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proposal essay on teenage pregnancy

While the first two phases of the assignment (the Exploratory Essay and the I Search Essay) taught you how to generate significant and problematic questions and how to engage with your research, the third and final phase will ask you to respond to those questions in the form of a proposal.  In your essay, you will propose a solution to the issue that you are considering in order to convince your instructor and your classmates that your tentative issue has good potential, is timely, and is important.  You have spent time thinking through your problem and reading about others’ solutions to the problem.  Now it is your turn to enter the conversation with your proposed solution.

Your assignment is now to compose a policy proposal, which is an essay that addresses and attempts to solve at least part of a societal problem through policy change.  For example, if you have been researching the effects of spanking children, your thesis would need to argue in favor of some sort of policy change. Strong Example:  Pediatricians should be required to discuss the psychological ramifications of spanking to first time parents at a child’s well visit. I would like you to avoid building an argument around a general suggestion to your audience. Weak Example: Parents should stop spanking their children because doing so can cause long-term psychological ramifications.

The goal of your research proposal is to make an argument that calls an audience to action.  You’ll make a claim that some action should or ought to be taken.  You will offer a solution to the issue you explored in your Exploratory Essay and/or researched in your I Search Essay.  Your solution will be a positive step in the larger problem you have been grappling with all semester.  By focusing your argument on one specific societal problem, you will be responding to the question:

But what can we do and why should we do anything? 

The Structure of your Essay

This part of the assignment calls for a proposal argument that will contain the following parts: 

1. A description of the problem (summarize the current status of your issue and why it is important to your targeted audience, appeal to your readers’ pathos). You will likely want to use research here to show the extent of the problem.

2. A proposal for a solution -Here you will want to gather from your preliminary research to help you consider possible solutions and appeal to your audience using various types of appeals). 

3. A justification for the solution.  Your justification should include at least 2 of the 3 argument approaches; Argument from Principle, Argument from Consequence, Argument from Resemblance. 

4. A discussion of alternative proposals and/or objections. You want to be sure to identify the alternative proposal(s) and discuss why your proposed solution is superior to other solutions that have been tried in the past.

5. Opposing Viewpoint- In this section, you will anticipate and identify arguments of those who may oppose your proposed solution. You will then address each of these arguments and argue against them. **It is possible that this section will be combined with number 4, depending on your topic.

6. Conclusion- In this section, you will want to revisit your thesis statement, or proposed solution and summarize your key points. Remember to leave your reader with a powerful impression that your solution is the best answer.

Helpful Tips:

Toulmin Analysis

Consider all parts of the Toulmin anaylsis in your prewriting stage to be sure you have thought through the validity of your argument. In your final reflection, you will be required to identify a warrant, or a shared assumption, that exists in your argument and discuss how you approached your distinct audience with this warrant in mind.


When determining your target audience you want to analyze specific characteristics by identifying and answering the following questions:

  • How would you define them in terms of age, economic and social class, gender, education, etc.? What typical attitudes, stances, or biases about your topic does this audience hold? 
  • What in their background or daily experiences helps explain their point of view? 
  • What are they likely to know about your topic? 
  • How might they be uninformed or misinformed about it?  
  • How would they like to see the problem, question, or issue resolved, answered, or handled? Why? That is, what personal stake do they have in the topic? 
  • In what larger framework–religious, ethical, political, economic–do they place your topic? That is, what general beliefs and values does your audience hold?


  • Begin with background information; where does the problem show up?  Who is affected? How long has it been around? Is it getting worse?
  • Analyze the problem; what are the elements?  What are the causes? Why hasn’t it been solved?
  • Describe the significance of the problem; what are the negative consequences of not solving the problem?

Proposal for Solution

  • Describe solution and show how it will work; demonstrate step by step how it would solve the problem and at what cost.


  • Persuade your audience that your solution should be enacted.
  • Demonstrate the benefits outweigh the costs.
  • Demonstrate why your solution is better than alternatives.


Your proposal should be approximately 5-7 pages and include no fewer than 4 sources.  The essay is to be typed in Times New Roman, 12pt, and according to MLA format.  A works cited page must also be included. 

You should consider organizing your proposal using headings and bullets.  All items on the list above should be addressed in your proposal; therefore, think about how you can clearly organize your material to convince the reader that your topic is timely and important. 

Finally, you will be writing a reflection about this essay in the last week of the course.  Be prepared to justify the techniques you are using in a later assignment.

**Be sure to avoid first person pronouns in your writing as this a formal proposal, not a  narrative of your thought process (as in the Exploratory and ISearch essays).

**Avoid the statements- “I think/feel/believe”  “In my opinion,” as they weaken your argument. Again, avoid “I.”

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