Application Tips

10 Commandments All Grant Applicants Should Know

Commandment #1

Don't pose a loaded research question.

Ask a question that requires investigation, a question to which you do not already know the answer.

Commandment #2

Don’t request funds simply to package and share what you’ve already learned.

Preference given to projects that show potential for new empirical inquiry and discovery, for generating and analyzing reliable new data.

Commandment #3

Don’t request funds for basic operational costs.

Grants enable something special, something over-and-above your daily work funded by existing resources.

Commandment #4

Don’t request funds for a one-off event (conference, workshop, etc.).

Budget for project activities that strategically support your research with additional resources of time (a course buyout), tools (interview transcription and coding), and talent (research assistants).

Commandment #5

Don’t try to cram all your big-picture research goals into a single grant-funded project.

Instead, identify a manageable, coherent subset of project activities that will contribute significantly to your larger research plans.

Commandment #6

Don’t describe research methods in single sentence: “I plan to conduct ethnographic research using mixed methods.”

Include specific details about research protocols and procedures for data gathering and analysis.

Commandment #7

Don’t use excessive jargon.

Some technical language may be necessary, but craft proposal in clear, accessible prose that can be grasped by academic colleague from another field.

Commandment #8

Don't assume institutional support.

If your project involves academic leave, a course buyout, or IRB approval, talk with your dean or department head straightaway to get the ball rolling.

Commandment #9

Don’t ask just anyone to write a letter of recommendation.

Writing reference letters is an art; recruit colleagues who are especially skilled in crafting letters that make a compelling case for you and your project.

Commandment #10

Don’t procrastinate!

As soon as you have a have a research project in mind, email a brief outline to to receive feasibility feedback. LI staff can help you discern whether to develop your ideas into a full grant proposal.