Resources for Proposal Writers

Helpful Books for Proposal Writers

Becker, Howard S. (with a chapter by Pamela Richards). Writing for Social Scientists: How to Start and Finish Your Thesis, Book, or Article. 1986.

Students in any discipline will find Becker’s advice helpful. Sample chapter titles: “Persona and Authority,” “Learning to Write as a Professional,” “Getting It out the Door,” and “Terrorized by the Literature.”

Bolker, Joan. Writing Your Dissertation in Fifteen Minutes a Day: A Guide to Starting, Revising, and Finishing Your Doctoral Thesis. 1998.

By a co-founder of the Harvard Writing Center, now a clinical psychologist who specializes in helping dissertators. In her words, “This book is a collection of successful field-tested strategies for writing a dissertation; it’s also a guide to conducting an experiment, with you as your own subject, your work habits as the data, and a writing method that fits you well as the goal.”

Booth, Wayne C., Gregory G. Colomb, and Joseph M. Williams. The Craft of Research.

Thorough and sophisticated treatment of the research process: moving from a topic to a research problem, building a convincing argument, drafting, and revising. Also includes a helpful chapter on “Communicating Evidence Visually.”

DeBakey, Lois and Selma. “The Art of Persuasion: Logic and Language in Proposal Writing,” Grants Magazine, I (March, 1978), 43-59.

The focus is on writing; the content is useful, detailed, and timely despite the early date of publication.

*Krathwohl, David R. How to Prepare a Research Proposal: Guidelines for Funding and Dissertations in the Social and Behavioral Sciences. 3rd ed., 1988.

The emphasis is on grant proposals, with a section on dissertation proposals; much of the material applies to any proposal. Useful “Checklist for Critiquing Proposals” (pp. 146-153) and “Writing Tips” (pp. 183-185).

Locke, Lawrence F., Waneen Wyrick Spirdoso, and Stephen J. Silverman. Proposals That Work: A Guide for Planning Dissertations and Grant Proposals. 4th ed., 2000.

A useful general guide for students writing proposals. Annotated bibliography; annotated samples of experimental, qualitative, quasi-experimental, and grant proposals.

Meloy, Judith M. Writing the Qualitative Dissertation: Understanding by Doing. 1994.

Based on a study of dissertations and on data collected from faculty and students. Shares their comments and offers questions to consider at various stages of the process in brief chapters that include “Selecting and Working with a Committee,” “Preparing and Defending the Proposal,” and “Connecting Focus, Literature, and Ownership.”

Przeworski, Adam, and Frank Salomon. “The Art of Writing Proposals.” New York: Social Science Research Council, 1995. 25 Feb. 2002<>

Ries, Joanne B., and Carl G. Leukefeld. Applying for Research Funding: Getting Started and Getting Funded. 1995.

Three of the seven sections in this comprehensive guide concern writing a proposal: “What and When to Write: Rules of the Game,” “How to Write: Unique Moves,” and “Checking for Infractions: Preparing for the Audience.”

Rudestam, Kjell Erik, and Rae R. Newton. Surviving Your Dissertation: A Comprehensive Guide to Content and Process. 1992.

Treats the dissertation process from finding a topic to the oral defense. Chapter on results gives detailed information on presenting statistical information in tables and graphs. Section on process, subtitled “What You Need to Know to Make the Dissertation Easier,” includes practical advice on managing time and dealing with writing anxiety, including “Twelve Tricks to Keep You Going When You Write.”

Helpful websites for proposal writers

Grants Information Center (Links to Seminars and Workshops, FAQs, Funding Sources)

Graduate Student Resources on the Web

Graduate School’s Master’s Thesis Guide

Graduate School’s Dissertation Guide

Graduate School Seminars