Guidelines for the Presentation of Proposal A

  • Purpose

The requirement of proposal A for master and doctoral has several objectives aside from being a requisite for attainment of the degree. One of the objectives is to encourage students to activate his(her) research as early as possible with a well-conceived plan and carefully designed experiments. In the preparation of this proposal it is expected that the student becomes familiar with the chemical literature, particularly that related to his(her) research project and to assess the resources available for the proposed work. The goal of this proposal is that the student engage in an investigation that lead to meaningful and publishable scientific results.

The proposal A should be perceved as a learning, constructive and friendly experience to both, the student and the Committee members. It is also an excellent opportunity for professors to become acquainted with the research done by other fellow investigators and for suggesting other experiments and posibilities.

  • Proposal Body

The proposal A should include at least the following sections: a title page and abstract, a brief introduction, statement of the problem (or need), significance (literature review and background), preliminary results (progress report) and research plans (methodology). Each of these sections has a particular function in the proposal that carefully written and grafted will give the reader a clear picture of your proposed ideas and their relevance to the scientific endeavor. A brief summary of these sections follows with hints on how to spin a successful proposal.

Title page and abstract – The title should be short but self-explanatory. The abstract is usually no longer than 250 words and should be succinct and motivating. It states the needs to be addressed, specific objectives to be pursued, activities to meet those objectives, outlines the results and states the project’s contribution.

Brief Introduction – the introduction of the proposal underscores the relevance of the proposed studies and should highlight the problems that the investigation is addressing supported by what it is known presently in the field.

Statement of the problem – the statement of the problem must contain the long-range goal of the research, the particular objectives of your proposal, the central hypothesis, rationale and expectations. A long-range goal is the desired end-product of any investigation that is usually not attainable in a single dissertation. The objective(s)(specific aim(s)) is(are) what you want to accomplish with your investigation. They should be brief, focused and limited in scope. In addition, they should be written in a logical sequence, one steaming from the other. The proposed investigation must have a hypothesis that is testable and can afford, without a predetermined conclusion, an outcome from among various possibilities. The rationale is the reason behind the proposed studies and must be related to the problem highlighted in the introduction.

Significance – This section is to describe what is and what is not known in the field now. Address the desired state of the knowledge and how the proposed investigation would contribute to close or shorten the gap between what is known and is not known.

Preliminary results – describe published results including most important figures and/or tables and unpublished results in more detail.

Research plans – Use separate subsections to develop each planned set of studies and start them by restating the specific aim to address with the proposed studies in each subsection. Within each subdivision restate the hypothesis to be tested and rationale for the study (What is that you are proposing to do and why?), describe the methods of approach (How you plan to do it?), anticipated findings or results (What would be the meaning of the results in relation to the project?) and discuss potential pitfalls or alternatives approaches. Detail only unfamiliar methods and refer to previous work for known ones.

  • Proposal Format

Proposal A should be written using the New Times Roman font and 12 point size. It should be double-spaced with 1 margins at each side of the paper. Total number of pages for the main body of the proposal (introduction to methodology) should not exceed 10 pages including figures and/or tables. Bibliography should not exceed 3 pages.

  • Hints

* Be hypothesis driven, not technique-driven.

* Clearly state the impact of your work in the field.

* Don’t be too ambitious.

* Always include preliminary data.

* Write as clearly as possible, avoid complicated words, unusual abbreviations and poor syntax.

* Be organized, include headings and diagrams.

* Neatness counts, check misspellings, grammar errors, incorrect references.

* Experiments should address specific questions.

* Graphs and tables should be simpler and designed to convey a single idea.

* Support data should be as close as possible to where it is referenced in the text.