English 101 Essay 3: The Problem/Solution Research Essay For this unit, you will read two essays, each of which alludes to a problem in society. Ascher wrote about poverty and Didion questioned the way contemporary society views morality. For this essay, you will also be writing about a problem you`ve seen—in society, in education, in your own life—and you will be posing a solution to that problem. To do so, you`ll be using skills you practiced in the previous two essays and you`ll be adding the skill of incorporating outside sources you find through research. Your research essay will be 3-5 pages in length. Here`s what you have to do: (I`m an international student, so don`t choose any problem that oppose with my nationality) 1. Choose a particular problem you`ve seen or experienced. (This can be anything from social problems like racism to educational problems like standardized testing to personal problems like communicating with significant others). In your introduction, let your reader know what topic you`re writing about. Again, this can be a big topic (poverty in America, etc) or a small one (inadequate nutrition choices in your college cafeteria, etc). Whatever you choose, spend a couple of sentences in your introduction giving your reader a sense of the topic you`re talking about. 2. Your thesis statement will also appear in your introduction. It will identify a significant problem that you think affects the topic you identified. This problem must be: 1) solvable and 2) something that can be researched. For example, if I`m writing about my college, a solvable problem that can be researched might be that tuition costs have been rising steadily over the past several years. I can propose solutions to that problem, and I can definitely find lots of articles on the topic of tuition costs. On the other hand, if my college also has the problem of having an insufficient number of toilets in the women`s restroom, that might not be the best topic to choose. Certainly that`s a problem that can be solved, but it might be tricky (though probably not impossible) to find relevant articles. OK, so if I`m writing about rising tuition costs at my college, my thesis might look something like this: One of the most significant problems at my college is that tuition costs keep rising year by year, making school less and less affordable for students. 3. The body of your essay will do several things: a. Explain the causes and effects of the problem in detail. For rising tuition costs at my college, I would have to explain what caused the prices to go up. Maybe it`s caused by the economy, the government, the prices of other things (like gas and oil), etc. I would also have to explain the effects of the rising costs. These might include low student morale, high student drop out rates, higher incidences of theft on campus, etc. Obviously, the causes and effects are your opinion, but they are an informed opinion based on what you`ve experienced and/or noticed. b. Propose a solution to the problem you`ve outlined. In other words, how could the problem be fixed? Tell your reader what you`d do to fix the problem and why your solution would work effectively. So, back to my hypothetical college. I could propose that, to fix the problem of tuition costs, I would write to my legislators to increase financial aid funding and write to the Board of my college to request more scholarships be made available. The increased assistance would make staying in school possible for those who currently are having trouble affording tuition. To propose this solution in a persuasive way, I would have to explain exactly how many scholarships I`m talking about, exactly how much money would be spent on aid and scholarships, which students would qualify for assistance, etc. c. Include a counter-argument and rebuttal. You can use a counter-argument and rebuttal in the section about the problem or the section about the solution. (You can use two if you want to, but you`re required to use at least one.) A counter-argument about the problem would, naturally, anticipate that some readers may not agree that the problem I identified is significant. For the example I`m using (rising tuition), it may look something like this: “Some people may argue that rising tuition costs are nothing to complain about in today`s economy because so many people are struggling financially that everyone should simply be grateful for what they have.” A rebuttal to that might be: “It`s true that many people are facing difficult economic times. However, because earning a college degree can help people make more money, unaffordable tuition remains a problem that requires a solution.” If you prefer, you can incorporate your counter-argument and rebuttal in the section of your essay that proposes a solution. For my topic, a counter-argument could be: “Some people might argue that the best way to cut tuition costs would be to reduce the number of college employees rather than to provide more scholarships for students.” A rebuttal to that might be: “While reducing the number of employees would definitely cut costs, the money saved might not go to students. Additionally, with fewer employees to serve students, there will be fewer classes and services available to them, making school a more challenging place to finish a degree in a timely way.” d. Finally, you will need to add information you got from TWO research sources. These sources can be articles from newspapers, journals, or magazines. Selections from books are also acceptable as long as they`re scholarly books. (For my topic, a well-researched book on economic trends in education would be acceptable; a “how to get rich quick” book by Donald Trump would not be.) Please note that online encyclopedia entries (such as Wikipedia) are not acceptable. The best way to find articles is through the online database Proquest which is accessible through your college library: http://www.pierce.ctc.edu/library. When you get to the library homepage, click databases, then click Proquest. You will be asked to enter your SID and your last name. Once you do that, you will be able to search the database for articles that are relevant to your topic. Be prepared to spend at least 30 minutes looking for relevant sources. Don`t simply settle for the first one that “might” work. The point of using research sources is to add to the persuasiveness of your essay. A mediocre source does not do that. Your research sources can pertain to your problem, your solution, or one of each. When discussing your two sources, do all of the following for each one: 1. State the name of the article, the publication it came from, and the author (if the author is not anonymous). 2. Give a 2-3 sentence summary of the article`s main ideas. 3. Use a relevant quote from the article. 4. Use a parenthetical citation in MLA format after the quote. 5. Give a 2-3 sentence explanation of how the article relates to what you`re talking about in this part of your essay. If you do all these things, you should have 2 research paragraphs, each of which discusses a different article. These paragraphs can go anywhere in your essay, as long as their placement makes sense. A sample paragraph would look something like this (the article mentioned does not actually exist, though; it`s just a made up example): In an article entitled, “High Tuition Stress” which appeared in an April 2007 issue of The Journal of Money, author Mary Jones explains the effects of tuition-related worries. Jones details the loss of student productivity in cases of extreme economic hardship resulting from tuition costs. She claims, “Students who are worried about losing their homes or cars because of high tuition are too distracted to be fully productive in the classroom. Therefore, it is in a community`s best interest to ensure that higher education remain affordable” (2). Similarly, my own community should be committed to giving us, its citizens, better access to affordable higher education. In the past five years, college tuitions in my state have increased by as much as 25%. Because my gas and rental expenses have increased by as much as 300% in addition to my rising tuition costs, I know that I am more distracted and less productive at school, and that many of my classmates, who are having the same problems, are too. Naturally, I would have used this paragraph in the section of my essay that describes the problem and its effects. 4. After you explain the problem and propose a solution, using at least one counter-argument/rebuttal and two detailed paragraphs about your two research sources, write a conclusion that makes a final impression. You can do this however you wish. 5. Finally, you will use a Works Cited list with a complete citation in MLA format for each research source you used. NOTE: Chapter MLA in your Hacker book explains citation formats in great detail and we will be covering MLA format in class Sample Research Essay (written by a student): When I was an elementary school student, recess was my favorite time of day. How did I use my precious twenty-minutes of freedom? Sometimes, I made up games like “Princess” or “Nancy Drew” with my friends. Sometimes I joined classmates to play more traditional games like kickball or jump rope. Sometimes, I got rid of my pent-up energy by running or by swinging from the monkey bars. And sometimes, I just walked around by myself, thinking or pretending. At the time, I wouldn`t have been self-aware enough to say, “I need to be thoughtful today” or “I need to be social today” or “I need to be really active today,” but looking back, I see that unstructured recess time gave me the freedom to instinctively meet needs I wasn`t even mature enough to identify. Unfortunately, many schools are eliminating recess these days, which can negatively impact elementary school students in several ways. THE INTRODUCTORY PARAGRAPH FAMILIARIZES READERS WITH THE TOPIC (RECESS) AND EXPLAINS THE PROBLEM (SCHOOLS ARE ELIMINATING RECESS). In the ten years since I`ve been away from elementary school, recess has changed. In a 2006 Education Digest article, author Carol Chmelynski argues that recess is necessary, and that it should be a time of “active, supervised, but unstructured play” because such play promotes children`s well-being (1, 2). THE PREVIOUS SENTENCES INTRODUCE AND SUMMARIZE THE FIRST RESEARCH ARTICLE AND USE A QUOTE FROM THE ARTICLE. Chmelynski quotes the American Association of a Child`s Right to Play`s recent statistic: “Nearly 40% of the nation`s 16,000 school districts have either modified, deleted, or are considering deleting recess” (1). HERE IS A SECOND QUOTE FROM THE ARTICLE In other words, recess is in danger. I agree that recess is essential to children`s well-being and should not be removed from schools. Additionally, I agree that unstructured recess time gives kids the chance to receive both the physical and intellectual benefits recess has to offer. THESE SENTENCES CONNECT THE TWO QUOTES TO THE TOPIC AT HAND What is “unstructured but supervised” recess time? It is a daily period of time during which kids can play in a roomy, but supervised, place like a school playground or gym. Supervisors are there to make sure kids don`t get hurt or bullied, or to intervene when such problems seem imminent. However, supervisors should not mandate what kinds of games children should play, nor should they prescribe how physically active, social, or traditionally structured those games should be. When kids have the freedom to choose their own recess activities, they get the intellectual as well as the physical benefits of play. According to Psychology Today editor, Hara Estroff Marano, “play… fosters the maturation of the various centers of the brain that allow us to exert control over attention and to regulate out emotions and to control our behavior” and it “demands and inspires mental dexterity and flexibility” (Chmelynski 3, 4). IN THIS PARAGRAPH, THE AUTHOR DESCRIBES THE POSITIVE EFFECTS OF UNSTRUCTURED RECESS TIME. Some educators worry that unstructured recess isn`t physically active enough to meet kids` physical fitness needs. A 2005 article that appeared in The Journal of Physical Education, Recreation and Dance surveyed eight people who are studying physical education in college, or who are currently teaching physical education. Half of them argued in favor of more structured recess periods in order to ensure that kids use the time for physical fitness. One educator remarked, “I have observed that some students with unstructured recess time choose to do little or nothing” (“Structured” 1) while another said, “It is unacceptable… to watch children stand and do nothing when recess may be their only opportunity to be physically active for the day” (“Structured” 2). Moreover, according to current research by the Centers for Disease Control, “nearly 23% of children get no free-time physical activity at all” (Chmelynski 2) even though the National Association of Sports and Physical Education suggests that kids should have an hour of physical activity every day, and no longer than an hour of sedentary activity at any one time (Chmelynski 1). Mandating more physically active recess periods could possibly increase kids` physical fitness and decrease the rates of childhood obesity and obesity-related heath problems. However, these physical benefits could be achieved through adding physical education classes to all school curricula instead of replacing unstructured recess time with structured time. IN THIS COUNTER-ARGUMENT AND REBUTTAL, THE STUDENT ALSO PROPOSES THE SOLUTION OF ADDING MORE P.E. CLASSES INSTEAD OF TAKING AWAY RECESS. THIS STUDENT ALSO USES HER SECOND SOURCE IN THIS PARAGRAPH PLUS ADDITIONAL QUOTES FROM HER FIRST SOURCE. Physical fitness is an important part of recess, but it is not the only important part. Intellectual fitness, including social skills and creativity, is an equally important need that recess can meet. Increasing kids` physical activity by making recess more structured ignores recess`s other possible benefits. What an adult may perceive as “stand[ing] and doing nothing” might, in actuality, be valuable intellectual time for a child. On days when I walked around the playground alone, making up stories in my head or fantasizing silently, I was exercising my creativity. When I invented games with my friends, I was exercising social and creative skills. Both of these activities might have looked like “doing nothing” to an adult, but, according to Anthony Pellegrini, an expert and teacher in education psychology, these very kinds of activities allow kids to “muster all of their social and cognitive skills” (Chmelynski 3). Additionally, I did choose to spend a lot of recess periods being physically active in a variety of more traditional activities. Being given free choice over my activities enabled me to meet all of my needs in a balanced way. THIS PARAGRAPH EXPLAINS THE POSITIVE EFFECTS OF KEEPING TRADITIONAL RECESS TIME IN SCHOOLS. In contrast to those who want to prioritize recess`s physical fitness benefits over its intellectual benefits, other educators want to eliminate recess altogether and replace it with structured physical education classes and additional time for academic lessons. Both physical education and academic coursework are important parts of school, but neither can offer the same range of benefits that recess can. As explained by Psychology Today editor, Marano, unstructured recess, unlike structured recess or class time, allows kids to participate in “social play [which] helps program higher brain areas that will be required later in life” (Chmelynski 4). Additionally, Marano does not believe that getting rid of recess will help students` intellectual growth or academic achievement. In fact, “she believes, providing a break from class work is more effective, both in the long term and short term” (Chmelynski 4). IN THIS COUNTER-ARGUMENT AND REBUTTAL, THE STUDENT EXPLAINS WHY RECESS IS ACTUALLY A SOLUTION FOR THE NEED FOR MORE TIME FOR ACADEMIC LESSONS WHILE ELIMINATING RECESS IS NOT AN EFFECTIVE SOLUTION FOR INCREASING ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT. In conclusion, kids need both physical and intellectual exercise. They can get the best of both worlds by participating in daily, unstructured recess time. I believe the unstructured play I engaged in at recess helped me develop, both physically and intellectually. As Marano explains, this type of play, “thrives on complexity, uncertainty, and possibility [making it] the perfect preparation for life in the twenty-first century” (Chmelynski 4). Works Cited Chmelynski, Carol. “Play Teaches What Testing Can`t Touch: Humanity.” Education Digest 72. 3 (2006): 10-3. ERIC Database. Pierce College Library. 10 Aug. 2007 < http://www.pierce.ctc.edu:2058/ehost>. “Should recess be more structured and supervised in order to increase students` physical activity?” Journal of Physical Education, Recreation and Dance 76.9 (2005): 9-11. Proquest Direct. Pierce College Library. 20 Sept. 2007. Finally, the Essay 3 Checklist: Not sure if you`ve got it all done? Use this checklist: 1. Did the thesis identify a problem you`ve noticed? (Social, educational, personal, etc.?) 2. Did the body of the essay contain a detailed explanation of the causes and effects of the problem? 3. Did the body of the essay propose a specific solution to the problem and explain why the solution would be effective? 4. Did the body of the essay include at least one counter-argument and rebuttal? 5. Did the body of the essay include a discussion of 2 research sources? These discussions should include all of the following: a. the name of the article, the publication it came from, and the author (if the author is not anonymous) b. a 2-3 sentence summary of the article`s main ideas c. a relevant quote from the article d. a parenthetical citation in MLA format after the quote. e. a 2-3 sentence explanation of how the article relates to the part of the essay in which it appears.. 6. Did you include a works cited list at the end of your essay (referring to the MLA chapter in the Hacker handbook for suggestions for correct formatting)? 7. Do BOTH of your entries in the works cited list include as much of this information as is available: the author`s name, the name of the article, the name of the larger publication (or website) from which the article was taken, the date of publication, the date you accessed the info and the page number (and website address, if applicable)? This concludes the Essay 3 packet.