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#WednesdayWrite: Review a WikiBooks Page

#WednesdayWrite: Review a WikiBooks Page published on 14 Comments on #WednesdayWrite: Review a WikiBooks Page

Adapted from an assignment by Jim Collier’s on his Technical Writing course site.

proposal by Helen Cook on Flickr, used under a CC-BY-SA 2.0 license
You have read several resources on writing business and technical writing proposals. For today’s #WednesdayWrite, you will compare what you have read to a new resource and draw conclusions about the characteristics of and strategies for writing a proposal. I have broken today’s activity in several steps to structure the task for you.

Step 1: Review Previous Readings on Proposals

By now, you have read or viewed several resources on writing proposals. Review these resources to remind yourself of the characteristics of and strategies for writing proposals:

Step 2: Read a New Resource on Proposals

Read the WikiBooks page on Proposals from the Professional and Technical Writing text. Like entries on Wikipedia, this page is an open, collaboratively-edited text. It has been written by professional writing teachers and students. Unlike a textbook from a publisher like Bedford/St. Martin’s, this online text may not be polished, accurate, or well supported by outside resources. You have to determine the trustworthiness of this kind of text.

Step 3: Compare the Resources on Proposals

Compare the characteristics of and strategies for writing proposals that are presented in your previous readings and the new WikiBooks page.

  • Look for places that the texts agree or seem similar.
  • Note the places that the texts disagree.
  • Identify any information that is only included on the WikiBooks page.
  • Record any information that is missing from the WikiBooks page.

Step 4: Evaluate the WikiBooks Page on Proposals

Use the information you gathered in Step 3 to evaluate the Proposals page on the WikiBooks site. Determine its strengths and weaknesses, and then decide whether it is a trustworthy resource. Recognize that it’s possible for the text to include both strong, accurate information and weak, inaccurate information.

Step 5: Write Your Comment & Reply to Your Classmates

Write a comment on today’s post that reviews the Proposals page on the WikiBooks site. Think of your comment as something similar to a comment on a Amazon product or a YouTube video (but leave out the mean, inflammatory stuff). Tell us what you think about the WikiBooks page on Proposals and provide some details to back up your evaluation.


Photo credit: proposal by Helen Cook on Flickr, used under a CC-BY-SA 2.0 license.




I think the WikiBooks page contains accurate information on the organization of a business proposal, as well as its purpose: to persuade. Both our previous articles and the WikiBooks article agree that a proposal should include sections like an introduction, problem statement, solution proposal, methods/qualifications/cost. However, I disagree with the WikiBooks article that an introduction should not reveal the full description in the beginning. I think, with the support of some of our other resources, that an introduction should be more like an executive summary or an abstract. Additionally, the WikiBooks article mentions that design is important, which our previous articles agree with, but it lacks details about specific examples of good design strategies.

I think the WikiBooks page lacks accurate/strong information in its description of the types of business proposals. Many of our previous resources emphasize that there are internal/external and solicited/unsolicited types of proposals while the WikiBooks page just tries to describe the variety of proposal situations. Lastly, one piece of information that I thought was new to me in the WikiBooks page was that a business proposal should serve as a contract. It was my understanding that proposals sometimes might go back and forth between the author and the audience until both parties agree on what’s outlined in the document. Therefore, I’m not sure if it’s necessarily a contract the first time you write it, but maybe the final version is.

I agree with you when you say that both of the documents contain accurate information about writing a proposal, because both websites have done their research and understand what goes into making a proposal. I also agree that the introduction should include as much information as possible in regards to the description of the proposal, but I also think it should be clear and concise. What I mean is that the purpose of the proposal and objective of it should be well described, but the actual content and more in-depth information can be included in the other parts of the proposal, so that way the reader isn’t overwhelmed.

I also found it odd that the WikiBooks article mentions not giving a full description of the proposal in the introduction. After reading it through a few times, I believe the article’s intended meaning is that you should give an executive summary of your plan, why it’s needed, costs, etc. in the introduction of the proposal as opposed to all of the intricate details. Including all of the details could be too repetitive.

One thing I really liked about the WikiBooks article was the Revision Checklist section. I felt that the reflective questions it posed would be a good way to improve your proposal if you don’t have a team to collaborate with. It was also helpful that the questions were organized into the corresponding proposal sections as opposed to being in one long list.

I think that both the WikiBooks and the other proposal business documents provide very useful information regarding the correct writing of a proposal. I think they both agree on how it should be written: in a professional manner that clearly states the goal of the document. They both emphasize that organization is a key role in the development of the proposal, as well as the order of the document. They state that finances, as well as a timeline, and objective are important aspects of writing a proposal.

There are some differences between the WikiBooks and the other Proposal document. I saw that the WikiBooks proposal did not have any examples of how to write each section which would’ve been very useful when referring to WikiBooks. I also noticed that WikiBooks did not have a section on method, logos, and pathos which is something that the other proposal document had. There was no emphasis on the credibility, enthusiasm, and logic/reasoning behind writing a document which is an important aspect in my opinion. The WikiBooks also did not have a sample template of what a business proposal should look like, but the other document did and I found that very helpful when drafting my own proposal.

However, the other proposal business document did not include any revision checklist, which the WikiBooks link did. It went over how to check that each section was written correctly, and for the correct stated purpose. I think that WikiBooks did a good job of ensuring that the right questions were asked for each section of the document. I also liked how WikiBooks had a section of frequently asked questions which wasn’t included in the other proposal document. Having something to reference that other people have had questions on made the WikiBooks reading applicable to me. I think that, in general, when looking at helpful resources to write a project, paper, proposal etc. I generally look at websites that not only have explanations about how to write it, but also have concrete examples and/or templates showing the reader how to be able to do a proposal on their own. That is something that, for me, makes a website most useful because you can see it in front of you and try to replicate it.

Overall, the WikiBooks description of a proposal is pretty decent, and proposals are pretty straightforward so it’s not too difficult to provide the right information. That said, there are quite a few places this article could be better. One would be in the “Variety” section. This section doesn’t actually list the variety of proposals you might write, like the other articles do, and instead lists a few vague ideas that generally revolve around proposal writing. It would be better off listing out “solicited vs unsolicited,” “internal vs external,” etc, then listing what they have under “Variety” under something like “Things to Consider.” The Wikibooks page overall seems to be a bit disorganized and at times redundant, but the information itself is solid and useful. I prefer the other articles due to depth, organization, and the ethos that comes from not being a Wiki.

Overall the main ideas of the Videos that we watched yesterday, and the WikiBooks page are similar. I think just in general the videos allowed for more information, and was easier to follow, because let’s be honest most of us prefer to listen/watch a video than read a book or text page. Some specific similarities in the videos and the Wikibooks page, are a schedule. This is important because it presents a timeline for the reader, and helps them determine if they have enough resources to invest in your proposal. Also having the objective of the proposal is important because this tells the reader why the idea will be useful, and who it will affect. One thing I noticed that the WikiBooks page did not have, is having a clear title, table of contents, and works cited. It mentions briefly having background information in the introduction, and maybe the authors were implying that works cited should be included here, but sometimes people may not catch that.

Overall, I think the WikiBooks page is a great place to start when drafting a proposal, and it poses questions that may help the author of the proposal think about and ensure to answer when drafting the proposal. That being said, I do not think this should be the only resource to use when writing a proposal, having good examples, and examples specifically geared towards your type of proposal will be useful. Another point the WikiBooks page brought up, is that when you are writing a proposal you are essentially writing a persuasive argument, which is the type of writing a lot of us have done in high school, so at the core, many of us have some fundamental experience with proposal writing.

Though we’ve established that Wikibooks is not accurate or polished for that matter, I believe the page on Writing Proposals is well written. It carefully breaks down the general structure of a proposal and briefly describes what is expected in every section of the proposal. I agree with Katie on the fact that they went further to provide a checklist, and after going through it, it looks great and seems legit.
When compared to the previous resources, Wikibooks’ take on Writing Proposals lacks detail. The previous resources provide examples, explain the types, and provides effective strategies on writing proposals. I would also have to disagree with the Wikibooks article that an introduction should not reveal the full description.

As several people have already mentioned the WikiBooks openly editable collaborative platform is prone to potentially lacking information. This is more apparent when comparing to the plethora of resources that have already been shared with us. WikiBooks similarly to the other resources still has good and useful information on what the purpose and structure of a business proposal.

However WikiBooks does not have as much information as the other resources about different types of proposals its kind of general and all encompassing. There are also, unlike the other resources, no examples and the other resources dive into a little more useful theory such as the ethos pathos and logos of writing persuasively and other effective techniques.

Overall I think WikiBooks is still a useful source of information, a little more spread out in presentation relative to other consolidated resources but a great addition to look through as supplemental material for understanding how to best compose an effective proposal.

I would agree with everyone so far in that the Wikibooks page is the weakest of the proposal information that has been provided thus far in the course. As a typical Wiki page, it just scratches the surface and requires you to do conduct more research to get the full accurate picture. As some have previously mentioned, there is a lack of substantial vocabulary and just vague reference to concepts. However, I think that may suit the audience better. If one is seeking out a simple introduction for a proposal and find this on a Google search, they won’t be disappointed. Unlike a typical Wiki page, however, I trust that the information is accurate, especially since we have other articles to cross-reference.

While I agree that this is much more reliable than the run-of-the-mill Wikipedia page, I am disappointed that this doesn’t have a list of references at the bottom. One of the main reasons that I use Wikipedia is because it’s a great jumping off point to find resources. It’s an open-source page, but I don’t have footnotes. This makes it much more difficult to use, and a whole lot more effort to cross-reference. If I didn’t already have other resources provided to me through this class, I would hesitate to use this over a normal page due to the lack of a sources cited section.

I thought that the Wikibooks page did a great job of explaining the purpose behind a professional proposal, as well as the heart behind it which helps me understand the main aspect of a proposal. I really appreciated the superstructure outline, which I can use when creating my proposal. On the flip side, I do not think that the Wikibooks page is useful by itself, and I think that the previous sources on proposals will need to be referenced as well, as they have some useful visuals that will aid in writing the proposal.

The first thing I would like to point out is that as far as free and unrestricted references go, the WikiBooks page about writing proposals isn’t bad at all. It includes a lot of details about what is involved in a typical proposal and mentions the main purposes behind each section. Descriptions give good insights into the subject matter at hand and pretty much give you a good understanding of the information you need to write a decent proposal. With that being said, there are a few issues. The first thing I noticed is the severe lack of discussion about audiences. This strikes me as significant because a proposal is meant to be an audience driven piece of writing — the whole point of a proposal is to encourage others to take action with a plan you created. The Purdue University outline “Planning and Organizing Proposals and Technical Reports” provides a much better review of audiences and their needs. The other thing I would mention is that the page references document design, but gives almost nothing on the subject. I wouldn’t say this makes the section inaccurate, but it does make it feel incomplete. And I think that is how I would ultimately describe the page: accurate but incomplete.

The WikiBooks page contains many of the information found in the previous readings, most of it in a condensed form. The formatting on the page makes information easy and quick to find. The page does contain a section on how the proposal can serve metaphorically or legally as a contract, which I don’t recall seeing on the previous readings. Unlike the previous readings, the WikiBooks pages does not contain a section on the difference between internal and external proposals, as well as solicited and unsolicited proposals. While the WikiBooks pages does provide a starting point for researching proposals, I would still try to look into other readings to get a better understanding of how to write a proposal.

My own opinion is that the page from Wikibooks is just like a condensed version of the other resources given where information given in each of them is quite consistent between each other. However, because of the condensed structure so the Wikibooks page may not be an adequate resource as the information given eventhough it is accurate but might not be sufficient. It might be a good first reading to be more familiar with the proposal writings but to get more input about it might be a problem.

The surprising thing is that eventhough the Wikibooks page is not that detailed but it gave out one key point that is notbeing highlighted in the other texts which is about using proposals to protect ourselves as a writer and having limitations in listing out the solutions and outcomes. From my opinion, those key points are quite essential especially in making sure we are not making unrealistic proposals just for the sake of impressing the reader so every point to be written in the proposal should be given a careful thought before writing it out to avoid any circumstances.

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