Graduate Studies & Research
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Applying

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Applying for a Grant/Contract

Applying Basics - Preparing the Narrative

Generally, the narrative portion of a grant proposal consists of nine parts:

  1. Abstract (or Project Summary)
  2. Problem (or Needs) Statement
  3. Objectives
  4. Activities (or Methodology)
  5. Management Plan
  6. Evaluation
  7. Sustainability
  8. Budget
  9. Appendices
  10. Other

1. Abstract or Project Summary

Many agencies request an abstract, which is a one-page summary of the entire proposal. The abstract should reflect all the thought and work of the full proposal. Typically, it is used by agencies to provide a thumbnail sketch of the project during award announcements.

2. The Problem (or Needs Statement)

This section should describe the problem or needs that the proposed grant project will address. This statement should be phrased in the broadest possible terms. Evidence to support the claim that the problem or needs are critical should be presented. Current efforts and research in the field can be included. Also, how does our program "fit" with the agency's goals?

3. The Objectives

This section should describe the specific ways that the proposed project will help to resolve the problem or meet the needs in the context of Salisbury University's role in the project and why we are uniquely suited to conduct the project. Describe the overall goals, short-term and long-term objectives, and expected milestones.

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4. The Activities or Methodology

This section should describe the methodology that will be used to meet the objectives of the project. A time line or other chart of activities showing the implementation sequence is frequently helpful in explaining how the problem will be solved. Describe activities, staffing, clients, and the role of the consultants; give background information on collaborative organizations. Describe the facilities and resources both on-hand and needed.

5. Management Plan

Develop a management plan that describes (1) its adequacy to achieve the objectives of the proposed project on time and within budget; (2) the extent to which program management is clearly defined (who will do what, when, and where); (3) the extent to which the plan maximizes the effectiveness of the project; and (4) the extent to which existing staff and in-kind services support the initiative.

6. Evaluation

It is very important to explain how the project will meet its stated objectives. Methods of evaluation vary according to the discipline and prospective format, but the evaluation procedures can aid in clarifying objectives and defining accountability. The evaluation has implications for grant renewal and future funding. Remember to evaluate the process and the project, and to make the evaluation feasible.

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7. Sustainability

Show why the reader or sponsor is the best and most logical source of support and then illustrate your commitment to your project. If the project requires activity or funding beyond the proposed grant period, describe plans for continuing research or for obtaining additional funds. This section helps justify your budget request.

8. Budget

The budget describes the proposed project in dollar amounts of estimated expenses and income. It should document sources for all budget items. Budget development is described in more detail in Budget Development Section.

9. Appendices

This section can include letters of support, vitae of key personnel, bibliography, evaluation forms, certifications and assurances, or whatever helps to clarify any of the above components.
It is critical that all of these specified parts of the proposal are internally consistent - that is, that objectives flow from needs, activities from objectives, etc. While the above outline provides a useful guide to organizing your thoughts, the key to preparing a successful proposal narrative is adherence to the guidelines of the funding agency. The more you know about the funding source, the easier it will be for you to shape your ideas in a way that will appeal to them.

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10. Other

Committee on Human Research/IRB - Salisbury University is concerned with the protection of the rights, well-being, and personal privacy of individuals who participate in research and other related activities, as well as maintaining quality in the pursuit of scientific knowledge. The faculty and student body of the University acknowledge their responsibility for protecting the rights of research subjects and for avoiding any element of coercion or intimidation in recruiting subjects for participation in research activities. A set of procedures has been established by the University to allow faculty and students to provide appropriate assurances that any research activity involving human subjects will comply with the policies of the University, the Code of Federal Regulations, Part 46, Title 45, as amended, for the Protection of Human Subjects in Research, and the laws of the State of Maryland. In carrying out this responsibility, Salisbury University will make every effort to acquaint faculty, students, and administrators with the policy and procedures of this institution. This information is designed to provide guidance to research investigators, administrators, and members of the Committee on Human Research in discharging their responsibilities.