A persuasive essay, otherwise known as an argumentative essay is used to persuade the reader about a certain idea that you believe in. It uses reason, logic, and evidence to demonstrate that certain ideas are more valid compared to others. This kind of academic essay requires a deep understanding of the topic and goes beyond describing and presenting facts.
Seven tips to use when writing a persuasive essay.
1. The Topic
If your professor has assigned you a topic, ensure that you go take your time to go through it to understand what is required of you and to also come up with the best way to approach it. If that's not the case, it means you have the freedom to work on whatever issue you want to address. Choose a topic that you find to be interesting and that you are confident in discussing. Ensure that the topic you decide to work on meets the requirements or instructions provided. If you are however not sure about this, you can consult your professor and make a confirmation.
Carefully asses the topic you pick and decide which stance you want to go with. No position is wrong, so long as you have the right evidence, reasoning, and logic to support your argument. Many students find that after they carry out some research into the topic, their stance is swayed to the other side, this is perfectly normal. You should use the same evidence and argument to convince the reader to support your point of view.
2. Understand the Audience
The audience is very important in a persuasive essay; in this case, it is your professor. Determine whether your audience is against, or for the issue. Understand both sides to present your point of view effectively. You should be able to appeal to the audience and get them to support your views.
3. Research the topic
Having understood what is required of you from the topic or having chosen a topic to work on, the next step should be to do some thorough research into it. You can visit the library, use the internet or conduct interviews to collect all the research you need to write the essay.
A good essay is based on the research conducted. As stated earlier, you need to be able to show the reader that you have a deep understanding of the topic. This, therefore, means carrying out extensive research to gather all relevant information.
When researching, find out what is known currently about the topic and then work your way to the background to see how the issue has developed over time. To make your research easier and purposeful, you can set out questions and look for information that provides you with the answers you need. This helps you narrow down your focus and avoid unnecessary information. You will find that the questions change as you progress. Note down information that supports your position and acknowledges evidence that challenges your position as well. Make sure that you take notes that summarize the information you have collected and write references, if any, to make it easier when referring back to your sources.
If you feel like you have a clear argument from the research, you can move on to the next step.
4. Write a Thesis Statement
A proper thesis statement asserts your position on the subject and the main issue you will be arguing. It narrows down the argument to a clear and concise statement which guides your essay and gives the reader a hint as to where your argument is heading. It should address the essay question, if not you should go back and revise it. The thesis should be easily debatable, such that it can be directly opposed. Remember to keep it short and clear.
5. Come Up with a Structure
Now that you have your well-thought thesis statement and useful notes from your research, you will be able to come up with a structure for your essay. Think of it as the plan for your essay. Look for the points which will make up your main points and determine the ones that will build on the main points. Don’t be afraid to move the points around until you come up with a structure that has a flow to it and is logical.
6. Write the Essay
The introduction to your essay should be clear and strong and should show the reader that you have clearly understood the question and that you are taking a position which you will support using reasoned arguments and evidence. It should also include a hook to grab the reader’s attention. You should provide some background information on the topic to the reader to reinforce your position and argument. Your thesis statement should be written at the end of the introductory paragraph.
The body of the essay should include your main points and should consist of at least three paragraphs. Each point should be in its paragraph and should be supported by the other points you have on the outline. Remember to include hard evidence to back up your claims. You should strongly support your argument using facts, statistics or quotes. Be confident and strong. The reader needs to feel like he/she can trust you and believe that you are an expert on the topic. Your essay should flow and build as you progress.
You should further try to challenge your reader to step out of their comfort zone and consider re-evaluating their thoughts.
Your essay will come out much stronger if you acknowledge your opponents strongest points and provide counterarguments to invalidate them.
The conclusion to the essay should summarize your position and your strongest points. This reminds the reader where you stand. Re-state your thesis statement at the end and include a call for action. End with a statement that will leave a lasting impression on the mind of the reader.
Once you are done with the writing phase, the last but not least step is editing. Go through the entire paper to make sure that everything is written correctly. Ensure that you have adhered to the instructions given. The tenses should be in the correct form, and if references are present, they should be cited correctly. Go through the paper as many times as necessary until you are satisfied with the outcome. You can get someone you trust to read the essay and make any corrections that you might have skipped unknowingly. You can then go ahead and hand in your paper confidently.
Just a recap:
1. Understand or pick the topic
2. Understand the topic
4. Write the thesis statement
5. Come up with a structure
6. Write the essay
7. Edit the essay
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