How to Write a Discursive Essay

If you are in the process of obtaining an academic degree, working on writing assignments is an inherent part of your curriculum. Essays are some of the most popularly assigned types of writing that come in a variety of types. One of the most popular kinds is discursive essays. So, if you wonder how to write a discursive essay, this article is just the thing for you.

What Is Discursive Essay?

It is an essay that focuses on a specific problem, issue or controversy. Such essay can be formal or informal. This task is included in the academic curriculum of many students because it helps them showcase their writing, analytical, and interpretive skills. The characteristic feature of any discursive essay is its objectivity. When covering a particular topic, the writer should do it in a maximally objective and unbiased manner, thus providing the most accurate and relevant arguments. When writing a discursive essay, you need to avoid phrases like “I believe,” “I suggest,” “I opine,” etc. Instead, it is recommended to use the third-person perspective to make the essay sound objective. Writing a discursive essay requires working with peer-reviewed and credible academic sources to add value to arguments.

Keep in mind that, when writing discursive essay, it is recommendable to adhere to a calm tone of writing. Unlike in a persuasive essay, there is no need to provide strong arguments and sound convincing within the given topic. More so, you ought also to mind vocabulary usage, i.e. avoid colloquial language, slang, and other examples of informal language. If you want to excel in discursive essay writing, you can try to order an essay from or devote sufficient time to learning the main principles and guidelines on how to write a discursive essay on your own.

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There Are Three Types of Discursive Essays

  1. For and against essay. In such an essay, you need to discuss a controversial topic providing solid reasons for and against it. Before finalizing your essay, you need to state your personal opinion by giving your preference to one position;
  2. Opinion essay. This essay requires stating your opinion on a specific topic and proving it with solid arguments. When writing such an essay, the writer should also state the opposing viewpoint and explain why it is wrong;
  3. A solution essay. Such an essay informs the reader about a problem and suggests a solution to this problem based on an in-depth investigation.

How to Write a Discursive Essay: Paper Structure

To write a successful and effective discursive essay, you need to maintain a proper structure. Specifically, this essay is to have a clear introduction, well-developed body paragraphs, and a conclusion. To make sure that you follow the structure in a proper way and do not deviate from the plan, it is recommendable to write a discursive essay outline. The most important part of the essay is the main body, which ought adequately to discuss the main aspects of the topic and include supportive evidence and examples. The ideas presented in the main body have to be coherent and related to the thesis statement.

On the whole, discursive essay structure is similar to that of other essay types. As you have already noticed, it has all the main elements, i.e. the introduction, body paragraphs, and the conclusion. The only thing that is essential to remember about the discursive essay format is that it presents viewpoints on the topic in a specific way so that the main opinion is agreed on by the target audience by the time the conclusion is reached. Thus, one needs to be acquainted with the rhetorical strategies of presenting viewpoints and effectively communicating ideas across. Still, there are some basic rules that can help you succeed in discursive paper writing, so check them out below.

Discursive Essay Format

Writing an Introduction: How to Start a Discursive Essay?

You may think that an introduction is merely a short part of the essay, so it does not bear much importance. However, it really does as it serves to be the opening paragraph that appeals to the audiences and catches their attention. Also, the role of the introduction is to help readers get familiar with the topic and its background. So, you need to learn how to fit the most essential basic information into a brief paragraph. When writing a discursive essay, you have also to focus on the significance of the issue and pinpoint to how the problem or topic is relevant.

Body Paragraphs: Convey the Arguments

How to write a discursive essay main body? Once you have composed the introduction that provides background information on your topic, it is high time to develop the very topic throughout the body paragraphs. If you do not know how to structure and develop the body paragraphs, you may take a look at an example of a discursive essay and get acquainted with the way of essay organization.

First, write an opening paragraph that contains more summative information or the author’s general opinion on the topic. Second, pay ample attention to the development of arguments and counterarguments. Make sure that each separate point is to be written from a new paragraph. It is crucial to start each body paragraph with a topic sentence so that it is clear to your readers what ideas you plan to discuss. When developing ideas, make sure that you rely on credible and up-to-date sources, i.e. journal articles, peer-reviewed sources, statistical and numerical data, and other trustworthy supporting evidence.

If you encounter problems developing arguments, get discursive essay help from expert writers.

Writing a Conclusion: How to Summarize Your Thoughts

To wrap up your discursive essay, you need to write an effective conclusion. While the introduction makes a first impression on the reader, the conclusion provides a lasting impression, so it is also really important. To conclude the essay, you need to frame the main issues, sum up the underlying ideas, and provide a personal opinion on the topic, if needed. It is crucial to consider that you ought not to introduce any new ideas but simply reiterate the analyzed ones. What is more, the purpose of the conclusive paragraph is to provide a call for further discussions or future research. Nonetheless, take into account that any assumptions or predictions you make is to be relevant to the topic.

Impressive Example of Writing a Discursive Essay

Paragraph I: Introductory section

Present your subject. Provide some information about the situation in your region. Identify the factors that could cause such a situation. Follow the example given below:

Crimes are one of the most essential problems…

Recently, crimes have been increased/decreased.

Among the typical crimes are …

The terrible thing is that there is a rise in…

The decisive factor in this is the level of unemployment which…

One more reason for this is …

Notice: If you support a particular point of view, you need to present the opposing opinion first. On the contrary, you should do everything vice versa if you deny a certain statement.

Paragraph II: Supporting arguments

Explain why you adopt this position. Set out convincing reasons. Give good examples and present concrete facts.

Paragraph III: Opposing arguments

State the reasons for supporting this viewpoint. Site vivid examples and provide strong arguments.

Paragraph IV: Summarizing section

In this unit, you need to show your attitude towards the discussed question. You can use the following phrases:

To my mind…, As for me…, I find it….

Stylistic Peculiarities

When producing a discursive essay, it is necessary to present different points of view on the addressed matter. Therefore, your work will sound more objective. However, in the concluding unit, you need to present only your own viewpoint. During the course of writing, you should use the passive constructions, transition words (e.g. nevertheless, additionally, hence, etc.), and other grammar structures.

Presenting facts:

Someone thinks that it is necessary to bring back severe sentences.

Some British people support the American “Three strikes” laws.

Additionally, some people think that prisoners live in very good conditions.

Particular arguments are provided in favor of imposing the death penalty again.

Perhaps it is necessary to take the opinion of the victim’s relatives into consideration.

There are some counterarguments to handing out capital punishment and heavier sentences.

One of the facts in support of shorter imprisonment is that the prisons are overcrowded.

There are some people who think that prisons can improve criminals’ behavior.

Additionally, it is thought that capital punishment is considered judicial murder.

It is also stated that there may be cases when innocent people may suffer from the wrong verdicts.

Moreover, a death penalty is regarded as an infringement of human rights.

Providing examples, arguments, and facts:

A number of people think that keeping the most violent criminals in prisons for a long time is one of the advantages of severe sentences.

One more benefit is that people could feel greater safety.

As a result, the number of crimes committed by a small group of people could be eliminated.

For instance, a lot of crimes are carried out by former prisoners.

There are still some people who think that harsher sentences may cause a lot of disadvantages. The thing is that it would be harder for prisoners to live in society again.

According to the conducted research&hellip.

Analyzing statistical data

Building a Vocabulary

Types of crimes and punishment:

Crimes: murder – murderer, shoplifting – shoplifter, burglary – burglar, rape – rapist, to commit a crime, to be given a severe sentence, to be arrested, to be let off with a fine, to consider the desires of victims, to be let out of prison, to bring back capital punishment, etc.

Legislative issues: the courts, judicial/legal system, judges, judicial mistakes, law, etc.

Cause / Result Connection:

There was an increase in drug consumption that resulted in the rise in the number of crimes.

The number of dangerous crimes has increased because of heavy drug consumption.

The rise of dangerous crimes can be explained by increasing drug consumption.

The drug consumption boosted. It resulted in the growth of crimes.

Due to the increase in the consumption of drugs, there was a rise in serious crimes.

The growth of serious crimes is the result of growing drug consumption.

It is said that today’s prisons can be compared to five-star hotels because huge sums of money were spent on them.


Prisoners should be reformed so that they are able to come back and live in society.

Significant reforms should be introduced to bring prisoners back to life in society.

As / Like Issues:

The article was amazing as it was about the arrest of a group of criminals (“as” = “because”)

His brother works as a prison officer (“works as” means “is”)

Capital punishment is like any other type of murder (“like” equals “the same as”)

People treated him as a violent criminal (“as” stands for “in the same way as”)

It is because of several reasons, like unemployment and terrible living conditions (“like’ is used instead of “for instance”)

The reason for that is such problems as unemployment and terrible living conditions (“such as” means “for example”)

It is not as hard as it is thought (comparison).

How to Write a Discursive Essay?

If you question yourself how to write a discursive essay, keep in mind that it is a type of writing that researches a controversial topic in depth. The essay may make emphasis on exploring either for & against aspect or identify and analyze the pros and cons. Whatever approach you choose, consider that you have to provide a well-balanced argument and only after that share your personal opinion.

At the same time, keep in mind that a discursive paper is not written in a debate-like form. Your main aim ought not to be to convince your readers but rather to investigate the given topic from multiple perspectives.

Tips on How to Write a Discursive Essay Step-by-Step

  1. Select discursive essay topics you are passionate about.
    The very first step is to choose a topic for your paper unless your professor has not assigned one to you. After picking the topic, you will have to decide on the position regarding it. So, after you choose a certain controversial issue, make sure you have a clear opinion on it and then start developing a plan or an outline.
  2. Research the topic.
    To make your essay convincing and strong, research the topic in-depth. Use credible and trustworthy sources from peer-reviewed journals. Make sure you are familiar with the background of the topic. Try to provide supporting evidence for both arguments and counter-arguments.
  3. Compose the introduction.
    Start with a brief and succinct introduction that conveys the main purpose and essence of your essay. Appeal to the reader’s interests and try to catch their attention from the very first sentences.
  4. Convey arguments and counter-arguments throughout body paragraphs.
    Present all arguments thoroughly and in detail. Use supporting evidence and try to be as objective and fair as possible.
  5. Write the conclusion.
    Reiterate the thesis statement and the main issues of the paper. Highlight the most essential parts of the discussion. Do not provide any new ideas in this paragraph.
  6. Proofread and edit the content upon paper completion.
    Before submitting the paper, edit and proofread it carefully. Make sure there are no major flaws and errors as well as petty mistakes.

Check Your Paper

  • Content: Is your essay constructed logically?
  • Transitions: Have you used transition words and phrases? Is it possible to add more linking words to make smooth transitions between the sentences?
  • Writing Style: Make sure that your work is written in formal language. Provide your personal opinion in the concluding paragraph only.
  • Grammar and spelling: Check the paper for grammar and spelling mistakes.

Creative Topics for Discursive Essay Writing

If you still wonder how to write a discursive essay successfully, you may look through samples. They may also come in handy for you if you hesitate as to what topic to choose. Our experts have come up with multiple engaging topics that you may like. Check them out below:

  1. The fast-changing image of the contemporary family.
  2. Political equality within the society.
  3. Criminal history within the realm of employment opportunities: investigate advantages and disadvantages.
  4. Analyze the pros and cons of improving educational standards by means of increasing salaries for teachers.
  5. Advantages one can derive from taking yoga classes.
  6. Ways of assisting children tackle anxiety.
  7. Causes for teenagers becoming rebellious.
  8. Advantages of eating organic products.
  9. Prospects of getting home education.
  10. Is there a need for war: discuss for and against reasons.
  11. Relationship between the societal ethical standards and religious principles.
  12. Are looks that much important in a long-term relationship?
  13. How can a person find his or her true self?
  14. Do people greatly depend on their gadgets and smart phones?
  15. Should marijuana be legalized?
  16. How can you define a hero?
  17. The role of piercings and tattoos in self-expression.
  18. Advantages and disadvantages of obtaining a career in acting or nursing.
  19. How do advertisement and media propaganda form people’s opinions?
  20. Counter-culture movements and their role in spreading social change across.

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