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Online Guide to Writing and Research

Thinking Strategies and Writing Patterns

Patterns for Presenting Information

Problem-Cause-Solution Pattern

According to conventional wisdom, you can summarize every story ever told in the following way: someone falls into a hole and must climb out. In other words, every story is about solving a problem. There are probably many exceptions to this observation; however, connecting the need to solve a real-life problem to your subject can draw your readers’ attention. The problem-cause-solution pattern can help you do this.

In a sense, this pattern is a variety of the specific-to-general pattern, as it often begins with specific details and moves to a somewhat generalized solution. However, rather than evoking a sense of mystery and suspense, the problem-cause-solution pattern focuses on concrete difficulties; and though a solution may appeal to abstract principles, the solution should have a practical application, enough to solve the real-life problem.

Key Takeaways

  • The problem-cause-solution approach will first describe the problem, then analyze the cause or responses to the problem, and then will lead to a solution.
  • We practice this approach daily in our interactions with others, whether at work or home.

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Table of Contents: Online Guide to Writing