The Structure Of A Persuasive Essay: A Step-By-Step Guide

A persuasive essay, like all essays needs a strong introduction, main part and conclusion. The content needs to be organised into a logical progression of ideas.

  1. 1. Focus on your topic. If you have difficulty in deciding on your topic then ask you tutor for some ideas. If you need more ideas then, have a look online at some of the academic and homework websites that can give you a list of ideas.
  2. 2. Remember that there is a difference between argumentative and persuasive essays. An argumentative essay will usually only give one point of view, whereas the persuasive paper will balance the view but ‘persuade’ rather than tell the reader.
  3. 3. Once you have made some notes and tried to ‘balance’ the point of view that you are offering you are ready to start your introduction which will be the history behind the work you have chosen
  4. 4. Your first (and possibly second) sentence should be your thesis. It should introduce the argument and any other information that is relevant especially the position you are taking. It is the ‘who’, ‘what’ and ‘why’ of the essay.
  5. 5. Think carefully how you are going to convince the reader that you are presenting a sound argument, make sure that the information you give is historically and or scientifically correct.
  6. 6. Now you are ready to start on the body of the paper. In this part you need to develop your argument in more detail. Make sure that you only present one aspect in each well-constructed paragraph.
  7. 7. Essentially you are aiming to bring the reader closer and closer to accepting your point of view, so you need to prioritise the order in which you present your arguments.
  8. 8. Treat each paragraph as a mini-essay. The first sentence or topic sentence should introduce the aspect of the argument under scrutiny, not just the content of the paragraph.
  9. 9. The last sentence in each paragraph should be a mini conclusion, it should round up the content of the paragraph and also make way for the next paragraph, and in effect it is providing an introduction to what is coming next.
  10. 10. A rather clever way to test the effectiveness of your topic sentences throughout the essay is to form an outline using only your thesis and topic sentences. If the theme follows your argument then it should support your thesis statement.
  11. 11. Concluding paragraph. This should not be a rehash of you introduction, it should draw all of the elements of your argument together, making sure that the reader understands the fresh ideas that your work has touched on.

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