A proposal argument is one of the most common and effective forms of argumentation. Done well, it can influence the opinion of even the most opposed audience member. While there are a variety of methods in constructing this type of argument, the audience, purpose, and basic components remain the same and must always be included. A proposal argument defines a problem and suggests a remedy, solution or course of action for a specified audience; additionally, this style of argument examines various sides of the issue so that the audience is well-informed.

Audience & Purpose

When writing a proposal argument, define your audience and your purpose. The tone and structure of your argument can vary widely depending on these factors; for example, a proposal argument to invoke limits on welfare would look very different if you are writing it to a senator as opposed to welfare recipients. Knowing your purpose makes the paper’s effectiveness easier to ascertain. If your purpose is to persuade your school’s president that core classes should not be required, use that purpose to evaluate whether or not the argument is successful.

Description of Problem

One of the core elements of a proposal argument is a description of the existing problem. This description can include extensive historical or social context, a review of the surrounding issues and a clear and complete discussion of the significance of the problem. Keep your audience in mind so that this description shows how the problem applies directly to them and their lives, values and cares. Use concrete details, vivid examples and compelling facts to show how the problem has immediacy in the lives of your readers. This description is the key to setting up your argument for success.

Proposed Solution

In a proposal argument, you go beyond explaining the problem; you also present a solution that is well-considered and will resonate with your audience. The solution most likely will take research so you can back it up with facts. Use this section of your essay to set out your proposal in detail, showing any kinds of costs associated, how the solution will work in a step-by-step fashion, the difficulties and successes anticipated in undertaking the solution and how this proposal will solve the problem you laid out. This is the section to explore the solution in a manner that causes your audience to buy into your ideas.

Justification for Solution

You can have an excellent solution, but in order to convince your audience to accept it, you must justify how the solution you set out will impact your selected audience and work for them. This area is not a place for emotional appeals; rather, it is a place for solid facts and concrete conclusions that prove the efficacy of your argument to your audience.