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Writing Skills


Technical Writing
  • Boice, Robert. (1990) Professors As Writers: A Self Help Guide to Productive Writing. Oklahoma: New Forums Press Inc.
    Boice has mentored thousands in writing. This self help guide allows you to benefit from his mentoring and over two decades of research. There are exercises for overcoming writer’s block, organizing your life for writing and making writing painless.
  • Blake, Gary & Bly, Robert W. (1993) The Elements of Technical Writing. Georgia: Longman Publisher.
    After an overview of what technical writing is and isn’t, the authors have pages of specific help on every type of technical writing.
  • Gopen, George. (2004) The Sense of Structure: Writing from the Reader's Perspective: Georgia: Longman Publisher
    This is a great tool for editing your work to ensure the reader has gleaned the best from your writing.
  • Ramey, Janis. http://www.technical-writing.net/articles/language%26style.html, 2001
    Ramey has a good article about the change in technical writing over the years. Technical writing has developed a more “accessible” style. Writing online, writing for a global audience and writing with access for digital formatting have all driven technical writing to a less complicated approach.
  • Ramey, Janis. High-Tech Publications Need Old-fashioned Editing. IPCC/SIGDOC joint conference sponsored by IEEE and ACM, Sept 24-27, 2000, MIT, Cambridge MA
  • Rosenberg, Barry J. (2005) Spring into Technical Writing for Engineers and Scientists. Massachusetts: Addison-Wesley.
    One of the best resources for learning to make technical writing interesting.
  • Rubens, Philip. (2001) Science & Technical Writing: A Manual of Style. New York: Routledge
    This has some great tips on using technology to enhance your technical writing.
  • Schulenberger, Eric. Multidisciplinary Research Development, Graduate School, University of Washington. Personal interviews with Dr. Schulenberger have contributed to the content of this presentation. He regularly teaches proposal strategies, tactics and writing.
  • Standler, Robert B. Technical Writing
    This is a summary of Standler’s best tips from teaching writing to electrical engineering undergraduates and German colleagues.
  • Zinsser, William. (2006) On Writing Well: The classic Guide to Writing Non-Fiction. New York: Harper Collins Publisher.
    This is most valuable for the tips in the Science & Technology chapter. There are examples on how to make science clear to non-scientists.


An internet search for proposal writing and grant writing will produce a plethora of resources. These are selected for their relevance to proposal writing in an academic setting.

General Information
  • Fischer, Beth A. and Michael J. Zigmond
    Survival Skills and Ethics Program
    University of Pittsburgh
    Grantsmanship: An Instruction Manual
    This contains an actual example of poor writing and poor presentation and then a reviewed and improved version. The rest of the material is presented in outline format so it is easy to peruse and gain quick tips.
  • Georgia Perimeter College
    Proposal Writing: Stages and Strategies with Examples
    This contains some of the main reasons proposals are not funded and excellent checklists for evaluating every section of your proposal. Though somewhat dated this is still a tremendous resource.
  • Kraicer, Jacob
    University of Toronto
    The Art of Grantsmanship
    A useful timeline is included with this presentation. Additionally, it looks like you would want a good proposal to look. It is clean and neat, has a logical flow and makes good use of white space.
  • Levine, S. Joseph
    Michigan State University
    Guide for Writing a Funding Proposal
    Examples of grants are frequently requested but rarely found. Levine includes an example which will be most helpful to those in the social sciences. He also includes an extensive list of resources available in print along with his review of many of the books.
  • Morrison, David C. and Russell, Stephen W.
    GrantWriters' Seminars and Workshops, LLC http://www.grantcentral.com
    GrantWriters' seminars and workbooks are among the best. Step by step instructions are available for general applications or for specific agencies (e.g. NSF, NIH)
  • Racey, Janet S.
    University of Washington
    Fundamentals of Grantsmanship
    Racey gives a brief overview of the highlights of grantsmanship. Some helpful links are included.
  • Reid, Alice N.T.
    Delaware Technical and Community College
    A Practical Guide for Writing Proposals
    Good links to practical items are included such as how to do citations and literature reviews.
  • Other resources:

Books in Print
  • Designing Successful Grant Proposals, Donald C. Orlich, ISBN 0871202646
    A solid source on the basics of grant writing; those in the social sciences will find this most helpful.
  • Grant Writing for Dummies , Beverly A. Browning, ISBN 0764553070
    Whatever you think of the “Dummies” books this one is rich with vital information in an easy to read format.
  • Principles of Grantsmanship, Thomas A. Fretz, J. Scott Angle and Zane R. Helsel (self published).
    Contact: Dr. Thomas A. Fretz, Executive Director, Northeastern Regional Association of State Agricultural Experiment Station Directors, tfretz@umd.edu
    This has three complete examples of competitive proposals. It also includes a very useful checklist for evaluating your proposal before submission as well as information on preparing multi-institutional and team proposals.
  • Proposal Planning and Writing (3rd Edition), Lynn E. Miner, Jeremy T. Miner, ISBN 1573564982
    This includes ways to find funding, both public and private. There are many examples included as the authors take you through preparing a proposal.

Poster Presentation

  • Cremmins, Edward, The Art of Abstracting, 2nd Edition, Information Resource Press, 1996.
    230 pages dedicated specifically to writing abstracts. Cremmins includes tips on how to read for abstracting.
  • George Mason University Writing Center
    This includes a brief description of abstracts and a few tips on writing an informative abstract.
  • Koopman, Phil, How to Write and Abstract, Carnegie Mellon University
    Koopman has a brief but thorough presentation on preparing abstracts.
  • Purdue University Writing Center
    Another brief presentation on abstracts, this one includes an example.
  • The University of Mississippi Writing Center
    This was the most thorough treatment of abstracts outside Cremmins’ book.