Research Proposal Format
See the outline for master's proposals for more specifics on proposal format, inclusions and the specific content suggestions below. Proposals, not including references, should not exceed 10 pages.
- Investigators. List all of your collaborators and indicate which person is serving as your mentor. Include the name of the statistician who will assist you in the analysis. If you plan to conduct a study using the Rochester Epidemiology Project (REP), include the name of a REP epidemiologist.
- Abstract. Describe your project in approximately 250 words. It's usually best to construct the abstract after the entire proposal has been written.
- Specific aims and hypotheses. Briefly describe the problem your project will address, the broad goal of your research effort, and the specific aims and hypotheses for this project.
- Research strategy
- Background and significance. Summarize the background concisely, critically evaluating existing knowledge and gaps that the proposal intends to fill. Emphasize the significance and relevance of the project to the problem, highlighting areas of innovation.
- Preliminary studies. Describe any preliminary studies that form a basis for this project or have explored its feasibility (for example, the number of potentially eligible subjects, accuracy of measurement methods, expertise of personnel involved and infrastructure to support the work).
Research design and methods. This should be the most detailed portion of the proposal. Describe the study design, subject population, recruitment plan (including timeline), research methods and procedures, measurements, analysis, and sample size.
Be specific enough so that a reader will understand what you will do and how it will accomplish the specific aims. Describe limitations of the study and how you will minimize them or barriers to successful completion of the study and how you will address them.
If not addressed fully in the preliminary studies section, address the feasibility of the study, including the availability of subjects, the expertise of personnel necessary to conduct the work, and the availability of infrastructure and resources to support the project.
All projects must conform to institutional guidelines relating to research risks when human subjects are involved (for example, risk of adverse events, confidentiality breaches and emotional risk). Include a statement of whether or not these concerns exist and how they will be handled.
- Literature cited