How to Write a Discursive Essay: Tips to Succeed & Examples

So, you need to accomplish your discursive essay writing. The typical questions most students ask are: How do you write it? What is discursive essay?

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A discursive essay is an academic paper that involves a discussion on a particular topic. It is usually assigned to college students. You may be required to write a paper wherein you have to do one of the following:

  • argue for the issue or against it;
  • present your points of view on both sides;
  • provide your unprejudiced opinion on that matter.

Don’t panic!

Check out the tips from  experts below. They will assist you in discursive writing and encourage you to examine essay examples. Moreover, in this article, you’ll also learn about different types of discursive essay, and its introduction, main body, and conclusion structure.

  • ❓ What Is It?
  • 🏁 Main Types


  • Basic Don’Ts
  • ✏️ Frequent Questions

❓ What Is a Discursive Essay?

First of all, let’s figure out what the discursive essay is.

You may think it’s similar to the argumentative essay. Yes, but there’s a difference between them in the structure and purpose of these two types of assignments:

We will take a detailed look at how to structure a discursive essay later, and now let’s find out what are the types of this assignment.

Keep reading!

🏁 Discursive Essay: Main Types

You have to think more critically and more in-depth when reviewing all viewpoints and aspects of discursive writing. Check these three main types of essay writing:

  • Opinion Essay  requires the author’s opinion on an issue which is stated in the introductory paragraph. It should be clearly presented and followed by reasons and supporting examples. Also, this essay paper should contain an opposing argument that comes before the conclusion. The writer must explain to readers why the mentioned argument is considered to be unconvincing. The writer’s opinion should be restated/summarized in the conclusion.
  • For and Against Essay  provides readers with a thorough debate on the topic with the help of opposing points of view. Each point should be discussed objectively and described in details. The introductory paragraph puts the issue under consideration. The main body of this essay paper should present examples, reasons, and arguments supported by justifications. The author’s own opinion with balanced reflections on the topic should be stated only in conclusion.
  • Essay Suggesting Solution to a Problem  discusses problems and finds the main solutions. The introduction paragraph explicitly declares a problem and analyses its causes and consequences. The main body of the essay should offer some suggestions for a possible solution to the problem and potential state consequences or expected results. In conclusion, author’s opinion should be distinctly summarized.

📑 How to Write a Discursive Essay

Well, it’s time to talk about the structure of a discursive essay. Like most of the assignments, a discursive paper starts with an introduction and ends with a conclusion:

The first question you may ask is how to start a discursive essay introduction. Simple!

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  • Give your readers a hook – something that would sound interesting to them.
  • Provide a short explanation of the problem. You may use quotations, as well as rhetorical questions.
  • Show your readers both sides of the arguments and sum up.

You may be wondering…

Is there something I should avoid in my discursive essay introduction?

Yes. No stereotypes and generalizations, please!

The next step under formal essay writing you should take is to compose the body.

Tips on how to write a discursive essay.

There are a few points you should remember:

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  • First and foremost: stay unprejudiced . Assess all of the aspects of an issue. Leave your feelings behind or for another essay type.
  • Second: build your argumentation . If you have several arguments for your viewpoint—provide them in separate paragraphs. This will help you to keep your essay comprehensible and distinct. Don’t forget to submit supporting evidence.
  • Third: write the body of an essay in an alternate manner. What does it mean? If your first paragraph supports the paper’s argument, then in the second paragraph you should write something in the opposite of it. Such a combination of supporting and opposite paragraphs will make your essay look apparent, and well researched. Besides, it will help you to remain neutral.
  • Fourth: include topic sentences and evidence . Write a summary of the argument at the beginning of the paragraph. It will allow the reader to easier understand what the paragraph is about. Provide evidence to show that you’re not making the facts up.

Well, you’ve almost finished your writing. Now you should focus on the last section. Keep reading, and you will learn how to write a conclusion for a discursive essay.

  • In the last section, you should summarize your article including the main points, specified in the body paragraphs.
  • You may also logically express your opinion. Remember: it should resonate with your evidence stated in the body paragraphs.
  • Don’t repeat findings, just summarize them.

Keep it short. Your conclusion length should not exceed one paragraph.

👍 Do’s and Don’ts

Do you want more discursive essay writing tips? Fine! Just check them below:

Basic Do’s of a Discursive Essay

  • Write in formal, impersonal style.
  • Introduce each point in a separate paragraph
  • Use topic sentences for each paragraph
  • Write well-developed paragraphs
  • Give reasons and examples for each point
  • Use sequencing
  • Use linking words and phrases
  • Make references to other sources and make sure that you follow proper citation style
  • Identify used sources

Basic Don’Ts of a Discursive Essay

  • Don’t use short forms, like I’ll, don’t, they’ve
  • Don’t use informal/colloquial language, for example: old as the hills, ain’t, gonna, etc.
  • Don’t use very emotional language, since it might make your discursive article look prejudiced
  • Don’t use over-generalizations. Extending the features of some elements from a group more than it is reasonable will lead to generous and inaccurate conclusions.
  • Don’t express your personal opinion too insistently
  • Don’t refer to statistics without proper referencing (check our citation guides )
  • Don’t use personal examples, leave it for a personal experience essay

Well, now you know what discursive essay means, what are its main types, and how to structure it.

Tips on how to write a discursive essay.

Discursive Essay Topics

  • Discussion of risk factors that impact human health.  
  • Discuss the necessity of understanding cultural heritage to provide efficient health care.  
  • Analyze different opinions on withdrawing patients’ treatment. 
  • Examine different views on the Civil War . 
  • Discuss what hostile emotional states are and how they impact human life.  
  • Discuss the meaning of metaphors used by Virgil in Aeneid . 
  • Describe different opinions on telehealth in nursing homes. 
  • The ethicality of stem cell technology. 
  • Explore the effectiveness of motivational interviewing . 
  • Discuss how people present themselves online . 
  • Discuss the reasons for Coca-Cola’s marketing success.      
  • Analyze the food safety issues and the ways to improve the situation.  
  • Examine the essential meaning of sleep for people’s physical and mental health.  
  • Explore various complications of working with groups . 
  • Discussion of the modern issues with virtue ethics . 
  • Describe different views on the definition of love . 
  • Give the for and against arguments considering food security technologies .  
  • Discuss how the concept of the American dream is presented in the film The Great Gatsby .  
  • Analyze the influence of family problems on children and suggest ways to improve the situation.  
  • Present the various points of view on the ethical concepts of Buddhism . 
  • Examine the attitudes towards the problem of homelessness and the suggested ways of its solution.   
  • Explore different opinions on the American revolution and its consequences.  
  • Discuss various policies and views around the globe on abortion . 
  • Discussion of the history of food foraging in different communities.  
  • Multiple thoughts on civility on the Internet . 
  • Analyze arguments on the effectiveness of hand sanitizers . 
  • Discuss the importance of visual aids in learning. 
  • Present and evaluate the theories of international development . 
  • Discuss how to prevent the spread of the West Nile Virus (WNV). 
  • Is embracing renewable energy sources beneficial for both environment and the global economy?    
  • Examine the correctness of the statement that the ideology of pleasure is the foundation of social activism .  
  • Discussion of the ethical dilemma of population control.  
  • Discuss the ethics of experimental studies .  
  • Analyze the topic of gun violence and gun control laws.  
  • Explore the reasons for opioid crises in the US.  
  • Give arguments for and against random drug testing . 
  • Discuss the problem of endangered species . 
  • Express your opinion on the necessity of parents to be included in children’s education . 
  • Present your attitude towards working in a bureaucratic organization . 
  • Discuss the issue of the nursing shortage and suggest a solution.  
  • Give different viewpoints on the definition of beauty .  
  • Analyze the problem of police misconduct . 
  • Discuss the description of violence of African people in literature . 
  • Examine the views on Gardner’s multiple intelligence theory . 
  • Describe the various opinions on mysticism and express your attitude towards it.  
  • Discuss the diverse standpoints on spirituality . 
  • Is nature protection an urgent problem?  
  • Analyze different ideas on physical privacy at work . 
  • Discussion on the Jewish heritage in nursing. 
  • Examine the views on the meaning of life .  

Good luck with your discussions and discursive essays! Be sure to check out the articles on our blog for more academic wisdom. By the way, on the Custom-Writing website, you may find the best essay topics for your academic writing.

And don’t forget to share your opinion in the comments below.

You might also be interested in:

  • Friendship Essay: Writing Guide & Topic Ideas about Friendship
  • Teamwork Essay: Quick Guide on How to Write a Good Paper
  • Compare and Contrast Essay Writing Tips and Examples
  • Transportation Essay: Writing Tips and Brilliant Topics

✏️ Discursive Essay FAQ

There is no one definitely correct answer to this question. Like any other essay, the text should have a clear structure with an introduction, body, and conclusion. The most important thing is that the overall book needs to be cohesive, persuasive, and exciting to read.

An example of a step by step guide is:

1. Take a closer look at the topic, think about the points to cover.

2. Choose the most relevant points and compose the Body of the essay.

3. Add an appropriate Introduction and Conclusion.

To write a good conclusion, you need to have the rest of the essay finished. Does the body of your essay present well-structured points? Great, then see what you can conclude based on that. If possible, make a connection between the introduction and the conclusion.

To ensure that your essay has a perfect structure, start with creating an outline. Based on such a plan, you can present your points step by step. Your text should have a relevant introduction, several points in the main body (with examples), and a logical conclusion.

🔗 References

  • Writing an Opinion Essay: Grace Fleming, ThoughtCo
  • How to Write a Good Argumentative Essay: Easy Step-by-Step Guide: Master Class
  • Ending the Essay: Conclusions: Harvard College Writing Center
  • Academic Writing Style: University of Southern California
  • Cite Your Sources: Library Guides at University of California, Santa Cruz
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how to write a discursive essay english

How to Write a Discursive Essay: Awesome Guide and Template

how to write a discursive essay english

Interesting fact: Did you know that the term "discursive" is derived from the Latin word "discursus," which means to run about or to traverse? This reflects the nature of a discursive essay, as it involves exploring various perspectives, moving through different points of view, and presenting a comprehensive discussion on a given topic.

In this article, you will find out about a discursive essay definition, learn the difference between a discourse and an argumentative essay, gain practical how-to tips, and check out a discursive essay example.  

What Is a Discursive Essay

A discursive essay definition is a type of formal writing that presents a balanced analysis of a particular topic. Unlike an argumentative essay, which takes a firm stance on a single perspective and seeks to persuade the reader to adopt that viewpoint, a discursive essay explores multiple sides of an issue. 

The goal of a discursive essay is to provide a comprehensive overview of the subject, presenting different arguments, counterarguments, and perspectives in a structured and organized manner.

This type of essay encourages critical thinking and reasoned discourse. It typically includes an introduction that outlines the topic and sets the stage for the discussion, followed by a series of body paragraphs that delve into various aspects of the issue. The essay may also address counterarguments and opposing viewpoints. 

Finally, a discursive essay concludes by summarizing the key points and often leaves room for the reader to form their own informed opinion on the matter. This form of writing is commonly assigned in academic settings, allowing students to demonstrate their ability to analyze complex topics and present a well-reasoned exploration of diverse viewpoints. In case you find this type of composition too difficult, just say, ‘ write my paper ,’ and professional writers will take care of it. 

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Difference Between a Discursive Essay and an Argumentative

The main difference between discursive essays and argumentative lies in their overall purpose and approach to presenting information.

  • Discursive: The primary purpose of a discursive essay is to explore and discuss various perspectives on a given topic. How to write a discursive essay is about providing a comprehensive overview of the subject matter by presenting different arguments, opinions, and viewpoints without necessarily advocating for a specific stance.
  • Argumentative: In contrast, an argumentative essay is designed to persuade the reader to adopt a particular viewpoint or take a specific action. It presents a clear and focused argument in favor of the writer's position, often addressing and refuting opposing views.

Tone and Language:

  • Discursive: The tone of a discursive essay is generally more balanced and objective. It allows for a more open exploration of ideas, and the language used is often neutral and formal.
  • Argumentative: An argumentative essay tends to have a more assertive tone. The language is focused on presenting a compelling case from the writer's perspective, and there may be a sense of conviction in the presentation of evidence and reasoning.
  • Discursive Essay: A discursive essay typically follows a more flexible structure. It may present multiple points of view in separate sections, allowing for a free-flowing exploration of the topic.
  • Argumentative Essay: When learning how to write an argumentative essay, students usually follow a more rigid structure, with a clear introduction, thesis statement, body paragraphs that present evidence and arguments, and a conclusion that reinforces the writer's stance.


  • Discursive Essay: The conclusion of a discursive essay often summarizes the main points discussed and may leave room for the reader to form their own opinion on the matter.
  • Argumentative Essay: The conclusion of an argumentative essay reinforces the writer's position and may include a call to action or a clear statement of the desired outcome.

While both types of essays involve critical thinking and analysis, the key distinction lies in their ultimate goals and how they approach the presentation of information. 

Types of Discursive Essay

Before writing a discursive essay, keep in mind that they can be categorized into different types based on their specific purposes and structures. Here are some common types of discursive essays:

purpose of discursive essay

Opinion Essays:

  • Purpose: Expressing and supporting personal opinions on a given topic.
  • Structure: The essay presents the writer's viewpoint and provides supporting evidence, examples, and arguments. It may also address counterarguments to strengthen the overall discussion.

Problem-Solution Essays:

  • Purpose: Identifying a specific problem and proposing effective solutions.
  • Structure: The essay introduces the problem, discusses its causes and effects, and presents possible solutions. It often concludes with a recommendation or call to action.

Compare and Contrast Essays:

  • Purpose: Analyzing similarities and differences between two or more perspectives, ideas, or approaches.
  • Structure: The essay outlines the key points of each perspective, highlighting similarities and differences. A balanced analysis is provided to give the reader a comprehensive understanding.

Cause and Effect Essays:

  • Purpose: Exploring the causes and effects of a particular phenomenon or issue.
  • Structure: The essay identifies the primary causes and examines their effects or vice versa. It may delve into the chain of events and their implications.

Argumentative Essays:

  • Purpose: Presenting a strong argument in favor of a specific viewpoint.
  • Structure: The essay establishes a clear thesis statement, provides evidence and reasoning to support the argument, and addresses opposing views. It aims to persuade the reader to adopt the writer's perspective.

Pro-Con Essays:

  • Purpose: Evaluating the pros and cons of a given issue.
  • Structure: The essay presents the positive aspects (pros) and negative aspects (cons) of the topic. It aims to provide a balanced assessment and may conclude with a recommendation or a summary of the most compelling points.

Exploratory Essays:

  • Purpose: Investigating and discussing a topic without necessarily advocating for a specific position.
  • Structure: The essay explores various aspects of the topic, presenting different perspectives and allowing the reader to form their own conclusions. It often reflects a process of inquiry and discovery.

These types of discursive essays offer different approaches to presenting information, and the choice of type depends on the specific goals of the essay and the preferences of the writer.

How to Write a Discursive Essay

Unlike other forms of essay writing, a discursive essay demands a unique set of skills, inviting writers to navigate through diverse perspectives, present contrasting viewpoints, and weave a tapestry of balanced arguments. 

You can order custom essay right now to save time to get ready to delve into the art of crafting a compelling discursive essay, unraveling the intricacies of structure, language, and critical analysis. Whether you're a seasoned essayist or a novice in the realm of formal writing, this exploration promises to equip you with the tools needed to articulate your thoughts effectively and engage your audience in thoughtful discourse. 

discursive essay aspects

Discursive Essay Format

The format of a discursive essay plays a crucial role in ensuring a clear, well-organized, and persuasive presentation of multiple perspectives on a given topic. Here is a typical discursive essay structure:

1. Introduction:

  • Hook: Begin with a captivating hook or attention-grabbing statement to engage the reader's interest.
  • Contextualization: Provide a brief overview of the topic and its relevance, setting the stage for the discussion.
  • Thesis Statement: Clearly state the main argument or the purpose of the essay. In a discursive essay, the thesis often reflects the idea that the essay will explore multiple viewpoints without necessarily taking a firm stance.

2. Body Paragraphs:

  • Topic Sentences: Start each body paragraph with a clear topic sentence that introduces the main point or argument.
  • Presentation of Arguments: Devote individual paragraphs to different aspects of the topic, presenting various arguments, perspectives, or evidence. Ensure a logical flow between paragraphs.
  • Address Counterarguments: Acknowledge and address opposing viewpoints to strengthen the overall credibility of your essay.
  • Supporting Evidence: Provide examples, statistics, quotations, or other forms of evidence to bolster each argument.

3. Transitions:

  • Logical Transitions: Use transitional phrases and words to ensure a smooth and logical flow between paragraphs and ideas. This helps readers follow your line of reasoning.

4. Conclusion:

  • Restate Thesis: Summarize the main argument or purpose of the essay without introducing new information.
  • Brief Recap: Provide a concise recap of the key points discussed in the body paragraphs.
  • Closing Thoughts: Offer some closing thoughts or reflections on the significance of the topic. You may also leave room for the reader to consider their own stance.

5. Language and Style:

  • Formal Tone: Maintain a formal and objective tone throughout the essay.
  • Clarity and Coherence: Ensure that your ideas are presented clearly and that there is coherence in your argumentation.
  • Varied Sentence Structure: Use a variety of sentence structures to enhance readability and engagement.

6. References (if applicable):

  • Citations: If you use external sources, cite them appropriately according to the citation style required (e.g., APA, MLA).

Remember, flexibility exists within this format, and the specifics may vary based on the assignment requirements or personal writing preferences. Tailor the structure to suit the demands of your discourse and the expectations of your audience.


A discursive essay introduction serves as the gateway to a thought-provoking exploration of diverse perspectives on a given topic. Here's how to structure an effective discursive essay introduction:

  • Begin with a compelling hook that captures the reader's attention. This could be a striking statistic, a thought-provoking quote, a relevant anecdote, or a rhetorical question. 
  • Offer a brief context or background information about the topic. This helps orient the reader and sets the stage for the discussion to follow. 
  • Clearly state the purpose of the essay. This often involves indicating that the essay will explore various perspectives on the topic without necessarily advocating for a specific stance. 
  • Provide a brief overview of the different aspects or arguments that will be explored in the essay. 
  • Conclude the introduction with a clear and concise thesis statement. 

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Writing a discursive essay involves crafting the body of your discursive essay. The number of paragraphs in the body should correspond to the arguments presented, with an additional paragraph dedicated to the opposing viewpoint if you choose to disclose both sides of the argument. If you opt for this approach, alternate the order of the body paragraphs—supporting arguments followed by counterarguments.

Each body paragraph in your discursive essay should focus on a distinct idea. Begin the paragraph with the main idea, provide a concise summary of the argument, and incorporate supporting evidence from reputable sources.

In the concluding paragraph of the body, present potential opposing arguments and counter them. Approach this section as if engaging in a debate, strategically dismantling opposing viewpoints.

While composing the body of a discursive essay, maintain a cohesive narrative. Although individual paragraphs address different arguments, refrain from titling each paragraph—aim for a seamless flow throughout the essay. Express your personal opinions exclusively in the conclusion.

Key guidelines for writing the body of a discursive essay:

  • Remain Unbiased: Prioritize objectivity. Evaluate all facets of the issue, leaving personal sentiments aside.
  • Build Your Argumentation: If you have multiple arguments supporting your viewpoint, present them in separate, well-structured paragraphs. Provide supporting evidence to enhance clarity and credibility.
  • Use an Alternate Writing Style: Present opposing viewpoints in an alternating manner. This means that if the first paragraph supports the main argument, the second should present an opposing perspective. This method enhances clarity and research depth and ensures neutrality.
  • Include Topic Sentences and Evidence: Commence each paragraph with a topic sentence summarizing the argument. This aids reader comprehension. Substantiate your claims with evidence, reinforcing the credibility of your discourse.

By adhering to these principles, you can construct a coherent and well-supported body for your discursive essay.


Writing an effective conclusion is crucial to leaving a lasting impression on your reader. Here are some tips to guide you in crafting a compelling and impactful conclusion:

  • Begin your conclusion by summarizing the key points discussed in the body of the essay. 
  • Remind the reader of your thesis statement, emphasizing the primary purpose of your discursive essay. 
  • Address the broader significance or implications of the topic. 
  • Explain why the issue is relevant and underscore the importance of considering multiple perspectives in understanding its complexity.
  • Reiterate the balanced nature of your essay. Emphasize that you have explored various viewpoints and arguments without necessarily taking a firm stance.
  • Reinforce the idea that your goal was to present a comprehensive analysis.
  • If applicable, suggest possible recommendations or solutions based on the insights gained from the essay.
  • Encourage the reader to reflect on the topic independently. 
  • Pose open-ended questions or invite them to consider the implications of the arguments presented. 
  • Resist the temptation to introduce new information or arguments in the conclusion.
  • Keep the tone of your conclusion professional and thoughtful. 
  • Conclude your essay with a strong, memorable closing statement.
  • Carefully review your conclusion to ensure clarity and coherence. Edit for grammar, punctuation, and overall writing quality to present a polished final product.

By incorporating these tips into your discursive essay conclusion, you can effectively summarize your arguments, leave a lasting impression, and prompt thoughtful reflection from your readers. Consider using our term paper writing service if you have to deal with a larger assignment that requires more time and effort.

Yays and Nays of Writing Discourse Essays

In learning how to write a discursive essay, certain do's and don'ts serve as guiding principles throughout the writing process. By adhering to these guidelines, writers can navigate the complexities of presenting arguments, counterarguments, and nuanced analyses, ensuring the essay resonates with clarity and persuasiveness.

  • Conduct thorough research on the topic to ensure a well-informed discussion.
  • Present multiple perspectives on the issue, exploring various arguments and viewpoints.
  • Maintain a balanced and neutral tone. Present arguments objectively without expressing personal bias.
  • Structure your essay logically with a clear introduction, body, and conclusion. Use paragraphs to organize your ideas effectively.
  • Topic Sentences:
  • Include clear topic sentences at the beginning of each paragraph to guide the reader through your arguments.
  • Support your arguments with credible evidence from reputable sources to enhance the credibility of your essay.
  • Use transitional words and phrases to ensure a smooth flow between paragraphs and ideas.
  • Engage in critical analysis. Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of different arguments and viewpoints.
  • Recap key points in the conclusion, summarizing the main arguments and perspectives discussed in the essay.
  • Carefully proofread your essay to correct any grammar, spelling, or punctuation errors.
  • Don't express personal opinions in the body of the essay. Save personal commentary for the conclusion.
  • Don't introduce new information or arguments in the conclusion. This section should summarize and reflect on existing content.
  • Don't use overly emotional or subjective language. Maintain a professional and objective tone throughout.
  • Don't rely on personal opinions without sufficient research. Ensure that your arguments are supported by credible evidence.
  • Don't have an ambiguous or unclear thesis statement. Clearly state the purpose of your essay in the introduction.
  • Don't ignore counterarguments. Acknowledge and address opposing viewpoints to strengthen your overall argument.
  • Don't use overly complex language if it doesn't add to the clarity of your arguments. Strive for clarity and simplicity in your writing.
  • Don't present ideas in a disorganized manner. Ensure that there is a logical flow between paragraphs and ideas.
  • Don't excessively repeat the same points. Present a variety of arguments and perspectives to keep the essay engaging.
  • Don't ignore the guidelines provided for the essay assignment. Follow any specific instructions or requirements given by your instructor or institution.

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Discursive Essay Examples

Discursive essay topics.

Writing a discursive essay on a compelling topic holds immense importance as it allows individuals to engage in a nuanced exploration of diverse perspectives. A well-chosen subject encourages critical thinking and deepens one's understanding of complex issues, fostering intellectual growth. 

The process of exploring a good topic enhances research skills as writers delve into varied viewpoints and gather evidence to support their arguments. Moreover, such essays contribute to the broader academic discourse, encouraging readers to contemplate different facets of a subject and form informed opinions.

  • The Impact of Artificial Intelligence on Employment.
  • Should Social Media Platforms Regulate Content for Misinformation?
  • Exploring the Ethics of Cloning in Contemporary Science.
  • Universal Basic Income: A Solution for Economic Inequality?
  • The Role of Technology in Shaping Modern Education.
  • Nuclear Energy: Sustainable Solution or Environmental Risk?
  • The Effects of Video Games on Adolescent Behavior.
  • Cybersecurity Threats in the Digital Age: Balancing Privacy and Security.
  • Debunking Common Myths Surrounding Climate Change.
  • The Pros and Cons of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs).
  • Online Education vs. Traditional Classroom Learning.
  • The Impact of Social Media Influencers on Consumer Behavior.
  • The Ethics of Animal Testing in Medical Research.
  • Universal Healthcare: Addressing Gaps in Healthcare Systems.
  • The Role of Government in Regulating Cryptocurrencies.
  • The Influence of Advertising on Body Image and Self-Esteem.
  • Renewable Energy Sources: A Viable Alternative to Fossil Fuels?
  • The Implications of Space Exploration on Earth's Resources.
  • Is Censorship Justified in the Arts and Entertainment Industry?
  • Examining the Impact of Globalization on Cultural Identity.
  • The Morality of Capital Punishment in the 21st Century.
  • Should Genetic Engineering be Used for Human Enhancement?
  • Social Media and Its Influence on Political Discourse.
  • Balancing Environmental Conservation with Economic Development.
  • The Role of Gender in the Workplace: Achieving Equality.
  • Exploring the Impact of Fast Fashion on the Environment.
  • The Benefits and Risks of Autonomous Vehicles.
  • The Influence of Media on Perceptions of Beauty.
  • Legalization of Marijuana: Addressing Medical and Social Implications.
  • The Impact of Antibiotic Resistance on Global Health.
  • The Pros and Cons of a Cashless Society.
  • Exploring the Relationship Between Technology and Mental Health.
  • The Role of Government Surveillance in Ensuring National Security.
  • Addressing the Digital Divide: Ensuring Access to Technology for All.
  • The Impact of Social Media on Political Activism.
  • The Ethics of Animal Rights and Welfare.
  • Nuclear Disarmament: Necessity or Utopian Ideal?
  • The Effects of Income Inequality on Societal Well-being.
  • The Role of Education in Combating Systemic Racism.
  • The Influence of Pop Culture on Society's Values and Norms.
  • Artificial Intelligence and Its Impact on Creative Industries.
  • The Pros and Cons of Mandatory Vaccination Policies.
  • The Role of Women in Leadership Positions: Breaking the Glass Ceiling.
  • Internet Privacy: Balancing Personal Security and Data Collection.
  • The Impact of Social Media on Youth Mental Health.
  • The Morality of Animal Agriculture and Factory Farming.
  • The Rise of Online Learning Platforms: Transforming Education.
  • Addressing the Digital Gender Gap in STEM Fields.
  • The Impact of Global Tourism on Local Cultures and Environments.
  • Exploring the Implications of 3D Printing Technology in Various Industries.

By the way, we have another great collection of narrative essay topics to get your creative juices flowing.

Wrapping Up

Throughout this guide, you have acquired valuable insights into the art of crafting compelling arguments and presenting diverse perspectives. By delving into the nuances of topic selection, structuring, and incorporating evidence, you could hone your critical thinking skills and sharpen your ability to engage in informed discourse. 

This guide serves as a roadmap, offering not just a set of rules but a toolkit to empower students in their academic journey. As you embark on future writing endeavors, armed with the knowledge gained here, you can confidently navigate the challenges of constructing well-reasoned, balanced discursive essays that contribute meaningfully to academic discourse and foster a deeper understanding of complex issues. If you want to continue your academic learning journey right now, we suggest that you read about the IEEE format next.

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26 Planning a Discursive Essay

Discursive essay – description.

A discursive essay is a form of critical essay that attempts to provide the reader with a balanced argument on a topic, supported by evidence. It requires critical thinking, as well as sound and valid arguments (see Chapter 25) that acknowledge and analyse arguments both for and against any given topic, plus discursive essay writing appeals to reason, not emotions or opinions. While it may draw some tentative conclusions, based on evidence, the main aim of a discursive essay is to inform the reader of the key arguments and allow them to arrive at their own conclusion.

The writer needs to research the topic thoroughly to present more than one perspective and should check their own biases and assumptions through critical reflection (see Chapter 30).

Unlike persuasive writing, the writer does not need to have knowledge of the audience, though should write using academic tone and language (see Chapter 20).

Choose Your Topic Carefully

A basic guide to choosing an assignment topic is available in Chapter 23, however choosing a topic for a discursive essay means considering more than one perspective. Not only do you need to find information about the topic via academic sources, you need to be able to construct a worthwhile discussion, moving from idea to idea. Therefore, more forward planning is required. The following are decisions that need to be considered when choosing a discursive essay topic:

  • These will become the controlling ideas for your three body paragraphs (some essays may require more). Each controlling idea will need arguments both for and against.
  • For example, if my topic is “renewable energy” and my three main (controlling) ideas are “cost”, “storage”, “environmental impact”, then I will need to consider arguments both for and against each of these three concepts. I will also need to have good academic sources with examples or evidence to support my claim and counter claim for each controlling idea (More about this in Chapter 27).
  • Am I able to write a thesis statement about this topic based on the available research? In other words, do my own ideas align with the available research, or am I going to be struggling to support my own ideas due to a lack of academic sources or research? You need to be smart about your topic choice. Do not make it harder than it has to be. Writing a discursive essay is challenging enough without struggling to find appropriate sources.
  • For example, perhaps I find a great academic journal article about the uptake of solar panel installation in suburban Australia and how this household decision is cost-effective long-term, locally stored, and has minimal, even beneficial environmental impact due to the lowering of carbon emissions. Seems too good to be true, yet it is perfect for my assignment. I would have to then find arguments AGAINST everything in the article that supports transitioning suburbs to solar power. I would have to challenge the cost-effectiveness, the storage, and the environmental impact study. Now, all of a sudden my task just became much more challenging.
  • There may be vast numbers of journal articles written about your topic, but consider how relevant they may be to your tentative thesis statement. It takes a great deal of time to search for appropriate academic sources. Do you have a good internet connection at home or will you need to spend some quality time at the library? Setting time aside to complete your essay research is crucial for success.

It is only through complete forward planning about the shape and content of your essay that you may be able to choose the topic that best suits your interests, academic ability and time management. Consider how you will approach the overall project, not only the next step.

Research Your Topic

When completing a library search for online peer reviewed journal articles, do not forget to use Boolean Operators to refine or narrow your search field. Standard Boolean Operators are (capitalized) AND, OR and NOT. While using OR will expand your search, AND and NOT will reduce the scope of your search. For example, if I want information on ageism and care giving, but I only want it to relate to the elderly, I might use the following to search a database: ageism AND care NOT children. Remember to keep track of your search strings (like the one just used) and then you’ll know what worked and what didn’t as you come and go from your academic research.

The UQ Library provides an excellent step-by-step guide to searching databases:

Searching in databases – Library – University of Queensland (

Did you know that you can also link the UQ Library to Google Scholar? This link tells you how:

Google Scholar – Library – University of Queensland (

Write the Thesis Statement

The concept of a thesis statement was introduced in Chapter 21. The information below relates specifically to a discursive essay thesis statement.

As noted in the introduction to this chapter, the discursive essay should not take a stance and therefore the thesis statement must also impartially indicate more than one perspective. The goal is to present both sides of an argument equally and allow the reader to make an informed and well-reasoned choice after providing supporting evidence for each side of the argument.

Sample thesis statements: Solar energy is a cost -effective solution to burning fossil fuels for electricity , however lower income families cannot afford the installation costs .

Some studies indicate that teacher comments written in red may have no effect on students’ emotions , however other studies suggest that seeing red ink on papers could cause some students unnecessary stress. [1]

According to social justice principles, education should be available to all , yet historically, the intellectually and physically impaired may have been exempt from participation due to their supposed inability to learn. [2]

This is where your pros and cons list comes into play. For each pro, or positive statement you make, about your topic, create an equivalent con, or negative statement and this will enable you to arrive at two opposing assertions – the claim and counter claim.

While there may be multiple arguments or perspectives related to your essay topic, it is important that you match each claim with a counter-claim. This applies to the thesis statement and each supporting argument within the body paragraphs of the essay.

It is not just a matter of agreeing or disagreeing. A neutral tone is crucial. Do not include positive or negative leading statements, such as “It is undeniable that…” or “One should not accept the view that…”. You are NOT attempting to persuade the reader to choose one viewpoint over another.

Leading statements / language will be discussed further, in class, within term three of the Academic English course.

Thesis Structure:

  • Note the two sides (indicated in green and orange)
  • Note the use of tentative language: “Some studies”, “may have”, “could cause”, “some students”
  • As the thesis is yet to be discussed in-depth, and you are not an expert in the field, do not use definitive language
  • The statement is also one sentence, with a “pivot point” in the middle, with a comma and signposting to indicate a contradictory perspective (in black). Other examples include, nevertheless, though, although, regardless, yet, albeit. DO NOT use the word “but” as it lacks academic tone. Some signposts (e.g., although, though, while) may be placed at the start of the two clauses rather than in the middle – just remember the comma, for example, “While some studies suggest solar energy is cost-effective, other critical research questions its affordability.”
  • Also note that it is based on preliminary research and not opinion: “some studies”, “other studies”, “according to social justice principles”, “critical research”.

Claims and Counter Claims

NOTE: Please do not confuse the words ‘claim’ and ‘counter-claim’ with moral or value judgements about right/wrong, good/bad, successful/unsuccessful, or the like. The term ‘claim’ simply refers to the first position or argument you put forward (whether for or against), and ‘counter-claim’ is the alternate position or argument.

In a discursive essay the goal is to present both sides equally and then draw some tentative conclusions based on the evidence presented.

  • To formulate your claims and counter claims, write a list of pros and cons.
  • For each pro there should be a corresponding con.
  • Three sets of pros and cons will be required for your discursive essay. One set for each body paragraph. These become your claims and counter claims.
  • For a longer essay, you would need further claims and counter claims.
  • Some instructors prefer students to keep the pros and cons in the same order across the body paragraphs. Each paragraph would then have a pro followed by a con or else a con followed by a pro. The order should align with your thesis; if the thesis gives a pro view of the topic followed by a negative view (con) then the paragraphs should also start with the pro and follow with the con, or else vice versa. If not aligned and consistent, the reader may easily become confused as the argument proceeds. Ask your teacher if this is a requirement for your assessment.

how to write a discursive essay english

Use previous chapters to explore your chosen topic through concept mapping (Chapter 18) and essay outlining (Chapter 19), with one variance; you must include your proposed claims and counter claims in your proposed paragraph structures. What follows is a generic model for a discursive essay. The following Chapter 27 will examine this in further details.

Sample Discursive Essay Outline 

The paragraphs are continuous; the dot-points are only meant to indicate content.


  • Thesis statement
  • Essay outline (including 3 controlling ideas)

Body Paragraphs X 3 (Elaboration and evidence will be more than one sentence, though the topic, claim and counter claim should be succinct)

  • T opic sentence, including 1/3 controlling ideas (the topic remains the same throughout the entire essay; it is the controlling idea that changes)
  • A claim/assertion about the controlling idea
  • E laboration – more information about the claim
  • E vidence -academic research (Don’t forget to tell the reader how / why the evidence supports the claim. Be explicit in your E valuation rather than assuming the connection is obvious to the reader)
  • A counter claim (remember it must be COUNTER to the claim you made, not about something different)
  • E laboration – more information about the counter claim
  • E vidence – academic research (Don’t forget to tell the reader how / why the evidence supports the claim. Be explicit in your E valuation rather than assuming the connection is obvious to the reader)
  • Concluding sentence – L inks back to the topic and/or the next controlling idea in the following paragraph

Mirror the introduction. The essay outline should have stated the plan for the essay – “This essay will discuss…”, therefore the conclusion should identify that this has been fulfilled, “This essay has discussed…”, plus summarise the controlling ideas and key arguments. ONLY draw tentative conclusions BOTH for and against, allowing the reader to make up their own mind about the topic. Also remember to re-state the thesis in the conclusion. If it is part of the marking criteria, you should also include a recommendation or prediction about the future use or cost/benefit of the chosen topic/concept.

A word of warning, many students fall into the generic realm of stating that there should be further research on their topic or in the field of study. This is a gross statement of the obvious as all academia is ongoing. Try to be more practical with your recommendations and also think about who would instigate them and where the funding might come from.

This chapter gives an overview of what a discursive essay is and a few things to consider when choosing your topic. It also provides a generic outline for a discursive essay structure. The following chapter examines the structure in further detail.

  • Inez, S. M. (2018, September 10). What is a discursive essay, and how do you write a good one? Kibin. ↵
  • Hale, A., & Basides, H. (2013). The keys to academic English. Palgrave ↵

researched, reliable, written by academics and published by reputable publishers; often, but not always peer reviewed

assertion, maintain as fact

The term ‘claim’ simply refers to the first position or argument you put forward (whether for or against), and ‘counter-claim’ is the alternate position or argument.

Academic Writing Skills Copyright © 2021 by Patricia Williamson is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

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How to Write a Discursive Essay

How to Write a Discursive Essay at

What is a discursive essay? 

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. 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. Sometimes you might also be required to write a discursive essay wherein you don’t argue for or against the topic or statement but instead need to present your own unbiased views and opinions on that matter.

Writing a discursive essay forces you to review all aspects and viewpoints of a particular topic, allowing you to think deeper and more critical. There are three types of discursive essays:

  • Opinion essay – which requires the writer to state their opinion on a topic and then put forward arguments to support it. However, before concluding the essay, the writer must put forward arguments against the topic and say why they are unconvincing.  
  • For and against essay – explains the reasons for and against a particular topic. Before concluding, the writer must state their opinion on the topic by giving their preference.  
  • Essay suggesting a solution to a problem – outlines a problem and explains several ways to solve the problem. In conclusion, the writer should give their opinion on the best solution to the problem and why.

A discursive essay can look like just another argumentative or persuasive essay but the fact is that it differs from both of them as the arguments are presented in a better and balanced manner. Normally, you are required to present your views on the topic in a balanced way after taking consideration of all the factors, which include ‘for and against’. While writing a discursive essay, you should follow some conventions as they will not only help you in making the right choice of words and sentences but will also guide you in using the appropriate language for the essay. For example, the voice expressed in the essay should be calm and the tone should be as balanced as possible. Further, you should use a writing structure that can easily alternate from one stand to the other. Like in one paragraph you should be able to write something against a topic and in the next paragraph in favour of the topic/statement, but the transition between the paragraphs should be seamless - as smooth as possible.

One example is using connectives by use of words like ‘equally’, ‘similarly’ in highlighting the similarities of two different paragraphs and where joining two similar paragraphs are required. Another important consideration while writing a discursive essay is that it should have technical and formal language in it. You should always try to use formal language in a discursive essay and do not use informal language, as the very nature of the discursive essay is formal. Other than that, you can also use persuasive writing techniques like the use of imagery, metaphors, repetition, hyperbole, similes, oxymoron, triads, where applicable, but keeping in mind that the structure of the essay remains intact. Otherwise, it will look more like a persuasive essay rather than the discursive one.

As with any other academic essay, a discursive essay also comes with a certain standard structure that other academic essays follow and that is: the introduction, the main body and the conclusion. The points mentioned below will help you become better in writing a discursive essay.

Structure of a discursive essay

  • Start an essay with an introduction that sounds interesting to the readers. Try to avoid generalizations and stereotypes in your approach.
  • Give a clear stance in the opening paragraph of the essay itself – you can be for or against a topic or statement if the essay asks you to do so. However, in essays that do not require a particular stance, you need to wait till the end to present your own views on the matter.
  • In the subsequent paragraphs, try to build your arguments. You might have several arguments for your essay but you should write them in separate paragraphs so that they are coherent and distinct. Whenever you are building your argument – either in favour of or against of the topic, you need to provide supporting evidence from internal or external sources to strengthen your argument.
  • Make sure you alternate from one argument to the other in an alternate manner, i.e., if you have written the first paragraph in support of the topic, then your second paragraph should be something against the topic and not in support of it. However, the third paragraph could be similar to paragraph one, supporting the topic as before. The next paragraph should be again similar to paragraph two, arguing against the topic. This combination of alternate for and against paragraphs will make your essay look distinct, better and thoroughly researched and will result in a lasting impact on the reader’s mind.  
  • After you have put all your thoughts and opinions in the body section, you now need to focus on the ending section, which is the conclusion. To write the conclusion you need to sum up the key points, which you have mentioned in the body paragraphs above and based on the essay type, you can state your final position on the topic/statement, which can be either for or against, or even can be neither of the two. However, whatever you write in the conclusion should resonate with your main body paragraphs. You can also write your personal opinion here if the essay requires you to do so but you should also express it in a logical way, clearly referencing it with your findings in the body paragraphs. Remember that your conclusion is not just a repetition of the arguments you have mentioned in the above body paragraphs but a summary of the main findings.

 If you have followed the above points, you will surely find it much easier to write a discursive essay at your school, college or university life. 

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Discursive Essay Topics: 50 Most Creative Ideas

Good discursive essay topics will force you to review all aspects and viewpoints of a particular subject matter, allowing you to think deeper and more critical. Topics for discursive essays are wide and varied. Below is a comprehensive list of 50 ideas for discursive essays that you can refer to any time.

  • Is technology good or bad?
  • Comment on the impact of social media on our youth.
  • Should cell phones be allowed in school?
  • Should there be guidelines/rules about the length of hair for boys in school?
  • Should you euthanize cancer patients?
  • Are the prices of cars too high?
  • Should healthy foods cost more than “unhealthy” or “junk” food?
  • The best time to exercise is in the morning when you are fresh and energetic.
  • Young children should learn about the various religious sects in school, whether it is their chosen faith or not.
  • Your marriage is more likely to flourish if it is based on a strong foundation of friendship that was established before the marriage.
  • Is the education system as good as it should be?
  • White collar crime is worse than blue collar crime.
  • What should be the penalty for internet trolling/cyber bullying?
  • Is texting and texting apps such as WhatsApp killing the English language?
  • Technological advancements are making us lazier.
  • Will Google bring about the end of privacy?
  • Graffiti is a great form of art expression.
  • The music today is not as good as it was before the year 2000.
  • Should a parent be on the same social network as their child?
  • Sixteen years is the ideal age for a child to commence social media use.
  • Women over 35 years old should not give birth.
  • Women should be allowed to determine their right to an abortion, with or without the consent of the father.
  • Parenting classes should be compulsory for all new parents, regardless of gender, age or ethnic group.
  • Time-out is the best and most effective method to discipline a child.
  • Has social media created a narcissistic population?
  • At what age should a child start doing household chores?
  • Is MBA necessary for success in business?
  • A child who is continuously exposed to a violent environment will eventually become violent.
  • Discuss the pros and cons of home schooling and give your thoughts on which you believe is the best for our nation.
  • The world would be better if everyone learned sign language as their second language.
  • Single-sex schools are better than co-ed schools.
  • Facilities such as a day-care and breastfeeding room should be established at all workplaces for working moms.
  • A 20 – 30 minute afternoon (power) nap should be allowed at work.
  • A vegetarian diet is the best one for optimal health.
  • Exercising is a must for losing weight.
  • The ideal amount of water to be consumed is best determined by the weight and physical activity levels of the person.
  • Traditional medicine is better than alternative medicine.
  • It is a big world and aliens exist somewhere out there.
  • Wearing high heels for a long time will affect your health.
  • The correlation between wealth and happiness - If you are wealthy, you are happy.
  • If texting while driving has penalties, shouldn’t distractions such as drinking coffee while driving have penalties too?
  • Smoking tobacco should be illegal.
  • Are tattoos a work of art?
  • Should cheerleading be recognized as a sport and played in the Olympics?
  • Is good grammar still necessary?
  • Are zoos an archaic way to view animals? Are there more modern ways to view animals for entertainment?
  • Children who play violent video games eventually become violent.
  • Reading is a dying art and pastime.
  • The parents are to be blamed if a child is obese.
  • The fundamental role of women has not changed and will never change, as balancing home and work will never be shared/done 50-50 between husband and wife.

A good discursive essay topic is one in which you can be both passionate and objective about. Choosing a discursive essay topic that you are passionate about will enable you to have a lot of content for the essay. However, you must also be able to be objective so as not to create biases that can affect your ability to appropriately weigh the pros and cons of the subject matter. Try to keep this in mind when choosing your next discursive essay topic.

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Discursive Essay Writing Guide [+Examples]

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Students obtain various types of assignments during their studies. Each task is different and has strict requirements and guidelines to follow. A discursive essay example is considered to be one of the most challenging types of essay writing for college students. Many of them don’t see the difference between a discursive and argumentative essay. Yet, each essay type has distinct features that we are going to talk about here. If you were assigned to craft this paper and you have doubts, here are professional tips and advice on topics to select and create a stellar discursive essay plan.

How to Write a Discursive Essay

First of all, every college student who is assigned to craft this paper needs to understand that discursive essay topics can be different from those of an argumentative essay . On one hand, these pieces of writing can be similar as they both are essay types and have three main parts. On the other hand, discursive essay ideas differ in the purpose and structure.

Good discursive essay topics provide an unprejudiced and reliable assessment of a certain problem. Yes, the topic should also be controversial leaving each student an opportunity to select their point of view and arguments to support one side. But discursive essay examples demonstrate a more balanced and formal discussion. It shouldn’t be absolutely neutral but the author needs to reflect both sides of the problem and present enough arguments and facts to support each side.

What Is a Discursive Essay?

So, once you realize that this is a separate type of assignment that shouldn’t be crafted the same way you write other academic tasks, let’s talk about the discursive essay definition. So, its definition is rather simple: this is a type of academic assignment that is aimed to discuss a particular issue or problem. The author should demonstrate both sides of the problem without stating his or her personal opinion.

When choosing higher discursive essay topics, it is necessary to admit that the style of this task should be kept formal and impersonal compared to other written assignments. The structure is strict and similar to essay on science : you should submit an introduction, the main body, and the conclusion. Each separate question should be discussed in a separate paragraph so that the readers can distinguish what you are writing about and how many arguments you provide.

discursive essay examples

Main Types of Discursive Essay Writing

Did you know that there are three main types of this assignment? Depending on the type you were assigned or you select, there may be different features to include in your text. Here they are:

  • Opinion Essay – if you have this type of paper in your discursive essay topics list, you should keep in mind that it demands your opinion of a problem you are going to discuss. This opinion needs to be mentioned in the discursive essay introduction and followed by examples and reasons. Another fact is that the opposing argument should be stated before the conclusion and you should explain why you found this argument unconvincing. The summary needs to be present in the conclusion.
  • Essay Offering Solution to a Problem – as you can notice from the name of this discursive essay meaning, the author should discuss the issue and try to find solutions. The issue should be stated in the introduction, and possible solutions should be mentioned in the body paragraphs. Each solution goes for a separate paragraph of the main body. The writer’s opinion is usually summarized in the conclusion of a discursive essay template.
  • For and Against Essay – this is a task written in the form of a debate with opposing opinions. You should be ready to describe every point of view, present facts, and be objective. The introduction of discursive essay topics higher English states the problem you are going to discuss. The main body demonstrates reasons, examples, and facts. The conclusion is finally for the writer’s opinion on the problem.

Discursive Essay Structure

Now let’s talk more about the structure of this academic assignment. As a scholarship essay , almost all essays have a strict structure that should be followed by students who want to obtain the highest grades. Here is how to structure a discursive essay:

sample discursive essay


Many students wonder how to start a discursive essay. What should they mention in the first part? It is simple as that – all you need to do is state the issue and show some “hook” for the readers to follow. Think about ways to attract the attention of the lecturer. You may want to start with a rhetorical question or add a famous quote. Either way, you need to demonstrate both sides of the issue even if it’s Scottish independence discursive essay.

Here is what you need to remember when building your main part of the assignment: assess every aspect of the problem and stay unbiased when describing the points of view. Your own opinion can be mentioned only in the conclusion of the discursive essay examples in higher English. More than that, it is essential to insert at least three arguments to support your opinion. Start each argument with the new paragraph so that the readers can distinguish each reason. Be precise and distinct when you provide evidence and facts. This is how to write a discursive essay in higher English.

There are many discursive essay topics UK – make certain you select the one you understand and know how to use this structure. So, the conclusion is the last section of your task. This is a part where you can summarize the viewpoints mentioned above and express your own point of view. Don’t write too many sentences here and don’t copy what you’ve written in the introduction.

Top Ten Discursive Essay Topics

Here are several examples of good discursive essay topics for higher English as well as just interesting discursive essay topics for students to select from. If you have doubts and don’t know what topic to choose, you can opt for one from our list.

  • Zoos present good sources of knowledge and entertainment but they foster the misery of cage animals. Should they be abolished?
  • Modern digital technology: is it good or bad?
  • Present education system: is it good or bad?
  • Healthy food is often more expensive than junk food. Should it be like that?
  • The influence of social media on teenagers today.
  • Is it true that Google is bringing the end to our privacy these days?
  • Uniforms limit expression and freedom. Should we ban them in schools?
  • A child with two parents is less hard-working compared to a child with a single parent.
  • What are the effects of cyberbullying and how harmful can it be?
  • Should schoolchildren learn religion as a part of their curriculum? 

To sum up, it can be challenging to select the right discursive essay topic and structure your paper in a proper way. If you follow the above-mentioned advice and remember to proofread your document at the end, you will increase your chances of receiving the highest grades at college. Good luck!

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How To Write A Good Discursive Essay?

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How to Write Good Discursive Essay

We are a high-quality yet essay writing website that knows how to make every essay shine. Here is our complete guide on discursive essay writing.

What is Discursive Writing?

Mastering the art of discursive writing is impossible without first learning the definition of this type of writing. So what is a discursive essay and what makes it so different from other types of essays and so challenging to write?

Discursive writing is the process of describing different sides of an argument in an attempt to find the correct one. When writing a discursive essay, you may be asked to present one or more sides of the argument, and all along the writing process, you need to keep in mind the discursive essay purpose, which is to discover the truth through exploring different arguments.


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Discursive Essay Format

Like any other form of academic writing , a discursive essay has its own specific format and structure that you need to follow. Luckily, the structure of a discursive essay is not that different from the structure of most other essays and contains an introduction, the body of the essay, and the conclusion. The most common discursive essay format looks like this:

  • Introduction
  • Argument 1 with evidence
  • Argument 2 with evidence
  • Argument 3 with evidence
  • Opposing argument with counterarguments

From the description and the structure of a discursive essay, it may seem like it’s exactly the same as an argumentative essay. However, while those two types of essays to share a lot of features, they are also very different in nature.

In an argumentative essay, the author’s job is to pick one sign and argue for it. A discursive essay, on the other hand, requires the author to present different sides of one argument to form a more complete vision of the subject of the essay.

How to Write an Introduction for a Discursive Essay

The discursive essay introduction is the part of your essay that sets the tone and prepares the readers for the content of your paper. Your introduction should not be too detailed, but it should provide just enough information to get the audience acquainted with the topic.

So, how to start a discursive essay introduction the right way? A good idea is to use a hook as the first sentence of the introduction. Then you need to provide a brief overview of the problem, as well as the sides of the argument you want to discuss further.

How to Write the Body of a Discursive Essay

The body of your discursive essay will have the exact number of paragraphs as your arguments, plus one paragraph for the opposing argument. If you decide to disclose two sides of the argument, you will need to use the alternate order for the body paragraphs: one for and one against the main argument.

Each paragraph of the body of your discursive essay must be dedicated to a separate idea. Place the main idea at the beginning of the paragraph, add a summary of the argument, and attach the supporting evidence from credible sources.

In the final paragraph of the body of the discursive essay, you need to present the possible opposing arguments and then offer your own counterarguments. One of the most helpful discursive essay writing tips for this paragraph is to pretend like you are taking part in the debate and need to destroy your opponent’s arguments.

The important thing to remember when writing the body of a discursive essay is that even though you will use separate paragraphs for different arguments, you shouldn’t place a title for every paragraph — the body of the essay should read as a whole. You also shouldn’t express your personal opinion anywhere except for the conclusion.

How to Write a Discursive Essay Conclusion

After you’ve said everything you wanted to say in the introduction and body paragraphs of your discursive essay, all that is left to do is write the conclusion. Begin the conclusion by offering a summary of the body paragraphs of the essay, putting a special emphasis on the arguments and the supportive evidence.

At the end of the conclusion, our essay service recommends you can get a little personal and express your own views on the subject. Keep this section of the conclusion brief, and make sure it does not argue with the tone and content of the body of your discursive essay.

Are you ready to get things finally done?


Discursive Essay Topics

The process of writing a discursive essay starts with a great topic. If you haven’t been assigned a topic by your professor and don’t know how to find a topic that will evolve into a powerful essay, here are 15 topics for your inspiration:

  • Are smartphones doing more harm than good?
  • Should award ceremonies become more diverse?
  • Professional sports at a young age are not healthy.
  • The government must control people’s diets.
  • It is time for the first female president of the USA.
  • Being an Instagram blogger is not a real profession.
  • Sports in schools should not be mandatory.
  • Should we allow all prisoners to vote in elections?
  • Legal smoking and drinking age must be raised.
  • Video games don’t really make people more violent.
  • Monarchy should be abolished everywhere in the world.
  • It’s okay for the government to track its citizens.
  • A degree in arts does not translate into a well-paying career.
  • Driverless cars are more dangerous than we think.
  • Superhero movies don’t have any cultural value.

In some cases, even if you really like the topic of your discursive essay, you simply don’t have the time or skills required to write a convincing paper. Our essay writing service is always ready to complete your assignment of any complexity level exactly on time!

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How To Write Discursive Essays

  • Essay Writing Lower Secondary

How To Write Discursive Essays

1. What is a Discursive Essay?

A discursive essay is an essay which involves a discussion. You’re encouraged to examine different perspectives on the issue so that the discussion you provide is a balanced one! You are on the right track if your essay sheds light on the issue by looking at it from different viewpoints.

But before you go on reading… You might want to download a pdf copy of this article as it is quite long!

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2. How do I Identify a Discursive Essay Topic?

Let’s take a look at some of the discursive essay topics from past year papers:

2021 O-Level: “Young people are changing the world for the better.” What is your opinion?

  • 2019 O-Level: “Most young people today are obsessed with fame and imitating celebrities.” What are your views?

In recent years, “What is your opinion?” and “What are your views?” are common signposts used to indicate a discursive essay topic. However, there are also instances where such questions are not used. Consider:

  • 2012 O-Level: People all over the world are living longer. What are the advantages and disadvantages of their increased life expectancy?
  • 2010 O-Level: What important lessons in life are learned away from school?

So note that the question can still indicate discursive writing even when it does not contain “What is your opinion?” or “What are your views?”

3. What is the Difference Between a Discursive Essay, an Argumentative Essay and an Expository Essay?

shrub vector

Now that we’ve cleared that up, let’s look at the differences in requirements for a discursive and an argumentative essay.

Argumentative: you are required to take an explicit stand on the issue. Your essay is structured in a manner that argues towards this stand. When writing an argumentative essay, your goal is to persuade, to convince the reader to be in support of your stand.

Discursive: you are not required to take an explicit stand on the issue. In other words, you do not need to pick a side. You may choose to pick a side; that’s perfectly fine! Just note that the goal here is not to persuade or to convince; it is to provide the reader with a balanced discussion by examining the issue from various viewpoints.

Now that you’ve learnt how to identify a discursive question and gotten a better idea of what it requires, let’s look at how to plan a discursive essay.

4. How do I Approach or Structure a Discursive Essay?

vector image of thinking

Some essays require  a binary approach , meaning to say you tackle the issue by addressing the positive and the negative aspects of the question at hand. 

Here is how you can plan your body paragraphs for such topics:

Now, it’s your turn! Try planning an outline for the following topics:

  • 2017 O-Level: It is often said that people
  • are too concerned with getting things and spending money. What is your opinion? 

On the other hand, there are topics which are not suited for such a binary approach. Consider questions such as:

  • Give 3 x features (1 per body paragraph)
  • Give 3 x important lessons (1 per body paragraph)

vector image of balance

5. How do I Brainstorm Ideas for a Discursive Essay to Achieve a Balanced Discussion?

Give yourself 10 minutes to do a proper planning. It’s useful to approach the issue at hand by exploring its significance and relevance in different spheres and domains : Education, Ethics or Morals, Technology, Law etc.

Instead of giving 3 different points from an education perspective, why not broaden your scope and look at the issue from not just an educational perspective, but also a technological perspective and an ethical perspective?

This is what makes for a matured, holistic response. 

Let’s use the following topic as an example:

vector image of man working

If you run out of ideas, you can also examine two sides of a coin in a single domain. For example, you’ll see that in the example, that for the technological sphere, there are instances of youths making and  not changing the world for the better.  

Now that the brainstorming is done, let’s put pen to paper and start writing!

6. How do I Write an Introduction for a Discursive Essay?

  • Share an insight or observation regarding the issue. Why is this issue worth discussing? What are the implications of the issue? You can also use 5W1H questions to help you generate ideas.
  • Define your scope of discussion and if needed, define the keywords in the topic by setting out what is meant by, for instance, “young people” and “for the better”.

You can ask yourself these questions to help you with your intro:

  • Who are “young people”?
  • In which domains are youths making significant impact?
  • Why do some people believe that they are making the world a better place?
  • Why do other people not trust youth to positively impact the world?
  • What is my thesis?

Simply answer these questions + include your thesis. Voila, you have a solid introduction!

7. How do I Write the Body Paragraphs for a Discursive Essay?

Students, you must have heard of the PEEL method by now. We introduce the POINT in the first sentence, ELABORATE on the point, then substantiate with EVIDENCE or EXAMPLES , and finally, we round it all off by LINKING back to the point.

It sounds easy enough, doesn’t it?

vector image of good job

Each body paragraph should only discuss one main idea , and only one! Introduce the main idea in your topic sentence (the first sentence of your body paragraph), not after you’ve given your example or when you’re wrapping up the paragraph.

A good topic sentence is straightforward and clear .

Here is an example of a coherent and concise topic sentence:  

  • In the sphere of education, youth activists are making positive changes by advocating to make education available to girls in less developed societies.

After you have crafted your topic sentence, it’s time to elaborate on your main point. A well-developed body paragraph elaborates by delving deeper into the main point and substantiating with relevant examples or evidence.

For our point on “education”, consider asking and answering the following questions:

  • Why is making education available to girls changing the world for the better?
  • Education imparts knowledge and skills to girls, which then grants more employment opportunities. In turn, they break free from the poverty cycle.
  • Don’t stop here! Make sure to link back to the idea of “making the world a better place”.
  • This means lower poverty rates in the world and society also benefits from the contributions that the girls go on to make in the workforce.

Important Reminders:

vector image of warning sign

a. Your essay  must not be example-driven ! It must always be point-driven. 

b. Remember to make the link from your examples/ evidence back to your topic sentence. This illustrates the relevance and strength of your evidence and reinforces your main point. 

For our example, a coherent body paragraph could look like this: 

8. How to Write a Conclusion for a Discursive Essay?

vector image of man lifting a star

Many students just reiterate the points in conclusion. But that is… you guessed it, boring. Last impression lasts!   You want to provide an insight to this issue to demonstrate your maturity of thought. Apart from summarising your points, link your conclusion back to the introduction so that your essay comes a full circle. You can also use a quote or thought-provoking question for readers to make their own conclusion.

Students, this is how you tackle a discursive essay. Try applying these tips to one of the topics above!  

You might want to download a pdf copy of this article for future reference!

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How to structure a discursive essay?

A discursive essay is a type of academic writing that presents and discusses different perspectives on a given topic. The goal of a discursive essay is to provide a well-rounded understanding of the issue at hand, rather than to argue for a single viewpoint. Here is a suggested structure for a discursive essay:

  • Introduction: Start by introducing the topic and providing background information. Clearly state the main issue or question that you will be discussing in the essay. You can also briefly mention some of the different viewpoints on the topic.
  • Body Paragraphs: In the body of the essay, present different arguments and viewpoints related to the topic. Start each paragraph with a clear topic sentence that introduces the argument you will be discussing. Then, provide evidence and examples to support your point of view. Be sure to also acknowledge and discuss counterarguments and other viewpoints. You can present multiple arguments in each paragraph, or have one paragraph dedicated to each individual argument.
  • Conclusion: Summarize the main arguments presented in the essay and restate the topic sentence. Conclude by discussing which argument or viewpoint you find most convincing, but also acknowledge that there may be different perspectives on the issue. End with a call to action or a question for further consideration.

It is important to structure your essay in a clear and logical manner, with each paragraph building on the previous one. Use transitional phrases and sentences to help guide the reader through your arguments and to show how they are connected. Be sure to also include a clear thesis statement in your introduction that summarizes your main argument or viewpoint.

A discursive essay is a type of academic writing that presents and discusses different perspectives on a given topic. The goal of a discursive essay is to provide a well-rounded understanding of the issue at hand, rather than to argue for a single viewpoint.

The introduction of a discursive essay should provide background information on the topic, clearly state the main issue or question being discussed, and briefly introduce some of the different viewpoints on the topic.

The number of body paragraphs in a discursive essay can vary depending on the length and complexity of the topic being discussed. However, it is typically recommended to have at least three body paragraphs, each presenting a different argument or viewpoint.

The conclusion of a discursive essay should summarize the main arguments presented in the essay, restate the topic sentence, and discuss which argument or viewpoint the author finds most convincing. It should also acknowledge that there may be different perspectives on the issue and end with a call to action or a question for further consideration.

Transitional phrases and sentences help guide the reader through the arguments in a discursive essay and show how they are connected. They are essential for ensuring that the essay is well-structured and easy to follow.

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