Problem/Solution Essay

Problem/Solution Essay
View The Human Experience. Take note of anything that inspires you to take action. What is it you would change:
illness, poverty, the way we view others?
Write a 2 page Problem/Solution Essay.
Step 1
Come up with a thesis statement – What is the problem you are addressing and why should it be solved?
Step 2
Create a Web outlining the problem and solutions. Offer at least 3 solid solutions that your audience can do to help
solve the problem you address. For each solution, come up with at least 3 more details to support, explain, and
Step 3
Create 2 graphics (charts, maps, diagrams, photos, etc.) which SUPPORT your thesis statement. DO NOT just
copy something off the internet. Put some thought into this. Find data to help you.
DO NOT create a picture or chart that just has something to do with what you are saying. It must support your
claims, emphasizing the most important aspects. For example: if I want to solve world hunger, I cannot just put a
photo of a hungry child in my essay; a photo of a hungry child scooping grain out of a barrel which was bought with
donations says much more. Remember these MUST BE ORIGINALS, so unless you are good with a camera, then
don’t turn in photos; create a pie chart, line graph, or any other chart instead. *Be sure to create a works cited page
for everything you borrow ideas from.
Step 4
Research, research, research. No matter how much you already know about your topic, there will likely be plenty
out there that you don’t, and perhaps this source may even have helpful statistical information. Read as much as you
can about your topic, starting with broad discussions on your topic (i.e., articles about your problem at a national or
state level rather than specific to your area) and then moving on to more local coverage. Some key sources are those
materials that describe how your problem is/was dealt with in other communities like yours. You can use this
information as a comparison tool or to inform your solution.
Step 5
Put it all together. Write your essay.
We will take some time to work on specific writing techniques in class, but here are the basics:
A. When you’re ready to begin writing, start with the problem section first. It’s the easiest and most
logical place to start, and it should be the component of the paper on which you have the most information. Take the
following steps to define the progression of your “problem” paragraph(s):
Define the nature of the problem.
Establish its existence by explaining what has caused or led to the problem
Explain the extent of the problem.
Explain its effects and why it is an issue that needs to be solved.
Finally, warn readers about future effects if no solution is offered. Apply prior experiences from other
communities to this section.
B. Your middle section must establish common ground. You’ve addressed the problem, sure, but
before anyone will accept your solution, you need to show you've taken the concerns of others to
heart. To do so, you’ll need to explain how others view the topic and the concerns of those people
when it comes to trying to solve it. Address opposing arguments, and anticipate your audience’s
questions and concerns. Establish criteria for a good solution that will appease everyone involved.
C. Before you propose your solution, address other alternatives first. Show you’ve put some
thought into your solution by acknowledging and critiquing other possible solutions to your topic.
Explain your reasons for rejecting them. Your goal: make your solution appear to be the best
D. Propose a plan of action. Make sure it’s clear to your readers not only what you’d do but
how you would do it. Clearly describe your solution so that your audience can imagine what it will
be like. Address the potential arguments your opposition might have to your solution. Let your
audience know why they would be satisfied with your approach.
E. Conclude with a call to action. Encourage your audience to accept your views and join the cause.
Use projection: show your audience what your community will be like if they do or do not adopt
your solution. Or ask them to take simple steps to bring about the change you desire. Help them
continue the fight. (
F. Write your thesis last. A strange idea, but theses for problem-solution papers are pretty
straightforward; wait until you’ve clearly established your ideas before putting them into a single
sentence. Your thesis statement, by the way, should identify both problem and the solution. For
example, “Schools should require uniforms in order to minimize gang violence.”
Step 6
Use In text/parenthetical citations. When using information that you have borrowed from another source you
need to use this type of citation to cite it. Please see “APA In-Text (Parenthetical) Documentation” which you
can access from my web page for further explanation. Example:
If the author's name is mentioned in the text Bolles (2000) provides a practical, detailed approach to job hunting.
If the author's name is not mentioned in the text
When the author's name does not appear in the text itself, it appears in the parenthetical citation followed by a
comma and the date of publication:
Interactive fiction permits readers to move freely through a text and to participate in its authorship (Bolter, 2001).
Note: If you cite the same source a second time within a paragraph, the year of publication may be omitted.
Step 7
Create your works cited page. You should have already started this as you were working on your essay.
Step 8
Add your graphics: See Adding Graphics handout. (You will receive this later on.)