How to Write a Persuasive Essay
by Chris Angelopoulos
A good persuasive essay is like a skilled lawyer arguing for a case in a courtroom. At the end of the trial, all the jurors should be convinced that the case presented by the lawyer represents the truth of what happened. This type of essay clearly lays out of the facts, gives a convincing interpretation, and attempts to win over the reader with evidence.
Consider the Options
As explained in the other essay articles in this series, brainstorming is often the first step along the journey of essay writing. A good paper always starts with a good idea. Take a look at some of the techniques listed in the brainstorming article for an assortment of methods for doing so. Writing down ideas on a notepad or using Speare to record ideas on the go can be a great way to spark creativity.
After choosing a topic, the next step is to examine, analyze, and inspect it from every angle possible. Since a persuasive essay is about presenting a point of view, it’s necessary to have in-depth knowledge about it and understand a wide range of perspectives on the topic. Knowledge of the topic will help a writer build a case with supporting evidence, and understanding competing perspectives will allow for more effective refutation.
Choose the One
With extended knowledge of a topic, it can sometimes be tempting to spill all of it on the page in an effort to be thorough, but it is important to stay focused. Craft a perspective that best fits the evidence and develop it into a concise, focused, and defensible thesis statement.
Know the Audience
Knowing the target audience can be a big benefit when choosing a topic and developing a thesis statement. Arguing for the elimination of tenure may not engender good will toward the writer of such an article in a professor reading it. A persuasive essay aimed at farmers that argues for the elimination of farming subsidies might be better received if the writer includes that doing such a thing in conjunction with a change in tax policy might actually provide a net benefit.
Build the Case
A persuasive essay requires a backbone to stand on its own. That backbone starts with an opening statement that grabs readers’ attention and keeps them interested. The next step is to give a brief overview to provide some background and details. After that, the thesis statement provides clarity and direction for the rest of the paper. There are often three supporting points, each in a paragraph, that follow the thesis. Speare makes it easy to structure documents in a logical order. Sketch the beginning of an outline by entering your thesis, adding supporting points, cutting down to the strongest ones, and adding detail until the final paper takes form.
Present the Evidence
The guiding idea throughout this process is to present compelling evidence that the thesis statement represents the correct perspective on the subject in question. Depending on the ideas involved, it might make sense to provide quantitative data and real numbers, where such information is available, in order to bolster the argument and make competing perspectives seem even less likely.
A persuasive essay requires that the writer choose and research a topic, take a stance, and make a compelling argument in support of the thesis. It’s not hard to argue for the best idea in the room, and it gets even easier when it is built on the solid foundation of evidence.