Your research paper will be an argument-based research paper, in which you have a premise that identifies, explains, and describes a local, state, national or global problem, as well possible solutions. You must do the following: Describe a current and meaningful problem and explain why it’s a problem
Craft a plan to solve the problem – this must be feasible and based on research, current laws, and common sense
Explain the implementation of the solution or solutions to the problem and how they will work
Define the short and long-term effects of the solution
Answer criticisms and possible drawbacks to the solution while supporting your argument through research
Create a conclusion that summarizes your argument
You are expected to use a formal and professional tone throughout your paper—no first or second-person pronoun usage, no contractions, no slang or informal speech.
Your paper should use approximately 90% original writing and paraphrasing, with no more than 10% direct quotations from outside sources.
Your paper must include parenthetical citations and a separate MLA-style works cited page with a minimum of five sources.
Interviews can also be utilized and conducted via email, phone, or in person with the following guidelines: a typed list of questions; the name of the expert(s) interviewed; contact information for verification; the date(s) the interview was conducted. If an interview is used, it must be cited correctly.
Notes: You will submit a minimum of 60 different notes (facts, quotations, observations, paraphrases, summaries). Format is to be determined by you: You may use note cards, power point slides, or some other method. The only requirements are as follows:
Each note has a sub-topic and a source number.
Notes show a balance of information from your sources.
Notes support your thesis statement and are not repetitive.
Length: Five - six pages PLUS Works Cited page, double-spaced (no extra space!), Times New Roman size 12, 1” margins
Being able to identify and solve problems in the workplace and in everyday life are essential skills for all productive citizens. Problem-solution essays inform readers about problems and propose methods to address the problems. People draft and present problem-solution essays daily in business, government, education, and other professions. Problem-solution essays and presentations are an essential component of the world of work.
In most disciplines and professions, problem solving is a basic way of thinking. For example, health professionals use problem-solving skills when diagnosing and addressing patient health concerns; mechanics maintain systems and use sophisticated tools and problem-solving techniques to perform 60,000 mile checkups on cars, and optimize performance in turbocharged engines; politicians and community leaders propose solutions to troubling political and social problems; attorneys find legal precedents to solve their clients’ problems; teachers make decisions everyday about how to help students with specific problems; carpenters, plumbers, masons, electricians, and HVAC technicians are in continuous demand to solve difficulties for home and business owners; and business owners or managers must themselves be problem-solvers as they work with the public and plow through bureaucratic red tape.
Problem-solution essays are a form of persuasive writing. In addition to identifying a problem and exploring its ramifications, the writer proposes a solution or solutions, recommends a course of action, and explains the reasons the recommended course of action is the best to pursue. The writer is arguing in favor of following the recommended course of action. Therefore, the writer must be aware of the reader’s needs and expectations. Does the reader understand the problem and its seriousness? What other solutions might the reader think of, and what objections might they have to the writer’s solution? An awareness of the audience, including their concerns and possible objections, is a central element of all effective persuasive writing.
TIPS TO COMPLETING THE RESEARCH
Develop a proposal. The first person you’ll need to convince of your topic is yourself. Take these four steps to make your research productive:
Develop a rationale for your selection: why it matters, why it’s a problem, and why it can be solved.
Define your initial understanding: clarify what you know about the problem and what you think you know about potential solutions.
Determine what you need to learn: develop questions to help you begin your research or writing.
Design a research plan: poke around in the library and/or online databases, and figure out what information is out there. Choose three people who could potentially help you in your research and arrange to talk to them about the issue.
Get early feedback. Make it known to others what your plans are: talk to your teacher, friends, parents—anyone—about your ideas. When you solicit their opinions, ask for their response to both your take on the topic and your plans for gathering information.
Don’t jump to conclusions—any. Sometimes, in our rush to judgment, we often miss key details that would help us make better decisions. The same goes for a problem-solution paper: those who establish their solution first and remain steadfast to it tend to demonstrate a limited understanding of both the problem and logical solution. It’s okay to brainstorm some initial ideas, but set them aside until later. Wait until you’ve researched the topic and fully defined the problem before finalizing your call for action.
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.
WRITING Outline your essay. Know where your paper needs to go before you begin. Problem-solution papers have a lot of components and thus need to follow a tight structure: you address the problem, you establish the need for a solution, and you present your vision for how to solve the problem.
Describe the problem; list all of the causes; list the people/areas affected
List all of the possible solutions and the ways to support those solutions; consider the implications if the problem remains unsolved
Address arguments that might oppose the solutions; be certain to acknowledge the possible opponents and refute those opposing points
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. You need to convince your audience that indeed, it is a 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.
Address other alternatives. 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 solution.
Propose a plan of action for your BEST solution. Make sure it’s clear to your readers not only what you’d do, but also 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. Address opposing arguments, and anticipate your audience’s questions and concerns. Establish criteria for a good solution that will appease everyone involved.
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. Keep in mind: How willing are people to make changes in their lives? Your expectations have to be fair and feasible.
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SOME Ideas for a Problem Solution Essay—You’ll have to determine the angle and do some research.
Should there be helmet laws to prevent injuries and deaths?
How can we help homeless people in our community?
How can we prevent people from dropping out of high school?
What is the best way to prevent teen pregnancy?
How can kids be persuaded not to experiment with drugs?
What is the best way to prevent deaths from drunk driving?
How can teenagers be convinced to drive more safely?
How can kids living in broken hopes get support to do well in school, have strong relationships, and build successful lives and marriages?
What is the best way to help people who are victims of family violence?
How can we change the welfare system to help people escape generational poverty?
How can we deal with illegal immigration?
What should we do about the increase in gun violence?
How can we best rehabilitate prisoners so that they can be productive members of society?
How can healthcare be ensured for everyone around the world?
How can we improve literacy?
What can be done to prevent human trafficking?
How can we prevent children from being negatively influenced by violence and pornography in media such as video games, movies, and the Internet?
How can we persuade people to make healthy lifestyle choices like not smoking, exercising, and maintaining a healthy BMI?
How can we best reduce the problem of terrorism?
Should there be controls in the way the media portrays celebrities?
How can we handle the problem of online data mining or the fact that data brokers are selling our information to advertisers, employers, health insurers, and credit rating agencies?
What should we do to help people get jobs?
How can we reduce our pollution problem?
How can we make college more affordable?
How can we get children more involved in their communities?
How do we prevent texting and driving?
How can schools better prepare students for the job force?
Should the government regulate the time that schools can begin?
How can schools measure achievement without so many high-stakes tests?
How can the number of sexual assaults on college campuses be reduced?
How can the increasing number of Americans with consumer debt be helped? Or How can consumer debt be prevented?
What can be done to prevent/reduce police brutality?