|Michael J. Watts
Professor Watts' most recent work: Curse of the Black Gold:
Professor Watts' most recent research: Economies of Violence: Petroleum, Politics and Community Conflict in the Niger Delta, Nigeria
Professor Watts has developed a website on writing and crafting a dissertation prospectus
Go directly to the site: http://globetrotter.berkeley.edu/DissPropWorkshop/
Click here to jump down this page for an explanation of the site
Interests: Political economy, political ecology, Africa, South Asia, development, peasant societies, social and cultural theory, U.S. agriculture, Islam and social movements
Recent publications include:
|Writing and Crafting A Dissertation Prospectus: A Website for Students
Writing research and grant proposals is one of the most difficult -- and unavoidable -- requirements of graduate study in the social sciences. When it comes time to write them, however, many graduate students feel left to their own devices. This website is designed to help you navigate the hazards this process entails.
This site comprises a collection of tips, samples, and links. It is not meant as a class, nor a substitute for feedback from colleagues and advisors. It is merely an amiable guide meant to help you through an important phase in your academic career. Although biased in favor of "area studies" specialists and those planning to spend extended periods overseas, the content of this workshop is intended to be useful for all students hoping to conduct empirical social-scientific fieldwork.
Effective research or funding proposals are products of what is often a long, lonely, and frustrating process. What is more, many social science graduate students face this challenge with little guidance from teachers or supervisors. While significant differences exist among projects, disciplines, and funders, this site is intended to provide guidance on some common objectives and obstacles. It raises questions to consider, reflections from those who have survived the process, and sage advice from those who are likely to read and evaluate your proposal. It is intended for those just thinking about a research proposal and for those who are already further along.
The site is organized into five inter-related sections, all accessible from the home page. Each of these sub-sections is oriented to a some specific aspect of the grant writing process and includes a series of concise priority lists, links, and samples. There is no best way to use this site. We suggest you spend a couple of minutes looking around to see what might be useful for you now, and what you might need later on. If there is something specific you want to find, or a page you want to re-visit, please use the search engine included on the home page. What follows below is a brief description of the site's five major sub-sections.
The site's process and parameters section provides the most explicit advice. Here you will find both general guidelines for what to do (and what to avoid) as well critical characteristics of the proposal's various sections (e.g., the introduction, methodology, etc.). The nuts and bolts section works as a supplement, providing key practical advice as to how to piece together your work; finding an appropriate and realistic research design, developing a budget, and other concrete tasks which are often ignored in departments' methodology classes. Our style section offers tips on crafting the proposal as a written document; editing, integrating, and revising. Examples of successful proposals and commentaries from their authors (on both the writing process and their post-field work impressions of their original ideas) are found in the examples area. We have organized these by both discipline and funding body, so you can find those are most relevant to your own work. If you are still searching for the right funder, or feel you need further information on grant writing, the resources section may be just what you need.