Research Proposal

Project Goal: To propose a research project

This project will form the basis for the rest of the projects this semester. You should choose a research topic in your field that is of interest to you, preferably actual research that you have done or are doing this semester for a course.


1. Read Chapter 6 in your text. Be sure you understand the purpose and unique audience for proposals. Also read the sample student proposal in your coursepak to get a sense of the language of a proposal. Remember that you have two main objectives: (1) to convince your scientific audience that the problem you propose to investigate is important and worth exploring and (2) to show that you will explore the problem in a sensible way.

2. Your proposal (4-5 pages excluding the title page and table of contents) must have the following:

  • Title page.
  • Table of Contents.
  • Abstract
  • Introduction describing research goals and objectives, study significance, and related research. In this section, show how your proposed project will further research in your field.
  • Methodology section (future tense) describing your approach to the problem: proposed methods, materials, and procedures.
  • Conclusion that ties your ideas together and clinches your persuasive argument.
  • Works cited or References that will have been referred to throughout the paper.

3. Budget information and investigators’ biographies are not required for this assignment.

4. Remember that you are trying to convince a funding agency to grant you money for your work. You must be persuasive because funding dollars are generally very tight! How will your research contribute to knowledge in your discipline?

5. Think about all we’ve learned so far about the research community, audience, placing in context, and good honest science.

6. Remember, review your notes from class and your textbook as you do this project.

Criteria for evaluation

  • Degree to which the manuscript is proofread, polished, free of errors, and well-written.
  • Degree to which you followed directions and general formats for proposals as discussed in class.
  • Presence of statement of purpose (goals and objectives of the research).
  • Depth and logic of the literature review.
  • Accuracy and detail of the methods section.
  • Degree to which your proposal is convincing.
  • Presence of an appropriate conclusion that frames and summarizes your proposal.