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The vocabulary of proposal development is part of the language required for writing a winning grant proposal. This set of entries covers words and phrases from Q to Z (see table). Revised and expanded in early 2018, its context is the United States of America.


RASCI Chart State Educational Agency (SEA)
Red Team Review Summative Evaluation
Replicability SWOT Analysis
Reliability Target Population
Research Team
Result Timeline
Staff Validity
Staffing Plan Vision


RASCI CHART: A form of responsibility matrix that clarifies roles and responsibilities for tasks and deliverables within a project team. In a RASCI chart, R = Responsible, A = Accountable, S = Supportive, C = Consulted, and I = Informed. It is a useful tool for a Staffing Plan.


RED TEAM REVIEW: An applicant’s self-imposed internal review process where a team rates and comments upon pre-submittal grant proposals in terms of the attributes of coherence, completeness, consistency, compliance, and correctness. It is a useful tool for ensuring the completeness of a proposal and its responsiveness to review criteria.


RELIABILITY: The extent to which a scale yields consistent or stable results if the same measurement is repeated a number of times. Among types of statistical reliability are: internal, external, test-retest, inter-rater, parallel forms, and split-half. Reliability coefficients are used to determine degree of similarity of results (i.e., the range of variance) using the same scale. The range of correlation for reliability coefficients is 0 to 1. The higher the correlation, the more reliable is the scale; desirable levels start at 0.85+ for high-stakes measures, and 0.70+ for low-stakes measures. The Buros Mental Measurements Yearbooks are a useful source of technical reviews for 3,000 scales. Also see: Validity.


REPLICABILITY: A project’s ability or promise of being able to be transplanted to other settings and to yield similar or comparable impacts or outcomes or results in them.


RESEARCH: An organized effort to add to the existing knowledge base of an established or emerging discipline in the area of theory or application or both. Alternatively, the search for epistemologically valid and reliable evidence that implementing one or more of an applicant’s proposed activities or strategies is likely to yield the desired outcomes and impacts.


RESULT: A measurable consequence of implementing a project or initiative, but not necessarily the intended and anticipated focus of an objective or a goal. Examples: Improved school climate in an arts enrichment project; reduced arrests for certain property crimes in a graffiti abatement project.


STAFF: The person or persons who carry out a project using grant funds, and those who support it using other funds; also may be called Personnel. Also see: Personnel and Staffing Plan.


STAFFING PLAN: The scheme, method, or approach for deploying persons having appropriate knowledge, skills, and abilities (or required qualifications and experience) to do the work of a project or initiative. Also see: Key Personnel, Personnel, and Staff.


STATE EDUCATIONAL AGENCY (SEA): A state-level unit of government, such as a board of education or other agency, or a state officer, responsible primarily for the supervision of public elementary schools and secondary schools in a state. It is a type of eligible applicant for grants.


SUMMATIVE EVALUATION: The measurement of the extent or degree of success of a project or initiative; it offers conclusions about what worked (and what did not) and it makes recommendations about what to keep, what to change, and what to discontinue; it occurs at the end of each project year and after the grant-funded project ends. Also called Outcome Evaluation or Product Evaluation. Also see: Formative Evaluation.


SWOT ANALYSIS: An analysis that looks at internal and external factors that form the present context or milieu of a proposed project or initiative. In a SWOT analysis, Strength = S, Weakness = W, Opportunity = O, and Threat = T. It is a useful tool for a Needs Assessment and an Evaluation Plan.


TARGET POPULATION: The persons, groups, subgroups, or entities intended to participate in a project or initiative and/or to benefit from it. Applicants should exercise discretion and sensitivity in adopting the phrase in certain contexts (e.g., violence prevention). Also see: Beneficiary and Participant.


TEAM: A group of persons who work as a unit towards a common or shared purpose related to a project or initiative. A team may include persons paid with non-grant funds and persons affiliated with organizations other than the applicant or grant recipient. Also see: Partner.


TIMELINE: The detailed overall sequence, schedule, or timetable anticipated for implementing a project or initiative. It may present both discrete events and continuous processes. It also may include an illustrative chart or a table. Also see: Gantt Chart and Milestone.


VALIDITY: The extent to which a scale measures what it claims to measure. Among types of statistical validity are: predictive, postdictive, population, ecological, concurrent, face, criterion validity, internal, external, construct, content, and factorial. The range of correlation for the validity coefficient is 0 to 1. The higher the correlation, the more valid is the scale; commonly, validity coefficients range only from 0 to 0.50. The Buros Mental Measurements Yearbooks are a useful source of technical reviews for 3,000 scales. Also see: Reliability.


VISION: A clear and concise statement of an applicant’s purpose, values, and aspirations for its mid-term or long-term future, presented as its inspiration or motivation for what it does in the present. In a proposal, an applicant commonly links its organizational vision to its Work Plan and to the grant maker’s purposes for making grants. Also see: Mission.


This post concludes a five-part series on Proposal Development. It is a companion to a seven-part series on Budget Development.






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