ENGL 2010: Intermediate Writing

2010  Proposal: Current Proposal Examples



Purpose: To allow you to explore a possible topic you could use for your Persuasive Research Essay, and to help you narrow your focus so that your subject is timely, arguable, researchable, and interesting.

NOTE: You have two days to resubmit your proposal after the due date with a new idea. After that, no changes are possible.

Length: one half  to one page

Possible procedures: Browse your Language Awareness textbook for topics that interest you, completing assignments as indicated in the schedule.

Grade value: 50  points

Proposal template:

Your starting research question:

Your background motivations:

Your expectations:  

Audience, purpose and format: optional--include if you have some ideas about this category

Personal research:

Other sources:  

Detailed  Example:

Language Awareness Unit or major that you are exploring:  I'm interested in pursuing a topic in connection with Unit Three: "Politics, Propaganda, and Doublespeak."

My starting research question:  Has Utah's English Only Law had any effect, positive or negative, on education in the state?

My background motivations:  As a future teacher who wants to respect linguistic diversity and use it as a resource in the classroom, I want to find out more about how the state's law, passed in 2000, has changed my profession. I also what to find out the arguments on several sides of the issue. Since I grew up in a home where Spanish was spoken, I have a personal interest in this situation as well.

My expectations:  I expect that I will find that the law is making it harder for children and teachers in Utah's classrooms.

Audience, purpose and format:  As far as I can see right now I'll need to DEFINE what the characteristics of  an English Only classroom are and what proponents and opponents of the Utah law expected it to accomplish. I'll want to CONTRAST these PROJECTED EFFECTS with the ACTUAL EFFECTS. I think I oppose the law, but I want to keep an open mind until I find out more about it.

Personal research (optional--any observations or interviews you plan to do yourself): I plan to interview two Cedar City high school teachers who have non-English speakers in their classrooms about the challenges and benefits of  language variation among students. I want to try to find someone who is a new teacher and someone who is experienced. I also may want to interview a Utah proponent and an opponent of English only laws.

Other sources:  I think the challenge in this project will be to find enough objective sources. I know that I can start with the articles in Language Awareness, but I know those articles will give me only a general sketch of the issue--not the Utah angle. I think there might be a book out that discusses the pros and cons of English Only laws from teachers' points of view. I'm going to try to find it with the library search engines and maybe even through sites like amazon.com. Ideally, I'd find some studies on the effect of English Only laws on Utah classes, but I have no idea if they exist.


Here are a few other examples of  research questions and personal research projects drawn from Language Awareness:

Is template followed?


Exactly with specific information


Exactly, but information is general


Template followed somewhat


Template not followed


Is topic timely?

Yes This topic needs reviving

with a fresh angle

This issue has been

pretty much settled

Old news

Is topic researchable?

Yes Yes--but you might have trouble

finding academic sources

or doing personal research

I wonder if there's any

evidence available on this



Is writer thinking in

terms of making an

argument or asserting

a point?

Yes Yes, but the argument as stated

is too general. Use your research to

find a more specific and original


Yes, but your thinking is tending

toward the obvious or one-



Is angle interesting?

Stunning! I can see you

have a lot of personal

investment in this topic


Maybe--but look for an angle that

will engage you and me more


Why do you want to write

about this!

Talk to me