In the phrase “salient issues,” the word “salient” is an adjective and “issues” is a noun. That is, “salient” is describing the types of issues.
According to Merriam-Webster, “salient” means leaping or springing for movement, or standing out in a conspicuous way. In the phrase “salient issues,” the word means standing out. Therefore, a salient issue is one that stands out from other issues.
Journals and Newspapers
In academic writings, journals and news articles, authors sometimes try to find the salient issues in a subject. For example, a 2002 article about health care reform attempted to find the salient issues for nurses by exploring which parts of the health care plan would be important in nursing practice.
Salient functions can be actions as well as issues that are written about. For example, if a coach is watching a recording of a basketball game, he likely will pick out the salient functions when reviewing it with his team.
Determining the salient issues is a subjective process. That is, what is salient for one person may not be for the next.
When plotting a course of action or writing, keeping the audience in mind will help the author determine what the salient issue should be.
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