The Problem Solution Essay
Just what is a problem solution essay? Have you just been assigned one and have no idea how to begin even choosing a topic? Students are often confused by the title of this type of essay, because they have never encountered the terminology before. Let’s clear that up first. A problem solution essay is a type of process essay, and, of course, you know that term. So relax – well just a bit. It is a process essay but of a little bit different variety.
First You Need a Problem to Solve
If you have not been assigned a specific problem, you get to pick one. Generally, however, you will need to choose a problem that relates to the course content. For example, a problem solution topic in sociology might be child food insecurity or discrimination against the LGBT community. A topic in a political science class might relate to the amount of money being poured into elections. A biology topic might be the lack of regulations and policies related to biogenetic engineering. These are all serious topics.
On the other hand, if your problem solving essay has been assigned in an English comp course, you can get a bit creative and even humorous. Perhaps the problem topic will relate to your roommate leaving food in the fridge until it becomes a science experiment.
Now You Need a Process
The problem-solving process is pretty universal, actually. You make a clear statement of the problem. For example, “Every day in this country, 14 million children face food insecurity,” or “The refrigerator in my apartment is filled with leftover food, placed there by my roommate, that turns into something that looks like a science experiment for growing penicillin.”
Once you have the problem clearly stated, you need to come up with possible solutions to the problem. You should always try to have at least three, to demonstrate that you have really given the problem some thought. In some instances, such as the problem of child food insecurity, your optional solutions might come from research and the proposed solutions of experts on the topic. In the case of your roommate, you can come up with your own obviously – putting the science experiments under his/her pillow, decorating his/her bedroom with them, placing one or two in his/her book bag, etc.
Once you have listed your options, you need to speak to the pros and cons of each one, so that you can determine which one has the most “pros” and the least “cons” and make your selection of the optimal solution. And if your solution is one that you can personally test, then you can state a plan for testing it.
Organizing the Essay
Students who claim they do not know how to write a problem solution essay are usually struggling with its organization. Really, it is quite easy. Here are the steps:
- Your introduction states the problem and why there needs to be a solution found for the problem. Why is it important for children to be fed well and regularly? Why do we need some policies and/or regulations related to biogenetic engineering? Then state how many options there are for a solution – your reader then knows that’s what you will be addressing next.
- Each body paragraph presents an option with its pros and cons. You will have as many paragraphs as you have options.
- The conclusion establishes the best option and explains why it is so.
You see? All of the stress for nothing. A problem solving essay is easy to organize once you have your problem and your options!