What is the format for a proposal?

What is the format for a proposal?


Problem Statement

Your introduction section should smoothly transition into a problem statement.  It should flow logically from the information you provided. Take all that you have written about your population, problem, and what is lacking in practice and encapsulate it into one to three sentences that succinctly summarize the problem. Then, lastly, explain your Quality Improvement (QI) project approach and how your approach will address the problem.

Organizational “Gap” Analysis of Project Site

            Include a description of the gap analysis of the project site to identify why this project is appropriate for the site where it will be implemented. Use your Agency for Health Care Research and Quality (AHRQ) Guide and other resources to outline this section.


How do you design a proposal?


Review of the Literature

This section should always start with a paragraph describing your search terms, databases you searched, number of articles found and exclusion and inclusion criteria for choosing articles to review about the intervention or solution options for your population problem. The goal of a review of literature is to present an in-depth, current state of knowledge about your particular topic and QI approach to solving the population problem.  Rather than just summarizing and listing research studies, one after another, conducted on your topic, summarize, compare and contrast the works, and then synthesize the key concepts of the literature you have readIdentify any major trends, patterns, or gaps you may have found in the literature and identify any relationships among studies.  In general, there is a five-year span from the present for the date of literature you should use except for an older, landmark/hallmark study, which should be identified as such.The review of literature for your proposal should provide the context your future capstone project through your narrative that fully explores the best evidence based practice options to address the problem.

The review of the literature should clearly describe your search strategy, the results from each database, the number of articles yielded, how you eliminated any articles and the final count – as well as types – of articles used. The search process should be precisely described such that if anyone wanted to replicate your search, they would get similar results.

Organize your main findings by using subheadings called Level 2 headings, which are typed in bold face type, in upper and lower case letters (Title Case), and typed flush with the left side of the paper. Use Level 3 headings to further subdivide topics.  Level 3 headings are indented, typed in lowercase letters, in boldface, and followed by a period.  Examples of Level 2 and 3 headings can be found in this paper under Project Design. The APA Manual or the Purdue Owl Writing Center website provides more information about all five levels of headings in APA Style, 6th edition. Use quotes sparingly and only to emphasize or explain an important point.  More than one quote per scholarly paper, may be one quote too many!

Do not make broad statements about the conclusiveness of research studies, either positive or negative.  Be objective in your presentation of the facts.  Each paragraph should begin with a significant statement, well cited! and describe only one key point.  The idea is the next paragraph should logically flow from the content of its predecessor.

Conclude the review of literature with a concise summary of your findings and provide a rationale for conducting your DNP project based on your findings.


How do you write a research proposal?



Evidence Based Practice: Verification of Chosen Option

This section includes a brief statement about the evidence-based practice/s (EBP) [specific practice or educationsl intervention, program intervention or evaluation, presentation and toolkit, or policy change] QI option that you have chosen and that you will be implementing based on the review of the literature.

Theoretical Framework or Evidence Based Practice Model

In this section, name and define the theoretical or conceptual framework or evidence based practice model that underpins your proposal and future capstone project.  Place a diagram of the model as appropriate at the end of the paper in an appendix, after the Reference pages and refer to the diagram in this section. Demonstrate, using examples, how this framework is used to guide the DNP project. Remember, your theoretical framework is not an implementation strategy such as Plan/Do/Check/Act (Plan/Do /Study/Act is used for research studies).  You may discuss an implementation strategy, including PDCA in the methods section below.

Goals, Objectives and Expected Outcomes

Describe your goals and objectives for the DNP project.  Remember the acronym SMART when writing your objectives and expected outcomes.  They should be Specific, Measurable, Assignable (specify who will carry them out), Realistic, and Time-specific.  You can include a table or a numbered list in this section. Make sure your goals and Objectives match your Expected Outcomes. Make sure that the Expected Outcomes are reasonable for your project design, plan, and timeframe and are measureable. Avoid using vague terms such as “understand” for this section.

Example: Four (4) sixty-minute educational presentations from 3pm – 4pm each Wednesday during October 2018 to staff on the the Toolkit vPowerPoint format.


What is the purpose of a proposal writing in research?


Project Design

In this section, clearly explain your Quality Improvement Project design (what type of project you will be implementing: Educational intervention,Practice Intervention, Process Improvement,Pprogram Evaluation, Integrative Review with Presentaion of Toolkit, or health policy change) and, the methods (quantitative and qualitative) you will use to obtain the desired data for your project. Use the future tense to explain what you will do in your DNP project.  Convince the reader that your approach is practical and will lead to a credible solution to your proposed problem.

Write a paragraph describing each of the following subheadings as they apply to your project.

Project Site and Population 

Describe the setting where the project will take place and the necessary resources for the project. (Modify as needed for integrative review and health policy options). This includes the description of the community, its makeup, current services, the participants and stakeholders, and the role they will play in the project.  Describe the characteristics of the participants (providers, patients, community dwellers, administrators, staff, litigators, public health personnel, etc.), and selection or recruitment strategies, if applicable. List the inclusion and exclusion criteria.

Describe how the project site or practice is organized, the services offered, current procedures, staffing patterns, etc. and how you will interact with site personnel and patients (clients) to implement your project. If you are able to get a letter of support for your project on the agency letterhead, please include in the appendices.

 Describe the resources, constraints, facilitators and barriers that will influence the implementation of your DNP project.  Additionally, describe how you plan to overcome the barriers or roadblocks to actualization of project.


The Plan is the ‘HOW TO’ part of your proposal. This section includes is a detailed description about how you will actualize (from set-up to data collection) and complete your project. This section should be precisely described such that if anyone wanted to replicate your proposal / project, they could do so.

Measurement Instruments

            In order to evaluate the DNP Project there will be data you need to measure.  You will need to identify when and how you will measure this data (pre-post intervention, post intervention, at different intervals – a time series etc.) You may start this section: In order measure the outcomes of this DNP Project the following instruments will be used: Selects either established tools or you may choose to create your own surveys. In either case you must describe which surveys or tools you will be using to evaluate your DNP Project and include copies in the appendix. You should describe the strength of any established tools you choose to use based on the literature.

Data Collection Procedures

Describe all the steps of your project in narrative form, including your plan for implementation and plan for evaluation.  You can use subheaders that define your approach. You can use the Plan, Do, Check, Act PDCA framework or key parts of your theory as subheaders to tie together the parts of your plan. Include projected recruitment, steps in actualizing the intervention, data collection procedures, and evaluation. You can organize your procedures by stages or phases (pre-intervention, intervention, postintervention) of your project implementation and/or according to a timeline.

Data Analysis

Fully address how you plan to describe and or analyze the quantitative and/ or qualitative data that you will collect. Descriptive statistics alone are fine for projects with less than 12-15 participants- consider using graphical representations of your data. These data may be from the measurement instruments you listed or from focus groups, individual or group discussions, orobservations

Cost-Benefit Analysis/Budget

            Provide an account of costs – financial, time or otherwise and who will bear them. If you are using a clinical site, make sure to show how you offset costs with benefits to site, providers, and patients within the site.  Do not include costs for such things are your personal computer use, or your personal transportation unless you are specifically traveling to multiple sites to conduct the project. Place Cost-Benefit  Analysis/Budget Table in appendix and refer to it here.




Outline in detail the timeline you propose for actualization of your project, starting with proposal approval and continuing through data collection through analysis of and interpretation of outcomes. Remember that your proposal may not be approved until 3-4 weeks into the fall semester.  Make a Table for Timeline and place in appendix–See Appendix B for example.

Ethical Considerations/Protection of Human Subjects

Use these narrative sentences to launch this section: “The University of Massachusetts, Amherst (UMass) Internal Review Board (IRB) approval will be obtained prior to initiating the DNP Project”.

The official IRB Determination Form will be submitted as soon as the proposal is approved. Then, look at the UMass IRB site for samples of informed consents. Describe how HIPPA and Standards of Care assist you to protect your particiapnts. Describe any ethical considerations, risks and benefits, if applicable.

One Example: All participants were protected by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA)which, among other guarantees, protects the privacy of patients’ health information (Modifications to the HIPAA Privacy, Security, Enforcement, and Breach Notification Rules, 2013).  Additionally, the DNP student and practice personnel who carefully conducted this project followed the Standards of Care for practice in a primary care office.  All information collected as part of evaluating the impact of this project was aggregated data from the project participants and did not include any potential patient identifiers.

The risk to patients participating in this project was no different from the risks of patients receiving standard XXX care.  Participant confidentiality was assured by coding the participants using individual identification numbers.  The list of participants and their identifying numbers were kept in locked filing cabinets each practice office, only accessible to the project coordinators.  All electronic files containing identifiable information were password protected to prevent access by unauthorized users and only the project coordinators had access to the passwords.

Note: Once you submit the IRB Determination Form and get letter of approval or waiver of Human Subjects, include notice in final work and as an appendix item.


Summarize briefly your clinical problem, the evidence you have presented and your plan for addressing the problem in your specific practice setting. This summary should not include introduction of new citations, but rather explaining how what you have found in your review fits together.