Teach Write A Proposal

Research is one of the fundamentals of proposal writing.

Proposal writing is similar to other types of research writing. It requires a certain amount of subject knowledge at the onset of the proposal in order for the writer to formulate the ideas within. Teaching proposal writing requires some expertise in teaching general writing skills, along with the specific skills required to teach research and analytical writing. Students writing proposals must have research skills in addition to writing skills. Teach proposal writing by preparing students to research ideas and properly formulate a project proposal.


1. Create a graphic organizer for students to organize their ideas. For example, a stem and leaf organizer has main ideas on the stem and sub-headings for the leaves. A proposal to receive funding for a new school for girls in India might have a stem with ideas supporting the need for the school, and leaves with specific details, such as start-up costs and prospective student population. Instruct students on fill out the graphic organizer and inform them that it will guide their research.

2. Provide students with time and a place to conduct research. Library media centers are perfect places to conduct research, though many students can access online databases from home as well. Give students a research guide with generic sentences to guide their research. For example, a proposal for a new girl’s school in India might require research into locations where such a school might be needed. The sentence to guide research might look like this, “Where would your proposed project be located and why?”

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3. Give students a generic proposal outline including all parts of a complete proposal. This should be formatted in a word processor exactly as the finished proposal would be formatted. Typically, proposals include a cover page, statement of problem (including a literature review), rationale, research plan and works cited list. Students will write their proposals after conducting research and copy it directly into the proposal outline. Another approach would be to provide students with a correctly formatted, finished proposal for them to emulate.

4. Give students the opportunity to critique finished project proposals from outside sources. Find a variety of finished proposals and evaluate them. Have students decide what is good about them and what isn’t, what makes them persuasive and what doesn’t. Remind them that persuasive writing is an essential part of a proposal, equal in importance to accurate research. Show students other well-done proposals to help them create polished proposals of their own.