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Assignment 14.1: Final Draft of Proposal Essay (with Rubric and Sample Critiques)
Write a proposal argument that clearly states your opinion on a current topic and makes a proposal for change. One way to generate ideas for this assignment is to ask "What makes me upset or angry about current practices, policies, or attitudes about this topic?" Begin by making a list of those things you'd like to see changed. Choose a topic that affects us all and that others can do something about (and that is related to Essays #1 and #2).
To be successful on this assignment, make sure your proposal focuses on one solution and is specific rather than broad. For example, proposing that the U.S. government put more money into school arts programs is too broad a topic for this paper. It would be more manageable to focus on a specific art form, a specific age group, and a feasible way to expose students to that art form in our current economic climate. For example, you might propose that in order to increase high school students' exposure to the dramatic arts, teachers should incorporate small-group presentations in which students dramatize important events they learn about in history class.
Recommended Length: Between three and five pages
Research Requirements: You will need to conduct research on the problem and current approaches to solving the problem. As was the case with your last essay, the more you know about the topic, the easier it will be to write your paper. For this essay in particular, you'll want to learn as much as you can about the problem and what's been tried to solve the problem. The more you learn about current approaches to solving the problem, the more prepared you'll be to write a well-informed, well-developed proposal. For example, your essay will be stronger if you can explain why your proposed solution is better than other alternatives; you need to conduct research in order to learn about the alternatives!
Source Requirements: Your essay must incorporate a variety of evidence from at least four credible sources. Credible sources include :
Articles published in scholarly journals
Articles published in major newspapers
Websites or publications by academic institutions and centers
Websites or publications by nonprofit organizations
Government websites or publications
Interviews count if the source is credible; check with your instructor if you think you will conduct an interview as part of your research.
Resources: See Chapter 13, "Proposal Arguments," for help with writing proposal arguments. See Chapters 17-20 for information on conducting research and MLA guidelines.
Topic link between Essays #2 and #3: Your topic for Essay #3 must be linked with the topic you chose for Essays #1 and #2.
Here is an example sequence of projects:
Student C chose to write Essay #1 about an incident in which he was arrested and held in jail for the possession of an ounce of marijuana. For Essay #2, the student argued that the laws concerning the possession of medicinal marijuana in the United States are unjust. For Essay #3, Student C wrote a proposal argument for the decriminalization of marijuana for medicinal use.
Your proposal argument should use the following structure:
Introduction with your claim:
Grab the reader's attention with a strong lead-in. Be clear about who your audience is. For example, begin with an anecdote, a personal experience, a vivid description, dialogue, a quote, or a startling statistic to appeal to the readers.
Identify the problem at hand.
Make your claim: a thesis that clearly states who or what should do what about the problem. Important: Propose ONE solution, not several.
reasons + evidence
in support of your claim
Provide necessary background information and fully explain the problem.
Present your solution to the problem. For example, how will it work? How will it help solve the problem? What are the goals?
Show that you've considered other solutions and explain why your solution is best. For example, what else has been proposed or tried and why won't other solutions work as well as yours? What are the positive consequences of implementing your solution?
Show that your solution is feasible. For example, is it practical? Is it affordable? Could it be implemented given current social or political circumstances? How would you address any obstacles?
Address the opposition. Show that you've thoroughly considered the strongest opposing viewpoints to your proposed solution by providing rebuttal.
***If you're feeling unsure about how to organize the body of this paper, structure your paper so that it follows the bullet points above. Begin by explaining the problem, present the solution, show that you've considered other solutions and why yours is the best, show that your solution is feasible, and address an opposing view to your proposed solution.
End with a call to arms, an anecdote, a phrase, or a quote to urge the reader into action. You may even want to state exactly what the reader needs to do.
Strong essays use a combination of logos, pathos, and ethos. Remember that acknowledging and addressing opposing views and incorporating evidence from credible sources helps establish your trustworthiness (ethos). Tip: To incorporate pathos, consider what examples (from personal experience or from your research) you could use to appeal to the reader's emotions—to show what's at stake, why change is needed, help the reader identify with the plight of those affected by the problem, or urge the reader to take action.
Crafting Your Argument: You do not need to state "in my opinion" or "I think" in this assignment. It will be clear from your introduction that the essay is your opinion. Avoid using "I" unless you're talking about personal experience.
Professionalism: Your paper should follow MLA style guidelines and should be carefully proofread. Remember that your paper should meet the following MLA specifications:
Typed and double-spaced
1" margins (top, bottom, left, and right)
Name, instructor's name, course title, and date in the upper left-hand corner of each page
Last name and page number in the upper right-hand corner of each page
Font: Times New Roman, 12-point size
See Chapter 20 of Good Reasons for information about how to properly cite your sources in MLA format and for a sample student paper (276-282). Be sure to fulfill the following research and citation requirements:
Use in-text citations for information summarized, paraphrased, or quoted.
Use evidence from a minimum of four credible sources in your paper and cite them both in-text and in a Works Cited page at the end of your paper.
Do not use Wikipedia other than to get ideas.
A Reminder About Quotes: It can be helpful to use quotes in your writing; however, use them sparingly. For example, one or two brief quotes per page is sufficient. The proposal argument should be your own writing, not a list of quotes strung together. When you use quotes, make sure to properly introduce them (avoid simply making a quotation into its own sentence with no introduction or context) and follow quotations by stating how they illustrate, exemplify, or apply to your argument. Instead of quoting long, mundane paragraphs of writing (and getting downgraded for it), liven up the information by putting it into your own words and adding commentary. Be sure to cite all information found in secondary sources, even if you summarize or paraphrase them
To learn how to craft a successful proposal argument using the elements of persuasion learned in the class. You will propose a solution to the problem you addressed in your evaluation essay. You will incorporate the use of ethos, pathos, and logos to persuade your audience. You will also conduct further research on your topic and use proper MLA documentation to cite your sources in your work.
Write a proposal argument that clearly states your opinion on a current topic and makes a proposal for change. One way to generate ideas for this assignment is to ask "What makes me upset or angry about current practices, policies, or attitudes about this topic?" Begin by making a list of those things you'd like to see changed.