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What is a discursive essay?

Discursive comes from the word ‘discussion’ – where people give different points of
view. A discursive essay is an essay where you are required to write on something,
which can be either argued for the topic or against the topic.

A discursive essay is a piece of formal writing which discusses a particular issue,


situation or problem

 However, some discursive essays can also be written in a way where you don't


have to choose any particular side but to present your views on both the sides in
a balanced manner.
 A discursive essay thoroughly investigates an argument by offering two
opposing perspectives. It’s a practical method of establishing the writer’s opinion
on a topic and persuading one’s stance by exploring the reasons why each view
may or may not be valid. The author usually maintains a calm and neutral stance
throughout the text to establish an unbiased and informative argument.

Here are some points to keep in mind:


 It is an essay that gives two points of view about a topic.
 It does not try to persuade the reader to agree with one point of view. Instead it
gives both sides of a topic, so that the reader can decide for themselves.
 You are given a topic, and you need to think information that represents both
sides.
 It is similar to an expository essay, which gives information about a topic.

What are some of the features of a discursive essay ?


 A discursive essay needs to present points from more than one point of view.
You can say what your own opinion is, if you have a strong point of view. You
can see this in the ‘sample discursive essay’ to note how the writer does this in
the conclusion. But before you give your opinion, make sure to present both
points of view fairly.
 Most of the essay will be written without referring to yourself, although you can
use examples from your life to illustrate points. Present your ideas in factual and
formal sentences with correct grammar.

 Check on the length of essays for your grade. Most essay lengths are about 250
words.
There are three main types of discursive essays:
 For and against essays present both sides of an issue, discussing points in favor
of a particular topic as well as those against, or the advantages and disadvantages of a
particular question. Each point should be supported by justifications, examples, and/or
reasons. The writer's own opinion should be presented only in the final paragraph .
 Opinion essays  present the writers personal opinion concerning the topic, clearly
stated and supported by reasons and/or examples. The opposing viewpoint and reason
should be included in a separate paragraph before the dosing one, together with an
argument that shows it is an unconvincing viewpoint. The writer's opinion should be
included in the introduction, and summarized/restated in the conclusion .
Essays suggesting solutions to problems , in which the problem(s)
associated with a particular issue or situation are analyzed and possible solutions are
put for-ward, together with any expected results/consequences. The writer's opinion
may be mentioned, directly or indirectly, in the introduction and/or conclusion.

 Good discursive essay should consist of:

a) An introductory paragraph in which you clearly state the topic to be discussed;


b) a main body, in which points are clearly stated in separate paragraphs and
exemplified or justified: and
c) a closing paragraph summarizing the main points of the essay, in which you
stale/restate your opinion, and/or give a balanced consideration of the topic.

How to Start a Discursive Essay?


Before you start your writing, you should make several important steps. Don’t think that
you can write several pages about anything you want and expect a positive mark. The
discursive essay is not a simple task. If author aspires to make brilliant paper, he should
follow such scheme:

1. Choose a Topic
The main advantage of the discursive essay is that it can be dedicated to any topic. But
on the other hand, it is a disadvantage for a student: he must think about numerous
issues and express own feelings in the right manner. There are two options for you: you
may choose one topic from the list or use your own and unique one. Both options are
equal in efforts and require special skills.

2. Write Outline
No matter this essay is very short, but the author should create an outline. Such
blueprint contains the basic structure of your future paper and short description for each
part. All types of discursive essay include the introduction, main body, and conclusion.
So the structure is absolutely the same as in other academic papers. All parts in
structure execute exact tasks:

 Introduction announces topic and your main questions to be described in paper;


 Body includes the arguments and thesis statements to discuss;
 Conclusion requires from author to share his options and findings of his topic.

3. Notice 3-5 Main Ideas in Body


These arguments are your power to prove or disprove the statements in your topic. Be
sure, that strong arguments allow writer feeling himself free and discuss the topic with
enthusiasm. It would be great, if you have 3+ agreements for and 3+ against ideas.

4. Write the Draft of Your Essay


Having arguments for both sides, you can easily write the whole discursive essay.
Follow the main structure and add all your ideas to ensure readers in your skills.

Additional tip: you can use there not only own arguments, but support them with
reputable thoughts of well-known experts in the field. For instance, use primary and
secondary resources to increase the power of own words.

5. Make a Conclusion
Your last statements should be absolutely unique. Use your own ideas to finish paper
and express your feelings about your topic. Be sure, that with great arguments you can
make great last paragraph. In addition, don’t forget to highlight the value of your paper
and topic, you have shared your opinion about.

6. Proofread Your Essay


When you are excited in writing, hardly you can notice own misprints or mistakes. That’s
why you need to read your paper several times to make sure it is perfect.

So writing a discursive essay is quite a hard task. The paper is small, but you need to
pay attention to each sentence and check its relevance to main arguments and basic
topic.
Example;

TITLE:

‘There’s no need to write letters any more. Telephoning is a better way of


communicating with people.’

STRUCTURE: 

1. Introduction – a short paragraph stating both points of view and a thesis statement.
(The thesis indicates your point of view)

It’s certainly quicker to telephone than to write a letter but it may not always be the
best way to communicate. The use depends, like so many other things in life,
on the circumstances.

2. Points For – one paragraph giving reasons in favour. These reasons should be


supported by evidence and examples. (This will develop the antithesis)

Telephoning is ideal if you want immediate action. You wouldn’t want to write to the
plumber if you had water pouring through your ceiling, for example. It’s also the
obvious choice if you need a quick answer to a question like ‘What time is the next
train to Oxford?’ or ‘Did I leave my wallet in your shop?’ Many problems can be solved
more easily and decisions taken more quickly if you can discuss them with someone on
the phone rather than wait for a reply to a letter. Finally, few people would disagree
that telephoning is a pleasant way to keep in touch with friends and family.

3. Points Against – one paragraph giving reasons against. These reasons should be


supported by evidence and examples. (This will develop the thesis)

On the other hand, there can be a number of disadvantages to telephoning. In the


first place, some problems are too complicated to explain on the phone, especially
if they involve facts and figures, and it may be clearer if you set them out in a
letter. Secondly, it might be important to have a record of what you say, especially if
it’s a booking or a complaint. Last but not least, telephoning, especially long-distance,
can be terribly expensive.

4. Further support and follow a logical argument.

The nice thing about receiving letters is that you can keep them and re-read
them. Who wouldn’t rather have a six-page letter full of news from a friend abroad
than a two-minute telephone call on a bad line?

5. Conclusion – a brief paragraph stating your point of view (thesis) based on the
reasons and evidence you have given.
To sum up, letter writing is far from dead, in my view. Each form
of communication has its advantages and disadvantages: the important thing to
recognise is which is more appropriate for what you want to say, and to whom.

ANOTHER DISCURSIVE ESSAY: 

‘The Future is Bright’

The future is a mystery to everyone. Some people would argue that the future is


bright because modern technology will soon be able to solve most problems in our
society. Other people think that modern technology will bring about the destruction of
the world. If we consider the recent negative environmental and social trends in the
world today it is impossible to be optimistic about the future.

It can be argued that modern technology has solved many of the world’s problems,
and may continue to do so in the future. We have made rapid progress, especially in the
fields of medicine, communication and transport.[ Scientists are now able to cure or
prevent many of the diseases that previously affected millions of people. For example,
polio can be eliminated simply by vaccination.[ As well as this there has been an
explosion in the area of information technology and communication. This also makes it
easier to conduct business in any part of the world.[ Along with the advances made in
communication, transport has also been improved all over the world. Even in developing
countries, many people now own private transport or are able to travel quickly and
easily using public transport. Therefore, it is sometimes claimed that technology will
provide mankind with the universal panacea of the future.

However, modern technology also brings many disadvantages.[ Pollution is one


result of increased technology and industrialization. The effects of this can be seen in
the destruction of the ozone layer as well as global warming. [Improvements in
technology have also increased the effectiveness of weapons, especially weapons of
mass destruction. [As a direct result of modern technology, certainly in the future new
diseases will appear. [Although transport has improved, it brings with it the danger of
air pollution and traffic congestion. [Overpopulation and starvation will increase in the
future because natural resources are limited and undoubtedly the amount of fertile land
is decreasing steadily.

In conclusion, it is clear that for most people in the world the future is not bright
because mankind is destroying the environment through unsustainable development.
Modern technology can solve some problems but without careful planning the future
looks bleak.

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