John C. Parker Fellowship for Undergraduate Research

RESEARCH PROPOSAL OUTLINE

The Research Proposal is one of the most important steps in starting a research project. The objective is to convey the purpose of your research and provide information about how you plan to implement the research. In effect, you are selling your research idea to receive the Fellowship Award, thus the proposal should be clearly written, thoughtful, and informative. A basic research proposal follows this rough format:

1. Title
2. Abstract/Summary
3. Introduction and Background
4. Methodology
5. Budget Analysis
6. Timeline
7. Appendices (if appropriate)

1. Title
The title should inform the reader what the proposed research is about. It should be clear and easy to understand.

2. Abstract/Summary
A summary of the purpose of the research, as well as a description of the research's goals and significance to the field.

3. Introduction and Background
Describe the nature of the field of research and the general setting. Include a brief history of the topic and any previous research in the field. Describe the current state of research in the field, and show how there is the need for more investigation in the field. Restate the purpose of the research.

4. Methodology
This is where you explain the steps you plan to follow in conducting your research. This section should be clear and feasible, and should include:

a. Overview of Research - quick summary
b. Population/Sample - the data measurement you will use when collecting data, i.e. number of moles of product, number of bacteria per mm, etc.
c. Location of the research - will you need a specific lab? outdoor facilities? a computer lab?
d. Sampling Technique - how will you gather data, and make sure you have collected it accurately?
e. Procedures - technical details of the exact steps you will be following in your research
f. Materials - a list of materials you believe you will need; make this as accurate as you can currently predict.
g. Restrictions/Limiting Conditions - any conditions that may impede the effectiveness of research, any limits that your data measurement or procedures may encounter

5. Budget Analysis
This should include a detailed costing of the research. You should include the cost of all resources necessary for the research, i.e., equipment, chemicals, travel, and other incidentals. You need to state the actual costs of each item at the current time.

6. Timeline
Indicate the time frame in which various parts of the research will be completed. You need to demonstrate the feasibility of the research. You can give the time frames in weekly or monthly sections, but they should be realistic.

7. Appendices
If applicable, include any charts, diagrams, or graphs that may pertain to your research.

Please note that the above outline is merely a guide - depending on your research, you may modify the structure of your proposal. However, the scope of information covered in the above outline should be covered in whatever format you decide to make your proposal in. The key is to have a clear document so that those reading it can understand the nature of your research and be convinced that it is plausible and worthy. If you would like more information, you can search the web for a variety of resources on how to write research proposals. A good place to start is:

JPF Sample Application

Good luck with your proposal writing!