Notes on Problem Solving

If you write in order to propose a solution to some problem, you have no lack of subjects to consider; however, you must ask yourself if it is a problem that can be solved.  Think of problems on a local, state, or national level.  Avoid "international" issues (i.e., world peace, global warming, etc.).  These topics are much too broad for this assignment and solutions extremely complicated. Rather than talk about education, drugs, crime or pollution on a national scale, you may want to find out how your own community or campus is dealing with the problem.  A local focus will help narrow your topic--and provide possibilities for using firsthand observations, personal experience, and interviews.
If the problem can be solved, the difficult part is to propose a solution and then persuade others that your solution will in fact solve the problem without creating new problems and without costing too much.  Because your proposal may ask readers to take some action, vote in a certain way, or actually work to implement yoru proposal, you must make sure that your reader vividly perceives the problem and agrees that your plan outlines the most logical and feasible solution.

Methods for Problem Solving
-Identifying and understanding your audience. If you want somthing done, fixed, changed, improved, subsidized, banned, reorganized, or made legal or illegal, make sure that you are writing to the appropriate audience.   You should anticipate reader's likely questions and objections.
-Demonstrating that a problem exists.  Some problems are so obvious that your readers will readily acknowledge them:  high crime rates, conflicts in Africa and the Middle East, air pollution in the industrialized nations, and drug and alcohol abuse.  Often, however, you must first convince your audience that a problem exists:  Are food preservatives really a serious problem, or would eliminating them cause even more problems?  You need to define the problem and help the reader realize the seriousness of it.
- Proposing a solution that will solve the problem.  After convincing your readers that a serious problem exists, you must the propose a remedy, plan, or course of action that will eliminate or reduce the problem. Describe the solution in detail. 
-Persuading your readers that your proposal will work, that it is feasible and can be implemented, or that it is better than the alternative solutions.  You convince your readers by supporting your proposal with reasons and evidence.