How to Write a Problem-Solution Essay

College Writing Made Simple 4

Organization

A Problem-Solution Essay discusses a problem, and then provides a plan for its solution.  We often use this type of essay when we what to persuade others that we have a better idea, or a better plan.

For this assignment, we will use the block method:

Paragraph 1:

  • Hook
  • Connecting Information
  • Thesis Statement

Paragraph 2: Reasons why the problem is real

Paragraph 3: Solution(s) for the problem: individual levels

Paragraph 4: Solution(s) for the problem: community levels

Paragraph 5: Conclusion


Thesis Statement

The problem-solution thesis statement can be one sentence or two.  Whether it is one or two sentence, it needs to clearly state what the problem is, and then the possible solutions.

Example:

  • Excessive noise from traffic poses health risks to people of all ages. Researchers have developed two possible solutions to protect people and still preserve the flow of traffic.

Body Paragraphs

The first body paragraph describes the problem in such a way that the reader is convinced that the problem needs solving.  Then the next body paragraphs explain the solution(s) to the problem persuading the readers that the solutions are the best.  You can include a rebuttal for objections.

Conclusion

The conclusion restates the thesis statements. It should be done in such a way as to emphasize the solutions. The closing statement should leave a call to action – challenging the readers to do something about the problem.

 

Suggested Outline

Introduction

  1. The hook – use an interesting fact, or a quote, or even a rhetorical question
  2. Connecting information – briefly introduce the problem
  3. Thesis statement  – state the problem, why it’s a problem, refer to a proposed solution for the problem

Body Paragraph: 1

  1. Write a topic sentence that defines the problem
    1. Describe what the problem is
    2. Provide examples and reasons that show why the problem is important
    3. Show how the problem affects our lives

Body Paragraph: 2

  1. Write a topic sentence that defines the solution: individual level
    1. Explain why this solution is good
    2. Provide steps on how the solution can be implemented
    3. Show how the solution solves the problem

Body Paragraph: 3

  1. Write a topic sentence that defines the solution: community level
    1. Explain why this solution is good
    2. Provide steps on how the solution can be implemented
    3. Show how the solution solves the problem

Conclusion

  1. Restate the thesis statement
  2. Summarize main points
  3. Connect solution to our lives
  4. Final thought