- Presents a problem.
- Argues for a solution.
Problem Solution Essays are a kind of Argument Essay. They argue that one particular policy would be the way to solve that particular problem. They are sometimes called Propose a Solution Essays. The most important part of this kind of essay is:
- Describing a detailed solution.
- Arguing that this solution is affordable, feasible and a better solution than anything else.
For more information on what belongs in a argumentative essay, check out this article: The difference between arumentation and persuasion or see this Argument vs Persuasive Writing graphic. Inpiration: Children Helping Children (video segment starts at 13:00) At age 12, Craig Kielburger set out the change the world. Now, 17 years later and with 2 million volunteers, he’s still at it. In a recent interview on 60 Minutes, Kielburger says, “Kids are looking to get involved. They’re searching for it. And in an era where, you know adults often are looking for meaning and purpose in their lives, kids also want to assert who they are, not just by the videogames they play or the peer groups they belong to, but by the contribution they make. And that’s part of a youth self-identity in the world. And not only is it good for the child, my God, our world needs it.”
In the interview, Ed Bradley asks, “Why you?” Kielberger’s response, “Why not me?” So, WHY NOT YOU?
Step by Step Guide to Problem Solution Essay
Step 1: Find Your Problem Solution Essay Topic
Problem Solution ideas that are easiest to write about are ones that you have experienced yourself. If there is something that bugs you, or if you’ve ever thought, “I have a better idea of how to do that!” you have the begining of a Problem Solution Essay. So start with writing a list of different groups or organizations you belong to. Think about:
- Where you live.
- Home town.
- Activities, clubs and hobbies you do.
- School groups.
- Sports groups.
- Places you’ve worked.
- Groups of people you may identify with, such as: male/female, oldest/youngest child in a family, ethnic background, tall/short etc.
- Stereotypes: consider what group others might place you into and the stereotypes of that group.
2. Now take your list of groups and brainstorm different problems you see in these groups. The problems might be caused by:
- the organization of the group
- the leadership
- rules or procedures
- stereotypes about the group
- ideas in the group
- people in the group
- what the group wants to do vs. what they can do
Still stuck? Here is a list of Problem Solution Essay Topics that students have written about. Still stuck? Do you have an interest in saving the world? Try watching these TED-Ed videos on ways in which we can be friendlier to the environment: Lessons to Inspire Ordinary Superheroes
Remember, you will need to develop a solution to that problem.
- From your list of possible problems, pick 3-4 that you are interested in writing on.
- Turn each of your topic ideas into a question. Try to narrow your question.
Example, if you are interested in solving the problem of cheating, possible questions could be:
- How can we solve cheating among college students?
- How can we solve cheating in High School?
- How can we solve cheating on standardized tests?
- How can we solve cheating on homework?
- How can we solve businesses cheating on their taxes?
Step 2: Researching the Problem and Possible Solutions
Step 3: Identifying Debatable Claims
- Does the topic involve different claims of definition? Would different members of the audience define the problem in different ways? Identify any possible differences of definition.
- Does a clear cause and effect relationship exist in the problem? What are the main causes and effects of the problem?
- Does the problem involve value judgments? If so, what values are involved?
- Does the possible solution involve getting the audience to adopt a change of behavior and/or a change of value?
- Where can you get information to help you write your paper? What sources will you use?
Step 4: Identifying the Causes of the Problem
- What problem will your essay address? Why did you choose to focus on this particular problem?
- What audience is affected by the problem and how are they affected?
- Other than those most directly affected, who is most likely to be aware of the problem? How will they know about it? What is their interest in it?
- Which of the effects of the problem are the most common? Which ones are the most serious?
- What are the possible causes of the problem? Which are the immediate causes and which are the remote ones? Are any of the causes unchangeable?
- What solutions have been proposed or tried in the past? If they were unsuccessful, why? If they were successful, why?
- What are the most important reasons for solving this problem?
Step 5: Identifying an Audience for Your Problem Solution Essay
Address Someone Who Can Solve Problem: Choosing the audience you are writing towards is very important in Problem Solution Essays. If you want your solution to really work, you need to choose an audience that has the power to solve the problem, not just one that sees the problem.
Usually, Your Audience is an Authority: For example, students might not like the food in the cafeteria at school, but writing a paper to the students isn’t going to solve the problem. You need to address the administration or cafeteria workers or some other authority who can actually make changes in the menu
Use Reasons that Convince that Audience: Moreover, you need to find reasons for solving the problem that would convince that authority. The students might notice the food is not tasty, but authorities might be more interested in the idea that the food is not healthy, or that parents will be happier if the food is better.
Guiding Question to Help in Choosing an Audience
- What is the situation or context for the problem?
- What audiences are interested in the problem? Who would be directly affected by your solution?
- What are the different points of view an audience might have on the problem?
- Which audience or group has power to work a solution to the problem?
- What sorts of reasons would make that audience believe the problem needs to be solved?
- How will this audience respond to your proposal? What sort of evidence would convince this sort of audience? Would they respond best to logic? pathos and emotion? authority? character?
- Who might object to your solution and what would their objections be? How will you respond to these objections?
Step 6: Finding a Solution to the Problem
- What is the most important cause of the problem?
- What do you think needs to happen for this problem to be solved?
- Explain your proposed solution. Include the steps needed to implement the proposal.
- What reasons can you give to show that this solution will work? How can you demonstrate the logical connections between parts of the problem and your solution?
- What specific effects would your proposal have on the problem? Explain the cause to effect relationship.
- How does this solution differ from previous solutions that have been tried?
Step 7: Making an Essay Outline
Online Research Tutorial Research papers should present authoritative facts about a subject. They should also be readable and show human consequence. This is done by combining the use of narrative strategies in your persuasive or informational text. Watch this video about how you can do research that will help you uncover the hidden narrative gems to add depth and interest to your persuasive writing. Citing Sources: Avoid the Pitfall of Plagairism. How to incorporate quotes in a research paper with internal citations and a bibliography.
Step 8: Present Your Ideas to an Authentic Audience Maya Penn started her own business at only eight years old. She saw the need to develop eco-friendly apparel, so she started designing clothes from material that would not harm the enviornment, and she donates 20% of her earnings to organizations that can help with protecting the planet’s resources. She is the leader of tomorrow who gives back. Watch her story and think about how she discovered a problem, engineered a solution, and then presented her ideas to a wider audience. She is as good as it gets! Child prodigy Adora Svitak says the world needs “childish” thinking: bold ideas, wild creativity and especially optimism. Kids’ big dreams deserve high expectations, she says, starting with grownups’ willingness to learn from children as much as to teach. After a visit to a plastic-filled waste transfer station last year, students Miranda Wang and Jeanny Yao learned that much of the plastic in trash may not degrade for 5,000 years. Synthesized into plastics are phthalates, compounds that make shower curtain liners, food wraps and other products bendable but may also adversely impact human reproductive development and health. As plastics slowly break down, these phthalates would leach into the surrounding environment. So, the two young scientists tackled the problem and ultimately discovered strains of bacteria that have the potential to naturally degrade phthalates. Their work earned a regional first place in British Columbia for the 2012 Sanofi BioGENEius Challenge Canada, as well as a special award for the most commercial potential at the contest’s finals. Fifteen-year-old Tavi Gevinson had a hard time finding strong female, teenage role models — so she built a space where they could find each other. At TEDxTeen, she illustrates how the conversations on sites like Rookie, her wildly popular web magazine for and by teen girls, are putting a new, unapologetically uncertain and richly complex face on modern feminism. McKenna Pope’s younger brother loved to cook, but he worried about using an Easy-Bake Oven — because it was a toy for girls. So at age 13, Pope started an online petition for the American toy company Hasbro to change the pink-and-purple color scheme on the classic toy and incorporate boys into its TV marketing. In a heartening talk, Pope makes the case for gender-neutral toys and gives a rousing call to action to all kids who feel powerless. Hot Topics for Persuasive Writing Six Online Research Skills All Students Need