There are moments in life when we just have no other option but to persuade someone in something, so actually we have all engaged in persuading activities. Now it is time to apply these skills to writing and learn to do persuasive papers successfully. Persuasion means making people agree with the position you propose and to take it as valid. Thus this paper is sometimes called a position paper. You have to provide solid evidence and to put it logically together to be able to draw the conclusions and arguments you need. But if you manage to do it in your writing, you will keep readers – and teacher – thrilled and eager to agree with you, and so it will be a good persuasive paper.
For sure, some topics are too controversial and challenging to convert readers from your opponents to your fans at once. But a good persuasive writing provides enough material for thinking to make people doubt at least, and so even if you do not make them side with you, you will challenge their firm beliefs and pave the way for further persuading efforts. This is why it is ultimately important that you prepare well for simple and logical. But let us tackle it step by step.
1. Pick your position and be clear about it
To persuade someone you have to know what you argue about. So select a topic and decide what position you will defend. If you do not have a strong opinion yourself, how can you persuade someone to agree with you? Take a clear stance, like yes/no, good/bad, because intermediate and compromise positions are not suitable for persuasive essays. There may exist a wide variety of opinions on a matter, so pick one, gather evidence, and draw a clear line between it and other opinions.
2. Organize carefully
Pay attention to how you lay out your arguments and reasoning. Observe the traditional essay structure (introduction with a strong clear thesis, main body and conclusion) and decide what point will go into each paragraph. Remember the rule: one paragraph hosts one main idea, so you’d better draft an outline and then write safely without jumping between ideas. Jot down the topic sentence, give a word or two about evidence to use and mention for yourself how you will tie it into your general persuasion line. Then while writing you will pay attention to word choice and some interesting metaphors or organization of the most appropriate evidence instead of hopelessly fumbling around what to put into a next sentence.
3. Bring in the true passion
It is perfect if you can write a persuasive essay on the topic that appeals to you and is important to you. If you know what to persuade about you already have a couple of aces up your sleeve to impress the audience, you have a clear vision of what your position is, and so your task is only to garner enough solid and scholarly evidence to support it (but do not fake evidence or tamper with it to fit into your discussion – it will come to the surface sooner or later).
Besides, if you are passionate about it and it matters to you, it is easier to engage the audience, too. Passion is contagious, and once you show it, people pick it up and are ready to listen and think about the matter. Passion does not mean just putting many exclamatory marks at the end of the sentences or using words like ‘cool, great’, or similar to express how much it matters. You need evidence, plenty of it, and only then will you be able to channel your passion into palatable and digestible form that will not be boring or ridiculous.
4. Target your audience carefully
Different people perceive and process information differently, and so writing for fellow students or for college admission boards requires different styles. So be sure to figure out who you want to persuade and engage, and then select words and sentence structure correspondingly. Preparing academic persuasive paper does not mean using overly complex words or run-on sentences, but it definitely requires more formal fording and grammar than we use in daily communication.
5. Be a scientist: research the topic thoroughly
As mentioned, persuasion is about finding appropriate evidence and using it to your benefit so that people understand that you are right and so your point is worth adopting. Rely on scholarly sources, books and peer-reviewed articles, next come reputable magazines and newspapers like the New York Times, Washington Post, and governmental sites that contain important statistics all gathered in one place. So keep your thesis in front of you and search by keywords, selecting only credible sources. Read them carefully, highlight the evidence you can use, and only then start writing.
6. Support what you say with arguments
Now you have evidence at hand, you have to put it all together. Just scattering facts and figures across the text is not enough. Move forward your arguments, one by one, like ‘this is harmful for health because …..’ and then add evidence from journals or books. Then transit to the other ideas that are also linked to health harm (if you speak about it) and add more evidence. It is like talking to someone. You say what you want to say, in clear order and words, and then add facts. Then it is not just a hearsay talk, but a real persuasion.
And do not forget to include into your persuasive essay an opposing view and to refute it thoroughly also with the help of evidence and explanations.
7. Be aware of biases and possible ethical issues
Finally, please remember that most people have differing view on a variety of topics, and what is OK to you may be appalling or unethical to others. So consider carefully if you want to tackle some tricky issue, and be ready to face criticism if you present the paper in class and counter it with your arguments. But in any case, write with fairness and do not throw insults on the opposing view. Just carefully dismantle that position step by step, avoid writing a propaganda poster because it does not persuade but provokes immediate negative reaction. Just say what you have to say – politely, with arguments – and know that you have done your best.
That’s what all great writers usually do.