Steps to Writing a Persuasive Essay

Updated: Nov 3, 2016

In order to write an effective Persuasive Essay, the student should be well informed on their topic, an effort that can be accomplished through researching and reading rather extensively about that topic.

In a persuasive, or argumentative, essay, the student at the collegiate level writes to convince their reader – usually their professor – to believe something. It includes the writer taking a position on an issue, either for or against it, using logic and reason to illustrate the point they are making is indeed legitimate. Their argument is supported by evidence: the stating of facts, the execution of logical reasoning, examples from a text with an analysis of its specific content, and the quoting of experts on the subject being examined.

In order to write an effective Persuasive Essay, the student should be well informed on their topic, an effort that can be accomplished through researching and reading rather extensively about that topic. Also, every argument – in this case, the paper’s Thesis: basically the argument being put forth in the essay – needs to be debatable; that is, an issue should have two sides, the writer choosing one of them to argue with supporting evidence. 

Steps to Writing a Persuasive Essay

Step 1. The student must choose their position on a subject or topic. If they are unaware of their position on a topic, they can take a subject that interests them and ask themselves, “Which side of the issue or problem do I want to take and write about? How can I best argue that point – and what evidence can I use to make that argument an effective one?”

Step 2. They must analyze their audience. In the case of the student in college or university level, their professor will most likely be their audience – the reader of their Persuasive Essay. This means the student should keep in mind that the essay should be written in a confident, informative and assertive tone, as put forth in a professional, academic manner. 

Step 3. The student, after choosing their position on a topic, should research to find evidence of the position they’re looking to take. After all, a Persuasive Essay will be as effective as the evidence supporting its argument. A library is an ideal place to begin research; in most cases, the library at an academic institution will have employed a person or staff whose primary job is keeping the students abreast of the latest research practices and theories.  

Step 4. Structure, outline the essay. In this step, the student is to figure out what they will include, how they will analyze each supporting point, and in what order they will do so as they write the essay. After narrowing the focus of their argument and finding evidence that supports it, they should create an outline that includes first an introduction paragraph declaring their Thesis – their Thesis Statement – followed by briefly listed points that support it. Each body paragraphs will focus on one point at a time, the ones listed in the introductory paragraph, which support the original Thesis Statement. Finally, the student must include in their outline a concluding paragraph tying the paper together, solidifying their argument as a whole. 

Step 5. Write the essay, edit it, rewrite if needed, revise, then submit to the instructor. It may benefit the student to have a fellow student read their Persuasive Essay to see if it makes a strong enough argument. Also, many institutions in higher education hire writing tutors, and may even have a writing center for students.

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