While some policies are usually well intended, some policies do not work as expected because of the ways in which they are designed, phrased or implemented. The same policy may also affect different people in different ways, and some policies that are helpful for some people may not be well received by others.
People who are affected by these policies might respond in a number of ways: some may accept the policies as they are and abide by them regardless of how they feel about them, while others might try to change them by persuading those in power to change or abolish the policies–or at least change the ways they are implemented.
Why People Write Problem Analyses Problem analyses show up in lots of kinds of writing, including white papers, briefs, root-cause reports, and some literature reviews.
Many of the scholarly reports you’ll write in college will include at least sections of problem analysis. This type of writing is so prevalent because controversies—that is, issues on which reasonable people disagree—are inherently complex. In the heat of the controversy, it is often difficult to determine the details underneath who the key players are and how their positions relate to one another.
When that’s the case, writing offers a dispassionate way of making those relationships visible to readers and explaining why those relationships matter.
Assignment For this assignment, you will craft a document that maps stakeholders’ positions in order to show the complexity of a policy issue or controversy specific to language, writing, literacy, or a related topic.
More specifically, this assignment puts you in the shoes of an advisor for an individual or group who needs to make a decision on a controversial issue (this controversial issue can be one that was identified while working on WP1). Ultimately, you will choose a policy issue or area of controversy that interests you to analyze on the basis of different stakeholder positions.
In total, your analysis should include five sources and three stakeholder positions.
Your goal here is to design your analysis to help the reader understand the stakeholders’ positions. Keeping this in mind, you will develop this analysis in order to make the complexity the issue or controversy accessible to your readers. It is absolutely necessary that you include textual support to illustrate the key points you make.
Consider that a stakeholder is anyone with a particular interest—or stake—in the matter at hand. So, all stakeholders are involved in and care about that issue. But different stakeholders come to the issue from different perspectives; likewise, what they’re trying to protect is likely different, as are their reasons for getting involved. Figuring what’s at stake and to whom on a given issue is the point of this assignment.
So rather than arguing your position, you’ll be building an argument to convince readers to take seriously your analysis of this contested terrain so that they can make an informed decision down the road. In this way, your analysis will be a coherent and compelling argument in its own right.
The primary audience for this writing project will depend on the issue that you have chosen to address in your proposal, so you will need to do some research to determine who the “stakeholders” are. In other words, who would be affected if the issue on which you are writing were to be put into practice or adopted?
Who has the power to take action? Who is it that you need to persuade? Depending on the nature of the issue, you may need to reach one particular person or multiple groups.
Getting Started First do some preliminary research on your own to choose a controversial policy issue at the local level. Think about an issue that you or your peers recognize as problematic and examine it in-depth by asking yourself questions such as: What is the issue? Why is it an issue? Who is affected?
How might the issue be solved? Who might be involved in coming up with, or implementing, a solution? Some examples of these topics “videogames and their influence,” “immigration in the 21st century,” “the value(s) of higher education in a changing economy” and “choices for a sustainable world.” Your topic must be cleared with me.
Choosing a topic on your own will require you to do more research, but it will also allow you to work on something you may be truly interested in.
Once you have chosen a problem to address, you will need to find sources that are in conversation with this topic. Then, you will need to skim through these sources and locate at least five that represent three different stakeholder positions on this issue. All of these five sources will need to be found through the WOU library database.
Though you should have a variety of reputable sources including academic publications, newspaper editorials and/or other public arguments are great places to hear from stakeholders. Also, keep in mind that each source you choose MUST have an author. In total, your analysis should include five sources and three stakeholder positions.
Figuring Out What to Say
When processing this work, consider the following:
Now take a step back and review your responses to the above questions. What patterns do you see across your responses? What do these patterns suggest about the stakeholders’ relations to one another and about the controversy itself?
In this project, you will learn to:
Paper Format: Your essay should have one-inch margins (top, bottom, right, left), be double-spaced (without the extra 10 pt. spacing between lines), use the Times New Roman font throughout, including in the header and footer for wherever you paginate, and have a 12-point print size. Paginate each page except the first in the top right corner.
Your title should be at the top of your first page (one inch from the top), centered, with your first paragraph double-spaced below it. Do not italicize, bold print, or place your own title under quotation marks. Your essay should also be at least 1200 words or 4-5 pages long.
Also, use MLA parenthetical citation of quotations from the readings you include in your essay. Failure to do so constitutes plagiarism, which is no bueno. Also, there should be no free-standing quotations, so set up each quotation with your own words.
For instance: In “The Cult of Ethnicity,” Schlesinger states, “The new American nationality was inescapably English in language, ideas and institutions” (63). If a quotation is longer than four of your one-inch margined lines, indent it one-inch on the left (not on the right) and set it up like a shorter quotation, with your own words. (Five sources minimum & three stakeholders).