Essay Analysis

Expressing the Need: The Proposal Essay
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 Proposal
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 Paragraphs)
    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.

Sample Solution