How To Write A Research Persuasive Essay

To write a persuasive paper, you’ll need to use evidence and good reasons to convince others to agree with your point of view on a particular subject.

Select a good topic!  If you don't care about your topic, how are you going to get anyone else to? You’ll also need to conduct effective research, obtaining facts and evidence to support your ideas. 

As you begin the research process, ask yourself:

  1. What type of information would I need to use in order to convince someone that I'm right?
  2. What facts, statistics, and evidence would an audience want to see?
  3. Are there any experts on this topic that I could quote in my essay?

The answers to these questions should help you determine what key words you'll want to use, as you begin searching for sources.

How is this different from a typical research paper?

It’s important to remember that a persuasive essay doesn't simply report information (like a typical research paper would)--it uses that information to make an argument or prove a point!  

Typical Research Paper on Biofuels

Persuasive Paper on Biofuels*

Popular interest in the use of biofuels developed in the 19th Century when "Henry Ford and Rudolf Diesel supported the notion"*. 

Though the public has been interested in biofuels for decades, "biofuels have attained the greatest political momentum, in part because they promise lucrative new markets for farm products."*

Biofuels are, to a certain extent, already being used.  In fact, "nearly all the gasoline sold in the United States today is mixed with 10 percent ethanol, known as E10."*

Despite the clear benefits that biofuels provide, many Americans wonder, "whether the 33 percent of the U.S. corn crop diverted to ethanol drives up the price of food."*

*Evidence taken from: http://www.nytimes.com/info/biofuels/

What should my thesis statement look like?

A persuasive thesis statement is a one-sentence description of your topic AND the argument that you plan to make.  For example, if I was arguing about the use of the death penalty in the U.S., my thesis statement would probably look like one of the following examples:  

  • The death penalty gives rights to humans that should only be given to God; therefore, the death penalty should be abolished in the United States.
  • The death penalty forces murderers to give their own lives as a just punishment for taking someone else's life; therefore, we should continue to use this form of punishment in the United States. Please correct the error as it reduces your web site's credibility.

Notice that both thesis statements not only tell us WHAT the essay will be about, but also WHERE THE AUTHOR STANDS on that issue (his or her opinion) and briefly explain WHY.  Make sure that your thesis statement includes these three elements too!

Helpful tips for writing a successful persuasive essay

Last updated: May 19, 2016

A persuasive essay uses reason to demonstrate that certain ideas are more valid than others in academic writing. The purpose of such an essay is to encourage readers to accept a particular viewpoint or act in a particular way. A persuasive essay must be based on sound logic and must contain factual evidence to support the argument.

How to write a persuasive essay

Take a stance. What do you think about the issue? What side will you take? Be aware of any prejudices you might have that could color your argument. What resolution will you suggest?

Know your audience. Determine if your audience will agree with your position and why they may not. You must be able to understand both sides of the issue in order to successfully argue your point of view.

Thoroughly research your topic. The point of a persuasive essay is to provide detailed and compelling evidence—you should be able to disprove the opposing argument. It will likely be necessary to undertake library-based research in order to accomplish this.

Think about the structure of your essay. Determine what evidence you will include and the order in which you will present it. Remember, it must be logical.

Support your argument. Use hard facts. You can gather these from your research, observations, or personal experiences. But be careful! In order to avoid plagiarism, you must cite your sources. You should always use verifiable statistics. It is important to be able to back up your argument with data. In order to further strengthen the argument in your persuasive essay, try using one or two direct quotes from experts on the topic. Finally, provide meaningful examples to enhance and clearly illustrate your argument.

How to organize your persuasive essay

The introduction.The introduction in your persuasive essay should grab the readers' attention and provide background information about your subject. It should end with a clear statement of your thesis.

The body. The body should consist of all the arguments that support your thesis. Each paragraph should focus on one particular point. Next, include one or two paragraphs to succinctly explain and refute the most compelling opposing argument.

The conclusion. The conclusion should restate the main argument and supporting points. After all, the point of a persuasive essay is to convert your readers to your point of view.

Take a breather

Take a day or two off. Let your essay sit and your mind rest. Then, read your persuasive essay with fresh eyes. Ask yourself if your essay is logical and convincing. Will your readersbe persuaded by your argument? Did you provide enough evidence in the way of facts, statistics, quotes, and examples?

Want to learn more? Scribendi.com's ebook How to Write an Essay in Five Easy Steps will provide you with the knowledge and tools you need to confidently write essays.

Image source: pinkypills/BigStockPhoto.com


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