Identify a Critical Problem in your Major Area of Study
1. Identify a Critical Problem in your Major Area of Study. Define and discuss the potential consequences of a problem within your major area of study. Use one of the problem-definition question sets provided on page 377 to define the problem. To support your discussion of the potential consequences of the problem, locate sources in scholarly journals and on websites sponsored by one or more of the discipline’s professional organizations. If time permits, conduct a survey of professors who teach in the field. You can find lists of names through scholarly associations; ask your instructor or a librarian for help identifying them.
2. Trace the Development of a Problem. Identify a problem that has not yet been solved, and trace its development. Discuss its causes, factors that contribute to its ongoing status as a problem, and factors that have worked against the creation of a successful solution. To support your discussion, locate published, credible sources that have considered the problem. If you can, collect evidence firsthand through observation, surveys, or interviews. Although you are not required to offer a solution, consider using your conclusion to suggest directions that might be pursued to solve the problems.
3. Evaluate Proposed Solutions to a Problem. Evaluate solutions that have been proposed to solve a problem. In your essay, briefly define the problem, and discuss the long-term consequences if the problem is left unsolved. Then identify general approaches that have been proposed to solve the problem. Choose at least two and not more than four proposed solutions to evaluate. Define your evaluation criteria (p. 312), and discuss how well each of the proposed solutions measures up. In your conclusion, offer your assessment of whether the solutions you’ve judged to be most likely to succeed will actually be implemented. To support your discussion, locate published, credible sources that have addressed the problem.
• Include a strong thesis that clearly states your intentions for the paper at the end of your introduction.
• Fully describe the problem you are discussing, as well as its implications on society today.
• Use traditional paragraph structure (topic sentence followed by supporting points and a concluding or transitional sentence).
• Demonstrate your understanding of standard essay structure by including an introduction that leads to a thesis, narrative, and reflection in the body of the paper with strong transitions between paragraphs, and a thematic conclusion.
• Fully integrate your sources into your essay, rather than drawing on a random quote or two just to meet the source requirement.
• Demonstrate your understanding of standard grammar usage, sentence structure, and punctuation. Use your textbook if you need help, or contact me or the Writing Center on campus.