Guide to Writing Effective Grant Proposals/Sample Proposal

Writing Effective WPA Research Grant Proposals

Council of WPA Research Grants Committee

Barbara L’Eplattenier (

Joe Janangelo (

Chuck Paine (

July 17, 2010, Philadelphia, PA, Council of Writing Program Administrators Conference


Call for 2011 WPA Research Grant Proposals

The Research Grants Committee of the Council of Writing Program Administrators invites proposals for research projects that investigate issues and practices in writing program administration. Maximum awards of $2000 may be given; average awards are $1000. Applicants must be current WPA members; all current WPA members are eligible to apply.
Deadline for Proposals is January 1, 2011.


Please organize your proposal as follows:

1. A cover page that gives the names of all investigators (please don’t identify yourself or your institution in the rest of the proposal), the proposal/project title, mailing addresses, email addresses and phone numbers.

2. A project overview of no more than two pages single-spaced in which you:

  • explain the problem or question your research project will attempt to investigate or solve,
  • briefly outline the methodology you plan to use to approach the problem,
  • describe how the project will address the problem or question you have identified,
  • give a timetable detailing how the project will proceed,
  • connect the project to previously published research and scholarship,
  • describe your expertise in this area, and
  • describe how the results will be shared professionally (See “Expectations of Reward Recipients” below).

3. A realistic, detailed budget on a separate page. For grants over $1000, in-kind budget items or alternative budget sources need to be included in the budget. State also if you will accept partial funding.


Criteria for Selection
You may find the following criteria useful in preparing your proposal. The WPA Grants Committee will use these criteria to conduct blind reviews of all proposals. Please see the

  • Relevance—the project is relevant to the work of writing program administrators, it applies to contexts outside of the immediate institutional context of origin, and writing program administrators will benefit from the outcomes of this project.
  • Contribution—the project not only is related to prior scholarship and research but also makes an original contribution.
  • Proposer’s Past Scholarship/Expertise—through prior research and expertise, the proposer is well-prepared to undertake this project.
  • Methods—the methodology is clear, workable, and appropriate to this project.
  • Feasibility—the proposer can reasonably complete the project in the proposed time frame.
  • Cost Effectiveness—the budget expenditures are reasonable and the project’s outcomes justify the project’s expenses.


  • Ordinarily, you will not receive funding for released time for the grantee or others; for purely local initiatives or projects with little relevance to other settings; for outside consultants or evaluators; for the production of non-researched materials; for dissertation research; travel to present your research at WPA or any other conference. (Funding for travel to conferences for research purposes may be considered) or for supplements to existing grants, unless it is clear that the WPA grant provides an opportunity to extend the project in new directions.
  • WPA does not generally fund institutional overhead. If grants are approved that require institutional overhead, WPA will allow no more than 10% of funding to institutional overhead.
  • You may not submit more than one proposal per year. The Committee will give first consideration for awards to those who have not received an award for three years.
  • Former WPA Board members should wait a year after their term has expired to apply for a grant.

Expectations of Reward Recipients

  • Grantees are expected to submit articles resulting from the research to WPA Journal for first consideration.
  • Grantees are expected to produce a brochure presenting research results at the annual CCCC’s WPA breakfast in the year during which the award is granted. Applicants should budget approximately $200 for production of the brochure in their application.
  • Grantees are expected to submit a final written report of their research outcomes to the Chair of the Research Grants Committee by June 15 of the year after they receive the award. Ordinarily, reports will be 5-7 pages in length. In some circumstances, grantees may need more space, in which case a report of up to 10 pages is acceptable. These reports should outline specific plans for submitting an article reporting the results to the WPA Journal as well as other plans for dissemination.

Asking Questions and Submitting Your Proposal

  • Direct your questions to Barbara L’Eplattenier at
  • Submissions must be received no later than January 1, 2011.
  • We prefer that proposals be sent by email to Barbara L’Eplattenier ( as a Microsoft Word or Rich Text Format attachment. If applicants must send paper copies, please send four copies of the proposal to Barbara L’Eplattenier, Department of Rhetoric and Writing, 2801 S. University Ave, University of Arkansas—Little Rock, Little Rock, AR 72204-1099.
  • Funded proposals will be announced in March or April, 2011.