This post is about the easy way to write the first part of the generic case for support for a research grant application. As I have explained in a previous post the first section of the case for support should be written last. I also explain how to write the other two main sections of the case for support, the description of the research project, which comes last but should be written first, and the ‘we have a problem’ section, which comes second and should be written second.
In the book, we call the first section the ‘Foot in the Door’. It gives the reader an immediate preview of the whole research proposal, as when a travelling salesman sticks his foot in the door and tells you what he is selling and why you should want to buy it. The ‘foot in the door’ section must grab the reader’s attention and then hold it for long enough to deliver its message.
It is important that the message delivered in the ‘foot in the door’ section is the same and uses the same words as the subsequent sections of the case for support. For this reason, it is almost impossible to write the ‘foot in the door’ section until you have written the other two sections, so if you haven’t written them yet, go and do it now.
Once you have written the main sections, the ‘we have a problem’ and the description of the research project, writing the ‘foot in the door’ takes three steps.
- First, you ensure that the main sections are written in ‘assert-justify’ style: see my last post for how to do this.
- Then you copy and paste the dozen or so ‘message sentences’ from the main sections into the new section at the beginning, the ‘foot in the door’.
- This gives you a first draft of the the ‘foot in the door’, which you can edit so that it reads well. In editing, it is best if you can avoid changing the sentence order.