Though it appears first, the abstract should be written last, as a concise summary (approximately 200 words) of the proposal. It should appear on a page by itself numbered with a small Roman numeral if the proposal has a table of contents and with an Arabic number if it does not.
To present the essential meaning of the proposal, the abstract should summarize or at least suggest the answers to all the questions mentioned in the Introduction above, except the one about cost (which is excluded on the grounds that the abstract is subject to a wider public distribution than the rest of the proposal). Certainly the major objectives of the project and the procedures to be followed in meeting these objectives should be mentioned.
The abstract speaks for the proposal when it is separated from it, provides the reader with his first impression of the request, and, by acting as a summary, frequently provides him also with his last. Thus it is the most important single element in the proposal.
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