A persuasive essay is one of the most common assignments regardless of the academic level. The paper gives you a perfect opportunity to demonstrate knowledge of the subject, vocabulary skills, critical thinking, and so much more. Persuasive speech can easily be considered as an art form or a skill you’ll have to use throughout your education and beyond. In order to write an outstanding paper, you just need the right approach and practical tools. Scroll down to find out more.
A persuasive essay is defined as a type of an essay wherein a writer explains a topic and attempts to persuade a reader that his/her point of view is most informed, accurate, and valid perspective on the subject. Throughout the paper, a writer develops an argument, takes sides, and explains why a reader should adopt their opinion.
Persuasive writing utilizes logic and reason to demonstrate that one idea is more legitimate and superior than the other. Although the goal is to persuade a reader, a writer should not make baseless claims. Instead, the argument must always use sound reasoning and solid evidence.
How to write a Persuasive Essay?
At the very beginning, you should take a few moments to think about the essay topic. Do you agree with it? Do you disagree? Form your opinion on a given subject. Teachers and professors want to get a closer insight into your critical thinking, so try to avoid thinking whether your professor would agree/disagree with it too. Use your own opinion to develop an argument, research, and compose a persuasive essay.
Persuasive essays often push the envelope and discuss controversial subjects. You don’t have to play it safe. It all comes down to the way you portray your argument and evidence you choose to persuade a reader to adopt some opinion.
How to Start a Persuasive Essay?
Persuasive speech requires a thorough preparation. Before the writing process can begin, you need to research the subject. In fact, research is the basis or foundation where you’ll build the essay. Why? That is the process when you get informed about the subject even though you probably think you know everything. Research yields evidence that a writer can use to back up all the claims.
Once the research process is over, it’s time to proceed to the outline. Without an outline, your mind is scattered, wanders from one idea to another and it shows in your writing style. Composing an outline allows you to organize the notes you’ve taken while researching, and it always generates a few additional ideas you can use.
Persuasive Essay Outline
Outline – the outline for persuasive essay consists of three major parts: introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion. Each of these parts can be divided into subsections that keep you focused on your argument without risking wandering off the topic
Intro – the main purpose of the introduction is to catch reader’s attention and make them interested enough to continue reading. Ideally, the introduction should consist of three elements: the hook, defining the audience, and thesis statement. The hook is the very first sentence of your essay and its goal is to get someone’s attention. Your hook can be anything from a question to fun facts, quotes, and anecdotes.
Right after hook, you have to make the introduction relatable to the audience. A reader (or more of them) has to feel close to the subject. Why should they bother reading? Specify why the subject is important to them. The last sentence or two of the introduction accounts for the thesis statement. This is the part where you clearly state the subject you’re going to discuss and the argument you’ll make
Body Paragraphs – a specific number of paragraphs in this section isn’t defined. It all comes down to your argument and claims you make. Each paragraph in the body section should consist of a claim that supports the argument and evidence. One claim, one paragraph. Depending on the subject and word count, you can also address opposing views to show why they are wrong (with evidence, of course)
Conclusion – the last paragraph of the persuasive essay and equally important as other sections. The conclusion should consist of a short summary of the topic, benefits to the reader, and call-to-action. A short summary of the topic mentions key points you’ve made. The next sentence or two specifies why it’s important to take an action, potential solutions, and what could happen if nothing is done on the matter. To motivate a reader, finish off the essay with a simple call-to-action line or sentence.
Persuasive Essay Format
- Word count: 500, 1500, 2000 (depending on the professor/teacher)
- Fonts: 12-point Times New Roman (other easy-to-read fonts can serve the purpose too: Arial, Georgia), 16-point for headline
- Spacing: double-spaced preferably (1.5 can also work)
- Alignment: justified
- Structure based on outline:
- Define the audience
- Thesis statement
- Body paragraphs
- Reason #1 – Supporting fact/evidence
- Reason #2 – Supporting fact/evidence
- Reason #3 – Supporting fact/evidence
- Short summary of the topic
- Benefits to the reader
Persuasive Essay Topics
Good Persuasive Essay Topics
- Studying martial arts is good for physical and psychological wellbeing
- Community service should be required for teens
- Journal writing is therapeutic
- Security cameras are useless/keep us safer
- It’s unethical to keep a bird in cage
- Teachers should be tested like students
- Students should be able to grade their teachers
- Classes should be made different for both genders
- Trump era brings the end of democracy to the entire world
College Persuasive Essay Topics
- All college students should be required to participate in sports activities
- Reality shows are exploiting people
- Religion and science can go hand in hand
- All-girl and all-boy colleges are good/bad
- We should/not spend more money on space missions
- Royal family should be abolished
- Immigration laws should be stricter/more lenient
- Should college athletes be paid for playing?
- US society justifies surveillance
- People should undergo IQ test in order to vote and have children
- Media is ruled by politicians
Persuasive Essay examples
The problem with essay writing is that we can’t think of anything when we’re supposed to work on the assignment. In times like these, you just need that extra “push” or moment of inspiration that will generate tons of ideas you can use for your own paper. The best way to learn how to write a persuasive essay is to read an example of someone else’s work. Here’s an example of how a high-quality persuasive essay should look like.
Persuasive Essay Help
Essay Writing Service – before submitting an essay it is necessary to proofread and edit it first. Although most of us are inclined to edit and proofread content on our own that’s not the best idea. We can never be objective to our own work and always end up overlooking some mistakes. Edusson gathered a team of talented and skillful writers, editors and proofreaders who will ensure your paper is error-free. Editors correct spelling and grammar mistakes, punctuation, style and formatting mistakes, references, you name it
Essay Examples – although the persuasive writing structure is easy, one still needs motivation boost to kick-start the assignment. Edusson’s Essay Examples is an incredibly useful platform that allows you to search through the extensive database and read examples of persuasive writing. You’ll get inspired easily.
Essay Topics Generator – sometimes teacher/professor assigns the topic, but in other instances, students have to choose on their own. There is no need to waste hours trying to come up with a good title. Just go to Edusson Magic Help, specify essay type and you’ll get tons of ideas instantly
Essay Checker – if you’d like to edit the paper on your own, there’s an easy way to avoid overlooking something – essay checker. With RobotDon you can easily enhance the quality of the essay. Improve your paper. Raise your grades! The platform analyzes paper for plagiarism, sentence structure, word use, readability, and other parameters. Within just a few seconds you can identify all the strengths and weaknesses of your essay. A great tool for every student!
This document is intended as an additional resource for undergraduate students taking sociology courses at UW. It is not intended to replace instructions from your professors and TAs. In all cases follow course-specific assignment instructions, and consult your TA or professor if you have questions.
About These Assignments
Theory application assignments are a common type of analytical writing assigned in sociology classes. Many instructors expect you to apply sociological theories (sometimes called "perspectives" or "arguments") to empirical phenomena. There are different ways to do this, depending upon your objectives, and of course, the specifics of each assignment. You can choose cases that confirm (support), disconfirm (contradict), or partially confirm any theory.
How to Apply Theory to Empirical Phenomena
Theory application assignments generally require you to look at empirical phenomena through the lens of theory. Ask yourself, what would the theory predict ("have to say") about a particular situation. According to the theory, if particular conditions are present or you see a change in a particular variable, what outcome should you expect?
Generally, a first step in a theory application assignment is to make certain you understand the theory! You should be able to state the theory (the author's main argument) in a sentence or two. Usually, this means specifying the causal relationship (X—>Y) or the causal model (which might involve multiple variables and relationships).
For those taking sociological theory classes, in particular, you need to be aware that theories are constituted by more than causal relationships. Depending upon the assignment, you may be asked to specify the following:
- Causal Mechanism: This is a detailed explanation about how X—>Y, often made at a lower level of analysis (i.e., using smaller units) than the causal relationship.
- Level of Analysis: Macro-level theories refer to society- or group-level causes and processes; micro-level theories address individual-level causes and processes.
- Scope Conditions: These are parameters or boundaries specified by the theorist that identify the types of empirical phenomena to which the theory applies.
- Assumptions: Most theories begin by assuming certain "facts." These often concern the bases of human behavior: for example, people are inherently aggressive or inherently kind, people act out of self-interest or based upon values, etc.
Theories vary in terms of whether they specify assumptions, scope conditions and causal mechanisms. Sometimes they can only be inferred: when this is the case, be clear about that in your paper.
Clearly understanding all the parts of a theory helps you ensure that you are applying the theory correctly to your case. For example, you can ask whether your case fits the theory's assumptions and scope conditions. Most importantly, however, you should single out the main argument or point (usually the causal relationship and mechanism) of the theory. Does the theorist's key argument apply to your case? Students often go astray here by latching onto an inconsequential or less important part of the theory reading, showing the relationship to their case, and then assuming they have fully applied the theory.
Using Evidence to Make Your Argument
Theory application papers involve making a claim or argument based on theory, supported by empirical evidence. There are a few common problems that students encounter while writing these types of assignments: unsubstantiated claims/generalizations; "voice" issues or lack of attribution; excessive summarization/insufficient analysis. Each class of problem is addressed below, followed by some pointers for choosing "cases," or deciding upon the empirical phenomenon to which you will apply the theoretical perspective or argument (including where to find data).
A common problem seen in theory application assignments is failing to substantiate claims, or making a statement that is not backed up with evidence or details ("proof"). When you make a statement or a claim, ask yourself, "How do I know this?" What evidence can you marshal to support your claim? Put this evidence in your paper (and remember to cite your sources). Similarly, be careful about making overly strong or broad claims based on insufficient evidence. For example, you probably don't want to make a claim about how Americans feel about having a black president based on a poll of UW undergraduates. You may also want to be careful about making authoritative (conclusive) claims about broad social phenomena based on a single case study.
In addition to un- or under-substantiated claims, another problem that students often encounter when writing these types of papers is lack of clarity regarding "voice," or whose ideas they are presenting. The reader is left wondering whether a given statement represents the view of the theorist, the student, or an author who wrote about the case. Be careful to identify whose views and ideas you are presenting. For example, you could write, "Marx views class conflict as the engine of history;" or, "I argue that American politics can best be understood through the lens of class conflict;" or, "According to Ehrenreich, Walmart employees cannot afford to purchase Walmart goods."
Another common problem that students encounter is the trap of excessive summarization. They spend the majority of their papers simply summarizing (regurgitating the details) of a case—much like a book report. One way to avoid this is to remember that theory indicates which details (or variables) of a case are most relevant, and to focus your discussion on those aspects. A second strategy is to make sure that you relate the details of the case in an analytical fashion. You might do this by stating an assumption of Marxist theory, such as "man's ideas come from his material conditions," and then summarizing evidence from your case on that point. You could organize the details of the case into paragraphs and start each paragraph with an analytical sentence about how the theory relates to different aspects of the case.
Some theory application papers require that you choose your own case (an empirical phenomenon, trend, situation, etc.), whereas others specify the case for you (e.g., ask you to apply conflict theory to explain some aspect of globalization described in an article). Many students find choosing their own case rather challenging. Some questions to guide your choice are:
- Can I obtain sufficient data with relative ease on my case?
- Is my case specific enough? If your subject matter is too broad or abstract, it becomes both difficult to gather data and challenging to apply the theory.
- Is the case an interesting one? Professors often prefer that you avoid examples used by the theorist themselves, those used in lectures and sections, and those that are extremely obvious.
Where You Can Find Data
Data is collected by many organizations (e.g., commercial, governmental, nonprofit, academic) and can frequently be found in books, reports, articles, and online sources. The UW libraries make your job easy: on the front page of the library website (www.lib.washington.edu), in the left hand corner you will see a list of options under the heading "Find It" that allows you to go directly to databases, specific online journals, newspapers, etc. For example, if you are choosing a historical case, you might want to access newspaper articles. This has become increasingly easy to do, as many are now online through the UW library. For example, you can search The New York Times and get full-text online for every single issue from 1851 through today! If you are interested in interview or observational data, you might try to find books or articles that are case-studies on your topic of interest by conducting a simple keyword search of the UW library book holdings, or using an electronic database, such as JSTOR or Sociological Abstracts. Scholarly articles are easy to search through, since they contain abstracts, or paragraphs that summarize the topic, relevant literature, data and methods, and major findings. When using JSTOR, you may want to limit your search to sociology (which includes 70 journals) and perhaps political science; this database retrieves full-text articles. Sociological Abstracts will cast a wider net searching many more sociology journals, but the article may or may not be available online (find out by clicking "check for UW holdings"). A final word about using academic articles for data: remember that you need to cite your sources, and follow the instructions of your assignment. This includes making your own argument about your case, not using an argument you find in a scholarly article.
In addition, there are many data sources online. For example, you can get data from the US census, including for particular neighborhoods, from a number of cites. You can get some crime data online: the Seattle Police Department publishes several years' worth of crime rates. There are numerous cites on public opinion, including gallup.com. There is an online encyclopedia on Washington state history, including that of individual Seattle neighborhoods (www.historylink.org). These are just a couple options: a simple google search will yield hundreds more. Finally, remember that librarian reference desks are expert on data sources, and that you can call, email, or visit in person to ask about what data is available on your particular topic. You can chat with a librarian 24 hours a day online, as well (see the "Ask Us!" link on the front page of UW libraries website for contact information).
 By empirical phenomena, we mean some sort of observed, real-world conditions. These include societal trends, events, or outcomes. They are sometimes referred to as "cases." Return to Reading
 A cautionary note about critiquing theories: no social theory explains all cases, so avoid claiming that a single case "disproves" a theory, or that a single case "proves" a theory correct. Moreover, if you choose a case that disconfirms a theory, you should be careful that the case falls within the scope conditions (see above) of the given theory. For example, if a theorist specifies that her argument pertains to economic transactions, it would not be a fair critique to say the theory doesn't explain dynamics within a family. On the other hand, it is useful and interesting to apply theories to cases not foreseen by the original theorist (we see this in sociological theories that incorporate theories from evolutionary biology or economics). Return to Reading
 By empirical evidence, we mean data on social phenomena, derived from scientific observation or experiment. Empirical evidence may be quantitative (e.g., statistical data) or qualitative (e.g., descriptions derived from systematic observation or interviewing), or a mixture of both. Empirical evidence must be observable and derived from real-world conditions (present or historical) rather than hypothetical or "imagined". For additional help, see the "Where You Can Find Data" section on the next page. Return to Reading
 If your instructor does not want you to use the first-person, you could write, "This paper argues…" Return to Reading