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SPC 1608 Ashton - Problem/Solution Speech: Step 1

Step 1 Outcomes

In this section:

  • you will select your topic

  • you will brainstorm different different aspects of your  topic with a concept map

  • you will draft a preview statement


Develop a plan

The first person you’ll need to convince of your topic is yourself. Take these four steps to get the ball rolling:

1. Develop a rationale for your selection: why it matters, why it’s a problem, and why it can be solved.

2. Define your initial understanding: clarify what you know about the problem and what you think you know about potential solutions.

3. Determine what you need to learn: develop questions to help you begin your research or writing.

4. Design a research plan: poke around your library and/or online databases, and figure out what information is out there. Pick three people who could help your research and arrange to talk to them about the issue.

Part 1. Selecting the Topic

The first step is to determine a general topic.  You could select a problem that is of personal interest to you, something which has happened recently in the news, or something you want to learn more about. Whatever problem you select, you must keep the audience foremost in mind at every step of the speech preparation. 

After you select a problem, go to Part 2 to brainstorm different aspects of your problem with a concept map and determine your preview statement. Since we will be using texting addiction as an example, you will need to choose a different topic for your speech.

Part 2. Focusing Your Topic with a Concept Map

A broad topic usually has too much information to be presented in the time allotted for this speech.  For this reason, the supporting arguments for your problem may need to be narrowed down to something more specific. 

In this exercise, we will use concept mapping to brainstorm different aspects of texting, any of which may be used as supporting arguments for your problem.

You may already know enough about your topic to create a concept map.  If not, try doing some general searches on Google to learn more about the subject.  You may have selected something very specific and will need to expand on your topic.  In either case, keep a note of websites which seem particularly interesting or useful. 

Below is an example of a concept map developed on the topic of Texting.


Concept Map Assignment Part 1

There are 2 parts to this assignment. Print the blank form below to create the Concept Map for your speech.  Remember, the Concept Map you create for this assignment will be based on the actual topic you plan to use for your speech. Submit it in Canvas as a Word, HTML or PDF file.


Part 3. Writing a Preview Statement

Now that you have completed your concept map, state the problem, and select the specific aspects from the map you would like to include in your speech to support the problem. Remember to be flexible with your supporting arguments.  During the research process, you may learn that their isn't enough supporting evidence available.

Preview Statement:  Today, I am going to convince you that texting is a serious problem because it is similar to an addiction, and will provide viable solutions for each addiction.

From our concept map, we have selected the following supporting arguments:

  • social skills
  • emotional health
  • physical injury


Concept Map Assignment Part 2: Preview Statement

Add your preview statement to the bottom of your concept map.

Now, to determine if the supporting arguments will work for your speech, you will need to do a bit of research. Go to Step 2 next.