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How to Write a Problem and Solution Essay + Topics and Examples

by tutlance

Writing a good problem and solution paper can be difficult to many college students, but it is well worth the effort. A problem solving essay should identify a problem and then provide a clear and concise solution. The best problem and solution papers are well-researched, well-written, and logically organized.

The first step in writing a good problem and solution paper is to identify a problem. Once you have identified a problem, you need to ask yourself some questions about the problem: What is causing the problem? What are the consequences of the problem? What are possible solutions to the problem?

Once you have answered these questions, you can begin to develop a solution to the problem. Your solution should be clear and concise, and it should address all of the issues caused by the original problem. It is important to remember there is no one perfect solution to every problem.

A good problem and solution paper will identify a problem, provide evidence for the existence of the problem, and propose a solution to the problem. The paper should also include a discussion of the strengths and weaknesses of the proposed solution.

The following tips can help you write a problem solution essay that will earn you a top grade.

  • State the problem clearly in the introduction. The reader should be able to understand what the problem is by reading only your introduction. You can also use this section to provide evidence for your claim that the problem exists. For example, you could describe an incident or situation that led you to believe there is a problem with X.
  • Propose a solution to the problem. This section should include a description of the proposed solution and a discussion of its strengths and weaknesses.
  • Address any possible objections to the proposed solution. This section should discuss any potential objections that readers might have to the proposed solution. For example, you could address concerns about cost, feasibility, or possible negative consequences of implementing the solution.
  • Summarize the main points of your paper in the conclusion. This section should remind the reader of what the problem is, what your proposed solution is, and why you think it is a good solution. The conclusion can also include a brief discussion of how the proposed solution could be implemented.

How to Write a Problem and Solution Essay

While problem-solution essays are not quite common assignments, they form among the best short essays in exams. They assess the learner’s ability to evaluate problems and think critically to come up with solutions. Therefore, a problem-solution essay is a piece of writing that identifies a problem or a set of them and highlights viable solutions. This essay organizes the problems and solutions within an introduction, body paragraphs and conclusion.

Identifying a problem-solution essay topic

 If your instructor has not specified the topic, your first step is to choose an ideal one. Quite often, you will have a list of topics from where you select the most appropriate one. Your topic must be one that you are comfortable researching and writing about. It can involve circumstances surrounding the society, environment, technology or education, among others.

What are the components of your problem solution paper?

Your problem and solution essay must have a situation, problem, solution, and evaluation. For short essays, the situation is included in the introduction and the evaluation in the conclusion.

  • Situation: This represents the prompt of your paper, which most times, will be given by your instructor. It represents, in your own words, the issue that you should address in your essay.
  • Problem: This component shows the problem or set of problems that you seek to discuss. Explain to the reader in your own words what the problem means.
  • Solution: A problem may have one or more solutions, which you will assess in this component. How will they help to eliminate or curb the problem at hand?
  • Evaluation: This part represents an overview of the discussed ideas, solutions and a call for action.

Structuring your problem and solution essay

You can use either the block or chain method to organize your ideas.

  • Block structure

In this method, first, address the problems and after exhausting them, you deal with the solutions. This structure is clear since you can locate the problems. Below is an illustration of the block approach

Paragraph: introduction (including situation)

Paragraph: problem 1

Paragraph: problem 2

Transition sentence or paragraph

Paragraph: solution 1

Paragraph: solution 2

Conclusion (including evaluation)

  • Chain structure

This approach addresses each problem in a paragraph, followed by its suitable solution. This method enables the reader to relate each problem to its solution. The illustration below shows how a chain outline looks like;

Introduction (including situation)

Problem 1 and solution

Problem 2 and solution

Problem 3 and solution

Conclusion (including evaluation)

Problem and solution essay outline template

The following problem and solution essay outline template can help you organize your paper.


  • State the problem clearly.
  • Provide evidence for the existence of the problem.
  • Propose a solution to the problem.
  • Address any possible objections to the proposed solution.

Solution section:

  • Describe the proposed solution.
  • Discuss its strengths and weaknesses.
  • Address any possible objections to the proposed solution.


  • Summarize the main points of your paper.
  • Discuss how the proposed solution could be implemented.

This is how a basic outline for a problem and solution format should look like.

Writing the problem and solution essay


In short problem-solution essays, the writer uses own words to write the situation in the introduction. It focuses on the specific aspect of the prompt from your instructor. Your introduction must have background information about the problems being addressed. Do not give details of the issues that you will discuss later. Your introduction is just the tip of the iceberg. Also, create a strong thesis statement that despite being brief, is concise. It should show the issues you are addressing, along with the problems. Most students find it easier to come up with the thesis statement after they have researched the problems.

Body paragraphs

The body paragraphs comprise the problems as well as their solutions. Therefore, you must conduct thorough research regarding each problem highlighted. Use reliable sources such as scholarly articles, journals, textbooks, and websites to gather information. Are there local or international publications that have addressed this issue before? Another way of collecting information is by conducting interviews on the affected persons. If you are addressing addiction, you can talk to recovered addicts and their facilitators.

Identify solutions to the stated problems, organizing them either in block or chain structure. You may come up with many solutions but you require two or three of them. Choose the most efficient, feasible, easy to implement and cost-effective ones to address the underlying problems. Give examples, statistics or facts that support the solutions you have identified. It is unreliable to merely mention the problems and solutions without proof of their efficacy.

Ways to come up with solutions

Solutions to problems can be reached at in various ways such as;

  1. Adding something e.g. funds, resources, or infrastructure
  2. Doing away with something especially if it is causing a negative effect
  3. Sensitization in areas where the individuals are ignorant of the underlying dangers.
  4. Law enforcement where persons do not adhere to the rules
  5. Change of leadership or systems

Writing the conclusion – How to end a problem-solution essay

For short essays, your conclusion goes hand in hand with the evaluation. This paragraph sums up your discussion as per the problems and solutions discussed. Works towards convincing the reader that you have provided the most ideal solution. What changes would be expected if such solutions were to be adopted? Have such solutions been embraced before and worked in solving similar problems elsewhere? You can use statistics, figures or facts, or a call to action in your evaluation.

Review your problem-solution essay

The essay is flawless in its entirety, not merely, on how much information you have provided. Check to see whether you have tackled these areas properly;

  • Structure

If you adopted the block or chain method, make sure that you have followed it consistently. Also, ensure that your essay covers the situation, problem, solution, and evaluation correctly.

  • Grammar, punctuation, and spelling

These mistakes are expected for any piece, the reason why the writer must proofread their work. The help of a friend or professional writers may come in handy in identifying such errors.

  • Word count

Write an essay that is within your word count as instructed by your professor. An overly long essay may mean that you have included too much irrelevant information. On the other hand, if the essay is too short, you might have missed out on some essential details.

Possible topics for problem and solution essays

  1. Drug addiction
  2. Cyberbullying
  3. Obesity and eating habits
  4. Increase in cars and global warming
  5. Bullying at school
  6. Pollution
  7. problem solving research paper topics
  8. Social problems research paper topics

For any topic chosen, ensure that you use the correct tone and a convincing point of view. Also, consider your audience and their reaction to your essay.

Additional Problem and solution essay topics

The following list of problem and solution essay topics can help you come up with your own topic.

  • The high cost of college tuition.
  • The student loan debt crisis.
  • The obesity epidemic in America.
  • The increasing number of homeless people in the United States.
  • The problem of gun violence in America.
  • The opioid epidemic in America.
  • Climate change and the effects it is having on the planet.
  • Racial profiling by law enforcement officers.
  • Bullying in schools.
  • The problem of animal cruelty in zoos.
  • The lack of resources available to college students with mental health problems.
  • The growing number of people who are choosing not to get married before having kids.
  • The struggle many parents go through when they cannot afford childcare for their children.
  • The threat posed by cyber warfare on the international stage.
  • Sexual assault on college campuses.
  • The rate of suicide among veterans.
  • Lack of access to health care in America.
  • The wage gap between men and women in the United States.

Each of these problem and solution essay topics could be the subject of a full-length paper, but they could also be used as the basis for a shorter essay that address only one of these issues.

Problem solving essay examples

A problem solving essay can be used to present a problem, propose a solution to the problem, and discuss why or why not this solution would work.

Below are problem solving essay examples to use as samples when writing your essay.

The Problem: Many college students have a hard time balancing their schoolwork with the demands of a part-time job. Some students drop out of college because they simply cannot manage to keep up.

The Solution: College administrators should consider implementing no-work policies for non-seniors in all university departments except those that offer health care or aid to the elderly, such as university hospitals and retirement homes. This policy would allow upperclassmen to work without impacting their academic performance while also gaining valuable work experience in their chosen field.

A problem solving essay might begins by describing a certain situation or outlining the scope of the problem, follow with a solution and its rationale, and conclude by summarizing main points and discussing potential implementation issues.

The Problem: The high cost of college tuition is preventing many students from attending college.

The Solution: Colleges should provide more financial aid to students who cannot afford to attend without it. In addition, the government should offer more grants and scholarships to students who meet certain criteria, such as coming from a low-income family or being the first in their family to attend college.

The Problem: The number of homeless people in the United States is increasing every year.

The Solution: The government should provide more funding for homeless shelters and increase the number of beds available at these shelters. In addition, the government should create more affordable housing units and make it easier for homeless people to access these units.

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