While most people are able to argue the merits and demerits about a particular point verbally, when it comes to putting these arguments down in writing, this tends to be more difficult. Writing a discursive essay is essentially the ability to do this. To be able to select a controversial area or topic, and to be able to lay down the arguments for both sides on an informal platform, and ultimately to be able to choose which perspective to take, this is the task at hand when writing a discursive essay.
There are some key steps that will allow you to prepare and write a discursive essay without much difficulty, although it is strongly advised that the topic chosen must be one in which you are somewhat well versed, and not in a lopsided way.
1. The first step is to introduce the topic in the first paragraph and to highlight your thoughts about it. Once you have done this, the rest of your discursive essay will be about building the arguments both to and against the particular topic. You can choose to write this either by dealing with all the positive points first collectively and then moving to the negative ones, or by doing a comparative analysis point for point.
2. Before you start writing the essay, you should put these positive and negative points down briefly in a separate sheet and decide which key points you want to discuss. Most commonly, your focus will be on discussing at least the three main points for each argument in some detail. Once you have decided on the sequence by which you are going to discuss the points, then start writing. It would be ideal if you could support the discussions in your discursive essay with reference to examples and even statistics, if these are available. If you can cite specific references, this too will give greater weight to your essay.
3. Remember not to write long paragraphs. Each paragraph should be used for one key argument and its supporting evidence. The trick to writing a balanced discursive essay is to ensure that while you may have your own opinion, that you present the arguments in an equitable fashion. It is perfectly acceptable for you to counter the arguments that you disagree with, but do so with cogent evidence. Your reasoning in a discursive essay should be based on the practical and the logical outcomes for each argument.
4. If in the course of writing the essay you find that there are valid points to both sides of the argument, admit this and move on. The conclusion for such an essay will require you to acknowledge the weight of both sides of the argument and explain how you reach your conclusion about which side to take.
5. Always remember to give equal weight to the points in the essay at least until you write the conclusion. It is in the conclusion that you will be able to present your specific preference and why. Always ensure that you conclude practically and logically.
Have you written discursive essays before? Did you find this difficult to do? Go ahead and share your both positive as well as negative experience, and even tips on how to do this better.