TCC200R, Michael E. Gorman

What Goes Into a Proposal: General Guidelines

Remember that a proposal is a 'sales' document--you are trying to convince someone that your project is worth pursuing. This 'someone' may provide you with funding, or decide to collaborate with you or even just agree to let you do the project. There is no 'one best way' to write a proposal, but all proposals should contain the following information:


Why is this project worth doing? Who stands to benefit from it?


What are the specific goals that will be accomplished if this proposal is funded? These objectives should appear in a numbered list that can include sub-goals.


This section generally contains a thorough review of the literature which terminates in a Problem Statement, to emphasize the problem that will be solved if the proposal is funded.

Project Description

This section describes the detailed activities that will be conducted, if the proposal is accepted.


What are the resources needed to accomplish the project? How will these resources be obtained, if not from the agency to which the proposal has been submitted?


A good proposal contains a detailed schedule of project activities.

Qualifications of Research Team

The resumes of members of the research team should accompany a proposal, along with a narrative describing their roles in the project and why they are qualified.