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Proposal Essay Examples

Exploring proposal essay topics opens up a realm of possibilities for addressing various issues and challenges, ranging from practical business plans to cutting-edge engineering solutions. These topics serve as the foundation for constructing well-reasoned proposals, demonstrating the thoughtfulness and ingenuity of the writer. Whether you are delving into Economics, Business Management, Engineering, or any other field, proposal essay topics provide the canvas upon which your innovative ideas can be sketched and evaluated.

Proposal Essay Ideas and Topics

The realm of proposal essays is vast and encompasses a multitude of ideas and topics across various disciplines. Here are a few proposal essay ideas and topics, along with some proposal essay examples, to inspire your own academic exploration:

  • Environmental Sustainability: Propose initiatives to combat climate change and promote sustainable practices in urban areas.
  • Education Reform: Offer innovative solutions to enhance the quality of primary and secondary education, addressing challenges such as remote learning and educational inequality.
  • Healthcare Access: Propose policies to improve access to healthcare services, especially in underserved communities.
  • Business Strategies: Suggest strategies for small businesses to thrive in the digital age, adapting to evolving market trends and consumer behaviors.
  • Technological Advancements: Explore proposals for ethical and sustainable technological advancements, focusing on areas like renewable energy sources or artificial intelligence ethics.

Proposal Argument Essay Topics

Proposal argument essay topics encompass a wide range of issues and ideas that can be explored and debated. These topics typically revolve around proposing a solution or course of action to address a specific problem or challenge. Here are some proposal argument essay topics to consider:

  • Implementing Stricter Gun Control Laws to Reduce Gun Violence
  • Promoting Sustainable Agriculture and Reducing Food Waste
  • Reforming the Criminal Justice System to Focus on Rehabilitation
  • Addressing the Student Loan Debt Crisis with Debt Forgiveness Programs
  • Combating Climate Change through Renewable Energy Initiatives
  • Improving Mental Health Support and Services in Schools
  • Implementing Universal Healthcare to Ensure Access for All
  • Promoting Gender Equality in the Workplace through Pay Equity Measures
  • Enhancing Cybersecurity Measures to Protect Personal Data
  • Combating Childhood Obesity through Healthier School Lunch Programs

When considering a topic for your proposal argument essay, it's essential to choose one that aligns with your interests and allows you to present persuasive arguments supported by compelling evidence and reasoning.

Topic Proposal Essay Example

You might explore the benefits of implementing community policing programs as a solution to improve trust, transparency, and cooperation between the police and the community—a topic proposal essay example that addresses real-world issues and proposes practical solutions for positive change.

These proposal argument essay topics cover a wide range of social, political, environmental, and economic issues, providing ample opportunities for in-depth research and critical analysis. Select a topic that resonates with your passion and enables you to construct a convincing argument for your proposed solution.

In conclusion, a proposal essay is a valuable genre of academic writing that allows students to delve into critical issues, propose solutions, and support their ideas with sound research and evidence. It serves as a platform for innovative thinking and problem-solving across various academic disciplines.

What is a Proposal Essay

A proposal essay is a type of academic writing where the author presents a problem and proposes a solution or course of action to address that problem. This type of essay is often assigned in college courses, and its primary goal is to persuade the reader or audience that the proposed solution is viable, effective, and well-reasoned. To better understand how to craft a proposal essay, it can be helpful to explore proposal essay examples , which you can find on our essays base.

Proposal essays can cover a wide range of topics, from social and environmental issues to business and policy proposals. They are a valuable exercise in critical thinking, research, and persuasive writing, as they require the author to analyze a problem, develop a well-considered solution, and present it convincingly to an audience. These essays are commonly assigned in college courses to assess students’ ability to think critically and propose practical solutions to real-world problems.

How to Write Proposal Essay and Tips for Success

Navigating the world of proposal essays can be a daunting task, especially when faced with a vast array of potential topics. The key to success lies in understanding how to craft a proposal essay that not only captures the attention of your professor and audience but also persuades them to take action. When writing a proposal essay , consider these essential steps and tips to create a compelling and persuasive piece of academic writing.

Much like a research outline, a proposal essay delves into an event or argument, providing compelling reasons for why a particular action should be taken or why a certain social event may not be beneficial. The structure of your proposal will largely depend on your chosen topic and objectives. For instance, financial reports may necessitate the inclusion of statistical data, while fashion studies may require a different approach to essay writing. When learning how to write a proposal essay , it’s crucial to tailor your approach to your specific subject matter. The overarching goal is to present a clear and convincing piece of evidence right from the introduction.

By incorporating insights and exploring proposal essay examples , you can confidently craft compelling proposals that leave a lasting impact.

How to Write Proposal Essay Introduction

The introduction of a proposal essay plays a crucial role in engaging the reader and setting the stage for the proposal’s main arguments. It typically begins with a hook or attention-grabbing statement to draw the reader in. Here’s a proposal essay introduction example :

“Imagine a community where families struggle to put food on the table, where children go to bed hungry each night. This is the harsh reality faced by many residents in our town. In this proposal essay, we will address the pressing issue of food insecurity in our community and present a viable solution that can make a significant difference—the establishment of a community food bank. This proposal aims to not only alleviate hunger but also foster a sense of unity and support among our residents. In the following sections, we will explore the reasons behind food insecurity, the benefits of the proposed food bank, and the steps needed for its successful implementation.”

This introduction effectively grabs the reader’s attention by highlighting a pressing issue and presenting the proposed solution, setting the stage for the essay’s main arguments and supporting evidence.

Structuring Your Proposal Essay

At its core, a proposal essay is similar to a research outline, where you will discuss an event or argument and provide compelling reasons for why a particular action should be taken or why a certain social event may not be beneficial. The structure of your proposal will largely depend on your chosen topic and objectives. For instance, financial reports may necessitate the inclusion of statistical data, while fashion studies may require a different approach to essay writing. Regardless of the topic, the overarching goal is to present a clear and convincing piece of evidence right from the introduction.

  • Introduction with a hook sentence. 
  • Thesis statement . 
  • Three body paragraphs where you set your objectives by explaining your proposal with the statistical data, surveys, and other facts. 
  • Conclusion . It must be kept brief as you work on your topic. The major part should be taken from your proposal’s justification. 
  • A literature review.

To craft a proposal essay, consider these essential elements:

  • A captivating introduction : Grab the reader’s attention from the outset by highlighting the significance of your topic and why it warrants consideration.
  • A well-defined problem statement: Clearly articulate the issue or challenge that your proposal aims to address.
  • A compelling solution: Propose a well-thought-out solution to the identified problem, ensuring its feasibility and effectiveness.
  • Supporting evidence: Substantiate your proposal with relevant data, research findings, or expert opinions.
  • A persuasive conclusion: Reiterate the significance of your proposal and its potential impact, leaving a lasting impression on the reader.

7 Most Common Proposal Essay Mistakes to Avoid

Addressing these common mistakes will significantly improve the quality and effectiveness of your proposal essay.

Proposal Writing Mistakes

Examples of a Proposal Essays

To further enhance your understanding, let’s delve into a few examples of proposal essays :

  • Example 1 : Advocating for a Greener Campus

Propose the implementation of sustainable practices on campus, such as energy-efficient lighting, recycling programs, and composting initiatives.

  • Example 2: Addressing the Issue of Homelessness

Advocate for the establishment of a community shelter or propose a volunteer program to assist the homeless population.

  • Example 3 : Promoting Healthy Eating Habits

Suggest the introduction of healthier food options in school cafeterias or advocate for nutrition education programs.

Remember : Tailor your proposal essay to the specific requirements of your assignment and ensure it aligns with your chosen topic.

How to Write a Proposal Argument Essay

Writing a proposal argument essay involves a structured approach to presenting your ideas, arguments, and proposed solutions to a specific issue or problem. Here are the key steps to follow when learning how to write a proposal argument essay :

  • Choose a Relevant Topic
  • Research Extensively
  • Identify Your Audience
  • Craft a Strong Thesis Statement
  • Outline Your Essay
  • Write a Compelling Introduction
  • Present Your Arguments
  • Address Counterarguments
  • Propose Solutions
  • Conclude Effectively
  • Revise and Edit
  • Cite Sources
  • Seek Feedback

Remember that a well-written proposal argument essay presents a clear problem, provides compelling evidence, and offers practical solutions while considering the needs and perspectives of the audience.

Key Differences Between Proposal Argument Essays and Proposal Essays

The key difference between proposal argument essays and proposal essays is that proposal argument essays argue for why their proposal is the best one, while proposal essays do not. Proposal argument essays are also typically more persuasive than proposal essays.

Proposal argument essay examples :

  • An essay that proposes a new law to reduce gun violence.
  • An essay that proposes a new program to help homeless people find housing.
  • An essay that proposes a new marketing strategy for a business.

Proposal essay examples:

  • An essay that proposes a new curriculum for a school.
  • An essay that proposes a new event for a community.
  • An essay that proposes a new product or service for a company.

Which Type of Essay Should You Write?

The type of essay that you should write depends on your assignment and your audience. If you are writing an essay for a class, your professor will likely tell you which type of essay to write. If you are writing an essay for a professional audience, you should choose the type of essay that will be most effective in persuading your audience to support your proposal.

Both proposal argument essays and proposal essays can be effective ways to communicate your ideas and persuade others to support your cause. When choosing which type of essay to write, it is important to consider your assignment, your audience, and the purpose of your essay.

General Essay Proposal Examples

Proposal essay writing checklist.

Instead of offering a classic structure template that won’t relate to your course topic, you must follow our free checklist that will provide you with much better assistance as you compare your paper to what we have: 

  • Your objectives are included in the first sentence in the introduction. (It should also be reflected in your hook sentence and the title of your proposal.)
  • You provide a background of a problem in the introduction.
  • Your proposal has a brief literature review that will be used as the supporting data.
  • Your proposal essay explains why your objectives will be met. (It’s the heart of your proposal. Use an explanatory tone as you apply analysis.)
  • Your tone is persuading by turning to quotes and the evidence.
  • Your conclusion is brief and simply re-states your thesis ideas.

Take your time to explore various proposal essay examples to see how much scope you should use when discussing some argument. Keep your tone unbiased when you provide information that represents what’s being common sense. Refer to your course and talk things out with your academic advisor to ensure that your proposal essay’s theme has been fully understood.

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What is a proposal essay?

It is an idea with a list of facts that help the readers see why a particular suggestion is good or bad. The proposal essay topics are limitless. They can deal with education and propound the benefits of distance learning or turn to technology and research the woes of video games. Good proposal essay examples should provide evidence and a list of arguments.

How to write a proposal essay?

A good paper proposal example should include a brief explanation of why you have chosen the topic with a clear thesis statement. The key is to introduce your idea and explain why you think it matters. Check out our essay proposal example to see how it turns to trusted evidence and lists reliable references or similar research on the subject.

What is the primary purpose of a proposal essay?

The primary purpose of a proposal essay is to advocate for a specific idea, solution, or change and provide convincing arguments and evidence to persuade the reader of its feasibility and importance.

How should I choose a proposal essay topic?

Choose a proposal essay topic that you are passionate about and that addresses a real problem or issue. Consider topics that interest you and are relevant to your audience or community.

What is the difference between a proposal essay and a research paper?

While both involve research and writing, a proposal essay focuses on advocating for a specific idea or solution, whereas a research paper typically presents findings and analysis of existing research on a broader topic.

Are proposal essays used outside of academic settings?

Yes, proposal essays are used in various professional and real-world settings, such as business proposals, grant applications, and policy recommendations, in addition to academic assignments.

The most popular topics for Proposal Essay

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topic proposal essay example

Proposal Essay Examples

A proposal essay is a description of a future project. It pursues two purposes: to convince the reader that the research or business deserves attention and to test the plan’s viability. Because while writing this essay, you may encounter unsurpassable problems that will require you to change the topic.

How to write a paper proposal and what to include in it? The answer largely depends on the topic and the tutor’s requirements. But in any case, it should comprise a literature overview, the methods to be used, and the predicted results.

This website section features proposal essay examples for different study levels and disciplines. Feel free to use them for reference or inspiration.

504 Best Proposal Essay Examples

Employee engagement and retention: sustainability topic.

  • Subjects: Business Employees Management

Creating a Safe and Non-toxic Environment

  • Subjects: Business Employee Relationships

Equipping Children With Guns for Public Consideration

  • Subjects: Society's Imperfections Sociology

Adverse Childhood Experiences With Incarcerated Parents

  • Subjects: Child Psychology Psychology

Post-Operational Care in Diabetic Bariatric Surgery

  • Subjects: Health & Medicine Healthcare Research

The Representation of Saudi Women in the Media

  • Subjects: Gender Inequality Sociology

Stress Management Through Transcendental Meditation

  • Subjects: Alternative Medicine Health & Medicine

Indoors Adventure Program

  • Subjects: Architecture Design

Risks and Limitations Facing Organizations in International Diversification

  • Subjects: Business Risk Management

Problems With Relying on Work of Auditors in Other Countries

  • Subjects: Business Business Controversies

The Effectiveness of Financial and Accounting Software Tools

  • Subjects: Applications Tech & Engineering

Environmental Assessment

  • Subjects: Environment Environmental Studies

Expansion Plan of the Retail Store

  • Subjects: Business Marketing Project

Copyright Issues in Libya

  • Subjects: Intellectual Property Law

Fiduciary Duties: Review

  • Subjects: Business & Corporate Law Law

Prevention as the Future of Managed Health Care

  • Subjects: Administration and Regulation Health & Medicine

Aging as Social Problem in North American Society

  • Words: 1018

Criminologist Advisor as Profession

  • Subjects: Criminology Law

Roles of Organizations in the Recruitment of Nurses in Saudi Arabia

  • Subjects: Health & Medicine Nursing

Managing Natural Resources: Recycling

  • Subjects: Environment Recycling

Index Funds Mersus Actively-Managed Funds

  • Subjects: Business Financial Management

Mother’s Perception on Childhood Obesity in Libya

  • Subjects: Health & Medicine Pediatrics

How Acupuncture Can Help Patients With Migraines

The celebrity obsessed culture: marketing of colleges.

  • Subjects: Advertising Entertainment & Media

The Functional Statement of the Asset Management Department

  • Subjects: Business Management

Strategy: The Benchmarking Program

  • Subjects: Business Strategy

Brand: An Exceptional Food Experience

  • Subjects: Brand Management Business

MRSA: Executive Summary

Emotional intelligence in nursing study by winship, health promotion and smoking cessation.

  • Subjects: Family, Life & Experiences Lifestyle

Social Media Applications in the Workplace

  • Subjects: Entertainment & Media Social Media Issues

Financial Risk Management in Islamic Banking

Bond evaluation types, methods, and factors.

  • Subjects: Economic Concepts Economics

Preventing Painful IV Sticks in Children

Prescribing rights for nurse practitioners in the state of georgia.

  • Words: 1087

Business Transactions With Costco Business Case

  • Subjects: Business Case Study

The Importance of Teamwork With Limited Resources

The lockout and one-punch laws.

  • Subjects: Drug and Alcohol Addiction Sociology

Network Topology Supporting Different Quantity of Employees

  • Subjects: Computer Science Tech & Engineering

Implementation of Menu Labeling

  • Subjects: Diet & Nutrition Food Safety

COVID-19 Awareness in Different Levels of Dental Students

  • Subjects: Health & Medicine Public Health

Ban Key Single-Use Plastic Products

  • Subjects: Environment Human Impact

The Development of New Leadership Needs

  • Subjects: Business Leadership Styles

Windows vs Google. New Operating System as the Key to Success

  • Subjects: Programming Tech & Engineering

The Modern-Day Global Economy

  • Subjects: Economic Development Economics

The Popularity of Outsourcing

Witch-hunt in europe during the middle ages.

  • Subjects: History Medieval History
  • Words: 1032

Home Life and Individuals With Asperger’s Syndrome

  • Subjects: Diagnostics Health & Medicine

Poem Concerning the American Revolutionary War

  • Subjects: Literature Poems

Investigating Zeolites to Separate Hydrogen from Syngas in a Pressure Swing Adsorption

  • Subjects: Chemistry Sciences

Chinese Economy: The Impact of the Novel Coronavirus

  • Subjects: Economic Theories Economics

Information Technology: The Impact of Paperless

  • Subjects: Tech & Engineering Technology Effect

Agricultural Sector: The Use of Drones

  • Subjects: Other Technology Tech & Engineering

The Tracking Device for BEA19 Technologies Ltd: Opportunities

  • Subjects: Sports Sports Science

Policy Alternatives to Control and Prevent the Spread of Schistosomiasis

  • Words: 1026

Racial Issues of “Lemonade” by Beyoncé

  • Subjects: Art Singers

The Success of Homeschooling and How the Program Can Be Increased

  • Subjects: Education Education System

Sunrise Life Skills Software Business

  • Subjects: Project Management Tech & Engineering
  • Words: 1092

Social Distancing: Communication With Patients Families

  • Subjects: Epidemiology Health & Medicine

Recreation Hub as a Way to Combat Sedentary Lifestyle

The state project al-mazunah free zone.

  • Subjects: Economics Investment

Sick Leave Exposition: Interview Regulation

  • Subjects: Communications Sociology

Business Plan For the Rock T-Shirt Brand

Economic development in saudi arabia: unemployment amongst young saudi generation.

  • Subjects: Sciences Scientific Method

Treasured Objects in Beowulf, Milton’s Paradise Lost, and Pope’s “Rape of the Lock”

Plato’s “method of division”.

  • Subjects: Philosophers Philosophy

The Teachers Service Commission

  • Subjects: Education Teacher Career

The Law and Application of Corporate Sustainability in Saudi Arabia

Resolute energy corporation: project plan template, prayer’s impact on individuals and their health, interactive whiteboard use during a meeting.

  • Subjects: Business Business Communication

Student Learning in Traditional Setting vs. Career Academies

  • Subjects: Approach to Learning Education

Ella Fitzgerald, the Jazz Singer

Cardiovascular diseases and saudi male patients aged 40 – 65 years.

  • Subjects: Cardiology Health & Medicine

The Self-Conscious Song in the Opera, the Return of Ulysses to His Homeland

  • Subjects: Art Musicians

The Future of Customer Satisfaction Based on Saudi Corporations Social Marketing Programs

  • Subjects: Business Marketing

Physical and Psychological Trauma in Women

Saudi primary school science teachers’ beliefs: teaching new curriculum.

  • Subjects: Curriculum Development Education

Businesses Restructuring By Delivery and Payment Plan of Goods in Kuwait

  • Subjects: Economics Trade

The Gap Between Managers and Employees in Saudi Arabia

A model for defining relationships between variables.

  • Subjects: Human Rights Sociology

The Concept of Network Security Information

  • Subjects: Computer Security Tech & Engineering

Northern Illinois University Analysis

Key performance indicators for risk management, investigation of the day-to-day life of culture.

  • Subjects: Cultural Studies Culture
  • Words: 1083

Sustainable Development Solutions in Organisations

  • Subjects: Business Entrepreneurship

Artificial and Automated: Innovation in Marketing

  • Subjects: Business Marketing Communication

Contacting Clients for Their Satisfaction

New business and blueprint for the business, global movement “education for all”, the g4 reforming the united nations security council.

  • Subjects: International Relations Politics & Government

Special Education Professional Development Needs of Teachers in Saudi Arabia Assessment

  • Subjects: Education Pedagogical Approaches

IT Executives Role in Successful E-transformation in the UAE

  • Subjects: Cyber Security Tech & Engineering

Narrative Approach to Explore the Moral Residue Problem

  • Subjects: Philosophical Concept Philosophy

Total Quality Management: A Viable Solution for Zayed University

  • Subjects: Education Education Theories

The Positive Effects Proactive Maintenance on Asset Sustainability

Management of occupational safety and health in primary school in libya.

  • Subjects: Education Education Issues

Rightfoods, Inc. Sales Problems

  • Subjects: Business Company Analysis

Approaches for Firms to Integrate Inexperienced Graduates

The problem of aging, and the needs of aging employees, renewable energy resources in qatar.

  • Subjects: Environment Environmental Management

10 Years of Government Excellence Program

  • Subjects: Politics & Government Public Administration Activity

Studying Abroad and Improving the Outcomes of Students’ Career Development

  • Subjects: Education Education Abroad

Green Supply Chain With ISO 14001 and 9001 in Australian Hospitals

Sales plan for computer equipment, a leading government strategy in abu dhabi.

  • Subjects: Government Politics & Government

Realism in Girlfriends Directed by Claudia Weill

  • Subjects: Entertainment & Media Movies

Educational Leadership: Data Analysis

Arts and crafts festival event.

  • Subjects: Entertainment & Media Events

Civil Union: Legal Recognition of Same-Sex Couples’ Marriages

  • Words: 2045

Granite City Building Inspectors: Service Crime

  • Subjects: Criminal Investigation Law

New Jersey’s Charter and Public Schools’ Impact

Everyday communication surrounding climate change.

  • Subjects: Climate Change Environment

Advanced Practice Nursing Framework

Ethics in sport industry and role of equipment.

  • Subjects: Ethics Sociology

Human Security and Collapse of the Soviet Union

  • Subjects: Political Ideologies Politics & Government

Human Environmental Security as a Global Challenge

  • Subjects: Ecology Environment

Various Issues Surrounding the Concept of Lawful Humanitarian

Deciphering the best start-up fundraising ways, mobile health promotion unit project.

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Proposal Essays

A proposal essay must offer an idea with clear evidence that is good enough to persuade your target audience that a certain concept is a good or bad one. The topics may be related to social sciences or engineering disciplines because the majority of essay samples will remind of a typical research proposal. Your thesis should reflect an opinion and propose something with a brief explanation of why it must be done and what importance it poses for society or an academic field in general. Check our proposal paper samples in terms of correct structure and style. Check these rules and templates with your grading rubric twice and compare them with all the important elements of papers that you explore in our database.

Because of the societal expectations that revolve around their lives, homeless people face tremendous challenges. Lack of food, shelter, crime, and substance use are among the challenges they face. These problems contribute to psychological discomfort due to social stigmatization of homeless people. These psychological problems worsen and their wellbeing is compromised...

Words: 1464

The organization to be addressed is OpenMedia.ca, which seeks to protect the possibility of an accessible and open internet connection. It is also a grassroots organisation working towards a participatory and informed digital agenda. The purpose of writing this case study is to examine how OpenMedia empowers people to participate...

Words: 2176

Homelessness and its Impact on Young Families Homelessness is an issue that adversely affects the well-being of certain individuals, especially young families, in society. Homeless young families suffer from issues such as malnutrition, mental and psychological disability, according to various studies conducted by academics (Martin 228). Tobin and Joseph (4) also claim...

Three forms of marriages in Congo Three forms of marriages in Congo include religious marriages, customs and civilian/forced marriages. Each type is carried out in a different way. The Felicity Conditions of Austin (1962) discuss how they are established in the preparatory, sincere and necessary conditions. Consequently, in the three conditions...

The Internet and Social Media The internet is now a major networking medium. People are also using it for different purposes, such as business purchases, news searching, sending emails, playing sports, and, among others, staying in contact with friends and family. The internet has since been a medium that affects every...

Regardless of its legal ramifications, Internet therapy is currently offered. The efficacy of virtual therapy has posed concerns where the customer does not reach the counselor physically. A new approach in which psychotherapists interfere has been discovered in order to address clients' psychological issues. This medium is effective to save...

Words: 4084

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Three major side effects of addiction A story of teenage drug addiction Author My burden or challenge life? Addiction and its impact I started with taking pills, smoking weed, and alcohol at a very young age. I was at risk of drug abuse as a teenager thereby easily influenced to addiction at age eleven as...

What do you do when faced with a dilemma? The key question that is being asked? What are you doing to fix the dilemma and what sort of action are you taking to solve it? In this mission, six problem-solving steps will be evaluated (Bardach & Patashnik, 2015). In Scenario 4,...

The Introduction of Laws Requiring Mandatory Recycling The introduction of laws requiring mandatory recycling by numerous states has sparked polarized discussions over the future of waste management. Many stakeholders are concerned about whether recycling should be made obligatory in this case. Recycling is classified into three types: major, secondary, and tertiary. Main...

One of the Best Issues of Global Problem: Global Warming One of the best issues of global problem that have doggedly threatened the flora and fauna is global warming. Generally, global warming may be portrayed as the large and incremental upward shove in heat on the earth's surface and the decrease...

The social system is marriage. Marriage of comfort was the rule in the past. Often its goal was linked to influence, policy and social pressure. Not all of these relationships are the products of spousal lust. This was also a requirement for women in particular. The expectations of marriage have...

Words: 3033

My Ten-Hour Carrier Learning Project at Friendly House After my ten-hour carrier learning project at Friendly House in Worcester, I learned a lot about the community service, food pantry, immigration service, and after school programs. In this paper, I reflect on the matters I achieved during this service learning, as expected...

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How to write a proposal essay + Examples

topic proposal essay example

What is a proposal essay?

A proposal essay is a type of persuasive essay written to support or oppose a stated proposition. Students typically use the format in their composition courses, where they are asked to write essays supporting or opposing various action items.

The following article discusses five important guidelines for writing proposal essays:

A proposal essay is often assigned as an exercise in college-level writing courses. The assignment typically gives students a brief statement about an issue facing society today, asking them to either argue for changing the status quo or preserving it. Here are two examples of proposal paper prompts:

Should parents give their teenagers privacy? Support your answer with relevant reasons and/or specific examples from experience, observation, or reading . Although many parents believe teenagers would use privacy irresponsibly, others feel that adolescents should be given more freedom.

Should schools hire teachers who have majored in the subjects they teach? Give specific examples and reasons for your answer. Many schools believe that hiring teachers with degrees in the subjects they teach ensures that students are receiving accurate information, but others argue that it is unfair to exclude people from teaching opportunities if they did not major in education during college.

How to write a proposal essay

The following are five helpful steps on writing a proposal essay for college:

Address counterarguments

The most important aspect of writing a proposal essay is addressing the opposing argument, or counterargument. It is not enough to simply argue for your side; you must also show why your opponent’s position is problematic. Otherwise, there are no logical reasons you should be able to convince an educated audience how they are wrong on this matter. For example, if you argued that schools should hire teachers who have majored in the subjects they teach, one effective strategy would be showing that doing so would lead to students receiving more accurate information than if unqualified teachers were hired instead. You might follow with reasoning about the importance of having qualified instructors and explain how hiring unqualified people does not ensure quality education (because some graduates may not even know what they are talking about).

Support your statements with facts and/or anecdotes

A proposal essay is persuasive, so you want to explain why you hold your position. This can be done by providing facts or personal accounts that support your claim. For example, if you argued parents should give their teenagers privacy for using social media sites like Facebook, one effective strategy would be citing statistics about teenage social media addiction rates and how parents can monitor kids’ online activity all the time (and therefore expect them to do it responsibly on their own). You could also share an anecdote where you used Facebook irresponsibly as a teen and got into trouble because of it if doing so would help fellow readers better relate to your opinion. Of course, you must make sure to use facts and anecdotes that support your argument; otherwise, you will be seen as unreliable.

Discuss the benefits of your position

A proposal essay is persuasive , so it is important to discuss the positive aspects of your opinion . This can be done by explaining why society would benefit from following or leaving the status quo on this issue. For example, if you argued for teenagers’ privacy rights, one effective strategy would be showing how allowing them relative freedom online would help them learn responsibility early in life (which might prevent them from venturing down an unwise path later on). You could also share personal stories about responsible online usage habits you formed as a teen to demonstrate what teens are capable of when they are given the chance.

Use clear language and correct syntax

A proposal essay should be written in formal, academic tone. Avoid slang or casual writing when possible; otherwise, your statement may come across as immature to educated readers . Make sure you are addressing the topic (and not an unrelated issue) when giving your opinion. Finally, make sure all your sentences are in complete, proper form; if they are not, readers might misunderstand responsibilities for why you hold your position (or mistakenly think you lack sound reasoning). For example, “Proving kids responsibly use social media would help them learn responsibility early in life” is less likely to persuade than “Proving kids responsibly use social media could help them learn responsibility early in life.”

Edit and proofread your work

The final step to writing a proposal essay is editing and proofreading for grammar, spelling, and punctuation mistakes . Check all sentences for complete words (or lack thereof), subject-verb agreement, consistent verb tense, logical organization of ideas, and correct usage of punctuation. It is also helpful to get someone else to read over your essay before you turn it in because they are less emotionally involved with the topic than you are. If you have followed these steps when writing a proposal essay , you will be able to provide strong reasoning for why society should adopt this view on the given issue. Remember that proposals are persuasive essays ; therefore, even though your opinion may not change others’ minds entirely if they disagree with it beforehand, you have a chance to persuade them or at least get them thinking about your position.

Proposal essay structure

A good proposal essay structure should contain:

  • Statement of your intentions : what do you plan to study? Why is this important? A clear statement of your intentions: what will you be studying and why does the research on this topic matter?
  • Statement of the problem : Clearly state the problem you wish to address.
  • Literature review : A review of the existing literature on this topic that you have read,
  • Proposed ideas : Ideas about what methods or experiments you might implement. Methods: How do you plan to solve the problem? What techniques will you use for this study? The methods section should give a clear indication of exactly what it is that you are going to do.

In some cases there is no literature to review- for example, if you are proposing an experiment, but in other cases a more comprehensive literature review may be appropriate.

Proposal essay examples

The following proposal essay examples will give you a better idea of what this should look like.

Outline Example 1: A proposal essay on manufacturing drugs from biomass

Statement of Intentions : The purpose of my research project is to discover if it is possible to use bioenergy as an alternative source for chemicals such as pharmaceuticals. This option could potentially provide more sustainable fuels and chemicals while reducing the environmental impact of current production methods.

Statement of problem : The petroleum industry provides chemicals for a variety of important pharmaceuticals readily available today. As oil reserves are being depleted, there is an increasing need to find sustainable alternatives to the industry’s current practices. It has been hypothesized that biomass conversion processes could be used to produce specific types of chemicals that do not directly compete with food sources.

Review of literature : There are several stages in the process from biomass to chemicals where significant improvements can be found. One area is finding catalysts for efficient breakdown of complex carbohydrate compounds into glucose monomers which can be further processed into fuels or other desired products. Another major challenge is identifying ways to remove toxic byproducts during fermentation to increase yield and reduce costs.

Ideas : One possible experiment to test this hypothesis would be to collect different types of biomass, and then process them into sugars using enzymes and acids. These sugars could then undergo a microbial conversion process in bioreactors containing hydrothermal catalysts that break down complex compounds into smaller molecules which can be further processed for fuels or other chemicals. The use of such reactors could reduce the production time required by traditional methods and increase output quantities by increasing yield.

Sample Proposal Paper 2:

Title: Collage Proposal


I am proposing the creation of a collage that would gather together images, symbols, and text representing the various aspects of the user experience design process. This collage would function as both a visual aid for those unfamiliar with UX design, as well as a conversation starter for more experienced designers looking to compare and contrast their processes.

Statement of Purpose:

The purpose of this collage is to serve as a visual representation of the various steps involved in designing a user experience. This collage will be used as a teaching tool in my UX design course, as well as hung up in my office as a constant reminder of the importance of each step in the process.

This collage is meant for two audiences: those who are unfamiliar with UX design, and those who are experienced designers looking to compare and contrast different processes. For the former group, this collage will serve as an introduction to the various steps involved in UX design. For the latter group, this collage will provide a starting point for discussion and debate around the relative importance of each step in the process.

The materials I will use for this collage are images, symbols, and text representing the various steps involved in UX design. These materials will be gathered from online sources, as well as my library of UX-related books and articles.

Collage Layout:

The collage will be divided into four sections, each representing a different stage in the UX design process: research, planning, design, and testing. Within each section, the images, symbols, and text will be arranged in a way that reflects the chronology of that stage. For example, the research section will begin with more general images and text, followed by more specific ones as the research process narrows in on a particular topic.


In conclusion, the collage I am proposing will serve as a valuable teaching tool for my UX design course, as well as a visually appealing reminder of the importance of each stage in the process for experienced designers. This collage will be created using images, symbols, and text representing the various steps involved in UX design, and will be divided into four sections corresponding to the four stages of the process.


Druin, A. (1999). The design of children’s technology. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Norman, D. A. (2013). The design of everyday things. New York, NY: Basic Books.

Saffer, D. (2009). Designing for interaction: Creating smart applications and devices. Berkeley, CA: New Riders.

With these proposal essay examples, writing a perfect proposal paper should be a bliss.

100 Best proposal essay topics

Wondering what to write a proposal essay about? Before starting your research, check this list of interesting proposal essay ideas that include every possible topic in every possible field. With such a wide range of topics you can’t fail to impress even the most demanding professor!

Note that these are just ideas for proposal essay writing. To get great and custom topics for your proposal essay, click here to ask for professional help .

  • How to reduce childhood obesity (policy proposal)
  • How to reduce gun violence
  • Why we should stop eating meat (argumentative essay topic)
  • Should gay marriage be legalized in the US (argumentative essay topic)?
  • Can you really trust food manufacturers and advertisers? (subject: ethics, argumentative essay topic).
  • Is social media a good or bad thing for teens? (subject: psychology, persuasive essay topic).
  • How technology is changing human relationships and society as a whole. Should we embrace it or avoid it at all costs? Discuss both sides of the issue. (discussion question/paper assignment/persuasive essay idea).
  • Are cellphones a distraction to drivers? (subject: science, argumentative essay topic).
  • Is the usage of marijuana an illness or a disease to be treated with the help of doctors? ( argumentative essay topic )
  • Should tobacco companies be allowed to advertise on TV, radio and billboards? (subject: ethics, argumentative essay topic ).
  • How religion and politics affect each other and in what ways (argumentative essay topic).
  • Should abortion be legal? Why or why not? ( argumentative essay ).
  • How would you solve the homeless problem in America (persuasive essay topic).
  • Are we alone in the universe? (discussion question/paper assignment/ argumentative essay idea ).
  • What’s your opinion on gay marriage and should it be legalized? (argumentative essay topic)
  • Which was a greater invention: electricity, computers, cars, planes or phone? Discuss them all. (discussion question/paper assignment/elective subject paper idea).
  • Which is more harmful to kids: alcohol, marijuana or cigarettes. Discuss them all. (subject: science comparison paper topic)
  • Is global warming real and caused by humans? If yes, what can be done to prevent it? (discussion question/paper assignment/ persuasive essay topic ).
  • Should the death penalty be allowed in this country considering it’s a state that claims to have abolished slavery? (argumentative essay topic)
  • Is there life on other planets and if so, should we seek contact with them or not? Why or why not? (discussion question/paper assignment/persuasive essay idea).
  • What are your thoughts about the US’ foreign policy. Do you think they care more about business interests than human rights advocacy? What could be done to improve things for civilians all over the world who are being oppressed by their own governments and denied certain basic human rights? (discussion question/paper assignment/argumentative essay topic).
  • Should college athletes get paid for playing sports in college if they’re not offered scholarships and their tuition is already fully covered? (subject: ethics, argumentative essay topic)
  • What’s your opinion on drones and if used by the US military, how do you think this will affect civilians all over the world? (discussion question/paper assignment/ persuasive essay ideas )
  • How has social media impacted teenagers’ lives? Good or bad? (subject: psychology , persuasive essay topic).
  • Do you think education should be free everywhere in the world. Discuss both sides of the issue.
  • Should the death penalty be abolished in this country? Why or why not?
  • What’s your opinion on the increasing violence and crime rate in America. Discuss both sides of the issue.
  • Is video game addiction a real condition? Discuss both sides of this argument, using examples from history to support your thesis.
  • Are humans too dependent on technology nowadays? Is it healthy to live without technology for a while or is that just impossible at this point due to how advanced our society has become?.
  • …. the list will be updated continually…

Please note that these papers should consist of at least 3-4 pages if you want to have a chance of scoring an A or B. If your paper is too short, it might not be taken too seriously for college paper writing .

No plagiarism because if your teacher catches you cheating in college  even once, that assignment will automatically become a zero and you won’t receive any points for this coursework .

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Sample Proposal Argument

Now that you have had the chance to learn about writing a proposal argument, it’s time to see what one might look like. Below, you’ll see a sample proposal argumentative essay written using  APA 7 th edition formatting guidelines.

Click the image below to open a PDF of the sample paper.

Proposal Argument Sample Essay

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Proposal Essay Topics Ideas

The purpose of a proposal essay is to propose an idea and provide evidence or arguments to convince readers why an idea is good or bad. Consider yourself as a salesperson; your goal is to convince the customer why to buy a car, jewelry, or some product. In this case, the product is your idea and the customer is the professor. If you have never worked on a proposal essay before, you might feel insecure thinking there’s no way to pull it off. Not so fast! With a few ideas and simple strategy tips, you can complete this assignment successfully. Also, you can find college essay ideas on our site! So, let’s start!

Your Proposal Essay Should Contain

To create a high-quality proposal essay every time, you just have to follow the simple outline that revolves around:

  • Introduction – provides background information and important details the reader should know before you move on to the other parts. The introduction has to catch the reader’s attention, make him/her want to read the paper. Let’s not forget the last sentence of the introduction accounts for a thesis statement.
  • Proposal – a  statement of purpose . Generally, this is a brief section that informs the reader about your proposal i.e. the idea you want him/her to adopt. Make sure this section does not contain details about how you plan to carry out the proposal.
  • Plan of action – here, your job is to explain how you plan to achieve the proposal. What will you do to show your reader why your proposal is valid? This is the section where you have to convince the reader to agree with your ideas. For every plan of action or evidence, use a separate paragraph.
  • Conclusion – summarize the key points in a conclusion and include a call-to-action, if applicable. Make sure you don’t include new information into the conclusion because you would have to elaborate it thoroughly, and there’s no room for that in a paragraph-length section.

Tips for Proposal Essay

Carry out thorough research to find as many details as possible

  • Support all your claims i.e. ideas with evidence
  • Use only relevant sources, avoid blog posts and websites that aren’t credible
  • Cite all the sources you use to avoid plagiarism
  • Demonstrate your vocabulary skills and avoid overusing some words
  • Avoid slang and informal speech
  • Instead of including a bunch of ideas that are poorly discussed, stick to 3-5 ideas that you will develop thoroughly

But what happens when a professor allows you to choose the title for a proposal essay? What to do then?

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100 Best Proposal Essay Ideas

Writing a proposal essay is not as hard as it may sound, it doesn’t matter how your professor or teacher describes it. Researching and choosing an interesting topic is the main point of writing an essay. You’ll easily find something suitable for yourself with the list of topics below, arranged for our readers by category.

The topic of education carries a lot of problems and solutions, old ideas conflict new ones. Someone may try and give more possibilities and chances to students; others focus on treating teachers well. You’re free to choose your side and explore these topics.

  • How can educational television shows about science receive more funding and airtime?
  • Why are foreign languages in school important for our education?
  • What can be done to improve student’s reading comprehension instead of calling words aloud without understanding them?
  • The most successful inventors were known as wrong-thinkers at school. Later they were acknowledged as risk-taking pioneers. So should a teacher give students the chance of failing and learn by making mistakes?
  • The current student grading system is flawed, but it can be fixed with these methods
  • How should students be graded?
  • How can parents, teachers, and society at large encourage more children to pursue an education in science?
  • How can teachers improve sex education courses?
  • How can teachers spot signs of bullying in their classes?
  • In what ways can foreign language courses be improved?

“Healthy mind in a healthy body.” It’s not a coincidence we always hear this phrase, as it is one of the most powerful quotes of all time. With chain restaurants growing and teenagers starting to drink or smoke earlier, writing an essay about health is a powerful move.

  • In what ways can we reduce childhood obesity?
  • How can parents make sure their children adopt healthy life values?
  • How to reduce the rates of smoking among adolescents?
  • How can the country ensure adequate health care coverage for all citizens without exceptions?
  • How can be kids be persuaded not to experiment with drugs?
  • Can antidepressant use enhance suicidal behaviors? Should it be limited or banned?
  • What should be done to increase the funding for cancer research?
  • What is the best way to prevent deaths from drunk driving?
  • The risks of birth defects are significantly higher in test-tube babies. Should couples adopt children instead of having in-vitro fertilization?
  • What would be an effective program to curb illegal drug use?

topic proposal essay example

Student Lifestyle

These topics may become the closest as you are a student. They will be the easiest to write and you might even use your personal experience in the process. Raise issues that your peers can relate to, and your proposal will be successful.

  • What can be done to create a more well-rounded curriculum for middle and high school students?
  • What are the measures to reduce alcohol use among adolescents?
  • How can parents encourage their children to do more extracurricular activities?
  • How can kids with divorced parents be counseled to do well in school, build successful lives and marriages, and have strong relationships?
  • How can parents help children avoid or deal with bullying in school?
  • How can parents protect their children from peer pressure?
  • What is the best way to teach children responsibility?
  • What is the most effective way to discipline a child?
  • What can teachers do to establish a balance between engaging students and letting them overtake their authority and influence among students?
  • What is the best way to impose and improve parental involvement in childhood education?


Environmental problems are discussed everywhere nowadays making this list the most interesting for the current audience. You can include a huge amount of recent research, creating a well-thought essay.

  • What can the average person do to combat global climate change? What can the government do?
  • To change the world you have to change yourself. What can you do to help the environment?
  • Should animal exploitation by the dairy and meat industries be banned? Is veganism the only way to protect animal rights?
  • What can be done for obsolete lifestyles?
  • What can we do to reduce the risk of teen pregnancies?
  • What improvements have to be made regarding sex education courses to decrease the rate of teen pregnancies?
  • While vegans require others to respect their choices, why can’t they respect someone else’s? What strategies can help solve this issue?
  • Should dog bite laws be more specific? For example, should pit bulls be banned, or should more attention be paid to the education of dog owners instead?
  • What is the best solution for the problem of plastic bags?
  • How can countries embrace the use of bicycles for short journeys?

The use of technology and the Internet has had a huge influence on society and the modern generation, making it the most progressive so far. Topics regarding this matter can differ, giving a student a wide range to choose from.

  • How can people reduce their dependence on technology?
  • How should children be taught about responsible Internet use?
  • How to protect yourself and your identity from online theft.
  • In what ways can companies and consumers keep sensitive information more secure online?
  • How can parents and teachers effectively help eliminate cyber-bullying?
  • Issues with cyber-crime and how it can be prevented.
  • Are technology changes in our libraries effective for student research?
  • Is wireless technology more cost-effective?
  • Do you think teachers over-rely on technology in the US?
  • Is technology advancing at a high rate and harming society?

We’re touching something close to the health topic. Sport is a huge part of modern life, controversies and drama nowadays provides a topic to discuss for every fan.

  • Should college athletes be paid? How can colleges better handle the combination of education, athletics, and business?
  • How can coaches take encouragement to a whole new level for athletes?
  • How can coaches and players talk to the media after losing a game?
  • Should the use of steroids be legalized and monetized instead of being prohibited?
  • Can the media do a better job at covering sports on television? If so, which sports should be shared?
  • Should it be mandatory that players chosen for a team prepare themselves for possible injuries in the future and inability to play? How about retirement?
  • Should hunting in all forms be prohibited by law?
  • Should extreme activities for entertainment be banned?
  • Benefits that daily exercise and sports bring to adolescents with physical or emotional challenges. How different activities (fitness, swimming, running, etc.) influence adolescents’ mood?
  • Cybersport: can experienced gamers be considered professional athletes?

Topics of culture don’t just touch on modern living or traditions. It’s fair to include bullying, discrimination, tolerance, and bigger problems like racism or fascism. You need to be careful, as all these topics are quite sensitive.

  • Bread and circus culture versus traditional family values.
  • Different things parents can do to ensure their child treats others with respect.
  • How can parents raise their children to have a sense of humility as opposed to entitlement?
  • How can the government or society as a whole reduce homelessness in the United States?
  • How can the government reduce the rates of discriminatory behavior toward ethnic minorities?
  • How can we promote more tolerant behavior within US society?
  • Lack of tolerance leads to erratic, racist, and fascistic behavior. Different measures to put a stop to those actions
  • Risky behaviors are celebrated while morality is considered outdated and unacceptable. How to change things around?
  • So many experts and so much bad behavior among children these days. Measures to take to turn things around
  • What can be done about the decline of morality in the media?

We can for sure say that business culture is overtaking the world today, bringing lots of issues and concerns into everyday life as well as creating false expectations. Everyone is involved in business already, whether you’re a businessman with a huge factory or just a customer at your local grocery shop.

  • What initiatives should be implemented to protect small businesses from economic problems?
  • What are the solutions to the erosion of trust contribution to the decline of the American business sector?
  • How to support local businesses and prevent them from being destroyed by huge chains.
  • Should the customer have the right to report mistreatment of companies lying to consumers?
  • What can be done to solve the problem of unemployment?
  • What is the most effective way for parents to teach their children about money?
  • What steps should be taken from restraining qualified teachers from leaving the teaching profession?
  • Employees should have the right to use their private emails at work. Should the emails remain private?
  • What is the solution of unemployment among the youth?
  • Does bankruptcy have to be an option?

Your exclusive point of view on historical background is something worth telling. You can find something interesting in the list below or customize the topics for your own taste, making it about your country or city.

  • How did strong female leaders such as Jeanne d’Arc impact the development of society?
  • An introduction to the Paleolithic Age: the development of society, fishing, hunting and gathering, and scavenging
  • A list of the most significant historical events that shaped modern society.
  • Would the possible outcome of WWII be better had the opposing side won?
  • How did the abolition of slavery influence the US? Did its influence differ from other countries?
  • What is the impact of Karl Marx on society? How were his writings abused in a variety of nominally communist parties, movements, uprisings, and nations?
  • What are the events that led to the fall of the Roman Empire?
  • Did the hippie culture of the 1960s normalize drug usage all over the world?
  • The impact of gender roles of Roman society.

Choose topics that are most appropriate for the country you’re currently living. You can explore the issue of improving the political situation in your city; try to create a new revolutionary idea and get people interested in it.

  • What measures to introduce to avoid the next economic crisis?
  • What could be done to make the electoral system more effective?
  • What can be done to prevent other countries and parties from interfering in US elections?
  • Does espionage law violate free speech? Should it be banned or improved?
  • How can the government better handle illegal immigration?
  • How can the government make programs such as welfare, Medicaid, and Social Security more effective?
  • Measures to take to provide better conditions for US veterans.
  • Should all prisoners have voting rights or only individuals on probation and those who have already served their sentences?
  • What should be done to lower the national debt?
  • Should people buy so many things using credit? What can be done to handle the culture of debt?

Art and Music

This list contains the most diverse and varied topics, it’s more relevant to hobbies which will be easy and interesting to write about. If you are looking for a quick topic– write an essay on art and music.

  • Should the government invest in funding and grants for up-and-coming musicians and artists?
  • Discuss the benefits of art for society and individuals separately
  • Which contemporary artists and musicians have had the most impact on you as a person? Explain their impact.
  • Does rap music influence the behavior of modern teenagers? Is there a difference between rap of the 90s and modern rap regarding messages for society?
  • How did the evolution of 1980s music influence US history?
  • The evolution of the film industry post-World War II that shaped the modern era.
  • Was the New Wave movement in cinema revolutionary?
  • The British music invasion into the US market: an effect on American music.
  • The transition from the 50s to 60s fashion.
  • Is “Darkness Falls” by Patrick Hughes unique artwork?

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How to Write a Paper Topic Proposal & Thesis Statement

•    PART 1 OF THE ASSIGNMENT: PAPER TOPIC PROPOSAL The formal research paper or honors thesis will provide you with an opportunity to more fully develop the background and implications of one of the topics presented during the semester or explore a related topic not covered. Your paper topic proposal requires research in order to make your proposal as close to your paper topic as possible. I strongly suggest you come to office hours to discuss your topic proposal with me, because I will review all proposals for viability and reject any inappropriate or undoable topics. The written proposal must include the following 2 things: 1.    Your proposed paper topic: This part of the proposal is one sentence. Keep your paper topic narrow (but not so narrow that there are no scholarly sources available on the topic). 2.    Why the topic is interesting and important: Address how you will focus the topic. If you choose a topic that is not of interest to you, it will show in your paper. This topic must remain of interest to you for two semesters, so give it some serious consideration. As we cover topics in class, undoubtedly something will come up that you want to learn more about. This would be an ideal paper topic. This part of the assignment requires that you include two to three paragraphs about why this topic is interesting and important. Why should the reader care about Roger Williams’s relationship with the Narragansett Indians? If you simply retell the story of his exile from Massachusetts and what he thought of the Narragansett religious beliefs and practices, that’s a book report, not an honors level research paper. However, if you explore the significance Narragansett religion had on Williams, his writings, and his life, you have the makings of an interesting and important research paper. It would require research pertaining to the role of missionaries in the American colonies, research of the Puritan philosophy and why Williams was banned from Massachusetts Bay Colony, and research of Narragansett beliefs and religious views and how they were impacted by the English and Dutch.

What should your paper topic be?  Select a course-related topic. I suggest you write about an area that most interests you and in which you might already have some background knowledge. What do you want to learn more about? What are you interested in? Avoid choosing a topic that bores you. Sustained interest in your topic is important, as a topic that bores you makes for a boring paper. It is unlikely you will be able to fool the reader into believing you liked a topic that you didn’t actually like.

Now, narrow down your topic:  Once you’ve chosen a topic, ask yourself if it’s narrow enough for you to tackle in the paper or honors thesis you will be writing. Narrow topics generally result in the best papers. One important consideration is the availability of material. Therefore, before making a final decision on your topic, do some initial research to find out the type, quality, and quantity of information available. Finally, how much time do you have to write your paper? The earlier you begin your paper, the more thorough the treatment your topic will receive. If you can’t begin your paper early in the semester, consider limiting your topic so you can deal with it adequately.

•    PART 2 OF THE ASSIGNMENT: THESIS STATEMENT What is a thesis statement?  A thesis statement is “a proposition stated as a conclusion which you will then demonstrate or ‘prove’ in your paper.”  It is the focal point around which your research will revolve. It is usually stated in the form of an assertion or statement you resolve through your research. It’s not a question; it’s an answer, such as: “Key decisions in large U.S. cities are made by a handful of individuals, drawn largely from business, industrial, and municipal circles, who occupy the top of the power hierarchy.” “Cigarette smoking harms the body by constricting the blood vessels, accelerating the heartbeat, paralyzing the cilia in the bronchial tubes, and activating excessive gastric secretions in the stomach.” A thesis takes a position on an issue. Because you must take a position or develop a claim about a subject, you need to convey that position or claim in a thesis statement in your research paper. It is different from a topic sentence in that a thesis statement is not neutral. It announces, in addition to the topic, the argument you want to make or the point you want to prove. This is your own opinion that you intend to back up. This is your reason and motivation for writing. A thesis statement: i)    tells the reader how you will interpret the significance of the subject matter under discussion. ii)    is a road map for the paper; in other words, it tells the reader what to expect from the rest of the paper. iii)    directly answers the question asked of you. A thesis is an interpretation of a question or subject, not the subject itself. The subject, or topic, of an essay might be World War II or Moby Dick; a thesis must then offer a way to understand the war or the novel. iv)    makes a claim that others might dispute. v)    is usually a single sentence somewhere in your first paragraph that presents your argument to the reader. The rest of the paper, the body of the essay, gathers and organizes evidence that will persuade the reader of the logic of your interpretation. After you have done some preliminary research and reading on your narrowed-down topic, you should formulate a single-sentence thesis statement.

Writing in college often takes the form of persuasion – convincing others that you have an interesting, logical point of view on the subject you are studying. Persuasion is a skill you practice regularly in your daily life. You persuade your roommate to clean up, your parents to let you borrow the car, your friend to vote for your favorite candidate or policy. In college, course assignments often ask you to make a persuasive case in writing. You are asked to convince your reader of your point of view. This form of persuasion, often called academic argument, follows a predictable pattern in writing. After a brief introduction of your topic, you state your point of view on the topic directly and often in one sentence. This sentence is the thesis statement, and it serves as a summary of the argument you’ll make in the rest of your paper.

What is the purpose of the thesis statement?  The thesis statement guides you, enabling you to focus your research paper and outline what you will write. It allows you to clarify your thinking and determine what is relevant and irrelevant as you do your research. Your research paper must be thesis-driven. A high school level “report” will not receive a passing grade. The thesis must pull together the analysis that follows. Your thesis statement must be specific – it should cover only what you will discuss in your research paper and must be supported with specific evidence. The thesis statement usually appears at the end of the first paragraph of a paper. Early in your paper I should be able to locate the thesis statement. If I ask you “Where is the thesis statement?” you should be able to point to it immediately.

How do you come up with a thesis statement?  A thesis is the result of a lengthy thinking process and careful deliberation after preliminary research. Formulating a thesis is not the first thing you do after reading a writing assignment. Before you develop an argument on any topic, you have to collect and organize evidence, look for possible relationships between known facts (such as surprising contrasts or similarities), and think about the significance of these relationships. Once you do this thinking, you will probably have a “working thesis,” a basic main idea, an argument that you think you can support with evidence but that may need adjustment along the way. Your topic may change somewhat as you write, so you may need to revise your thesis statement to reflect exactly what you have discussed in the paper.

Thesis Statement Samples: 1)    The non-thesis thesis: You must take a stand or you’ll end up with a “non-thesis thesis.” a)    Bad Thesis 1: In his article, Stanley Fish shows that we don’t really have the right to free speech. b)    Bad Thesis 2: This paper will consider the advantages and disadvantages of certain restrictions on free speech. c)    Better Thesis 1: Stanley Fish’s argument that free speech exists more as a political prize than as a legal reality ignores the fact that even as a political prize it still serves the social end of creating a general cultural atmosphere of tolerance that may ultimately promote free speech in our nation just as effectively as any binding law. d)    Better Thesis 2: Even though there may be considerable advantages to restricting hate speech, the possibility of chilling open dialogue on crucial racial issues is too great and too high a price to pay. 2)    The overly broad thesis: A thesis should be as specific as possible, and it should be tailored to reflect the scope of the paper. It is not possible, for instance, to write about the history of English literature in a five-page paper. In addition to choosing simply a smaller topic, strategies to narrow a thesis include specifying a method or perspective or delineating certain limits. a)    Bad Thesis 1: There should be no restrictions on the First Amendment. b)    Bad Thesis 2: The government has the right to limit free speech. c)    Better Thesis 1: There should be no restrictions on the First Amendment if those restrictions are intended merely to protect individuals from unspecified or otherwise unquantifiable or unverifiable “emotional distress.” d)    Better Thesis 2: The government has the right to limit free speech in cases of overtly racist or sexist language because our failure to address such abuses would effectively suggest that our society condones such ignorant and hateful views. 3)    The incontestable thesis: A thesis must be arguable. And in order for it to be arguable, it must present a view that someone might reasonably contest. Sometimes a thesis ultimately says, “people should be good,” or “bad things are bad.” Such thesis statements are redundant or so universally accepted that there is no need to prove the point. a)    Bad Thesis 1: Although we have the right to say what we want, we should avoid hurting other people’s feelings. b)    Bad Thesis 2: There are always alternatives to using racist speech. c)    Better Thesis 1: If we can accept that emotional injuries can be just as painful as physical ones we should limit speech that may hurt people’s feelings in ways similar to the way we limit speech that may lead directly to bodily harm. d)    Better Thesis 2: The “fighting words” exception to free speech is not legitimate because it wrongly considers speech as an action. 4)    The “list essay” thesis: A good argumentative thesis provides not only a position on an issue but also suggests the structure of the paper. The thesis should allow the reader to imagine and anticipate the flow of the paper, in which a sequence of points logically proves the essay’s main assertion. A list essay provides no such structure, so that different points and paragraphs appear arbitrary with no logical connection to one another. a)    Bad Thesis 1: There are many reasons we need to limit hate speech. b)    Bad Thesis 2: Some of the arguments in favor of regulating pornography are persuasive. c)    Better Thesis 1: Among the many reasons we need to limit hate speech the most compelling ones all refer to our history of discrimination and prejudice, and it is, ultimately, for the purpose of trying to repair our troubled racial society that we need hate speech legislation. d)    Better Thesis 2: Some of the arguments in favor of regulating pornography are persuasive because they ask pornography proponents to ask themselves whether such a profession would be on a list of professions they would desire for their daughters or mothers. 5)    The research paper thesis: In another course this would be acceptable, and, in fact, possibly even desirable. But in this kind of course, a thesis statement that makes a factual claim that can be verified only with scientific, sociological, psychological, or other kind of experimental evidence is not appropriate. You need to construct a thesis that you are prepared to prove using the tools you have available, without having to consult the world’s leading expert on the issue to provide you with a definitive judgment. a)    Bad Thesis 1: Americans today are not prepared to give up on the concept of free speech. b)    Bad Thesis 2: Hate speech can cause emotional pain and suffering in victims just as intense as physical battery. c)    Better Thesis 1: Whether or not the cultural concept of free speech bears any relation to the reality of 1st amendment legislation and jurisprudence, its continuing social function as a promoter of tolerance and intellectual exchange trumps the call for politicization (according to Fish’s agenda) of the term. d)    Better Thesis 2: The various arguments against the regulation of hate speech depend on the unspoken and unexamined assumption that emotional pain is trivial.

How do I know if my thesis is strong?  If there’s time, run it by a professor or make an appointment at the Writing Center to get some feedback (http://www.umass.edu/writingcenter/index.html). Even if you do not have time to get advice elsewhere, you can do some thesis evaluation of your own. When reviewing your first draft of your working thesis, ask yourself the following: 1)    Do I answer the question? Re-reading the question prompt after constructing a working thesis can help you fix an argument that misses the focus of the question. 2)    Have I taken a position that others might challenge or oppose? If your thesis simply states facts that no one would, or even could, disagree with, it’s possible that you are simply providing a summary, rather than making an argument. 3)    Is my thesis statement specific enough? Thesis statements that are too vague often do not have a strong argument. If your thesis contains words like “good” or “successful,” see if you could be more specific: why is something “good”; what specifically makes something “successful”? 4)    Does my thesis pass the “So what?” test? If a reader’s first response is, “So what?” then you need to clarify, to forge a relationship, or to connect to a larger issue. 5)    Does my essay support my thesis specifically and without wandering? If your thesis and the body of your essay do not seem to go together, one of them has to change. It’s okay to change your working thesis to reflect things you have figured out in the course of writing your paper. Remember, always reassess and revise your writing as necessary. 6)    Does my thesis pass the “how and why?” test? If a reader’s first response is “how?” or “why?” your thesis may be too open-ended and lack guidance for the reader. See what you can add to give the reader a better take on your position right from the beginning.


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