How To Write A Proposal Essay

How To Write A Proposal Essay (Writing Guide)

Briefly, a proposal essay is an essay which puts forward an original idea, and then defends it through the use of well-backed up research and personal opinion combined to try and persuade whoever is reading it of the advantages\disadvantages of the idea.

Proposals are mainly found in three fields: education (it is a good way to teach and learn critical thinking), business (as a way of showing why particular moves would be a bad idea, or a good one, respectively), and economics, for much the same reason. This of course does not mean that they are limited to these areas – proposal essay writing is something which can be useful for many fields.

How to Start a Proposal Essay

Much of the work which goes into a good proposal essay is done ahead of time; as the following paragraphs will show, being able to persuade others of your point of view is as much to do with the quality of the research being done, and the ways in which you pitch your argument as it does with the writing style.  Writing is (it should go without saying) important, but it can only do so much.

Knowing the audience for your work is incredibly important – the audience will determine the overall tone of the paper, as well as possibly influencing the types of sources which can and should be used to back up the arguments made in the paper itself. For example, if the paper is aimed at businesspeople, then arguments should revolve around the financial benefits or drawbacks of the situation being proposed. Alternatively, academics should be tackled by using strictly academic sources and previous academic theories, whether to agree with them or disagree.

Don’t skip over the research. This is the most important part of the process, even more so than having polished writing; less than stellar writing and good research will stand up to scrutiny far more easily than perfect writing and a lack of research will. Good research also makes it more likely that the essay will fulfil its purpose in persuading other people to the point of view it discusses.

Before writing the essay, start by creating a list of your ideas, and forming them into an outline. This outline does not need to be fixed, but it will you to organise your thoughts and the essay, so that they both flow coherently in the writing.

An introduction in an essay is how you introduce the topic to whoever is reading. Not only is it the place to lay out the arguments which you will be relying on throughout the essay, but also gives space for any necessary history or important people to be mentioned and discussed before the actual essay begins. The introduction is possibly one of the most important parts of the essay, as it sets up what is to come, and begins the work of persuading people of a particular point of view by convincing them to read on. Outside of an educational setting, proposal essays are generally only written as a means of solving a problem, or showing one potential way to solve a problem. Therefore, they highlight the problem which they are attempting to solve within the introduction itself, so as to ensure that the audience understands.

How to Write the Main Part of a Proposal Essay

An outline will be featured at the end of this article, which will show the relevant parts of a proposal essay – note that depending on context, some parts may need to be taken out or rearranged to better suit what it is trying to convey.

The Proposal

The proposal should act as the statement of purpose, something which explains the purpose behind writing the essay.  It can be anything from a few lines long to an entire paragraph – it depends on the length of the essay itself – but it should contain the problem\opinion\topic which is under discussion, and an explanation of why it is worth debating.

Body Paragraph One – First Argument

This is the paragraph where you lay out your first argument for or against the proposal. Make sure that the writing is good, clear, and doesn’t go off into unnecessary tangents. Similarly, make sure that everything is referenced properly, and prepare to back up every argument (including any follow-up arguments) with well-checked facts.

Body Paragraph Two – Second Argument

This should be the same as above, except with an entirely new argument.

Body Paragraph Three – Third (Opposing) Argument

Again, this should be the same as above, although many people use it as a means of expressing an opposing opinion to the one they hold. It is entirely up the writer as to how to use this paragraph, though it should be noted that devoting time to debunking the more common arguments or opposing opinions in the essay will tell the audience that the research into the problem have been thorough and well-done.

How to Conclude a Proposal Essay

The conclusion should not be a simple re-statement of the introduction, with all of the relevant history and essay points, but it should contain some elements of it all. You should include just enough to serve as a reminder of why the proposal was deemed appropriate in the first place, without any of the in-depth knowledge of the introduction. The main arguments being made in your proposal should also be reiterated. Once this is done, there are two ways in which a proposal essay can be ended, and it depends on what type of proposal essay was being written. If the proposal essay was written in an educational setting, then the conclusion should wrap up all the research done and deliver the final conclusion, along with any last pieces of information which might be appropriate at this stage. The other kind of proposal essay, the one done in a professional setting, should have several more strands to it.

For people who are giving a professional proposal essay: state the goal of the proposal, just to ensure that everybody who reads the essay knows what it is handling, and then focus on why the proposal will work, with reference to any previous moves in this direction, or any potential assets to the proposal which would particularly suit your audience.

Outline Example

  • Introduction – page three should be banned. Page three is a feature in the Sun newspaper which has a topless woman in it.
    • It should be banned because it goes against the family friendly nature of the paper
    • It should be banned because it is overall degrading, and outdated
    • It should not be banned because the women gave their consent to be photographed that way.
  • Proposal – page three is something which should be banned because it is an outdated feature of the newspaper which blatantly goes against the nature of the paper as stated by its publishers. It has no place in a society which claims to view men women as equal.
  • Body paragraph one – the Sun claims that it is family friendly, so what message is the topless woman sending to the family, and specifically, to children? It teaches boys that women should be related to as sex objects, it teaches girls that they should be okay with being related to as a sex object.
  • Body paragraph two – women are supposed to be seen as equals in our society, but there is no corresponding naked men features, so the topless women becomes one more part of our ‘sex-sells’ culture. This is degrading to women who want to be more than that.
  • Body paragraph three – the women in question are presumably over the age of consent, and therefore chose to be photographed like this. Is it not more degrading to take their choice away from them?
  • Conclusion
    • Reiterate the proposal
    • Go over the main arguments
    • Come to an overall conclusion.
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