Problem Solution Essay Handouts

Using your textbook, or my Problem Solving Paper Writing Guide (see link below) and either one of the sample essays above or one in your textbook, discuss the elements of a problem-solution paper.

Discuss the three types of argument strategies: Classical, Rogerian, and Toulmin. Take an essay in your book and have students analyze it using these questions.

Note: Usually, I do this lesson twice, the first time, they read an essay outside of class and then I do a lecture on the types of argument strategies. Then they do a group lesson of analyzing the essay they read using the worksheet below. The second time, I divide them into small groups and assign each group a different short essay to read, analyze and then report to the class (or you could also assign all of the groups the same essay).

Step One: Divide students into groups. Have them use the questions below to analyze how the author of the essay has used the different arguing strategies in their problem solution essay.

1. Where is the problem stated? What type of evidence?

2. Where does the paper appeal to:

  • Emotion?
  • Reason?
  • Character?

3. In your opinion, which of these appeals is the strongest?

4. The three main types of rhetorical strategies are classical, Rogerian and Toulmin. Find the places in the essay where the writer uses the rhetorical methods below to convince the audience. Mark them on the essay. and explain on a separate sheet of paper. Which method is the main type of this essay? Where and how does the writer:

  • state claim/problem? What kind? Definition, cause/effect, value or policy? (all)
  • explain the proposal? (all)
  • establish common ground with the audience? (Rogerian)
  • empathize or agree with the opposition? (Rogerian)-show willingness to compromise? (Rogerian)
  • narrow the argument or use qualifiers to limit the scope of claim? (Toulmin)
  • explains how data, evidence, and logic supports the claim (Toulmin)
  • admit limitations of the proposal? (Toulmin)
  • argues and gives reasons for agreeing (classical)
  • refute opposition? (classical)

Step Two: Have the groups report to the class about their analysis. They can analyze which argument strategies they saw most in their essay. Discuss what was most effective in each essay and whether they felt there was something which the essay needed to add to be more effective.

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Problem Solution Essay Writing Checklist Worksheet

About This Worksheet:

Keep these things in mind when you are writing for solutions to problems.


How Long?: 10 minutes per topic
Standards Met: Writing To Solve Problems

Instructions for Printing the Worksheet or Answer Key

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