Goals and Objectives
Follows MLA style for formatting
papers and documenting sources
Is 4 pages long (1200 words
minimum) - using Times New Roman 12-point font, double spaced, with 1 inch
margins all around.
Addresses an appropriate
Uses a minimum of 5 academically
credible sources (Encyclopedias are not acceptable sources for this paper,
that includes Wikipedia and other similar web-based encyclopedias. Use Ebsco
host from the
college's library site or on campus to find credible articles, or use
objective sources available online, like articles from Time, CNN, US News
and World Report, etc. Blogs are usually not considered credible.)
You could use
another topic from the Pro/Con website as long as it fits into the overall
Incorporates those sources in
significant ways to provide meaningful support for the claim - avoids
trivial information that has little to do with proving the argument.
Submitted by July 25 at 11:55 pm
in Cruiser under the Essay 4 Assignment area.
The Problem-solving argument is a powerful tool to have at your disposal. Many
times in our personal and professional lives, we face problems and have to
figure out a way to solve them. For this assignment, you are to choose a problem
facing a group that you belong to. This can be a formal group, such as the
Chamber of Commerce, or it can be a more informal group, such as your
neighborhood or church. The line dividing the two is mostly that a formal group
requires membership and has an organization structure with set rules and
guidelines. An informal group is more free flowing and membership is often a
matter of proximity or circumstance rather than a deliberate seeking out of
others to join. Still, even in these settings there can be more formal aspects.
For example, I can attend the Parent Teachers Association meetings and be
concerned about problems facing parents or teachers. That would be informal. But
if I sit on the board of the PTA, then I have a more formal membership since I
would be governed by a host of laws and rules concerning my behavior, and my
actions would have a different impact on the group since I would be an official,
rather than merely be someone who attends.
Your audience for this essay will be the group itself, but even though you are a
member, you will still use 3rd person to speak in order to maintain
an objective tone and keep from making this too personal.
When writing the paper, you must include specific components of the
problem-solving essay. On p. 117 of the handbook, you will see an outline of the
problem-solution scheme. You will have the following sections:
Introduction: identify the group, problem, and key background
information your audience needs to understand the problem facing the group.
This might include a brief explanation of how the group came to have the
problem. The content of this background section will depend on your audience
and how much you believe they already know about the problem. You will end
with a thesis that makes a claim about how to solve the problem. This should
also include the problem itself. For example: Considering serious
concerns about childhood obesity, the Girl Scouts should begin offering more
healthy options rather than its cookies or else face undermining its stated
mission and goals. For this topic, I would need to preface this
thesis by first introducing the childhood obesity problem facing America
(because it’s the broader issue here) and then narrow my focus to one group
facing an ethical dilemma caused by this problem - that would be the Girl
Scouts. I would explain what Girl Scout cookies are, and cite its mission
statement and anything in its goals that would support healthy life styles.
Body Section 1: The problem. For this section, which can include
multiple paragraphs because for each point I make that proves there is a
problem, I would need a topic sentence. In these paragraphs, I would more
fully explain the problem. I would first establish the highly successful
nature of the Girl Scout cookie fundraising, offering statistics and facts
about how much money this raises for the Girl Scouts (so they can’t just
quite doing it), but also citing nutritional data that shows how unhealthy
these cookies are. I would also try and find stats about kids eating Girl
Scout cookies. This is the section that provides proof that there is indeed
a problem that needs solving.
Body Section 2: The solution or solutions: In this section, also
multiple paragraphs possibly, I would provide my solution to this problem. I
would cite evidence that supports the feasibility of my solution.
Body Section 3: The counterargument: Here I would point out at
least 1 or 2 other possible solutions and then show how they are not as
feasible as the one I have supported. Note, though, that I might be able to
thread in these other scenarios in section 2. If these solutions are not
very complicated and easily dismissed, I might be able to address them as
part of my justification for my proposed solution. This is an area of
counterargument that is flexible and determined by context of the specific
essay being written. Bottom line: you need to mention some other credible
solutions and discredit them somehow.
Dr. Jai Hee Cho,
a writing professor at Cal State Fullerton, reminds us that:
Discussing the possible solutions should consist of examining the pros and
cons of each, including your own. Be sure to address any concerns that your
readers may have about your suggested solution. It is unlikely that you will
be able to utterly refute and entirely disdain any one of the alternate
solutions because all of them will be believable and workable. In order to
clearly pass this essay, your thesis must state that even though all the
solutions may be helpful or plausible, your solution is definitely better
than others by showing the superior quality of your solution. Your solution
would possibly solve the problem more efficiently, more thoroughly, less
expensively or with less risk.
Conclusion: Wrap up the argument by reminding us what the claim is
you are making, what’s at stake by not acting, and why people should care to
act, even if it means changing a tradition as loved and longstanding as Girl
Works cited page: End with the page that lists all sources used in
your paper, a minimum of 5. Be sure you double check that all sources on
your works cited page are properly documented in your paper, and also be
sure that all sources you refer to in your essay are listed on the works
cited page. Follow MLA rules.
This essay should be 3-4 pages long and researched using at least 5 academically
credible sources (you could use another topic from the Pro/Con website as long
as it fits into the overall assignment requirements). Chapter 52 in our
handbook is about “Finding Sources” (starting on p. 382), and Chapter 53
(starting on p. 399), provides guidance on using sources, both print and web.
Please review these guidelines when choosing the sources you will use to support
your argument. Much of this info has been condensed in my “How to Research”
handout, available in the Shared Files section of Cruiser under the file name
1213_researching.htm. The handbook will provide more detail and examples than my
handout, but my handout covers other issues, such as how to develop a research
topic. For this assignment, tt may be helpful to choose a topic that affects a
smaller group because proposing a solution will be more feasible.
Some tips on writing an effective proposing a solution essay:
(From The Concise Guide to Writing by Axelrod and Cooper, 1993, St.
Define your problem well.
A proposal is written to
offer a solution to a problem. Before presenting the solution, a proposal
writer must be sure that readers know what the problem is. The writer may
also have to establish that the problem indeed exists and is serious enough
to need solving. Sometimes a writer can assume that readers will recognize
the problem. At other times readers may not be aware of the problem.
Propose a feasible solution.
Once the problem is
established, the writer must present and argue for a particular solution.
Be sure that your topic is narrow and that your solutions are reasonable.
Make a convincing argument.
The main purpose of a
proposal is to convince readers that the writer's solution is the best way
of solving the problem. Proposals argue for their solutions by trying to
that the proposed solution will solve the problem
that it is a feasible way of solving the problem
that it stands up against anticipated objections or reservations
that it is better than other ways of solving the problem
Use a reasonable tone.
Regardless of the proposal or the argument made on its behalf,
problem-solution writers must adopt a reasonable tone. The objective is to
advance an argument without "having" an argument. The aim is to bridge any
gap that may exist between writer and readers, not widen it. Writers can
build such a bridge of shared concerns by showing respect for their readers
and treating their concerns seriously. They discuss anticipated objections
and reservations as an attempt to lay to rest any doubts readers may have.
They consider alternative solutions as a way of showing they have explored
every possibility in order to find the best possible solution. Most
important, they do not attack those raising objections or offering other
solutions by questioning their intelligence or goodwill.
following suggestions are from
Professor Lucette Wood's ENG 123 Paperless Classroom site:
Start by selecting a topic you can
emotionally and intellectually manage
, one for which you are willing to accept
“both sides of the story.” Avoid writing about very broad, highly
controversial topics, such as abortion, gun control, or the Darwin/Creation
argument. The counter-arguments (your opponent’s view) are extensive and
well-developed; incorporating them in your essay would involve a great deal
of time. Consider avoiding topics that are so ‘near and dear’ that an open,
unbiased position would be difficult for you to maintain. However, choose a
topic that you care enough about to explore in this assignment, something
you have a stake in.
Select topics that can be proved by
empirical facts or by opinions established by such facts.
Avoid writing about religious or
philosophical topics or issues. They are not only too broad as topics, but
there is no way to prove them using statistics or expert opinions or based
on empirical or standard research methodology. However, prayer in the school
is a complex issue that can be developed with much thought and research. You
will have to read, interpret, and paraphrase sections of the Constitution
dealing with the complex problem of separation of church and state.
Kelli: Note here that the emphasis would be on presenting an argument based
on the LOGOS of the Constitution, which is based in law and fact, not the
ETHOS/PATHOS of a religious text that is based on faith and more personal,
biased rules that do not govern all people in public schools.
Limit your scope
. Since you are obligated to prove the
worthiness of your thesis (position), the broader your position, the more
you have to prove. For example, if you claim there should be no gun or
firearm regulation, you must attempt to justify that any number and any type
of firearm can be owned by anyone, even psychotic killers.
Consider the problem of topic ‘burn out.’
Avoid writing about over-used
topics, such as gun control, abortion, or legalizing marijuana.