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8 Ways to Cite Research for Grants
by Holly Rustick 

Hi Changemaker!

Alright, before we get into it today, it’s my birthday! Yep, another year older and (ahem) wiser. So to celebrate today, I have my E-book “Wish Granted! Tips, Tools, & Templates to Write a Winning Grant” for FREE until July 19th 2019! This is my birthday gift to YOU! However, because it’s my birthday and I can ask for a favor , before you claim your free E-book, can you PLEASE do me a favor and leave a review on iTunes for the podcast? Also, while you are there, please subscribe 
This will literally take less than a minute and it would make my birthday SO LOVELY! Help me get from 31 reviews to 43 review on my 43rd birthday! EEK! Pretty please, with a cherry on top (and 43 candles!)
After you leave your honest (ahem 4 or 5 star) review and comment, please jump over to Amazon and grab your FREE E-book of the Amazon Bestselling book “Wish Granted! Tips, Tools, & Templates to Write a Winning Grant”. This offer is only available for free from July 17th – July 19th.
I am going to be taking “Wish Granted! Tips, Tools, & Templates to Write a Winning Grant” off of Amazon in the next month! This is your last chance to have the first version of the book. But don’t worry! I’ll be releasing the updated book VERY soon! Please jump over to iTunes now and leave a review on iTunes for the podcast, then grab your free E-book (available July 17th - July 19th)!

Okay, so birthday aside I have some awesomeness for you today! You are going to get a downloadable today!

If you are gathering data for you needs or problem statement for your grant. But all those open windows and jillion of tabs. I get it as I can completely resonate with this social media post:


But having systems is key when writing grants. What happens if your computer restarts and mysteriously clears all your cookies before you are able to cite your sources. UGH! ACK! The World is Coming to an End, like End Game style with no upscale DeLorean!

So how do you keep track of your sources and have a file that can easily be translated into a bibliography?

First off, let’s look at citation for grants in general.

Always go by what the Request for Proposal or Funding Opportunity Announcement requires. This is my disclaimer. However, many RFPs and FOAs do not have this outlined. My recommendation is to utilize American Psychology Association or what’s known as APA style. The other one you may have heard of in your English Composition class is MLA style, however APA is more common as it is used across many more sectors, such as science, business, and education. MLA is most commonly used in the humanities. In any case most grant reviewers won’t mark off if you have the last name in the wrong place or other technical errors (although always check the RFP or FOA), however if you fail to cite your information, statistics, and reports you could be marked off.

But if you are a firm MLA lover and the grant allows for it, then use MLA! We are just utilizing APA in this episode. Just make sure whatever you do that you stay consistent. So if you utilizing MLA for one source, use it throughout. The same goes for APA.


Why use citations and a bibliography for your grants?

You cannot pull statistics out of the sky. When I teach at the university I let me students know this right away. If you haven’t included citations how do I not know you aren’t just making that up? On the other side, if you aren’t using citations, but clearly rewrite something from a source you are plagiarizing. Eeek. Yes, that counts as an automatic failure for a university course, but it’s important not to plagiarize when writing grants, as well.

It’s safe to say that if you are copying and pasting from somebody else you should use quotation marks and give credit to where you got the information. This would ensure that you are not plagiarizing while giving credibility to outside sources. However, you can also paraphrase, which is you can summarize a source’s information in your own words. When you do this you also need to give credit to that source.

How to use citations

As you do your research you are going to run into awesome information and you need a place to track this information. You may not need all of it for the particular grant you are writing, but you think it could come in handy.

This is what it would look like, Mayor Sally Cat stated that “getting to supportive services is impossible without having transportation. I nearly got hit by a car as there are no sidewalks on the mile-long walk to the meeting” (2017).
If you wanted to paraphrase you might put something like the following: The Mayor has even reported that the roads are dangerous in Cat city and that the sidewalks cannot be navigated (Cat, 2017).

Now imagine not using the citations. This would cause these statements to fall flat. How do I know that what you are saying is accurate? Utilizing simple reference points by using citations elevates your grants tremendously and also increases the professionalism of you as a grant writer because people know you are doing your research.

Now something fun that you can do in grants is to add footnotes. We’ll talk about that in a minute, but first let’s talk about the entire enchilada.
So where I am I getting that quote from Mayor Sally Cat or the year 2017? Well, I may have gotten this in a personal interview, from an online article in a newspaper, or on a blog. In any case, the information you need to have changes based on where you got the information. 
For our purposes in this episode, we are going to concentrate on information you find online. Even this changes, but in general you will need the following information:
Contributors' Name (Last Name first)
Last edited date
Title of resource
Main Source
Retrieved from http://Web address
Blurb - connects to grant

Contributors’ Name is who wrote the article, blog, etc. In this case, you want to put the last name first, then a comma and then the first name. Easy peezy. When referring to the source throughout you can state the full name once and then utilize the last name.

Last edited date: This is because website, publications and other sources get updated periodically. Use the date that was last updated. Sometimes there are no updates so just use that date.

Title of the Resource: This is the title of the blog, article, etc.

Main Source: This is if there is a main source. So if you got the article from a newspaper it would be the name of the newspaper. This is not required but helps to make sense overall.

Retrieved from website: This is the direct URL link.

Blurbs to connect grant: This is for you as a grant writer. Maybe you would just copy and paste what the mayor said into that area or any other information you think may be relevant to your grant. If you are doing research on a few different objectives for a grant, for example poverty needs in the community, high suicide rates among teenagers, and high pregnancy rates among teenagers in your community you may want to have different excel sheet for each category and track your citations that way. You can refer to the free downloadable excel sheet for a sample.


As you are writing your grant, you can easily copy and paste your blurbs and put them into the grant and then use a direct quotation with a citation or paraphrase and use your in-text citation. The other thing that this can help with is if you have some information, but the blurb isn’t quite right. Go ahead an click on the URL and see if you can find anything else. This is way better than Googling it over again to try and find the right link you clicked on.

Of course, it is also good to create a bookmark for each grant you work on and save relevant pages under that bookmark. But do not rely on this as you may clear your cookies and have everything accidently deleted and you will eventually get a new computer. Having the electronic files is a more sure way to keep your data.

Footnotes vs. Bibliography

Footnotes. I Love footnotes. I use these a lot, especially when for letters of support and when I can’t attach a bibliography. Many grants, especially foundation grants, may not allow added attachments to your grant narrative. If you only have two or four pages, then you don’t want to use one of those pages for a bibliography. However you can insert footnotes to still show your sources. So in the above example you would utilize the same quotation from the mayor and could include the last name and year, but directly after that in your Word document, click ‘References’ in your menu and click ‘Insert Footnote’ under footnotes. This will automatically include apply a tiny little number in your document and then include the same number in the footer portion of your Word doc. I recommend that you change the size to 8 or 10 pt. if you are pressed for space. This is awesome as it basically creates the bibliography for you within the Word document.

So what would you put in this footnote? You would put the same reference as you have in your excel sheet: Contributors name, year, title of resource, main source, and url. If you are including a bibliography/ works cited / Literature page, you don’t necessarily need a footnote. But if you are not including a resource, utilize footnotes.

Bibliography/Works Cited

Okay there is a difference between some of these but with sometimes these are used interchangeably for grants. Basically what you will do is have an attachment with all the information from your excel sheet, but you will not include your blurb. Now if the grant asked for a Literature Review, then you would include your blurb and any additional information on why you chose that source. But let’s keep it basic.

Here is what your bibliography would look like:

Cat, Sally. December 2017. “Sidewalk Trouble in Cat Town” Cat Gazette. www.catgazette.com/sidewalktrouble

Now here is one extra piece to do. If you are using the excel sheet, before you transfer your information into a Word Doc bibliography click on the column for Contributor’s Name and Go to the “AZ Sort Filter” and click it. In this way it will alphabetize all your sources automatically, because you do want your sources alphabetized in your bibliography. This will not put the order in which you used them in your document, but will alphabeitzie them. This is what you want so that they can be easily referenced.

There it is. That is how to systematize your research, give credibility to your information, and to deliver a professional-looking grant. This will definitely give you an MAJOR edge to other grant applications that do not include sources or a bibliography!

To summarize
  • you must use citations to provide credibility for your words and to ensure you are not just plagiarizing!
  • You can utilize MLA, APA, or any other style but be consistent
  • Make sure to include the last name, year, title, source, and URL for APA
  • Get resources on how to cite anything in APA by visting www.grantwritingandfunding.com 
  • Use footnotes for when you cannot add a bibliography
  • Use bookmarks in in your internet browser when doing research
  • Utilize the Free Downloadable Grant Research Source Tracker
  • Use a bibliography and make sure it is in alphabetical order

Let me know of any questions you may have, but in the meantime, don’t forget to leave a review on iTunes and then go download your free ebook of “Wish Granted!” (July 17 - July 19 2019). Once you are done with that grab your free grant research source downloadable!
Thank you for celebrating my birthday with me!



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Listen to the FULL podcast on iTunesSoundCloud or Stitcher