Skip to main content

Grants & Fellowships in the Humanities & Social Sciences: The Process

Guide accompanies the Olin Library workshop of the same title.

Proposal Writing

Online Resources:

Proposal Writing (online tutorial) from the Foundation Directory

Budget Basics (online tutorial) from the Foundation Directory

Centered, the free newsletter of the Grantsmanship Center (otherwise a for-profit center)

Grant Proposal Dot Com (a collection of links)

Finding Books

BOOKS (examples)

Proposals that work : a guide for planning dissertations and grant proposals. Lawrence F. Locke, Waneen Wyrick Spirduso, Stephen J. Silverman. Edition: 4th ed. Thousand Oaks, Calif. : Sage, c2000. (located in several libraries: Q180.55.P7 L63)

Developing effective research proposals. Keith F. Punch. London : SAGE, 2000. Olin H62 .P92x 2000

Grants : how to find out about them and what to do next. Virginia P. White. New York : Plenum Press, 1975.  (several libraries AS911. A2 W58w)

Subject headings for books on the proposal-writing process

Proposal writing for grants.

Proposal writing for grants--Handbooks, manuals, etc.

Proposal writing in research --Handbooks, manuals, etc.

Fund raising--Handbooks, manuals, etc.

Dissertations, Academic -- Handbooks, manuals, etc.

Research grants -- Handbooks, manuals, etc.

Fund raising -- Handbooks, manuals, etc.

For the Bibliography

If a bibliography is required for your fellowship application, be aware that your specific choices are very important. Discuss them with your advisor. If you want to know about the relative importance of journal articles or monographs, cited reference searching may be helpful.

Cited Reference Searching

Just as you follow links on the web, follow lists of works cited in the articles and books you read. Think of scholarship as a conversation and citations as the thread of that conversation. A number of subscription databases allow you to track the flow of research by including ways to identify references that cite or are cited by other scholarly sources. This is a quick, although perhaps not comprehensive, way to gauge the impact of individual publications. Consult the Cited Reference Searching guide for detailed instructions in performing cited reference searches.

There are two strategies to following citations.

1) Backward citation searching
    Looking at the list of all sources cited by an author is called 'backward citation searching'. It provides a snapshot of the thinking and research available at the time the research was published. It tells you what sources, ideas, theories have shaped and influenced a researcher.

2) Forward citation searching
    Finding out whether an article was cited by authors after its publication will help you assess the importance of that article and how it has shaped subsequent research and scholarship. This is called 'forward citation searching.'

Web of Science cited reference search provides forward citation searching.


You can also use Google Scholar and many other databases to do forward citation searching. In search results, click on a "cited by" link.


Find experts at Cornell through VIVO

Others through

Find experts elsewhere through cited reference searching (see above)

Consult the Chronicle (of Higher Education) Forums

Connect with graduate students at other institutions:

H-Grad (Humanities online initiative)

And many other discipline-specific forums exist


  1. Find Grant
  2. Develop Bibliography
  3. Recruit references
  4. Write Proposal

Throughout the process:

Edit, edit, edit

Double check grant or fellowship guidelines

Proposal Components

1. Cover Letter

2. Abstract

3. Introduction

4. Statement of Need

5. Objectives

6. Procedures

7. Evaluation

8. Budget

[Source: Foundation Directory online]


Scholastic Funding Connection. Glossary of terms

Web Accessibility Assistance