What is a proposal essay?
A proposal essay is a type of persuasive essay written to support or oppose a stated proposition. Students typically use the format in their composition courses, where they are asked to write essays supporting or opposing various action items.
The following article discusses five important guidelines for writing proposal essays:
A proposal essay is often assigned as an exercise in college-level writing courses. The assignment typically gives students a brief statement about an issue facing society today, asking them to either argue for changing the status quo or preserving it. Here are two examples of proposal paper prompts:
Should parents give their teenagers privacy? Support your answer with relevant reasons and/or specific examples from experience, observation, or reading . Although many parents believe teenagers would use privacy irresponsibly, others feel that adolescents should be given more freedom.
Should schools hire teachers who have majored in the subjects they teach? Give specific examples and reasons for your answer. Many schools believe that hiring teachers with degrees in the subjects they teach ensures that students are receiving accurate information, but others argue that it is unfair to exclude people from teaching opportunities if they did not major in education during college.
How to write a proposal essay
The following are five helpful steps on writing a proposal essay for college:
The most important aspect of writing a proposal essay is addressing the opposing argument, or counterargument. It is not enough to simply argue for your side; you must also show why your opponent’s position is problematic. Otherwise, there are no logical reasons you should be able to convince an educated audience how they are wrong on this matter. For example, if you argued that schools should hire teachers who have majored in the subjects they teach, one effective strategy would be showing that doing so would lead to students receiving more accurate information than if unqualified teachers were hired instead. You might follow with reasoning about the importance of having qualified instructors and explain how hiring unqualified people does not ensure quality education (because some graduates may not even know what they are talking about).
Support your statements with facts and/or anecdotes
A proposal essay is persuasive, so you want to explain why you hold your position. This can be done by providing facts or personal accounts that support your claim. For example, if you argued parents should give their teenagers privacy for using social media sites like Facebook, one effective strategy would be citing statistics about teenage social media addiction rates and how parents can monitor kids’ online activity all the time (and therefore expect them to do it responsibly on their own). You could also share an anecdote where you used Facebook irresponsibly as a teen and got into trouble because of it if doing so would help fellow readers better relate to your opinion. Of course, you must make sure to use facts and anecdotes that support your argument; otherwise, you will be seen as unreliable.
Discuss the benefits of your position
A proposal essay is persuasive, so it is important to discuss the positive aspects of your opinion . This can be done by explaining why society would benefit from following or leaving the status quo on this issue. For example, if you argued for teenagers’ privacy rights, one effective strategy would be showing how allowing them relative freedom online would help them learn responsibility early in life (which might prevent them from venturing down an unwise path later on). You could also share personal stories about responsible online usage habits you formed as a teen to demonstrate what teens are capable of when they are given the chance.
Use clear language and correct syntax
A proposal essay should be written in formal, academic tone. Avoid slang or casual writing when possible; otherwise, your statement may come across as immature to educated readers . Make sure you are addressing the topic (and not an unrelated issue) when giving your opinion. Finally, make sure all your sentences are in complete, proper form; if they are not, readers might misunderstand responsibilities for why you hold your position (or mistakenly think you lack sound reasoning). For example, “Proving kids responsibly use social media would help them learn responsibility early in life” is less likely to persuade than “Proving kids responsibly use social media could help them learn responsibility early in life.”
Edit and proofread your work
The final step to writing a proposal essay is editing and proofreading for grammar, spelling, and punctuation mistakes . Check all sentences for complete words (or lack thereof), subject-verb agreement, consistent verb tense, logical organization of ideas, and correct usage of punctuation. It is also helpful to get someone else to read over your essay before you turn it in because they are less emotionally involved with the topic than you are. If you have followed these steps when writing a proposal essay , you will be able to provide strong reasoning for why society should adopt this view on the given issue. Remember that proposals are persuasive essays ; therefore, even though your opinion may not change others’ minds entirely if they disagree with it beforehand, you have a chance to persuade them or at least get them thinking about your position.
Proposal essay structure
A good proposal essay structure should contain:
- Statement of your intentions: what do you plan to study? Why is this important? A clear statement of your intentions: what will you be studying and why does the research on this topic matter?
- Statement of the problem: Clearly state the problem you wish to address.
- Literature review: A review of the existing literature on this topic that you have read,
- Proposed ideas: Ideas about what methods or experiments you might implement. Methods: How do you plan to solve the problem? What techniques will you use for this study? The methods section should give a clear indication of exactly what it is that you are going to do.
In some cases there is no literature to review- for example, if you are proposing an experiment, but in other cases a more comprehensive literature review may be appropriate.
Proposal essay examples
The following proposal essay examples will give you a better idea of what this should look like.
Outline Example 1: A proposal essay on manufacturing drugs from biomass
Statement of Intentions: The purpose of my research project is to discover if it is possible to use bioenergy as an alternative source for chemicals such as pharmaceuticals. This option could potentially provide more sustainable fuels and chemicals while reducing the environmental impact of current production methods.
Statement of problem: The petroleum industry provides chemicals for a variety of important pharmaceuticals readily available today. As oil reserves are being depleted, there is an increasing need to find sustainable alternatives to the industry’s current practices. It has been hypothesized that biomass conversion processes could be used to produce specific types of chemicals that do not directly compete with food sources.
Review of literature: There are several stages in the process from biomass to chemicals where significant improvements can be found. One area is finding catalysts for efficient breakdown of complex carbohydrate compounds into glucose monomers which can be further processed into fuels or other desired products. Another major challenge is identifying ways to remove toxic byproducts during fermentation to increase yield and reduce costs.
Ideas: One possible experiment to test this hypothesis would be to collect different types of biomass, and then process them into sugars using enzymes and acids. These sugars could then undergo a microbial conversion process in bioreactors containing hydrothermal catalysts that break down complex compounds into smaller molecules which can be further processed for fuels or other chemicals. The use of such reactors could reduce the production time required by traditional methods and increase output quantities by increasing yield.
Sample Proposal Paper 2:
Title: Collage Proposal
I am proposing the creation of a collage that would gather together images, symbols, and text representing the various aspects of the user experience design process. This collage would function as both a visual aid for those unfamiliar with UX design, as well as a conversation starter for more experienced designers looking to compare and contrast their processes.
Statement of Purpose:
The purpose of this collage is to serve as a visual representation of the various steps involved in designing a user experience. This collage will be used as a teaching tool in my UX design course, as well as hung up in my office as a constant reminder of the importance of each step in the process.
This collage is meant for two audiences: those who are unfamiliar with UX design, and those who are experienced designers looking to compare and contrast different processes. For the former group, this collage will serve as an introduction to the various steps involved in UX design. For the latter group, this collage will provide a starting point for discussion and debate around the relative importance of each step in the process.
The materials I will use for this collage are images, symbols, and text representing the various steps involved in UX design. These materials will be gathered from online sources, as well as my library of UX-related books and articles.
The collage will be divided into four sections, each representing a different stage in the UX design process: research, planning, design, and testing. Within each section, the images, symbols, and text will be arranged in a way that reflects the chronology of that stage. For example, the research section will begin with more general images and text, followed by more specific ones as the research process narrows in on a particular topic.
In conclusion, the collage I am proposing will serve as a valuable teaching tool for my UX design course, as well as a visually appealing reminder of the importance of each stage in the process for experienced designers. This collage will be created using images, symbols, and text representing the various steps involved in UX design, and will be divided into four sections corresponding to the four stages of the process.
Druin, A. (1999). The design of children’s technology. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Norman, D. A. (2013). The design of everyday things. New York, NY: Basic Books.
Saffer, D. (2009). Designing for interaction: Creating smart applications and devices. Berkeley, CA: New Riders.
With these proposal essay examples, writing a perfect proposal paper should be a bliss.
100 Best proposal essay topics
Wondering what to write a proposal essay about? Before starting your research, check this list of interesting proposal essay ideas that include every possible topic in every possible field. With such a wide range of topics you can’t fail to impress even the most demanding professor!
- How to reduce childhood obesity (policy proposal)
- How to reduce gun violence
- Why we should stop eating meat (argumentative essay topic)
- Should gay marriage be legalized in the US (argumentative essay topic)?
- Can you really trust food manufacturers and advertisers? (subject: ethics, argumentative essay topic).
- Is social media a good or bad thing for teens? (subject: psychology, persuasive essay topic).
- How technology is changing human relationships and society as a whole. Should we embrace it or avoid it at all costs? Discuss both sides of the issue. (discussion question/paper assignment/persuasive essay idea).
- Are cellphones a distraction to drivers? (subject: science, argumentative essay topic).
- Is the usage of marijuana an illness or a disease to be treated with the help of doctors? (argumentative essay topic)
- Should tobacco companies be allowed to advertise on TV, radio and billboards? (subject: ethics, argumentative essay topic).
- How religion and politics affect each other and in what ways (argumentative essay topic).
- Should abortion be legal? Why or why not? (argumentative essay).
- How would you solve the homeless problem in America (persuasive essay topic).
- Are we alone in the universe? (discussion question/paper assignment/argumentative essay idea).
- What’s your opinion on gay marriage and should it be legalized? (argumentative essay topic)
- Which was a greater invention: electricity, computers, cars, planes or phone? Discuss them all. (discussion question/paper assignment/elective subject paper idea).
- Which is more harmful to kids: alcohol, marijuana or cigarettes. Discuss them all. (subject: science comparison paper topic)
- Is global warming real and caused by humans? If yes, what can be done to prevent it? (discussion question/paper assignment/persuasive essay topic).
- Should the death penalty be allowed in this country considering it’s a state that claims to have abolished slavery? (argumentative essay topic)
- Is there life on other planets and if so, should we seek contact with them or not? Why or why not? (discussion question/paper assignment/persuasive essay idea).
- What are your thoughts about the US’ foreign policy. Do you think they care more about business interests than human rights advocacy? What could be done to improve things for civilians all over the world who are being oppressed by their own governments and denied certain basic human rights? (discussion question/paper assignment/argumentative essay topic).
- Should college athletes get paid for playing sports in college if they’re not offered scholarships and their tuition is already fully covered? (subject: ethics, argumentative essay topic)
- What’s your opinion on drones and if used by the US military, how do you think this will affect civilians all over the world? (discussion question/paper assignment/persuasive essay ideas)
- How has social media impacted teenagers’ lives? Good or bad? (subject: psychology, persuasive essay topic).
- Do you think education should be free everywhere in the world. Discuss both sides of the issue.
- Should the death penalty be abolished in this country? Why or why not?
- What’s your opinion on the increasing violence and crime rate in America. Discuss both sides of the issue.
- Is video game addiction a real condition? Discuss both sides of this argument, using examples from history to support your thesis.
- Are humans too dependent on technology nowadays? Is it healthy to live without technology for a while or is that just impossible at this point due to how advanced our society has become?.
- …. the list will be updated continually…
Please note that these papers should consist of at least 3-4 pages if you want to have a chance of scoring an A or B. If your paper is too short, it might not be taken too seriously for college paper writing.
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