Abstract or Project Summary

The abstract describes the major objectives of the proposed research and the research strategy to meet the objectives. Sponsors often use the abstract to assign the proposal to the appropriate study section for review. Reviewers may also use the abstract to gain an initial perspective of the key concepts of the study and its significance. After funding is secured, the abstract may be used for entry in national databases, and its keywords are picked up for quotation indexes.

The following are examples of abstracts or specific requirements per Sponsor (please note that a specific funding opportunity announcement may deviate from these guidelines):

  • Department of Education: The abstract narrative should not exceed one page and should use language that will be understood by a range of audiences. The abstract should include the following items: priorities addressed, project goals and expected outcomes, brief project description, target number of project participants to be served each year, and members of the eligible partnership and any other key partner organizations. It is a summary of your project.
  • Institute of Education Sciences (IES): Provides a high-level overview that is accessible to a range of audiences, such as policymakers, practitioners, and the general public. This section should use short, active sentences to briefly describe the significance of the project, project activities, and the intended outcomes. Purpose: A brief description of the purpose of the project and its significance for improving education in the United States. This should include why the research is important, what this project will do to address the need, and the general expected outcomes of the project. Project Activities: An overview of the sample, research design, and methods. Products: A brief description of the expected products of the project, including the intervention or assessment to be developed and the information that will be learned and disseminated.
  • National Institutes of Health (NIH): A succinct and accurate description of the proposed work. Include: the project’s broad, long-term objectives and specific aims, and a description of the research design and methods. Do not include: proprietary or confidential information, or descriptions of past accomplishments.
  • National science Foundation (NSF): Consists of an overview, a statement on the intellectual merit of the proposed activity, and a statement on the broader impacts of the proposed activity. The overview includes a description of the activity that would result if the proposal were funded and a statement of objectives and methods to be employed. The statement on intellectual merit should describe the potential of the proposed activity to advance knowledge. The statement on broader impacts should describe the potential of the proposed activity to benefit society and contribute to the achievement of specific, desired societal outcomes. The Project Summary should be informative to other persons working in the same or related fields, and, insofar as possible, understandable to a broad audience within the scientific domain.