Guide to Problem and Solution Essays



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A Guide to Problem and Solution Essays

  • How to write a standard five paragraph essay and argue Your Solutions

What’s a problem and solution essay anyway?

  • If there’s a problem, there usually is a solution and even when there’s not a definite solution, there are people arguing over which solution is best
  • Problem/solution assignments don’t have to be difficult. Just follow the writing process.

What are the steps to the writing process?

  • Brainstorm – read the prompts and determine which one you can write the most about. Which one do you feel strongly about?
  • Plan your paper – pick a graphic organizer and use it!(The more detail in your organizer the easier it will be to write your paper) Since you are writing a standard five paragraph paper you should offer up three solutions.
  • Problem
  • Solution
  • Put the problem you’ll be analyzing here
  • Put your thesis (main solution) here
  • Address arguments that oppose your solution as well as other solutions. Be sure to explain the importance of the information

What are the steps to the writing process?

  • Once you plan your paper, use your plan to write the rough draft. Keep in mind that you must have five paragraphs – introductory, three body paragraphs (This is where you offer up solution(s) in detail and your concluding paragraph)
  • Once the rough draft is written you need to get two different peer edits. Peer editors should use the edit checklist as well as their editor’s marks to edit your paper.
  • Problem
  • Solution
  • Put the problem you’ll be analyzing here
  • Put your thesis (main solution) here
  • Refutation and or conclusion paragraph
  • Address arguments that oppose your solution as well as other solutions. Be sure to explain the importance of the information
  • Bullet your points that support your solution here (these will become your supporting paragraphs

What are the steps to the writing process?

  • Rewriting and using all of the advice that you got from your peer edits will help you with the Revised draft. After all it would be a huge waste of time if you didn’t go back and fix your mistakes.
  • Finally after you think you have caught all of your mistakes create your final draft. Final drafts should be typed in a 12 pt font or handwritten in blue or black ink. If you type then you can save yourself a lot of time.
  • Problem
  • Solution
  • Put the problem you’ll be analyzing here
  • Put your thesis (main solution) here
  • Refutation and or conclusion paragraph
  • Address arguments that oppose your solution as well as other solutions. Be sure to explain the importance of the information
  • Bullet your points that support your solution here (these will become your supporting paragraphs

Problem/Solution Pre-write Example

  • Problem
  • Solution
  • Refutation/
  • Conclusion
  • Cigarette Smoking
  • Offer help to those who are addicted and create programs to prevent new addicts.
  • Educate youths at an earlier age through media, news and mediical services
  • Make patches, gum and other nicotine programs more affordable
  • Charge more for cigarettes
  • Some will argue it’s against their freedoms to phase this habit out but second smoke takes the rights and lives away from others
  • Some will argue it’s too late to help those who are addicted but with the right support and accessibility for help they can quit

What is a topic sentence?

  • Every paragraph in your five paragraph paper will begin with a TOPIC SENTENCE. It is the first sentence of every paragraph. The purpose of this sentence is to catch the readers attention and let them get a feel for what the paragraph is going to be about. You can do this a number of different ways here are just a few:
  • Shock the reader
  • Use statistics
  • Relate to the Reader
  • Pose a question for the reader to think about

So what’s my thesis? The purpose of the thesis is to tell the reader what your paper is going to be all about.

  • Your thesis may vary depending on what your topic is, who your audience is and how much information you have
  • Your thesis could argue for one main solution
  • Although many disagree, spanking is still a useful tool to use for discipline problems as long as it’s used constructively.”
  • When using this format, your body paragraphs will all tie into and support your one solution of spanking.
  • Your thesis could argue for the urgent need to solve the problem
  • Even though several attempts have been made to eradicate drunk driving, people still ignore or deny the reality of drunk driving consequences.”
  • When using this type of thesis, your body paragraphs will support and tie into the importance of the problem.

So what’s my thesis continued

  • Your thesis could argue for three main solutions – one per body paragraph
  • spanking for inappropriate behaviors, time out for inappropriate behaviors and positive reinforcement for positive behaviors can all contribute to the healthy raising of a respectful and obedient child.
  • When using this format, your body paragraphs will all tie into each other and attempt to fix the overall problem. In this particular example it is a child that is not respectful or obedient to their parents and other adults.

What will a problem/solution essay organizer look like?

Hot Tips

  • Make sure you do not act like a politician… meaning don’t complain about a problem during your entire essay without creating a solution
  • If you do argue for a solution, be sure that you explain the solution thoroughly and realistically so the reader will be convinced

Any other problems?

  • If you want to know more about how essays are generally graded, look at Entry #8 peer edit Rubric – these are going to be the same things that I will look at when I grade your paper.


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