Monday, January 25, 2010

Dissertation funding

I would like to be writing this post about pre-dissertation funding, but those sources seem to be covered primarily by general scholarships, not based on what kind of research is being done. It's yet another carrot dangling to get through the doctoral coursework and the qualifying exam and preproposal and get on to the bigger fish. Trust me, I want to get to that phase as soon as I can. But while I'm in the coursework section, learning so much and enjoying my classes, it would be helpful to get some seed money to develop dissertation ideas. I would like to be working on various pilot studies at this point, making sure I am on the right track, yet without the dedicated funding and with bills to pay, I think this creates a hole in the support system of higher education.
That said, it is so much simpler now to search for funding sources and scholarships. During my undergraduate and even graduate years, I recall spending many, many hours in front of microfiche and microfilm trying to find the same kinds of information that I now can locate in less than 5 seconds on Google.
"Grant Seeking in an Electronic Age" by Mikelonis, Betsinger and Kampf has a section of the book (pp. 104-107) dedicated to searching for dissertation funding, and it appears that funding sources are much more interested in your work once you get to the dissertation phase. One of the best tips in this section, I think, is the idea that you should ask colleagues and mentors about funding sources, before spending hours upon hours searching the Internet. This kind of information seeking could very well be the most efficient. There also are a variety of sites listed that could be of some help, including, which now redirects to It also mentions, which as far as I can tell is out of business. But its strategies for developing keywords and searching the web strategically appear to be sound, although also not particularly enlightening.

1 comment:

Monica said...

Brett, Your might check out the funding source on which I am presenting tonight - the National Communication Association's Current RFP Tracker. There are several funding opportunities in that spreadsheet that qualify as pre-dissertation research funding, and some specifically in the field of journalism and new media. Might be worth a look. I imagine, too, that other large professional organizations have similar funding resources.