Reasonableness in Grant Proposal Writing

Benedetto Lepori, Andrea Rocci


This paper proposes an approach to the study of grant proposal writing based on the model of "critical discussion" from Pragma-Dialectics and centered around the notion of reasonableness as the key concept explaining the selection of argumentative moves. Thus, we interpret grant proposal writing as a discussion between a funding agency and a researcher, where the content of a future research is negotiated which is acceptable for both parties and, at the same time, can reasonably be realised. In this perspective we try to provide a deeper understanding of the role of commitments to reasonableness in shaping the proposal text and of the strategies adopted by proposal writers to reconcile their dialectical commitment to reasonableness with their rhetorical goals through different forms of strategic maneuvering. Furthermore, both the dialectical and rhetorical aspects of proposal writing are considered, beyond the single episode of text production, for their function in the context of the long term interaction between the funding agency and the proposer. We conclude the paper with a discussion of some directions for future empirical work based on this approach. 


grant proposal writing; reasonableness; critical discussion; strategic manouevring

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Studies in Communication Sciences | ISSN: 1424-4896