References & Slides for “How to Read Research Grant Proposals like an Editor” (CARA webinar, Feb 2021)

References, in order of discussion:

I write a monthly academic writing advice column for University Affairs called “Ask Dr. Editor.”

You can search for examples of funded and unfunded grants submitted by their authors via Open Grants.

There is some evidence that grant applications that include jargon are associated with receiving more award money, and you can read about this in my piece “Jargon can make for Good Academic Writing.”

You can ask a robot to analyze your text through Helen Sword’s The Writer’s Diet test. Sword also has written a number of excellent books on academic writing including Stylish Academic Writing and Light & Air & Time & Space.

If your researchers work with Indigenous Peoples, you should read Greg Younging’s excellent reference book, Elements of Indigenous Style.

You can search for green-highlighted passive voice constructions using Hemingway Editor.

Learn more about effective transitions to smooth out choppy writing in my piece, “Literature Reviews that Work.”

The article that describes the average sentence length of articles in the New England Journal of Medicine, The Lancet, and JAMA is [PDF] Barbic, Skye P., et al. “Readability assessment of psychiatry journals.” Measurement 24 (2013): 26.

I ran a similar analysis of some of the proxies of readability for the journal American Historical Review, which I wrote about in the piece “How to get your Humanities Research Read & Cited (Part 1).”

Before hiring a professional editor, it’s a good idea to check if they are a member of our professional association, Editors Canada.

I work with researchers in the humanities, social sciences, health sciences, and education. Find out more how to choose a good editor to work with on my “How to Hire an Editor” page.


You can access my slides as a PDF here. Sorry, but I don’t make my speaking notes available. Please contact CARA if you’d like to request a copy of the webinar recording.

Want me to teach an editing webinar or short course at your institution?

I’d be happy to discuss options for customizing a presentation or workshop to fit your researchers’ needs. Please contact me to start a conversation.