Montana State University

Guidelines for Writing Project Proposals

Fall 2014 Research Grants  

Applications Due September 12, 2014.

 

Spring 2015 Research Grants  

TBA

 

Summer 2015 Research Grants

 

 

TBA

 

Travel Grants

 

  TBA
Research Celebration Abstract Submission  

TBA

 


General Formatting

 

  • The content of your research proposal, including text, figures and images, should not exceed 5 pages, typed, double-spaced (additional pages may be included for your works-cited/references).
  • Please draft your proposal in a format that is appropriate for your academic discipline (i.e. MLA, APA, etc.) - consult your mentor if you have questions about what format is most appropriate to your field of study.

Required Content

Please select the research area most relevant to your project for detailed, discipline specific guidelines. Be sure to include subheadings in your proposal to clearly identify each required section.

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Science, Social Science and Engineering

  1. Introduction: Provide a statement of the objective(s) and the anticipated significance of the work to your field of study. What problems will be investigated? What hypothesis will be tested? We suggest that the introduction begin with a brief description of the project in general terms before the more technical aspects of the project are discussed. INBRE Applicants - be sure clearly identify what contributions this project makes to the fields of biomedical or public health research.
  2. Background: Provide a brief review of the work that has been done in the project area together with complete references in appropriate professional style. This section should also include any personal information about you that would indicate to the reviewers your qualifications for successfully completing this project, including a statement of how the project will contribute to your academic and career goals.
  3. Methods: Provide a detailed description of the research methods that you will use in the project. This should include a justification for the specific approach that you will use. For example, how do the methods answer the questions that have been posed, test the hypothesis, or lead to the desired goal?
  4. Timeline: Provide dates for the initiation and completion of each phase of the project. Attempt to lay out a reasonable schedule taking into consideration all phases of the research and final deliverables.
  5. Collaboration with Faculty Sponsor: Provide a description of the way you and your faculty sponsor will collaborate on the project. The faculty sponsor should play a significant role in responding to your ideas, providing advice for new directions and resources, discussing the implications of the results, and helping you prepare for your public presentation. Will there be regularly scheduled meetings between you and your sponsor? Explain how the project relates to the ongoing work of your sponsor, if this is the case.
  6. References Cited (include in an additional page within the project proposal): Include a list of any literature that you have cited in the proposal. Nearly all good science and engineering proposals cite papers reporting related results, describing the methods to be used or providing background information. Please note-the review panel rarely recommends funding for proposals without adequate references.
  7. Report on Previous Research Experience (please save and upload this as a separate document): If you have done any previous research as an undergraduate you must include a 1-2 page (double-spaced) summary of your research results or creative products. Please note-if you have received funding from USP or INBRE your proposal will not be considered unless you complete this section.

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Humanities and Creative Writing

  1. Introduction: Provide a statement of the objective(s) and the anticipated significance of the work to your field of study. What problems or questions will be investigated? We suggest that the introduction begin with a brief description of the project in general terms, being sure to clearly identify what contributions this project means to make for readers in a particular field.
  2. Background: Provide a brief review of the work that has been done in the project area together with complete references in appropriate professional style. Your review should explain what research already exists on your question and why it has not yet sufficiently addressed the question. It should also try to explain where the question comes from. In addition, this section should include any personal information about you, such as what interests you personally about this question and/or what experience you already have working on it, that would indicate to the reviewers your qualifications for successfully completing this project. Please include a brief statement addressing how the project will contribute to your academic and career goals.
  3. Intellectual Framework/Methodology: Provide a detailed description of what intellectual, theoretical, or methodological framework you plan to use to gather and interpret material (texts or data) for your project. Include a justification for the specific approach that you will use. For example, if you were researching a question on ethics, what theories or frameworks of ethics would you use to study the problem, and how would you justify that choice—what makes that framework a particularly good one for addressing the question you’re posing?
  4. Timeline: Explain what stages or phases your project will involve, and provide approximate dates (such as “second week of November”) for the initiation and completion of each phase. Attempt to lay out a reasonable schedule taking into consideration all phases of the research and final deliverables.
  5. Collaboration with Faculty Sponsor: Provide a description of the way you and your faculty sponsor will collaborate on the project. The faculty sponsor should play a significant role in responding to your ideas, providing advice for new directions and resources, discussing your thinking and arguments, helping you strategize how to disseminate your research, and reading drafts of your project. Will there be regularly scheduled meetings between you and your sponsor? Explain how the project relates to the ongoing work of your sponsor, if this is the case.
  6. References (include in an additional page within the project proposal): Include a list of any sources that you have cited in your proposal. A strong proposal must be contextualized by references to existing research, in order to demonstrate that the proposed research will truly cover new ground and contribute new knowledge. The review panel rarely recommends funding for proposals that lack adequate background research.
  7. Report on Previous Research Experience (please save and upload this as a separate document): If you have done any previous research as an undergraduate you must include a 1-2 page (double-spaced) summary of your research results or creative products. Please note-if you have received funding from USP or INBRE your proposal will not be considered unless you complete this section.

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Arts and Archiecture
  1. Introduction: Provide a statement of the objective(s) and the anticipated significance of the work to your field of study. What problems will be investigated? What is the significance and relevance of this project to the field? We suggest that the introduction begin with a brief description of the project in general terms before the more technical aspects of the project are discussed. What are the anticipated outcomes of the project?
  2. Background: Provide a brief review of the work that has been done in the project area together with complete references in appropriate professional style. This section should also include any personal information about you that would indicate to the reviewers your qualifications for successfully completing this project, including a statement of how the project will contribute to your academic and career goals.
  3. Methods & Creative Techniques: Provide a detailed description of the research and creative methods that you will use in the project. This should include a justification for the specific approach that you will use. How does your project contribute to the knowledge, understanding, and critical discourse concerning both historical and contemporary practice and processes of your field?  In addition, students should address each of the following areas:  
    • Interdisciplinarity (if applicable): If your project contains interdisciplinary aspects, describe them and what additional resources and methods you will use to complete those aspects of your project.
    • Assessment: Provide detailed ways in which you will assess the success and failure of each aspect of your project. 
    • Dissemination: How will you share the results of your project? If you plan on an exhibition, performance, website or other form beyond the USP presentation, explain how and why you are choosing the venue or structure.
  4. Timeline: Provide dates for the initiation and completion of each phase of the project. Attempt to lay out a reasonable schedule taking into consideration all phases of the activity and final deliverables.
  5. Collaboration with Faculty Sponsor: Provide a description of the way you and your faculty sponsor will collaborate on the project. The faculty sponsor should play a significant role in responding to your ideas, providing advice for new directions and resources, discussing the implications of the results, and helping you prepare for your public presentation. Will there be regularly scheduled meetings between you and your sponsor? Explain how the project relates to the ongoing work of your sponsor, if this is the case.
  6. References Cited (include in an additional page within the project proposal): Include a list of any literature that you have cited in the proposal. All creative activity resides within specific contexts, critical theories, and histories which you should research and note in your proposal. Please note - the review panel rarely recommends funding for proposals without adequate references.
  7. Report on Previous Creative/Research Experience (please save and upload this as a separate document): If you have done any previous research as an undergraduate you must include a 1-2 page (double-spaced) summary of your research results or creative products. Please note-if you have received funding from USP or INBRE your proposal will not be considered unless you complete this section.

What Our Reviewers Look For

For more guidelines on how to write a successful proposal, please review our Tips for Writing Strong Research Proposals page.

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