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How to Write a Discursive Essay | Definition, Topics, Examples

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What is a discursive essay?

A discursive essay is a type of academic essay which, as its name suggests, is written to discuss a specific topic. In a discursive essay , you’ll explore the topic in depth and provide different perspectives on it. This means that you must have a balanced perspective which takes into consideration the opposing views . As such, a discursive essay is often highly researched and requires more literary or scholarly resources than other types of essays .

Many students struggle to write a discursive essay. That is to say, they’re confused about what distinguishes it from other essay types. A discursive essay can be defined as a piece of writing that investigates its subject using an argumentative approach. In other words, the main objective of this type of essay is not simply to explain or define but rather to explore different sides of an issue and reach a conclusion that attempts to persuade readers through reason.

Discursive essay structure

In order for a discursive essay to work it has to be structured in a very particular way with a clear introduction, body and conclusion. The body needs to contain evidence which demonstrates how all parts of the argument connect with each other and support the thesis statement.

The structure of a discursive essay is very similar to that of other kinds of essays in the sense that there are three sections – an introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion. The main difference between discursive essay format and others is the way it presents its point-of-view on an issue in order to persuade or convince readers towards taking its side when it comes to reaching a conclusion. This implies that one has to be familiar with rhetorical strategies in order to know how to effectively construct this kind of essay. However, there are basic rules that can be applied in order to produce a well-organized discourse which contains all the necessary parts of an argumentative essay.


The discursive essay introduction must provide readers with information on what they will read in the body paragraphs and how this is going to happen. It should also include a thesis statement which summarizes what you intend to prove in your writing piece. The next step is discussing your central theme or topic by giving a general description about it from multiple perspectives rather than just from one point of view. In other words, it means taking into account several angles when deciding how to judge something without being biased towards any one idea or concept at any given time. In addition, this part should state the position of your argument in order to establish how you’re going to support your thesis.

Body Paragraphs

Next, one has to tackle the body paragraphs which must contain enough evidence or reasoning that backs up your claims and also avoids getting bogged down by using too many examples at once. It’s important to use rhetorical techniques like anecdotes, comparisons, definitions and metaphors which makes it easier for readers to understand what point you are trying to convey clearly. This part may also involve reflecting upon certain points stated earlier on so as to build an appealing argumentative essay based on logical discourse rather than merely presenting ideas without explanation. The last part is where one must present conclusive remarks about previous statements made in the introductory paragraph alongside their own opinion on the given subject matter together with their own justification for it.


The main difference between the discursive essay conclusion and other parts of a discursive paper is that there should be an overview of previous statements made which gives readers a clear idea of what has been said throughout the writing piece. This also provides them with something to think about in case they don’t agree with your point-of-view. The last thing one needs to include is a sentence which restates your thesis statement and tells readers why they should care about the issue you wrote about since this kind of information engages audiences in various ways by making them feel like they’ve learned something new or there’s at least an opportunity for further thought after they finish reading through your essay.

How to plan a discursive essay

This isn’t difficult – all you need is to know how to plan an essay!

A good way to plan a discursive essay is to begin by writing down some keywords that relate to the subject. For example, if you were planning an argumentative essay about why students should attend university then some of your key words might be “education”, “job prospects” and “social life”. Underneath these, write down some notes on why each point is important.

This helps divide ideas into general categories so that when you go back to it later you can decide what order they should appear in. It’s also useful to see how many points you want to cover as this enables you to determine how long your essay will need to be. Another helpful approach is asking yourself open-ended questions like: “What would happen if I didn’t go to university?” or “Why is education important in the modern world?”. These questions are designed to get you thinking about what’s at stake, how it can be improved and why readers should care.

It’s also worth remembering that the introduction of your discursive essay should include a sentence which provides readers with an overview of what will follow so they know exactly what kind of argument you’re going to be making. The conclusion needs to do something similar but it shouldn’t just repeat material from the intro – try giving readers some final food for thought! This means summarizing your main points while drawing attention to anything that appears frequently throughout the body of your essay. You might also want to discuss potential solutions or suggestions on how things could improve even further.

How to write a discursive essay

A discursive essay is an essay that explores a controversial topic. It can be divided into two types: for and against, or pros and cons. In a discursive essay, you should present both sides of the argument before giving your own opinion. However, it’s important to remember that a discursive essay is not a debate – you’re not trying to win over the reader to your point of view. Instead, your goal is to explore the issue and provide a well-rounded perspective. Here are some tips on how to write a discursive essay step by step:

1. Choose a topic that you’re passionate about. 

The first step in writing a discursive essay is to choose a topic and take a position. You will need to select an issue that you feel strongly about and have a clear opinion on. Once you have done this, you can start planning your essay.

2. Do your research.

In order to write a convincing discursive essay, you need to be well-informed about both sides of the argument. This means doing some research and familiarizing yourself with the key points of both arguments. Try to find reputable sources that present both sides of the issue fairly.

3. Write the introduction.

When writing a discursive essay, it is important to start with a brief introduction that outlines the main points of discussion. This will help to engage the reader and set the stage for the rest of the essay.

4. Present both sides of the argument fairly and objectively. 

The fourth step is to present both sides of the argument.

5. Write the conclusion.

In the conclusion part of your essay, restate your thesis and summarize the main points of discussion. Take care not to introduce any new information at this stage.

6. Proofreading and editing.

Proofread your work carefully before submit it. Ensure that there are no grammatical errors or typos.

Final Thoughts and tips

A discursive writing is more than just a list of arguments. It’s important to connect all the pieces of your argument together with claims, evidence and analysis so that readers understand what you’re saying clearly.

There are several things that need to be taken into account when writing a discursive essay.

  • First, one has to create an original thesis by making it specific and yet interesting for readers who are willing to listen to what you have to say on the subject matter.
  • Secondly, since this kind of formal writing piece is much more academic than other types of essays, there should be enough information provided so as to engage readers with facts or knowledge that can strengthen your argument in someway.
  • Thirdly, one must avoid adding any unnecessary details which don’t contribute anything much at all and merely use rhetorical techniques like anecdotes and definitions instead for added effect while still remaining precise and concise whenever possible.
  • Finally, one must be able to connect all the parts of your argument together without becoming too wordy or leaving some information out altogether in order to clearly state your point.

AP United States History discursive essay example

Thesis Statement: President Truman’s decision to send American troops into Korea was not only controversial but extremely important for various reasons because it signaled America’s entry into the world arena during the Cold War and also introduced us to our first war on foreign soil since World War II ended over 40 years ago which finally led to the containment of communism worldwide by dividing up Korea along the 38th parallel line.

The main reasons why President Truman’s decision to send U.S troops into Korea was extremely important is because it marked America’s entry into the world arena during the Cold War and also introduced us to our first war on foreign soil since World War II ended over 40 years ago which finally led to the containment of communism worldwide by dividing up Korea along the 38th parallel line.

First, this controversial decision helped signal America’s entry into the world arena after WWII by allowing us to become a superpower like we were before 1939 when we generally stayed out of European affairs and strictly practiced isolationism for several decades.

Secondly, Truman decided to send American troops into Korea as part of his containment policy towards Soviet expansion in Europe because he wanted them to back off from meddling around in parts of the world that weren’t even their business.

Finally, this important decision led to the beginning of the Cold War which lasted nearly half a century because it helped get us into Korea where we ended up fighting on foreign soil for over three years until an armistice was finally reached at Panmunjom in 1953 along roughly the same boundary line established during Tokyo’s rule of Korea before Japan surrendered in WWII.

In conclusion, President Truman’s decision to send American troops into Korea was extremely important for several reasons because it helped signaled America’s entry into the world arena during the Cold War and also introduced us our first war on foreign soil since World War II over 40 years ago which finally led to the containment of communism worldwide by dividing up Korea along the 38th parallel line at Panmunjom where a temporary armistice was signed in 1953 that created a demilitarized zone between both countries until today.

Analysis of the above sample discursive essay

The first paragraph is all about giving readers a clear idea about what kind of argument I’m supporting throughout my entire essay by explaining how President Truman’s decision not only changed America but influenced almost every other country in some way or another when he decided send troops into Korea between 1950-1953.

The second paragraph is mainly about how President Truman’s decision to send troops into Korea was important in the beginning of the Cold War because it led to a major shift in American foreign policy from isolationism to a more interventionist approach during the early 20th century.

The third and final paragraph focuses on why sending American troops into Korea ultimately helped lead to the containment of communism worldwide when Kim Il-sung took over North Korea after his father Kim Il-Sung died and continued his reign until 1994 when he died at the age of 82, taking one country with him after another began falling under communist rule due to Soviet influence in every other region except for South Korea, who has been democratic ever since they officially gained their independence from the Japanese empire after their 36 th year of occupation in 1945.


  1. Discursive Writing – Higher English Revision – BBC Bitesize
  2. How To Write A Band 6 Module C Discursive Essay
  3. What is Discursive Writing?
  4. Discursive Writing: How to Do it Well!
  5. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kv8yEHpLrq8
  6. Discursive Essay Writing.pdf – Holy Cross High School

Sample Discursive essay topics

Wondering what to write about for your discursive essay? There are plenty of creative discursive essay topics. As usual, the best way to find one is to brainstorm ideas by asking yourself questions like:

  • What do you consider to be important social issues/the most pressing problems in your community?
  • What are some creative solutions to these problems?
  • If you were a leader, what would be the first thing that you’d change within society and why?
  • What has surprised you most about living in your country or local area? Why?
  • How could people better work together as a community or team at their jobs or school?
  • How can I make my workplace more effective through teamwork?
  • How can I help foster better communication between teachers and students at my school?
  • What is something that you believed to be true as a child, but now as an adult you no longer believe this to be the case and why?

Some of the best discursive essay topics include:

  1. The changing face of the modern family
  2. The rise and fall of political correctness in society
  3. The pros and cons of having a criminal history taken into account during recruitment by employers
  4. The pros and cons of increased funding for teachers as a means to improve education standards
  5. Discuss the benefits of taking up Yoga classes
  6. How can I help my child overcome anxiety?
  7. Why people should be more open to the idea of home education
  8. Are all teenagers rebellious?
  9. The benefits of organic food.
  10. Why there is no need for war.
  11. The link between religion and moral standards in society
  12. How public opinion is formed by the media, government propaganda and advertising
  13. The role of counter culture movements in promoting social change
  14. How self expression can impact on individuals and society (eg. tattoos and piercings)
  15. What is the definition of a hero?
  16. Is it time for marijuana to be legalized?
  17. Are people becoming too dependent on their mobile phones?
  18. How should I go about finding my true self?
  19. Do looks really matter in a relationship.
  20. The pros and cons of pursuing a career in music or acting.
  21. All students should study a second language from an early age.

As you can see, there is no shortage of interesting essay topics!

The above discursive essay topics give students an opportunity to explore various issues, processes and trends within societies which have both positive and negative aspects. This allows students to make balanced arguments with supporting evidence from statistics or expert opinion where relevant.

If you need more help narrowing down your topic, especially if you are looking for something specific like ‘discursive essay examples’, our writer team would be happy to assist you further so feel free to ask a question online to get assistance help with discursive essay writing.

Discursive essay writing is designed to test how well students can read, analyse, structure information and communicate their ideas. Good luck and ask for essay help if you get stuck.

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