In your proposal, you should do your best to define and describe the problem you
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In your proposal, you should do your best to define and describe the problem you’re interested in exploring. As part of this description, you should make sure that you’ve at least started to quantify the problem—i.e., you should provide hard, concrete numbers/statistics to prove that your problem really is a problem, and you should make clear who is affected by it.
Beyond this, you should also make sure that you’ve explained the important “terms of art” that pertain to your problem and that you’ve identified your problem’s central stakeholders or “players,” by which I mean: the main figures, agencies, special interest groups, etc. who hold power and/or influence policies related to the problem.
Please also begin to consider the possible historical causes of the problem, especially as they’ve been identified by experts, scholars, players, journalists, etc. What are some of the historical failures/reasons that the problem exists, and how has it been considered and/or addressed thus far?
Clearly, you won’t be able to do any of the above without first doing a LOT of research—so start reading now! One good way to begin is by exploring “popular” media sources: articles in newspapers like the New York Times and the LA Times as well as slightly longer pieces in magazines like The Atlantic and the New York Review of Books. If there are recent articles in such popular media sources that deal with your problem, these articles will probably be useful to you in explaining to your audience why your problem is urgent and real.
My recommendation is that you also include a first attempt at a “problem-failure thesis,” following our model: “The problem of _______ (term of art) is caused by the failure of _______________ (somebody to do something) which has resulted in ________________ (quantify, give examples of problem).” You will be submitting the first draft of your CP Introduction on Thursday, so the more work you do now, the better!
(Note: this assignment goes hand in hand with the two other assignments for today, i.e., the 1-2 Books + 3-4 Articles assignment and the 3 Source Evaluations assignment. You’ll probably find yourself working on all three of these assignments simultaneously, which is a good thing. This is the nature of writing and research, after all: your topic/argument will change as you find more (and better) sources, and in turn, your new topic/argument will cause you to discover sources that relate more directly to your problem!)