Writing Your Proposal

After a project area and a faculty sponsor have been identified, the student must prepare a proposal, usually two to three pages in length, as detailed in the MSR Proposal Guidelines.

MSR Project Criteria

As stated above, all projects must have a clear research question. Quantitative and/or qualitative data will be collected, analyzed, and reported. The specific elements that must be addressed for each project include:

  1. Is the research question clearly stated and relevant?
  2. Can the student explain why the problem selected is important in the context of other research that has been carried out? Has the relevant literature been cited correctly?
  3. Are there specific and appropriate methods that will be carried out to address the question?
  4. Is the Experimental Design section detailed enough to portray a clear understanding of the methods? Does the student state the planned outcomes and how the outcomes will be interpreted with regard to the research question? If questionnaires are being used, are example questions attached?
  5. How will the data be gathered and analyzed? Are appropriate statistical tests described that will apply to determining the confidence with which any conclusions are reached?
  6. Is the timeline for the project realistic?
  7. Is the research setting appropriate? Are techniques established and/or equipment available? Has a preliminary analysis been done to estimate the number of subjects required for significance in the results? Is the advisor oversight appropriate?


Helpful links

  • Clinical Research – An institutional resource for various programs supporting patient research at Penn State College of Medicine and Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center
  • Core Facilities and research resources – All facilities and services offered through the College of Medicine that might help you with your project.
  • Research Concierge – Helps Penn State College of Medicine investigators strengthen grant writing skills, form collaborative teams and develop complex research proposals.
  • Research Support – The landing page for the central research administration, support and compliance offices of the College of Medicine.