Propose a solution to a problem associated with the issue you have researched this semester

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ENG 102 – Research Essay: Solution Proposal
Rough draft due – ___

Final draft – ___

This assignment asks you to combine the approaches you have worked with in the previous two modules to propose a solution to a problem associated with the issue you have researched this semester. I encourage you to construct your solution in a manner that will allow you to use as much of the research you have already done as possible. You will want to include in your essay:

  1. A detailed critical explanation or interpretation of the definitions surrounding your problem. You may have done some of this explanation in Module #1; however, you may not be able to use that explanation unedited. You may need to focus your argument on a definition specific to your problem. You may, as a result, need more specific information to support and strengthen the work you did in Essay #1. Do not forget to provide a historical and current overview if you missed this in Essay #1.

  1. A detailed explanation of the causes/effects of your particular problem. Again, you may have done much of this work in Module #2; however, a specific cause or effect may exist that you feel impacts directly upon the problem you propose to solve. You choice to focus your examination upon a particular cause means you must provide detailed support for your choice.

  1. You will weave the solution together using the previous two modules.

10-12 pages, 10 sources. This paper uses material from each of your essays (not cut and paste, mind you) along with new information, synthesizing your understanding of the definitions and causes into a defendable proposal for solving an issue using the proper level of detail. In short, what I hope you have discovered is that the definitions associated with particular problem have a lot to do with the causes of that problem. If you propose a solution for a social problem, you first need to know what definitions are involved in that problem. Next, you need to critically judge the consistency of those definitions. Often you will find that the irregularities in a particular definition are a direct cause of the problem you propose to solve.
Your solution should be feasible. Research previous solutions to find examples of what works and what does not work. Be ready to cannibalize the best parts of previous solutions and discard the rest. Learn from the mistakes of others. Decide what the scope of your solution should be – solving world hunger may be too large. Perhaps you have a limited solution isolated to a particular cause or locality.
Funding solutions is always an issue. If your solution requires funding, you will need to suggest where the money will come from. Free solutions are terrific but may only exist in fairy tales. That said, you do not need a detailed budget, just a funding source (don’t say “taxes” or “the government”; remember the word feasible).
Consider all aspects of feasibility in order to defend against opposition. Figure out what and who your opposition will be, what laws exist, what freedoms are guaranteed, so you can address counter-arguments directly and effectively.
Make clarity your primary goal. Simplicity helps. Numerous examples help. Detailed explanations help. A complete understanding of the inconsistencies present in public opinion on your issue and an ability to find a way to thread the needle through all these inconsistencies is golden. Above all, don’t create more problems with your solution.
If you were asked to write a solution essay at the beginning of class, 10-12 pages would have been a real struggle. Developing the level of detail necessary is difficult without a few practice swings. By writing two smaller papers (modules), then synthesizing them into a third, the detail required in each element of the larger essay becomes apparent. You can use this semi-modular approach to build essays as large as a particular subject requires.
Research Essay Requirements

        • Length: Essay should be a minimum of ten pages plus additional page(s) for works cited.

        • Source Material: You will need a minimum of ten sources* with solid reputations. You may reuse sources from your first and second essays, but need three new sources:

-- one book whose focus is your subject and whose author is a subject matter expert

**for this essay, your book must be fully dedicated to the topic and from an

authoritative source—no pamphlet books or essays/chapters within a larger volume

-- four substantial articles from scholarly sources, which must be authored or attributable to an

authoritative organization providing documentation of material;

-- five source types of your choice (book, journal, magazine, website or web article,

documented interview, film, television broadcast);

-- a source evaluation cover sheet (DUPED) for each source used

-- annotated copies, stapled individually, of all source material used in essay; annotations need to

clearly indicate where the information is used in the essay

*if sources are not annotated, you will nt receive credit for your essay;

if individual source evaluations are not stapled to corresponding sources, you will not receive

credit for the evaluation

  • Organization: Use your general understanding of writing arguments (Ch.3 and 4); pay special attention to Ch.9. See suggested formats below.

  • Points: 500 points.

Although many elements contribute to a successful essay, without the following elements, you will not pass: a clear thesis; a Works Cited page with ten sources (citations must conform to MLA format); annotated source material; more than three spelling errors.
*If you choose to rely on a source of questionable pedigree in addition to your ten solid

sources, you will need to address that choice appropriately.

Suggested formats after introduction and thesis statement:

  1. Description of problem (definition)

  2. Proposed solution

  3. Justification for proposed solution (causes/effects with solutions/reasons why each will work)


  1. Identify the problem (definition)

  2. Describe the reasons for the problem (causes & effects)

  3. Propose the solution

  4. Justify the solution (reasons why it will work)

Mini-paper Requirements

Your research essay needs to present a solution for your proposed issue/topic. Your mini paper would have explored and present two or three existing proposals, so…research policy proposals being considered in the Congress, private business, and general public advocacy. There may be a solution/pieces of solutions already out there. If, however, you use an already proposed solution as a part of your essay, be sure to attribute and cite accordingly.

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