College Writing Assignments – Identifying Issues


A topic that can be debated, such as government spending or pollution from fossil fuels. An issue can also refer to a problem or controversy: The teacher’s new curriculum is causing issues with some students.

The term issue can also be used to describe a personal flaw or difficulty: She’s got anger management issues. Some people dislike this usage, arguing that it is imprecise and euphemistic. However, it has become common enough that it appears in many dictionaries.

College writing assignments often ask you to analyze an issue and present your own stance, based on logical reasoning and supported by various types of evidence. The goal is to bring clarity to your thoughts on the subject by breaking down an issue into its distinct parts and presenting them in a clear thesis statement.

Identify the audience for your article and choose a topic that directly impacts or affects them. This may include children, teenagers, middle-aged adults, business professionals or elderly people. If you can find an issue that relates to each of these groups, your readers are more likely to be interested in the article.

Research your topic and use credible sources. Choose sources that can offer different perspectives and opinions, and interview enough of them to fill your article with well-rounded content. Avoid stating facts that most readers already know; instead, focus on providing information and insights that will add value to their lives.

The verb issue means “to rise, come up or come into notice.” Synonyms include spring, arise, emerge, derive, flow, emanate and proceed. These words all suggest the coming of something to light or attention, but differ in their connotations: spring and rise emphasize sudden emergence, while emerge stresses gradual growth or ascent.