what is the problem?

Come up with at least three "problems" in each of the following areas:

1.your job or profession
2.your major field of study
4.your local neighborhood, community, or town
5.your hobbies or interests
6.news or current events
7.things that "bug" you
Now that you have at least 21 possible topic ideas, test them against the following criteria to decide which ones might make good topics:

1.Is it arguable? Arguable issues are those 1) on which reasonable people might disagree and 2) about which reasonable people might be persuaded to change their minds. Topics might be inarguable for two reasons. First, they might be problems with certain answers on which few people would disagree. For example, the problem of how to send a spaceship into orbit is one which can be solved scientifically; since it has a certain solution, there’s nothing to argue about. Second, some problems are not arguable because people hold their opinions on the issue for inarguable reasons. For example, opinions on such issues as abortion or gay marriage are often based on people’s religious beliefs, which can’t be argued, since they can’t be proven or disproven. Please avoid topics such as abortion and gay marriage for your research papers.
2.Is it researchable? Almost any topic can be researched: you might be surprised at what sorts of seemingly trivial or local problems have been studied by experts and scholars. By research here, we mean published information and opinions that can be accessed through American university libraries. Therefore, topics that deal with problems outside the United States may not be researchable, as they might require access to foreign newspapers or studies in languages you don’t read. You should not try to do primary research of your own, such as surveys or experiments. For one thing, you don’t have time. For another, such research requires specialized training which you presumably don’t have. And finally, experts have likely already conducted studies and published their findings in the sources available in the library; these sources will be much more persuasive to your reader than any such studies you could conduct yourself.

Then choose a Research Project Topic and follow the instructions below.

The purpose of this assignment is to help you identify

1.what you know,
2.what you think,
3.what you think you know, and
4.what you need to learn
about your Research Project topic.

You do not need to do any research for this paper; instead, you will use it—and the experience of writing it—to guide your subsequent research. You must write at least one well-formed paragraph in response to each of the following sets of questions (i.e., at least 5 complete paragraphs):

1.what is the problem? why is it a problem? who is harmed by this problem?
2.what are the most important causes of the problem? who is to blame? what have they done, or failed to do, to create the situation?
3.what do you think should be done to address the problem? how would this help? what different solutions might others propose, and why do you think your idea is better?
4.what are the possible costs or drawbacks of your proposal?
5.who might object to your proposal? who might object to any of your answers to any of the preceding questions? why might they object?
If you have trouble answering any of these questions, say so in your paragraph and try to explain why you can’t answer the question at this point. You will be graded on the clarity of your writing and the thoughtfulness of your answers

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