About This Type of Writing
Your purpose is your reason for writing. The broad purpose for most academic and real-world proposals is to offer a solution to a problem. You, the writer, are tasked with identifying a problem and recommending a solution. You may need to write a proposal for a research project in a sociology class, or you may need to write a business proposal for a marketing class or a business you’ve started. Many topics are suitable for a proposal in a college writing class. For example, some problems are local and can be acted on directly, such as improving access to mental health services on your campus, offering a new food delivery option to campus buildings, designating quiet study spaces in your library, or bringing a farmer’s market to your campus. Others are large-scale, research-oriented proposals such as reducing automobile emissions, providing broadband Internet access nationwide, or reforming immigration policies in the United States.
Sometimes writing a paper comes easily, but more often writers work hard to generate ideas and evidence, organize their thoughts, draft, and revise. Experienced writers do their work in multiple steps, and most engage in a recursive process that involves thinking and rethinking, writing and rewriting, and repeating steps multiple times as their ideas develop and sharpen. In broad strokes, most writers go through the following steps to achieve a polished piece of writing:
- Planning and Organization. Your proposal will come together more easily if you spend time at the start considering the rhetorical situation, understanding your assignment, gathering ideas and evidence, drafting a thesis statement, and creating an organizational plan.
- Drafting. When you have a good grasp of the problem and solution you are going to write about and how you will organize your proposal, you are ready to draft.
- Review. With a first draft in hand, make time to get feedback from others. Depending on the structure of your class, you may receive feedback from your instructor or your classmates. You can also work with a tutor in the writing center on your campus, or you can ask someone else you trust, such as a friend, roommate, or family member, to read your writing critically and give honest feedback.
- Revising. After reviewing feedback from your readers, plan to revise. Focus on their comments: Is your thesis clear? Do you need to make organizational changes to the proposal? Do you need to explain or connect your ideas more clearly?
Summary of Writing Task
Problem: As of now, the United States does not have a national museum dedicated to disability. There are discussions to remedy this situation. However, it is not yet official what this museum might look like.
Solution: After working through this chapter, you will propose a national museum of disability.
Questions to consider:
- Why do we need a national museum dedicated to disability?
- What might the mission statement be for such a museum?
- What would be the suggested organization of such a museum?
- What are some suggested examples of artifacts?
This section contains material taken from “Chapter 6: Proposal: Writing about Problems and Solutions” from Writing Guide with Handbook by Senior Contributing Authors Michelle Bachelor Robinson, Maria Jerskey, and Toby Fulwiler, with other contributing authors and is used under a CC BY 4.0 license.