20140731 Edanz Beppu Writing Grants in English That Have Impact Seminar

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20140731 Edanz Beppu Writing Grants in English That Have Impact Seminar

  1. 1. Jeffrey Robens, PhD Senior Research Consultant Education Group Leader Writing Grants in English That Have Impact Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University 31 July 2014
  2. 2. Be an effective communicator You need convince the funder that your study deserves to be funded  Consider a relevant problem  Logically organize your research plan  Effectively communicate your ideas
  3. 3. Before you begin Section 1
  4. 4. Customer ServiceBefore you begin Who is evaluating your grant? Multidisciplinary International Different ages Needs to be clear to those outside immediate field Cultural considerations Older: more conservative Younger: more flexible/liberal
  5. 5. Customer ServiceBefore you begin What are they evaluating? Three important aspects that will be evaluated: 1. Does this study need to be done? 2. Will the study be conducted well? 3. How will this study be useful?
  6. 6. Customer ServiceBefore you begin Identify a problem  Thoroughly evaluate the literature • Primary and secondary  Identify knowledge gaps • Should be focused (one sentence rule) • Not yet addressed • Already addressed, but not successfully
  7. 7. Customer ServiceBefore you begin Specify objectives 1. Realistic solution to the problem 2. Cost effective 3. Competence: you have ability to complete project Three key points for the funding agency:
  8. 8. Customer ServiceBefore you begin Finding grants Public Government agencies Private Foundations, charities Mitsubishi Foundation1 Konosuke Matsushita Memorial Foundation2 Search online and/or discuss with colleagues Important!a Find grants whose aims are similar in scope as your project 1. http://www.mitsubishi-zaidan.jp/en/ 2. http://matsushita-konosuke-zaidan.or.jp/en/works/research/promotion_research_01.html
  9. 9. Customer ServiceBefore you begin Finding grants https://www.jsps.go.jp/english/e-grants/grants05_2012.html Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) FY2012
  10. 10. Customer ServiceBefore you begin Finding grants https://www.jsps.go.jp/english/e-kadai/index.html 1. http://www.mext.go.jp/component/b_menu/shingi/toushin/__icsFiles/afieldfile/2012/12/13/1325360_2_1.pdf Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) Topic-Setting Program to Advance Cutting-Edge Humanities and Social Sciences Research • Based on 2012 report to advance social sciences1 • Encourage collaborative research in three areas: 1. Interdisciplinary research with other sciences 2. Collaborations making societal contributions 3. International collaborations to advance social sciences
  11. 11. Customer ServiceBefore you begin Determine methodology Table Organize your methodology What will you need to do to reach your objectives? Step What you need to do Method used Time required Who will do it Required materials 1 Make questionnaire Access archives 4 weeks Person X/Y Travel costs 2 Validate questionnaire Test in sample population 8 weeks Person Y/Z Compensation 3 Enroll participants, demographics Contact online, meet in person 4 weeks Person X/Z Travel costs
  12. 12. Customer ServiceBefore you begin Statistical considerations Participants Power calculation for sample size Data analysis Sample distribution, endpoints, group number Consult with a statistician! Shows you have thoroughly thought about the results you will receive and how to analyze them
  13. 13. Logically organizing your research plan Section 2
  14. 14. Research plan Essential information Proposal summary Background Purpose Plan Results/implications Budget/timeline Dissemination Credentials Reference letters Research plan Additional info
  15. 15. Research plan Well-defined research question Break general question into 3–4 more concise questions 1. How are local government policies developed? 2. How are local government policies implemented? 3. How is efficacy of these policies monitored? 4. How are these policies updated? “How do local government policies affect birth rates in rural Japan?” Establishes focus
  16. 16. Research plan • Review background • State problem and objectives • Describe methodology • Expected results • Significance and implications 1-page summary Usually 2–4 paragraphs Proposal summary
  17. 17. Research plan Proposal summary JSPS Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research Summary Purpose and Background Why this study needs to be done Research methods How you will perform the study Expected results and significance Key outcomes and implications Additional information: relevant publications, study duration, requested budget, contact information
  18. 18. Research plan Important to remember! Often only section read by grant committee before sending for review Answer three key questions: 1. What will be learned? 2. Why is this worth knowing? 3. How will conclusions be validated? Proposal summary
  19. 19. Research plan Background General introduction Aims Current state of the field Problem in the field
  20. 20. Research plan Background – General introduction Introduce broadly to set context • Establish interest in the topic • Why is this topic important/relevant? • Why is this topic worth funding? Topic: Why birth rates in rural Japan are declining Importance: Affects domestic food production
  21. 21. Research plan Background – Current state of the field Thorough literature review • What has been done previously? • What are the current solutions? • What are the problems/limitations of these solutions? • What are the active debates? Tip! Review variety of databases: Dissertation Abstracts International, Periodical Index, Social Science Citation Index, Annual Reviews, Modern Language Association International Index
  22. 22. Research plan Background – Problem in the field Important, but solvable, problem Problem should be focused Bad: “Why are birth rates declining in rural areas in Japan?” Good: “How do local government policies affect the birth rates in rural Japan?” One-sentence rule: You should be able to describe your research problem in one sentence
  23. 23. Research plan Study purpose Concrete goals • Not ‘fishing expedition’ • Goals used to evaluate progress • Not preconceived Bad examples • “Determine why birthrates in rural Japan are declining.” • “Will show that poor implementation of local government policies is responsible for the declining birthrates in rural Japan.”
  24. 24. Research plan Study purpose Discuss the 3–4 broken down questions “In this study, we have four objectives: 1. Evaluate how local government policies are developed 2. Investigate how local government policies are implemented 3. Determine how the efficacy of these policies is monitored 4. Assess how these policies are updated” Make it clear how you will solve the problem
  25. 25. Research plan Study purpose Important points to remember Emphasize who are the beneficiaries, and how will they be affected? • Beneficiaries are Japanese residents in rural areas. • Your study may help increase birthrates and revitalize their community/economy.
  26. 26. Research plan Study purpose Important points to remember If novel solution, need to emphasize why this has not been done before: Turning points or breakthroughs allowing you to now address this problem? “Recently, government records in many rural areas in Japan have become digitized, allowing for a large scale comparative analysis.”
  27. 27. Research plan Study purpose Important points to remember How will this study help to advance the field? • Will it help answer a current debate? • Will it help establish a new idea or an alternative viewpoint on an existing idea? “This study will help resolve the current issue of whether government policies are directly influencing birth rates in rural Japanese areas.”
  28. 28. Research plan Proposed plan Methodology Before writing this section: • Make a flowchart to show how study conducted • Make a table showing who will do what, time allocation, and deliverables Important points: Sample selection and size Inclusion and exclusion criteria Statistical tests
  29. 29. Research plan Proposed plan – Flowchart 1 2 3 4 : Objective 1 2 3 4 5 6 Time(mo)
  30. 30. Research plan Proposed plan Logically describe methodology: Same order as objectives Who/what used Be specific: e.g., which towns/records Justification: e.g., publically available How it will be done Describe techniques New techniques: why & validation Data analysis Quantification methods Statistical tests: significance and power
  31. 31. Research plan Proposed plan – Timetable Year 1 Activity Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Sample selection Collect data from local governments Collect data from local hospitals Data refinement Statistical analysis of data Preparation and submission of paper
  32. 32. Research plan Proposed plan Important points! Innovation May be other similar studies • How is yours different/innovative? • Demonstrate yours is most effective Competency Demonstrate expertise in proposed techniques (e.g., previously published) Appendices Do not put lengthy technical details in your main text—difficult to read!
  33. 33. Research plan Expected results Expectation based on logic/previous publication “Because the inefficient implementation of government policies has been shown to influence literacy rates in rural communities in Spain13, we expect this may also be a factor affecting birth rates in rural Japan.” Implications and future directions “The results obtained from this proposed study will help local governments more effectively implement new policies to increase birth rates in rural areas. It will also be interesting to determine if other…”
  34. 34. Research plan Budget  Salaries  Operating costs  Travel  Equipment  Information systems  Consumables • Review guidelines to determine what is covered • Show costs in a table Consider all costs associated with this study
  35. 35. Research plan Example budget http://writingcenter.unc.edu/handouts/ grant-proposals-or-give-me-the-money/ Justify all costs
  36. 36. Research plan Dissemination What are your deliverables? (Optional) Publication type Book or journal articles? Expected journals Readership Who is your target audience? Timeline Will each objective be separate paper? When and how long to write?
  37. 37. Research plan Credentials Establish trust and confidence Updated CV: • Publications • Honors/awards • Previously received grants (especially if from same funder) Related previous publications Technical competency Applicable collaborations
  38. 38. Research plan Reference letters Who to ask • Young researchers: former advisors • Advanced researchers: collaborators, journal editors, society members When to ask • Early, before you finish writing • Prepare one-page summary:  Summarize background/problem  Present objectives/research plan  Describe significance Discuss • Discuss your research plan • Encourage questions/suggestions
  39. 39. Effective writing
  40. 40. Effective writing Improving readability Use short sentences Limit your sentences to 15–20 words One idea per sentence Use active voice Simpler, more direct, and easier to read ACS Style Guide: “Use the active voice when it is less wordy and more direct than the passive”. (3rd ed., pg. 42)
  41. 41. Effective writing Paragraph structure – assert and justify Topic sentence Introduce what the paragraph is about Justify Support your claim with evidence Despite steadily rising enrollment rates in U.S. postsecondary institutions, high dropout rates and weak academic performance remain persistent problems among undergraduates. For academic institutions, high attrition rates complicate enrollment planning and place added burdens on efforts to recruit new students. For students, dropping out before earning a terminal degree represents untapped human potential and a low return on their investment in college. Poor academic performance is often indicative of difficulties in adjusting to college and makes dropping out more likely. Zajacova et al. Res Higher Ed. 2005; 46: 677–706.
  42. 42. Effective writing Additional tips to improve readability Repetition • Identify key phrases in grant aims • Repeat throughout your grant proposal Parallel structure • Research problem and objectives • Within your paragraphs (assert and justify) • Summary and main text Consistency • Use the same terminology throughout • Especially with multiple authors
  43. 43. Effective writing Additional tips to make an impact Start your grant proposal with a thought-provoking statement Questions “Are local government bureaucrats affecting the birth rates in rural Japan?” Conflicts “New local Japanese government policies were expected to increase birth rates in rural communities–yet these rates continue to fall.” Bold claim “The rapid decline of rural birth rates in Japan is caused by the inefficient implementation of local government policies.”
  44. 44. Effective writing Additional tips to make an impact Start your grant proposal with a thought-provoking statement “Does culture, defined as the shared knowledge guiding social interaction and other behaviors within a social group, influence individual psychobioloigcal adaptation? Can the links between culture, individual behavior, and individual psychobiological adaptation be traced? This continues to be a fundamental question facing anthropology.” Good example http://www.as.ua.edu/ant/Faculty/dressler/Dressler%20Brazil%20NSF.pdf
  45. 45. Be an effective communicator You need to convince the grant agency that your study deserves to be funded  Consider a relevant problem  Logically organize your research plan  Effectively communicate your ideas
  46. 46. Thank you! Any questions? Follow us on Twitter @JournalAdvisor Like us on Facebook facebook.com/EdanzEditing Download and further reading edanzediting.co.jp/apu_140731 Jeffrey Robens: jrobens@edanzgroup.com

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