Proposals are a type of professional writing that you will experience in your academic career, as well as your professional career. Proposals offer solutions to existing problems, as well as propose new ideas, concepts or projects that can/will better an issue/location.
Here are some guidelines to help you prepare an attractive and carefully designed proposal:
Your proposal will demonstrate that there is a problem, and you will provide a solution for it. Your proposal argument will do the following:
An exceptional research proposal will contain the following:
• An interesting, focused introduction that captures the reader’s attention, clearly identifies the topic, and concludes with either a hypothesis or a research question (using the first person – “In this proposal, I will …”) that provides a strong guiding principle for the rest of the proposal.
• Clear articulation of topic; a move toward sophistication and complexity of approach to the topic, one which narrows a broad topic to a manageable scope.
• Strong transitions between sentences and ideas, producing prose that is fluid and organic, with clear and logical structure, producing an overall sense of coherence in the proposal.
• Strong sense of audience, including an understanding of the readers’ values, assumptions, expectations, and level of expertise in the topic under discussion.
• Strong control of style, language, word choice, diction, syntax, sentence structure, and consistent and authoritative voice in writing. Think of it this way: if you were writing a proposal for a $10,000 grant, how would you convince your readers that they should fund your project? Would you use bland language, or would you finely craft it?
**Note: Address your proposal as you would to a real company (school, business, etc.), agency or person. Although you will not be submitting your proposal as part of your project, you should be able to do so. While you want to avoid colloquialisms, use common language -- even when describing extremely technical concepts. Your proposal should be clear and understandable, as well as written in a language that the audience of your particular proposal would easily comprehend.
• A strategic, powerful, and appropriate use of rhetoric appeals: ethos, logos, pathos.
• Effective use of source material (textual and visual as appropriate), which is integrated into the author’s prose and argument, and is meticulously documented in proper APA parenthetical citation form.
• A conclusion that synthesizes earlier sections of the proposal while thoughtfully addressing broader implications (the "So What?" of the project).
Sometimes looking at examples of writing can help with calming any apprehensions you may have about creating the final product. For example: you are starting a new position and you are asked to write something in a format that you have never used before, etc. In that case, Googling examples can help with understanding the needed "parts" and formatting of a specific type of writing. However, sometimes an organization will provide you with a template or boiler-plate to assist in the writing task.