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Writing the Narrative

The following websites provide comprehensive information, often with examples, about writing proposals for specific types of funding agencies. While you should always follow the guidelines of the agency and program to which you are applying, it is sometimes helpful to review other tips and techniques as well:

Evaluation or Assessment Plan

How will you know your project is successful?

  • If this is a book or article, success will be indicated by completion, publication and distribution.
  • If this is a curriculum project, document meaningful changes in the student's experience.
  • Establish baseline and end points for evaluation.
  • Find an external evaluator who is qualified to produce a realistic assessment of your work, possibly using pre- and post-tests, surveys, or other evaluative techniques.

Dissemination Plan

Describe in detail how you will actively distribute your new information and results. Just saying you will use a website in not enough. Think about how you will make sure people know about your website, and how it is linked to and from other websites.

Consider getting the word out via targeted listservs; workshops on and off campus; personal contact, including visits to other campuses; possible test sites at other schools; use of consortia to which UR belongs, such as Associated Colleges of the South or the Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges; and talks at professional meetings.

If you have one, name the potential publisher for your book or journal article. Also mention a distribution plan and audience who will be interested in your work.


Those who recommend you should be experts in your field, not good friends in unrelated fields. They should be visible, active scholars in your field, and they should know you, your project (because you send them a draft of your proposal), and be able to comment on your abilities. Try not to use more than one reference from the same institution.

Contact references well in advance and explain what will be needed from them. Often this may be the electronic submission of a letter, but sometimes a letter needs to be mailed in a sealed and signed envelope to the funding agency.