Persuasive Research Essay Prompt
Choose any arguable political, social, academic, or special interest issue that is important or relevant to you. This does not have to be one of the “big topics” such as abortion, capital punishment, underage drinking, or gay marriage. Though those are great topics to explore, don’t feel obligated to pick a subject that is popular or heavily covered by the media; underpublicized issues are just as important as the others! Once you have chosen an issue, write an essay in which you use research to convince an audience of college students that your position on the issue is valid.
- Present your issue in a way that will grab your readers’ attention and help them understand that the issue exists and that they should be concerned about it. For example, if you are attempting to convince buyers to purchase cell phones with antivirus protection, you first need to demonstrate the prevalence of cell phone viruses. Another way to present the issue is to share an anecdote about it or to offer some statistics that clearly demonstrate the existence and danger of viruses.
- Your essay should have a clearly stated, arguable claim or thesis. A claim is the assertion you are making about the issue, and an arguable claim is one about which people may disagree. For example, “All cell phone users should purchase antivirus software” is an arguable claim; a reader could disagree by saying, “Cell phone viruses are not a major threat.” However, no one will disagree with the statement, “Computers viruses can be annoying.” Therefore, it is not an effective claim for persuasive writing.
- Your essay should present to your audience convincing points or reasons. Writers of convincing arguments offer support for what they are asking their reader to believe or to do. Think of the reasons you use to support your point as the other part of a because statement, with the claim being the first part. Ex: “Animal fur should not be used in clothing because synthetic fur is available and looks like real fur.”
- Your essay should present sufficient evidence for each point or reason. Every claim you make, every point you argue, must be backed up with research. If you have chosen to argue that fried food should be banned from school cafeterias and one of your reasons is because fried food causes obesity, you must use research to thoroughly “prove” to your audience that this is true. Even if you have heard it your entire life, you still must supply concrete evidence.
- Your essay must utilize the three rhetorical appeals: ethos, pathos, and logos. As you write, consider ways in which you might appeal to readers’ logic and emotions. Your credibility should come from your use of reliable sources to back up your claims.
- Your essay should briefly discuss other views. For any arguable claim or thesis, there will be at least one other point of view besides yours. To be effective, the writer of a persuasive text needs to acknowledge and deal with possible objections from the other side. As you write, consider ways in which you might address a counterargument.
- 6-8 pages in length—not including the Works Cited
- Use at least 6 reliable sources, two of which must be a source other than a website. Check out magazines and books (published within the past 10 years), explore government documents, and use Randall Library’s eResources and databases. If you find yourself at a loss for sources, please do not wait until the last second to let me know; I will be happy to help you out. Members of the library staff are also great resources if you need assistance finding reliable sources on a certain topic.
- Adhere to all MLA guidelines