There is a probability that you may have come across a discursive essay assignment but had no idea that it falls under the respective category. Discursive essays are usually assigned to a high school or college student to discuss a particular topic. Most of the topics involve two opinions, i.e. both the pros and cons of a given situation. In a discursive essay either you are required to present your opinion on both sides or argue in favour of or against it.
Discursive essays are somewhat similar to argumentative essays. However, there is a slight difference between both of them regarding their structures and purposes. An argumentative essay demonstrates a strong opinion over a topic and persuades the reader to believe in its viewpoint. It follows a simple format which includes an opening statement, highlighting the author’s viewpoint and the argument. The argument, however, refutes one opinion in the end.
On the other hand, a discursive essay presents a very unbiased and general overview of the subject matter. Its assessment and analysis are subjective and reliable. The topic sometimes is based on controversy but the approach opted to answer the raised arguments is always well balanced and generic. However, the facts and true figures in a discursive essay are equally important and should outshine neutrality.
When writing a discursive essay, one should keep in mind that the style comprises formality and impersonal opinions. Each argument should be discussed separately in separate paragraphs. Every paragraph should start with a strong issue statement. One paragraph should be followed by a counterpoint paragraph to emphasise both aspects of a situation.
Before discussing the steps involved in crafting an impeccable discursive essay, let us first take a look at different types of it.
For and Against Essay
Such an essay gives the writer a platform to present their point of views and establishes the grounds for a thorough debate. There are contradictory opinions and opposing views. Thus, each point should be discussed in detail. The introduction highlights the issue while the main body of the essay includes reasoning and detailed justification of arguments. If there are any personal opinions, then the writer should include them in conclusion only.
An opinion essay solely revolves around the writer’s opinion and views on a particular issue. The opinions, however, should be presented explicitly and must be backed by supporting details and examples. In an opinion essay, the author establishes a contradictory argument before concluding the essay. It’s obligatory that the author describes clearly to the audience, the weaknesses of the mentioned argument and why it is improbable.
Essay suggesting solutions to a problem
In such an essay, an issue is discussed by highlighting its solutions. In the introductory paragraph, a problem is put forward for analysis so that the reasons and consequences can be discussed in detail. Then comes the main body, which offers possible solutions and predicted results. Lastly, the conclusion should present a clear summary of the author’s viewpoint.
Now coming towards the structure of a discursive essay; it follows the basic rule of writing a standard essay, i.e. introduction, main body, and conclusion.
If you are curious to know that how to start a discursive essay’s introduction then here’s the tip. Start by incorporating an interesting fact or statistic. You may also start by raising an interesting question. The introductory paragraph should present a short explanation of the problem statement.
You can also use relevant quotations to elaborate the idea further, concisely. However, the issue statement needs to be surrounded with the complete and logical explanation regarding both sides of the issue.
To structure the main body of a discursive essay, the following important points should be kept in mind.
- The essay should be based on right and proven information. It should be free from prejudices and should analyse every aspect of the problem fairly. Don’t make this part emotional and avoid including personal opinions.
- Sort out your arguments and place them in different paragraphs. This gives your essay a comprehensive look while presenting the ideas. Include supporting details and evidence along the text.
- Keep a balance between the contrasting paragraphs. Provide full details and keep your language and tone distinct.
A good conclusion is based on your ability to summarise your already stated points, interestingly. At this stage, the logic and reasoning should not be diluted but you can still incorporate your opinions or views to make your conclusion more comprehensive. However, avoid repetition of ideas and keep it precise. The ideal length of a concluding paragraph is 4 – 5 lines. Also, never conclude your essay in support of just one argument or viewpoint. Similarly, don’t include the ideas or arguments that are either targeting or offensive in nature.