Problem-Solution Research Paper

For this essay, you will be researching a social issue important to you. This essay must be an argumentative essay. You will employ the elements of argumentation. You must use at least FIVE outside sources. A minimum of THREE of these sources must be from published sources, which you may find using the library databases, rather than Websites that you could find browsing the Web or “Googling.”

This assignment requires you to identify a local, national, or global problem that could be solved by an organization or by the government. The problem should not be one that is personal; it needs to be a social problem, the kind that affects many people. In some cases, you might need to persuade your audience that something IS a problem before you can argue for a solution – for instance, many farmers in Idaho still don’t recognize field burning as a problem, though others think it is. Take care to select a problem that is specific enough that you can deal with it within the confines of this assignment but big enough that you can do library research on it.

In your essay, you need to describe the problem and convince your readers that the topic you have selected really is a problem. Next, you need to propose a solution for it and argue for that solution. It is usually necessary to argue for one solution (or solutions) while also arguing against another solution. In other words, your task is to convince your readers that the solution that you propose is the best one. Your essay should also take counterarguments into account. Here are some of the qualities of an effective proposal:

A clearly defined problem. This may include an argument as to why your chosen problem, is a problem.

A well-explained solution.

Evidence for why your solution will be effective.

An explanation of counterarguments against your proposed solution or the articulation of the problem (if it may not be universally recognized as a problem).

A review of alternative solutions.

A call to action.

Research

Why do writers do research? It depends on the topic and your purpose, of course, but most often it’s for one or more of the following reasons:

Basic fact-finding. For instance, someone writing about nontraditional students might need to find out the percentage of nontraditional to traditional students currently attending college in the U.S.

To understand what has already been said about the subject. For instance, if you were writing about the Phantom wolf pack in Sun Valley, you would need to retrace the reactions to Idaho’s decision to allow wolf hunting and the reactions to those reactions.

To provide necessary background information for the reader. This could be historical information about some aspect of the topic, but it also might be cultural or geographical background.

To gain a conceptual understanding about some aspect of the subject: if you were researching the relation of Native tribal laws to U.S. law, for example, you might need to understand the dynamics of racism in relation to law (an example of which is affirmative action).

To develop a broader view of the subject. Doing secondary research helps to give you a new perspective on your topic or question.

When you submit your final essay, you must also submit your sources in a Works

Cited page that adheres to MLA standards. All papers must be formatted to MLA guidelines: double spaced, 12 pt. font, last name with page numbers in upper right hand corner (header area), name, instructor name, course and date in the upper left hand corner as well as in-text citations.

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