18 – Proposals
To begin planning a proposal, remember the basic definition: a proposal is an offer or bid to complete a project or research for a specific person or organization. To write a successful proposal, put yourself in the place of your —the recipient of the proposal. Consider the elements of a rhetorical situation discussed in Chapter 2, and think about what sorts of information that person would need in order to feel confident about supporting the project or research and having you complete it.
The proposal often serves as the first point of contact between the writer and the audience concerning the topic of your research or project. Consequently, the proposal provides initial context (describing the need for the project or research) for subsequent documents related to your project, including informational, feasibility, and recommendation reports.
In addition to selling the project, proposals must sell the writer (or the writer’s organization) as the best candidate to complete the project. Establishing your is crucial to the success of these types of documents. Even if the project is interesting and worthwhile, if you are unable to support why you should be the person to complete it, you will lose the bid to another writer or company that instilled more confidence in the readers.
It is easy to confuse proposals with other kinds of documents in technical writing. For example, imagine that you have a terrific idea for installing some new technology where you work, and you write a document explaining how it works, showing the benefits, and then urging management to install it. All by itself, this would not be a complete proposal. This document would be more like a feasibility report or recommendation report, which studies the merits of a project or plan and then recommends for or against it (See Chapter 20, which discusses recommendation reports). However, this document could become a proposal by adding elements that ask management for approval for you to go ahead with the project.
This text was derived from
Gross, Allison, Annemarie Hamlin, Billy Merck, Chris Rubio, Jodi Naas, Megan Savage, and Michele DeSilva. Technical Writing. Open Oregon Educational Materials, n.d. https://openoregon.pressbooks.pub/technicalwriting/. Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
McMurrey, David. Online Technical Writing. n.d. https://www.prismnet.com/~hcexres/textbook/. Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Intended or potential consumer(s) of a text.
The persona that a deliverer emphasizes in any communication. This emphasized persona typically consists of qualifications, experience, expertise, and wisdom (whether yours or others’) in an attempt to build readers’ confidence in you and your document.