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Persuasive Essay Template


  1. Class: Unspecified
  2. This template is published for use.
  1. Step 1: Brainstorming
    Percent time spent on this step: 5%


    • Find/choose a topic for your essay that is interesting to you and your readers (especially your instructor).

      • If you have been given a list of topics from your instructor, pick 2-3 that excite you and research them a little to see if they seem like topics you would be interested in.
      • If you are free to choose a main topic within a given field, go with 2-3 topics that you deem interesting to you about a certain field. Research these topics a little to see which one would be the best fit for you.
    • Be creative and do not hold back on expressive your ideas. Feel free to write down as many ideas that come to you.

      • Have the main topic be the center bubble, and your ideas about it being the bubbles attached to the center bubble.
      • You can attach other ideas to the bubbles attached to the center bubble. These are thoughts about your ideas.
    • Look for prominent ideas that you think would make strong components of your future essay.

      • Make sure the ideas are relevant and worthwhile to your future readers.
      • Determine if the ideas you choose to write about have enough information on them so that you can present sources within your essay.
  2. Step 2: Researching
    Percent time spent on this step: 10%


    • Pick sub-topics that will be relevant to your future essay. Ones that are not too narrow or too broad are best.

      • After you have completed a small amount of research on your chosen topics for the essay, make sure that the topics can be written about for the length of your essay.
      • If you find that your topic is too broad, choose a detail within it that you wish to explore and which would compliment your future essay.
    • Wikipedia and print encyclopedias are a good source for general information, which will give you leads to what to study next.

      • Look at the bottom of Wikipedia pages. They are a great source of references to more detailed information.
      • Look through several types and versions of encyclopedias to get a firm, general grasp of your topics.
    • Understand the most critical information within the sub-topics that your readers will not uncover easily themselves.

      • Look for details within your topics that will educate your readers.
      • Look beyond cursory information. Follow the citations of the general research you did before.
    • Preferably in MLA or APA style.

      • When using index cards, write the full citation and notes of the source. Mark whether the source is useful or can be used possibly later. Keep all your cards in a packet or box.
      • When using a Word file, clearly demarcate which citation is which, based on importance. The most useful citations should be at the top of your Word file.
    • Research your main topic and sub-topics until you can comfortably talk about them with your friends and colleagues.

      • Have several conversations with your classmates and friends about your topics. Ask them questions about your topics if they are competent in them.
      • Talk about the topics you know of the least first. This will allow you to grow in your understanding of the topics quickly.
    • Make sure to look at more than one side of the issues/topics.

      • Read the opposite viewpoints about your topics. It is important to understand the other side of an issue in order to make a claim against it and not appear as naive.
      • Note down these opposing viewpoints in your outline or simply in note form. Keep this information handy when writing your drafts.
  3. Step 3: Outlining
    Percent time spent on this step: 5%


    • Get a firm idea of what you want to write for your outline.

      • Peer over your research notes to remind yourself of what you researched and the main points you need to express.
      • Look back at your brainstorming and notes about why you chose certain topics within the bubble map.
    • Write several versions of your thesis statement until you feel that it fits the topic well. Remember to put the thesis statement at the top of your outline.

      • Take a sheet of paper and quickly compose many drafts of your working thesis statement until you reach the end of the page.
      • Choose a thesis statement from your many variations. It should be detailed, to the point, and debatable.
    • These should be your main points that you want to discuss with your readers and which your instructor would appreciate.

      • Write them down in a concise way.
      • Make sure the list is understandable to you and your instructor.
    • Switch around any parts to see if it works better in a different format.

      • Think if you want your paragraphs ordered in terms of time, cause and effect, space, etc.
      • Think of the transitions you might use between paragraphs. You can note them down in your outline if you want.
  4. Step 4: Write First Draft
    Percent time spent on this step: 50%


    • Make sure to include a topic sentence and your thesis sentence.

      • Provide background information in the middle of your introduction to give a prelude to the thesis statement.
      • Make sure that the introduction contains all the points you want to mention in the body paragraphs. You do not want to surprise your readers with seemingly irrelevant information.
    • This is the bulk of your work. Remember that each paragraph should be important, useful, and relevant.

      • Have a topic sentence at the beginning of each body paragraph.
      • After every citation you use, have at least one sentence explaining it in your own words.
    • Make the end count. Do not simply summarise--inspire your readers to examine the topic further.

    • Since this is a first draft, there is going to many mistakes to correct. But do not get hung up on making it perfect, as you still have two drafts (or more) to go.

  5. Step 5: Work on Second Draft
    Percent time spent on this step: 15%


    • Reorganize any parts of the essay that you think blocks the flow of communication and understanding for readers.

    • Seek an economy of words and elaborate on parts of the essay that seem lacking in detail.

      • Question each word you use. If it does not need to be there, then delete it.
      • If you feel a part is lacking in substance or should be carried further, add a sentence or two to give your readers a better look into a certain detail.
    • Make the thesis statement match the content of your body paragraphs and conclusion.

      • Read each topic sentence of each body paragraph and see if it matches with the thesis statement. If it does not, then either your thesis statement or topic sentences need to be adjusted.
      • Read your conclusion. Does it match with your thesis statement? If not, then either your thesis statement or conclusion should be revised.
    • Since this is the second draft, there will be less mistakes to correct. But still, be on your guard.

  6. Step 6: Work on Final Draft
    Percent time spent on this step: 10%


    • Rearrange the format of your essay if any sections of your essay seem to not flow. Proper transitions between paragraphs should be used.

    • Take out any unnecessary words, add details if necessary, and see if it matches the content of the essay perfectly.

      • Question each word of the thesis statement.
      • Check if your thesis statement matches the content in your body paragraphs and conclusion.
    • Question whether or not each part of your essay needs to be there. Not even one word should be used if not needed.

      • Do not be afraid to cut information you deem unnecessary. It is a sign of a mature writer.
      • Many times, writers will include information in an essay that is more periphery text rather than ideas that are necessary to explore. Essay writing is not a rant: keep your structure tight.
    • Since this is a final draft, be extra attentive to mistakes, errors, inaccuracies, and inconsistencies. This is your last chance to check over everything.

  7. Step 7: Feedback
    Percent time spent on this step: 5%


    • Visiting your school writing center is the best option. If you are not in school, hire a private tutor to look over your writing.

      • Set an appointment at your local writing center. Be sure to be on time, to bring in a printed copy of your writing, and to be open to suggestions/critique.
      • When hiring a private tutor, it is better to hire an experienced tutor that charges a bit more than expected. They can, sometimes, completely change your outlook on wiring and dramatically improve your writing.
    • Listen carefully to what your colleague and/or tutor has said, and make notes about what needs to change. Use your best discretion and change your essay according to your teacher’s criteria.

      • When receiving criticism, be open-minded. Do not fall into the trap of being defensive.
      • Do not be overly-receptive as well. Do not change your entire essay based on others’ comments if the changes do not work better than the original.
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