Last Updated on February 9, 2024 by Pius

Students are frequently assigned proposal essay assignments. Although many students can write one based on the essay prompt, four out of ten students struggle to complete a proposal argument essay. Four students appear to be confused between a proposal essay and a research proposal, based on the ten requests we receive for assistance with writing proposal essays.

Not any longer, as our senior research proposal writers have combined their wits and insights in this article to help you understand how to write a high-quality and effective proposal essay. Additionally, we provide a concise sample and outline to assist you in doing so quickly. This is a cheat sheet for getting the best grades, as we’ve included tips and tricks for acing your proposal essay.

What Is a Proposal Essay?

As the name implies, a proposal essay or paper is a type of academic paper that argues for or against an idea by providing evidence to persuade the reader.

It is occasionally referred to as a proposal argument essay and is written when a problem or change needs to be addressed.

For example, rather than simply arguing that cigarette smoking is harmful to health, it would be prudent to make a compelling case for why it is necessary to reduce the number of teenagers who become cigarette addicts.

While proposals are frequently written in fields such as business, economics, and management, they are also written by students, scientists, and other professionals.

A proposal essay:

  1. Persuades the reader to adopt a given idea or change.
  2. Demonstrates command of the fundamental concepts in a particular field.
  3. Makes a case for the implementation of an idea or change process.
  4. Ascertains the viability, practicability, and applicability of a program, idea, or change.

Things to do/know before beginning

  1. Profile your target audience

A proposal essay or argument is intended to persuade your audience that an idea is feasible, relevant, and practical. Additionally, it may persuade readers that an idea is unworthy of further investigation.

As such, you must possess a thorough understanding of your intended audience. Are they entrepreneurs or academics? What is their level of familiarity with the subject? What are you attempting to inform them of and why? Will they take you up on your offer? What is the best course of action?

Understanding and profiling your audience enables you to define the proposal essay’s scope and tone. For example, when writing to management and businesspeople, proposing a financial benefit may earn their trust and time. On the other hand, it may be appropriate to discuss strategies for improving patient quality, healthcare workers’ well-being, and access to care when writing for healthcare professionals.

When you understand the audience for your proposal, you can structure it more effectively to capture their attention from the start.

Consider what you want your audience to take away from your proposal. Additionally, you must provide them with facts that will aid in their decision-making. Additionally, it is beneficial to select a preferred style that will impress the readers.

It’s about understanding who you’re writing for and convincing them of the proposal’s gist. The audience in academic settings is typically a professor, teaching assistant, associate professor, or instructor/lecturer. In this case, adhere to the essay proposal prompt.

  1. Define your research problem

You must demonstrate that you comprehend the issue with the audience in mind. One way to accomplish this is to emphasize or state your situation so that your audience understands the proposal’s concept.

This stage enables you to earn the readers’ trust. Additionally, it enables you to convey an impression of being knowledgeable about the subject at hand. To establish your identity/ethos, back up your arguments with facts, references, and credible viewpoints.

Wherever possible, ensure that you clarify and provide sufficient evidence. Make sure to state the issue and why you believe it should be resolved. This is the same concept as the introduction to a problem-solution essay.

When composing your problem statement section, consider the following:

  1. What is the primary concern? Utilize statistics, facts, and illustrations
  2. Who is impacted by the problem? Who are the interested parties?
  3. What has been attempted previously?
  4. Why are previous/traditional solutions failing to work?
  5. Why will your novel idea/solution be successful?
  6. How urgent is the issue or solution?
  7. What are the findings of other researchers regarding the issue?

In summary, you must demonstrate that you conducted extensive research and analysis of the subject. Your problem statement should demonstrate your familiarity with the subject.

  1. Research and gather sources

After defining the issue, you must conduct research to determine how to resolve it. Support your claims/proposal with secondary and primary sources. While persuading your readers, be sure to include information about what has worked and what has not.

While doing so, ensure that your proposed solution is adequately supported by evidence from credible and pertinent scholarly literature.

As a general rule, use research articles published within the last five years unless instructed otherwise by the professor/instructor.

  1. Write your proposal outline

With the problem statement and supporting sources in place, it’s time to explain your solution.

You now have a problem, which you should attempt to resolve. Ensure that you have read the request for proposal (RFP) prompt or template before beginning to write the proposal essay outline.

An outline assists you in structuring your proposal, identifying strategies for persuading difficult readers, and arranging the sections coherently. Additionally, it aids in the brainstorming of excellent ideas and approaches, as well as the organization of those ideas and approaches into a comprehensive and structured proposal format.

  1. Proceed to write the essay

After you’ve completed the skeleton of your proposal, it’s time to write the first draft by fleshing out the various components. Once completed, revise the draft extensively or enlist the assistance of a proofreader and editor before submitting the final draft.

Sections of a Proposal Essay/Argument

  1. Title Page

This section is for you if you’re stumped on a title for your proposal essay. As with dissertations, theses, and research papers, the proposal essay begins with a title page that includes the following information:

  1. For example, the essay’s title, Rethinking Recycling: Why Reusing Must Be User Friendly.
  2. Your complete legal names
  3. Your professor’s/instructor’s/name lecturer’s
  4. Your school and department’s names

The title page may vary according to your college, university, or department. Additionally, some institutions include pre-written/designed title pages with their instructions. The bottom line is that you must carefully read the assignment prompt or RFP file.

  1. Introduction

Your introduction serves as the gateway to your essay. As with any other essay introduction, the introduction to a proposal essay provides a brief history of the proposal. It acquaints your audience with the subject (s).

As this is the most critical section, it must be written well. You can begin with a hook, which is typically a fact, statistic, or statement. Additionally, it should include a topic sentence that introduces the reader to the subject. Ascertain that it contains a pertinent topic that entices the audience as to why they should care about the subject.

The introduction then includes a thesis statement that summarizes your proposal for resolving a problem. The thesis statement should clearly state the proposition in a proposal essay. An example is: Although teenage pregnancy is considered a taboo subject, educating parents on how to care for pregnant teenage girls could help reduce the high mortality rate of teen mothers.

Suppose you were to write a proposal essay on childhood obesity. In that case, a good thesis statement might read as follows: Childhood obesity is a public health problem that must be addressed through effective school-based health promotion activities that include parents.

Another example of a strong thesis statement for a proposal essay on depression is as follows: Depression has claimed the lives of numerous people and must be addressed through multi-professional collaboration among educators, healthcare professionals, the media, government officials, and employers.

Again, your thesis statement should emphasize the issue and the proposed solutions. It comes down to knowing your audience and emphasizing the proposal’s benefits to that audience in your introduction.

  1. Problem statement

Even though you stated the problem in your introduction paragraph, you must elaborate on it. Justify the necessity of resolving the issue. Here, you want to invite readers to grasp the essence of your proposal. This section should contain the objectives of your proposal and a statement about the significance of the subject.

The section assists you in asserting the point. The section defines and elaborates on the particular issue, its sources, and its implications.

Additionally, you must emphasize why the issue needs to be resolved and how resolving it will benefit the reader. Rather than appealing to universal moral principles or universal emotions, consider what is important to your reader.

  1. Proposal/Statement of purpose

Following a broad definition of your problem in the first paragraph of the body of your proposal essay, you must now state the essay’s purpose. This section is solely for discussing your proposal.

Consider the benefits and drawbacks of your proposed solutions, changes, or ideas. It can be a few sentences long if the proposal is brief or a few paragraphs long if the proposal is lengthy.

  1. Action Plan

After outlining the proposed solutions, modifications, or ideas, it’s time to write the action plan. Here, the emphasis is on implementing ideas or solutions.

You must demonstrate to the audience that the proposed solutions or changes are practicable, feasible, pertinent, and desirable.

When writing this section, you must persuade readers that your proposal is the superior option. Additionally, you must provide a detailed explanation of how the solutions or changes were implemented. Ascertain that you anticipate potential barriers or challenges during the implementation phase, as each proposal must highlight potential obstacles and solutions.

While doing so, consider the proposal’s viability, relevance, practicality, and desirability. Is it going to work? What has rendered previous solutions ineffective? What makes your proposal unique?

  1. Desired Outcomes

As the title implies, this is the essay section in which you discuss your proposal’s anticipated outcomes. This is your opportunity to clarify everything you’ve been writing.

  1. Evaluation

When writing the evaluation phase, you must consider the financial and resource implications of the proposed idea or change. Is the concept feasible in comparison to what exists currently? Additionally, you must incorporate the dissenting voices’ opposing viewpoints on the proposed solutions. Assure the audience that the proposed solution will work regardless of the obstacles.

  1. Resources required and timeline

Justify the resources required to implement your change, solution, or idea, such as skills, finances, time, and equipment.

  1. Conclusion

Your conclusion should reiterate your proposal and conclude with a call to action. Propose a solution, make a call to action, and explain why the audience should consider your suggestions.

Never include new information in your conclusion, as this will increase your word count as you attempt to elaborate on the new subject and will likely confuse your already settled/convinced audience.

  1. Works cited/references/bibliography

Citations are required in any academic paper, white paper, or professional document. Citations help us avoid plagiarism by referencing those whose work we read while writing our own. The title can be references, bibliography, or works cited, depending on the format you use: APA, MLA, Harvard, or Chicago. MLA uses works cited exclusively, while APA and Harvard use references. You will title the bibliography of the consulted resources in the Chicago style. You may use either references or a reference list in Harvard format. Bear in mind that a bibliography includes all relevant sources that you consult, even those that are not cited in the paper.


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