Problem Definition Assignment

The Problem Definition Assignment is the first discussion post for the Consulting Simulation, an eight-week long collaborative project in Professional Writing, an undergraduate course in workplace writing. Note: This assignment is not graded!

A Problem Definition is a genre of writing that can also function as a mode of discourse

Assignment Guidelines


  1. Review the the deliverables for The Consulting Simulation. Skim the Problem Definition overview.
  2. Brainstorm about potential problems you would like to learn more about. Try to think about this for a bit of time, a day or two. Here you may find it useful to talk over ideas with friends. As always, it’s helpful to read what you can about topics of interest. Do a bit of preliminary research to develop more robust ideas.
  3. Post your problem definition to your new team members.

Discussion Post Guidelines

  1. Introduce yourself to your new team members in a sentence or two. Mention your academic major and professional-writing related background.
    • You might want to share with your new team which roles interest you. Possible roles include
      • Project Manager or Product Manager
      • Research Director
      • Senior Editor
      • Design Director
      • Quality Assurance
  2. Introduce the problem that you find interesting. Explain the problem using concrete, sensory language. Employ reader-based prose. Engage in critical problem solving:
    1. Who experiences this problem?
    2. How do they experience the problem?
    3. Who are the stakeholders?
    4. What is the history of this problem?
    5. What unsatisfactory situation do you propose to investigate?
    6. What specifically is unsatisfactory about it? 
    7. Supply any data needed to prove that this is indeed a significant problem. Cite your sources.
  3. Note that for this discussion post you are not expected to have solutions to the problem. For now it’s enough that you have identified a real problem–a problem for specific people in specific contexts.