• How has your understanding of your writing developed through your research so far this semester?
  • What difficulties have you had along the way?
  • How do you envision your writing will improve further?

Discuss The Proposal

  • First of all, since this is a formal piece of writing, think about your stylistical choices, especially in your introduction and conclusion. Think about starting with example, a quote, a statistic, a question, a fact, an opposing opinion, etc. Also, use concrete language and specific example to grab your reader. And for your conclusion -- don't trail off at the end. Conclude with a solid statement, something that makes us think, or at the very least makes us understand your project and want to read more about it.
  • Think of it this way: if you were writing a proposal for a $10,000 grant, how would you convince your readers that they should fund your project? Would you use bland language, or would you finely craft it?
  • Don't forget to frame your research questions -- don't let the subhead "Research Questions" be our only introduction into the questions you list. Is there an overarching theme to your questions? Do you already have a detailed knowledge of the topic, so they are very specific? Are you just learning about the topic, so they are foundational questions? Are they questions related to your thesis? Do you have basically two or three different categories of questions? Set up the questions for me; don't just list them.
  • Also, don't forget the power of visual presentation. How your proposal looks reflects on your argument and your persona as a rhetor. For instance, do you want your subheads to be bold? do you want indented bullet lists or ones flush against the left margin? do you want to use horizontal lines, color, boxes, shading, etc. to format your text? Do you want to embed relevant images -- not as decoration -- but as evidence for your argument? Thinking this way about the visual aspects of your paper are an important first step in thinking about design as well.
  • Don't forget to format your sources correctly: Article titles should be enclosed in quotation marks; titles of books should be underlined or italicized. Also, if you quote, don't forget to cite your sources.
  • Overall, don't just go through the motions -- use specifics and concretes in your language and development as much as possible. Make your proposal an interesting read!


  1. sampleproposal1.rtf
  2. sampleproposal2.rtf
  3. sampleproposal3.rtf

Thanks to Christine Alfano at Stanford University.

Calls for Proposals

  1. WAM!
  2. GlobalFund

Second Draft Due!


  • Bring 3 copies of drafts for peer review Tuesday
  • Think about how your writing ties into what you are learning in Sociology and be prepared to discuss on Tuesday