Issue & Problem Statements


Issue Statement Due Date: January 9, 2009 by 9:00am 

1) What is an issue statement? An issue involves more than one position on a topic. Topic= climate, Issue= Climate change impacts on whale migration. An issue statement begins and frames an issue/position/argument statement. An issue statement:

a)      (persuasive) explains the significance of the issue – who is affected and how (why should this matter to people other than you?) – focus on effectively convincing others that the actual issue matters rather than mapping out an action plan.

b)      (explanatory) defines the terms of the issue- explains what this issue is, was, and may become. It also explains links to other relevant matters.

c)      must frame debates on sub issues and related issues so that a clear and stable hierarchy of issues is created with lateral links to everything "related"—similar to a concept map- systems thinking

d)      avoid stating the problem. Different opinions about the issue will yield different problems identified. Instead, note what some of the different perspectives on the issue are, what biases or assumptions may frame the issue.  

Problem Statement Due Date: January 16, 2009 by 9:00am

2) What is a problem statement? The problem statement goes beyond explaining why the issue matters to you and others, it identifies the underlying “so what?” of the issue. What is the significant problem with the policy or law you selected? (Identification stage) Why is this a problem? Who is it a problem for? What is the meaning of the problem? (Definition stage—literally define the terms/words of the problem) Why is this problem significant enough to research for a full quarter? Why does this problem matter?