Proposal Development Resources: Bibliography

This bibliography provides references for both print and electronic resources on a myriad of topics related to proposal development, from the specific (writing research proposals to specific agencies) to the general (writing well). References are also offered on writing the thesis or dissertation.

In addition, the bibliography includes references on the nuts and bolts of editing — appropriate style, usage, syntax, grammar, punctuation, and word choice — as well as on incorporating marketing strategies to enhance competitiveness. The remaining citations will lead you to practical guides on how to overcome writer’s block, manage time, and manage projects. And when you need a good laugh and a few moments of stress relief, check out the books included just for fun.

Article titles are linked to online journals, while book titles are linked to Amazon Books, where you can find book summaries and reviews.

Writing research proposals to specific sponsors

  1. Adolphe, Eric, and Michael Lisagor. 2015. How to develop a winning Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) proposal. Beltsville, MD.
  2. Garland, Eva R. 2014. Winning SBIR/STTR grants: A ten week plan for preparing rour NIH Phase I application. Seattle, WA: CreateSpace.
  3. Kienholz, Michelle L., and Jeremy M. Berg. 2014. How the NIH can help you get funded: An insider’s guide to grant strategy. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Government Proposal Solution.
  4. Li, Ping, and Karen Marrongelle. 2012. Having success with NSF: A practical guide. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Blackwell.
  5. Oster, Sandra, and Paul Cordo. 2014. Successful grant proposals in science, technology, and medicine: A guide to writing the narrative. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. [Focuses on NIH and NSF proposals.]
  6. Stephens, David W. 2013. Writing an effective NSF pre-proposal. Seattle, WA: CreateSpace.
  7. Sternberg, Robert J. 2014. Writing successful grant proposals from the top down and bottom up. Los Angeles, SAGE.
    [Written by a former NSH program officer. Covers proposals to NIH, NSF, DOD, NASA, and the Institute of Education Sciences, as well as to private funders.]
  8. Yang, Otto O. 2012. Guide to Effective Grant Writing: How to Write a Successful NIH Grant Application. 2nd ed. New York: Springer Science + Business.

Writing research proposals: General best practices

  1. Clarke, Cheryl A. 2009. Storytelling for grantseekers: A guide to creative nonprofit fundraising. San Francisco: Jossey- Bass.
  2. Crawley, Gerard M., and Eoin O’Sullivan. 2015. The grant writer’s handbook: How to write a research proposal and succeed. London: Imperial College.
  3. Denscombe, Martyn. 2012. Research Proposals: A Practical Guide. New York: Open University Press.
  4. Geever, Jane C. 2012. The Foundation Center’s guide to proposal writing. 6th ed. Foundation Center.
  5. Karsh, Ellen, and Arlen Sue Fox. 2014. The Only Grant-Writing Book You’ll Ever Need, 4th ed. New York: Perseus Books Group, Basic Books.
  6. Miner, Jeremy T., and Lynn E. Miner. Proposal planning and writing. 5th ed. Santa Barbara, CA: Greenwood.
  7. Sword, Helen. 2012. Stylish academic writing. Boston: Harvard University Press.
  8. Tammemagi, Hans. 2010. Winning proposals. 5th ed. Bellingham, WA: Self-Counsel Press.

Writing scientific and technical documents

  1. Belcher, Wendy Laura. 2009. Writing your journal article in twelve weeks: A guide to academic publishing success. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.
  2. Goodson, Patricia. 2012. Becoming an academic writer: 50 exercises for paced, productive, and powerful writing. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.
  3. Hayot, Eric. 2014. The elements of academic style: Writing for the humanities. New York: Columbia University Press.
  4. Schimel, Joshua. 2011. Writing science: How to write papers that get cited and proposals that get funded. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  5. Silvia, Paul. 2014. Write it up: Practical strategies for writing and publishing journal articles. Washington, DC: APA LifeTools.

Writing well

  1. Clark, Roy Peter. 2013. Help! For writers: 210 solutions to the problems every writer faces. New York: Little, Brown.
  2. Lamott, Anne. 1995. Bird by bird: Some instructions on writing and life. New York: Random House, Anchor Books.
  3. LaRocque, Paula. 2003. The book on writing: The ultimate guide to writing well. Arlington, TX: Grey and Guvnor.
  4. O’Connor, Patricia. 1999. Words fail me: What everyone who writes should know about writing. New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
  5. Zinsser, William. 2006. On Writing Well, 30th Anniversary Edition: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction. New York: HarperCollins.

Writing the thesis or dissertation

  1. Creswell, John. W. 2013. Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches. 4th ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.
  2. Graustein, J.S. 2013. How to write an exceptional thesis or dissertation: A step-by step guide from proposal to successful defense. Ocala, FL: Atlantic Publishing Group.
  3. Joyner, Randy L., William A. Rouse, and Allan A. Glatthorn. 3rd ed. 2012. Writing the winning thesis or dissertation: A step-by-step guide. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE, Corwin.
  4. Karp, Jason R. 2009. How to survive your PhD: The insider’s guide to avoiding mistakes, choosing the right program, working with professors, and just how a person actually writes a 200-page paper. William Riley, Sourcebooks.
  5. Locke, Lawrence F. 2014. Proposals that work: A guide for dissertations and grant proposals. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE
  6. Machi, Lawrence A. and Brenda T. McEvoy. 2012. The literature review: Six steps to success. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE, Corwin.
  7. Miller, Alison B. 2009. Finish your dissertation once and for all! How to overcome psychological barriers, get results, and move on with your life. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
  8. Rugg, Gordon, and Marian Petre. 2010. The unwritten rules of PhD research. 2nd ed. New York: McGraw-Hill, Open University Press.
  9. Single, Peg Boyle. 2010. Demystifying dissertation writing: A streamlined process from choice of topic to final text. Stewling, VA: Stylus.
  10. Sumerson, Joanne Broder. 2013. Finish your dissertation, don’t let it finish you! Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.


  1. Cook Kehrwald, Claire. Line by line: How to edit your own writing. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, Modern Language Association.
  2. Fisher Saller, Carol. 2009. The subversive copy editor: Advice from Chicago (or, how to negotiate good relationships with your writers, your colleagues, and yourself. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Using appropriate style and usage

  1. Butterfield, Jeremy. 2015. Fowler’s dictionary of modern English usage. 4th ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  2. Casagrande, Jun. 2010. It was the best of sentences, it was the worst of sentences: A writer’s guide to crafting killer sentences. New York: Random House, Crown Publishing Group, Ten Speed Press.
  3. Fiske, Robert Hartwell. 2014. To the point: A dictionary of concise writing. New York: Norton.
  4. Norris, Mary. 2015. Between you and me: Confessions of a comma queen. New York: Norton.
  5. White, E.B. 1999. The Elements of Style. 4th ed. London. Pearson, Longman.

Using correct syntax, grammar, and punctuation

  1. Clark, Roy Peter. 2014. How to write short: Word craft for fast times. New York: Little, Brown.
  2. —. 2011. The glamour of grammar: A guide to the magic and mystery of practical English. New York: Little, Brown.
  3. Fogarty, Mignon. 2008. Grammar Girl’s quick and dirty tips for better writing. New York: Henry Holt, Holt Paperback.
  4. —. 2009. The grammar devotional: Daily tips for successful writing from Grammar Girl. New York: Henry Holt, Holt Paperback.
  5. Good, C. Edward. 2002. A grammar book for you and I . . . Oops, me! New York: Capital.
  6. —. 2002. Who’s (oops whose) grammar book is this anyway? All the grammar you need to succeed in life. New York: Barnes & Noble Books.
  7. Hale, Constance. 2013. Sin and syntax: How to craft wicked good prose. New York: Random House, Crown Publishing Group, Three Rivers Press.
  8. O’Conner, Patricia T. 2009. Woe is I: The grammarphobe’s guide to better English in plain English. 3rd ed. New York: Penguin Group, Riverhead Books.
  9. Straus, Jane, Lester Kaufman, and Tom Stern. 2014. The blue book of grammar and punctuation: An easy-to-use guide with clear rules, real-world examples, and reproducible quizzes. 11th ed. San Francisco: Wiley, Jossey-Bass.
  10. Truss, Lynne. 2006. Eats, shoots, and leaves: The zero tolerance approach to punctuation. New York: Penguin Group, Gotham Books.

Replacing jargon with clear language

  1. Fogarty, Mignon. 2011. Grammar Girl’s 101 misused words you’ll never confuse again. New York: St. Martin’s Griffin.
  2. —. 2012. Grammar Girl’s 101 troublesome words you’ll master in no time. New York: St. Martin’s Griffin.
  3. Hale, Constance. 2012. Vex, hex, smash, smooch: Let verbs power your writing. New York, Norton

Overcoming writer’s block

  1. Bane, Rosanne. 2012. Around the writer’s block: Using brain science to solve writer’s resistance: Including writer’s block, procrastination, paralysis, perfectionism, postponing, distractions, self-sabotage, excessive criticism, overscheduling, and endless delaying your writing. New York: Penguin.
  2. Keyes, Ralph. 1995. The courage to write: How writers transcend fear. New York: Henry Holt, Owl Book.
  3. Rettig, Hillary. 2011. The seven secrets of the prolific: The definitive guide to overcoming procrastination, perfectionism, and writer’s block. Infinite Art.

Practicing project and time management

  1. Berkun, Scott. 2008. Making things happen: Mastering project management. Sebastopol, CA: O’Reilly Media.
  2. Kogon, Kory; Suzette Blakemore, and James Wood. 2015. Project management for the unofficial project manager. Dallas: BenBella Books.
  3. Schmidt, Terry. 2009. Strategic project management made simple: Practical tools for leaders and teams. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley and Sons.

Just for fun

  1. Henriksson, Anders. 2008. Ignorance is Blitz: Mangled Moments of History From Actual College Students. New York: Workman Publishing.
  2. Lederer, Richard. 1989. Anguished English: An Anthology of Accidental Assaults upon Our Language. New York: Random House.
  3. O’Connor, Patricia T., and Steward Kellerman. 2010. Origins of the specious: Myths and misconceptions of the English language. New York: Random House.