English 275: The Proposal Report
A proposal is a form of a report. For your proposal, you will analyze a problem you have found in a specific
business and offer a solution for the situation. Imagine you are working for a consulting firm that has been hired by
a business to see if it is operating efficiently and effectively (perhaps in a certain area). To do this you need to
“observe” and research the company. This company (or a branch of it) should be located in Greenwood or a nearby
Of course, you do find a problem and analyze it. You must first prove it exists, research and analyze it, and then
offer a solution. The oral presentations will be given Mar. 27 and 29. The written proposals will be due on
Apr. 05. Each team will e-mail me a memo stating its company choice by Mar. 08.
Library orientation is Mar. 08. On that day make an appointment for your Team to meet with Adam Haigh or
Michael Berry, LU librarians, to get help with research focused on your type of company and possible problem.
Each team will turn in a preliminary plan memo (a progress report) by Mar. 20. The format and content of this
memo will be explained in greater detail later.
This project will be done in your groups and will take some time, so get started early. It will be presented in two
forms--a written proposal and an oral presentation.
Written proposal: The final written report
must have at least four to five but no more than eight pages of text, not including graphics, Works Cited
page, Appendix, and so forth;
must be based mainly on direct observations, surveys, interview(s) and other types of primary data;
*however, it must also have a sufficient amount of incorporated sources from library research
(four minimum-6 maximum; three from the library’s online subscription services, periodicals only,
such as InfoTrac and LexisNexis; One must be a Web source; any other source must be cleared with me
first); YOU MUST use secondary sources, properly cited, in the body of the essay.
must use MLA documentation format for in-text citations but follow the format for the rest of the report
by imitating the model on my English 275 webpage;
must include a Works Cited page in MLA format (so double spacing for this page—also, if on this page,
you actually use/cite the sources in the report itself);
must have at least one visual aid (table, chart, photograph, and so forth) to aid narrative comprehension
in your Findings section.
Oral presentation: The oral presentation must
last from 12 to 15 minutes;
use graphics (use a graphics program such as Microsoft Power Point)
include a handout.
Each student will be introduced by someone and will, in turn, introduce another speaker. You must be present and
participate on your assigned date (or fail this assignment).
The report itself should contain these sections in this order:
Table of contents
Introduction, which should
Provide background and establish a need for the study
Contain terms and definitions of terms, if needed
Purpose (a statement of the problem, etc.) and Scope of the Study
Conclusions and Recommendations (for our purposes, no Summary)
Works Cited page
* Use library research to find information on industry trends, to find out if the problem has been dealt with by others
(How was it dealt with? Would this apply to your business?), to find facts and authority opinions, and so forth.
One semester a team wrote on how to stop shoplifting at Belk's in Laurens. First the team
proved that a problem existed.
Then they did library research on the problem (secondary data). Next, they did their own
research (primary data). They analyzed all of this and drew conclusions. Finally, they proposed
that Belk's buy a certain type of surveillance system to stop or at least significantly reduce
shoplifting. The team discussed two or three systems that could be used and clarified why a
particular system would be the best. They further explained the cost, the installation expenses,
the maintenance per year, the way people would be trained, and who would train them. Then
they showed the projected reduction in losses to the company.
Some titles of topics that have worked for former students (just to show the range of ideas):
"Fighting Profit Loss at Blazer's Lakeside Restaurant"
"Reducing Employee Turnover at Scotchman"
"The Resolution of Revolving Door Cases at Patrick Harris Psychiatric Hospital"
"Preventing Fraud Within State Farm"
"The Checking Account of Nations Bank"
"High Labor Turnover: A Study in Prevention"
"Improving Efficiency in the Automotive Remanufacturing Business"
"Promoting Sales at Tomac Distribution Center"
"Stopping Inventory Shortages at Frank's Car Wash"
"Changing to a Quality Process Management at Springs Industry"
"Upgrading the Computer Equipment at Reynolds Land Surveying"
"The Problem with Communication at Greenwood Supply"
"Assisted Living at Heritage Hills"
"Managing Employees at Parkland Golf Course"
"Video Camera for the Greenwood Police Department"
"Whiteford's Giant Burger: Moving Forward to Beat the Competition"
"Marketing Analysis and Physical Improvement for Skate-Away"
"Controlling Unproductive Workers at . . ."
"Lap-top Computers in Abbeville Police Department"
"Employment of Handicapped People at Belk's"
"Improving Patient Care at Laurens County Health Care Center"
"Increasing Membership Potential at Gatewood Country Club"
"Increasing Profits: A Case Study of a Specialty Gift Shop"
Topics you cannot choose: anything to do with LU itself.
Preliminary Plan Memo
In memo format submit a plan of your (groups) idea for your proposal. Remember that you are to
analyze a problem in a business and offer a solution for the situation. At this stage you must give
special consideration to the following concerns:
Do you have an idea that has substance so that you will spend your time on something
Will your idea lend itself to fulfilling the requirements for minimum length?
Will you be able to present concrete evidence that the problem exists?
Can you offer a sensible, feasible, solution?
Begin your memo to the instructor with some type of general statement that clarifies the purpose
of your document and the general nature of the material to follow. Indicate very briefly the
general topic you are considering.
Next, set up your memo with the following headings. Under each heading give the information.
What is the name of the business that you will be studying: Who is the person for whom you will prepare
your proposal? Give an explanation of why this person should be your audience. You should have in a
mind a specific individual who will be able to put your proposal into effect or who can direct it to
someone else for action.
Where is the business located? Give some background information on the business and explain how you
have become aware of the problem that you want to analyze.
What and Why?
Why is there a problem, and why should it be solved? Who is being inconvenienced or hurt and will this
benefit from having the situation changed?
1. What is the problem?
Write extensively here. You must PROVE that a problem exists. Of course, you have a
great deal of work to do in this area and cannot know everything about the problem at this
point. However, you need to know enough to prove the worth of your suggested topic.
2. What is the solution to the problem?
At this point you will probably only be able to explore generally how you would solve the
problem. You might want simply to list generally what you think will work. This part of
the proposal will take shape as you research and study the problem.
This question is part of the solution. Who will implement your solution, and what time schedule will
This question also is part of the solution. Students often overlook this part of the proposal, so be careful.
At this point you probably won't know much about this question, but try to speculate how you will find