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Archive for June, 2007

Advice on Writing Competitive Grant Proposals

Langille, L, MacKenzie, T. Navigating the road to success: A systematic approach to preparing competitive grant proposals. EBLIP 2007; 2 (1): 23-31.

This article gives pragmatic advice about writing competitive grant proposals, with information organized around 11 basic principles of grant preparation including “address a specific audience,” “be innovative,” “involve stakeholders” and “define your objectives and outcomes.” The tips are so concrete, an applicant could create a checklist of characteristics to include in the proposal. The article emphasizes writing to two audiences: the funding agency and reviewers. While the article specifically describes preparation of a research grant proposal, many of the principles would apply to any grant application. RML staff members who teach proposal writing to network members or provide one-to-one help to network members with applications might find the article can help to articulate characteristics of a good proposal. Those reviewing grant applications also will find good criteria for judging applications. The article includes a list of online sources to support proposal writing and project planning. It also presents a timeline, so applicants understand the lead time they need to truly prepare good proposals.

Survey Monkey Re-design

Apparently Survey Monkey has undergone a major re-design. You might want to take a look before you need to use it again.

In my quick tour around the updated site, I noticed the list manager feature is much improved. It stores your recipient list and messages with the survey, so there is less opportunity for error (like sending your survey to someone else’s list!). You now create and store your recipient list with the survey and access it under the collect button: just hit the collect button for a specific survey, and you’ll find the distribution list for that survey. (You create your distribution list there too.)

The other major change I discovered is that inactive surveys are archived and it can take up to 24 hours to restore data from archived surveys. (I couldn’t find any notations about how long surveys are inactive before they are archived.) Only the data takes time to restore, though. You do not have to restore questionnaires if you want to copy them for the basis of a new survey. When you hit the “create survey” button, a list appears of the surveys in the account that can be copied and archived surveys are included in that list.

It would be great if others using Survey Monkey could give us all a heads-up on changes you find (for better or worse) by inserting comments to this post. Instructions for adding comments can be found by clicking on “How to Participate” under “About OERC Blog” to the left.