Select a title that is as brief as possible while still providing a good description of the proposal objectives. The Title or Cover Page may also contain such information as authorized signatures, university representatives’ names and addresses, etc.
Required by most federal agencies. It provides a brief description of the proposed project (approximately 200 words) for informative purposes.
This is the place to establish your credibility. When your institution is well known to the sponsoring agency, you need not describe its organization, history, significant accomplishments, goals and objectives, and commitment to your proposed project unless the project represents a significant deviation from the normal university scope. Mention of the Principal Investigator’s significant accomplishments in the area may be made at this time. A full- scale history should be saved for the Personnel section to be described later, however.
You must identify the scope and severity of the problem, the needs you are trying to meet and the state of research to this point in time. The needs identified must be consistent with the project objectives and procedures. Do not identify massive and complex needs if you are proposing a project which meets only a very small part of the problem.
Describe the significance of the approach used in the proposed project, its relationship to previous experience, and its potential for future use or for meeting similar needs in other areas. Do no propose to duplicate projects that have failed. Proposals which claim to be the first significant contribution in this area frequently show that those who prepared the application are not well informed, so be certain that you conduct a thorough literature search prior to writing this section.
Be certain to include statistical data to substantiate the need, to describe the significance of the research proposed, and to show how your objectives may fit into the larger research issue.
During the past few years, there has been a dramatic change in the content of the objectives section of proposals. Federal and state agencies and private foundations have become very critical of vague and fuzzy objectives which do not lend themselves to accountability, are open to misinterpretation or are not measurable. An objective should be a precise statement of a measurable outcome or process to be accomplished by the principal investigator within the time allotted to the project with the funds requested. The objective should originate from the need or problem statement set forth in proposal and in turn the objectives should structure the selection of the appropriate procedures, evaluation, dissemination, personnel, facilities and budget.
The introduction has identified what needs to be done; the objectives section has detailed the anticipated results of the project in specific measurable terms; the procedures section now describes how it will be done. Remember, all proposals components should be interdependent. One should flow from the other. There should be procedures to deal with every objective, just as the objectives should be tied to the significant needs or problems outlined in the introduction. Components of the Procedures (Methodology) section might include:
The evaluation design should be developed and scheduled before the project begins. The selection of measuring instruments, the design of forms and questionnaires, and the scheduling of activities are an integral part of the proposal design. An evaluation should include:
If the project being proposed will result in information which must or may be shared, a description of mechanisms should be provided. These may include journal articles, papers delivered at conferences, site visits for agency representatives and/or key professionals in your field, circulation of final reports, media presentations and thorough discussion with the local population.
Whatever format is used, this section must explain what personnel and facilities will be required with a justification of their need. Usually it includes the following information:
Before developing a budget, you must understand all the policies and regulations set by both the agency and the university. This includes allowable direct costs, indirect costs, proper forms and instructions, matching funds if they are needed, and what changes are permitted in a budget once the project is approved.
Another budget item which must be considered is the minimum-maximum price range for the budget. The principal investigator should determine before submission of his/her proposal what the approximate range of previous awards from the funding agency has been. In some instances, the agency will also publish an approximate range in which they expect awards to fall.
The actual budget should flow from the narrative of the proposal, determining the costs of the components of each individual activity. Each cost item should be justified in a “Budget Justification” addendum to the budget page. It is a good idea to begin with a budget work sheet to identify all costs of the program. Consideration of whether costs are agency funded or part of a match/cost-share component needed not be a factor at this point. There may be sorted out after the actual costs have been determined and the budget put into final format to be transferred to agency forms.
A budget should include the following items: