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How detailed does the Scope of Work need to be?

The Statement of Work (SOW) is an integral part of the research project and should define the who, what, when, where, why, and how of the project.

The SOW governs and provides direction for the conduct of the research and should address all key aspects of the project. Milestones and proposed deliverables should be defined in the SOW and should become part of the contract terms to establish mutual expectations of the parties before the project begins. Such milestones and deliverables should clearly state each party’s expectations. Assumptions and qualifications about the milestones and deliverables should be stated.


  • the PI(s);
  • project staffing;
  • project objectives;
  • the research plan;
  • required standards or specifications for conduct of the research;
  • locations where the research will be conducted;
  • deliverables and milestones (defined in a sufficient level of detail such that one can determine if they are met);
  • the period of performance;
  • any special resources required; and
  • timing and frequency of meetings and reports.

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