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What is a problem solution essay and how to write it?


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Writing a problem solution essay with a pen on a paper

Before getting into the how-to’s, let’s review the problem solution essay definition to better understand the assignment you are dealing with. This kind of academic work is basically an extended description of a challenge, and its main goal is to find the best solution(s) after discussing the problem in detail.

As a rule, such papers are assigned in composition classes. However, in every sphere of human life, there are challenges and issues of different kinds, and we have to determine the best ways to overcome such difficulties. Therefore, you might face this task practically in any class you enroll in, which is why it is important to learn how to work on it effectively.

How to write a problem solution essay?

How to start a problem solution essay? At first, you have to find yourself a topic to discuss. It would be helpful to do research in regard to possible ideas for problem solving papers and write down those that are either related to the class you are writing this paper for or those that you find interesting enough to review.

It is important to choose the most relevant and interesting issues, which can be viewed from several various perspectives. However, they should be narrow enough so that solutions still could be possible to imagine. You are welcome to refer to the list in the end of this article for topic options to choose from.

When it comes to the writing process, there are a few basic tips that should be followed:

  • Choose the problem that is interesting for your target audience and is original enough, which means that there are so not many solutions to it.
  • As you will have to convince all your readers that this problem is indeed important, research it carefully and pick decent arguments to backup your choice of issue.
  • Make the reader care. Some disturbing statistics may come in handy in this case.
  • If the problem you have chosen is generally unfamiliar, explain its background in detail. The reason for it is simple – nobody likes to read about the things they do not understand.
  • It is also a good idea to tell some personal story if it relates to the problem under consideration and this is allowed by your teacher or professor.
  • Before choosing the solutions to present in the paper, list each one you have found and focus only on those that are realistic, creative, effective, simple, and convincing in general.
  • You will be required to prove that your solutions are feasible and deserve the attention of your audience. Additionally, it will be important to convince all your readers that your solutions are just better than other commonly mentioned alternatives. Therefore, think about strong arguments.
  • Provide readers with the “final picture.” Briefly outline the outcomes which will emerge if your solutions are implemented. This way, you will show that what you offer is have been thought over carefully and can actually help.

Problem solution essay outline

Problem solution essay structure is the same as for regular academic papers:

  • First of all, you will have to make sure that the introduction of your problem and solution essay provides a clear description of the challenge and some relevant background information. Also, you have to try to explain the causes of that issue (if possible, of course), as well as its extent, effect, and potential consequences if it is going to stay unresolved. In general, your aim is to help your readers understand your methods and provide all the necessary information for that.
  • The thesis statement of your paper may argue for the urgent need to tackle the issue or for its single solution. The thesis you come up with should consist of one sentence only. Its purpose is to express the main point of your problem-solving paper. If you have no idea how to compose your thesis statement, you may find some customer service problem solving examples online. Remember that this sentence is the most important part of your introduction.
  • The body of your assignment should describe some solutions and predict the outcomes of these solutions. It is also important to mention the pros and cons of each solution, as well as their feasibility. Of course, if there is any information on attempts that have been made in order to address the issue you are writing about, you have to include it too.
  • The conclusion usually contains a call to action, urging the readers to become involved, either in making the proposed solution come true or continuing to search for correct answers. Future consequences of the issue and effects of leaving it unresolved can be used as motivation.

Tips from experts

Meet our advisors

Read the essay question carefully!

Look for these words:

  • Describe/summarize means give the facts
  • Explain means analyze the topic
  • Argue means to reject/accept a viewpoint
  • Discuss refers to presenting a point of view
  • Critique means give both positive/negative sides
  • Compare and contrast discuss similarities/differences

Structure an essay

Beginners use the five-paragraph structure with references. Advanced writers use a variation of this method.


Write the first ugly draft – using first/third person depending on the requirements. Know how to paraphrase and summarize. Don’t plagiarize – everyone checks if the essay is unique.

Editing & Formatting

I use the chainsaw and surgical methods. Chainsaw cuts material that isn’t relevant. Surgical involves fine-tuning spelling and grammar.

What is the formatting style? APA, MLA, or CMS? What is the word/page count? Follow the rubric.

Penny J. Larsen

College professor with 30 years of teaching experience

Problem solution essay format

Actually, there are no specific requirements for a problem-solving essay format. You can format the paper according to any style you like, such as APA, MLA, Harvard, or even Chicago. Ideally, you should ask your teacher what style of formatting you have to stick to and request a guide if possible. If your academic institution has a writing center, they might be able to help you ensure that the formatting of your work is spotless.

Problem solution topic ideas

Finally, let us provide you with some interesting problem-solution paper ideas:

  • Bullying in school and at the workplace
  • Drinking and driving
  • Prevalence of diabetes
  • The solution to the problem of world hunger
  • The issue of teen suicide
  • Drug abuse among different age groups (you may focus on one if your essay is short)
  • Child obesity: what parents can do to prevent it?
  • My solution to the biggest environmental issues
  • Teenage pregnancies
  • Enforcing gender roles on children
  • Lack of self-respect
  • Different types of addictions (drug, tobacco, alcohol, or even pornography).
  • Peer pressure
  • Fake news and a lack of fact-checking
  • Financial illiteracy and debt
  • Exploitation of children in families
  • Data protection on social media
  • Affordability of education in the US

Whichever topic you choose, we recommend running it by your teacher or professor first in order to make sure it is appropriate for your class.

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