Your task is to write a proposal that in some way identifies, addresses, and seeks to solve a problem. This problem can be in the workplace, at our college, in your neighborhood, in your community, or in a specific organization. It’s important that the project address a real issue or problem; keep this in mind as you decide on a topic or area of interest.
Generally speaking, you’re looking for an opportunity to solve a problem, fill a need, or make an improvement, and your proposal should be geared to a specific audience.
Step 1: Begin by identifying a topic. Most students choose something that interests them and that might bring about a change they’d like to see.
Here are some strategies for finding a good topic:
- If you work, think about how your work environment, work processes/procedures or other aspects of your work life that could be improved, or how you might help to solve a particular problem that you, your organization/company, and/or its employees face.
- If you have a connection with another organization on a regular basis (for example, being a college student, having kids in school, or doing volunteer work somewhere), think about improvements or opportunities for change you might see there.
- Think about your day-to-day life in your neighborhood or community: how easy or difficult is it to access services? Are there traffic or safety concerns? What about educational or recreational opportunities for kids or adults?
Step 2: Keep in mind that you need to have a specific and real audience and situation in mind. You need to also be familiar with this audience and situation in some way (or have the ability to do enough research to get this done quickly and accurately).
Step 3: Think about how to develop your project as though you are actually submitting it to your intended audience. Many students do actually end up submitting these documents to their intended audiences, though this is not an assignment requirement. You should not try to write this for a hypothetical or fictional audience or situation, nor should you fictionalize anything about yourself or the situation. Write this from your actual perspective to an actual audience.
Some general proposal ideas:
- To implement new programs in workplaces: inventory management, conflict mediation, improvements to client services, ethics programs, etc.
- To address traffic problems (or other infrastructure issues) in your community
- To implement new programs or create new services in communities
Step 4: Choose a format/layout for your proposal (see textbook examples for ideas) and decide what you will need in terms of structure, including headings, subheadings, and/or sections.
Your proposal should:
- Demonstrate clear, concise, and direct writing;
- Include at least one relevant visual component (graph, chart, diagram, table, illustration, photograph, etc.);
- Involve research (this can include observations, personal experience or knowledge, surveys, personal interviews, in addition to traditional library, database, or internet research) with proper MLA or APA citations;
- Address a real problem or need for an actual audience who might actually read, benefit, and/or act based on your findings; and
- Use a recognizable and logical structure, including, at the very least, an introduction, body points, and a conclusion.
The final proposal should be substantial in scope but also manageable enough to complete in the time allotted. Please see your instructor if you have further questions, need help choosing a topic, want to discuss your topic or want to discuss your approach.