ENG 201 Assignment #3: Writing to Solve Problems

ENG 201 Assignment #3: Writing to Solve Problems

ENG 201: Intermediate Composition—Assignment #3: Writing to Solve Problems


DUE DATES: Listed on your course schedule


REQUIRED READING: Pages 373-376, 381-387, 412-419 in TMHG


Your text reminds us that we “see, hear, and read about problems and possible solutions to those problems all the time” (372). Therefore, it is likely that you will continue to encounter problem/solution-focused writing (and thinking) in other academic disciplines in your college experience, and in your future career.


The Assignment

In this assignment, you will develop a 10-12 page paper that identifies a specific problem, analyzes its causes and effects, and proposes a feasible solution (or solutions). The problem might be at school; at your workplace; in your community; at your church; in the local, state, or federal government; or in some other specific context. You will need to clearly identify the problem, providing evidence to support your claim that the problem is, in fact, a problem and analyzing the causes and effects of the problem. Then you will propose a feasible solution to the problem. The key word here is feasible. If the solution is too expensive, takes too much time and/or effort to implement, or is unlikely to be implemented for some other reason—such as logistics, ethics, etc.—then it is not feasible). 

One challenge with this assignment is that, depending on the problem you propose to solve, you might need specific unique sources to support your solution to the problem, and you might not be able to gain access to those sources (e.g., if they are proprietary, confidential, or require a “Freedom of Information Act” request). Therefore, in selecting a problem to solve, consider the availability and accessibility of relevant source information that you will need, not only to prove that a problem exists but also that your solution is feasible.

You will need to use 8-12 sources in your paper to provide background to the problem (including its causes and effects) and to support your proposed solution. Your sources must be highly credible and relevant, so you must be selective in your research.  Keep in mind that some problems and solutions might require empirical data for support, not just someone else’s informed opinion.  However, given the limitations for human subjects research imposed by law on students and faculty by CMU’s Institutional Review Board, any data used in your proposal must be gathered by some other source (e.g. the Census Bureau, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, The World Health Organization, etc.) and may not include data that you have obtained directly (i.e., you may not conduct any interviews, surveys, observations, etc.).

In addition to including information based on your own knowledge and experience, use a combination of summary, paraphrase, and quotation in your paper; and, as we have consistently discussed this semester,all information from sources—whether quoted, paraphrased, or summarized, whether words or images—must be cited.

Include any appropriate visuals that will enhance the effectiveness of your report. All borrowed visuals must be cited.  Do not include gratuitous visuals, such as clip art; include only visuals that readers will find useful in understanding your proposal.

Your paper should do the following:

1) In the intro:

-Identify your problem clearly.

-Establish the existence of the problem.

-Identify who your audience is through the content you provide: don’t announce who you’re writing to/for.

-Introduce your purpose/reason for writing. 


2) In the body:

-Organize your content according to one of the models on p. 400 in your text.

-Integrate a variety of research and compelling evidence (from 8-12 sources) to support your topic.

-Include personal knowledge and experience with the topic, to build your discussion in a dimensional way.

-Incorporate relevant visuals (only if they will help the reader understand certain aspects of your topic).

-Introduce a variety of solutions that might be used to solve the problem, evaluating the feasibility of each.


3) In the conclusion:

-Choose the best solution for solving the problem.

-Introduce an implementation plan.

-Urge your audience to take action.


4) Throughout the paper:

-Use the semicolon and colon correctly, a total of 4 times. Review your assignment sheets from Assignments #1 and #2 for examples of how to use these punctuation marks.