Persuasive essays, and whether or not they impress your instructor, depend quite heavily upon the student’s ability to come up with a great topic for the essay. The very nature of the essay, its structure, and whether or not it can be presented well will have a lot to do with whether or not the student was able to identify an exceptional topic. So, it’s very important for students to pay particular attention to this stage of the writing process. Here are some good strategies for choosing a persuasive essay topic that is sure to impress:
The first step is to brainstorm a list of topics that you’re intrigued by. These should be topics in which you are interested and they should also be topics which appeal to your sense of curiosity. Once you have a list of ten or fifteen general subjects which interest you, move on to step two.
Go through your list and cross out those that aren’t controversial at all, or for which you can’t think of any controversial perspectives.
Next, choose the three topics that most interest you from those that remain and make three columns on a sheet of paper. At the top of each of these columns, write the name of one of these subjects. In the column, write as many questions as you can about that the subject.
Once again, it’s time to rule some things out. The questions which can be answered definitively by looking up facts should be crossed out. The point of a persuasive essay isn’t to convince someone that a blue sky is green, after all. So those questions which can be factually answered and inspire no debate should be ruled out. From the remaining questions, choose three that you think offer good opportunities for research.
If there seems to be a general consensus on the answer to a question, you can either discard it or opt to argue the opposing position (assuming there’s enough evidence that you can research to do so). However, the more sensible route is to choose a question on which people seem divided. It’s even better if there are multiple perspectives, more than two or three.
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