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How to Write Academic Persuasive Papers

by Soheila Battaglia

At some point in our lives, we have all tried to persuade someone to do or believe something. We make a particular claim and argue that claim by providing explanation and examples to prove our point. The process is the same when you are writing an academic persuasive essay.

Prewriting and Organization

Before you write an academic essay, you should brainstorm to gather ideas and material for the topic. After brainstorming, you should arrange and prioritize the information into an outline that maps all the sections of your essay before you write. The writing center at Hamilton College states that "a paper lacking a strong introduction, well-organized body paragraphs, and an insightful conclusion is not an effective paper." Therefore, create a well-structured map to follow as you write the essay.

Introduction

The introduction to an academic persuasive essay should start with something to catch the reader's attention. This may be a shocking statistic, a quotation or a controversial question. The opening paragraph should also include a thesis statement, which is the main point of the entire essay. This statement should be contained in a single, clear sentence that communicates to the reader the point you are trying to persuade them toward.

Body

The body of the essay is where the analysis and evidence is shared with the reader. It is the bulk of the essay and provides the reasons that support your thesis statement. The body paragraphs should also address possible counterarguments to what you are trying to persuade your reader to believe. Butte College states that you should "anticipate possible objections and overcome them with logic and evidence to support your claim." By presenting a counterargument and defeating it, you strengthen your own position.

Conclusion

While the conclusion of a persuasive paper should return to your thesis statement, it should not repeat it word-for-word. You should restate some of the main supporting points of your essay, but ultimately you want to leave the reader with a broader idea or a question to contemplate. The Purdue Online Writing Lab states that the conclusion should "leave the reader with an interesting final impression." Remember that the conclusion is the last thing the reader sees, so don't underestimate the time involved in properly crafting it.

About the Author

Soheila Battaglia is a published and award-winning author and filmmaker. She holds an MA in literary cultures from New York University and a BA in ethnic studies from UC Berkeley. She is a college professor of literature and composition.

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