Solution Explanation Assignment
Due: Week 12
Length: 500 words minimum
Format: Memo (short report)
Submission: Upload a doc, docx, pdf, or rtf file to the appropriate link in “Assignments”
Congratulations on completing your problem explanation! This assignment is the next step toward completing the technical research report project. When readers finish the solution explanation, they should understand what the solution is, how it works, and h ow it mitigates the problem that you’ve explained in the previous section . In order to clearly explain the technical details, you can group information using specific strategies. Chiefly, you can use the main organizational strategies from WRIT 120: describing the parts and explaining the process. In addition, there are also other potential strategies.
In addition to parts and process, the solution explanation sections can also feature other potential organizational strategies. You can think about strategies that you used in WRIT 120, develop unique ways to group information, or use sections that you encounter in your sources. However, keep in mind that you nee d to synthesize research; you shouldn’t just copy whole sections from sources. Finally, when creating the body sections, you should also put thought into the order of the sections. For example, you should thoroughly explain how a technology
functions before presenting an example or explaining effects.
While the main section of your solution explanation will do the same technical analysis work that you did in WRIT 120, you’ll also critique the technology by exploring its limits, advantages, disadvantages, positive consequences, and negative consequences.
As you explain how your technology mitigates the problem, you’ll also acknowledge ways that the technology can’t mitigate the problem, or its limits. Consider the concept of "solutionism" or the assumption that there is or should be a technical solution to all of life's problems, even minor "frictions." This is a dangerous assumption, argues one journalist, because if we're too quick to turn to a technological fix, we're less likely to investigate the root of problems and less likely to put pressure on those in power to take large-scale, collective action to solve problems. Even if we could develop a technology to address every inconvenience or difficulty in our lives, does this mean that we should?
As you explain how your technology mitigates the problem, you’ll consider your technology’s consequences. Make a distinction between a disadvantage and a consequence is useful. Both disadvantages and consequences occur when the technology is working as intended. A disadvantage
is always negative whereas a consequence can be positive (also known as a windfall or serendipity) or negative (also known as backfiring or a side-effect). You arrive at the main difference, however, by asking "For whom?" Disadvantages apply to the technology's users while consequences don't apply to the technology's users. For example, a disadvantage of wind turbines is that it's always dependent on its source: if the wind doesn't blow, there's no power for users. A consequence of wind turbines is
that birds fly into the blades. Or, a disadvantage of bitcoin is that it's not official currency (you can't pay your taxes with bitcoin). A consequence of bitcoin is that it's a perfect vehicle for extortion because it can't be traced.
As always, advantages, disadvantages, and consequences (positive and negative) depend on perspective, so thinking critically here means that you should examine problems and solutions from as many different perspectives as possible. For example, you fill up your car with gas (advantage for you) and pay the gas station (advantage for the business); however, your car causes pollution that affects people who had nothing to do with your exchange at the gas pump (negative
consequence). Or, Facebook advertises that it keeps people connected (advantage for the company);
however, it can be used to spread lies, propaganda, and conspiracy theories (disadvantage to users). Facebook has also, others say, played a key role in the death of the newspaper (negative consequence).
Again, consequences can be positive (also known as a windfall or serendipity) or negative (also known as backfiring or a side-effect), and there are several reasons, including ignorance and error, why consequences happen. As you brainstorm or research consequences, remember that all activities, including even the most sustainably produced products, have consequences.
Before attempting this assignment, you should consult the materials attached with this assignment and review the following resources in Learning Materials on Blackboard:
• Review Module: Support Types for the Solution Explanation
• Module 3: Document Design
• Module 5: Evaluate and Cite Sources
• Module 8: Library Research
Self-Plagiarism: What is it? How to Avoid it
Submitting previously submitted course work for credit—in part or in full—is a form of plagiarism and is treated in the same manner as other forms of academic misconduct by Humber College. When an author self-plagiarizes, they are drawing on ideas or words that they have submitted for credit or publication elsewhere, without acknowledgment or proper citation. Here is a short and helpful article that describes what self-plagiarism is, why it qualifies as academic misconduct, and how to avoid it in the future.
Format & Structure
As a short report, the problem explanation will feature a memo header:
TO: Dr. Erin J. Harvey
FROM: Your name
DATE: Submission date
SUBJECT: Solution explanation for the technical research report
In addition to a memo header, the report body should feature design elements like descriptive “talking” headings, bullets, and white space. You’ll also integrate graphics to help convey key technical information (i.e., blueprint, exploded diagram, cut -away diagram, process flow chart).
There’s a sample outline on the next page. You may repeat the headings, but you’ll need to create your own relevant, descriptive subheadings (and possibly sub-subheadings). At the most basic level, you will need to include information that explains the solution and links it to the problem.
Include your topic statement/title here
1. Open with a one-sentence function & purpose statement: What is the technology called? What does it do? Why does it do this?
2. How is it similar to or different from other versions of the same technology or other technologies with the same purpose? How is the solution innovative?
3. Which environments/situations is this solution most applicable to?
4. What is the history of the solution? Who uses this? How common is it? How long has it been used? How has its use changed over time?
5. Who developed this solution and what is their relationship to the problem?
1. Parts analysis: What does it look like? What are its parts? What are the physical characteristics of each part? How do the parts fit together?
2. Process analysis: How does it work? What are the operational goal(s) that this technology is expected to achieve? What are the input(s) and the out put(s)? What sequence of events is necessary to turn an input into an output?
3. Requirements and conditions analysis : What external factors affect the optimal functioning of a technology’s parts and processes? What requirements and conditions alter or modify a technology’s basic components? What conditions are prerequisites for the optimal operation of a technology? What conditions restrict or limit the outcomes of the technology?
4. What are the technology’s advantages and disadvantages?
5. How well developed is it now (i.e., design prototype, scaling up, or full -scale manufacturing)?
6. Where has the solution been implemented and what were the specific outcomes? What are the local and global applications of this technology? What locations or industries could use this solution if it hasn’t been implemented yet?
1. How does this technology mitigate the problem (connect to causes)?
2. Do any laws, policies, or practices need to be changed for the solution to be implemented?
3. What other changes would help strengthen the impact of this solution?
4. Which aspects of the problem are not resolved by this technology? What are its limits?
5. Who will be impacted by this solution? Who should be able to benefit from this technology but
6. What impact does/will the design, manufacture, use, and/or disposal of this technology have on
society? What are the possible social, economic, and environmental consequences of the solution? For example, will it reduce or reinforce inequalities? Will it create or eliminate jobs? Will it reduce or contribute to climate change?
The APA-style references list (full references, not just URLs) should include at least THREE secondary sources that are authoritative and reliable. Commercial Internet sites are not acceptable.