Due on the day of your class during the week Oct. 31 – Nov. 4.
Send as an attachment. 

Writing a Proposal

Sample proposal (Word doc): Proposal – Television as a Social Force

A proposal is essentially a means to sell an idea.

In the work place, your proposal would most likely be trying to sell your boss on the idea of buying new equipment, establishing new procedures, or instituting new rules in the office.

In this class, however, you have to write a proposal trying to sell me on the idea that I should let you write about a particular topic.

Typical student proposal

You don’t do this by telling me how great the topic is, nor how much the topic interests you. You do it by making me interested in the topic myself, and showing me that you will be capable of writing about it in an interesting, informed, and unique fashion.

While this may not seem to be of much practical value in your chosen career, the fact is, it’s not all that different from writing a business proposal. In other words, the skill is transferable.

So shut up about how “it’s not relevant” and “why do we have to know how to do this?” Okay?

Important: The Bibliography

Include a list of two or three sources you might be using for your essay. These are just to indicate the type of sources, and you won’t be limited to these. In fact, you may change your mind and find better sources for your actual essay, so don’t consider these to be definitive in any way.

But include at least two.

Formatting the Proposal

This is our first foray into full APA style, so we’re talking title page, header, double spacing and all the rest. I’ve given you several cheats:

  • APA Essay Template. It’s a fake APA essay which you can use simply by replacing the text with your own.
  • Sample Paper (PDF). This is an official example straight from the good people at the APA. It’s a pdf, so you can’t use it as a template, but it shows all the features, and labels them.
  • GM Foods-Michael Hermanns. This is an essay from a former student, and the APA formatting is correct.

Oh yeah, and there’s also the sample proposal which is done in APA.

With all of these aids, it should be pretty hard to screw up the APA formatting. So do the APA quick and dirty (and accurate), and concentrate on the writing.


žThe Title Page:

  • Title of your proposal.
    • –Note, you may not know the title of your finished essay yet. That’s fine. Just put in a title that shows the basic idea.
  • Your name
  • Course Code (COMM1007, COMM1003)
  • My name
  • Date due

žThe proposal:

  • No more than 350 words — no less than 200.
  • Remember to make your point (your “thesis”) clear.
  • Tell me why it’s interesting (don’t tell me that it’s interesting).
  • Tell me what your approach will be (roughly).
  • Conclude.

The bibliography

  • Two or three sources you will likely be using.–
    • You are not confined to these sources in your final essay, nor must you necessarily use all of them. They are an indication of the direction of your research.
    • They should appear on a separate page at the end.
    • (NOTE: Why am I calling it a “bibliography” rather than “references”? Because a bibliography is a list of sources that have influenced your work, but that have not necessarily directly contributed. Since you may be changing your mind about using these sources, they may not appear in your final essay. Besides, this is a good opportunity to explain the difference between a bibliography and references.)

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