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Writing Program at New College

Assignments - Proposal

(Michael's version. This is a good option for ENG 102 or ENG 105)

Approx. 2000 words

Our major obligation is not to mistake slogans for solutions.         

                                                     Edward R. Murrow

Life’s challenges are not supposed to paralyze you; they’re supposed to help you discover who you are.

                                                     Bernice Johnson Reagon

In your previous work over the course of the semester, you have spent considerable time identifying and analyzing questions and problems. Now is the time to take the next logical step towards answers and solutions. This assignment asks you to write a formal proposal, putting your research to work.

The Essay

Your last essay challenged you to use your research to defend the importance of the question the research question itself. Now you will return to your sources, and perhaps find others, to propose a solution a problem either explicit or implicit in your research question. If up to now you have not thought of your research question as addressing a problem, you should take that step at this point. Your research question mapped out some situation in the “real world” that needs to be addressed. So ask yourself, what is at the heart of the matter? Where do you see the necessity of changing policies, procedures, or perspectives? Remember, problems and opportunities are closely related! Your proposal might direct readers to a positive gain and not simply a way to avoid trouble.

Proposal arguments are challenging to make because they require writers to accomplish a number of things:

•      Convince readers of the seriousness of the problem / opportunity at hand

•      Clearly propose a solution or course of action

•      Convince readers that the proposed solution will address the problem /       

       opportunity to a significant degree

•      Convince readers that the proposed solution can be implemented

These individual challenges suggest a logical structure for your argument. You are encouraged to organize your essay according to these five steps, and of course you will need an introduction—including a strong proposal claim—and a conclusion. 

A successful response to this assignment will:

•      Make a convincing case for the seriousness of the problem

•      Propose a feasible solution that clearly addresses the problem

•      Incorporate credible supporting research

•      Be well organized

•      Be effectively edited for style, citation, grammar, and usage.

Writing Program