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In many cases, the best presentation of the topic is found in a statement of what is missing in the literature.It is far better logic to state what you are doing and then to note it is missing in the literature, rather than have the reader surmise that what is noted as missing is what you will be doing.Recognize that the reader’s main interest in the proposal is to find out what the writer intends to do with the topic, rather than the topic itself.
In fact, the opening paragraph(s), structured in hierarchic fashion, can then serve as an outline for the rest of the proposal where you elaborate on the opening points in a highly structured fashion.
Another common tendency is to present the main topic in multiple versions that are just different enough from one another to leave the reader confused (all too frequently, there are even versions that contradict one another); once a topic is clearly and concisely presented at the opening, there is no need to repeatedly tell what the topic is.
The reader is likely to be grateful to learn sooner rather than later what the project is all about and is likely to attach greater weight to what comes first.
This means having a strong but succinct opening paragraph(s), in which all the major points of the proposal are presented in a concise nut-shell fashion, with further elaboration postponed for subsequent paragraphs.
It is also important to make all statements concise and compelling.
The use of fewer words is the best path to clarity.This is the single most important aspect of the proposal, and needs to be stated early.In this case, it is especially important to include a subsequent paragraph that deals at greater length with the existing literature.Your concise opening statements will also need a concise description of methodology, how you will document your arguments, what principal sources you will use, and what theoretical framework, if any, that you will use for analytical purposes.Some proposals create a disconnect between the WHAT and the HOW in the proposal: a topic is presented, but the method for implementation is poorly matched with the stated topic.There is common tendency for the writer to engage in preliminaries, often providing extensive background material and saving the actual topic for last.This deprives the proposal of much of its meaning until the main point is reached.This subsequent elaboration needs to present a well-organized and coherent picture of the relevant literature, making sure that you cover all the scholarly areas to which your project will contribute, since projects often contribute to more than one field.Here too there is a common tendency to scatter references to the literature throughout the proposal, which makes it harder for the reader to get a complete grasp of your contributions.In this context, it is imperative to make a clear and compelling argument for why the project should be funded, and it must be “reader friendly,” which means sparing the reader the hard work of figuring out the major points of the topic and why it is important.In choosing what to say and when and how to say it, try to imagine that in all likelihood the committee reader will only absorb or retain approximately five major points from each proposal that she reads.