Rhetoric


Grant Writing Tips from an Insider

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.

Kerschbaum, Bill. Bill Kerschbaum (2010). Articles>Grants>Proposals>Biomedical


Group Interviews as Source for Writing Proposals

Group interviews can be an effective means for collecting information for competitive proposals. Many knowledgeable people who are phobic about writing will talk freely during a group interview. In addition, people who consider themselves too busy to write a section of a proposal may be amenable to committing 2 - 3 hours to a technical or project management interview.

Kendrick, Jim. Competitive Communication Methods (1998). Articles>Interviewing>Proposals



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