Using the principles of writing and argumentation outlined in Chapter 6 of From Critical Thinking to Argument (FCTA), choose a problem that is important or interesting to you and propose a solution to it. Your proposal should include the following elements:
A claim that 1.) proposes a practice or policy to address a problem or need and 2.) is oriented toward action, directed at the future, and appropriate to the audience you are addressing.
An appropriate explanation of both the problem and the significance of your proposal.
Statements that clearly relate the proposal claim to the problem or need.
Evidence that the proposal will effectively address the need or solve the problem, and that it is feasible.
A consideration of alternative proposals and conditions for rebuttal.
Consider the articles given as example essays in FCTA. Try to come up with a thesis on the topic of each essay in the form: X should do Y because of reasons A, B, C… It should become evident that a proposal can be generated from almost every controversial topic.
Writing the Essay
Refer especially to pages 152-156 in FCTA: “Organizing and Revising the Body of the Essay.”
Your paper should be five pages (1,200 words) long, typed, double-spaced, and carefully proofread. You should use MLA guidelines for formatting and include a Works Cited page.
Use your own research (interviews, surveys, graphs, polls) and, if necessary, library research. Document your sources accurately both in your text and in a Works Cited page using MLA format. This research can show that there are other problems like yours in the world and that people are concerned about them. Your sources might also provide you with alternative proposals and potential conditions of rebuttal.
I will evaluate your essay according to these criteria:
Careful exposition of your argument's significance and rhetorical context.
Demonstrated understanding of proposals
Demonstrated understanding of reasons and evidence.
Acknowledgement and consideration of alternative claims.
Effective essay structure.
Clear and precise sentence-level rhetoric (grammar and style).
Proper use, citation, and documentation of source material
Adherence to MLA formatting guidelines.
Some Tips to Help You
Think small! Don’t, for example, propose changes to the health care system; you might consider, however, proposing a change to the appointment system at your local doctor’s office. The smaller your issue, the more manageable it will be. Describe in detail what the issue or problem is; you need to convince your audience that the problem exists and that it matters (or should).
Find an appropriate audience for your proposal. Who can implement your suggestions for change, or who is charged with considering possible solutions to the problem you have described? You need to write to someone who will be able to enact or perhaps vote on your proposal; otherwise your effort will be wasted.
Be detailed in your description of how the solution will work: how much money it will cost, who will be responsible for implementing it, how easily it can be implemented, how much time it will take to set it up and make it work, what kinds of materials and labor are needed to make it work, how it addresses the problem, etc. The details you omit may be the ones that will leave the audience in doubt of your proposal's feasibility.
In your conclusion, be sure to state your case clearly and directly, so that your readers (whom you should imagine as opposed or neutral to your point of view) feel as if they should act on the problem you have outlined, preferably in the way you propose.
Your topic proposal should clearly describe the problem; state why it is important; identify and describe your audience; outline your proposal; briefly discuss the difficulties you foresee in persuading this audience to adopt your proposal (e.g., defending the need for change, demonstrating the feasibility of your solution); and list the kinds of research you intend to do. The topic proposal should be in the form of a one paragraph email message sent to email@example.com.