Determining the Causes
Medical researchers try to identify the causes of various diseases. They can develop a vaccine to immunize people from contracting that disease. For example, Dr. Jonas Salk virtually eliminated polio when he identified the virus that caused it, and then developed a vaccine. Likewise, if policy makers can identify the causes or factors that contribute to a social problem, then they can try to develop public policies to eliminate or lessen those causes or factors.
Unlike the specific virus that causes polio, most social problems have numerous causes and contributing factors. Some of the Internet resources that you used to complete the previous steps probably also contain information about causes and contributing factors (see Topics for Developing American History Social Problems). Review those documents and articles and brainstorm the causes and factors that contribute to your social problem. Record that information on Worksheet 3.