Heuristic for a Proposal

For more successful writing, answer these discovery questions before you begin!
Use this heuristic when assessing arguments for their persuasive power.

  • In a nutshell, what are you proposing?
  • Who’s your audience?
  • What’s your audience’s prior level of understanding?
  • What’s your line or reasoning or logic? (e.g. this OR those BECAUSE that AND the other…)
  • What facts can you collect to support your argument?
  • Are facts enough? (i.e. are emotions involved?)
  • What are your audience’s assumptions?
  • What are your assumptions as an author?
  • What must be established for your audience to believe you?
  • Who’s the competition? (if this proposal will be ranked against other proposals)
  • If there’s a grading rubric, can you structure your proposal to match the rubric?
  • What are the boundaries or limitations of what you’re proposing?
  • Who are all the stakeholders, who or what else will be affected?
  • How does this proposal impact on other projects or business goals?
  • If it’s based on a prediction, what’s the probability you’re right? What are the consequences if you’re wrong?
  • If it’s a call to action, what specifically do you want people to do? How realistic is that?
  • What would be an appropriate tone or point of view to present the proposal?

(back to the Heuristics page…)