Essay 3—Problem/Solution Essay


Write about an issue or problem that affects you and/or your peers in a community to which you belong—your home, family,

work, school, neighborhood, or cultural group. You should spend the majority of the essay describing and analyzing the

problem itself and working to convince your reader that it is a significant area of concern. The essay should avoid

offering potential solutions until you reach your conclusion.
The goal of this essay is to explore a problem in detail before trying to find a solution. When we are confronted with

problems, we often look immediately towards a solution—it feels better to be able to fix things as soon as possible.

However, if we jump directly to finding a solution, the complexity of the problem itself can be lost. You will need to

convince your readers that the problem you discuss is indeed a problem. Explain what the problem is, what may have

caused it, and why it matters. Your audience needs to care about the problem before it can consider a proposed solution.
The essay will be 3-4 pages, double-spaced, in Times New Roman font with 1” margins.
Through tone, information, recognition of opposing ideas, and personal experience and connection with the problem, you

need to establish your credibility and believability as a writer. Please draw on personal experience and knowledge for

this essay.
You should draw Illustrations (PIE) and evidence from the following sources:
• personal experience and observation
• interviews with other members of your community (NOTE: You must conduct at least ONE INTERVIEW with someone else

who is affected by this problem!)
• 1-2 credible outside sources (newspaper, internet, etc. (We will discuss what constitutes a credible source in

the next few weeks. However, if you know what kind of source you would like to use and want to know if it will work,

please email me.)
The purpose of the assignment is to
• help you to define a problem affecting a community or group to which you belong.
• give you practice developing your argumentative skills in an applied and immediate way.
• provide you with a method to more actively and effectively engage in shaping your individual lives and

The essay should
• demonstrate that a specific problem exists;
• have a central focus/thesis;
o For this essay, the thesis should answer the following questions: “What is the problem?” and “Why is this such an

important problem? How does if affect you or your community?”
• have a clear, logical structure with smooth transitions between ideas, sentences, and paragraphs;
• use well-chosen illustrations or examples that support and develop the thesis in the body of the essay;
• define an appropriate audience for the essay and use evidence and claims that will appeal to that audience. In

thinking about your audience, you may want to consider the following questions: what are their values? What does this

audience know about the problem? What kind of personal or emotional responses might members of this audience have to the

o NOTE: For this essay, your audience will be your classmates. For Essay 4, you will create a “Radical Revision” of

this essay—one that will use a different format and address a different audience.
• anticipate counter-arguments to your analysis of the problem
• propose a solution or solutions to the defined problem that is based in a careful and detailed analysis of the

problem facing the community (Conclusion!)


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