Making a Difference

Writing reports and seeking funding support with regard to a project is a common activity these days in most employment situations. Moreover, a great number of jobs can be found in the non-profit sector where seeking funding is part of management staffs daily activities. Taken from such work experiences, this research proposal project is a step in preparing you for this common work place writing activity.

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?

Project Requirements: Failure to meet requirements results in a failure for the assignment.

  • 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. Readers will only score 5 pages of the proposal.
  • 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: In a clear, concise 100- to 200-word summary description of the proposed project, briefly identify objectives, methods to be employed, and the significance of the research.
    2. Introduction: Describe the problem to be investigated making use of outside sources to show that the problem is significant. Clearly state your research question or questions, making a clear connection between the problem and the questions. Follow with a statement of the objectives of the proposed project, and then a discussion of the anticipated significance of the project.
    3. Background Research: Describe the work (research) that others have done on this problem/topic or in an area related to the topic. Address how your project will fit in with the work others have done and/or how it might differ
    4. Rationale: Discuss your interest in the problem and any experience you have that would make you a suitable researcher for the project. In particular, note your knowledge of your major.
    5. Methods: Describe the research methods (surveys, interviews, and/or observations) or creative techniques to be used, and include a defense for this specific approach by citing outside sources. One such source is provided by the instructor, “Primary Research” by Driscoll.
    6. Timeline: List general 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.
    7. Budget and Justification: List 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. Most of the funding ($7500+) should be used to support your research and reporting activities. In other words, pay most of the award to yourself because you will be doing the research.
    8. 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 of the proposal, 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.


Important Considerations

  • The proposal should address an issue related to your major  or academia and should be researched locally requiring limited travel.
  • The audience for this proposal is a group of university faculty. Although some may be familiar with your topic and issue, others may have a more general knowledge.
  • The proposal 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. Avoi
  • 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. When appropriate, use numbered or bulleted lists.
  • Length is important. Your proposal should be no shorter than 4 pages and no longer than 5. Paragraphs should be single-spaced; Headings should be used; 12 point font; 1″margins.
  • The Statement of Purpose, your introduction, should be written after you have drafted the proposal and received peer feedback on your proposal.
  • 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.
What to Avoid When Designing Your Study

What follows is a list of ways that students have misinterpreted this assignment. You want to avoid these mistakes:

  • Offering a solution to a problem. This assignment is about exploring a problem, only. If you begin to think you can fix the problem by offering some program, training, or seminar, you are headed in the wrong direction.
  • Presenting bias. You should think of yourself as a researcher for this project, which means you are objective, curious, and enthusiastic about what you will learn from this opportunity. This is not the place to push your position about the topic. Readers should not be aware of your position or bias.