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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton 2020

18. Grant proposal writing as a dialogic process

Benedetto Lepori and Sara Greco

Abstract

The goal of this chapter is to provide some directions for a broader understanding of grant proposal writing as part of a socially and institutionally embedded communicative process between scientists and funding agencies. It involves a variety of (formal and informal, textual and oral) communicative exchanges and the production of a network of interconnected texts - including grant proposals, but also decision letters, external reviews and guidelines by the funding agencies. First, we provide a “primer” on the grant proposal process, highlighting its main characteristics, the nature of the interactions that take place and the type of texts that are produced in each phase. Second, we review the literature on grant proposal writing and on textual features of grant proposals, highlighting particularly those studies that open to a broader understanding of grant proposal writing as a communicative and dialogic process. Third, we illustrate three directions to further our understanding of the communicative process and function of grant proposals, i. e. a) introducing a representation of the communicative context that allows understanding how the textual characteristics of grant proposals are related to key dimensions of their context, b) analysing grant proposal writing as a dialogic process that unfolds through different social and communicative interactions and over time and c) interpreting grant proposals as part of an argumentative dialogue, which enables the reconciliation of their rhetorical goals with the pursuit of reasonable argumentation around the notion of strategic manoeuvring.

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