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Bay Honors

The deadline to submit a proposal was February 14, 2015.postcard

The Proposal Abstract

The proposal abstract should do the following in 100-150 words:

  • Briefly describe the general content, driving question and results of your research.
  • Provide background information so the committee can understand your project.
  • Give a sense of the significance of your results.  Why are they interesting?  What are their implications?  Why should anyone care about this?

The Methodology & Special Resources Section

For this section give 40-50 word description in the first person which does the following:

  • Explains exactly what you did in your project. How specifically did you go about answering your question?
  • Details any special resources, internships, programs or equipment you had access to in conducting your research.


Using access I have through an internship in the Archive Department at the USS Hornet, I correlated documented ship missions andupgrades from 1943-1971 with a timeline of geo-political events I constructed from myriad books and documentaries. I also conducted three formal oral histories of veterans to add richness and context.

For my project I studied recently published literature on the common microorganisms in ground meat, such as the deadly E. Coli strain O157:H7. Then I cultured ground beef and turkey bought from local markets and inoculated differential plates in order to compare the microorganism colonies in each. 

To compare Emma Edmonds and Belle Boyd’s Civil War espionage tactics, I read both women’s memoirs as well as many general publications on U.S. women’s roles in the war.  To ensure visual integrity in the the comic book I created, I also attended two Civil War historical reinactement events in Northern California.

For my analysis I performed a meta-analysis of the current scientific literature on the documented effects of cell phone radiation on human health, critiquing each experiment’s methodology and results.  I also researched the physics behind radiation and current cognitive science theories about how the mind creates and enforces false correlations.

I familiarized myself with Matisse, Picasso and Cézanne’s styles and biographies through a review of books, articles and documentaries, I then performed a visual comparison of each man’s seminal works.  Finally I painted my own triptych of self-portraits done in each artist’s style to provide more evidence for my theories.

Important Points to Remember

  • The proposal reading committee must be able to understand what your project is about. State the problem, issue or area on which you are focusing and give sufficient background information so an educated group of laypeople can understand it.
  • If you had a hypothesis state it clearly along with your final conclusion. If your research is still ongoing at the time of submission, describe what results you expect to find based on your current work.
  • If your proposal involves presentation of artwork or a performance describe how you will go about illustrating the driving theme/idea in your performance and what the value will be for the audience (educational, aesthetic, creative/innovative expression, original concepts, etc.)
  • This is a competitive process and the quality of your proposal will determine whether you are chosen to present. Be sure to look at sample proposals before you submit.
  • In writing up your proposal, be clear and focused but, at the same time, preserve yourown voice so the project comes across as uniquely your own.
  • Whenever possible, quantify your methodology. How many people did you interview? How many water samples did you take over how many weeks?
  • Use MLA or APA format to show documentation.You must list up to 5 sources at theconclusion of your abstract. There are a number of online resources able to assist you in this process.

How to Get Started

Follow these steps:

  • Talk to your mentor/professor and/or Honors Program Director about your presentation idea and get their feedback.
  • Make sure your Honors Director knows that you are interested in being a presenter.
  • Read the Sample Proposal Abstracts to give you an idea of what you need to do.
  • Prepare a proposal abstract of 100-150 words. You must list up to 5 of your most cited sources at the end of the proposal.
  • In the first person, write the 40-50 word description of your methodology and any special resources to which you had access. The committee wants to know exactly what you did in your research project. Use active verbs and quantify when possible. If your work came out of an internship or research program, or if you had access to special equipment or archives mention this.
  • Write a compelling one sentence proposal description. This will be used in the Symposium Program if you are selected to present.
  • Give your presentation an interesting and descriptive title.
  • Show all of the above to your professor/mentor several weeks before the deadline to leave time for rewriting. Note that your Honors Director may set deadlines just for your program.
  • Rewrite and show your professor/mentor your revised materials.
  • Proofread meticulously! The proposal represents you and gives the proposal reading committee a sense of who you are, so you don’t want it to be riddled with errors or awkward and hard to read. Ask for help with the final edit from your professor/mentor and/or your honors director.
  • Your college may offer a workshop or other forms of assistance with writing up your proposal as well as practice sessions prior to the Symposium. Stay in close touch with your Honors Director so you know what is being offered.