The Ultimate Guide to Writing a Discursive Essay
What Is a Discursive Essay?
Not sure what the ultimate discursive essay definition is? It’s simple. Discursive essays are papers in which the students are required to outline their arguments on a particular topic. The student may either argue for the topic or against it.
However, the scope of discursive essays isn’t limited to just for/against arguments. In some papers, you may not necessarily need to pick a particular side of the argument. Instead, you could present your opinion or view on both sides of the argument in a balanced manner. It depends on the type of discursive essay and the topic you are required to cover.
Discursive Essay: Main Types
A discursive essay is a tree with a couple of branches. There are three major types of discursive essays. These include:
This is the most popular type of discursive essays. An opinion essay basically reflects the author’s stance on a particular topic. The opinion is stated in the introductory paragraph in the form of a thesis statement. The writer further supports it with reasons and supporting arguments to prove that their opinion is right.
Towards the end of the essay, the author is required to add an opposing argument or viewpoint. Then, they explain to the reader why this argument is invalid or wrong.
Opinion essays typically end with the author restating his opinion.
For and against essays
A for and against essay is quite different from an opinion essay. Although some similarities exist between the two, the difference is also obvious.
In a for and against essay, you will be required to carry out a thorough debate on the topic in question.
Think of it as a typical debate. However, instead of several debaters arguing for and against the topic, just one person (the author) is carrying out a debate. Here, you have to explain in detail the reasons for and against the topic.
Each reason must be backed up by logic and factual statements. Towards the end of the essay, the author can give their own unbiased opinion of the topic.
Essays suggesting a solution to a problem
In today’s world, there is always a problem to be solved, from issues like global warming to child trafficking and molestation. Students should constantly write essays about world problems.
This type of essay outlines and discusses problems and then offers different solutions to them.
In this type of essay, the introductory paragraph outlines the problem, as well as its causes and effects. For instance, if you’re writing an essay on global warming, your introductory paragraph has to outline the causes of global warming and its effect on the climate.
The body of the essay will then offer solutions to the problem of global warming. At the end, the author has to give their own opinion on the best solution to the problem.
Discursive Essay Outline
Discursive essays are structured in just the same way as other essays. For your discursive essay, you can use the following structure:
- Main body
At this point, most essay writers typically get stuck. Sounds surprising, doesn’t it? Why would anyone get stuck at the beginning of an essay? However, a lot of essay writers find it hard to write an interesting introductory paragraph.
An introductory paragraph should be like a short skirt – interesting enough to catch the attention of readers without giving away the full details of the essay. To achieve this, you have to start your essay with a hook. This could be a quotation or a rhetorical question.
Your introduction should contain a short explanation of the problem and present the direction the essay is going to take.
Keep the introduction clear, specific, and void of any generalizations or stereotypes.
A body of the essay should contain all your opinions and arguments on the subject matter. When building your arguments, try to remain unprejudiced as much as possible.
Write each argument in a separate paragraph. This way, your essay would not seem jumbled or confusing to your readers.
Try to write the body of the essay in an alternate manner. If the first paragraph supports the argument of the essay, the next paragraph should oppose it. This way, your essay will look well-articulated and coordinated.
Each paragraph should also contain a topic sentence and supporting facts. The topic sentence comes at the beginning of the paragraph, while subsequent sentences should contain supporting statements or facts.
The conclusion is just like the finish line of a race. Here, you have to sum up the main points mentioned earlier in the body of the essay. If you’re writing a for and against essay, you will need to state your opinion in the conclusion. However, your opinion should be logical and based on your findings.
One major tip to bear in mind when writing a conclusion is that it has to be brief and concise. Don’t write a mini essay in your conclusion. Instead, ensure that this part doesn’t exceed one paragraph.
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How to Choose a Topic for a Discursive Essay
Writing a discursive essay is all fun and games until you get an assignment that requires you to choose a topic yourself. It’s one thing to write the essay, but it’s another thing to choose a topic by yourself. That’s a wholly new territory.
How then do you navigate this struggle? Well, here a few tips to help you:
This is a no-brainer when it comes to choosing a topic for a discursive essay or any other essay. You would need to brainstorm and come up with fresh ideas.
One brainstorming trick that may help you is the “keyword” game. Here’s how it works: pick out a subject area that appeals to you. For instance, you could choose a subject area that revolves around politics or social issues.
Once you have selected your preferred area, find a keyword related to the area. For instance, if you chose the subject of social issues, you could pick a keyword like “gender”.
Try to create a coherent topic using the keyword as a building block.
From the example given above, a sample topic could be: “Gender bias in public schools. Does it exist?”
Pro Tip: Try to choose a subject area that you’re really passionate about. Writing a discursive essay on a topic you don’t care about is like trying to put a finger through the eye of a needle. It never works out for you or the needle.
Avoid overdone topics
When it comes to searching for an essay topic, you’d most likely come across discursive essay topics that have been talked about over and over again. Some topics have been popular since the age of the dinosaurs. You definitely don’t want to choose topics like these.
Your readers are constantly searching for something new that they haven’t seen before – a fresh perspective on issues. Offer them what they need instead of rehashing old tired discussions.
Be very specific
Choosing a general topic is one of the mistakes most rookie essay writers make. When it comes to discursive essays or any type of essay, you should be as specific as possible.
General topics would only leave you overwhelmed and tired. For instance, a topic like “Gender bias” is too general for a discursive essay. It raises too many questions at once. Where can you find instances of gender bias? What locations is it most rampant in? What measures have been put in place to tackle it?
You’ll have to answer these questions before you even get to the main crux of the matter.
Thus, try to narrow each topic down to the most specific issue before you start writing.
Pick a topic that is very informative
The foundation of every essay lies in research. If you can’t research an essay topic, then you definitely can’t write about it. Make sure that any topic you choose is easy to research and informative enough.
In simple terms, ensure that there is sufficient information on any topic before you dive into writing it. This way, the writing process would be easier and more enjoyable.
Pro tip: Make sure you only use genuine, credible sources to get information. You definitely don’t want the credibility of your essay to be questioned.
Psychology Discursive Essay Topics
- Psychological Film Analysis: Silver Linings Playbook
- Lord of the Flies Freudian Psychology
- “Eminent Women in Psychology” by Martha E. Bernal
- Education Impact on Psychological Development
- Steve Jobs Psychology Analysis
- Psychology in Professional Wrestling
- Psychologist Sigmund Freud
- Macbeth: the Psychological Effects of Guilt
- Psychological Investigation of Charles Manson
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Discursive Essay Examples
Let’s face it. Writing a discursive essay may feel overwhelming at first. However, you can easily overcome and shake off this feeling. If you’re writing a discursive essay for the first time, start by checking any discursive essay examples you can find.
This way, you would have an idea of what the perfect essay looks like. Here are a few great examples you could start with:
More Essay Examples
Writing Tips for a Discursive Essay
Ready to write the perfect discursive essay? It’s okay to feel a little nervous at first. However, with the right tips, you would be able to come up with a well-written and articulated essay. Here are some tips to guide you throughout the writing process:
Write in a formal style
When it comes to writing a discursive essay, it is advisable to stick to the use of formal language. This way, your essay will look professional and credible. Avoid the use of slang and abbreviations except cases when it is absolutely necessary
In everyday conversations, it can be quite tempting to overgeneralize or exaggerate. Remember how you told your classmates you were chased by a lion when you were actually chased by a stray cat?
However, in discursive essay writing, the slightest case of overgeneralization can render your entire essay null and void.
Avoid generalized statements like: “In all American homes, the men hit their wives”. Instead, give credible figures or statistics.
Reference each source
Each time you use information from any website, book, or journal, reference it. This way, your readers will understand that the idea isn’t yours.
If you do not reference your sources, you will be committing plagiarism and your essay could be rejected.
Don’t use personal examples
Personal examples can be very tempting to use in any essay. After all, they do spice up the story. However, using a personal example in your discursive essay can make it look biased or less credible.
Do not write, “I was once asked to go home because I wore a short skirt while the boys who wore shorts went scot-free”.
Instead, using facts and figures to support the statement, write the following: “Girls in public schools are often punished for wearing supposedly revealing outfits, while their male counterparts who commit the same offence go scot-free“.
Save your personal examples for personal experience essays.
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