Examples of Arguments and Problem

Examples of Arguments and Problem-Solution Statements
The best arguments or problem/solution essays for students are those which are narrow and specific,
perhaps focusing on local problems. You might deal with a problem on campus, in your neighborhood,
at your job, or other specific problems that you think need to be solved. You should not take on
something obvious, simple, and trivial, like breaking the habit of biting your nails, nor should you try
to write on a broad and general topic without finding a narrow and specific example of the problem.
The following statements are all either arguments or problem/solution statements (which may include
one or two arguments). In reading these, think of what kind of research you would need to do for the
topics, what facts and evidence would be necessary to support the claim, and what the other points of
view might be. In other words, think about those parts of argument that were outlined in previous
documents you have received.
Some of these were embedded in news stories which are primarily reports, giving balanced views of
both sides. But you should see the difference between a report and an argument. The purpose of these
types of writing is very different. These examples are given to you so that you will recognize
arguments (or claims) when you see them. Some of these offer reasons, but evidence is not really
included here. You will find similar examples in editorials and opinion pages of news organizations
and on advocacy Websites, as I have said before, as well as statements made by individuals in news
stories which are reporting events or trying to present balanced presentations that include several
In an argument, however, you MUST take a side, even if a nuanced and subtle one with qualifications.
In other words, you must have a conclusion that states your position; you should not end your
argument with “both sides have good points and the reader can make up his or her own mind.” That is
whimping out!
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------1. The state of Illinois should follow the example of Florida and Wyoming and stop using the state
income tax to generate revenue.
2. Students at DePaul are permitted to take drinks in closed containers into the library, but food is
prohibited. College libraries should all adopt this policy and open coffee shops adjacent to the library
to make it a more inviting environment for study.
3. Because of a lack of space, some academic libraries are either getting rid of or placing in storage all
of their paper copies of books and only providing electronic media in the libraries. Other colleges
should follow that example.
4. Because academic success and job performance in the twenty-first centry require sophisticated use
of computers, all entering students should pass a conputer liberacy test before starting college.
5. DePaul has dropped the requirement of SAT and ACT scores in their admissions process, basing
their decisions now on grades and other admissions criteria. Other schools should follow suit.
6. For-profit schools which charge high tuition and offer only minimal vocational training, in areas
such as medical assisting and cooking which will not lead to high paying jobs, should not be permitted
to distribute federal or state student loans.
7. Students and faculty should be constantly monitored and tracked in order to protect against violence
on campus.
8. Evidence shows that the middle class in the U.S. is vanishing; poverty rates are rising and the very
wealthy are getting richer. The federal government should adjust the tax rates to place more of a
burden on the very wealthy.
9. The definition of poverty level as determined by the federal government for aid of all kinds should
be adjusted by location since living in the Chicago area, for example, is more expensive than living in
the rural South or West.
10, Higher gas taxes should be imposed in the city of Chicago and suburbs in order to support public
11. Air traffic controllers are sleeping on the job, making bad decisions, and otherwise putting the
flying public in danger. The federal government must train the workers better, hire more backups and
experienced supervisors, and monitor these workers more carefully to protect the public.
12. A church or business should not be allowed to move into or expand a particular neighborhood.
(This is a very frequent argument that you will see in local news coverage. It is different than an
argument that a highway or hospital should not be allowed to expand or move into an area. Do you
know why?)
13. Colleges should not permit vendors to promote products or services on campus, in the student
union, for example.
14. Legalized gambling revenue is a great way for states and cities to bring in much-needed revenue.
15. Businesses should be allowed to discipline or fire employees who break certain rules or engage in
certain activities even when they are not at work.
16. Businesses should do more to accommodate those who belong to certain religious groups.
17. The morbidly obese and those with other eating disorders should be included in the category of
persons with disabilities and thus should get special treatment in schools and businesses.
18. Mammals and some other species have the same rights as human beings.
19. The managers need to make concessions to end the NBA stalemate.
20. Baseball play-offs go on too long. The winner of each play-off session, including the World Series,
should be required to win only three games, not four.
21. All sports should be required to use instant replay to correct bad calls by umpires.