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Who Can Teach Me How to Write a Proposal Essay Outline

A proposal essay is essentially a detailed plan of attack. It is the kind of thing that your tutor, or even your peers, or even the internet, can tell you how to go about composing. The challenge in a proposal essay is being succinct, covering all of the necessary ground, and being convincing. In essence, a proposal essay requires a great many skills that usually go into other kinds of essay. So, what do you need for a proposal essay? Here are the basics.


Before you can go about doing any writing, or even any planning, you need to know exactly what it is that you want to propose. A proposal essay is a suggestion for a piece of writing and research, so you really need a clear idea of what it is that you will be researching.


Your proposal essay, once you have your idea, will need:

An introduction to the field – for example 14th century tapestry

A proposal about your study – the use of animal imagery in 14th century tapestry

How you will study – where will you go? What methods will you use? Will you look at all animals?

Why? – a big question in any proposal is why is it worth doing? Tell your reader why the study will advance the field.

How Much? – another huge question in a research proposal is the kind of support and resources that your proposed topic will require. For example, in the example of tapestries, would you need to travel? Would that be outside your home country? Who would pay for this?

Conclusion – give the reader an idea of what you expect to find. Of course, everyone knows at this early stage that everything is speculative, provisional, but try to give an idea, based on your initial research, about what the proposed study will find, i.e., ‘I expect to discover that all 14th century tapestries employ animal imagery to the same purpose, which is to ….’

Remember, this piece of writing needs to convince, and therefore your writing needs to be scholarly and academic, and also engaging and convincing. This is a tricky balance, but if you can get it right, you should end up with a strong proposal essay!

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