Submitting a Collaborative Proposal: First Lessons Learned


During my last blog entry, I wrote about the power of networking at conferences and how valuable the experience can be as a doctoral student. Part of that blog post included me connecting with a colleague for the 2nd time and discussing the possible exploration of a presentation proposal. Good news! We actually followed through with that original idea. This blog entry is a description of that collaborative process. 

Full disclaimer incoming: I have never collaborated on a presentation proposal with someone who lives in another state so there may be better ways of doing it. So this is my first time. However, this process seemed to work for us so here goes!

#1 – Engage in a Conceptual Conversation while Deciding on a Topic.

After a couple of emails about scheduling a conversation, we finally connected via phone. We spent about 30-45 minutes on the phone talking about our individual research interests and recent projects. Having this conceptual conversation really helped me know my colleague better. As we continued to talk, my colleague and I were able to identify how some of our interests may overlap. For example, one of his research interests included how neuroscience can be integrated into teaching counseling theories. Two of my overlapping interests include Motivational Interviewing as an effective treatment with the Veteran population. From those individual interests, we were able to identify a topic that integrated our research interests, and this integrated topic would be our presentation proposal!

#2 – Assign Tasks with a Deadline & Create a Google Document.

Once we decided on a topic, we assigned individual tasks that were attached to a timeline. One of those tasks was to review literature by a certain date, and I’ll get to more of that in a minute. We created a Google document so we could both contribute to the presentation proposal form without having to edit/save/email back and forth a Word document to each other. Another advantage of a Google doc is that you can both be in the document at the same time while chatting and typing live.

#3 – Individually Review Literature on Aspects of the Topic.

After we set up the Google doc, a primary task was to review the literature. So we divided the literature review based on the different aspects of our topic. We set a deadline when we would check in with each other to report our progress…that leads to the next step.

#4 – Write Notes from Lit Review in Google Doc and Check-In.

Once we each reviewed the literature on different aspects of our topic, we began writing notes from our literature review within the Google Doc. We decided to check-in with each other about our progress on a certain date, and this helped us observe themes that could be integrated into the elements of our presentation proposal (i.e. rationale, objectives, etc.). This step helped our proposal start to come together in a more organized fashion.

#5 – Continue Collaborative Conversations while Completing Proposal.

We scheduled another time to talk on the phone, but mostly we chatted and emailed about refining our proposal and getting it ready for submission. Each of us made final suggestions regarding the proposal.

#6 – Edit and Make Revisions in Google Doc

We then completed a final read-through with feedback for each other’s contributions. We agreed on what to change and what to leave untouched, and our proposal was ready for submission!

#7 – Submit Proposal.

My colleague graciously agreed to submit our proposal online and complete all of the necessary fields. Our submission was complete. It was a proud and accomplished moment. Now we do what most doctoral students and scholars do – we anxiously wait months for a decision!

While this was my first time collaborating on a presentation proposal with someone long-distance, I found the experience to be fun and rewarding. There was something unique about leaning on each other during the collaborative process that lightened the load of the overall project. However, since this was my first time on a collaborative project like this, I would be interested in hearing from you!

Have you participated in a project like this with a colleague out of state?

What were some helpful lessons you learned in the collaborative process?

What would you have done differently?


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