The Topic of this Proposal is on Workplace Bullying

Introductory Comments about the Proposal Assignment

For the proposal assignment, you will write a planning proposal that describes an issue or problem and asks for permission to study it further. Essentially, you are creating a formal writing and researching plan for the report you will write in weeks 3-5 this semester. In the report assignment, you will actually explore specific solutions and recommendations in depth.

In addition to being a planning document for the writer, the proposal is a decision making tool for the audience who can approve or reject your request (or ask for modifications to your writing/researching plan). That means that the proposal’s purpose is persuasive: you want your readers to approve your request.

You’ll choose your topic and audience for the proposal (and report), but the topic must be approved by me in the Week 1 Discussions.

Once your proposal has been submitted and approved, you may not change your topic.

Topic Suggestions

You can use this assignment to explore a current workplace problem at your place of employment as long as you can do so without violating confidentiality and as long as you can meet the research requirements listed below. If scholarly research is not available about your topic, then the topic is not a good fit for the proposal (and report) assignments.

You can also consider common workplace problems, e.g., security risks created by BYOD programs, the loss of visibility and organizational control when employees use cloud-based services, increases in insider threats, increased numbers of patients who have bed sores in nursing homes, increased instances of hospital-acquired pneumonia (or other HAI’s), cultural conflict in the workplace, employing effective social media marketing, and so on.

Understanding the Difference between the Proposal and the Report

Let’s explore a brief example of a topic to understand the difference between the proposal and report. Let’s say you’re interested in writing about developing a plan to avoid distributed denial-of-service attacks. A company’s IT director would be a logical choice as an audience.

A report on this topic might explore how to assess the risk of different kinds of DDoS attack scenarios, how to respond in the event one of the scenarios occurs, and why testing the processes through drills would be beneficial. Research would be used in each of those three sections to offer recommendations for action.

Your proposal won’t cover those topics in depth, however, but will refer to them. The proposal’s goal is to convince the IT director to let you do the research, so you present the main topics you think you’ll need to cover, show that research is available by listing sources, and prove that DDoS attacks have significant negative effects on the organization. Again, the proposal is both a request for approval from the reader and a formal plan for the writer who will use the plan to write the report.

Proposal Assignment Guidelines

Use the headings below for your proposal. Follow the guidelines beneath each section to help you decide what information to include.


Begin the memo with a brief paragraph that explains the purpose of the proposal and the subject and purpose of your report. Be concise but clear.

Needs Assessment

This section uses research and discussion to convince readers that a problem is important to readers and their organization. Aim for three to four well-researched paragraphs and incorporate at least three sources.

While there are many ways to organize this section, consider having a paragraph on background, a paragraph that discusses the problem and current situation (and what will happen if the problem is unsolved), and a brief paragraph on possible solutions.

Consider answering some of the following questions as you prepare this section:

  • What is the problem?
  • What is the history of the problem? How long has it been a problem?
  • Why is it important to write about it now?
  • Why is the topic important to your report’s audience and/or the organization?
  • What will happen if the problem/situation is not solved/dealt with?
  • What are the costs of the problem?
  • What solutions are possible? What constraints exist for the solution?

Plan of Action

While the Needs Assessment section convinces the readers that there is a problem that needs to be solved, the Plan of Action section details what kind of report you plan to deliver (or how you will solve the problem). Three subsections should be included here.

Report Outline

In this section, you will present an annotated outline that describes how you will organize your report. In particular, you want to provide a sense of the major topics (problems, solutions) the body of the report will deal with. For this section, list the major topics and provide a brief paragraph describing each topic. Incorporate research, if appropriate.

Note, at this stage in the process, your plan may not be perfect. It doesn’t have to be. Your goal in this section is to demonstrate that you know enough about the issues to suggest real solutions to the problem and to form a reasonable writing plan for the report. As you begin drafting the report and uncovering additional research, you can adjust your outline as needed.

Research Plan

In this section, you should share where you plan to research (databases, interviews, etc.), how you will evaluate research, and a tentative list of sources in a working bibliography.

In the working bibliography, you should list 5 sources you have already read and plan to use in your report. At least 3 of the sources in your working bibliography should be scholarly journal articles. All of the sources must be authoritative. Use APA documentation style for your reference entries.

You may need to conduct primary research as part of your research plan for the report. For instance, you may need to conduct interviews, brief surveys, or observations. Surveys or observations may require permission from your employer or other authorities; please seek permission early in the proposal process.

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