Center for Writing Excellence
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For class assignments, proposals can include an APA cover page as well as a reference page if sources are used. APA
style does not provide direction for a proposal, therefore this sample is
comprised of practical elements from an APA-formatted paper as well as content that would be found in a formal internal
Using your assignment directions as a guide, consider the audience of your
proposal. Are you making a proposal to your supervisor or another leader within your organization? Or, are you writing a
proposal for a potential external client? A simple internal proposal, as modeled in
this sample, will generally be less complex and detailed than a proposal for an external customer, which may require additional research. The requirements of your specific assignment will dictate the
extent of the detail, background, and supporting data you include in your
The introduction of a proposal should state the problem succinctly and indicate a
proposed plan of action. The level one heading, below, can sum the problem up in a word or two.
The next few paragraphs will outline a detailed account of the problem and will include
any pertinent details associated with the problem.
This section of the proposal will include the recommended solutions. List between three
and five possible solutions, more or less, depending on the parameters of your course assignment.
The conclusion of the proposal will indicate a plan to meet and discuss the proposal
further and a desired timeline for doing so.
What is the purpose of your proposal? A proposal should answer the following questions:
What is the problem?
What do you plan to do?
What are the benefits of your plan?
How will you implement your proposal?
What are the next steps?
Tone matters – The tone of your proposal should convey professionalism,
positivity, and confidence. Above all, your proposal should be persuasive.
The reference page always begins on the top of the next page after the conclusion. Eliminate this
section if your proposal does not use references.