Guidelines for a Successful Proposal
Writing a research proposal will help you to clarify your project and it will give you valuable experience for any proposal writing you may do beyond Carnegie Mellon. All proposals submitted to the Undergraduate Research Office (URO) are read and scored by a selection committee made up of faculty from each of the colleges on campus. Your proposal will be read by someone in your college, but it will also be read by faculty members who are not familiar with your discipline. For this reason, a successful proposal will be written in such a way that an intelligent reader who is not familiar with your field can still understand the research question you are proposing and the significance of this research in a larger context.
Please follow the headings that are laid out here - Proposal I and Proposal II.
The effectiveness of your proposal will depend on your ability to explain the nature, context and scope of the project. The selection committee will also be looking for an indication that your project will be more than just a learning experience—what does it contribute to your field that we do not already know?
Your proposal may be up to three pages in length, single-spaced. At the top of the first page place your project title. The next item should be your abstract. Print single sided sheets only (double sided copies will not duplicate and the committee will not receive your full proposal). We recommend at least a 12 point, serifed font (such as Times or Palatino), justified left (right ragged) format. Illustrations may be used in the body of the proposal but should duplicate well on a copier. If you are using color graphs or illustrations, please submit five complete copies of your proposal for the selection committee. Do not include a cover sheet, title page, or any attachments other than what is required: they will be discarded. Instead, include any relevant information in the body of your proposal. Remember to spell check! You are asking for money and your proposal should be a reflection of your commitment to the project.
All Type I Arts and Creative Humanities proposals must contain supporting materials to clarify the proposal. These include prior art or creative work, links to CD/DVD documentation, music compositions, sketches of proposed work, preliminary research, archive information, etc.
For Type II proposals, illustrations may be used in the body of the proposal but should duplicate well on a copier. If you are using color graphs or illustrations, please submit five complete copies of your proposal for the selection committee.
Review a Draft
You are strongly encouraged to work with your faculty advisor on your proposal and to meet with the Undergraduate Research Office Director at least once to review a draft prior to submitting a Summer Research Fellowship proposal. To schedule an appointment, call x8-5702, or email Stephanie Wallach at firstname.lastname@example.org or Jennifer Keating-Miller at email@example.com.