A critical aspect of proposal development is the planning and preparation which must be undertaken prior to the actual writing of the proposal. The following is a worksheet of activities to complete in the preparation of a proposal.
Step one. Decide on what you want to do. Consider your expertise, your interests, your experience, and the resources available to you.
The decision to write a proposal should also be based on knowledge about the competition and the funding agency where the proposal will be submitted. This information can be obtained from sources like the U.S. Department of Education's Grants & Contracts page, the Federal Register, the federal agency itself (i.e., OSEP), foundations, state education agencies, requests for proposals (RFPs) or grant announcements, and/or requests for applications (RFAs).
After reading the informational material thoroughly, the prospective grant writer should consider how their interests, experience, and the resources available to them can facilitate preparation and operation of the project. One must also consider the resources of the sponsor institution and all other institutions if collaboration with other institutions is anticipated (e.g., library facilities, laboratory space, computer technology, expertise of faculty, etc.).
Step two. Conceptualize your project. Develop a concept paper which summarizes the entire project. To conceptualize your project complete the following sentences.
The title of my project is: _________________________________________
The problem this project will address is: _____________________________
The goal of this project is: ________________________________________
The objectives this project will achieve to accomplish that goal are: ________
The anticipated outcomes resulting from this intervention are: ____________
The procedures for determining whether the project goals and objectives have been accomplished are: __________________________________________
The population served is: ________________________________________
The theoretical model upon (or conceptual framework within) which the
project is based is: _____________________________________________
Step three. Gather several key references which discuss the theoretical model which will provide the framework for your project. Each project must be embedded within a theoretical model or conceptual framework which has been reported in the professional literature. You should be prepared with a few key references which discuss the model toward which you will direct the project. These references will provide the centerpiece for the literature review which you will need to prepare for the full proposal (See Literature Searches on the CMSE Online web page.)