Business English Technical Writing

Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

For my final writing project in EH603 Editing for Publication, I will be editing a proposal. The principal investigator, or PI, for the proposal is none other than the course professor herself, Dr. Robinson. A principal investigator is the primary individual responsible for the preparation, conduct, and administration of a research grant (“Research Administration & Compliance”). In other words, she is the grant’s leading lady. (By the way, I will be using “grant” and “proposal” interchangeably.) There are a few other professors involved in the grant and not all of them are faculty at UAH. The Foundation funding the grant is the Spencer Foundation, named in honor of Lyle M. Spencer, the man responsible for founding Science Research Associates (SRA). The Foundation was established in 1968 and aims to provide funding for those seeking to improve education through research, programs, or activities (“Investing in Education”). The Foundation offers different categories of grants; Dr. Robinson’s falls under the Small Research Grant which has four deadlines throughout the year, and the next one is May 1.

The name of the research proposal is Psychological Safety Training Intervention for Improving Team Climate. The theory is, the more comfortable team members are with being themselves (referred to as psychological safety) while a part of a team, the better the team will function. For example, think back to a time when you were part of a group. Did you feel slightly withdrawn or want to tone down your personality until you got a better feel for the group? I know I’m guilty of that. Well, by toning yourself down, you’re not actually extending your “best foot forward.” I mean, it makes sense; how could you give the team/performance 100% of you if you’re not being 100% you, right?

The research behind the grant will first take place in the upcoming summer (2017). The objective is to determine what works best for promoting psychological safety (there’s that term again) amongst team members. Three focus groups will be observed as they discuss their past experiences in a team and what made it successful and the focus groups will answer a controlled set of questions; these questions and discussions will help the participants conclude what makes a team succeed. The PI and her collaborators will then analyze the data to create two separate series of videos, referred to in the grant as training module interventions; the videos will each be under five minutes. The data will also produce game-like activities. Then, in the fall (2017), Dr. Robinson and her team will employ the video interventions and activities to several students at three different universities (including UAH) along with surveys to query students’ perceptions of their team. Afterwards, those same students will be asked to perform group projects (all part of course curriculum; don’t worry, the students won’t be given additional work). Dr. Robinson and her team will measure the effectiveness of the interventions based on the results of the students’ projects. The exercises and research will hopefully lead to a set of methods that establish the ideal level of psychological safety for generating the most productivity among teams.  

Because most of the grant is already written, my job will be to review the text for any grammatical errors and inconsistencies. I am also to rearrange the information to keep it consistent with the funder’s formatting requirements. For example, the Foundation asks that the proposal include topic, methodologies, disciplinary perspectives and geographic scope (“Investing in Education”) and include a narrative. I will need to double check citations and any figures used in the text and remain mindful of the word count.

I am delighted to have a role in the project, even if it is a smaller one. I am determined to make my input relevant and useful.

“Research Administration & Compliance.” Roles and Responsibilities of Principal Investigators/Co-Investigators | Research and Engagement. N.p., n.d. Web. 31 Mar. 2017. <https://www.umass.edu/research/policy/pi-and-co-pi-roles-and-responsibilities>.

“Investing in Education Research for the Purpose of Making Education Better.” Spencer. N.p., n.d. Web. 31 Mar. 2017. <http://www.spencer.org/>.