Problem and Solution Essay

The purpose of this essay is to define a problem and propose a solution to it. You choose your topic, so make it something that actually interests you.
When choosing your topic, some things to think about:
You must be able to clearly identify both the problem and its solution(s). The paper has two key components: outlining a problem and giving it context, as well as discussing a substantial solution or several possible solutions, perhaps choosing which one you believe is the best.
Watch for gigantic problems that do not have manageable solutions; keep in mind the limited space of this paper.
Avoid vague problems and solutions that you will struggle to put into certain and communicable terms.
The thesis statement should identify a specific problem and a specific solution. It should be easy to find (as in the last sentence of your Introduction) and understand. It should, of course, not begin anything like “This essay will be about”.

Your audience should care about the problem enough to care about the solution(s). As with all essays, you must decide what your readers already know about the topic. You should also consider how your reader can participate in the solution (like with an Argumentative Essay). However, while you’re keeping the audience in mind, you do not address them or tell them specifically what “you should do”. This essay should be written in the third person POV only, even if it’s a problem that has personally affected you.

When drafting your essay, it really has two parts: The Problem and The Solution. However, you don’t need to spend a page and a half on the problem then move to a page and a half on the solution, although you certainly may organize it that way. Feel free to intermix problem and solution throughout, or otherwise organize it however you think is most logical and effective. Here are some things to consider including with both The Problem and The Solution:
What is the problem being addressed (explain, describe, and prove that it exists)?
Whom does this problem affect?
Why does this problem exist (identify the root causes)?
Why does the problem persist (identify the major factors that contribute to the problems ongoing presence)?
Whats at stake if the problem is not solved, and why is it worthy of a solution (be reasonable about the current and potential hazards if the problem presents)?
Who can take action?
What should they do, exactly?
Why would this help?
How would your solution directly eliminate (or at least diminish) the impact of the problems causes?
Use your research to show how the solution affects the problem and its causes. You get to choose your sources, so you can decide how much you want them to focus on the solution or the problem. They should support your assertions.
The two examples below focus on two problems (you’ll notice that small details make these topics a little more specific by focusing on ages and/or regions). Each problem has three proposed solutions. You do not need to discuss three solutions in your essay, but maybe you make a list with all your proposed solutions and then focus on one or two; all of those types of choices are up to you. The examples of sources – you DO need three here – show you what types of articles you might look for to support your claims.

Example 1:

Problem: Violence in American elementary schools

Solutions:

Better enforcement of security.
Teaching self-defense to children under 12.
Ban on gun possession in American schools.
Sources:

One scholarly article with statistics about violence in schools.
One YouTube video about self-defense techniques for children.
One news article that mentions legislation that exists or has been proposed to stop gun violence.
Example 2:

Problem: Air Pollution in Los Angeles

Solutions:

Residential areas should be far from industrial sites.
Other ways to destroy waste besides burning should be researched on.
Promoting the use of bio-energy rather than fossil fuel.
Sources:

One scholarly article with statistics about air pollution in four major metropolitan areas, focusing on LA
One book chapter about alternative energies.
One news article about LA’s air pollution

Requirements and Key Information:

3-4  pages in length (no less than 3 full pages and no more than 4 full pages; this is an excellent opportunity to practice self-editing to make sure you include the exact amount of tight, strong writing).

THREE SOURCES. These can be from the Internet directly or searched through the library’s database. (If you’d like to use the library website, but need some guidance, feel free to ask.) A Works Cited List is required to correctly document your sources. Additionally, you must use in-text citations with integrated quotations and paraphrases. There is no requirement for how much you use your sources, but they should be present and obvious.

Typed, doubled-spaced, 1 margins, 12-point type, Times New Roman, and following MLA guidelines for formatting. Your name, English 11, and due date in the top left corner. Page number and surname in the top right of the header. As mentioned above, the THIRD PERSON is the only POV you should be using. A CREATIVE TITLE IS A MUST.

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