Undergraduate

MCDB 199A-D: Project Proposal

Project Proposals

The Basics:

  • Your proposal should be prepared as a separate paper and then appended to the contract, acknowledgement form, laboratory safety certificate, and if required the outside sponsor agreement and research timeline.  For complete instructions regarding these requirements, please see How to Apply and Enroll.
  • Your name, UID, and email address should appear on the first page; name and UID should appear on every subsequent page.
  • Your research sponsor’s full name, telephone and email address should appear on the first page.
  • Pages should be numbered.
  • Both you and your research sponsor must sign the last page of your proposal prior to submitting it, indicating that you both understand/agree to what is expected of you and what will be accomplished during the course.

The Proposal:

IMPORTANT:  It is a form of academic dishonesty to turn in material written by someone else in the lab for some other purpose (a section of a grant proposal, or an article in preparation) and given to you for use as a guide in preparing your research proposal, or your paper.  Both your proposal and your paper should be your own write-up, reflecting your understanding in your own words.  If you do utilize such materials, make sure to cite them appropriately in your paper.

  • Your proposal should begin with a problem statement – a clear description of the larger problem within which your research project is situated.
  • Your 199A proposal should outline a project that is appropriate in scope for a two-quarter research project.  You will be submitting a revised proposal for 199C and 199D.
  • A description of the specifics of your 199A-B project should follow, which includes the following:
    • The particular research questions to be answered.
    • The existing bodies of literature that will set you project into context.
    • The methods that will be used to generate data.
    • How data will be collected and subsequently analyzed.
  • Your proposal must make clear the precise role that you, the student, will play in the lab, including how much and what part of the data collection will be completed by you. (Be careful about using language such as “we” will perform XYZ experiments.  Specify that “I” will be performing XYZ experiments.  Distinguish what is being performed by others, and what is beng performed by you.)
  • The description of your project should be followed by an explanation of how this specific project contributes to the solution of some larger problem.  In other words, what role might you project or its findings play in answering questions posed by the larger problem?
  • The project that you and your research sponsor design should reasonable fit the research and writing within the two-quarter framework imposed by MCDB 199A-B and require no less than 12 hours per week in the lab.
  • Your research sponsor should provide an estimate of approximately how many hours per week, for the duration of all three quarters, the proposed project is expected to involve on your part, and how often you will meet with your sponsor to discuss your project (e.g., once a week).  That estimate should be included in your project proposal.  (A short paragraph at the very end of your proposal detailing this is preferred.)