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  1. 1. Preparing Research Proposals and Grant Applications
  2. 2. Research Proposal/Grant Application• Research Proposal • Grant Application – For graduate students – For others, the research writing a thesis, the proposal is typically research proposal is presented to a funding presented to your committee for their agency, school board or approval before you extension administration conduct the research for approval/funding
  3. 3. Research Proposals and Research Reports• Research Proposal/Grant • Research Report Application – A report of research that – A plan of action and you have already justification for research conducted that you plan to do – a research report is past – A research proposal/grant tense application is future tense, – Length (in general) – Length • Thesis - 50-90 pages • Typically 12-25 pages for • Dissertation - 75-200 pages graduate student research • Journal Article or Research proposals Paper Presented at a • Grant Application conference – 12-20 pages – Private Foundation > 2- 10 pages – Government > 20-50 pages
  4. 4. Thesis/Dissertation Chapters• In Agricultural & Extension Education theses/dissertations there are typically 5 chapters: 1. Introduction 2. Review of Literature 3. Methodology 4. Findings 5. Conclusions & Recommendations
  5. 5. What should be in a research proposal/report?• A research proposal • A research report  A synopsis of what will be  For theses and written in chapters 1, 2 and 3 • Introduction dissertations – all five • Review of Literature chapters • Methodology  For journal articles and papers – a synopsis of all five chapters
  6. 6. Introduction Section or Chapter 1• The introductory section introduces the problem to be studied and could range from 3 or so paragraphs to several pages• This is often followed by a section titled “Need for the Study”. This is 1- 3 paragraphs in length. Here you make the case for studying the problem you have selected.
  7. 7. Introduction Section• Statement of the Problem is next. This is one or two sentences clearly stating what it is being study. If often starts with “The purpose…” The purpose of this study is to determine if immediate feedback in AEE graduate classes improves student learning and course evaluations.
  8. 8. Introduction Section• Research questions and/or hypothesis follow. – Descriptive research often uses just research questions. It is permissible to have a hypothesis. – In experimental, quasi-experimental, correlational or ex post facto research a hypothesis is generally expected. You can also have research questions if desired.
  9. 9. Research Question(s)• Sample Research Questions – Does the use of electronic responders to provide immediate feedback to graduate students in AEE classes increase student learning? – Does the use of electronic responders to provide immediate feedback to graduate students in AEE classes improve student evaluations of classes?
  10. 10. Research Question(s)• One may have several research question• For data analysis avoid research questions with an “and” – Does the use of electronic responders to provide immediate feedback to graduate students in AEE classes increase student learning and improve student evaluations of classes? One part of the question may be yes and the other no. It is best to compartmentalize everything.
  11. 11. The Hypothesis• In proposing or reporting research, directional hypotheses are normally stated: – Directional • Students will have higher grades in AEE classes in which electronic responders are used than in AEE classes where they are not used.
  12. 12. The Hypothesis• It is possible to have a nondirectional hypothesis. This is stated the same as a null hypothesis.• When one performs a statistical test, they are actually testing the Null hypothesis
  13. 13. Introduction continued…• The introductory section often contains: – Assumptions – These are assumptions you have about the research being proposed • you think people will answer honestly, they have knowledge of the subject, they are representative, etc. Typically this is included in a proposal and in theses and dissertations but is not reported in journal articles or research presentations.
  14. 14. Introduction continued…• The introductory section generally contains: – Limitations – Things that happened during the study they may impact on your findings or the generalizability of the research • Hurricane Fran caused extension agents in the east to change there normal work patterns. • The swine flu resulted in a higher number than normal absentees in the classes. Typically this is included in a proposal and in theses and dissertations but is not reported in journal articles or research presentations unless there is a glaring problem.
  15. 15. Introduction continued…• The introductory section generally contains: – Definitions – Define the terms in your research that the average person might not know or if you have a special definition for the term • Classroom discipline problem • Lesson Plan Typically this is included in a proposal and in theses and dissertations but is not reported in journal articles or research presentations. It is assumed your audience will know the words.
  16. 16. Section 2 – Review of Literature• By the time you finish your research, you should know more about the topic than anyone else, including members of your committee. You accomplish this by a thorough review of existing research regarding the problem.
  17. 17. Literature Review• In a thesis or dissertation, this section may be 10-50 pages.• In a journal article it may only be 2-3 pages at the most. You have to prove you know the research but can’t go overboard because of page limitations on manuscripts.• In a grant proposal you might have 2-5 references to other work to show that you are aware of its existence
  18. 18. Literature Review• It is generally best to start globally and then narrow it down to the specific research question you have.• Next week’s class focuses on how to conduct a literature review.
  19. 19. Literature Review • You want to synthesize and merge what others had done, not just string a bunch of quotes together!!!!YES! – Moving around the classroom helps to maintain student interest (Banks, 2001; Carpenter, 1996; James, 1998) – Banks (2001) says it is important to move around in the classroom. NO! – Carpenter (1996) believes movement in the classroom helps students to focus on the teacher. – James (1998) says teachers should change their position every 3-4 minutes in order to keep student attention.
  20. 20. Section 3- Methods• Describe the research methodology (correlational, descriptive, etc.) you are used (or plan to use) and why.• Describe the population you are studying.• If a sample is used, tell how big the sample is, why that sample size was chosen, and how the sample was selected (I.e stratified random sample, cluster sample, etc.)
  21. 21. Section 3 - Methods• If the research is experimental, describe the research design and what was done to control extraneous variables.• If the research is historical discuss sources of data.
  22. 22. Section 3- Methods• Describe the research instrument used. – How many sections and items or on it and how do people respond. – What is the rating scale? What is a high score? What is a low score? – How was it developed. – Was it field tested? – How do you know it is valid. – How do you know it is reliable.
  23. 23. Section 3- Methods• Describe how the data were collected (Personal interview, Mail survey, etc.)• When and where were the data collected• What was done about non-respondents?• How were the data coded.
  24. 24. Section 3- Methods• Describe the statistical process used in analyzing the data. Why did you use the statistics you did.
  25. 25. Section 4- Findings• Report the data you have collected.• Follow the same sequence in presenting the data so that is corresponds with your research questions or hypotheses.• Data should be reported both in writing and in graphic form (tables, graphs, etc.) The tables should support the narrative and vice-versa. However, the text should be able to stand alone.• Report any statistical tests.• Just report the facts, don’t make any interpretations at this point in time.
  26. 26. Section 5- Conclusions & Recommendations• Based upon the findings section, what can be concluded? – This is very challenging to do. – Some folks end up restating the findings, which is not what should be done. • A finding is that students using electronic responders scored 5 points higher than students not using responders. • The conclusion is that the use of responders results in gain in student knowledge.• What are the implications of this research for practice? – Teachers should use electronic responders.• What recommendations do have for further research? – Would electronic responders work with adults?
  27. 27. Funding Sources for Research and Projects
  28. 28. Private Foundations
  29. 29. Private Foundations• Rich folks & companies create foundations to have a formal way of giving away money.• There are 61,000 foundations• Some foundations are having problems giving out money.
  30. 30. Private Foundations• By law, foundations must give away 5% of their assets every year. – Some large foundations have to give out $8,000,000 a day to meet this requirement.
  31. 31. Private Foundations• There is a book found in most public and university libraries called “The Foundation Directory” (it cost $400)• It lists foundations by state and also has a subject index
  32. 32. The Foundation Directory• The Foundation Directory is now on-line.• Go to• You can search by foundation name, recipient name, subject/topic, geographic area plus several other fields• There is a charge to use this service; at one time NCSU subscribed but budget cuts have impacted this
  33. 33. Private Foundations• The Foundation Center is a web site that has all types of information on getting grants.
  34. 34. Private Foundations• In North Carolina there are 218 Foundations.• Most limit their grants to North Carolina (generally to specific counties).• Education is often a “favorite cause.”• Foundations housed in other states also give grants in North Carolina
  35. 35. 120 100 Top 10 Foundations in( in m illions) 80 60 North Carolina 40 20 0 Duke Endow m ent Bank of Am erica Burroughs Wellcom e Kat e Reynolds Foundat ion of t he Carolinas First Union Sabbah Fam ily Z. Sm it h Reynolds Winst on-Salem Foundat ion Com m unit y Foundat ion - West ern NC
  36. 36. Some NC Foundations• D. F. Halton Foundation (Charlotte) – $430,625 was given last year – Youth, education, social services and performing arts are supported (vocational education is specifically mentioned) – Limited to Charlotte area and surrounding 7 counties – Funds come from Pepsi-Cola
  37. 37. Some NC Foundations• Lowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation (N. Wilkesboro) – Last year135 grants totaling $988,128 were given – Support education, community development, etc.
  38. 38. Hints on Writing a Proposal for Private Foundations• 1. Don’t hesitate to call the contact person with questions. – That persons job is to give money away, not guard it. – He/she wants to help you submit a successful proposal.December 11, 2012
  39. 39. Hints on Writing a Proposal• 2. Use simple language in the proposal – Write the proposal so that your mother could understand it 39
  40. 40. Simple language – Don’t try to impress people with your extensive vocabulary – Before using an acronym first spell it out and explain it (SAE, IEP, LEA, FFA) – Avoid educational jargonDecember 11, 2012 40
  41. 41. Hints on Writing a Proposal• 3. Address all the points in the guidelines – Follow the format (and wording) in the proposalDecember 11, 2012 41
  42. 42. Hints on Writing a Proposal• 4. Neatness counts (so does spelling, grammar, sentence structure, etc.)December 11, 2012 42
  43. 43. Hints on Writing a Proposal• 5. Proposals showing partnerships are viewed very favorably. Team up with: – another department in the school – another school – an institution of higher education – a private group – a commodity groupDecember 11, 2012 43
  44. 44. Hints on Writing a Proposal• 6. Think of a different angle – Try to be creative in your thinking.December 11, 2012 44
  45. 45. Hints on Writing a Proposal• 7. A proposal that is not submitted will not be funded! – The worst thing that can happen is they say no. – Then send your proposal some other place.December 11, 2012 45
  46. 46. Hints on Writing a Proposal• 8. The title of your proposal should be catchy, but not cutesy! – LEAP – GRAEDE – OpenCourseWareDecember 11, 2012 46
  47. 47. Hints on Writing a Proposal• 9. Use action words – Use Will---not if, could, should – Use investment, not giftDecember 11, 2012 47
  48. 48. Hints on Writing a Proposal• 10. Spend time thinking about the evaluation component of the proposal – This is becoming more importantDecember 11, 2012 48
  49. 49. Conclusion• Writing a proposal is a lot or work.• There is a feeling of elation when the proposal is funded….• Then you realize the real work hasn’t even started!!!December 11, 2012 49
  50. 50. The Matthew Effect*• Once you get one project funded, this leads to other projects being funded. *Based upon the parable in the Bible of the rich man who gave various amounts of talents to his servants for them to invest.December 11, 2012 50
  51. 51. Federal Grants
  52. 52. Federal Grants• There are a multitude of Federal Grants• All the federal programs can be found in the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (
  53. 53. Examples of Federal Grant Programs• Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance – Work with community groups and local and State governments to conserve rivers, preserve open space, and develop trails and greenways.
  54. 54. Examples of Federal Grant Programs• Protection of Children and the Aging as a Fundamental Goal of Public Health and Environmental Protection – To catalyze community-based and regional projects and other actions that enhance public outreach and communication; assist families in evaluating risks to children and in making informed consumer choices; build partnerships that increase a communitys long-term capacity to advance protection of childrens environmental health and safety;
  55. 55. Examples of Federal Grant Programs• Secondary and Two-Year Postsecondary Agricultural Education Challenge Grant Program – To promote excellence in agriscience and agribusiness education, and to encourage more young Americans to pursue baccalaureate and higher degrees in the food and agricultural sciences.