Writing the Problem/Solution Paper
How to write like a pro!
The first thing: Thesis Statement
• The first thing you need to do when setting out
to write the paper on a problem/solution is to
state the problem and offer a possible solution
to the problem in a thesis statement. For
• Childhood obesity is a serious health problem in
the United States today, but who is ultimately
responsible for ensuring that children receive
proper nutrition and adequate exercise? Most
argue that the parents are responsible, but
some believe the government needs to step in
and solve this growing problem. There are
many programs in place to ensure that children
who live in poverty receive proper nutrition, but
is this enough?
The body of the paper…
• The next step to successful writing is the body
of the paper. There are a few things you need
to master to write an exceptional paper:
• Word Choice
• Relevant Content
• Organizational Structure
• You should create an outline based on your
thesis and information you have found for your
• The outline is your “Road Map” and will guide
you through the process of writing your paper.
• Your outline begins with the Thesis and the
Introduction. It looks like this:
• Title of paper centered
• I. Thesis: Childhood obesity is……
• The thesis should state the problem, the
solution or other relevant information that you
will discuss in the paper.
• Often, the thesis or Introduction are left for last
because information in your paper dictates what
• The next step is to break it down!
• Step one: During your brainstorming, you should
have listed the main points that you planned on
discussing or researching. Let’s look again at the
introduction and pull out the points:
• 1-state the problem: Childhood Obesity
A. How is obesity defined?
What percentage of children are Obese in the U.
S. A. ?
Is it a demographic problem?
• The next paragraph should talk about who is
• II. Who bears responsibility for the child’s
State or Federal Government
Other Family members
• Finally, you want to provide information that is
part of the solution. If you are asked to offer
your opinion in the paper, make sure you
include a section in your outline for that as well.
You may wish to include that in your concluding
• III. Programs and Responsible Parties
• Now you need to write your conclusion. Many
teachers have told you in the past to restate
your thesis, but this seems very redundant. It
would be best to highlight the points in your
paper and draw a conclusion based on what
you learned. This requires that you actually take
the time to think about what you learned.
• You may have been assigned the KWL chart
before your paper. Now is the time to take that
last column and elaborate in the conclusion of
• On the next page, there is a strong conclusion
based on the information that you probably
found. I took the liberty of writing what I know to
• Though childhood obesity is a problem, there
are solutions and it does take a number of
people and organizations to help combat it.
Parents are the first line of defense since it
is, ultimately, their responsibility to provide for
the basic needs of their children. As long as
people who can’t afford children keep having
children, the society will have to foot the bill for
keeping these children healthy so they do not
become lifetime burdens on that society.
• Now that you have put the information into a
good working paper, you need to make sure
your ideas flow from one point to the next with a
logical and smooth flow. This is where
transitions come into play.
• Transitions help move your points from one to
the other without sounding choppy or like you
just threw your thoughts willy-nilly onto the
Using Transitional Words…
• Using transitions is not just a quick fix…throw in
a transitional word or phrase and you are done!
• Using transitions takes thought and planning.
• Let’s view some examples of transitional
devices and sentences at the Online Writing
Lab at Perdue University’s site:
• Another great site:
• Now that you have the basics of paragraphing
and transitions, let’s practice. Your teacher will
supply the practice worksheets for you.
• Using the right words in a paper or any
writing, for that matter, is very important. You
don’t want to use words that make you sound
ignorant and you want to use words that are
relevant to your subject.
• One rule to practice is to really know what the
• Some students do use words that do not mean
what they think and this changes the meaning
of the sentence, sometimes drastically!
• "Oh! it gives me the hydrostatics to such a degree." [hysterics]
• "I hope you will represent her to the captain as an object not altogether
• "...she might reprehend the true meaning of what she is saying."
• "...she's as headstrong as an allegory on the banks of Nile." [alligator]
• "I am sorry to say, Sir Anthony, that my affluence over my niece is very
• "Why, murder's the matter! slaughter's the matter! killing's the matter! - but
he can tell you the perpendiculars."
• Another issue that many students face is
spelling. There are many commonly confused
words and these are silly mistakes that your
spell checker does NOT identify.
• See this link for commonly misspelled words:
• It is always a good idea to check your spelling
yourself. It pays to take your time!
• As a final thought, after you have written your
paper, read it aloud to yourself or some one
else who can hear mistakes. When you read a
paper aloud, you often hear things that you
would not read. This is because you are not as
focused as you think and now you are engaging
a different part of your brain.
• It works!
• Try it out.