A discursive essay is an academic paper that discusses a specific issue or phenomenon. Even though it is a common college assignment, it still causes a lot of confusion and trouble for students. Maybe, the very term scares the freshmen. Most first-time writers do not understand what exactly they are required to do and follow the wrong path of preparing a traditional generic paper. First and foremost, your task is to choose an unbiased standpoint on the topic. You might either agree or disagree. It does not really matter. The goal is to craft a logical argument based on clear and consistent evidence. In this article, we have gathered useful tips that will help you in writing a discursive paper.
Discursive Essay Definition
Let us deal with the definitions first. A discursive paper is an academic essay that focuses on a specific controversy, event, or problem. To prepare a good piece of writing, you have to research the topic and gather enough evidence to justify your viewpoint. You are supposed to convince your reader that the argument you support is the only valid one. Obviously, discursive essays are similar to persuasive and argumentative essays. Still, they are not the same. A discursive paper is a particular type of academic writing with a range of specific features.
What Is a Discursive Essay? The Nuances
We have already figured out that a discursive paper is a particular type of academic essay. In this assignment, the writer is supposed to arrange available evidence logically to justify or refute the central statement. In some papers, the writer is supposed to research and present both sides of the argument. Here, it is important to preserve the balance between the opposing views and stay detached. In other papers, the writer will have to choose the side and focus on justifying it with plenty of arguments. In any case, it is crucial to stay unbiased. At this point, it is obvious that writing a discursive essay requires intensive research and studying the topic from different perspectives. It is an important academic assignment that helps students develop critical-thinking skills and organize knowledge. Experts determine three main types of discursive essays:
- Opinion Papers. In this assignment, the author presents their own opinion on the chosen topic in the introduction. The body paragraphs present evidence and examples to support this opinion. As a rule, the author has to include the opposing argument right before the conclusion. This statement is to be refuted in the end. In other words, the writer should explain why the opposing view is unconvincing. The whole argument should be summarized in the last paragraph.
- For-and-Against Papers. In such an essay, the writer engages in a debate on the chosen problem gathering opposing views and different attitudes. Each detail should receive due attention and become a part of a logical argument. The issue is described in the introductory paragraph. Evidence and justifications are provided in the body paragraphs. The number of paragraphs may vary. The author should be objective and impartial. The focus is on the analysis of available arguments. The personal opinion of the writer can be presented in the conclusion paragraph only.
- Solution-to-the-Problem Papers. Such an essay researches a problem and suggests an appropriate solution or solutions. In the introduction, the writer describes the issue of concern and justifies its relevance and importance. Here, it is also crucial to explain the causes and consequences of the problem. The body paragraphs should either discuss a range of possible solutions or force on one option. It is crucial to describe the expected results, as well. The conclusion traditionally summarizes the main points of the paper.
How to Start a Discursive Essay?
The writing process starts with the preparation stage that requires enough time and attention. It is a popular misconception that you can just sit down and quickly write down ten pages on any topic. Even if the topic is interesting and you are keen on it, a well-structured approach is needed to help you cope with the task. A positive grade is always a result of hard work. If you want to succeed, follow a simple plan:
1. Select an Interesting Topic
When writing a discursive essay, you are free to write on almost any topic. The paradox is that many students consider this freedom a burden rather than an advantage. If your professor offers you a list of possible topics, choose the most interesting problem. Alternatively, you can offer your own one. When making a choice, follow your personal preferences. The more interesting the topic is to you, the better argument you will be able to develop. Passion is the best writing spice.
2. Write a Detailed Outline
Both long and short papers need outlines. A good discursive essay outline describes the structure and each element of the paper. These essays follow the standard structure common for all academic assignments. In such a manner, a paper should have an attention-grabbing introduction, a detailed body, and a logical conclusion. Each part has a specific purpose:
- The introduction paragraph explains the problem, describes the structure of the paper and presents the thesis;
- Body paragraphs present arguments that support the thesis statement;
- The conclusion paragraph offers the author’s personal opinion and general findings of the discussion.
3. Determine 3-5 Main Arguments
These ideas are your tools to either prove or disprove the claim on the topic. Avoid obvious arguments and dig deeper. Find equally strong arguments to support and refute the thesis statement.
4. Craft the First Draft
If you have a list of arguments for opposing sides, you will easily develop them to come up with a good paper. Organize your ideas according to the standard discursive essay structure. Build your argument by adding evidence to the discussion and expanding your ideas. Another tip: use a wide variety of sources. Look for both primary and secondary evidence. Use online resources, books, and periodicals. Personal experience and expert opinions are also important sources of information. A reliable factual support and good context will boost the power of your words.
5. Make a Logical Conclusion
The conclusion should be logical and original. In this part, you can share your personal feelings about the topic. With strong arguments and clear evidence, you will easily write a great conclusion. Here, you should demonstrate the value of the discussion and your argument.
6. Edit and Proofread Your Paper
Misprints and mistakes are common occurrences in the writing process. However, it is crucial to eliminate all errors before submission. The paper that your professor is going to receive has to be perfect. To polish your essay, you have to read the paper very attentively a few times. Fix any grammar, spelling, and punctuation mistakes. Also, ensure that all parts go well together.
Writing a discursive essay is a complex and time-consuming task. The assignment is short. It means that you have limited space to present your viewpoint. Each sentence should add value to your argument.
Write a Perfect Essay: Tips and Suggestions
First, you need a general understanding of the required format. Second, you have to learn ways to achieve your aim. A clear discursive essay example will show you what a good paper looks like. Consider the following tips:
- Make sure that your position is objective. Avoid biases, stereotypes, and generalizations.
- Use primary and secondary sources to support your claims.
- Ensure that your paper is research-based.
- In the discursive essay format, the author’s viewpoint is of little importance. Opposing opinions are to be presented in a fair and balanced manner.
- The tone of your paper should be calm, confident, and respectful.
- Add transitions and linking words that will connect all your ideas into a comprehensive argument.
- Use academic language.
- Remember, discursive essays are formal in nature.
- Maintain the format but do not be afraid to reinforce your writing style with metaphors, similes, and other artistic devices.
- Ensure each paragraph has a clear structure: a topic sentence at the beginning, explaining sentences, and transition to the next paragraph.
- Avoid colloquial language.
- Include multiple arguments and examples to support your assumptions.
- Cite all the sources you use.
- Avoid plagiarism since it can undermine the credibility of your paper.
Of course, writing discursive essays is not easy. In the process, you will face several pitfalls and challenges. But we are sure you can make it! If you use all your skills, knowledge, and creativity, your paper will rock! Before starting your own project, read a few samples. In such a manner, you will learn how to choose the right writing style and maintain a continuous flow of ideas.
How to Write a Good Paper Using a Sample Essay?
Discursive papers use a unique writing approach. Appropriate language and format are absolutely necessary. Unlike argumentative and persuasive projects, this type emphasizes the quality of data utilized to justify the main claim. Only strong arguments will stir up the interest of your reader. You can find an example of discursive essay on our website. You can use it as a template or just a starting point for your project.
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