Identifying Issues for Your OpEd

An issue is a topic that can be debated. It can be a controversial or harmful matter that needs to be addressed. It can also be a situation that holds a great potential to affect people’s lives.

Issues often have the potential to cause a lot of trouble, such as causing a restaurant to be sued over a batch of fish that has gone bad or leaving a person sick with a virus. But they do not typically affect your life in such a major way that you would need to seek out the advice of others about how to resolve them.

The public views drug addiction, the affordability of health care, and terrorism as major problems in the country. But climate change and the federal budget deficit are less popular, largely because of stark differences in partisan views on the importance of these issues.

Affordability of Health Care

Two-thirds of Americans say the cost of health care is a very big problem in the country, while just 11% say it’s a moderately large one. Narrower majorities say the affordability of a college education (55%) and the federal budget deficit (53%) are very big problems, too.


The World Bank Group names corruption as a major barrier to ending poverty, boosting shared prosperity, and improving health outcomes. A wide range of practices—including bribery, fraud, and election manipulation—can undermine efforts to make this happen.

If you’re writing an op-ed article, be sure to identify the issues that are most important to your readers and focus on one or two of them. Use your research to find out what topics have been generating the most interest in your area of expertise and craft a powerful essay based on your insights and evaluations of those issues.