About this Resource
What’s in a proposal?
Who are you writing your proposal for?
Why the criteria for evaluating your proposal matter so much
Evidence of success – a funder’s perspective
Demonstrating how your proposal meets the assessment criteria
Ensuring that your submitted proposal will get as far as the review process
Developing an overall argument to convince the assessors and reviewers
Warranting the conclusion of your overall argument
Telling a convincing story
Sources of information to consult in preparing a research proposal for the ESRC
Checking where to include components of your overall argument in any proposal
A research proposal logic checksheet
Illustration: a completed logic checksheet for a successful ESRC research proposal
Ensuring that assessors and reviewers get your message
Getting your message across
Subjecting your draft proposal to multiple checks
Final tip – build all the secrets of success into your habitual practice
Illustration: a completed logic checksheet for a successful ESRC research proposal 
Networked Cranfield > AIM Research > Key Topics > Developing proposals > Illustration: a completed logic checksheet for a successful ESRC research proposal

To give you an idea of what a completed logic checksheet for the overall argument in a research proposal might look like, we have provided one here.

This illustration is the completed logic checksheet for an ESRC standard grant proposal which was successful. The anonymised feedback from the reviewers and the assessor suggested that the overall argument in the proposal was strong enough to convince them that the project was worth funding. This proposal was for a substantial qualitative research project, and so is of larger scope and greater complexity than an ESRC small or first grant is likely to be. But the same principle applies to all research proposals, of whatever size. All elements of the logic making up the warranting and conclusion of the overall argument must be there, and the linkage between all the components must be clear to the assessors and reviewers.

You might find it useful to consider these questions:

·        How well warranted is the conclusion of the overall argument? Why?

·        How well linked together are the different elements of the logic making up the warranting and conclusion? Why?

If you scrutinise the content entered for each element the logic of the overall argument in the proposal, you will see how the linkage between elements is made in many places. For example, you can track how:

·        the objectives reflect the broad aim

·        the aim, in turn, fits in with the major central question, which the proposed research stood to make a significant contribution to answering

·        the objectives are to be addressed through one or more research questions each

·        one or more research questions are to be tackled through specifically linked methods of data collection and analysis

·        the anticipated outputs and impacts are the product of answering particular research questions which, in turn, achieve the relevant objective

This tight linkage between elements of the logic of the overall argument was made explicit In the proposal itself. For example, in the case for support the account of the anticipated outputs was structured according to each objective and the related research question (or questions) in turn. The relevant objective and associated research question or questions were indicated at the beginning of the paragraph setting out the anticipated output for that objective.

We note that the research proposal itself was developed and submitted before we invented the notion of a logic checksheet. So, since you have the opportunity to complete your own logic checksheet to help you to create a really strong overall argument in your proposal, you could do a better job of producing a well-structured, tightly focused and linked-together proposal than we did!

Secret of success No. 8: develop the logic of your overall argument throughout all parts of your proposal, and make the linkages explicit.