The Research Assistant: Resources for Behavioral Science Researchers.
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  Tutorial NavBar Formulating a Question Your Proposal Team Writing the proposal After Your Grant is Submitted Fatal Flaws and Common Pitfalls

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  • An abstract succinctly describes all major aspects of the proposed project. Often, the abstract is posted separately from the text of the proposal (Abstracts may be posted in a database of funded research.), so it must be a complete and independent entity.

  • Abstracts are used by the NIH for public use files (such as CRISP), so it is important to mention all major aspects of the project clearly and accurately.

  • Your abstract should present the following information: a statement of the purpose of the research (This should be your first sentence.); a statement of the importance of the research (second sentence); a summary of the background and feasibility of your project, a brief description of relevant data, the target population, hypotheses, and methodology; a brief description of evaluation methods and expected results; and a description of the contributions your research will make to the field of knowledge and health outcomes, as well as generalizability of outcomes.

  • Although the abstract will come first in the presentation of your application, it is best written last, after the grant itself is written.

  • Most application forms place restrictions on the amount of space or number of words the abstract can contain. Make sure your abstract conforms to these restrictions.

  • And while we are here, a word on titles... The title of your project is probably the first thing a reviewer will read, so make sure it will grab his or her interest! Use acronyms for longer titles and be creative. Remember, there is a 56-character limit on the title.



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Last updated: August 12, 2003.