Skip to Main Content

Napa Valley College Banner

Welcome to Napa Valley College Library

ENGL 120/95: Lorette (Fall 2021): Welcome! Bienvenidos!


Assignment 4: “Justice & Peace” (Proposal Argument)


GOAL: Write an essay on the theme of “Justice & Peace” in which you make an argument for change by presenting a specific problem and offering a detailed solution.

To complete this assignment successfully, review the following points:

  • Topic. You can write about virtually any topic on the theme of “justice & peace.” Once you’ve selected your topic, you will need to develop your specific issue, as well as your particular proposal. A good topic will be clearly focused for the assignment (5-7 pgs.) and doable in the time available (6 weeks!). If you have questions about your topic, don’t hesitate to ask!

  • Proposal. Your essay is a proposal for change; your goal is to motivate your readers to act. So you must present your readers with a specific problem. (What is the issue, exactly? What must be changed?) You must also present a detailed solution. (How will your solution meet the need for change? Why is it better than the status quo?) To this end, to be effective, your proposal must be workable (can it be done?), feasible (can it be enacted?), and ethical (is it right?).    
  • Objections. You must raise and address at least one reasonable objection to your proposal. (Why is your solution better than the status quo, let alone other possible solutions? How will you address the potential ill-effects to your ideas?) Raise the strongest objection, characterize it fairly, and be sure to answer it, perhaps with a concession. Remember: A good proposal will anticipate readers’ objections and answer them.

  • Sources. This is a research paper; your essay should demonstrate that you have thoroughly explored your topic. You must use sources gathered through research to develop your ideas. Use sources to do things like establish your problem, support key points, raise objections, and present solutions. Your source use should be fair (accurately reflect meaning) and effective (help build your argument).
  1. Argument. Use a range of persuasive strategies to persuade your readers that your problem is one they should care about and that your proposal meets the need for change. Make rational (logos), emotional (pathos), and ethical (ethos) appeals to move your readers to support your ideas and to act. How might your specific choices as a writer in such matter as organization, evidence, and tone help you to appeal to your readers and achieve your purpose?

During the research process, you will be challenged to narrow your topic in concise terms to help you find relevant articles for your topic. You instructor has requested you to find a specific problem and offer a detailed solution. This will require you to give background information to the problem and offer different solutions that have been made. Solutions are not always easy to find to contemporary issues because the problem is so new or unique to different situations.

To begin with, we might start with thinking of keywords we know we would like to research.

Keywords Topic (Specific) Subtopic (Solutions)
General African American oppression
Specific Black Lives Matter Police reform
Synonyms Social protests, urban uprising Restorative justice, prison reform