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Proposal Assignment
Maximum Points: 100 points
Submission Requirements: Submit on or before the due date via Assessments in Blackboard by attaching your assignment.
Format and Length Requirements: Use standard memo format (single-space) and 12 point Times New Roman font; Place each heading flush with the left margin and bold it. 1,200-1,400 words
Introductory Comments about the Proposal Assignment
A proposal is a kind of informal report. Research projects, reports, and papers often begin with a proposal to do research. A proposal serves several purposes:
First, the proposal is a planning document for the writer in the sense that the proposal requires you to draft an outline for the future report or paper, create a thoughtful schedule of key tasks, list relevant sources, and so on. The goal is for you to actually use the plan that you develop as you write the report or paper.
Second, the proposal is a decision making tool for the audience. With a proposal, the audience might be an instructor, employer, thesis committee, book drafter, and so on. The audience for the proposal may or may not be the same audience as the audience for the future report or paper. Essentially, the proposal audience has the power to approve or reject your request to research, meaning the proposal audience decides if your plan is feasible and if the resulting document (or other deliverable) will make a significant contribution to the company or field of study. In this sense, the proposal’s purpose is persuasive. Sections like the background section help your audience understand why its important for you to complete the research, while other sections (e.g., the outline, schedule, and sources sections) allow the reader to verify that your plan is strong (meaning that there is research available, that you have a reasonable schedule, etc.).
Your Proposal Assignment will serve as a planning document for the Formal Report Assignment. For your proposal assignment, I am the audience who will approve or reject your request, but I will not be the audience for the formal report. For your report, you’ll choose an audience that fits the topic and purpose of the formal report. You also get to choose your topic and purpose, but the topic should relate to a current problem in your field which you’ll offer solutions for in the report. Note, we’ll discuss topics and audiences informally in the first week of Unit 1.
Once your proposal has been submitted and approved, you may not change your topic.
Proposal Assignment Guidelines
Use the headings below for your proposal. Follow the guidelines beneath each section to help you decide what information to include under each section.
Date: (Due Date)
To: Summer Leibensperger
From: (Your Name)
Subject: (Purpose of Proposal)
Begin the memo with a brief paragraph that explains the purpose of the proposal and the subject, audience, and purpose of your report. Be concise but clear.
The Background section should use research and discussion to introduce a topic or problem and to convince the proposal’s reader that the topic is important. As you write this section, keep in mind that the proposal is a decision making tool for the audience—you must prove the problem is significant or the opportunity shouldn’t be missed. If you fail to be persuasive, the proposal may be rejected.
In this section, aim for three well-researched paragraphs and incorporate at least three authoritative sources. Cite the research using APA documentation style unless you have been directed to use MLA documentation style.
In this section, you should name the primary audience for your formal report, discuss the readers’ knowledge level about the topic (and any important assumptions), indicate any potential negative attitudes or objections to your topic, and discuss how you will meet the readers’ needs and overcome objections. Keep in mind that most audiences will have objections of some kind (Minimally, most readers are busy people, and they may not want to read a paper or report.)
Your primary audience should be a professional audience and will most likely be within your field. It cannot be the general public or any other general audience.
Topics to Investigate
This section should list the major research topics and sub-topics that your formal report will cover and provide relevant descriptions to explain the scope of the report. You may need to provide the rationale for discussing some topics and not others.
Basically, in this section you are providing an annotated outline for the body of your report so that readers have a clear picture of the report.
In this section, you should describe where you plan to research (databases, journal names, etc.) and how you will evaluate research. Then, provide a working or tentative bibliography of at least 5 authoritative sources you have read and plan to use in your report. At least 4 of these sources must be scholarly journal articles from the VC/UHV Library. The articles should also be current. In your bibliography, please also include any sources you have cited in the Background or Topics to Investigate sections of the proposal. APA should be used to format the bibliography entries unless you’ve been directed to use MLA.
Note, if you are not able to find at least 4 scholarly journal articles on your topic, then the topic is not a good fit for this particular project.
You may include an interview as a source, but you must include the interview questions as an appendix to your proposal and to your formal report. The questions should clearly indicate the kind of information you expect to learn from the interview. In addition, you should include a discussion of the authority of the interview source. (Note, an interview does not count as a scholarly source.)
Work Schedule
This section should include the work schedule you will use to complete your report. It should list the major tasks needed to complete this project (writing, editing, proofreading, etc.) and the corresponding due dates. This section shows your plan for completing the project in a timely manner.
Request for Approval
Here you ask for permission to proceed and for suggestions. The request for approval is usually formulaic. Use or adapt the following sentence: I ask that you approve my topic and my approach to it. I would appreciate suggestions on how you think I might best proceed.


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