H. Proposing a Solution

Proposing a Solution Assignment Sheet A
created by: Patricia Warman

Assignment #3: Proposing a Solution Essay

In your last essay assignment, you composed an Exploratory Essay. Your objective for that assignment was to “wallow in complexity:” to research and analyze, to posit a thesis, antithesis, and synthesis; and to challenge the common ways of looking at a problem. More than anything, you learned how to generate significant and problematic questions. Now you are asked to respond to those questions in the form of a proposal. Assignment #3 asks you to write a policy proposal that addresses a public issue in the form of a feature editorial for a particular newspaper, journal, or magazine. [If you’d prefer to write within another genre such as speech, get approval beforehand.]

The goal of the Proposing a Solution Essay is to make an argument that calls an audience to action. You’ll make a claim that some action should or ought to be taken. You will offer a solution to one of the problems you identified in your Exploratory Essay. Your solution will be a step in a positive direction for your community. By focusing your argument on one specific public problem, you will be responding to the frequently asked question: But what can we do?

As stated on page 239 of Allyn & Bacon, “for every proposal there is always an alternative course of action, including doing nothing. Your task as a proposal writer is threefold: You must demonstrate that a significant problem exists; propose a solution to the problem; and justify the solution, showing how the benefits outweigh the costs and that the proposed solution will fix the problem better than alternative solutions would.” Your essay should contain the following three parts: 1) a description of the problem, 2) a proposal for a solution, and 3) a justification for the solution.

Your introduction should get your audience’s attention (possibly by appealing to pathos), provide background on the conversation you are joining, and clearly state the claim you intend to support. The body of your argument should appeal to logos by presenting reasons and evidence in support of your position, as well as appeal to ethos by responding to opposing views (rebutting the counterargument). You may also appeal to pathos within your body by appealing to the values and beliefs of your audience.

This is a research paper. You should provide no fewer than six sources on your Works Cited/References page, including one firsthand source from field research (an interview, survey, or direct observation). Of these six required sources, four may come from your Exploratory Essay research, provided that the sources are utilized in a relevant manner in your paper. If you decide to focus on a problem not presented in your Exploratory Essay, you will need to start from a new line of research. [If you decide to take this option, I will need to approve your new research question or problem.] Remember: only use Internet sources if they are credible.

I will look for the following in your essay:
•Does the writer make a convincing argument as to why her audience should or ought to take action?
•Is the proposed action (or “claim”) clearly identified and explained?
•Is this claim logically supported by reasons and evidence?
•Have possible objections to the underlying assumptions (warrants) linking the claim and reasons been addressed?
•Have opposing views been addressed?
•Does the paper provide adequate background on the problem the author is attempting to remedy?

•Credible, relevant sources
•Appropriate style and tone
•Evidence of an effective writing process
•Logical progression and organization of thoughts
•Smooth transitions between ideas/ paragraphs
•Use of appropriate college-level spelling, grammar and mechanics
•MLA format, MLA/APA in-text citations, and Works Cited/References page

Proposing a Solution Essay B
created by: Jeff Wehr

Proposing a Solution Essay Instructions

Partial Draft Due to turnitin.com Monday, April 2nd
First Draft Due to turnitin.com Monday, April 9th
Final Draft Due to turnitin.com Friday, April 20th

Per page 507 of Guide to Writing, a policy proposal “typically addresses issues of public policy with the aim of swaying public support towards the writer’s proposed solution.”

This final essay brings together everything we’ve learned so far about utilizing and evaluating rhetorical appeals, elements of argument, dialectic thinking, structure, and research, to give you practice composing another type of argument–one that calls an audience to action. By focusing your argument on one specific public problem, you will be responding to the frequently asked question: But what can we do?

Write a 2000 word (approx 6 pages + works cited page), policy proposal that addresses a public issue. You must:
Demonstrate that a significant problem exists.
Propose a solution to the problem
Justify the solution by showing how the benefits outweigh the costs, and that the proposed solution will fix the problem better than alternative solutions

You are looking to persuade a segment of the public who have little knowledge or opinion on the issue. They need background on what the problem is and why they should care before they can be persuaded to act.

Your textbook provides a strong model for organization on pages 517-518, though this can be revised based on your topic and rhetorical decisions. For instance, you may choose to justify your solution before addressing counterarguments.
Presentation of Problem that needs Solving (Introduction)
Presentation of the Proposed Solution (Thesis & specifics of the solution)
Summary and Rebuttal of Opposing Views (Address the counterarguments / alternate solutions)
Justification (Why is yours the best solution?)

This research paper should cite no less than SIX sources. To ensure credibility of your argument, THREE of the sources must originate from the F.I.U. library database system.

This is a formal research essay. As per your syllabus, the paper should be double spaced and 12pt Times New Roman font. Page design and citation must be formatted according to MLA style.

This paper is worth 250 points. (35 for the first draft, 215 for the final draft.) Grading will be based on the below rubric of criteria.


Problem Defined / Background /Significance



Proposed Solution Clear and Specific



Justification Logical and Supported



Counterarguments Presented Objectively /Addressed Effectively



Conclusion Effective in Call to Action



Claims Supported w/Credible Evidence










Grammar /Style/Tone



MLA Style Design and Citation





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