For this assignment, you will write an essay that takes the form of a proposal: specifically, I am asking that you describe a significant problem and propose your recommended solution. You may use the topic you used for the synthesis and/or argument essay, or you may choose a new topic. Choose your topic carefully, as it will need to support extensive library research and a paper of at least 3,000 words.
This assignment requires you to identify a local, national, or global problem that could be solved by an organization, or the government, or some other organized collective. 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 don’t recognize field burning as a problem, while others think it is, and still others have no idea it’s even a controversy. 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 extensive library research on it and write at least 3,000 words 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. Thus, not only do you need to deal with counter-arguments (as in your argument essay), but you also need to deal with counter-solutions. Here are some of the qualities of an effective problem/solution essay:
• A clearly defined problem
• An awareness of what your audience knows and doesn’t know about the problem and the solution
• A well-explained solution


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