Expert answer:Identifying and Solving a Social Problem Essay

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Lname 1
Your Name
Dr. Thomas
ENG 111
Title Here
HOOK (short paragraph; 2-3 sentences)

Be creative; have fun with it.
Grab the reader’s attention.
You may use personal pronouns, but avoid UNNECESSARY personal pronouns.
You are not required to incorporate an outside source into the hook, but it’s possible that
a famous quote or shocking statistic may be helpful. (CREDO or news article)
No heading for this section since it comes right after the title.
INTRODUCTION (1-2 paragraphs)

Teach your broad topic to your reader. For example, if your “social issue” is examining
whether or not welfare recipients should be required to pass a drug test, your introductory
paragraphs will teach the reader what welfare is, how the process works, and a short
history of public aid in the US. You may also touch on the basics of drug testing.
Many students will end up with one paragraph which focuses on definitions and/or
processes and another paragraph which focuses on history. You may keep them together
under one heading or divide them into Introduction and Historical Perspectives.
Avoid personal pronouns.
Do not reveal your opinion on the issue YET.
Think of this section as a way to catch the reader up to speed on your topic so that they
will be able to understand the rest of your essay. You can teach the reader what you know
about the topic, but make sure you synthesize your knowledge with credible information
from an outside source.
Heading Title (all headings should be centered with normal title capitalization rules)
o Introduction
Source: reference source from the CREDO database.

Make the case for the importance of your chosen social issue.
Build a bridge from the historical information to the situation we’re in TODAY.
Lname 2

The problem statement is a SUBJECTIVE, persuasive paragraph in which you attempt to
convince the reader that the topic is worth writing an essay about. In other words, you are
revealing your opinion to the reader.
Avoid personal pronouns.
Use cause-effect reasoning.
Helpful questions to help you focus your paragraph…
o What is the controversy? (In general terms… you will address the specifics later.)
o How do you know that this problem is REAL and not just something fabricated or
exaggerated by the media or politicians?
o Stakeholder analysis
▪ Who is involved in this issue? Who is impacted by this issue?
▪ Who is unhappy about the current situation, and why?
▪ In other words, why should your readers care about this issue?
o What causes this problem?
o What are the effects of this problem?
▪ What might happen if this problem is not solved?
o How have the events of the past led us to the current situation?
▪ A cause-effect chain is appropriate.
The final sentence of this paragraph will be your thesis statement.
o X should Y because Z.
o Due to Z, X should Y.
Heading: Choose one!
o Problem Statement
o Statement of the Problem
Source: recent news story (specifically NOT an op-ed; just a report of a recent event
related to your topic).
POSITION A (2 paragraphs about one of your NY Times Room for Debate articles)

Provide a one paragraph objective summary of the article.
o Start with information about the rhetorical situation of the article:
▪ Title
▪ Author
▪ Author Information
▪ Publisher (will be NY Times Room for Debate)
o Provide an overview of the author’s purpose and position.
Follow the summary with 1-2 paragraphs of analysis. You are expected to make
analytical claims about the text and incorporate direct quotations and/or paraphrase from
the article to support your claims.
Avoid personal pronouns.
Heading: Make up your own heading to reflect the content of the chosen article.
Source: NY Times “Room for Debate” Op-Ed
Lname 3
POSITION B (2 paragraphs about the other NY Times Room for Debate articles)

Provide a one paragraph objective summary of the article.
o Start with information about the rhetorical situation of the article:
▪ Title
▪ Author
▪ Author Information
▪ Publisher (will be NY Times Room for Debate)
o Provide an overview of the author’s purpose and position.
Follow the summary with 1-2 paragraphs of analysis. You are expected to make
analytical claims about the text and incorporate direct quotations and/or paraphrase from
the article to support your claims.
Avoid personal pronouns.
Heading: Make up your own heading to reflect the content of the chosen article.
Source: NY Times “Room for Debate” Op-Ed
CONCLUSION (1-2 paragraphs)

Explain your position on the issue.
Answer the WHY. Why do you feel/think/believe these things?
How is your position similar to either of the articles discussed in your position sections?
How is your position different from either of the articles?
Support your claims with outside sources (maybe from one of the previous position
sections or maybe a new source)
Avoid personal pronouns.
Heading: Conclusion
Source: Student’s choice (must use at least one source in this section)

You may decide exactly how to frame your conclusion, but it must accomplish at least a
couple of these things:
o Make a set of recommendations for the everyday person (the reader).
o Make a set of recommendations for the people in power (elected officials, etc.)
o Write a new proposed law to replace the current law.
o Suggest changes to the government’s budget.
o Create a five-step plan for positive change.
o Create a one-year plan.
o Create a five- or ten-year plan.
The more practical and realistic, the better!
Lname 4

You may use first person pronouns if you discuss an event from your past.
Support your recommendations with relevant evidence. Use signal phrases and in-text
citations to make your outside source incorporation clear.
Heading: One of these!
o Plan of Action
o Proposed Solution
o Recommendations
Source: NCLive peer reviewed scholarly journal article or reasonable substitute.

Heading: Works Cited
Don’t forget to do one!
Five sources required
Parenthetical in-text citations throughout essay should correspond with works cited
entries. Every source on the works cited page should be explicitly mentioned and cited
within the essay; every source mentioned in the essay must be included on the works
cited page.
Alphabetize by first letter.
Reverse indentation
Normal double spacing
ENG 111 Essay 3: Identifying and Solving a Social Problem
3.5-6.0 pages, not counting the works cited page. You will be penalized
for anything outside this range. Essays should be typed and double-spaced
(Beware: Word sometimes adds extra space after you hit enter! You need
to fix this!)
12 point Times New Roman or equivalent
1 inch each side (Beware: The Word default is sometimes 1.25 on the
Name, Professor, Class, and Date on the top left (MLA rules)
Something unique; centered
Page #s:
Last name then #; top right of page (Beware: You might need to adjust the
font and size to match the rest of your paper!)
Essay 3 Slide Presentations (separate assignment sheet will be posted)
* Use of the first person pronouns (I/me/my/mine/we/us/our/ours) is only
allowed in the hook and conclusion…and sparingly at that.
* Use of second person pronouns (you/your/yours) is PROHIBITED.
* Your essay must include a WORKS CITED page and MLA IN-TEXT
PARENTHETICAL CITATIONS; you must use MLA 8th edition style.
Every source listed on the Works Cited page must be explicitly
mentioned and used in the essay, and vice-versa. Essays which don’t
clearly incorporate multiple outside sources will not earn a passing
* This essay will contain section headings. We will discuss this in class,
and I will share a sample essay with the correct formatting.
* You are required to incorporate at least FIVE outside sources into this
1) A reference source (CREDO) (used in Introduction)
2) A recent online news article (a report of a current event; NOT an
op-ed) (used in Statement of the Problem)
3-4) Choose a “debate page” on the New York Times Room For
Debate website ( You can type in
search terms, browse the featured pages, or scroll down and click
into one of the DICUSSION TOPICS listed on the right side of the
page to view a filtered set of “debate pages.” Each debate page
features at least two position articles. You will choose at least two
position articles within the page. (will be used in Position sections
and to a lesser extent in your Conclusion)
5) A peer reviewed scholarly journal article (NCLive database) (will
be used in Solution/Recommendations)
6) You may incorporate an addition source or sources into your
The Prompt:
Your assignment is to write an essay which examines a social, political, or cultural “hot
topic,” identifies and explains the problem, explores multiple credible perspectives, and
ultimately proposes a solution (or at least steps toward a solution).
VERY IMPORTANT: Your chosen topic must appear on the New York Times “Room
for Debate” website. If you absolutely insist on choosing a topic which does not appear in
one of these places, you will need to email me a convincing topic proposal no later than
Friday, March 16.
First, you will capture the reader’s attention in an academically sophisticated manner.
Then, you will objectively present important background information to your reader. The
reader should have a clear understanding of the history surrounding the issue as well as
the significance of the current situation/problem. Next, you will reveal your position on
the issue in your thesis statement, which should both state the problem and hint at the
proposed solution (which will be discussed in detail in the final section of your essay).
The next two sections of your essay will be dedicated to summary and analysis of your
chosen position articles (the ones on NY Times Room for Debate). You will state and
defend your position on the issue in your conclusion section. Your position may align
closely with one of the Room for Debate articles, or you may present your reader with
another outside source that better supports your argument. The final section of your essay
will focus on a proposed solution, recommendation, or plan of action, supported by a
scholarly research article. Do not restate your thesis or attempt to rewrite your
introduction in the conclusion.
You must use HEADINGS to organize your essay. Refer to the sample essays to see
how headings should be used.
No doubt you already have an opinion on the issue, but this paper must be research based.
In other words, you should locate sources, read, think, and THEN form your opinion,
which will aid in the creation of your thesis, opposing viewpoint, and rebuttal. FIRST
STEP: locate and read credible sources!
Your opinion, in your own words
Information from a credible outside source
Your “follow up” and discussion of the evidence you’ve presented.
Hook (1 paragraph; can be short; no heading)
Introduction (1-2 paragraphs; teach topic to reader)
Statement of the Problem (proof that this issue is current & relevant; 1
paragraph) Thesis statement will be last sentence of this section.
Position A (one of the Room for Debate articles)
Paragraph 1: summary of opposition article, including explanation
of author’s rhetorical situation
Paragraphs 2&3: analysis (topic sentence, signal phrase,
quote/paraphrase & elaborate)
Create an appropriate heading title for this section.
Position B (the other Room for Debate article)
Paragraph 1: summary of opposition article, including explanation
of author’s rhetorical situation
Paragraphs 2&3: analysis (topic sentence, signal phrase,
quote/paraphrase & elaborate)
Create an appropriate heading title for this section.
Conclusion (Your position on the issue)
You are expected to incorporate at least one outside source into
this section. It may be one of the sources already mentioned, or
you may incorporate another source which best represents/supports
your position.
Solution/Recommendations (1-2 paragraphs)
Pretend that you are a consultant in a professional field related to
this issue. Write out a proposed plan of action, steps to a solution,
or set of recommendations. Support your plan with credible
evidence via a scholarly, peer reviewed journal article from the NC
Live database.
Works Cited (on its own page)
The following skills are imperative for success on essay #3!
Summarizing an Outside Source (for summary paragraphs);
1. Provide relevant information about the rhetorical situation of the source (author, author
info, publication info, etc.).
2. Briefly touch on the PURPOSE and CONTENT of the text.
3. Compose 1-2 sentences to concisely communicate all the information in 1-2.
a. In Publisher “Title,” author job Author Name PURPOSE/VERB CONTENT.
b. In the Time magazine article “Cats are Cool,” social researcher Bob Smith makes
the argument that cats are better pets than dogs.
4. Divide the text into 3-4 sections. Compose one sentence to represent each section of the
body of the article/essay.
5. Identify the conclusion. Compose one sentence that objectively “bottom lines” the
6. Don’t forget your in-text parenthetical citation at the end of your final sentence of
Incorporating an Outside Source (for analysis paragraphs):
1. Briefly explain rhetorical situation and content of outside source
2. Signal phrase/setup (choose a strong verb describing what the source is DOING)
3. Quote, paraphrase, or summarize
a. If you borrow exact wording, you must use quotation marks.
b. If you use quotation marks, you may not change the wording.
4. Cite (parenthetical)
a. Should direct readers to the first word(s) of the corresponding works cited entry.
b. If you get the first words into steps 1 or 2, AND your source has no page
numbers, the need for an in-text parenthetical citation is removed!
5. Follow up with an explanation, example, reflection, etc. Your follow-up should be at
least as long as steps 1-4 combined.
Essay 3 Topic and Source Approval
Instructions: Please type in your responses and put them in bold font.
1) I have chosen to research and write in search of an answer to the following question (should
be same question as your chosen NY Times Debate Topic):
Education – Are Public Universities Neglecting In-State Students?
2) Write down at least five “file under” subject/category tags*:
e. Flagship
*These will be your Credo, News, and NC Live search terms
3) My current position/stance on this issue is as follows (2-3 sentences):
I feel that in-state institutions should be able to serve and accept those who have
grown up there. I am also upset to learn that so many out-of-state students are being
accepted quicker and faster than in-state. But then I also find it helpful that for instate tuition they drop the tuition by 15%.
I just feel that this topic is going to be interesting to me.
4) Provide the requested information from your chosen NY Times Debate page. If your chosen
page has more than one article, choose the two you would most like to discuss in your essay:
Position A
Title: State Universities Are In a Budgetary Bind
Author: Hans Johnson
Author Info (job, affiliations, education, etc.): Senior fellow at the Public Policy of California
Author’s Main Point (1-2 complete sentences): The states, not the federal government are the
primary funders of public higher education in the United States. Faced with budget crises,
and difficulty in raising additional revenue, almost all states have reduced their funding for
higher education.
Position B
Title: The Rise in Out-of-State Students at State Universities Is a Bad Deal for Lower
Income and Minority Students
Author: Ozan Jaquette
Author Info (job, affiliations, education, etc.): Assistant professor at the University of Arizona
Author’s Main Point (1-2 complete sentences): State disinvestment in higher education has
turned flagship state universities into out-of-state universities. Public universities claim
they recruit local, low-income students, but they do not release the data on which student
they recruit.

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