The paper is PROBLEM/SOLUTION type of essay. Please read carefully the Problem/Solution lecture note file to see the pattern and Problem/Solution Assignment Instructor file for more details on how you do this type of paper. The pre-writing file is the scenario of what problem is and come up with some solution. Please base on that as an outline.
Lecture Notes on Problem/Solution Writing
Table of Contents
The problem/solution pattern is used when someone has a problem and is looking for a solution.The reader’s goal is to find and implement the solution articulated so their problem goes away.
A summary of the problem/solution pattern is in Table 1.
Table 1: Problem/Solution Summary of Characteristics
|Purpose||To solve a problem the reader has|
|Audience/Reader||The reader that has the problem|
|Secondary Audience (someone who may also read a document)||Someone who is affected by the problem, but may not implement the solution themselves|
|Point of View (1st, 2nd, 3rd)||2nd|
|Tone (based on word choice & format [visual appeal, fonts])||formal|
|Pace (the speed that ideas are presented to the reader)||medium|
|Organization Method||Introduction (problem)
body sections (solution)
Where the body sections (solution) are organized as one of the following options:
And where the solutions are organized as one of the following options:
|Cognitive Skill required for writing||Thinking logically about the problem and its solution(s). Handling the reader’s objections: “Why can’t my reader do what I tell them to do?”|
|Writing Skill||Organizing solutions and objection handling, writing the conclusion (persuasive tone)|
(when it’s very easy to be less than truthful in writing)
|Exaggerated claims in solution, exaggerated claims of problem or its difficulties (like ads), solution not adequate but saying it is|
|Examples||Proposals (in response to a request for proposal (RFP)), FAQs (Q = problem, A = solution), marketing case studies|
As an author that needs to provide information to people as part of your job, you need to decide how to organize that information.
You would be cued to use the problem/solution pattern by someone using any of the following words:
The P/S pattern is organized with an introduction, body sections, and conclusion.
The title of P/S writing tells the reader that the solution to their problem lies here.
If the introduction is too long, then the reader will lose interest before they reach your solutions. So theintroduction section should be short, but short is relative because there are number of tasks that it must address. The introduction section includes the following information:
In the brief explanation of the problem, you need to be clear enough so that the reader knows that you know what problem they have. Then they know that the solutions offered would actually solve their problem.
NOTE: This requirement is not to convince the reader that they have a problem. Remember that in P/S writing the reader knows they have a problem and is looking for a solution. This part of the introduction convinces them that the problem is serious. That is, they need to solve it NOW. They shouldn’t wait any longer.
One way to think about coming up with this content is to imagine what might happen if the problem went unsolved.While the reader may realize that a problem needs fixing, they may not understand the ramifications of why it’s serious and needs fixing right away.
For example, say that the reader’s kitchen sink drips and they need to get it fixed. That’s the problem. Why is it serious? It wastes gallons and gallons of clean water each day; water that they are paying for. Over even a short period of time, that wasted water can cost a lot of money (for best effect, you could estimate the amount.) Okay, now, that’s serious.
NOTE: Do not say “This is serious” to tell the reader that the problem is serious. Let the reader understand the seriousness in facts or explanation.
Telling the reader that there is one solution that will solve their problem.
Telling the reader that the solution has several steps that must be followed in a particular order.
Telling the reader that more than one solution exists for this problem.
NOTE: You must explain to the reader how to choose the various solutions: First fit? As many as possible? All of the above (which makes that sound more like a solution with multiple steps)? Do this in the introduction, body, or in the conclusion.
NOTE: Yes, you must use one of the sets of phrases in the introduction, because the reader needs to understand how the solution is structured before they read the specifics of solving their problem. This phrase helps to orient the reader on how to read the rest of the document, which you’ll recall is one of the roles of the introduction section.
Do not forecast the solution itself. That is, do not offer a summary of the solution in the introduction. Why? You want the reader to read your solution. If you give them a summary of the solution in the introduction, thenthey may not read further. Thus the reader will miss all the details that would make it possible for them to implement the solution successfully.
In the body, you explain the solution.
The solution needs to tell the reader specifically what to do that solves their problem. That could be written in terms of instructions or process writing depending on how much prior knowledge the reader has about what they need to do to solve the problem.
The body contains strong solution language that includes examples or other specifics.
Avoid using problem language in the body.The reader knows the problem they have, so focus on how to solve it.
Avoid persuasive language in the body.The reader wants to solve their problem, so you don’t need to convince them to solve it. Some benefits to the solution (which is persuasive language) might leak into the solution as you describe how to solve it, but don’t focus on benefits or persuasive language in the body.
Use headings that are rules/commands to help the reader follow what they should do to solve their problem.
There are three options for organizing the body section of a problem/solutionpattern. Pick the one that matches your solution organization as identified in the introduction.
When you are offering multiple solutions, you need to let the reader decide which solution to adopt based on their own situation. You can give them suggestions, such as the more solutions you adopt the better, or pick the first one that fits your situation, or whatever.
The body sections are written as either process or instructions. See Table 2.
Table 2: Quick Refresher on Organizing using Process vs InstructionsWriting
|Organization||Process is organized in progressive level of disclosure order||Instructions are organized as stages and steps. Each stage has a heading. Each step is numbered and begins with verbs|
|Audience||Readers that already know how||Uninformed readers that need step-by-step instructions to follow|
|Example||Explain to the reader how to create a strong password, using a combination of letters, capital letters, and special characters||Provide step-by-step instructions on how to change a password in a specific application|
While the process writing is similar for problem/solution, there are several variations that apply. While process is written as Why+Ruleorder, problem/solution is written asRule +How+If.
Use a command form of the verb as the heading. This will tell the reader what to do. Since the reader is predisposed to follow what you’re suggesting, then it’s okay to start with the rule. Unlike in process writing, where the reader needs to see the logic of why before being told what to do.
You can’t stop at the “rule”, that is the beginning of the explanation of what to do. Afterwards you would explain in more detail using either instructions or process writing depending on the knowledge level of the reader to the topic.
Have you ever read a suggestion of what to do and while you were reading it, in the back of your mind, you were thinking, “not likely” or “not in this lifetime” or some other objection to the suggestion? Yes! That’s a situation where the reader is objecting to what the author wants the reader to do.
What if the author told you at that moment that your brain rejected the idea, “if you can’t do <rejected idea>, then do <alternative idea> instead”? Would you be more likely to keep following the reading? Yes. That “if” statement is considered objection handling.
Since you, as the author, will be telling the reader what to do (in the form of a solution to a problem the reader is having), you must handle these unconscious objections that occur in the readers’ minds when they read your solution.
Objection handling needs to be handled promptly so that the reader doesn’t go away and find another solution, but instead adopts the alternative you provided. In the case of a company offering the solution vs another company, if the reader goes away and purchases a competitive product instead, objection handling can be the difference between getting revenue or not.
NOTE: The reader doesn’t think in terms of “objection handling” but rather “alternative solution.”
Objection handling is handling the problem that has come up in the reader’s mind. The reader, while reading the solution, inwardly shakes their head, saying “this (or some part of the solution) won’t work.” So the objection handling needs to offer an alternative.
Objective handling means that you acknowledge the objection in their mind as the reader reads your solution (why they can’t use that solution or part of that solution) and counter with what they can do instead.
The best way to offer the objection handling is an “if” statement:
“If”<(some part of) the solution doesn’t work>, “then” <give alternative solution.>
NOTE: You can’t be vague and say “if this doesn’t work.” In the “if” statement, you need to be specific about what their brain is rejecting.
NOTE: Always put the alternative solution in its own paragraph.This is so that the solution is separate from the alternative solution, which is a separate idea. Even if the “if” statement is just one sentence, it ought to be its own paragraph.
Avoid using “if” in other parts of the solution language, unless it’s the objection handling.
Do not convincethe reader they don’t have a problem with the solution, and they should just buck up and do what you’re telling them to do.
The following bullets offer ideas of why the reader might be shaking their head “no way” while reading the solution you offer:
Depending on your solution organization, you deliver the objection handling differently as follows:
NOTE: For this pattern body, you can’t say “If this step does not work, then try the next step” because in a solution with multiple steps, you’re expecting the reader to perform each step. So if they can’t perform some aspect of a step, then you need to identify an alternative to that, not the next step.
NOTE: Sometimes for multiple solutions, the objection handling can be as easy as “If this solution doesn’t work for you, then try the next solution” assuming that you have the solutions organized in an order that supports that structure. Just don’t forget to offer an objection for that last solution in the body; you cannot send the reader to the top of the list of solutions again to find one that worksthis time. If you can’t take advantage of this option, each solution still needs its own objection handling.
The goal of the conclusion is to convince the reader to use the solution or one of the solutions you’ve offered.
This answers the “now what” as you convince the reader WHY these solution(s) are the best way to solve the problem. (Consider that the reader may have read other competing solutions and you want the reader to pick your solution.)
One way is to summarize with a powerful statement, question, fact, quotation, or another device to drive home to your reader that this solution is the best answer to their problem.
Topics to avoid in the conclusion:
The problem/solution pattern has a strong need for exact language/word choice.
The following example offers problem language about electric cars, which would be found in the introductionof the P/S pattern.
The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that only about 600 electric vehicle-charging stations existed in 2014 (“Electric Vehicle Charging Station Location”). As an EV owner, if you can find an electric-charging station, it takes multiple hours to charge the battery. “With a Level 2 (240V) charging dock, an EV can be refueled in 2-8 hours, depending on the vehicle battery size and charging capability. If you’re using a standard 110V outlet, the refueling time could be as long as 8-16 hours” (Plug-In America). Due to the low number of vehicle-charging stations and the amount of time to charge a vehicle, more charging stations need to be created.
Can you find which specific words tell you this is problem language? Can you find which language tells you that this problem is serious and needs to be solved right away?
Which of the four elements of the problem/solution introduction requirements can you spot in these two paragraphs? See the answer to this question in the footnote:.
The following example offers solution language about electric cars, which would be located in the body sections of the P/S pattern.
Facilities need to be co-located with the new charging stations.
While EV car owners are waiting for their car to charge, a process that can take some time, provide a community of activities for their interest while they wait.
Work with other vendors to build the following:
If you can’t get land for these extra services, even a small coffee hut with free wifi gives the waiting EV owners something to do.
Can you see how this wording describes a solution only? Notice how there is no problem language in this section. Can you identify the objection handling? Can you see how the objection handling addresses objections that might have occurred to the reader while reading the solution?
The following paragraph offers conclusion language about electric cars, which would be found in the conclusion section of the P/S pattern.
Once people can easily find a charging station while they are traveling long distances to charge their vehicle, and can enjoy the time they wait for it to charge, they will be more likely to make their next vehicle an electric one. These electric vehicle purchases would reduce the nation’s fossil fuel requirements and its by-products, such as fossil fuel emissions and its resultant global warming.
Can you find which specific words tell you this is persuasive language? Answer: “easily”, “enjoy”, “more likely”, “reduce”. Can you see how the benefits are used as persuasive language, not as a description of how to implement the solution (body section)?
Various questions/tasks need to be completed during the pre-writing stage of the writing process as outlined:
NOTE: The problem/solution pattern is one of the most common patterns that you’ll use on the job, since your job will be to solve problems. Once you’ve understood this pattern, there are many ways in which you can change it based on your situation. For example:
 ANSWER: The paragraph identifies the problem and acknowledges the reader. It does not explain why the problem is serious (it’s implied in the amount of time to charge a vehicle, but not explained why that’s serious).It does not forecast the solution type.
Assignment 4 Pre-Writing
TOPIC: National ID Cards
PROBLEM: The creation of National ID can jeopardize American citizen privacy
WHO HAS THE PROBLEM? Residence
AUDIENCE: Residence and people who are aware of identity privacy
AUDIENCE ANALYSIS: They have been aware of a new Nation ID system will not prevent terrorism but would significantly reduce the freedom and privacy of people who legalized obey the law. They also concern about the failure of keeping the user database privacy.
DELIVERY: Administration Counsellor of Washington DC
AUTHOR: National ID Cards User
– Updating to minimize any ID card system error if possible
– Enhancing higher security levels
– Reduce the barrier of fragmented infrastructure
Write a Problem/Solution paper to assist the reader to understand the state of their problem and offera solution.
With all assignments so far, I’ve given you the audience and scenario for your assignment.
With this assignment,you will do this yourself. Your job is to identify an audience who has a problem you’ve identified within your topic area. You can identify any problem area that exists within your topic area; the problem does not need to relate to or lead from your position paper.
In problem/solution writing, the audience is looking for a solution that is accessible to them, that they can use right away to solve a problem. So no editorials!
In order for your instructor to be able to grade your assignment, he/she needs to be toldabout your scenario that you’ve established for your P/S paper by these pre-writing exercises.
Therefore, on a separate page, answer the following questions. NOTE: You MUST turn-in a copy of this scenario page with your assignment.
The delivery location you pick for your assignment must be an actual, real world location. You will match your work to fit its look.This assignment is not about creating your own look. This assignment is about matching an existing real world look. You must format your P/S assignment in this same delivery mechanism, so that your imaginary audience with this problem could find your solution.
Include the URL so that the instructor can see what you are mimicking.
NOTE: This delivery can NOT be a letter or a memo. You’ve done that. Think of another way to deliver your solution that is not tied to a specific audience. Special exceptions may be made if you ask for permission from the instructor.
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