What is a Discussion Essay?Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010
Discussion essays combine logic with personal opinions
In the long running list of essay types, one may be requested to write a discussion essay. What are we exactly supposed to write then? First of all, this essay should express the writer’s opinion about a specific topic, not caring too much whether the reader shares it or not. But it is less personal than that of the critical essay, and also analyzing the topic like an analytical essay. You may think it is way too difficult for you to deal with, right? Give it a try though: discussion essays are challenging, but also stimulating.
Choosing a topic
When writing these essays, you should choose a topic which must be debatable: no one can write a discussion essay about Obama being the first African American president, since there are no doubts about it: you can, instead, discuss whether his election has or hasn’t improved the situation for every African American citizen in the country. Controversial subjects can include death penalty, abortion, tax policy, immigration laws, environment or any other topic in which you can write down a thesis statement as well as its opposite.
From that list you can probably deduce that your topics should be chosen among unsolved issues, and when writing the essay, you must take a position, considering real facts that support it. Don’t try to move the reader’s feelings or beliefs, on the contrary, always base your whole essay on logic and reason. That is the reason why, before actually starting to write, you should do a research and be well informed about your topic.
Step by step
After choosing the topic, outline your discussion essay keeping in mind that the goal at this point is to get your thoughts on the topic organized. Afterwards, write the essay introduction in order to introduce the issues relating to the topic and to provide your reader with important background information. Don’t forget to explain any important words your reader may not understand that will appear in the essay. Then, it is time to write the body paragraphs. You should use evidence to support and challenge the issues you cover in this section, referencing your sources appropriately. Finally, you must write an essay conclusion which summarizes the overall information leading the reader to mentally review the pros and cons of the topic argument. It may be appropriate to come down in favour of one side of the argument. You should write and present the conclusion strongly, in order to force the reader to do some thinking on his or her own part.
The important thing is, throughout the essay, to mention both sides of the chosen topic, so that the reader can get an overall view, even when the writer ends up by choosing a specific side. Also, every point for and against must be given or ranked according to their importance. Remember to keep your language simple and error free.