How To Write a Persuasive Essay or Position Paper

In persuasive or argumentative writing, we try to convince others to agree with our facts, accept our argument and conclusions, and adopt our way of thinking. Take the time to know your subject well enough to form an argument you can support. This is a tough medium to bluff in. Aim for a confident tone which asserts ideas and beliefs in an intelligent and informed way, but without ever being strident or badgering.

A persuasive essay uses reason to demonstrate that certain ideas are more valid than others. 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.

Guiding Principles for the Persuasive Essay or Position Paper

Thoroughly research your topic.
Hard, compelling facts are the name of the game here, so gather as many as you can find. They may come from your personal experiences, the experiences of others you know (or interview), or from research.

Make sure to collect your research in a methodical, organized, and carefully documented manner.
Depending on the assignment, you may need to be prepared to cite your sources. Statistics can be particularly useful in this kind of essay, as can direct quotes from experts, and specific examples which support your argument. While doing any reading or research to prepare your argument, make sure to keep the questions posed in the assignment at the top of your mind. You may need to collect more research than you end up using in the your essay, but you don’t want to waste time collecting information which is only tangentially related to your topic.

Read more about writing persuasive essays

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