In the field for “topic” make sure to include sufficient explanation. I shouldn’t have to google the topic to know what it is. You need to begin to represent your research in a way that makes sense to other people, using the process of articulation to push your own understanding of where your interests lie (sic).

"Data sets" are sets of material you could draw on to build an argument/narrative: participant-observation at x place; interviews with y and z; specific policy docs; archival materials available at c; ect.

Social theoretical questions are not research questions. They are questions asked by social analysts across sites – about how expertise is configured and works, for example. Thinking in these terms sets you up to build on the work of other scholars, and to make a contribution to an on-going scholarly conversation. Thinking in these terms should also allow you to see threads that cut across possibly diverse topical interests, suggesting where you want to build theoretical expertise. Thinking in these terms doesn’t, however, necessarily set you up to make grand theoretical claims, which are often essentialist: Expertise is x, y and g. Engineers think like this and that. Instead, one thinks theoretically to contribute to the repertoire of questions scholars bring to the analysis of a given phenomena. Marx, for example can be thought of as teaching us to ask about the ways class, modes and relations of production and fetishism shape social life. Rather than as the final word on how class and capitalism work.

In asking “why now?” I want you to consider the particular historical moment in which you work, and need to make a contribution. There are holes in the social science and humanities literature to attend to. There are also political problems and windows of opportunities.

In the field for "how prepared," I want you to describe the expertise and experience that you already have that would enrich the project and make it feasible. Even if you consider yourself quite unprepared, articulate the skills, experience, contacts, sympathies and aversions you can leverage to advance the project. Whatever makes you interested in a project, prepares you in some way to undertake it.

Bias? Don’t forget gendering, class, and educational background.

In the field for "fields of work," I'm looking for a list of academic or professional fields that the project would position you to enter. Please be as specific as possible. If you list “sociology,” for example, designate what kind of niche you could fill or job ad you could respond to. You could position yourself as a sociologist, with focus on environment and social movements, for example. Browse the jobs listed at the website of various professional organization to get a sense of how jobs in particular fields are configured. The American Anthropological Association lists jobs here, for example:http://www.aaanet.org/profdev/index.cfm

With funders, like “fields of work,” be very specific. What programs at NSF would fund your research? NIH funds some dissertation work, but usually with some kind of applied dimension. What specific programs in industry fund research of the sort you propose? Look around online, perhaps talk to Dean Button, to specify.