Business Writing

For this assignment you will write a formal proposal letter seeking my approval for the project that will become your formal report. The proposal is the first document in a series of assignments culminating in that final assignment.

Your audience for this letter is me, your instructor. Think of me as someone who wants to be sure that you choose a project from which you can learn a great deal and on which you can do a good job. I need to be convinced that this project is important to you and that you have the ability to complete it.

Your proposal should persuade me that a significant business challenge exists in a real organization and that you should be permitted to address it. You do not have to have the solution to the problem at this time; rather you are suggesting that the organization must invest its faith in you to research and devise a solution.

After you have convinced me of a need for your work, include a detailed description of your work plan. Will you go to the library and research the latest techniques in your field? Will you investigate the cost of new equipment? Will you talk to people who have solved the problem for other organizations? Will you research social media communication plans?

Some combination of these? Convince me that this plan for research is the right path leading to a solution and that the time exists in this semester to do the work well.

This work plan must also be plotted with time; you must indicate what work you will be doing during each of the weeks left in the semester. You should also have sections of your proposal detailing your qualifications to do this work.

While I am willing to consider a wide range of topics for your report, you must persuade me that you have chosen a worthwhile issue that you are capable of handling well. In reading your proposal letter, I will be looking for answers to the following questions:

  • What business challenge will your report address? Have you clearly defined a conflict between a desired situation and the current situation?
  • Who is affected by the situation? Who will be the audience for your final report?
  • What is your position in relationship to the audience?
  • Why is this challenge significant for this final audience? What is at stake?
  • Do you have a possible feasible solution for the problem? Have you established what a good solution would require? Have you thought about alternative plausible solutions?
  • What makes you qualified to carry out the project? How is the topic related to your major? Your career plans? I prefer projects that give you practice using the skills you will need in your career.
  • What will it take to gather the necessary information and complete your analysis? Can you complete your report in the time left in this semester, using the resources readily available to you?
  • Do you have a work plan for your project, a plan that shows specifically when certain activities must be completed this semester if you are to finish the project on time?


Craft your proposal in the form of a formal business letter to me. Select your information and organize it in such a way that it is persuasive and accessible. Remember, this proposal is not merely informative: it is an argument for why your topic should be approved. Your proposal will most likely include the following sections:

  • An introduction that tells me why you are writing.
  • A section on the business challenge, including an explicit well-developed thesis statement. Your letter may include a separate section describing background information about the organization and/or information about the current situation before describing the problem, depending on how much information your instructor will need to fully understand the business challenge.
  • A section describing your research plans for this project. Convince me that you know what kind of information you’ll need and where to find it. Include an analysis of your readers and what information they’ll need in order to adopt your solution.
  • A discussion of your credentials and motivation. Convince me that you have the background and resources necessary to conduct your research. Be sure to also indicate your motivation for and/or connection to this particular project.
  • A schedule. Convince me that you know what activities your research will require and that you can get them done on time
  • A conclusion that formally requests permission to proceed.

Evaluation Criteria

  • Persuasiveness and organization. I will be looking to see that you are taking on an actual project related to your professional and academic expertise and that you can complete the project by the end of the semester. Make your proposal convincing; demonstrate that you have singled out a worthwhile problem to solve and that you are the researcher to solve it.
  • Style, clarity and arrangement. Your proposal must be well written. The problem statement is clear and logically stated, sentences correct, concise and arranged so that the meaning is easily obtained and the prose is streamlined and effective for a general reader. Paragraphs are coherent, unified and relatively short (125 words or fewer).
  • Design and format. Your design choices, including paragraph length, headings, subheadings, font choices, etc., increase document professionalism and accessibility. Business letter format is used consistently and appropriately.
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