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Sample:Inquiry Proposal

Love Not Marriage

We sat at the kitchen table, the smell of burnt hot dogs filling the room. Mom forgot to buy buns, so we had
to cut the hot dogs in half, twice, to fit them inside sandwich bread. Dad complained. Why do you never remember
anything? Mom paced around the kitchen in silence, hurriedly trying to appease him and feed us. She never was
the type to cook a big family meal. She tried her best, but always seemed to forget something. My brother and I
never cared; it was how we grew up. Hot dogs when last weeks pay was running low, Banquet Dinners every so
often, overcooked pork chops and heavily salted green beans. I was seven years old. My mother moved through the
kitchen like a sheet batted in the wind. Dad, either complaining or sleeping, sat tired from working evening shifts
and morning shifts. Did they like this life they had built for us? Did they find much happiness in the day to day with
each other? I was seven years old when I learned that sometimes theres a time to cut your losses.
Divorce is common, and yet, societally, we are still uncomfortable with it as a practice and concept. Last
year, the actress Gwenyth Paltrow issued an ode to healthful divorce in her company newsletter, calling it a
conscious uncoupling. This term, and the earnestness of the concept, was widely mocked. Likewise, surveys on
Millennial views of marriage and divorce have shown that while we are open to many progressive relationship
arrangementswhether cohabitation, delayed commitments, casual app-based dating or same-sex marriageour
views on divorce have grown more conservative (Rampell, Americans Are Becoming). However, this doesnt
mean that we Millennials are rushing into marriages either. Millennials dont seem to want to marry or divorce.
According to the Pew Research institute, our generation is less likely to marry than ever before (Wang and Parker,
Record Share of Americans). For those who do marry, on average it is in their late twenties.
So, how do we explain the marriage and divorce practices of Millennials?
I am most interested in exploring the cultural impact of these changing relational customs. I also want to
know why divorce is still viewed so negatively given the reduced faith in marriage as an institution. Could our
current views on divorce be a blind spot in our evolving views? In regards to college-aged adults, I want to explore
the ways in which the growing shift in expectations about marriage may be shaping and changing the nature of
collegiate relationships. As a women, I think back to my mom in the kitchen burning dinner in an unhappy situation
and I wonder if the option to have a career and life beyond a love life means more freedom and opportunity.
Maybe these new styles of relationships are a good thing for your society, if not especially Millennial women.
Evaluate the above student proposal sample. Then, as a group, offer to the class selected insights based on
your evaluation and a couple take-away writing tips to employ in our own proposals.
Youre evaluating the writing practices and habits you see employed and how you can adapt or avoid these features. These can
cover anything within the categories of topic framing, context, audience, exigency, logos, ethos, pathos, genre convention,
organization, paragraphing, incorporation of quotations, noticing/problems/questions/stakes, style, clarity, cohesion, active
language and more.
Here are some initial questions to begin your critical evaluation and review of the sample:

Does this proposal offer clear and significant lines of inquiry? A limited and focused topic? A specific
audience? A legitimate exigency? A credible sense of ethos? A felt impact or complex dominant impression (pathos)?
Specific audience of college-aged individuals and millennial women.
Limited focus topic touching base about why/how divorce isnt always a bad thing.
Exigency would be to help millennials realize that there is more to life than falling in love
and even if you get a divorce, that is not always the worst possible outcome. (More freedom and
To what extent does the sample fulfill the proposal assignment criteria?
See Canvas (Areas include: topic, problem, interest, context, exigency, audience, openended discovery)
What aspects did you find most engaging and interesting in the proposal?
The background story/introduction was a good way to start the paper because it draws the
individual in and hooks them to read the rest. A lot of people could relate to the introduction because it draws
on pathos.
What aspects did you find less cohesive, clear, comprehensible?
Nothing too incomprehensible, but it seems as though the writing should have had more
substance included throughout. Her research could have been expanded greater to better emphasize her
thoughts and POV.
To what extent does the lead and ending of the topic proposal operate to advance the objectives of the
What questions, challenges or areas of inquiry do you think this proposal might have addressed or developed
How different religions view divorces?
Are there difference between same sex and traditional marriages?
What critical questions can you offer this proposal?
What are some potential roadblocks that it should avoid as it progresses in its inquiry, discovery, and research
work next?
Other thoughts or features you noticed?
Be specific in the explanations of your questions.