PRACTICAL EXERCISE PE 2-02-2
TITLE: Problem Essay
This assignment was adapted from the CNO Point Paper/Position Paper. Problem essays offer a
means to advance recommendations in a direct and objective manner. Problem essays provide a
concise summary of an important issue, include background information to clarify the problem, a
discussion of the issues surrounding the problem, and conclude with a recommended course of
action. Problem essays bring recommended solutions to the attention of an entire organization
and bring concerns to a higher level.
This assignment provides the student the opportunity to develop and present a fact-based
argument to address an issue currently facing military members. In addition, this problem essays
provides the basis for an oral presentation to the Chiefs Mess on the topic selected.
1. Utilizing the Three-Part Communications Model, prepare an essay on an issue relevant to the
military community. Everything in this assignment, including the essay, must be
2. Students will choose a topic of Navy or military interest and present it to the Faculty Advisor
(FA) for approval. Once approved, prepare a problem essay identifying the problem, a
discussion of the size, scope, and impact of the problem, and a recommendation to correct or
change the issue.
3. Develop an outline using the format provided in Handout HO 2-02-1. Submit the outline in
accordance with FA guidance.
4. Use material provided in Modules 2.01a Three-Part Communications and 2.02 Effective
Writing for assistance and guidance.
5. The length of the essay shall be two to three double-spaced pages, excluding the title and
reference pages. The limited length of this essay allows the student to focus on research
organization, prioritization of analysis, and arguments.
6. Format: For writing style and guidance, refer to the American Psychological Association
Publication Manual (APA), 6th Ed.
7. Employ a persuasive writing style, explaining thoughts and ideas on the topic addressed.
8. Provide a reference page citing all sources used in this assignment. Include a minimum of
three credible references. Students will base research on facts from credible sources. (Examples
of non-credible sources include the dictionary, Wikipedia, and about.com.) Per the APA, “each
reference cited in text must appear in the reference list, and each entry in the reference list must
be cited in text [emphasis added]” (p.174).
9. Similarity index provided from Turnitin cannot exceed 25%, excluding references.
10. Write the essay in the third person (i.e., use he, she, they, them, his, her . . . instead of I, me,
my, we, our, us, let’s, you, your…).
11. The essay must follow the model described in required reading 2.01a Three-Part
Communications. Recall that there are three parts to an essay: introduction, body, and
conclusion. For the body, use main points: Problem, Discussion, and Recommendation.
Remember to include a transition sentence between main points. The essay MUST use the main
points as described and in the order presented below.
A. Main point (1): Problem. States the problem the student identified. The problem lays
the foundation to explain the impact and recommendation. Include background information if
needed to clarify the main topic.
B. Main point (2): Discussion. Here, the student will look at the cause-and-effect of the
problem. State the issues as they currently affect the military community. What are the positive
and negative effects of this issue (pros and cons)? This main point will help the reader
understand the significance of the problem. Aim to persuade the reader with facts.
C. Main point (3): Recommendation. Based on the research and facts presented, propose
a solution to the problem. In this main point, the student will take a definitive position and state a
recommendation to correct or change the issue. (Reminder: Even though the student is making a
personal recommendation, consistent with the entire essay, write the recommendation in the third
person. See paragraph 10 above.)
GRADING CRITERIA: Refer to PE EVAL: 2-02-1
NOTE: Mechanics, structure, punctuation, and grammar are important in the
writing/composition process. Originality, substance, content, and clarity are equally vital.