The Research Assistant: Resources for Behavioral Science Researchers.
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  Tutorial NavBar Formulating a Question Your Proposal Team Writing the proposal After Your Grant is Submitted Fatal Flaws and Common Pitfalls

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Extra Tips

Writing style: Use active verbs, concise language, and short sentences.

  • Keep your readers in mind: The convenience of the reviewers should be your primary consideration. Remember that while reviewers are experts in your general field, they know nothing about your particular project until you tell them about it. Define all relevant terms and use abbreviations sparingly.

  • Format: Make liberal use of headings, underlining, bold and italic type, and bulleted or numbered lists to make your application easy to read. If a specific format is indicated in the Program Announcement or Request for Proposal, be sure to follow it no matter how redundant it may seem. Each type of grant has requirements for type size, page limits, margins, lines per inch, and other such regulations. Violation of these requirements may be enough to have your application returned to you without review.

  • Standardization: If more than one person is working on a grant, get together to reconcile all titles, budget numbers, terms, and time periods before submitting the grant. It can be very confusing when a grant application has inconsistencies in language, titles, or terms.

  • A picture is worth 1,000 words: Including charts and graphs can help you highlight your goals and outcomes and make them more visible to reviewers.

  • Be enthusiastic: A dull proposal will not catch anyone's eye.

  • Most importantly, follow the directions!

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Last updated: August 12, 2003.