How to Write a Persuasive Essay on Any Topic?
Writing a persuasive essay is similar to taking on the role of a lawyer to defend a case in the courtroom. The key to writing a persuasive essay lies in putting forward strong arguments for the chosen stance i.e. either ‘in favor’ or ‘against’ the point of debate.
The author of a persuasive essay is responsible for persuading the reader of the point presented or stance taken. It is not simple to build a strong argument unless the reader is well aware of the issue, knows both sides of the story/arguments and has a vast knowledge to build grounds for the argument to be proposed. The writer must have a good understanding of the reader’s psyche in order to counteract the biases he holds. Another way of persuading the reader is to collect information that negates the counter argument. Hence, an argumentative essay has a two-fold writing style whereby one side proves an argument to be true, while the other disapproves the counter argument with reasoning.
Persuasive content is often observed in the modern day advertisement, news reports, editorials, discussion posts, and political arenas. This style of writing is used to create awareness on the existing issues. For example, discussing whether or not there should be a uniform for the students. In the above example, arguments may be presented to persuade the reader that uniforms should be made mandatory in colleges. Several arguments like uniforms are more professional bring discipline among students; make them comfortable with no competition in terms of clothing and so on.
5 Step Model of Writing Persuasive Essay
The basic five step writing model can provide a systematic way of writing a persuasive essay.
- Prewriting Stage
The writer should be very diligent in the prewriting stage. This stage can be termed as the planning and brainstorming stage, whereby the student:
- Selects a stance: the student should choose the position he wants to hold and brainstorm ideas which can be used to support his position.
- Know the Reader: the student should try to understand and know the psyche of the reader to counteract his arguments opposing the essay’s theme or further strengthen the supporting views, in favor of proposed argument, held by the reader.Further, if the reader does not have any view on the topic, the writer may simply pull arguments that go in favor of his claim rather than making the reader double-minded by presenting both sides of the argument.
- Conduct research: Unlike other essays, persuasive essay requires strong points and arguments to be provided. The claims made should be backed up by relevant and reliable research to attract reader’s trust and attention. The students may discuss the topic with seniors in the academic field, seek help from library resources, take ideas from online sources and discuss with knowledgeable individuals in the field. Preferably, both sides of the argument should be known.
- Choose Reasoning: The student should be able to identify and select the most appealing arguments to support claims.
- Structuring and Organising the Essay: After brainstorming the ideas and choosing the position, the writer needs to formulate it in a systematic manner. The ideas and arguments should be in an order that is easily comprehendible and meaningful to the reader. Usually the essay comprises five to six paragraphs as follows:’
- Attention grabbing beginning to catch the reader’s attention
- Provide a brief sight into your argument
- Close the paragraph with the thesis statement to clarify the purpose of the essay and main argument.
- Preferably present three arguments
- Each paragraph should focus on one main argument and support it with relevant research.
- Rebuttal of the argument should be provided and opposing views should be discussed in this paragraph.
- The ending paragraph should reiterate the argument presented in the thesis with supporting reasoning.
- Writing a Draft
In order to ensure the quality of information and the flow thereof, the writer should begin with writing a draft. The following guidelines are helpful in making a meaningful draft for the essay:
- The opening paragraph should be attention grabbing and interesting to the reader providing unique information and ideas. Another way of grabbing the attention of the reader is to open with a relevant quote, story, or question that intrigues the questioning mind. For instance: Second-hand or passive smoking may jeopardise one’s health in almost the same manner as the smoker himself.”
- The thesis statement which ends the introductory paragraph should be clear, concise and accurate in delivering the intended position on the topic.
- Each paragraph should focus on only one argument and must have a thesis sentence to clearly articulate the argument.
- Various writing mechanism like usage of examples, quotes, analogies, experiences, discussions, facts, figures and other supporting materials should be included.
- Arguments must cover the possibilities that surround an issue. Hence, a questioning and imaginative mind should be used to cover a wider scope of the issue (using what if, suppositions and other questioning techniques to build the grounds).
- The assumption of the reader having prior knowledge should be avoided at all stages of writing. Each factor should be clearly defined and explained for the readers’ understanding.
- The ending paragraph should include the arguments presented supporting the thesis and including the strongest reasoning provided throughout the essay. The ending sentence should either leave the reader with a question that should be pondered over, a plea to act, or an urge to think ahead between the lines provided.
- Reviewing the Essay
Once the draft is made and the essay hits the final stage, there is a need to revisit and review the content of the essay. The revision phase is important to fine-tuning the arguments, structural coherence, and presentation of the essay. The aim of the writer here should be to make the best effort of providing an error-free content for the readers. Some key points at this stage are provided as follows:
- Is the essay clear in taking one side of the argument backed up by research and relevant writing mechanics to support claims made?
- Is the opening attention grabbing and intriguing to the human mind?
- Is each paragraph focusing on one argument that is clearly stated in a thesis sentence for each paragraph?
- Does the essay provide a counterargument with persuasive rebuttals for those arguments?
- Does the essay sound academically written with proper grammar, sentence structures, correct spellings, and precision of ideas? Does the paper include different sentence structures to make it easy to read?
- Finally, does the essay provide a closing paragraph that reiterates the thesis of the persuasive essay with supporting secondary research? Does it make the reader to think or act differently than before?
The student should allocate sufficient time for the revision stage in order to revisit, rewrite or restructure the entire essay in case of any discrepancy found while reviewing. The writer should ensure that the thesis chosen is supported throughout the essay and the paper presents a well-structured approach to counter any arguments that arise against the presented argument.
- Editing and Proofreading
During this stage, the finalised essay is checked and reviewed for stylistic and grammatical errors. The essay should use a consistent format including the same font style, heading type, and alignments throughout the essay. The writer may ask for a second opinion from a peer to gain a different perspective on the final essay.
- Publishing Stage
The final stage is where the essay is shared with the readers which may include class fellows, friends, online readers, bloggers, teachers, siblings and so on. This stage provides mixed comments and exciting remarks on the content and writing style. The aim of this stage is to grab the weaknesses of the essay and learn from any negative comments or suggestions from readers for improvements.