Proposal Writing Workshopby awad ibrahimUniversity of Ottawaaibrahim@uottawa.caAwadmibrahim.blogspot.com
By way of introduction (Day I) Who are we? Why this workshop and what to expect out of it? In groups - KWL
Pedagogy of KWL KNOW – WANTS TO KNOW - LEARNED
K What is proposal? How does it look like? What are its different components? What is its purpose? What institutional process do you go through to approve a proposal?University policty? What are the steps that follow a proposal?
W What are you expectations over the next four days?
An overview of the workshop We have two types of proposal we will be working with: 1) Thesis proposal 2) Grant proposal
Workshop objectives To discuss the idea of the proposal (thesis and grant) To get a model of how a proposal might look like To discuss existing proposals and get feedback To contact a funding agency To read grant proposal guidelines To look at the question of language
Online search of funding agencies Begin in class and continue at home (homework) Also do a google search for “thesis proposal sample” and “grant proposalsample”
Proposal Conventions There is no one formulae for a proposal – there are conventions Before you begin anything, you have to be absolutely clear about what youwant to do or write about. The BEST strategy to be clear about a proposal isto diagram it. Let us take a concrete example: Take an example from the class – take about10 minutes to make sure you can think about and diagram your project. The determining factor in all proposals is the audience –academics, company, specialized audience, non-specialized, etc. theaudience determines both objectives and aims of the proposal.
The audience - continue The audience determines whether you state your purpose overtly, covertlyor combined. How detailed do you want to be in your proposal. The play of ethics here.
Now … You determine your topic, your audience, how you intend to proceed(overtly or covertly) … you will then have to determine your style of writingand your tone …
Conventionally: Every proposal will havethe following Twenty five (25) pages maximum (tables and references notincluded), spaced at 1.5, paginated, in 12 point font, and printed on one sideonly. This proposal document contains: 1) A theoretical framework and/or a conceptual framework, a 2) Review of literature, 3) A description of the problem, 4) Research questions,
Continues 5) A methodological framework(e.g., design, participants, instruments, procedure, and analyses), 6) The contribution of the research to the field (whatever it might be), 7) An appropriate and exhaustive reference section.
Theoretical/Conceptual Framework Let us begin with the premise that research problems do not exist in nature but in people’s minds. Toexpress and understand these problems, we need a grand narrative, a theory that is formulated toexplain, predict, and understand phenomena and, in many cases, to challenge and extend existingknowledge, within the limits of the critical bounding assumptions. The theoretical framework is thestructure that can hold or support a theory of a research study. The theoretical framework introduces anddescribes the theory which explains why the research problem under study exists. Theoretical framework also includes definitions of terms. Theory is not the assumptions of the research. These are two separate things. Problems cannot be articulated except within a conceptual system. No researcher can investigate aproblem from all perspectives simultaneously. And that is what a logical structure or theoretical frameworkis all about. It establishes a vantage point, a perspective, a set of lenses through which the researcherviews the problem. In this sense, a theoretical framework is both a clarifying and exclusionary step in theresearch process. By this clarifying and exclusionary is done in explicit recognition of those perspective andthe rationale for their rejection. You should add your own touch to the theory.
Literature Review The mass of reading that one does to understand fully 1) The problem of the research 2) What others have done (theory and methodology) to answer or study yourresearch question 3) That no one else has done the research and if they did, how different is yourstudy 4) State of the art 5) The contribution of the study and the new things it is bringing into existence
Description of the Problem Clearly state what you intend to do, why this study, what’s new about it, whyare you qualified to answer the research question, what’s your investmentin conducting this research, how did it come about and why should we care!
Research Questions Usually, you will have a BIG or LARGE research question which hassubquestions you intend to answer. The question(s) has to be clear, concise, well-formulate and researchable(Universal Generative Grammar??).
Research Methodology First, you would need to distinguish between ‘methodology’ and ‘method.’Methodology is the theory behind the techniques you use for datacollection: Ethnography is ‘methodology’ while observation is ‘method.’ Second, why is everybody that I know in Sudan is doing ‘survey’? There areother methodologies that people can use. Methodology is the design of the study: who your participants are, whatinstruments you will use for data collection, what procedure you willimplement, and what analyses you will make at the end.
The contribution of the research to thefield Why this study? What is its contribution? What’s new here? Why should wecare?
An appropriate and exhaustive reference section. Exhaustive and updated references (it should not exceed 5 years) –weusually expect around 100 references (books, journal articles, bookchapters, websites, etc.) Where do you usually go to check updated references? How do you organizeyour references? What style do you use?
Quantitative vs Qualitative Data I will focus on the qualitative data, which is intended to: 1) Convey the reader to the research site: allow the reader to ‘see’ the siteand the people in it 2) Produce a rich picture of reality, detailed, extensive and reliable 3) Communicate atmosphere, emotion and attitudes of both the subjectsand the researcher 4) Transmit the direct experiences of the research respondents and of theresearcher in interacting with the respondents, the literature or the history
Continues 5) Make the mass of data comprehensible through particular presentationof data 6) Respect the sensitivities of respondents. Qualitative data reportingshould avoid being intrusive and personal 7) Be creative and artistically pleasing 8) Create impact. It should affect readers emotionally and intellectually
Qualitative Data Polyvocality: quantitative research reduces many voices to one; qual doesthe opposite The play of subjectivity: personal voice is crucial Narrative as poetry (the following three are known as Narrative Data) Narrative as drama Narrative as diaries
Continues Fictional fact and factual fiction: All research (quan or qual) writing andpresenting can be regarded as ‘fiction’ in that it is removed from the originalsituation. This will be ‘fictional fact.’ ‘Factual fiction’ is fiction based on atrue story.
Continues Observations Interviews Focus group data Historical, literary and legal data
Plagiarism (Ethics – be very careful)Be very afraid!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Beginnings and Ends Beginnings and ends matter. Why? They include: Title/Title page, Introduction, Contentlistings, Glossaries, Abstract, Acknowledgement andforewords, Keywords/Conclusion, Summary, Recommendations, Limitations,Appendices, Author notes, Bibliography,
Citations:Bibliographies, Referencing, Quotations, Notes How do you cite? Style of references: citationmachine.net
Thesis proposal vs. Grant proposal 1) Both are about a research project that is yet to be done 2) Thesis proposal is larger than grant proposal, narrower more determined andhas clear guideline, objectives and audience. 3) First thing: you would need to determine where you will apply, second: readtheir guidelines, third: see sample of successful grants, four: be very precise andthink about every single word you write, five: every concept should build intothe one preceding it, six: never say what you want to say twice, seven: asksuccessful colleagues for feedback, eight: try to collaborate with these successfulcolleagues for first grant, nine: don’t over exaggerate, ten: know what you aretalking about and how to articulate it, involve students, indicate how: managingthe grant and future plan, do not use jargon, use the correct FORMAT.
Six steps need to develop grant proposal 1) Create or revisit a mission statement 2) Assessing funding needs 3) Setting funding goals 4) Determining funding objectives 5) Creating the action plan 6) Monitoring and evaluating funding objectives
Day III Sharing your present or future proposal: thesis or grant: It’s your turn myfriends! In 7 minutes present your project proposal Aymen + My proposal
Day IV Revisiting your proposals Think future Distribute books (online)