Funding a research project goes beyond good ideas. You have to explain your ideas to the panel of reviewers in a manner that is convincing enough for them to grant you the needed funding. Explain why your work is important and how it will be successful. There are different ways of gaining favor with the finding research funding committee. Meeting deadlines and writing a convincing proposal is one way of getting that money.
You have to agree that each person has their way of doing things. As such, they must use a different way to win a research grant. Approaches are also diverse depending on the country to which one belongs. Do your job well before submitting that research paper. If you have to write a good research proposal, there are several things you ought to consider.
Before you write the first draft of your proposal, break it down into point form
With the total length of the proposal in mind, you have to decide whether you will have headings and subheadings and what they are going to be. Your proposal will be broken down into Introduction, Background Information, Methodology, and more sections.
When writing your research proposal, keep your review in mind
You have to make your argument easy to follow. It should be clear enough for the review to understand. You go right to the point to avoid wasting your reviewers’ time. That is one way of losing the research grant. You should write in a clear and engaging style strictly writing only the essential information. Your paper must be free from typographical and spelling mistakes. You have to be discreet about how and what you write in the proposal since the adjudication committee will include experts in the field other than yours. The principle to follow here is to keep it simple.
Formulate your research question early in the proposal
You have to stress the significance of the information you are seeking. Explain what you want to know. You have to grab the reviewer’s attention right from the onset of the proposal. Make them excited about the project and ensure it is easy for them to understand. Show them how valuable and innovative your research is going to be.
The proposal should be organized, well integrated and to the point, focusing on the main idea. To achieve a tight proposal, the writer must have a clear hypothesis or research objective. The proposal has to be organized regarding a significant problem worth solving or a fascination question that requires an answer. You should include ways that you are going to use in approaching the solution.
Enumerate and discuss previous research that you carried out or the one you carried out as a group
You have to show how your current work relates to similar research. Show the reviewers committee the conclusions that previous research researched. You also have to show how your work is going to build on and advance research in the field you are about to investigate.
Ensure that you have given a clear description of all your research methods that should be understandable and realistic.
Give an outline of what you intend to do and when you are going to do it. The reviewer, owing to the sufficient details you have provided in your research proposal, should easily judge the feasibility of your work. Expect to field questions that concern your research methods and be ready to answer them accordingly.
When writing your proposal for a research project, ensure that the team you work with has the relevant expertise needed to undertake this assignment.
You have to explicitly talk about who will do what I the research project. The information you provide will enable to reviewers committee to assess the abilities of your research team.
Discuss possible limitations and possible challenges that might come up and how you will deal with them.
Explain in your proposal how you are going to deal with the problems that are bound to come up during the research process. If there are questions, you might not be able to answer with the proposed research, make them known to the committee.
Ensure that your title is clear
Your project title should be understandable enough to the general audience. It should also reflect the objectives of the study and attract interest. A catchy title will help in grabbing the reviewer’s attention. You have to ensure it stands out from the hundreds of applicants eyeing the same research grant. Your title should avoid questions. Everyone should understand it. It should also be short and to the point and should include something that tells why it is significant.
Ensure that your abstract summarizes your project clearly and precisely
Your objectives and methods should be summarized in the abstract. You should also anticipate conclusions. Do not write your abstract in technical language that makes it difficult to fathom.
Check your proposal for any mistake
You should check your grammar, style, and argument. You have to ensure that the proposal runs logically and the paragraphs are organized around a single point. You should also look out for common writing problems and the misuse of words within the proposal.
You also have to consider the following tips if your proposal is going to be accepted without any problem.
A research proposal is not an article
A research proposal should never at any point, follow the format of a peer-reviewed article. There are articles that put an elaborate background early enough, complex hypotheses and subsequently complex method and results description. A proposal should not be done like this. This pitch should hold the attention of the reviewer from the start
Understand where the funding entity directs his funding resources
Many neophytes have the notion that funding agencies will go on to fund the research that the researcher desires. That is not the case. In most cases, funding agencies have priorities that the researcher ought to know and understand. Follow them if you must and alter your research desires to match their frameworks. It is not a wonder if these funding agencies refuse to grant resources to your proposed research.
Ensure that you have read the guidelines and followed them to the letter
Do not make the mistake of failing to read the instructions that have been provided. You can spend days or weeks if possible to ensure you understand every single element of the instructions. They contain many subtle hints that tell you how to write your research proposal.
You are marketing yourself and your team
One might get to a conclusion that because the proposed research is flawless and fits within the funding model, the agency does not care about the subject matter. They instead focus on the researcher’s record of accomplishment. Early research could then deduce that the system is rigged against him since they do not have a great record. To avert this, align yourself with established colleagues and emphasize on what makes you stand out.
The point is, you matter a lot to this project, and so you must market yourself. Think of the proposal as an application to win a prize. Make your reviewers think that you are one of a kind and focus on your career highlights and the contributions up to now. The funder has to know that he is funding a person with a good reputation, proven skills and output to guarantee the return on the investment they are about to make.
Avoid subjective qualifiers and motherhood statements in the proposal
Motherhood statements are vague, and few will elicit inherent disagreement. For instance saying, “We must preserve the species.” The question that arises to that statement would be, why ‘must’ we do something? Do not assume that the reviewer holds the same values as you or the funding agency upholds similar morality. Avoid subjective qualifiers like “a lot,” “a multitude,” “significant,” and “very” if they do not have a quantifiable meaning. You have to explicitly show that you do not intentionally demonstrate your biases or lack of understanding by using subjective language.
Pay attention to your communication strategy
Communication has become more important nowadays, and the society has gravitated towards science endeavors. The funding agency wants to know how you will make the results of your study known to the public. Remember that it will not be restricted to them or the few specialists who might come across scientific articles. You have to explain how you are going to reach to a much broader audience than what the other researchers managed to achieve. You must come up with innovative and clever ways to achieve this endeavor. It should not be just a passing thought in your research proposal.
Say why the research is exciting
You might think that your research is exciting, but what about the funding agency? Do not solely rely on your topic. You have to explain in explicit details why it is so fascinating and important that you want to do the research now. The assessor must have the same excitement as you. If you are not a good salesperson, now is the time to become one.
Avoid using jargon in your proposal
Jargon is only used by specialist or people who work in the same field. Avoid jargons at all costs. If the assessor does not understand what you mean after reading your proposal, consider yourself out. You have to explain everything simply.
You have to do some appropriate preparation for your project
You have to research the funding agency’s goals and figure out what it considers a good proposal. Look for the hot topics that the funding agency will not resist.
If a research-funding agency requires the proposal to have an educational component, make it substantive.
This does not mean that you restructure the whole proposal. Researchers can collaborate with educational specialists. Some funding agencies want the research to have a broader impact and in this case, have an impact on the education sector.
If it is a career proposal, it requires a letter from the departmental chair.
The proposal should outline the strategic vision of the department and committee resources to the proposal applicant. The letter from the department chairs goes a long way in making a difference of where the research funding goes.
After you have finished writing your proposal, get someone to go through it
After the process of writing your research proposal is over, you have to read it or get anyone who is experienced to read it. Anticipate to be critiqued, after all, another opinion on the research is important.
Ask whether anyone other than the funding agency would fund your research
Most of the research nowadays is publicly funded. You can take advantage of this and find out if it will strike a chord with the taxpayer of bores them to the bone. If you are unable to convince them, then you won’t be able to convince the funding agency.
Have a realistic budget
You have to be aware of the number of resources that you are going to get from the funding agency. This is by understanding the size of the grants that the funding agency usually allocates to each research. You also have to include money to pay graduate students.
Volunteer to serve on a review panel.
Your proposal won’t get an edge over the others because of this, but you get exposure to other proposals, peer reactions and the whole process of acceptance and rejection of proposals. You will have a gist of what makes a research proposal successful or rejected.
You have to remember that your research is not a binding document. It is understood that the research you end up doing might be different from the one in the proposal. Do not treat your research proposal as the final document. Instead, see it as a flexible way of planning an exciting but feasible research project that you would like to undertake. So be ready to write a compelling research proposal to get funding.