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Your front matter will include:
A title page. Includes the title of your proposal, to audience of your report, who wrote the report, and the date. Type each of these items on a separate line and center each line.
An executive summary. Your executive summary includes the title of the proposal and your name at the top. Then, it describes the problem and your solution in a single paragraph.
The body of your proposal will contain the following information. Create your own informative headings to distinguish between sections.
A statement of the problem. Introduces the problem and establishes the relevance of the problem for your audience.
A description of the solution. Describes the solution and the steps needed to implement it.
An explanation of reasons. Provides your reasoning and/or your evidence in support of your proposed solution. You will also address any available alternatives, as well as possible counterarguments to your solution.
A conclusion. This section summarizes and reinforces your main points, considers the larger implications of your solution, indicates if there are any further solutions to consider, and/or issues a call to action.
The following content will comprise your end matter:
A works cited. Be sure to follow exactly the citation guide in your textbook. The works cited list is never numbered but is always alphabetized. Every reference on the list should match a clearly labeled in-text citation in the body of your proposal.
An appendix (optional). Any documents or visuals that might be too large for the body of your proposal may be included in an appendix. Be sure to label each item.
Identifying a Problem
First, identify a problem that you would like to see solved. This should be a problem that has special interest to you but is manageable in scope. Problems that are too large or abstract will be difficult to write about in a detailed and precise manner given the length constraints of this assignment. If you have selected a large-scale topic (U.S. immigration, global warming), consider how you can narrow your focus to make your topic more manageable.
Proposals often contain one (or more) of the following argumentative structures:
Something may be wrong that needs to be changed or corrected. Example: To provide a better climate for learning, the Altoona School District should create a peer tutoring program.
Something may be lacking that needs to be added. Example: The Little Lions Swim Club should hire a full-time coach.
Something worthwhile may not be working properly and needs to be improved. Example: Ferguson Township’s recycling program should be expanded to include curbside pick-up.
A situation may need to be redefined in order to find new approaches or solutions. Example: The benefits program for employees of MacLean’s HealthCare Association should be revised to create a fairer maternity/family leave policy.
Conducting Background Research
Before you get too far on your project, do some preliminary research to identify what solutions have already been proposed to solve this problem. What you like or dislike about these proposed solutions? Do you have something new to offer to these conversations? If no solution has been previously discussed, consider the reasons for why this is. Remember: if your audience doesn’t think a problem exists, you’ll need to convince them of that first.
Identifying a Solution
After studying existing positions and solutions surrounding your selected problem, formulate a solution that will address that problem. Your solution does not necessarily have to resolve the entirety of a problem. In your introduction, explain the problem and address an audience who can benefit from and participate in the solution your proposal addresses.
Creating A Step-By-Step Plan
Provide a detailed description of your solution in your body paragraphs. Your proposed plan of action should explore the costs and benefits (the feasibility) of your solution. Each step in your proposal must be well-researched and credible. You will need to include evidence that supports your claims and anticipates the objections that readers might have.
Use the library resources available to you but you may also conduct field research to support your position (e.g. interviewing an expert, surveying a representative group of people, observing patterns). At least one of your outside sources should focus an alternative solution to your problem or should speak to why this problem has not already been solved.
By the end of your proposal, your audience should have a clear plan of action that is feasible and relevant to them. Your solution should be mutually beneficial for both you and your audience.