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AuthorAID Workshop on Research Writing


AuthorAID Workshop on Research Writing Butare, Rwanda February 2009 Preparing Grant Proposals and Curricula Vitae (CVs) Barbara Gastel, MD, MPH Texas A&M University ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: AuthorAID Workshop on Research Writing

AuthorAID Workshopon Research Writing
  • Butare, Rwanda
  • February 2009

Preparing Grant Proposalsand Curricula Vitae
  • Barbara Gastel, MD, MPH
  • Texas AM University

  • Preparing grant proposals
  • A related topic writing progress reports
  • Preparing a curriculum vitae (CV)

Preparing Grant Proposals
Grant Proposals as Persuasive Writing
  • Proposals must persuade potential funders that
  • the goal of the proposed work is worthwhile
  • the goal is relevant to the funders mission
  • the proposed approach is sound
  • the staff is capable of doing the work
  • adequate facilities will be available
  • the requested amount of funding is reasonable

Finding Potential Sites of Funding
  • Some sources of ideas
  • Colleagues, professors, and administrators
  • Acknowledgments etc in journal articles
  • Published or posted announcements
  • Listservs in your field or at your institution
  • Published or posted guides
  • Note Consulting a program officer at the
    potential funding source can help.

Look for a Good Match
  • Seek funding from entities
  • With goals that are consistent with what you want
    to do
  • That tend to give grants of the size you are
  • If possible, with programs that match your
    intended work

Some Common Sections of Proposals
  • Background information
  • Statement of goals
  • Research plan or program plan
  • Budget
  • Information on qualifications of staff
  • (for example, resumes or curricula vitae)
  • (Note Depending on the requirements, proposals
    can range from one page to many pages.)

Some Other Items Sometimes Included
  • Letter of transmittal (cover letter)
  • Title page
  • Abstract
  • Table of contents
  • Lists of tables and figures
  • Description of predicted impact
  • Plan for disseminating results
  • Information on facilities
  • Reference list

  • Optional to include
  • Examples
  • Papers accepted but not yet published
  • Letters of support from potential collaborators
  • Additional details about activities planned
  • Remember Reviewers typically are not obligated
    to look at appendixes.

Preparing to Write the Proposal
  • Carefully review materials from the potential
    funding source.
  • Consult the program officer, if appropriate.
  • Look at examples of successful proposals to the
    funding source
  • From colleagues
  • From the program officer
  • Published or posted

Writing the Proposal
  • Start earlysometimes at least 6 months in
  • Consider including a writer or editor on the
  • Read the instructions carefully, and follow them
  • Match the technical level of the proposal to the
    background of the reviewers.

Writing the Proposal (cont)
  • Write the proposal readably. For example
  • Organize the writing carefully.
  • Present overviews before details.
  • Use simple, common wording where possible.
  • Avoid wordy phrases.
  • Make effective (but not excessive) use of such
    devices as headings, boldface, and italics.
  • If relevant, include a timeline.
  • If relevant, include tables and figures.
  • If the proposal will include an abstract, devote
    special care to it.

Writing the Proposal (cont)
  • If the potential funder has forms to use,
    complete them carefully.
  • If part or all of the proposal will consist of
    freestanding text, format it readably
  • Standard typeface
  • Large enough type and margins
  • Unjustified (ragged) right margin unless
    otherwise requested
  • Carefully follow instructions for submitting the
    proposal (often done electronically).

Common Problems to Avoid
  • Failure to follow the instructions
  • Seeming unfamiliarity with relevant published
  • Lack of originality
  • Superficial or unfocused research plan
  • Lack of a valid scientific rationale

Common Problems (cont)
  • Problems with the experimental approach
  • Lack of experience with key methods
  • Insufficient experimental detail
  • Lack of preliminary data, if needed

Common Problems (cont)
  • Unrealistically ambitious plans
  • Unrealistic budgeting
  • Failure to justify budgetary items enough
  • For service projects, lack of sufficient
    information on evaluation plans
  • Inconsistencies in the content
  • Excessive use of acronyms/abbreviations

A Suggestion
  • Imagine that you receive the grant and do the
    research as described.  Will you then have all
    the needed information to write a paper?  If not,
    revise the research plan in your proposal,
    to make sure that you would gather all the
    information you would need.

Resubmitting a Proposal
  • Note For some funding sources, revising and
    resubmitting proposals is common.
  • In revising the proposal, use the advice from the
  • Consider consulting the program officer.
  • In general, accompany the revised proposal with a
    list showing, point by point, how the reviewers
    advice was followed.

Some Resources
  • Texas AM Office of Proposal Development
  • (includes a grant writing workbook, which
    lists and has links to other resourcessee
    Chapter 16, Learning More)
  • Annotated grant proposal http//

Progress Reports
Progress Reports Some Functions
  • For the funding source or supervisor help see
    how the work is progressing and thus whether the
    plans or funding level should be adjusted
  • For those doing the work
  • Provide incentive to keep up
  • Aid in assessing ones own progress and adjusting
    ones approach
  • Provide material to draw on for presentations and

Preparing to Write a Progress Report
  • Obtain any instructions or forms.
  • If possible, obtain relevant examples to use as
  • Review your proposal or project plan.

Progress Reports A Common Structure
  • Background information
  • Summary of project plan
  • Description of present status
  • Achievements thus far
  • Comparison of progress with that expected
  • Significant problems encountered, if any
  • Conclusions
  • Overall assessment
  • Proposed modifications, if any

Writing a Progress Report
  • In general, structure the progress report like
    the project plan.
  • Be specific. Include numbers, names, and dates.
  • If appropriate, include tables and figures.
  • Consider using headings etc to guide readers.

Writing a Progress Report (cont)
  • Strive to sound positive, competent, and
  • Do not hide problems. Say how they are being
  • If you write a series of progress reports on a
    project, put each in the same format.
  • Edit the progress report carefully.

Preparing a Curriculum Vitae
Preparing a Curriculum VitaeA US Perspective
  • Curriculum vitae the academic equivalent of a
  • Commonly called a CV
  • Lists your education, experience, publications,
    honors, etc
  • Often required when applying for jobs, grants,

Preparing a CV (cont)
  • A sample CV http//
  • Another resource
  • http//
  • Note Some granting agencies have specific forms
    for CVs.

Preparing a CV Some Tips
  • In general, use reverse chronological order.
  • Include some contact information that is unlikely
    to change.
  • Structure the CV in a way that suits your
    background and goals.
  • Consider having different versions of your CV for
    different uses.

Preparing a CV More Tips
  • If an item may be unclear to readers, include a
    brief explanation.
  • When listing papers you have written for
  • If a paper has been accepted but not yet
    published, list it under Publications as In
    press or Forthcoming.
  • If a paper has been submitted but not yet
    accepted, generally list it under Research rather
    than Publications.

An Idea
  • For appropriate examples, look on the Web for CVs
    of people in your field.

Thank you!
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