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Project Three

Page history last edited by Sue Muecke 13 years, 10 months ago

Project Three:

Problem Solving






For this assignment, you are to advocate that something should be done to address or alleviate a problem.  Your aim is to convince your audience that a situation is a problem and that a certain action should be taken to respond to that problem.


To do this, you will work closely with two types of arguments: evaluation and proposal.  Evaluations argue that something is good or bad, effective or ineffective, ethical or unethical, and so on, based on practical, ethical, and/or aesthetic criteria.  You will use evaluation techniques to examine the problem you've identified.


Once you've identified and explored the intricacies of your problem, you will need to propose a solution to it.  Your solution will need to be practical and implementable.  For example, if you were exploring the problem of overpopulation, you would need to propose a more feasible solution than establishing a colony on Mars.  The balance of your paper should be devoted towards your problem solution.  Make sure to explain how and why your solution will work.



Where Do I Start?


Your starting point might well be something that bothers you and that you feel should be changed.  Of course, you might have to convince your readers that it is a problem for them too, if that is not obvious.


The following rhetorical situations might also give you some ideas for identifying a problem in need of solving:


1.  You might focus on some aspect of current politics: a current policy, a recent Supreme Court decision or a hometown issue worthy of attention.  You might also address a more general trend in decisions that have been made by government entities.


2.  You might examine a problem in the policies or procedures of non-government entities, such as those of a professional sports association, a school, or any other organization that impacts a significant number of people.


3.  You might look at a trend in popular culture, examining works of music, literature, film, theatre or other art that contributes to this trend.





As you work out the rhetorical situation for this project, pay particular attention to your audience.  You should be able to specify an actual audience to whom you would present this work.  Consider what your purpose is - you are either trying to convince your audience to take action to solve this problem, or you are trying to convince them to support an action that solves this problem.  Think also about forum - how are you reaching your audience?  Through a newspaper editorial?  A blog post?  A speech?


Consider carefully how differences in audience and forum will influence the specific kind of thesis and support you need to present.  As you develop your argument, make effective use of all the strategies of invention that we have been practicing in earlier papers.  You may want to find out how similar policies are enacted in similar situations.  You will certainly need to be aware of competing solutions.  Supporting the feasibility of your solution may require investigating the implementation, procedure, cost, and enforcement of your proposed action.





The conventional structure for a problem-solving argument is as follows:

  • first, present the problem

    • demonstrate that it is a problem

    • explain the nature of the problem

    • discuss its negative consequences

  • then, give your proposed solution

    • explain the nature of your solution

    • explain how and why it would work

    • discuss the benefits of your proposal

    • explain why your proposal is feasible


However, in composing Project Three, feel free to use any of the organizational strategies we have used in the semester so far.  And remember to keep your audience in mind during all phases of your writing process.  A successful proposal is one that knows its audience and caters to their needs and expectations.



The Basics

  • 6-8 pages
  • MLA format and style (one-inch margins, double-spaced, 12-point Times New Roman font, proper first page presentation, page headers)
  • Minimum of four sources
    • No Wikipedia, About.com, dictionary or encyclopedia sources allowed
    • At least two of these sources must be either a scholarly peer-reviewed journal or a book 
    • If you have questions about the acceptability of a source, please ask me.
  • Works Cited page (in MLA format) 



Project Three Rubric

Project Three Planning Questions

Project Three Peer Review Form



Project Three Due Dates


Wednesday, November 3: Planning Workshop

(Submit your responses to the Project Three Planning Questions as a comment on the It Needs Evaluation page by 5:00pm on Tuesday, November 2.  Then re-visit the page after 5:00pm to read your classmates' responses to these questions.  Choose at least one project [not your own] that you would like to discuss during the Planning Workshop.)


Monday, November 8: Rough Draft Workshop

(Submit your Project Three rough draft by uploading the document to the wiki, then linking it on your Roster page.  See the How to Upload Papers to the Wiki page for step-by-step instructions.)


Monday, November 15: Final Draft of Project Three due by 11:59pm Monday night

(Submit your final draft by uploading the document to the wiki, then linking it to your name on the It's the Final Countdown page.)


Wednesday, November 17: SafeAssign report due

(Print out a copy of your final Project Three SafeAssign report and hand it in to me at the beginning of class.)



Project Three Examples



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