With the popular British Academy/Leverhulme Small Grant deadline looming, I am asked to comment on several draft applications per day.
My comments are surprisingly consistent as I read each new draft and give feedback using ‘track changes’:
Comment (JA1) Your assessor may not know anything about your subject area so assume the person reading your abstract has no particular interest in your area and very little knowledge. Provide some context about why your topic is important (e.g. headline statistic about the growth of online shopping), use lay terms or define your terminology (e.g. you can’t guarantee that your reader will know what ‘crowdsourcing’ is).
Comment (JA2) ‘Under-researched’ is not a good enough justification for your study. You need to explain why more research is warranted.
Comment (JA3) This sentence is very important and explains exactly what you want to do and why. However, it is buried away at the end of a long paragraph. It would be perfect as the opening sentence of your project summary. Perhaps consider moving it?
Comment (JA4) Your methodology section is very brief and should be longer than the introductory background section.
Comment (JA5) Include more detail about how you will collect and analyse your data. For example, you mention semi-structured interviews. Who will you interview? What topics will you explore in the interviews? How will you obtain access to your interviewees?
In each case, the amendments only take a few minutes to action and make all the difference to the final draft.