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CSS 301 University Of Washington Bothell Technical Writing For Computing Professionals Essay


Write a Problem/Solution paper to assist the reader to understand the state of their problem and offer a solution. 

Your Topic and Audience – Determining your Scenario

With all assignments so far, I’ve given you the audience and scenario for your assignment. 

With this assignment, you will do this yourself. Your job is to identify an audience who has a problem you’ve identified within your topic area. You can identify any problem area that exists within your topic area; the problem does not need to relate to or lead from your position paper. 

In problem/solution writing, the audience is looking for a solution that is accessible to them, that they can use right away to solve a problem. So no editorials! 

Pre-Writing brainstorming exercise to determine your scenario 

  • Start with blank paper with your topic from Assignment #3 at the top. Go back to the original topic, not the thesis you used, as that will restrict your thinking unnecessarily.
  • Reexamine/consider your research for your assignment and inventory what sorts of problems you read about.
  • For those problems, who had that problem? What could be a solution for the problem?
  • Once you have a series of example problems, audience, solutions, then pick one to write about for assignment #4.

In order for your instructor to be able to grade your assignment, he/she needs to be told about your scenario that you’ve established for your P/S paper by these pre-writing exercises. 

Therefore, on a separate page, answer the following questions. NOTE: You MUST turn-in a copy of this scenario page with your assignment. 

Scenario questions 

  • TOPIC: What is your topic (it’s the same topic as your position paper topic)? Just remind me.
  • PROBLEM: Briefly explain what is the problem within this topic area? 
  • WHO HAS THE PROBLEM: who has the problem that needs solving?
  • AUDIENCE: Who is your audience that will solve the problem? This may be the same as the person who has the problem or maybe someone else.
  • AUDIENCE ANALYSIS: what can you say about what they already know about the subject of the writing?
  • DELIVERY: What is the usual delivery mechanism for delivering a solution to this problem to your audience? Examples include web site page, newspaper/magazine article, handout of some sort, formal report, letter, memo, …. Don’t automatically pick an easily formatted delivery mechanism; your scenario must make sense.

    The delivery location you pick for your assignment must be an actual, real world location. You will match your work to fit its look. This assignment is not about creating your own look. This assignment is about matching an existing real world look. You must format your P/S assignment in this same delivery mechanism, so that your imaginary audience with this problem could find your solution.

  • AUTHOR: Who are you, as the author of the solution? That is, since you’re going to offer a solution to this problem, why are you a credible? Someone that your audience would trust? Make up your role in this scenario so that your authorship carries clout.
  • SOLUTION: list the solution(s) planned.

POV and Tone

  • These ought to be medium-formal papers. 
  • POV is whatever you need for your scenario. 
    • Use 2nd POV (“you”) to address your reader, to include them in the solution. 
    • Use 3rd POV to refer to anyone else. Do not use 3rd POV to address the reader.
    • Avoid 1st POV (e.g., “I”), unless your scenario calls for it. Problem solution isn’t about the author having the solution, rather the reader that has the problem.


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