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Project Proposals

Proposals can vary depending on subject matter, purpose, audience, and size of the project being proposed. Most proposals contain the following basic categories in the order listed.


Always read your assignment instructions carefully, and ensure you include the required components for your assignment. Different projects will use different headings.


Provide a brief summary of the benefits of your project; why is it necessary and important?  This is where you hook your reader into wanting to learn more about the project.


Provide the necessary background information on this project in detail.  Demonstrate a thorough knowledge of the problem(s) that need to be addressed and previous research in the area (if any).

Project description

Explain exactly what you will do to complete your project.  Describe the methods you will be using, along with where the project will take place and the timeline for your project.  This section may also contain many sub-headings such as, but not limited to, Plan (or Methodology), Schedule, and Projected Results. Other sub-headings may be used depending on the needs of the client.

Supporting arguments

As a proactive researcher or employee, you should anticipate any questions or concerns your client may have about your ability to complete the project and address them in your proposal.  By comparing your project to similar research you have done and by providing a detailed proposal, you can show that you can stay on schedule, stay on budget, and be successful.


Depending on the requirements of the proposal, you may be required to provide a breakdown of the expected costs of the project. Prepare your budget carefully. An unrealistic budget will not help your proposal. Depending on the nature of your contract, there may legal restrictions on how the money is spent and on the responsibility for cost overruns.


A conclusion or a document requesting approval for your project is also required. The conclusion should restate the main reasons for undertaking the project and why you should proceed with it. A request to make a formal presentation or a meeting may be made in this section.

Supporting material

Include any additional material that shows you will be able to successfully complete the project.  If you are working as a part of a team, you will include the qualifications of all the team members, related projects completed, and access to controlled facilities, such as a lab, that may be crucial to the success of your project. Supporting documents are normally placed as appendices after the conclusion.


Read your assignment instructions carefully. You may be required to include additional categories or information.