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DRAPES for Persuasive Writing

by Amy Mahoney, studioD

It can be difficult to know how to present research in a persuasive or argumentative essay that helps convince the reader to agree with your point of view on a particular topic. Writing the essay includes researching a controversial issue, developing a clear point of view and collecting evidence to help support your opinion. The DRAPES method is designed to help you present evidence to support your point of view. Using various approaches to present research can make the essay more lively and engaging for the reader. DRAPES is an acronym that stands for methods of presenting evidence: Dialogue, Rhetorical Question, Analogy, Personal Experience, Example and Statistics.

Include Dialogue

Using dialogue means including expert opinions or analysis in your essay. Dialogue can be presented through direct quotes or by paraphrasing. Including dialogue is one of the most effective ways to present evidence in a persuasive essay because it gives the reader a chance to hear directly from experts. Make sure you include attribution when you use dialogue. For example, include the name and title of the expert so the reader understands your source.

Consider Rhetorical Questions And Analogy

An effective persuasive essay grabs the reader’s attention. The rhetorical question and analogy elements of the DRAPES method are both effective strategies to "hook" the reader. The rhetorical question is most effectively used in the introduction of the essay, when you pose a question to the reader to draw attention to the issue or illustrate the problem. This strategy also can make the issue feel more personal to the reader. For example, if your essay argues that oil drilling should not be allowed in national parks, you could pose a rhetorical question by asking the reader if they would want oil drilling in their own backyard. This analogy provides context to the reader by comparing the park to something more familiar or personal to them. An analogy is an effective way to begin an essay, though it can be included elsewhere.

Include Personal Experience And Examples

Examples are a powerful way to illustrate an issue for the reader, especially anecdotes from your own experience. They can be used in persuasive essays that focus on personal or local issues. For instance, if you are writing about school uniforms, you could include an anecdote about the dress code at your own school. Another strategy is to provide examples from research. Examples are most effectively used in the body of a persuasive essay.

Utilize Statistics

Another way to present evidence in a persuasive essay is to include statistics. These concise facts or data help provide context and information about an issue. Statistical details attributed to research can be very effective in a persuasive essay. Because they generally are more straightforward than opinions or comparisons and do not rely on interpretation, statistics can be more difficult for the reader to dispute.


About the Author

Amy Mahoney has been a writer for more than 15 years. Her articles have appeared in newspapers and magazines including “The Boston Globe,” “Reader’s Digest” and the “Miami Herald.” She holds a Master of Fine Arts in fiction.

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