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Grant-writing with Jeff Mantz, NSF Cultural Anthropology Program Officer (Fall 2019)

The Ethnography Workshop hosted Jeff Mantz, the NSF Cultural Anthropology Program Officer, for a grant-writing workshop with doctoral students from cultural anthropology on Thursday, Sept. 19, 2019.During the two-hour workshop, graduate students refined areas specific to their own research projects as well as learned general principles for communicating effectively in the grant genre. Here are a few takeaways:

  • Research questions: Don’t close a sense of inquiry! Think ‘process’ rather than ‘findings.’ Being open to the risk that what you expect to find might be turned upside down is part of the process of scientific knowledge production. Expected findings are not yet conclusive.
  • Intellectual Merit: Think less ‘literature review’ and more ‘where can my work contribute?’ Privilege substantive anthropological (and interdisciplinary) production—scholars you are actually in conversation with—over theoretical heavy-hitters.
  • Research Design: whether qualitative or quantitative, what matters is that your data collection and analysis are systematic. Why these specific research sites? And what is your relationship to them? Keep in mind that ‘methods’ are distinct from ‘modes of analysis.’
  • Broader Impacts: At a macro level, why does this research matter? Contributions valued broadly include: scientific knowledge product, mechanisms for broad circulation, collaboration with specific international stakeholders, and expanding the inclusion of historically disenfranchised persons.
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