Frequently Asked Questions: Funded Projects Query Form
How accurate are the results of these queries?
Information about NEH grants is maintained in the Grants Management System (GMS) database used by NEH staff. That information is supplemented when NEH funds new projects. The categories used in the query form to construct queries are commonly used in the day-to-day work of NEH, so the results from queries are likely to be accurate. Note, however, that the form does not provide for comprehensive searches of NEH-funded projects; instead it provides only for key word searches. Furthermore, any large database will contain errors and anomalies. NEH is currently exploring how to improve the quality of the data. One goal is to improve the descriptive metadata (that is, the fields on the form that you can search—such as project director’s last name, key words, field of project, etc.) about each grant to facilitate better searching. Should you find any errors or have any comments, we encourage you to contact us. (Please see the Contact section below).
Why can’t I search for grants made before 1980?
GMS has comprehensive data only as far back as 1980, though it also has a smattering of data from the late 1970s. Since the query form searches the GMS database, information about pre-1980 grants is generally not available through this form.
In the drop-down lists, why are some programs and divisions marked with an asterisk?
Over the years some NEH programs and divisions have been supplanted by others. Currently active programs and divisions are marked with asterisks. As a result, to see all grants funded by a given program over time, you should search not only for the program’s current name but also for any former names. For example, the Humanities Collections and Reference Resources program used to be known as Preservation/Access Projects. If you have questions about current and former program names, please let us know. (See the Contact section below.)
Can I save my queries and share them with others?
Yes. Once you submit a query and get the list of funded projects, you'll see a link near the top of the screen to "Save query." If you click there you will see a permanent link to the results on that page. You can copy that link into a new browser window to see the same list of funded projects, or share the query with people by sending the link to them.
Can I search on multiple fields at the same time?
Yes. This form allows you to search in any number of fields simultaneously. For example, if you wanted to know what grants were made by the NEH Division of Public Programs in California, in the years 2001-2007, you could easily get that information. Here’s how:
- check the State box and select California from the drop-down list,
- check the Grant Program box and select Public Programs from the drop-down list,
- check the Award Date Range box and select 2001 and 2007 from the drop-down “From” and “To“ lists of years, and
- click the Display Results button.
How is the Field of Project chosen?
Applicants for NEH grants select a Field of Project from a list of humanities-related fields and subfields (e.g. Philosophy, British Literature, History of Science, etc.). By including this field in your queries, you can search for projects using the humanities fields specified by the applicants. Keep in mind that many projects fit into more than one field; you may therefore wish to conduct more than one search, using related fields of project. In addition, over the years the names of some fields have changed. For example, if looking for grants in art history, you might search not only for Art History but also for Art History and Criticism and Arts History & Criticism.
What advice do you have for using the “Key Words” section of the query form?
If you select “Key Words” and supply some words (for example, “the blues,” or “ontological argument”), the software will search the grantee’s project description in addition to the title and the brief “to support statement” that staff adds to describe a project, if one is available.
You can use the radio buttons to tell the software to look for ANY of the words that you supply (either “ontological” OR “argument”), ALL of the words (both “ontological” AND “argument”), or the exact phrase (“ontological argument”). The first option will obviously yield the most matches, and the third the fewest.
Unless you select the “This phrase” option, the software will ignore “noise” words like a, an, of, in, or, and, not, and the. So if you enter “the blues” and specify “ALL of these words” or “ANY of these words,” you’ll get the same results as if you’d searched only for the single word “blues.” But if you choose the “This phrase” option, the software will search for the whole string of words that you’ve supplied.
The “ANY of these words” option can be useful when a word takes multiple forms. For example, to find grants related to Argentina, you should also search for Argentine or Argentinian.
What advice do you have for using the “Award Date Range” section of the query form?
If you select an Award Date Range, the years are inclusive: the software will look for records of grants that were made, beginning at the start of the first year and ending at the conclusion of the last year. So to see only one year’s worth of grants, make the ending year the same as the beginning year. (For example, to search only for grants made in 2006, after checking the Award Date Range box you should select 2006 from the drop-down lists in both the “From” and “To” columns.) If searching for grants made in more than one year, make sure that the ending year (specified in the “To” column) is later than the beginning year (specified in the “From” column); if the ending year is earlier than the beginning year, you won’t get any matches. It’s also important to realize that in this form years correspond to federal fiscal years (which begin on October 1 and end on September 30), not to calendar years. For that reason, a grant made, for example, in December 2006 will show up on the form as a 2007 grant—not as a 2006 grant.
Note also that the year in which a grant was made is reflected in its grant number. The last two digits refer to the fiscal year in which the award was made. (As noted above, the federal fiscal year runs from October 1 to September 30). So, for example, grant number PA-59393-98 was made during fiscal year 1998.
What advice do you have for understanding the results of a query?
Records matching your query criteria will appear in a table listing the grantee, the project title, the application number and year, and other details. If your query does not match anything, you will receive a message to that effect.
You can determine the way in which your results are sorted by selecting one of the options from the “Sort Results by...” drop-down list. The default option sorts the results chronologically, with the most recent grants listed first.
You will receive an error message if you do not check any boxes, if you check a box but do not provide a value for that field (either by entering some text or by selecting something from the corresponding drop-down list), or if you enter text or select from a drop-down list but do not check the corresponding box. To include a field in your search criteria, you must not only check the relevant box but also provide something to match against the data (by entering text or choosing from a drop-down list).
I searched for the name “Jefferson” and the query form supplied as one of the results a Fellowship entitled “The Third President.” Oddly, the word “Jefferson” is not included in the grant’s title. How did the system know to include it as a result of the search?
Our goal is to try to make searches as useful as possible. Currently, our database provides for each grant several fields of metadata (e.g., the award amount, the title, and the “to support statement,” which is a brief, one-sentence summary of the project written by NEH staff). However, information about NEH Fellowships does not include a “to support statement”—just a title. A search limited only to key words used by applicants in their project titles is less likely to yield all the results that would be desirable. For that reason, we have programmed the search engine also to look at the grantees’ own descriptions of their projects, included as part of their applications. If the term (like “Jefferson,” in this example) shows up in a grantee’s project description, then the grant will be listed, even if the term doesn’t appear in any of the displayed metadata. We hope that including project descriptions in the materials to be searched will make the results of searches more useful.
We welcome your feedback. If you spot errors in the software or in the data returned, or if you simply have questions or comments, please contact the NEH Chief Information Officer at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are working on a report examining NEH grants and would like assistance in compiling data, please contact the NEH Office of Planning and Budget at email@example.com.