Problem-Solution Essay: Introduction, Body & Conclusion

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  • 0:04 The Problem-Solution Essay
  • 0:59 Thesis
  • 2:00 Introduction
  • 2:54 Body
  • 3:41 Conclusion
  • 4:28 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Angela Janovsky

Angela has taught middle and high school English, Business English and Speech for nine years. She has a bachelor's degree in psychology and has earned her teaching license.

Writing an essay is never an easy task. Read this lesson if you are struggling to compose an interesting and strongly structured problem-solution essay.

The Problem-Solution Essay

The essay. The bane of all students' existence. How do you begin to write? How do you know what to include? What's a thesis statement anyway, and how do you write one? You may have asked these questions many times throughout your educational career, but helpful answers really depend on what type of essay is needed.

One type is a problem-solution essay, which describes some sort of conflict, challenge or question and then outlines one or more answers or resolutions. These types of essays can be used to inform, which would then involve all possible solutions to the problem. However, they could also be persuasive. In that case, it would outline the problem, and possibly several solutions, but it would argue for one solution above the rest.

Before you begin to write this type of essay, determine your purpose and your target audience. The rest of this lesson describes how to write each part of a problem-solution essay.


Before you even begin to write, you must develop a thesis, which is the one statement that outlines the main argument of an essay. The key to a strong thesis is not merely making a broad statement of your topic, but instead specifically outlining what your essay will cover. Look at the following weak thesis:

  • The depletion of the ozone layer is a significant problem.

You may think this is a decent thesis, as it does give the general topic. However, it does not explain the purpose for writing, nor does it outline where you are going with this idea. Now let's look at this thesis:

  • A highly debated topic, the depletion of the ozone layer could easily be addressed by simple actions by each individual in society and by measures taken by each nation's government.

This thesis is much stronger. Not only does the reader know what the main problem is, but also what information the rest of the essay will discuss (solutions for individuals and solutions for governments). Overall, having a strong thesis will help you to maintain a clear focus throughout your essay.


Once you have a strong thesis, the next step is to write an introduction paragraph. The introduction is the paragraph that presents your topic and grabs the reader's attention. Since the introduction paragraph plays an important role, you need to be sure to plan an interesting beginning. You can ask a rhetorical question or make a profound statement. You could also state a definition or a short anecdote. Here is an example of a rhetorical question as an introduction strategy.

  • Would you consent to being forced to do one thing every day for the rest of your life, if that one thing would save the world?

This type of opening line will instantly draw in your reader. As you continue to write the introduction paragraph, make the problem relatable to your reader. Consider your target audience and be sure to appeal to their interests. Narrow down your topic and lead directly into the thesis statement, which should be near the end of the introduction paragraph or the final sentence of it.

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