Research Proposal Timeline Template - Free Download
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The Research Proposal
(* = entire section is required)
FS 521, Natural Resources Research Planning
Sources. The foundation for this document was the 2003 request for applications issued by the
USDA-CSREES National Research Initiative Competitive Grants Program (NRICGP)
. The proposal
format used by the NRICGP is typical of many national competitive grants programs, including the
National Science Foundation. I edited the NRICGP document to create this document, which describes the
default format you should use for your proposal. Additional information comes from Davis (2005).
I. TITLE PAGE*
The title page should include the (1) proposal title, (2) names and addresses of investigators, (3)
organization to which the proposal is being submitted, and (4) date of submission.
The abstract should be a self contained, concise description of the proposed research, including the (1)
rationale and significance of the research; (2) goals, supporting objectives, and hypotheses to be tested; (3)
methods used to meet the objectives; and (4) expected results. The importance of a concise, interesting,
and informative abstract cannot be overemphasized. The abstract should be 500 words or less.
III. TABLE OF CONTENTS*
IV. PROJECT DESCRIPTION (15 page maximum)*
The project description should contain the following sections in any order. Tip: Use the first page of the
proposal to grab the attention of the reader, define the problem, and demonstrate the importance of your
1. Background. What are the key concepts and facts that the reader must know to fully understand the
rest of the proposal and judge the value of the proposed research The background should describe the
(1) conceptual and theoretical basis of your research; (2) status of research in the field, including
significant publications; (3) preliminary results if available; (4) remaining information gaps, including
those that your research will address; (5) key assumptions; and (6) methods that make your research
possible if they are not widely known or well understood. Be sure that the background is relevant to your
stated goals, objectives, hypotheses, and methods. Tip: Start each paragraph or section with a short
declarative sentence that summarizes the main point that you will make in the following text.
2. Hypotheses. The hypotheses are the unproven statements (propositions) that you will test. These
hypotheses may address specific questions you intend to answer, or problems you will solve. The
objectives (see below) describe what you will do to determine whether the hypotheses are true. Tip: List
the hypotheses in numbered or bulleted form to clearly set them apart from the rest of the introduction.
National Research Initiative Competitive Grants Program. 2003. Request for applications. U.S. Department of
Agriculture Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service.
Davis, M. 2005. Chapter 5: The proposal. In: Scientific papers and presentations. Academic Press, San Diego, CA.