Suggested readings on grantwriting and proposal development

A pen and a notebook sit on top of a Mac keyboard.

In the process of prepping for a class I’m teaching on grant and proposal writing for Miami University’s English department and some professional development I’m presenting this semester, I’ve compiled a bibliography on various aspects of grantwriting and proposal development that I thought might be of interest to our readers.

Many of the texts listed below are freely available online. Some are available to the Miami University community only by logging into University Libraries using Miami credentials — that is noted as it applies.

Overview of grants and grantwriting

“20 Tips for Writing a Research Proposal,” by CJA Bradshaw on ConservationBytes

“Every Proposal Needs Six Elements: Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How. The Rest Is Mere Commentary,” by Jake Seliger on the Seliger Associates blog

“Grant Writing,” on Wikipedia

“Help! I Have to Write a Grant Application,” by Jonathan O’Donnell and Tseen Khoo on The Research Whisper

“Tips on Preparing Proposals,” by Lori Ann Lange on the P & A blog

“Tips for Writing Successful Grant Proposals,” by shawnthorne on Manufacturing Disruption

“Writing a Grant Proposal is a Lot Like Buying a Car,” by Tricia Callahan on OARS Research News

“Writing a Successful Grant Proposal,” by Barbara Davis, as part of the Minnesota Council on Foundations‘ Guide to Minnesota Grantmakers

“Writing Successful Grant Proposals,” by Victoria McGovern in Inside Higher Ed

Grantsmanship

“10 Common Grant-Writing Mistakes,” by Jude P. Mikal and Gina Rumore in The Chronicle of Higher Education

“30 Reasons Your Grant Proposal May Not Have Been Funded,” from the Grant Writers’ Seminars & Workshops blog

“Dangerous Words to Avoid in Grant Proposals,” Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, and Part 8, from the Grant Writers’ Seminars & Workshops blog

“Grant Makers Reveal the Most Common Reasons Grant Proposals Get Rejected,” by Marilyn Dickey in The Chronicle of Philanthropy

“Housebuilding: A Metaphor for Strong Grant Writing,” by Robert Porter in the October/November 2018 issue of NCURA Magazine

“Little Chickie,” by Jonathan O’Donnell and Rosemary Chang on The Research Whisper

“Selling Your Grant Application with Storytelling,” from Grant Writing for Dummies by Beverly A. Browning (requires login to University Libraries using Miami credentials)

“Ten Questions to Get Feedback on a Grant Application,” from the Parker Derrington, Ltd. blog

“The Best-Kept Secrets to Winning Grants,” by Kendall Powell in Nature

“The Most Common Errors Made in Research Proposals and Applications,” by the Indiana University GradGrants Center

“Tips for Capturing Unicorns — Writing Your First Successful Application,” by Adam Micolich on The Research Whisper

“What’s the Point?” from the Parker Derrington Ltd. blog

“Who Are You Writing for?” by Jonathan O’Donnell on The Research Whisper

Writing style in grant proposals

“Clarity in Writing: Avoiding the Department of Redundancy Department,” from the Purdue OWL

“First You Tell Them; Then You Convince Them,” from the Parker Derrington Ltd. blog

“Five Common Writing Mistakes New Scientists Make,” by Jacquelyn Gill on The Contemplative Mammoth

“Hope Is Not a Strategy,” by Jonathan O’Donnell on The Research Whisper

“Say It Again Sam. And Use the Same Words,” from the Parker Derrington Ltd. blog

“Seven Deadly Sins of Grant-Writing: Sins of Commission,” from the Parker Derrington Ltd. blog

“Seven Deadly Sins of Grant-Writing: Sins of Omission,” from the Parker Derrington Ltd. blog

“Six Habits I Reckon You Ought to Avoid in Grant Applications,” by Adam Goldberg on Cash for Questions: Social Science Research, Funding, Policy, and Development

“Why Academics Have a Hard Time Writing Good Grant Proposals,” by Robert Porter in the 40th Anniversary Edition of The Journal of Research Administration

Defining project scope

“Exploring Who’s Doing What,” page 27 of Grant Writing DeMYSTiFied by Mary Ann Payne (requires login to University Libraries using Miami credentials)

“Is the Project Fundable?” from Storytelling for Grantseekers: A Guide to Creative Nonprofit Fundraising by Cheryl A. Clarke (requires login to University Libraries using Miami credentials)

“Know What You’re Raising Money For,” from Storytelling for Grantseekers: A Guide to Creative Nonprofit Fundraising by Cheryl A. Clarke (requires login to University Libraries using Miami credentials)

“One with the Lot,” by Jonathan O’Donnell on The Research Whisperer

“Putting Your Idea Into Project Format,” from Developing Competitive Proposals by the Grants Resource Center

“Questorming with Key People,” pages 18-20 of Grant Writing DeMYSTiFied by Mary Ann Payne (requires login to University Libraries using Miami credentials)

“Refining and Polishing Your Idea,” from Developing Competitive Proposals by the Grants Resource Center

“Sifting and Sorting the Ideas,” page 28 of Grant Writing DeMYSTiFied by Mary Ann Payne (requires login to University Libraries using Miami credentials)

Step 1: Developing the Proposal Idea,” from Winning Grants Step by Step: The Complete Workbook for Planning, Developing, and Writing Successful Proposals by Tori O’Neal-McElrath (requires login to University Libraries using Miami credentials)

Finding funding

“7 Steps to Finding Funders for Your Grant,” by Joanne Fritz on the The Balance Small Business

“Chapter 2: Finding Public Funds,” from Proposal Planning and Writing by Jeremy T. Miner and Lynn E. Miner (requires login with Miami University credentials)

“Chapter 3: Finding Private Funds,” from Proposal Writing and Planning by Jeremy T. Miner and Lynn E. Miner (requires login with Miami University credentials)

“Chapter 11 – Researching Potential Funders,” from Guide to Proposal Writing (audio book version) by the Foundation Center

“How Do I Find the Funding,” by Tseen Khoo on The Research Whisperer

Writing pre-proposals and letters of inquiry

“How to Write a Successful NSF Preliminary Proposal,” by Joan E. Strassmann on the NSF Sociobiology blog

“How to Write a Letter of Inquiry to a Foundation,” by Joanne Fritz on The Balance Small Business

“On Writing a Strong NSF Pre-Proposal,” by Michael Kaspari on The Kaspari Lab blog

“Opening the Door with a Letter of Inquiry,” from Grant Writing for Dummies by Beverly A. Browning (requires login to University Libraries using Miami credentials)

“Putting Your Best Foot Forward: Making Your Preliminary Proposal Competitive,” by Trevor Owens and Sandra Toro on the Institute of Museum and Library Services blog

“Writing a Pre-Proposal: Leave Them Wanting More,” by Karen M. Markin in The Chronicle of Higher Education

The importance of following RFPs/sponsor guidelines

“Guidelines to Grant Success,” by Tseen Khoo on The Research Whisperer

“Peering Into the Peer Review Process,” from Grant Writing for Dummies by Beverly A. Browning (requires login to University Libraries using Miami credentials)

“Studio Executives, Starlets, and Funding,” Part I and Part II, by Jake Seliger on the Seliger Associates blog

“The Danger of Not Following RFP Instructions,” by Tom Hollon on the ScienceSherpa blog

Overview of the parts of a proposal

“Arming Yourself with the Knowledge of What Funders Want,” from Grant Writing for Dummies by Beverly A. Browning (requires login to University Libraries using Miami credentials)

“Five Elements of Any Application,” by Jonathan O’Donnell on The Research Whisperer

“Guide to Proposal Development,” by Miami University’s Office for the Advancement of Research and Scholarship (OARS)

“How to Write a Winning Grant Proposal,” by Joanne Fritz on the The Balance Small Business

“What Do the Headings Mean?” by Jonathan O’Donnell on The Research Whisperer

Stating the problem or need

“Building a Strong Statement of Need,” from Grant Writing for Dummies by Beverly A. Browning (requires login to University Libraries using Miami credentials)

“Chapter 4 – Developing the Proposal: The Statement of Need,” from Guide to Proposal Writing (audio book version) by the Foundation Center

“Grant Writing Toolkit: The Needs Statement,” by Tara Gohrk Erin Hiekema, and Aly Sanchez for the United Way of Central New Mexico’s Grant Writing Toolkit

“Writing the Needs or Problem Statement,” by Coley

Writing goals and objectives

“Aims and Objectives: Why the World Needs Your Research,” from the Parker Derrington Ltd. blog

“Designing Your Goals and Measurable Objectives,” from Chapter 15, “Presenting the Program Design Section: The Core of Your Application,” of  Grant Writing for Dummies by Beverly A. Browning (requires login to University Libraries using Miami credentials)

“Hints: Writing Your Objectives,” from the Grant Writers’ Seminars & Workshops blog

“How to Write SMART Objectives,” from the Centers for Disease Control

“How to Write SMART Objectives,” from Southwestern College

“Step 4: Defining Clear Goals and Objectives,” from Winning Grants Step by Step: The Complete Workbook for Planning, Developing, and Writing Successful Proposals by Tori O’Neal-McElrath (requires login to University Libraries using Miami credentials)

“The Goal of Writing Objectives Is to Achieve Positive Outcomes (Say What?),” by Isaac Seliger on the Seliger Associates blog

“Tips for Writing SMART Objectives,” from Canada College

Writing the methods section

“Chapter 9: Methods,” from Proposal Planning and Writing by Jeremy T. Miner and Lynn E. Miner (requires login to University Libraries using Miami University credentials)

“How to Write a Simple Research Methods Section,” by Jonathan O’Donnell on The Research Whisperer

“Presenting the Program Design Section: The Core of Your Application,” from Grant Writing for Dummies by Beverly A. Browning (requires login to University Libraries using Miami credentials)

“Step 5: Developing the Methods,” from Winning Grants Step by Step: The Complete Workbook for Planning, Developing, and Writing Successful Proposals by Tori O’Neal-McElrath (requires login to University Libraries using Miami credentials)

“The Nitty and the Gritty,” by Jonathan O’Donnell on The Research Whisperer

Writing about project personnel and institutional resources

“Managing the Management and Assets,” from Grant Writing for Dummies by Beverly A. Browning (requires login to University Libraries using Miami credentials)

“Seliger’s Quick Guide to Developing Grant Proposal Staffing Plans,” by Jake Seliger on the Seliger Associates blog

“Who Will Do What?” from The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Grant Writing by Waddy Thompson (requires login to University Libraries using Miami credentials)

Writing evaluation and dissemination plans

“CalSWEC Dissemination Planning Tool,” by California Social Work Education Center (CalSWEC)

“Chapter 6 – Developing the Proposal: The Evaluation,” from Guide to Proposal Writing (audio book version) by the Foundation Center

“Discussion of (1) Evaluation, Dissemination (Replication), and Continuation Plans and (2) Important Content for the Qualifications Section,” from Iowa State University

“Exchanging Knowledge: A Research Dissemination Toolkit,” from University of Regina Faculty of Arts Community Research Unit

“Writing an Evaluation Plan,” from Brown University

“Writing the Evaluation Plan for Your Grant Application,” by Barbara Yonai for the Center for Support of Teaching and Learning at the University of Arkansas

Writing abstracts

“Chapter 3- Developing the Proposal: The Executive Summary,” from Guide to Proposal Writing (audio book version) by the Foundation Center

“Chapter 16 – The Cover Letter and Executive Summary,” from The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Grant Writing by Waddy Thompson (requires login to University Libraries using Miami credentials)

“Step 10: Writing the Proposal Summary,” from Winning Grants Step by Step: The Complete Workbook for Planning, Developing, and Writing Successful Proposals by Tori O’Neal-McElrath (requires login to University Libraries using Miami credentials)

“The Summary’s Significance,” from Storytelling for Grantseekers: A Guide to Creative Nonprofit Fundraising by Cheryl A. Clarke (requires login to University Libraries using Miami credentials)

“What the Summary Means to Grantmakers: An Insider’s View,” from Storytelling for Grantseekers: A Guide to Creative Nonprofit Fundraising by Cheryl A. Clarke (requires login to University Libraries using Miami credentials)

“Why the Summary is Like a Book Jacket,” from Storytelling for Grantseekers: A Guide to Creative Nonprofit Fundraising by Cheryl A. Clarke (requires login to University Libraries using Miami credentials)

Creating budgets and writing budget narratives

“Connecting the Solutions to the Budget Request Line Items,” from Grant Writing for Dummies by Beverly A. Browning (requires login to University Libraries using Miami credentials)

“Chapter 7 – Developing the Proposal: The Budget,” from Guide to Proposal Writing (audio book version) by the Foundation Center

“How to Make a Simple Research Budget,” by Jonathan O’Donnell on The Research Whisperer

“Step 8: Developing the Program Budget,” from Winning Grants Step by Step: The Complete Workbook for Planning, Developing, and Writing Successful Proposals by Tori O’Neal-McElrath (requires login to University Libraries using Miami credentials)

Formatting and document design for proposals

“9 Tips for Making Your NIH Contract Proposal Scannable for Easy Review,” by Tom Hollon on the ScienceSherpa blog

“Are You Justified? Text Alignment in Your Grant Proposal,” from the Grant Writers’ Seminars & Workshops blog

“Less is More: Cherishing White Space,” by Tseen Khoo on The Research Whisperer

“Lists: Keep Them Short; Use Bullets,” from the Parker Derrington Ltd. blog

“Why Would You Want to Leave Points on the Table When Your NIH Grant is Reviewed[1]?” by drugmonkey on DrugMonkey

Reviewers and review of proposals

“Chapter 5: The Review Process,” from Writing Grant Proposals That Win, by Deborah Ward (requires login to University Libraries using Miami credentials)

“Choosing the Unicorns: An ECR’s Perspective on Grant Reviews,” by Emma Birkett on The Research Whisperer

“Put Some Meat in Your Feedback Sandwich,” from the Parker Derrington Ltd. blog

“Review a Research Grant in Five Minutes,” from the Parker Derrington Ltd. blog

“What Do Grant Reviewers Really Want, Anyway?” by Robert Porter in The Journal of Research Administration

“Will a Panel Reviewer Actually Read My Grant Application?” from the Grant Writers’ Seminars & Workshops blog

Miscellaneous

“Section 14. SWOT Analysis: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats,” from Community Tool Box

“How to Make a Simple Gantt Chart,” by Jonathan O’Donnell on The Research Whisperer


Written by Heather Beattey Johnston, Associate Director of Research Communications, Office for the Advancement of Research and Scholarship, Miami University.

Books photo by congerdesign via Pixnio. Writing tools photo by Pete O’Shea via Flickr. Both used under Creative Commons license.

 

6 thoughts on “Suggested readings on grantwriting and proposal development

  1. This is a great list! Thanks for being such strong supporters of the Research Whisperer over the years. I’m glad you find our material useful.

    We need to come over there some time and have a chat. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m glad you like the list, and I so appreciate the intellectual generosity of the Research Whisperer. Definitely let us know if you’ll be in the States sometime — would love to have that chat!

      Like

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