Why Propose?, Proposal Essay help

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Lesson 8 – Proposal

 Your essay needs
to meet the following requirements:

  1. Your paper should be formatted in MLA style
  2. Your paper should have a cover page, introduction,
    review of sources, a plan to collect information, an overview of
    challenges, a conclusion, and a Works Cited page.
  3. Your paper should be 4 to 6 double-spaced pages in
    length, exclusive of the cover page and Works Cited page.
  4. You may use the first person in this paper. Just make
    sure to keep your voice consistent.


Why Propose?

Think back to Lesson
1. Publication is a key part of the writing process, especially in this age of
rapid publishing options like Web sites, blogs, and social media outlets. In
order to effectively share your ideas, it pays to do a little background research
to make sure you are sharing unique knowledge. The word unique is key—as an
individual, whatever you propose will be unique to you as an author. Your
instructor’s view on popular music, for example, will likely be quite different
from your own. Secondly, there’s nothing worse than facing regurgitated
knowledge. If a subject has been “done to death,” it becomes dull, or
worse, trite and unimportant.

The proposal is a way
to maintain both types of uniqueness. Your instructor will determine if the
topic has a clear perspective behind it. Since you will be working on
this project for the remainder of the class, it would not be wise to report
facts. Your work will need to have a clear sense of direction, and should
relate back to your own interests as an author. Your instructor will also be
looking at the nature of the topic. Is it too narrow? Too broad? Has it been
“done,” or is it relevant? Know this… the proposal is a no
risk paper. If your instructor thinks you’re on the wrong track, s/he will
offer advice to get you pointed in the right direction.

The process of writing
a proposal will mirror what you would do in the “real world.” Before
writing a book, for example, an author needs to propose the concept and prove
why it is necessary. Before writing a newspaper article, an idea is typically
vetted in a meeting, or at least run through a review process with an editor.
Take this paper as an opportunity to share your idea, receive feedback, and
work on building a stronger project.

The Parts of a

Your proposal will
consist of the following elements:

  1. A cover page formatted
    in MLA style with a unique title reflective of your intended project
  2. An Introduction (1-2

In the previous
lesson, you conducted exploratory research to narrow a topic and consolidate a
research question, thus taking the first steps toward the proposal. Your
introduction begins with your topic and research question, and by the time done reading
it, your readers should be able to answer the question: What are you
going to write about and why?

Specifically, your
introduction should:

  • Identify the issue you plan to research.
  • State your research question and thesis (even if
    they’re still rough).
  • Identify your intended audience and their needs,
    interests, values, beliefs and any other elements of the rhetorical
    situation that are appropriate. If you have certain philosophies, values,
    or personal connections that you feel may affect the direction the paper
    takes, mention those too.
  • Discuss the benefits this research has for both you and
    the reader. This would include why you want to write about this topic.

3. A Review of Sources (1-2 pages)

In Lesson 7, you found
and annotated seven bibliographic sources. Your instructor might have made
comments suggesting alternate search strategies or other places to look for
information. Give yourself enough time to do a thorough search before writing
this section since you will want to have a good foundation. The goal is to
answer the question: What has already been done on this subject?

Specifically, these
paragraphs should:

  • Identify and name your sources. Where are they from?
    What types of sources you are using?
  • Give an overview of the main ideas, assumptions, gaps,
    and important elements that you have found in your sources. You can
    revise the verbiage from your bibliography as a starting point here.
  • Discuss whether your sources share the same goals,
    show divergent views, or any other interesting trends as applicable.

4. A Plan to Collect

Based on the
information you have already seen, think about how you will complete your
research. Since the next lesson covers field research methods, it might be
worth a peek to see if you may want to integrate those methods (surveys,
interviews, observations, etc.). By the time the reader finishes this section,
they should be able to answer: How are you going to complete your

Specifically, these
paragraphs should include:

  • A brief description of the types of resources you’ll
    use to complete your research efforts
  • A description of the steps you’ll take between this
    assignment and the outline in Lesson 9 to complete your research.
  • A timeline, if appropriate. If you plan on using field
    research, this is recommended to help plan the time needed to schedule
    interviews or deploy a survey.

Note: I prefer to do a
survey by using SurveyMonkey.com. Here’s a brief information about surveys:


If you want a general
sense of how people feel about an issue or need answers to basic
“why” questions, a survey might be the best choice. Surveys at this
level should be short, to the point, and clearly related to your research.

In choosing who to
survey, think about your research question. If you want to know people’s
impressions on solar power, then demographics do not matter. If you want to
know the gaming habits of teenage males, then you’ll want to ask questions to
screen out females and respondents outside that age range.

The types of questions
are also important. People are less likely to type responses and are more
likely to answer multiple-choice questions. Further, multiple choice options
are a lot easier to use—if 100 people answered your survey with 100-word
short-answer questions, you would spend a lot of time deciphering the results!

The easiest way to
conduct a survey is to set up a free account with SurveyMonkey.com or another
Internet survey provider that offers a free service. These tools allow you to
easily distribute your survey to anyone with an email address, and often, are
easy to share on social networks. While paper surveys can reach those without
the Internet, they can be costly. You need permission, for example, to
distribute surveys in businesses and public places. Mailing surveys can become
expensive in terms of postage. Email surveys can be easier, but you’re left to
tally your results.

5. An overview of
(1-2 paragraphs).

This is your chance to
ask questions. If you are concerned about any aspect of the final project and
completing your research goals, this is the place to pose those questions. If
you are worried about being able to find resources, express your concern! The
goal is to think about potential challenges and problems that might arise as
you work on your project.

6. Conclusion (1-2 paragraphs).

This is where you wrap
it all up. Your reader should walk away from this section with a clear sense of
your goals and an understanding of why this project is important.

Specifically, these
paragraphs should:

  • Describe what you are hoping to produce for the final
  • What will your focus be? What types of outcomes are
    you hoping for?
  • Re-emphasize why this work is important.

7. Works Cited: This should detail any key sources as well
as any items quoted in the body of the paper. Remember to use MLA format.

My Research Question
is: Abortion causes mental health problems; the government should not
legalize it.

I attached a sample
proposal essay
 and my seven preliminary sources. Please
free to add more sources as you write the essay. Please use active voice (not
passive voice) in sentence construction.



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