Essay writing is a vital part of your academic education or a writing career if you choose to go that way. Composing essays is like studying your soul; you learn how to express yourself in a more logical manner, strengthen your writing skills and vocabulary, and showcase the knowledge of the certain topic. While most students regard essay writing as a dull and difficult assignment, it is not necessarily correct. Successful completion of the paper depends on creating a functional and practical outline. Each type of essay has its own structure, and the persuasive essay is not an exception. Composing outline properly is the best way to write a well-structured paper without wandering off the topic. Throughout this post, I’m going to show you how to structure the outline for persuasive essay easily.
What is a persuasive essay?
The persuasive essay uses logic and reason to demonstrate that one idea is more legitimate than the other. Your “job” is to persuade a reader to adopt a certain point of view or to take some concrete action by establishing reasonable argument supported with solid evidence and facts. To simplify, a persuasive essay is like a closing argument in front of the jury that only responds to facts, stats, and accuracy.
This type of essay writing requires developing your argument about a certain subject. Sometimes you’ll have to take your stand and write about your point of view (again, supported by facts) while in other instances the topic will already navigate you to a particular direction. Persuasive essay persuades the reader that your viewpoint is the right perspective and it’s not overly difficult to write it once you learn how to structure the outline.
Essay writing starts with thorough preparation or a pre-writing process that requires the following:
- Choose a position/argument – as mentioned above, sometimes you’ll have to choose your own argument, while in some cases you’ll just have to elaborate why one idea is better than the other. That’s why it is of immense importance to read the title carefully to understand how to proceed
- Know the audience – to write a persuasive essay (or any kind of paper), you have to understand the reader’s perspective. Is the reader e.g. professor or client undecided? Or maybe he/she favors one argument over the other? Besides their viewpoint, you should consider style, vocabulary, sentence structures, and overall tone they prefer seeing in someone’s paper
- Do the research – your ability to persuade a reader to adopt a specific viewpoint depends on the evidence you provide. For this, you have to research A LOT. Regardless of how familiar the topic might seem, always study the subject in general and start looking for proof to support your claims. Of course, reading blogs isn’t overly helpful. Ideally, statistics, studies, books and authors, journals, and other kinds of official info are recommended
- Identify the most convincing evidence you have, organize notes you took according to the strength and priority and define opposing key points as well, after research
After completing all steps of the pre-writing process, you’re ready to proceed to create the outline.
Creating persuasive essay outline
You determined the argument, gathered enough evidence through extensive research, and “all” you have to do now is to structure your paper properly to start writing. The diagram you see below shows the correct outline for a persuasive essay.
Intro isn’t something you just have to “get over with,” it has to catch the reader’s attention and make him/her want to read the rest of your paper to find out more. The ideal introduction (as seen above), contains the following:
- Hook – a strong hook intrigues the audience, gets their attention and so on. It’s the first sentence of your paper, and it can be anything you see fit for the topic: question, quote, interesting facts or statistics, anecdote, etc.
- Define the audience – okay, the pre-writing process teaches you to understand your audience, but don’t mix it up with this part. Here, defining your audience refers to helping reader identify himself/herself as being a member of your target demographics i.e. your job is to make readers find the introduction (and the rest of the paper) something they can relate to
- Thesis statement – it’s the last sentence (or two) of your intro and the segment wherein you clearly state the viewpoint or argument you’re about to take. Thesis is the foundation where you’re going to build a strong, persuasive essay
The exact number of paragraphs in this section depends on the topic and other parameters of your assignment e.g. how many reasons or supporting evidence you want to include. More demanding, bigger assignments require more reasons and a greater deal of proof while some topics don’t.
This is the part when you have to write down the result of your research, which is why pre-writing process and organizing your notes is paramount. Always bear in mind that persuading readers to adopt a certain arguments depends on the evidence you provide. It’s not enough to claim one idea is better than the other, you actually have to prove it.
Throughout the body of your paper, you can also mention a few opposing statements or claims and provide evidence to prove why they are not correct. Or, depending on the complexity of the topic, you can take one separate paragraph just for that. This depends on the concept of persuasive essay writing. Opposing views can be used as reasons or evidence to support your own if you find strong proofs and supporting facts. Ideally, for every reason you think of, there should also be evidence to support it.
Just like you can write a hook in different manners, it is possible to do the same to prove your argument. You can be creative and try utilizing different ways to make your argument including comparisons, analogy, illustrating with a hypothetical solution, and so on. Moreover, do not assume that your audience has an in-depth knowledge of the issue or that you don’t have to elaborate anything just because you’re audience is a professor who’s supposed to know a lot about the subject. The whole point of the essay is to showcase your own knowledge regardless of who the audience is. That’s why you should define terms and give background information.
Instead of skipping from fact to fact and evidence to evidence, use transitional words and phrases throughout the body paragraphs. They establish a consistent essay flow and prevent the “choppiness” that would otherwise occur. Here are some examples you can use:
- Not only….but also
- On the other hand
- As well as
- Equally important
- In addition
- Not to mention
At this point, your paper is almost done; you have an intro, body paragraphs, and the only thing that’s missing is the well-structured conclusion. This is the part where you “seal the deal” with the following components:
- Short summary of the topic – remind the reader of the importance of the subject in general as well as a brief overview of argument you discussed
- Benefits to the reader – elaborate how acting on this particular issue will benefit not only the individual but the entire society. Additionally, you can mention the consequences that could potentially occur without acting on the issue
- Call to action – in this segment, you have to explain what do you want your readers to do now that they’ve adopted your point of view
Now that you’re done with the essay writing process you are ready to proceed to the revising stage. The paper has to be polished before you send it to the professor (or client). Revising phase includes reviewing, modifying, and reorganizing the paper to make it best it can be. To do so, read the essay from top to bottom and answer the following questions:
- Does my essay present a firm position on the issue?
- Did I support the paper with relevant facts, quotes, statistics and other forms of evidence?
- Does each paragraph represent one reason with supports facts?
- Is the hook effective? Will it intrigue the reader?
- Did I convincingly refute the opposite arguments?
- Is the word choice precise? Is sentence structure okay?
- Does the conclusion inspire the reader to adopt my argument?
Answer these questions will help you identify the strongest and weakest links of the paper and allow you to solve the problematic areas efficiently. Remember, if rereading and revising show the essay structure is strong, then you shouldn’t reorganize it unless you assume it’s necessary. Once the revising process is over, proofread your work, include references, and submit the essay.
The primary purpose of the persuasive essay is to convince or persuade the reader (or more of them) to adopt a certain viewpoint. As seen throughout the post, it is of crucial importance to research and structure the essay adequately. This outline shows how to do so in an easy manner. Remember, the power of persuasion is all about supporting everything you say with solid proof. Imagine yourself as a lawyer trying to persuade the jury that claims you make in your case are better than opponent’s. Good luck.