The rationale for writing a paper proposal is
twofold. First, it gives you a chance to do some formal pre-writing so you
can avoid the “Oh my gosh, it’s midnight and I haven’t started writing my
paper yet!” syndrome. Theoretically, this pre-writing will make your first
draft a more thoughtful draft. Secondly, it’s an opportunity for you to let
another person evaluate the quality (and clarity) of your idea before
you spend a ton of time writing a whole paper about it.
proposal MUST be approved prior to writing your first draft. You may
have to revise or completely rewrite your proposal if it is not accepted.*
With that in mind, here are the requirements of your
- Your proposal should be a page or less, typed and
double-spaced. Normal font size (12 pt.) and margins (1”) apply.
Please make sure you’re putting the appropriate heading on it as well (See
your “Class Policies” handout about this.)
- You must turn in two hard copies to me the week
your proposal is due. (*Beware of getting things in late in the
week. You might want to pretend the due date is always “Monday.”)
Your proposal must include:
- A working thesis statement that addresses (to
the best of your ability) the requirements of the assignment.
- A working title. This title should be
specific to what your paper is about, not just a general statement about
(DO NOT write: “The
Taming of the Shrew” as your title; Shakespeare might feel affronted.
DO write: “Kate, the
Empowered Falcon, in The Taming of the Shrew”; Note: In this sample
title you haven’t just told your audience what text you’re writing about,
you’ve also given them a preview of what your argument is.)
- A brief outline or description of how you expect
to prove your thesis. In other words, explain how you plan to
convince your audience. (You should already have a good understanding of
the rhetorical situation of your essay.) It’s highly recommended that you
detail specific evidence (list short quotes and/or page numbers) you plan
to use and how you’re going to organize them. (i.e., What do you need to
prove first? Etc.)
- An anticipation of your problem areas or
questions you have about your idea and its presentation. This is your
chance to ask my advice on ONE or TWO issues you are having with your idea
and building the argument for it.