National Historical Publications & Records Commission

Grants Evaluation Checklist

This checklist outlines many of the criteria that are used by state boards, outside reviewers, Commission staff, and Commission members in evaluating proposals. It is included here as an aid to applicants in addressing key issues in developing proposals. While some of these criteria apply primarily to traditional archival projects relating to collections of records, others are more generally applicable to the full range of projects supported by the Commission.

  1. Does the APPLICANT INSTITUTION have
    • Adequate space to house the records it might acquire/process/preserve through this grant?
    • Proper environmental conditions and controls, with particular regard to humidity, temperature, air purity, and security?
    • Adequate staff and facilities to handle researcher requests for use of its holdings?
    • A stable, dependable, and sufficient financial base for essential program activities?
    • Properly trained, appropriate staff?
    • Defined, written policies and procedures on acquisitions, processing, and researcher access to and use of materials?
    • Finding aids? If so, what are they (registers, inventories, checklists, guides, catalog cards, etc.)?
    • If the applicant is lacking in one or more of these areas, does the proposal indicate how this will be rectified during the grant period or later?
  2. With regard to the PROPOSAL IN GENERAL
    • Are the records to be dealt with significant for historical research?
    • Are the goals, objectives, and primary tasks set forth feasible?
    • Are the project goals stated clearly? Are they concrete and specific enough to be measurable?
    • Is the project designed in such a way that maximum impact on the work of the project and on the overall development of the applicant's program is obtained by use of NHPRC grant funds?
    • Is there clear commitment from the applicant institution to assume responsibility for the support of activities of a continuing nature once the grant period ends?
    • Is the project placed in the context of the applicant's overall program?
    • Does the project relate to priorities and objectives established by the Commission and/or by the State Historical Records Advisory Board?
    • Are there clear plans to publicize the grant and its accomplishments and to undertake outreach to user communities and other groups likely to be impacted by the project?
  3. With regard to the PLAN OF WORK, does the proposal
    • Include a description of the work to be performed by each person on the project?
    • Tie work to be done to a schedule or timetable?
    • Provide sufficient time, according to the timetable, for the accomplishment of project goals? Is too much time provided?
    • Indicate when related personnel activities, such as consultant visits and advisory board meetings, will take place and how they fit into the ongoing work of project staff?
    • Show evidence of previous experience with the techniques to be used or their successful use by others? Are generally accepted standards being followed?
    • Indicate, for activities which are large in scope or new to the institution, that a test or pilot to identify problem areas or assess the validity of project goals and approaches has occurred?
    • Include samples of any forms, cover letters, instructions, finding aid formats, etc., that are to be used or created during the project?
    • Show that project goals are supported by other parties whose cooperation is necessary for ultimate success?
    • Indicate awareness of other similar projects elsewhere, and the factors contributing to their success or failure?
    • Include a description of any follow-up or continuing activity that will (or should) occur after project completion?
    • Make sense? Is there a more logical or efficient manner of proceeding toward the accomplishment of stated project goals?
  4. With regard to the PERSONNEL, does the proposal
    • Note the names, qualifications, and duties of all known personnel involved in a substantive way?
    • Use personnel whose background and qualifications are appropriate for the duties assigned to them?
    • Include a job description and statement of qualifications for all positions to be filled?
    • Note how the search for qualified candidates will take place and provide for a sufficiently wide and careful search to obtain the strongest possible candidates?
    • Note the names and qualifications of any consultants, advisory board members, or other paid or non-paid advisors to the project?
  5. With regard to the BUDGET, does the proposal
    • Indicate what costs are to be paid for with grant monies and what costs will be met by the applicant or other institutions?
    • Explain how budget figures were arrived at (e.g., breakdown of travel costs, or daily rates charged by consultants)?
    • Account for all expenditures suggested by the proposal narrative?
    • Include a separate budget form for each year of a project lasting 18 months or longer, as well as a grand total at the end of the budget form used for the final year?
    • Include appropriate cost-sharing or matching funds?
    • Reflect efforts to achieve maximum economy in achieving the project's goals?
    • Make sense? Do the figures add up?
  6. With regard to any PRODUCTS emanating from the project, does the proposal include
    • Descriptions of the format, content, and availability of any finding aids or databases to be produced?
    • Descriptions of the format and content of, and distribution plans for, any publication to be produced as well as justification for publication?
    • Description of the methods to be used in the preparation and microfilming/digitization of any records? Is there adherence to the Commission's guidelines and suggestions in these areas?
    • Evidence of careful advance consideration and decision-making as to the purpose, audience, scope, and content of any intended product?
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The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration
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