Here are our 5 tips to help you pick the right topic for your next persuasive essay.
1. Write What You Know
Writing about what you know, are familiar with, or have some depth of knowledge is always a good idea. This way it’s much easier to get ideas rolling. So think of a few topics that you like to read about, want to know more about, have learned about in the past, or are really passionate about. When you have a vested interest in a topic, you will be motivated to do more research on it. If there are issues raised in your course that you are more drawn to, then choose one of those.
2. Do Your Research
Be warned that just because you have an opinion on something does not necessarily mean it is an informed one. In our age of social media and “fake news” there is lots of information out there that may be inaccurate. What we mean is that you’ll still need to do your research on a topic, even if you’re familiar with it. Look for credible sources from well-known experts in the area that can help you shape your arguments. Who knows, the research may even lead you to change your opinion on the topic, or at the very least to modify it.
3. Identify Your Audience
It is important to know for whom you are writing. Yes, it’s more than likely that that will be your teacher or professor, but they may also assign you a specific audience to write for. It’s vital that you understand this audience. What would interest them? What would they already know about the topic? How can your content add value to them? What might persuade them to see your point of view? For most higher ed courses, your imagined audience will be an audience somewhat familiar with the subject matter. Bear that in mind.
4. Be Original
One thing to consider is to take a risk! Pick a topic that no one else wants to touch or that is highly controversial or sensitive. A riskier topic can make you stand out as a writer. You might even spark a debate over an issue that may need more attention or discussion. If you’re willing to take this risk, then it would also be a good idea to speak to your professor or teacher about the topic and ask them for some guidance on the topic.
5. Look Around You
Look to your surroundings for topic inspirations. Is there a need for a safe cycling path in your neighbourhood? Are the public spaces in your city put to good use? Is the transit system functioning well? You’re surrounded by potentially good topics for a persuasive essay, you just need to be a bit creative and analytical about how you see things in order to turn everyday observations into fodder for your critical writing.
Just remember that the closer the topic is to you or your interests, the better you’ll be able to argue for it and your passion will animate your writing. Of course, if you’ve been assigned a topic by your instructor, it might be hard to find causes or a position you believe in. Nevertheless, your essay will be much more successful if you can find a "way in" to the topic that is true to you!
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