Chapter 8: Components of a ProposalThis chapter examines various components of a proposal and suggests good ways to present these components. Obtaining resources for technology in education: A how-to guide for writing proposals, forming partnerships, and raising funds. This chapter examines various components of a proposal and suggests good ways to present these components. Department of Education's general outline of proposal components.
However, the ideas can be applied to any formal grant-writing situation. If you have not already done so, you may want to read the sample proposals in Appendices A, B, C, D, and E.
They provide models against which you can compare the ideas given in this chapter. Some General IdeasThink of a proposal as a contract document in which you clearly specify what problem you will solve or what task you will accomplish.
You specify how the funding agency will be able to assess your progress and determine when you have appropriately completed the project.
A different way to think about a proposal is as a detailed planning document. Some time in the future--when you obtain the needed resources--you are going to solve a particular problem or accomplish a particular task.
The proposal is a very detailed plan of how you will do this work. Sometimes, the work of preparing the proposal itself may be a major step toward your goal.
For example, a proposal may contain a survey and analysis of the relevant research literature on a particular problem. This may require a huge amount of time and effort to compile, but the literature analysis is a first step toward solving the problem or carrying out the task described in the proposal.
Viewed as a planning document, a proposal specifies what resources are needed, how they will be used, and when they will be used. If the proposal is funded, you will hire staff and put people to work on a plan of action calling for specific tasks to be accomplished by specific deadlines.
Such administrative details can be identified and written into the proposal, greatly reducing the workload of implementing the project after it is funded. As you write a proposal, keep in mind that your job is to convince the Resource Provider that you will be successful in what you set out to do.
Your attention to detail in the proposal provides evidence of your ability to carry out the work of the project. Before You Start WritingWriting a proposal is like doing other types of writing.
It proceeds through a sequence of drafts, with feedback being provided by oneself and others. The final draft is cleaned up ("polished") for publication.
Process writing takes considerable time and effort. When writing a proposal, be sure to allow yourself the needed time.
Chapter 9 includes a section discussing the desktop publication of proposals. Before you start writing a proposal, make sure you have a relatively clear understanding of the overall mission or purpose of the project and the goals you want to accomplish.
The mission or purpose is a lofty, high-level, overarching motive for a project. A simple, short, clear statement of the overall mission or purpose is highly desirable.
This statement will appear in the abstract and body of the proposal, as well as a number of times in other components throughout the document. It is common to include it in the first paragraph of the proposal.
Some people are skilled at developing proposal titles that use short, catchy titles or contain acronyms focusing on the Project Mission. For example, a proposal that provides telecommunications access for the kids in your local school district could be titled Project TALK (Telecommunications Access for Local Kids).
This acronym relates to the project idea, which could involve a major emphasis on offering local kids the opportunity to talk with students in other schools by providing them with telecommunications access to the outside world. After your general purpose becomes clear, begin to think about more specific goals and objectives. These goals are stepping stones to the successful fulfillment of the larger mission.
Each of these goals is in turn supported by one or more objectives.
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The objectives may be supported by sub objectives.
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The following sample outline for a simple staff development project is used in several of the examples in this chapter. 1 Outline for a staff development workshop proposal. Before you begin writing a proposal, you should have a fairly good understanding of the mission, goals, objectives, and sub objectives.
As you proceed in the writing task, you will return to this outline over and over again. You will undoubtedly make changes to this outline, and each change will lead to changes in a number of different places in the proposal and its budget.
Needless to say, you should use a word processor and a spreadsheet!Staff and other project resources will be allocated to each objective and subjective in your outline. At what level? Over what period of time? How will someone be able to tell when an objective or subjective has been successfully completed? The proposal answers these types of questions.
The remainder of this chapter examines nine major components of a formal proposal. Some granting agencies will omit or combine some components.
Others will require additional components, typically formed by dividing one of the components given here into two parts. Regardless of its specific format requirements, a complete formal proposal must cover each of the ideas underlying the nine components discussed in this chapter.
Point values assigned to these various components vary with the granting agency. Department of Education proposal are given in Figure 8.
Remember, if the proposal does not address the specific requirements in the Request for Proposals, it is rejected out of handthat is, it is not evaluated at all.
Provides a detailed discussion of methodology to be used to solve the problem. May contain a substantial analysis of the research literature.
Provides a detailed discussion of steps to be followed in implementing the methodology. Gives the names and qualifications of personnel who will be working on the project.
Analyzes the adequacy of total resources available to the Resource Seeker, including local and grant-provided resources. Provides a description of the overall capabilities and resources of the organization submitting the proposal. 10 50-5Problem Statement and Needs AssessmentThis component of the proposal is assigned 10 points (10% of the total points) in a typical proposal to the U.
The problem statement addresses a project's general mission or purpose.
For example, a project might seek to improve the functional hypermedia literacy of students 30 Nov 2016 - All research proposals must address the question of what you plan to accomplish and why you want to and how you are going to do it..
If the project is successful, students will be able to create and use hypermedia.
Contrast this with a project whose mission is to increase the number of computers in a school. A reviewer of such a proposal may ask, "So what? How will this improve the quality of education for students in this school?" This proposal does not convey the large-scale view of the funding's ultimate return on the granting agency's investment.
The general mission statement (overall project goal or goals) is followed by several more specific project goals. If the mission is to improve hypermedia literacy, specific goals might be to acquire needed hardware and software, develop and test curriculum, develop student assessment criteria and materials, train teachers, and assist teachers as they implement the new curriculum materials.
The mission and goals are followed by a needs assessment. This section often contains a brief summary of the literature relating to the project.
Usually one or two paragraphs long, this review provides a transition to the methodology component, which presents a more detailed review and analysis of the literature. National Needs AssessmentEvery project proposal must justify the proposed mission and goals.
What is the need that is being addressed? Who will benefit if the project is carried out, and how will they benefit? Sometimes a needs assessment contains two major parts, one part addressing the national, state, or regional need for the project and the second part assessing local needs. The main emphasis should be on the local need, but it is desirable to tie this in with a state or national need.
A national needs assessment may be provided by reports in the literature. For example, the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) has developed "standards" for mathematics education in the United States.
These standards discuss calculators and make detailed recommendations about their use in schools. The work of the NCTM might serve as a national component in a total needs assessment for a proposal about calculators in local schools.
Standards that have been developed by the International Society for Technology in Education are a useful component of a national needs assessment. You might be tempted to make use of, the 1983 report entitled A Nation at Risk: The Imperative for Educational Reform.
This contains general recommendations about the use of computers in schools. This report is often cited in needs assessments for proposals on this subject.
Quoting publications from 1983 in a proposal related to a field changing as rapidly as educational technology strongly suggests that you have not kept up with current events. A proposal evaluator might give you a lower rating for citing out-of-date literature.
In a proposal involving rapidly changing technology, many of your citations should not be more than one or two years old. Finally, a national need may come from a national political agenda.
As an outcome of the historic Governors' Meeting in Charlottesville, Virginia in 1989, the Governors of the 50 states adopted the six National Education Goals for the education of all students in the United States. The National Education Goals are that by the year 2000:All children in America will start school ready to learn. The high school graduation rate will increase to at least 90 percent.
All students will leave grades 4, 8, and 12 having demonstrated competency over challenging subject matter including English, mathematics, science, foreign languages, civics and government, economics, arts, history, and geography, and every school in America will ensure that all students learn to use their minds well, so they may be prepared for responsible citizenship, further learning, and productive employment in our Nation's modern economy. United States students will be first in the world in mathematics and science achievement.
Every adult American will be literate and will possess the knowledge and skills necessary to compete in a global economy and exercise the rights and responsibilities of citizenship. Every school in the United States will be free of drugs, violence, and the unauthorized presence of firearms and alcohol and will offer a disciplined environment conducive to learning.
The Nation's teaching force will have access to programs for the continued improvement of their professional skills and the opportunity to acquire the knowledge and skills needed to instruct and prepare all American students for the next century. Every school will promote partnerships that will increase parental involvement and participation in promoting the social, emotional, and academic growth of children.
Interestingly, none of these goals directly mentions computer technology. However, the Clinton Administration did set some goals for technology, including that every classroom should be connected to the Internet.
Substantial progress occurred toward achieving this goal. The Bush Administration has consolidated its education agenda into the Local Needs AssessmentA local needs assessment should specifically address the mission of your proposal.
It is not enough to say that the NCTM recommends routine use of calculators in schools Annotated Sample Research Proposal: Process and Product using first-order ordinary differential equations in introductory calculus component as you are ready to rather than waiting until you ―have all the pieces‖ to undergraduates,‖ International Journal of Mathematical Education in Science and Technology,..
What is happening locally in the school where you will carry out the calculator project? Are there already some calculators in use? Have the teachers been trained? Are appropriate curriculum materials available? What do parents, school board members, and other stakeholder groups think about the idea?Similarly, it is not sufficient to quote the ISTE National Educational Technology Standards for Students, Teachers, or School Administrators.
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Conducting a needs assessment can be a lot of work. However, if your organization has done a careful job of long-range planning, the planning process may well have included a great deal of needs-assessment work.
If so, this will prove useful in your proposal writing. For example, suppose your local science and technology museum has done long-range planning.
In the planning process, your museum has discovered that many similar museums have developed large computer-based exhibits and offer various computer courses. Your museum then surveys various local stakeholders, including local companies, schools, and museum members.
These surveys show strong support for computer-related activities. Finally, the museum's board of directors sets as one of its long-range goals a substantial increase in computer-related activities.
This work of the long-range planning group could make a major contribution to the needs assessment component in a proposal you write. MethodologyThe methodology component of the proposal is assigned 30-35 points (30-35% of the total points) in a typical proposal to the Department of Education.
This is by far the largest number of points assigned to any component. The key idea here is that a project should be designed to solve a problem or accomplish a task.
Instead, use a methodology that takes advantage of and builds on the previous work of others.
The methodology component of a proposal is closely tied into, and often expands on, the brief literature survey in the Problem Statement and Needs Assessment component. Everyone has an opinion on how to solve educational problems.
Funding agencies are interested both in seminal research on these problems and on implementation of carefully researched ideas that have a high probability of success. Are you proposing to do seminal research, or are you proposing to implement ideas that others have carefully researched? Many implementation proposals lack the references to the research literature that might suggest the proposal writer is quite familiar with was will work--what will lead to success in the project.
Suppose that your overall mission is to improve the level of computer literacy of students in a school. It occurs to you that if teachers knew how to use computers for their own personal productivity, they might better help their students gain computer literacy.
But how do you know this is true? Where is the research evidence to back your hypothesis? What methodologies are most apt to lead from increased computer use by teachers to computer literacy among students?In proposals focusing on research, materials development, and implementation, a through review and analysis of the literature is important. In proposals to agencies such as the National Science Foundation and the Department of Education, such a literature review is required.
The level of detail in the review must be consistent with the size of the proposal. Thus, a $1 million proposal requires a much more detailed literature review than does a $50,000 proposal.
Because it can take hundreds of hours to carry out an adequate review of the literature, Resource Seekers ordinarily write proposals in areas in which they have a great deal of technical expertise. They have already spent hundreds of hours developing the general background necessary for a literature review.
They may have obtained a doctorate in this area of study. Thus, they may be able to carry out the literature review for a specific project in only tens of hours.
Indeed, if you are writing a "small" proposal (perhaps for $5,000 or so), you may be able to complete an adequate literature review in just an hour or so. See appendices B, C, and D for examples of small proposals.
Reviewers evaluating your proposal will be familiar with the literature related to your proposal topic. At the same time, they will expect your literature review to increase their own knowledge and bring them up to date.
Thus, this section of the proposal provides an opportunity for you to show your professional preparation and competence. Plan of OperationThe plan of operation component is assigned 10-15 points (10-15% of the total points) in a typical proposal to the Department of Education.
This component of a written proposal may be longer and more detailed than is suggested by the modest number of points assigned to it. Project Design Resources will be used to solve a problem or accomplish a task. The Project Director will manage the use of the resources.
The project needs to be designed so that it can be effectively managed and its goals can be accomplished. A project design includes details on the tasks that will be carried out, the order in which they will be done, and the resources necessary to do them. The proposal reviewers should be convinced that you have carefully thought through the detailed management of the project and that your project design is adequate to the task at hand.
Relation of Objectives to Mission or Purpose The problem statement is the anchoring point for the proposal. You will have a number of tasks related to the various objectives.
Remember, a goal is supported by measurable objectives 9 Feb 2017 - Research proposals are also used to assess your expertise in the area in which you want to conduct research, you knowledge of the existing .
Use of Resources to Achieve Objectives What resources will be brought to bear on the various objectives? A Project Staff Loading Chart, illustrated later in this section, is an effective way to represent use of staff resources. For each staff member and objective, it gives the number of days to be allocated in each project year.
The proposal reviewers and the funding agency look very carefully at this part of the plan. Management or Organizational Plan Who will do what, when will they do it, and how will progress and completion be measured? A Project Activity Chart, illustrated later in this chapter, addresses these important questions and lays out a time frame for the task.
Dissemination How will the results be disseminated? Dissemination at both the local and national levels is often desirable. Many proposals contain only a weak dissemination plan.
Poor dissemination limits the impact of a project. Equal Access and Treatment of Underrepresented Populations This is often a weak part of proposals.
Of course, some projects are specifically designed to address this issue. Strength in this part of a proposal can often add several points to its overall evaluation.
Project Staff Loading ChartSeveral parts of the plan of operation can be represented using tables or spreadsheets. We will use the staff development workshop proposal (see figure 8.
3 lists all project staff, their FTE, and the number of days allocated to each task. This is a very extensive staff development activity.
It will have 10 full days of inservice during the second semester of the year, and 10 full days during the summer. All sessions will be held in the Educational Service District building.
We will be making use of a large classroom that is equipped with 40 networked computers. Some of the staff time may be listed in the form of in-kind contributions of time or time contributed by volunteers.
Such details can be given in other sections of the proposal or as notes tied to the chart. Project Activity ChartA Project Activity Chart (see Figure 8. 4) lists the main activities and sub activities outlined in the proposal.
It might also show who is responsible for each activity and how completion will be measured.
The spreadsheet format effectively summarizes a lot of information. Sometimes you will want to accompany the spreadsheet with notes similar to the Budget Notes near the end of this chapter.
Evaluation PlanThe evaluation plan component is assigned 5 points (5% of the total points) in a typical proposal to the Department of Education. Although the point value assigned to this component is often quite small, it is a critical component.
In a well-written proposal, the evaluation component usually is longer and more detailed than its point value would reflect. Note: In the Preparing Tomorrow's Teachers to use Technology grants (which began in 1999) designed to help improve IT in preservice teacher education, the Department of Education assigned a full 25% of the possible points to the evaluation component of the proposal.
In recent years, the Federal Government has placed substantially increased emphasis on evaluation of projects. This is in line with an increasing emphasis on accountability in government (and education).
A well-written proposal contains detailed plans for both formative and summative evaluation. Formative evaluation refers to an evaluation of the project while it is ongoing, allowing midcourse corrections. A summative evaluation evaluates the overall project based on data gathered both during and after the project.
Have the goals and objectives stated in the original proposal been accomplished? The summative evaluation is an important part of the final report for a project.
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This may be done months, or even years, after the project has been completed.
Indeed, sometimes a separate project is carried out to measure the long-term residual impact of a previous project A key part of your application is your research proposal. Whether you are applying for a self-funded or studentship you should follow the guidance below..
Large projects will have full-time professional evaluators on staff or include a contract for an outside evaluation. Outside evaluators are used when the intent is to have impartial evaluation by people who are not intimately involved in implementation of the project.
The cost of evaluation in a large project might be in the range of 5-10% of the entire project budget. Indeed, some funding agencies are now suggesting that the evaluation activities may consume more than 10% of a project's resources.
In smaller projects, evaluation will be less intense and will usually be carried out by project staff who have other duties in the project. The 5-10% cost figure still provides a good rule of thumb.
Do not slight the formative and summative evaluation aspects of your project. If your own local (contributed) resources permit, indicate that you will do a long-term residual impact evaluation one or two years after the project has ended, and provide evidence that you have done similar residual impact evaluation on previous projects.
Formative evaluation for each major activity of the project is carried out in an ongoing, timely manner. Feedback is provided to the people carrying out each major activity.
At the same time, data are gathered for use in interim reports to the Program Officer, in the summative evaluation, and in the final project report. Additional data for the summative evaluation are gathered near the end of the project.
The evaluation plan must be closely tied to the detailed outline of the mission, goals, and objectives of the project and to the detailed plan of operation. Thus, you may want to include figures and tables in the evaluation component that are similar to some of those in the other parts of the proposal.
Such redundancy in a proposal is bothersome to some reviewers, but it is very helpful to others because it makes a proposal easier to read. The evaluation plan should say exactly what is to be evaluated, when the evaluation will be done, who will do it, how it will be carried out, and what the criteria are for gauging the success of objectives and sub objectives.
The evaluation plan should include details on the types of information that will be provided to the Program Officer and the dates when this information will be submitted. This can all be represented in a table or chart.
Key PersonnelThe key personnel component is assigned 10 points (10% of the total points) in a typical proposal to the Department of Education. One way to think about the key personnel component is that the funding agency is "hiring" you to do some work.
The funding agency wants to hire well-qualified people. Thus, you need to tell the funding agency who it will be hiring and provide solid evidence that the key personnel are qualified to carry out their duties.
This section of a proposal might be organized into subsections, with one subsection per key project staff member. A subsection names the person and contains a paragraph highlighting his or her general qualifications, background, and experience--especially as it relates to the work to be done in the project.
This paragraph also refers the reader to a vita appearing in the appendices to the proposal. Most funding agencies limit the length of each vita to two pages.
They lack uniformity and display poor writing and desktop publication standards.
You may be able to gain 1-2 points in the overall evaluation of your proposal by formatting every vita the same way, restricting the length of each vita to two pages, and doing a nice desktop-publishing job on them. Remember, in a highly competitive situation, a single point can make the difference between being funded and not being funded.
The subsection on each key staff member should include information on his or her full-time equivalency (FTE), duties, and qualifications to perform these duties. One of the required assurances in most proposals is an affirmative action/equal opportunity statement.
This will often appear in the key personnel component of the proposal. Adequacy of ResourcesThe adequacy of resources component is assigned 5 points (5% of the total points) in a typical proposal to the Department of Education.
It analyzes the total resources available to the project, both from the funding agency and locally. The purpose of this component is to argue that the budget--the combination of resources being sought and the in-kind contributions--is neither too large nor too small.
If the total amount of resources is too small, there is a good chance that the project will not be completed or that it will be completed only by a lot of corner-cutting that lead to poor results. If the project is over budgeted, the funding agency will not get its money's worth. You want to convince the funding agency representatives that they are getting a good deal by working with you.
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This could justify a low budget for staff and give you an advantage in a competitive proposal situation.
However, you do not want to underbid the project We will then break down the research proposal into its core components and Third, the proposal needs to build a convincing case for your project as a viable .
If you do not end up with enough resources to meet high standards in carrying out the project, you are left with difficult choices. You either do quite a bit of free work or use other resources of your organization, or you risk not achieving high standards in the project work.
This could handicap you in attempts to get future grants. ImpactThe impact component of the proposal is assigned 5 points (5% of the total points) in a typical proposal to the Department of Education; however, in many project proposal situations, it will have a higher point value.
This component assesses the project's potential impact on the world, nation, state, school district, and other entities if the project is funded and carried out successfully. Discuss both the short- and long-term impact of the project.
Think about this component from the Resource Provider's point of view. Although your goal may be to solve the technology problems of one school, representatives of a federal agency realize that there are more than 100,000 schools in the United States.
Solving the problems of one school may do little toward solving the problems of 100,000 schools. What can your project do to solve the local problem and contribute toward solving the larger problem? Here are three suggestions for addressing this issue.
Perhaps some of the project work can be commercialized.
This is such an important idea that many funding agencies require you to develop a plan for the commercial distribution of materials being developed in a project. Develop a careful dissemination plan for the project materials and results.
Identify key groups of people who would benefit by knowing the results of your project work. Indicate what information will be conveyed to these groups and how this will be done.
Use modern technologies as part of your dissemination plan.
Perhaps part of your dissemination could be done through a Gopher or World Wide Web server. Perhaps it will be effective to develop a CD-ROM and give away a number of copies.
A clear statement of your electronic dissemination strategy shows that you know how to use this technology for educational purposes. Organizational CapabilityThe organizational capability component of the proposal is assigned 10 points (10% of the total points) in a typical proposal to the Department of Education.
It contains an analysis of local resources available to the Resource Seeker, including libraries, research facilities, office space, and computer facilities. Here are a few suggestions for designing this component.
Discuss the resources available in the community, then from the organization, and then from individuals involved in the project.
Focus on resources directly related to project activities. These might include the following: libraries; computing facilities, including an Internet connection; media production facilities; research facilities; access to students, classrooms, and schools; and related projects and additional personnel at the site.
Create lists with specific examples to illustrate the range and breadth of your resources.
Focus on examples that suggest that your site is particularly well suited to carrying out the project. Budget and Budget NotesThe budget and budget notes component is assigned 5 points (5% of the total points) in a typical proposal to the U.
The budget is usually a separate part of a proposal. However, it is closely tied in with the plan of operations.
Typically, the budget will be prepared using a spreadsheet that is tied in with the Project Staff Loading Chart and the Project Activity Chart In this module, you will be able to write a research proposal for a client. You will be able to compose a response to a request for a proposal or research plan and be Every good research project requires a team of people or technology or..
A budget is accompanied by budget notes that explain the items of the budget that may not be obvious to a reviewer. The budget notes that accompany the budget in Figure 8.
5 are tied to particular lines in the spreadsheet. Many proposals are fueled by substantial contributions of local resources.
Some of these may appear in the budget, and it is common to add columns to the budget to show these local contributions. Budget NotesLines 2, 3: Salaries at Organization XYZ are based on 48 weeks (240 days) of work per year. One FTE is 240 days, including national holidays.
Lines 2, 3: Faculty members receive a benefits package valued at 32% of their actual pay. 20 FTE or more for Organization XYZ receive free tuition at the rate of $9,500 per year. Their benefits packages is estimated to cost 10% of their salary.
50 FTE or more for Organization XYZ receive a benefits package estimated at 35% of their actual pay.
Line 9: This is based on approximately $2,000 to duplicate the handout materials for participants, approximately $1,600 to cover the costs of staff duplication of materials, and approximately $400 for producing 80 copies of the final report of the project. Line 10: There will be approximately 40 participants.
Fifty nicely embossed notebooks with printed dividers will be produced for participants and staff at a cost of about $6. Line 14: Staff will need to travel for interviews during the needs assessment and to the workshop site at a school located about 25 miles from Organization XYZ. Organization XYZ reimburses travel at a rate of $.
Line 15: Participants are reimbursed for travel to the workshops.
Organization XYZ reimburses travel at a rate of $. Line 19: Estimated cost of "coffee break" services. Participants pay for their own lunches during the 20 full days of the workshop.
Line 20: This is a "token" fee for use of the 40-computer large classroom at the Educational service District. Line 25: The "Indirect" rate for Organization XYZ is 42% on Salaries and Supplies.
There are no indirect charges on Travel and Other. Use hypothetical numbers to develop spreadsheets for a Project Activity Chart, a Project Staff Loading Chart, and a Budget. Experiment with changes in the budget and the corresponding changes in the Project Activity Chart and the Project Staff Loading Chart.