Dunfee on Common Mistakes

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Slide1: 

South Dakota State University January 23, 2007 Richard Dunfee, Director

Session Agenda: 

Session Agenda The proposal idea Common writing mistakes Communicating with the funding agency Strengthening the proposal for re-submission

What makes for a successful proposal writer?: 

What makes for a successful proposal writer?

Successful Writers: 

Successful Writers Speed Research skills Sales capabilities Written and oral communication skills Ingenuity and flexibility Administrative capabilities (leadership to accounting) Human relations skills Persistence, dedication, patience, and the capacity for hard work Political acumen Integrity

Approach to a Sound Proposal: 

Approach to a Sound Proposal Hypothesis (Project Management Plan) Write Proposal (Budget) Outline Proposal Identify Funder GrantSearch

Political Issues: 

Political Issues Are you in a political position to pursue this? Who would provide organizational sponsorship? Are there other programs or persons related to your topic in crucial ways?

The Hypothesis, Problem Statement or Research Question: 

The Hypothesis, Problem Statement or Research Question An explanation of the relationship being proposed. No more than three to five sentence paragraph. Elements include the following: -Statement of the research target (evidence of the importance of the issue) -Hypothesis, research question or problem statement (clear identification of the variables and their proposed relationship) -Quantitative/Qualitative criteria for measuring the solution (how the outcome will be measured, not a description of the specific outcome).

Hypothesis, Research Question, or Problem Statement Defined: 

Hypothesis, Research Question, or Problem Statement Defined A hypothesis is a 'small' cause and effect statement about a specific set of circumstances. It represents an informed belief that a researcher or proposal writer possesses about a research issue before conducting a satisfactory number of experiments that could potentially disprove that belief.

The Approach Is Applicable to All Disciplines: 

The Approach Is Applicable to All Disciplines A $100,000 NEH challenge grant to the South Dakota Humanities Council will help the Council raise $300,000 to endow its Speakers Bureau Programs and Teacher Institutes on Native American Cultures. $100,000 $300,000 endowment ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Speakers Bureau & Teacher Training Increased Student Cultural Knowledge

The Approach Is Applicable to All Disciplines: 

The Approach Is Applicable to All Disciplines A $238,000 challenge grant from FIPSE to Allegheny College (MD) will overcome curriculum irrelevance, which prompts students to lose interest in their mathematics courses. Mathematics curriculum will be revised and made applicable to the health professions. Mathematics Curriculum Revision Increase Student Learning & Health Career Persistence

The Approach Is Applicable to All Disciplines: 

The Approach Is Applicable to All Disciplines The National Endowment for the Arts grants $75,000 to the City Center 55th Street Theater Foundation, Inc., NYC, to support the production of A Celebration of the Great American Broadway Revue. In recognition of the 100th anniversary of the Ziegfeld Follies, the project will celebrate and preserve the songs and sketches of the Broadway revue form. Production of … Broadway Revue Preserve Songs & Sketches

The Approach Is Applicable to All Disciplines: 

The Approach Is Applicable to All Disciplines USDA’s Institute for Research on Poverty (Univ. Of Wisc.) funded Middle Tennessee State University to study "The Effects of the Food Stamp Program on Weight Gained by Expectant Mothers." Receipt of Food Stamps Weight Gain Among Pregnant Women

Slide13: 

In opposition to national trends, the incidence of AIDS among the homeless in Baltimore has increased by more than 30% in the last six years. The disease’s progression for many of these individuals is accelerated by the fact that most of these homeless individuals are IV drug users. The establishment of a residential facility to house homeless individuals stricken with AIDS would provide a controlled environment for the treatment of both their addictions and illness.

Slide14: 

Students in grades 5 and 6 are America’s future. But the vast majority of these students are performing at sub-standard academic levels. This project aims to engage students in an applied research project analyzing the water quality of the Chesapeake Bay. Activities will include collecting samples, testing, analysis of impact and reporting results. The standardized science scores for students engaged in the project will improve by 12 percent.

Slide15: 

Cardiovascular diseases is the leading cause of death in the United States, and five million years of potential life are estimated to be lost annually. Cardio-pulmonary resuscitation restores spontaneous circulation to about 70,000 cardiac arrest patients a year in the US, but 60% of these patients die subsequently in the hospital due to extensive brain damage and only 10% are able to resume their normal lifestyles. There are currently no approved drugs to improve patient quality of life or neurological function. A recent emerging trend suggests that use of the body's natural defense pathways, a mechanism called preconditioning, can lead to robust recovery and improved outcomes. First, I hope to quantify the injury precisely using brain rhythms, neurological behavior scoring and cell morphology in a rat model. Second, I hope to optimize the preconditioning effect. Finally, I hope to elucidate possible mechanisms of preconditioning and mimick the preconditioning effect through pharmacological intervention to establish the effectiveness of preconditioning pathways.

A Research Project?????: 

A Research Project????? Objectives: To test the hypothesis that, on average, male surgeons are taller and better looking than male physicians, and to compare both sets of doctors with film stars who play doctors on screen. Setting: Typical university hospital in Spain, located in Barcelona and not in a sleepy backwater. Interventions: An independent committee (all female) evaluated the "good looking score" (range 1-7). Conclusions: Male surgeons are taller and better looking than physicians, but film stars who play doctors on screen are better looking than both these groups of doctors. Whether these phenotypic differences are genetic or environmental is unclear.

HYPOTHESIS STATEMENT : 

HYPOTHESIS STATEMENT HYPOTHESIS Importance Relationship Assessment

HYPOTHESIS STATEMENT BECOMES: 

HYPOTHESIS STATEMENT BECOMES HYPOTHESIS Importance Relationship Assessment PROPOSAL Introduction Background Problem Statement Goals & Objectives Procedures (research plan) Timeline Assessment Project Management Budget Credentials

HYPOTHESIS STATEMENT BECOMES: 

HYPOTHESIS STATEMENT BECOMES HYPOTHESIS Importance Relationship Assessment PROPOSAL Introduction Background Problem Statement Goals & Objectives Procedures (research plan) Timeline Assessment Project Management Budget Credentials ABSTRACT {

Outline Your Proposal: 

Outline Your Proposal Entire document consistent with funder’s criteria Goals and objectives - Goals should divide your project into its logical components. - Objectives should speak to goal attainment with a timeline and basis of assessment included.

Research the Funding Agency: 

Research the Funding Agency Keep funding criteria before you Determine prior funding activities Request funded proposals FOIA Professional Networks

Readability Studies: 

Readability Studies Word choice Sentence length Paragraph structure Layout issues

Words: 

Words Select strong vigorous words Use familiar words Use specialized (technical) words with caution Use concrete words Prefer active to passive voice Avoid overuse of camouflaged verbs

Remember --You Are Trying to Tell a Story: 

Remember --You Are Trying to Tell a Story Action-based Outcome-oriented

Concrete Words Establish Action and Credibility: 

Concrete Words Establish Action and Credibility Good accuracy The leading student The majority In the near future A work-saving machine Easy to measure

Use Simple Wording To Avoid Obscuring Your Meaning: 

Use Simple Wording To Avoid Obscuring Your Meaning be cognizant of commence utilize facilitate optimum should it prove to be the case with the possible exception of for the reason that

How to Win at Wordsmanshlp : 

How to Win at Wordsmanshlp 0. integrated 1. total 2. systematized 3. parallel 4. functional 5. responsive 6. optional 7. synchronized 8. compatible 9. balanced 0. management 1. organizational 2. monitored 3. reciprocal 4. digital 5. logistical 6. transitional 7. incremental 8. third-generation 9. policy 0. options 1. flexibility 2. capability 3. mobility 4. programming 5. concept 6. time-phase 7. projection 8. hardware 9. contingency Philip Broughton, Public Health Service

Avoid Using Gender-Specific Terms: 

Avoid Using Gender-Specific Terms Plural Reword the sentence (The PI demonstrated that his theory was correct.) Neutral expressions Avoid male dominance expressions

Clear Writing: 

Clear Writing Avoid fuzzy or inappropriate use of words: The intrinsic labyrinth of wires must be first disentangled. The liquid contents of container should then be disgorged via the spout by the operator.

Misplaced Modifiers: 

Misplaced Modifiers Sometimes misplaced modifiers are used for comic effect: The other day I shot an elephant in my pajamas. How he got in my pajamas I'll never know. -- Groucho Marx

Slide31: 

Modifier problems "Using multiple-regression techniques, the animals in Experiment I were...“ "The determinations were made on samples using gas chromatography.“ "In assessing the damage, the plants exhibited numerous lesions.“ "The spiders were inadvertently discovered while repairing a faulty growth chamber."

Clarity In Sentence Structure: 

Clarity In Sentence Structure Average sentence length should be between 18 and 20 words.

Paragraphs: 

Paragraphs Variation in sentence construction Quality of topic sentence Coherence of information Consistency in verb tense

When sentence structure does not vary, coherence of the argument is lost.: 

A cloud of hot rock and gas surged northward from Mount St. Helens’ collapsing slope. The cloud devastated more than 500 square kilometers of forests and lakes. The effects of the eruption were well documented with geophysical instruments. The origin of the eruption is not well understood. Volcanic explosions are driven by a rapid expansion of steam. Some scientists believe the steam comes from groundwater heated by the magma. Other scientists believe the steam comes from water originally dissolved in the magma. We need to understand the source of steam in volcanic eruptions. We need to determine how much water the magma contains. When sentence structure does not vary, coherence of the argument is lost.

When sentence structure does not vary, coherence of the argument is lost.: 

A cloud of hot rock and gas surged northward from Mount St. Helens’ collapsing slope. The cloud devastated more than 500 square kilometers of forests and lakes. The effects of the eruption were well documented with geophysical instruments. The origin of the eruption is not well understood. Volcanic explosions are driven by a rapid expansion of steam. Some scientists believe the steam comes from groundwater heated by the magma. Other scientists believe the steam comes from water originally dissolved in the magma. We need to understand the source of steam in volcanic eruptions. We need to determine how much water the magma contains. When sentence structure does not vary, coherence of the argument is lost.

Varying sentence openers allows for more kinds of transitions between sentences.: 

Varying sentence openers allows for more kinds of transitions between sentences.

Varying sentence openers enlivens the writing and promotes coherence.: 

Varying sentence openers enlivens the writing and promotes coherence. Mount St. Helens erupted on May 18, 1980. Its slope collapsing, the mountain emitted a cloud of hot rock and gas driven forward by the rapid expansion of steam. In minutes, the cloud’s physical impact was evident as it devastated more than 500 square kilometers of forests and lakes. But, the source for the steam is unclear. Is it groundwater heated by magma or water originally dissolved in the magma itself? To understand the source of steam in volcanic eruptions, the amount of water in the magma must be determined.

Use First Person with Caution: 

Use First Person with Caution Consistency throughout the document Define ‘we’

Writing Issues: 

Writing Issues Disturb/Irritate Spelling errors Overusing technical terms Using acronyms Confuse Writing overly complex sentences Failing to attend to paragraph coherence issues Using passive voice Including non-parallel lists Diminish Credibility Failing to address criteria Abstract, problem statement, budget disconnect Failing to address assessment and administration Including extraneous information

In your layouts, use white space for association, emphasis, and hierarchy.: 

In your layouts, use white space for association, emphasis, and hierarchy. space for margins space for illustrations space for headings Source: Alley, M. THE CRAFT OF SSCIENTIFIC WRITING, 1996

Headings: 

Headings LEVEL 1 Level 2 Level 3 Level 4. Xxxx xxx xxxxxx xxxxxxxxx xxxxx xxx xxxxxx xxxxxx xxxxxxx xxx xxxx xxxxx xxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx xxxx xxxx xxxx

Slide42: 

Dunfee Red Blood Cells Page 2

Slide45: 

Section headings should be descriptive and parallel. Non-Parallel Non-Descriptive Source: Alley, M. THE CRAFT OF SSCIENTIFIC WRITING, 1996

Failing to cite the contribution of others can be a blemish on (or fatal to) your career.: 

Failing to cite the contribution of others can be a blemish on (or fatal to) your career. James Watson surreptitiously looked at Rosalind Franklin’s work [Franklin, 1952] Source: Alley, M. THE CRAFT OF SSCIENTIFIC WRITING, 1996

Slide47: 

[Rosalind Franklin’s] colleague Maurice Wilkins, without obtaining her permission, made available to Watson and Crick her then unpublished X-ray diffraction pattern of the B form of DNA , which was crucial evidence for the helical structure. In his account of this discovery, Watson wrote, "The instant I saw the [x-rays] my mouth fell open and my pulse began to race.... the black cross of reflections which dominated the picture could arise only from a helical structure... mere inspection of the X-ray picture gave several of the vital helical parameters." Source:http://www.physics.ucla.edu/~cwp/Phase2/Franklin,_Rosalind@841234567.html

Other Project Management Issues: 

Other Project Management Issues Budget Personnel Consultants Sub-Contracts Indirect Cost Timeline

EDIT: 

EDIT Ask for others to constructively read your proposal Do the same for others

Strengthening the Re-submission: 

Strengthening the Re-submission

How?????: 

How????? Refine your specific niche Connect with the creative forces on campus Engage with other funders and researchers Start small Anticipate long-term success Seek intra- and inter-institutional collaborations Allow critical appraisal of your work and reciprocate

Getting to Know the Funder: 

Getting to Know the Funder Read past funded proposals Develop a collaborative mindset Read/re-read/re-read funding criteria Serve as a reader Get the reader evaluations

Find the Criteria for Funding for the Agency You Select.: 

Find the Criteria for Funding for the Agency You Select. Study for a match to your idea Examine repeatedly during the writing process Ask for the detailed list that field readers use

Reader Evaluations Formats: 

Reader Evaluations Formats A sound assessment plan Does the proposal have a balance of quantitative and qualitative measures? Does the assessment inform program development? Is there a schedule for assessment? Is the project leadership involved in the data collection and analysis system? Are the people identified as responsible for assessment appropriately trained and qualified. 1………….. 2 ………….. 3 ………….. 4 ………….. 5

Slide55: 

The Grants Resource Center - since 1967 providing federal and private grants information and support services offering customized service to identify funders for members promoting professional development and networking among sponsored program personnel If you’re in Washington, DC, our home is your home.

Slide56: 

Informing We publish GrantWeek (every Monday)--contains articles on pending legislation, new grant programs, proposed changes to agency rules, and the federal budget GRC Bulletin (twice weekly)--provides hundreds of funding alerts GRC Deadlines (monthly)--giving members a head start on proposal writing We monitor Latest priorities and pending legislation Outcomes of proposed policy revisions GRC Custom Services

Slide57: 

GrantSearch contains over 2,000 funding opportunities. Searchable by Keyword or Title Subject Program name, sponsor and/or activity CFDA or GRC number Entries include Description of the funding opportunity and links to on-line information Deadline and last verification date Contact information

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http://www.aascu.org/grc/ GRC Website

Slide59: 

http://foundationcenter.org/ FOUNDATION CENTER

Plant Sciences, Private Support: 

Plant Sciences, Private Support Lindbergh Grants Program makes about 10 grants of up to $10,580 for research that creates a balance between technology & preservation of the natural environment. Interests: agriculture; aviation/aerospace; conservation of resources, including animals, plants, water, & general conservation (land, air, energy). Last Deadline: 6/8/06. http://www.lindberghfoundation.org/grants/index.html National Fish and Wildlife Foundation: General Matching Grants support projects $25K-$250K to conserve & restore fish, wildlife, & native plants through matching grants that address priority actions promoting conservation & habitat preservation. Projects should involve other conservation/community interests, leverage NFWF funding, & evaluate project outcomes. 2:1 match requested. (Last Deadline: 9/1/06) http://www.nfwf.org/guidelines.cfm

Contact GRC through SDSU Research Administrators: 

Contact GRC through SDSU Research Administrators John J. Ruffolo, Ph.D. Assoc. Vice President for Research Box 2201, AD 124 Administration Lane Brookings, SD 57007-1998 Phone: (605) 688-6696 Fax: (605) 688-6167 john.ruffolo@sdstate.edu

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