The narrative is the central component of the proposal. The narrative is the section for making the case as to why the proposal should be supported. A narrative can be broken down into the following:


The introduction establishes credibility by describing who is applying for funds, links with sponsor priorities, and leads logically to the problem statement. The introduction is brief, engaging, and free of jargon.

Needs/Problem Statement

This section addresses why the sponsor should fund your project.  This section identifies the concern, gap, need, or problem, that would be shared by the sponsor agency. It communicates "fire in the belly," and everything stated must be supported by evidence. This would be a good time to display a unique take on your project. Once again, the needs/problem statement is brief, yet interesting reading, and free of jargon.

Goals & Objectives

Goals and objectives state what you plan on doing in your research. It lists outcomes, end products, deliverables, but NOT METHODS. This section must be clear, simple, specific and measurable. Your goals and objectives relate to the problems identified in your problem statement.


The significance section addresses the impact and/or result of having accomplished the objectives. It relates to the why of the problem statement and answers: "What changes, is better, is implemented, is advanced by the project?"


The methods describe how you are going to carry out the project. Typically the lengthiest section, the methodology describes tasks related to objectives. This is the section that contains graphical material, time frames, the total scope of activities conducted.


The evaluation presents a plan for measuring the degree to which objectives will be accomplished and the methods followed, that is, how well your project did what it set out to do. This section explains test instruments and data analyses, along with the criteria of success.


Dissemination identifies the means of informing others of your project outcomes. How broadly do you plan on distributing your results? Describes specific avenues for publication and/or presentation.


This section presents a plan for maintenance of the program beyond grant funding. What are the availability of resources for continuation of the project?

More simply, a narrative answers these questions:

  • Who are we, and how do we qualify to meet this need?
  • What do we want?
  • How does this funding request relate to the funder's purpose, objectives, and priorities?
  • What concern will be addressed and why it is important?
  • Who will benefit and how?
  • What specific objectives can be accomplished and how? 
  • How will results be measured?
  • What are plans for continuation beyond project funding?

For more information, visit the Proposal Preparation FAQ