Persuasive essays are a type of writing that attempts to convince the reader that the ideas being presented are right. They are very similar to argumentative essays except that instead of creating a discussion on the topic, a writer presents a one-sided opinion giving valid reasons and solid facts on why that opinion or idea is correct. The writer employs logic to reason with and sway the reader into adopting a certain view or action. Such essay assignments are commonly given to students in high school and junior college. They help students to master persuasive skills.
Tips on finding persuasive essay topics
Sometimes, essay topics are not given by the professor. In such a case, students are required to select an appropriate topic to write about. To help you do that, here are a few tips.
- Think of subjects that interest you. Feel free to select a topic that you will enjoy writing about and not just one that you think will please your professor. Obviously, you should not purposely pick a topic that will bore your audience. Nonetheless, focusing excessively on what you think the professor would like to read is a mistake. Most professors want to see you write in your own style and argue your own ideas, supported by facts.
- Select a topic you are passionate about, not one on which you are conflicted. You will likely be unable to present your views and convince your audience if you are conflicted about the side on which you stand. Being passionate about the topic will also make the research and writing tasks enjoyable. Your emotion will also be reflected in your writing, and this will help you persuade the reader.
- Don’t over-obsess with political correctness. You should avoid playing it too safe and shying away from controversial issues. You also don’t want to offend your audience with a topic that is too inappropriate for a school setting. You need to strike a balance between boldly expressing your views on the issues you are passionate about and not offending your audience with overly inappropriate topics.
- Think about your experiences or those of people you know to help you formulate an interesting topic.
- Think about what you know. It will be easier for you to write a good persuasive essay if it is on a subject that you are familiar with. This is especially important if you have limited time to write your essay, as you will be able to do the legwork faster.
- Read. Topics abound in books, newspapers, journals, and the web. The importance of research in persuasive writing cannot be overstated. Research is important, not just for formulating your title but also for finding evidence to back up your ideas so that you can present a convincing persuasive essay. This involves reading widely and sometimes talking to experts in your subject of interest.
- Brainstorming can help you come up with an idea or refine the one you already have. You can discuss ideas with your friends or other people around you. However, this is not a license to copy someone else’s work. The purpose of brainstorming is to help you get ideas. Weave in your own perspective to make your essay unique.
- Persuasive essay topics are also often inspired by contemporary societal issues, so pay attention to current trends and events around you.
- Finally, it helps to come up with several ideas and then evaluate them further to pick the best one.
Selecting a good topic for your essay is one of the most important and often tricky parts for many students. Here are a few characteristics against which you should evaluate your topic before you start writing the essay.
Qualities of a good persuasive essay topic
- The topic should be specific. The essay topic should be broad enough for you to comfortably meet the required length of the essay but not too narrow that you are unable to write more than a few sentences on it.
- A great topic should have some complexity and depth.
- A good topic for a persuasive essay is debatable. Pick a topic that society is talking or arguing about.
- The topic must not be overdone. Most times, a topic that has been tackled over and over is not the best choice because it is likely that society has already formed and set an opinion on the matter, and it is no longer being debated.
- Is there adequate literature to support your opinions/ideas? Your ideas must be backed by credible facts that can help you persuade your audience. There should be enough literature to back your ideas in order for you to write a good persuasive essay.
Here are a few appropriate topic ideas for your persuasive essay assignment.
Some persuasive essay topic ideas for high school
- Should students perpetrating cyberbullying be expelled? (a). Cyberbullying can undoubtedly have grave consequences for the victims. In some quarters, there has been agitation to have cyberbullies in schools face consequences, such as expulsion.
- Is college education the key to a successful life? (a). There are varying views on whether a college education is required in order to have a successful life.
- Should the death penalty be abolished? (a). The death penalty has been abolished in some states, many more still practice it, and others have the death penalty allowing gubernatorial moratoria. Some say the death sentence is a fitting deterrent to serious crimes but is it a cruel, dehumanizing practice that should be abolished?
- Should civilians be allowed to carry guns? (a). Do civilians with guns help stop crime such as mass shootings, or do civilians’ freedom to carry guns pose more danger?
- Should the minimum voting age be lowered? (a). 21, 18, 17, or 16; just how old is old enough to vote? Are teenagers old enough for the responsibility of voting?
- National security prevails over individual privacy rights. (a). Should violations of individual privacy rights be allowed for the sake of national security?
- Parental consent should not be required for teenage girls to access contraceptives. (a). Teenagers have free access to contraceptives, but lawmakers have come up with proposals that will require teenage girls to engage their parents before they can get access. Should the right of teenagers to freely access contraceptives be upheld?
- Smartphones are killing communication. (a). Smartphones have changed the way conversations are carried out, but are they killing the art of communication? Are we missing out on the crucial benefits of voice calls and face-to-face conversations?
- Should Medical Marijuana be legalized? Marijuana helps relieve symptoms of various illnesses. (a). There have been debates on whether Marijuana prescribed by a doctor should be legal. Do you think it should be legalized?
- Is commercial testing on animals right? (a). Safety tests for products such as drugs and cosmetics are often tested on animals to ascertain their safety. Animal rights activists and other parties disagree with this practice.
- Should mercy killing be allowed? (a). Euthanasia, the killing of patients with painful, incurable diseases and irreversible coma, is done to relieve suffering. The practice is allowed in some states, but it is frowned upon and illegal in many more. Is it an ethical practice that should be legalized or not?
- Should mandatory sexuality and parenting classes be taught in school? (a). Parents have the responsibility of teaching their children about sexuality, contraceptive use, and parenting. However, are parents sufficiently teaching the kids on these subjects?
College-level persuasive essay topics
- Should guns be allowed on campuses? (a). Research shows that guns on campuses only pose a greater danger of violence and do very little to stop shooting rampages. Do you think guns should be allowed on college campuses or not?
- Should public breastfeeding be allowed? (a). Mums are given a hard time now and then for breastfeeding their babies in public. However, others are of the opinion that breastfeeding, just like bottle feeding a baby in public, should not be controversial.
- Should the travel ban on Muslim-majority countries be implemented? (a). There have been mixed reactions on whether the executive order to ban visa issuance to travelers from six Muslim-majority countries should be implemented.
- Should recycling be required by law? (a). Recycling helps preserve the environment, but not everyone practices it. Some think that by making it a law requirement, more people will begin to practice recycling. What’s your position on this?
- Should workplaces have a more relaxed dress code? (a). Some employers feel that relaxed dress codes negatively impact productivity and should not be allowed in the workplace. Others think that it improves creativity and productivity in the workplace.
- Should the jury system be replaced by bench trials? (a). There have been arguments that juries are not made up of people with the necessary legal expertise and should therefore be abolished and replaced with bench trials where judges are solely responsible for making judgments.
These are just a few tips and topics to give you an idea of what you can write your persuasive essay on. There are many more persuasive essay topic ideas you can write about. Just follow the guidelines stated above, and you’ll be well on your way to writing a good persuasive essay.
The hard work doesn’t stop with selecting a good persuasive essay topic. You still have to write the essay well so that you are able to keep your readers interested and persuade them. This can be difficult for some students, but it is not an impossible task. Once you settle on the topic and choose the position on which you will base your essay, the rest of the work can then begin. You will need to research your topic further to provide evidence to your ideas and then structure your essay.
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