Refer to section 2.6 of the Mayfield Handbook of Technical & Scientific Writing for general information about proposal writing.
An outline similar to the sample proposal in the Mayfield Handbook will be appropriate for most 20.345 projects. Adjust the outline to fit your circumstances. Your proposal should detail what you are planning to do, the motivation for doing it, prior work, and relevant theory. It should include a comprehensive development plan and schedule with weekly milestones and enumerate the necessary resources. At the front, the proposal should include a summary suitable for nontechnical readers.
Your outline might look something like this:
- Use nontechnical language to convey the most important information contained in the proposal.
- The summary should be one or two paragraphs long.
- Give the bottom line on motivation, goal, key milestones, risks, resources, and previous work.
- Background and Motivation
- Interest the reader in your project.
- Explain why the device you are building or the measurement you are making is important.
- Give the reader an appreciation of previous work in the field.
- Explain how your project is unique.
- Theoretical Framework
- Explain the method and any relevant theory.
- Experimental Goal
- Give details of what you are going to accomplish and the techniques you plan to use.
- Development Plan
- Explain how you will develop and test any instruments you plan to build.
- Detail the experiments you plan to run.
- Specify what you intend to accomplish each week.
- Itemize required resources.
- Identify resources that must be purchased or obtained from outside labs.
Assume that the audience for your proposal is fellow students. Proposals should be less than ten pages long, excluding appendices.