Honors Proposal Guidelines

Biology Honors Proposals should contain an overview of the proposed research with sufficient detail to allow assessment of the major ideas and approaches to be used, as well as the broader impacts of the proposed research. Proposals should be written with significant detail to allow readers to assess the merits and methodologies of the proposed work but should be general enough to be interpretable to a scientist with expertise outside the area of focus. Proposals are limited to 4 pages (this limit includes 1 - 3 in format below) and must follow the following format:

  1. Title of Proposed Project
  2. Project Summary/Abstract
  3. Project Description
    • Conceptual framework
    • Rationale and Significance or "Background"
    • Hypothesis(es) or Research Question
    • Research Design/Approach
    • Broader Impacts
  4. References Cited
  5. Necessary Approvals
  6. Budget/Materials needed (if requested)

Some proposals may include a materials needed and/or budget depending on the situation of the principle investigator/advisor. You should speak with your research advisor about the need for a proposed budget.

Details of proposal sections:

  1. Title of Proposed Project: Title should be descriptive and concise. It should reflect the content of the proposed project.
  2. Project Summary: Project Summaries/Abstracts should synopsize the project so that the reader can get the point and clearly determine the general merit of the proposal. Summaries/Abstracts will be about 200 - 250 words and summarize the purpose of the study addressing its intellectual merit, the methods used, and the broader impacts. The summary should be written in the voice appropriate to the standard for the subdiscipline (e.g., first person-active; third person), informative to those working in the same or related field(s), and understandable to a scientifically or technically literate reader.
  3. Project Description. Containing the following sub-sections:
    • "Conceptual Framework" or "Objectives" or "Specific Aims"
    • "Rationale and Significance" or "Background"
    • "Hypotheses" or "Research Question (s)"
    • "Research Approach", "Research Design" or "Experimental Plan"
    • "Broader Impacts" - What may be the benefits of the proposed activity/project to the laboratory, department, and society? How will this work be disseminated broadly to enhance scientific understanding (e.g., peer-reviewed publication, public presentation, web presence, blog)?
  4. References Cited (maximum 2 pages). This should follow standard.
  5. Necessary approvals:
    • Work with vertebrate animals (IACUC - animal care and use committee)
    • Work involving Human Subjects (IRB - internal review board)
  6. Budget (when appropriate) should be submitted