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
A research proposal logic checksheet 
Networked Cranfield > AIM Research > Key Topics > Developing proposals > A research proposal logic checksheet

The sequence may vary in which funding agencies require information. But the logic of the overall argument that you need to develop through your focus and linkage is the same. 


Element of logic

                                               Warranting the conclusion

What the topic is

Title, aim, objectives

Why it is important and timely

Central question or issue

How you will investigate it

Theoretical framework, research questions, research methods


                                               The conclusion

What you expect to find out

Anticipated outputs

How you will ensure the new knowledge is useful

Impact on academic and non-academic beneficiaries

A blank logic checksheet is set out below. You could mark each cell in the righthand column that you will need to have addressed in developing your research proposal for your funding agency. Then, as you think through the proposal, enter in the relevant information in each of these cells. As you proceed, the logic checksheet will function as:

·        a pointer to each element of the logic of your overall argument that you need to decide upon and incorporate in your proposal

·        a reminder of where you have got to in working through the logic of your overall argument

·        a brief summary of the core content of your proposal

As you work on your proposal, you may find that you need to alter elements of the logic of your overall argument (e.g. you may have started with an objective for data collection which is too ambitious for the resources you are allowed to bid for). If so, you can easily modify what is written in the relevant cell, and check whether it has implications for other elements.




Element of logic

Content in this proposal


What topic you’re going to investigate

Project Title

·        keywords summarising the topic


Broad aim

·        contribution to finding out about the topic in general terms



·        collection of data



·        contribution to knowledge, policy, practice for specified beneficiaries



·        development of theory, methodology or methods


Why the topic is important and timely

Major central question or issue about the topic to be addressed

·        evidence for its importance and timeliness


How you’ll investigate the topic

Theoretical framework
for addressing the central question or issue



Research questions:

·        related directly to objectives within the broad aim

·        contributing to addressing the wider central question or issue of concern to the specified beneficiaries


Research Methods:

·        specific means of data collection to answer each of the research questions


Methods of analysis:

·        specific means of analysing data to determine the answer to each of the research questions



What your investig-ation promises to find out about the topic

Anticipated outputs:

·        projected body of data that will answer research questions and achieve the objectives

·        how the data will be reported


How you will ensure that what you find out about the topic is useful


·        what value the outputs will have for the specified academic and non-academic beneficiaries in helping them address the central question or issue of concern

·        how engagement and dissemination activities will maximise impact on these beneficiaries


  (To download and use this document – click on the word document here)