Writing to Solve Problems
Assignment: Think about some problem in your community, such as litter that does not get picked up, gang violence, job losses, high housing prices, a lack of parks, or big-box stores moving in or closing down, propose a feasible solution to this problem, and justify your solution with reasons and evidence. To brainstorm ideas, think about what is problematic in your community or what seems to be a pressing problem, what has been done so far to resolve it, what solutions have been suggested, what your solution is to this problem, and why your solution is the best one.
Overused Topics: Unless you have a personal connection to the topic and have obtained permission from your instructor, don’t focus your project on any of following issues, as they either a) are too generic or common, b) don’t promote creative idea generation, or c) lack sufficient depth. Instead, challenge yourself to research and learn about a topic that you don’t know much about.
Abortion, death penalty, decriminalization of marijuana, euthanasia, eating disorders or body image, global warming, negative effects of the media, religion or God, stem cells or cloning, steroids, recycling, homelessness, gun control, sex education, animal testing, gay marriage, immigration, vaccination.
Part 1: Specifics of the Proposal:
- Your argument should have the following features:
– Description of the problem (Persuade your audience that this is a genuine problem that needs solving; give it presence; explain why it is a serious problem that needs to be resolved.)
– Description of the best solution (a proposal for action) that will help alleviate the problem (Show your audience that your solution is logical, feasible, and practical; give details as to how it will be executed.)
– Justification of the solution (Give 2-3 reasons why your audience should accept your proposal and act on it; what reasons would they be more likely to accept?)
– Description of 2-3 alternative solutions that have been suggested by others previously, followed by an explanation of why yours is more effective than those in resolving the problem
– Summarization of the concerns and objections that your audience may bring up, followed by your rebuttal (Address 2-3 counter-arguments.)
- Since proposals aim to bring about change, your audience should be decision-makers, people in power who can implement your solution and make that change happen. Remember that your voice, justifying reasons, and evidence should be geared towards this specific audience.
- You must use at least 6 academic and credible sources to support your opinions. At least 3 of these sources should be from ASU library databases. They should be incorporated into the essay effectively by using signal phrases and cited correctly. (If you haven’t already, make sure to watch the videos in the “Research Help” and “Documenting Sources” modules for reference.)
Length: 1500-2000 words of typed text (excluding the References list) and in APA style. It must be submitted as a Word document as doc, docx, or rtf file — not pages or odt.
Note: For this project, besides an academic essay, you can also pick another genre that might be more suitable to present your proposal for the audience you are targeting. Possible genres are discussed in chapter 12; for example, you may consider writing it in the form of a letter, newspaper article/editorial, magazine article, detailed memo, etc. Think about your audience and their expectations to determine which form of text you need to use. Regardless of the genre you choose, the written text must meet the length, number of sources, and citation requirements.
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