Making a Difference

Assume you have the opportunity to compete for a $10,000 grant to conduct research in an area of your major. Write a grant proposal convincing a grant review panel of professors from each of the colleges on campus that you should receive the requested funds.

The review committee will use the following criteria when considering your request:

  • How important is the proposed activity to furthering knowledge and understanding within its field and possibly across different fields?
  • Does the project explore and/or suggest creative and original ideas?
  • How well is the idea conceived and organized?
  • Does the proposed activity use sound methodology to produce effective results?
  • Are the methodological details (data collection details, timelines, interviews, questionnaires, archival research methodology) thorough and clear?
  • Is the work plan well thought out?
  • Can the proposed activity be completed within the specified time frame?


  • The proposal is one of two projects that you will submit in a portfolio at the end of the semester.
  • The proposal should be 4-5 pages in length, single-spaced (double-space between paragraphs) 12 pt. font, 1″ margins.
  • The proposal should be posted to a Google Doc in the CIDocs folder Making A Difference.
  • Subheadings should be used to distinguish different sections of the proposal from one another. Sections should be in the following order:
    1. Statement of Purpose: Provide a clear, concise 100- to 200-word summary description of the proposed project. This statement should briefly identify objectives, methods to be employed, and the significance of the work.
    2. Introduction: Provide a description of the problem to be investigated followed by a statement of the objectives of the proposed project, the solution to be tested, or the creative endeavor to be undertaken, and the anticipated significance of the project.
    3. Background and Rationale: Provide a review of the work that others have done on this problem/topic. Discuss your interest in and any experience you have that would make you a suitable researcher for the project.
    4. Methods: Provide a detailed description of the research methods or creative techniques to be used, and include a justification for this specific approach: How do these methods answer the questions that have been posed, test the hypothesis, or lead to the desired goal?
    5. Timeline: Provide specific dates for the initiation and completion of each phase of the project. The project should be completed in one academic year (August – May) or less.
    6. Budget and Justification: Provide a list of all personnel, materials, laboratory supplies, equipment, travel expenses, and the like that will be required to complete the project, with the estimated cost of each item. Provide a short justification for each category requested.
    7. Works Cited: The proposal must include a minimum of 4 outside sources cited in the text in MLA format and a works cited section at the end, which is also in MLA format.
Portfolio due Week 14*

*While the portfolio deadline is not until week 14, there will be numerous deadlines for sections of this project due early in the semester. These deadlines will be listed on the weekly agendas.


Writing a Research ProposalIntroduction to Primary Research: Observations, Surveys, and Interviews, Example 1, Example 2, Example 3

Important Information

  • The proposal should be addressed to a group of university faculty. Although some may be familiar with your topic and issue, others may have a more general knowledge.
  • Be careful in your use of jargon and technical terms. At the same time, you are writing for an educated audience.
  • Your request is a formal document, so contractions should be avoided, formal sentence structures followed, and only plain graphics that assist in understanding the proposal should be employed. Personal pronouns may be used, but should be kept to a minimum.
  • Readability is important. Avoid cramming too much material together. Make sure there is white space throughout the project, but particularly for the Timeline and Budget sections.
  • Research projects often run over the course of many years. The funding you are seeking is for only one academic year. The entire project does not need to be completed in one year, just the part for which you are seeking funding. If you dream up a big project, seek funding for only a portion of it that can be completed in the time frame.