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Faculty Resources: In it to Submit It


Many steps must be considered when writing a grant proposal.  This LibGuide provides recommendations from the Office of Research and Projects to assist you in the planning, design, and execution process.

The LibGuide was produced by Lydia Jackson based on documentation provided by the SIUE Office of Research and Projects grant experts, Teri Gulledge and Lisa Lawrence.  Author, Robert Porter is acknowledged for his research and scholarship which was cited in this resource.

It is crucial to remember that assistance with steps in the grant submission process is available by contacting the Office of Research and Projects at (618) 650-3010.

The work begins.  Good luck with preparing your documentation for a successful grant!

Why focus on basic writing?

  • Limited funding
  • Increasingly competitive marketplace
  • Reviewers are busy & impatient
  • Looking for a reason NOT to fund
  • Good proposals die from bad writing
  • Build your personal reputation
  • Build institutional reputations 

There are differences pronounced differences between writing for academia and grants.  The tables below illustrate several major  differences in these areas.

Academic vs. Grant Writing

Academic Writing includes thesis, dissertation, scholarly papers, and journal articles.

Grant Writing includes a completely different set of writing skills necessary to "win" grants.


Scholarly Pursuit

  • Individual passion
  • Advance your career

Sponsor Goals

  • Service attitude
  • Adapt expertise
  • Know the sponsor
  • Mirror key phrases and terminology

Past Oriented

Work that has been done

Future Oriented

Work that should be done

  • Find a healthy balance
    • Contextualize proposed work in literature
    • Extend boundaries
    • Okay to image


  • Theory & thesis
  • Realm of ideas 
  • Examine issue
  • Final conclusion


  • Objectives & activities
  • World action
  • Accomplish goals
  • Expected outcomes
  • Avoid proposing a "study" or "examination" unless specific to RFP
  • Ever-present Questions:
    • How will I do this?
    • How will I measure the outcomes?

Expository Rhetoric

  • Explaining
  • Logical progression

Persuasive Rhetoric

  • Selling
  • Strong pitch
  • LEAD with your exciting ideas
  • Use strong, active language
  • Write with funders & reviewers in mind
  • Why are you uniquely deserving?

Impersonal Tone

  • Objective
  • Dispassionate

Personal Tone

  • Conveys excitement
  • Active Voice
  • Encourage excitement for your project
  • Seek their endorsement
  • Use first-person voice
  • May seem like violation of editorial rules


  • Solo activity


  • Feedback needed
  • Seek counsel on concept before writing
  • Contact program officer
  • Collaborate across colleges & institutions
  • Share the writing responsibility
  • ALWAYS have someone proofread

Few Length Constraints

  • Verbosity rewarded
  • Sentence, paragraph, paper

Strict Length Constraints

  • Brevity rewarded
  • Clear, concise
  • Follow ALL formatting directions
  • Grammar & sentence structure matter
  • Flag sentences more than 3 lines long
  • Be precise with word choice

Specialized Terminology

  • Insider jargon
  • Inflated prose

Accessible Language

  • Easily understood
  • Generalist audience
  • Describe your project to your mother
  • Seek proofreaders outside your discipline
  • Read one sentence at a time from back to front