How to Write a Persuasive Essay
In a persuasive essay, the student at the college level writes to convince the reader – usually the 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 the 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.
Before going further, you may read a great list containing the best persuasive essay topics:
Steps to Writing a Persuasive Essay
These common steps will help you understand how to write 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 persuasive 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 paragraph 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 persuasive essay 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.
Have no idea of how to start your persuasive writing? Read the article below:
Persuasive Essay Outline
Here is the basic outline of a persuasive essay:
- Hook - interesting fact or story to grab the reader’s attention.
- Background information – provides context around which to build your argument and acquaints the reader with the subject.
- Thesis – a clear, concise statement of your main argument. Your thesis gives the reader a map or the path your argument will follow.
Body Paragraphs (2, 3, or more)
Each body paragraph contains the following:
- One point that backs up your thesis
- Topic sentence that reflects the main idea of the paragraph
- Support for the thesis
- Evidence. Provide information from a reliable source that supports the main idea of the paragraph.
- Analysis. Show how the evidence you provide builds a case for the argument and construct this argument here.
- Briefly summarize the main point of the essay
- Establish significance of the topic (Why should the reader be interested?)
- Give the reader food for thought
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