Hints for Researchers

Amassing a database of hundreds of grants isn’t the kind of thing that can be done overnight. The truth is out there, but it can be hard to locate. Here are some tips for those looking to contribute to our Grants Database, but aren’t sure where to start:

1.) Dig through the agency websites. Many federal (and state) agencies keep lists or databases of their granting information on their websites. This is a good place to start for lists of grants. Sometimes you may even find more detailed information, like grant abstracts or descriptions.

2.) Don’t be afraid of the budget process. Government budgets are daunting–long, dull, and occasionally confusing. But they’re also a good source of information on large-scale spending programs.

3.) Publicity is your friend. Often, grant awards are accompanied by press releases announcing them–whether it’s from the grantee, the granting agency, or even the politician hoping to earn a little support. Search for press releases from the agency, grantee, or a member of Hawaii’s Congressional delegation, and you might find an unexpected amount of help.

4.) Get the word right from the horse’s mouth. Sometimes, it’s easy to overlook the obvious as you try to learn more about a particular grant or agency. But often, you can find all sorts of things–reports, news, mission statements, etc.–right from the organization receiving the grant. Check out their website, call or email their office and ask for more information–sometimes it really is just that easy.

5.) Never understimate the power of Google. Or Yahoo. Or MSN. Or any number of search engines. With a properly crafted search, there’s unlimited potential to what you might find.

6.) Take it to the next level with a FOIA request. When you’ve exhausted more conventional research methods, it’s time to pull out the big guns. A detailed FOIA request can get you access to government documents related to your inquiry. (For more on FOIA, read our handy guide for FOIA searches.)