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)

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.

 Web of Science cited reference search

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

Google Scholar forward citation search


Find experts through cited reference searching (see above)

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