Discursive essay example
In this page, you will concentrate on one discursive essay structure.
Below you will find an example discursive essay. Read the essay over carefully. Study it and work out how it has been written.
Reading the essay
Whilst reading the essay, consider the following questions, writing down your ideas -
- what is the main idea the writer is arguing about?
- each paragraph has a sub-topic which contributes to the essay's main topic - what does each paragraph contribute to the argument?
- what evidence does the writer offer to support the arguments?
- which of the three suggested structures identified earlier does the writer adopt in this essay?
- does the writer link ideas clearly in the essay?
- You will probably want to read the essay over twice to help you answer these questions.
1 A subject which always arouses strong feelings on both sides of the argument is the use of animals in medical research. I believe that, though this may have been necessary in the past, other ways can be developed to test drugs and, in the future, animals should not be used.
2 One of my main reasons for saying this is that living tissues can be grown in test tubes and new drugs can be tested on these. Computers can also be programmed to show how medicines will react in the human body.
3 Moreover, animals are not always like humans. They do not suffer from all human diseases, so scientists have to give them the illnesses artificially. The joints in rabbit legs are inflamed with chemicals to help research in rheumatism. These tests do not always work because animals do not react to drugs in the same way as humans. Aspirin, for example, damages pregnant mice and dogs, but not pregnant women. Arsenic, which is a deadly poison for humans, has no effect on sheep, while penicillin, which is so valuable to humans, kills guinea pigs.
4 In addition, I believe that animal experiments should not be used because of the unnecessary pain that they cause to animals. The government introduced new rules about the use of animals in experiments in 1986. Scientists claim that these rules safeguard animals because they state that discomfort must be kept to a minimum and that painkillers must be used where necessary and appropriate. Surely this means, however, that scientists can still decide not to use painkillers in the animal experiments because they do not consider them appropriate. The British Union against Vivisection claims that 75% of animals experimented on are given no anaesthetic.
5 In spite of the claims of some scientists about the effectiveness of animal research, the death rate in this country has stayed the same over the last thirty years. There is also more long-term sickness, even though greater numbers of animals are being used in research.
6 On the other hand, scientists claim that some experiments are so small, for example giving an injection, that painkillers are not needed. They also argue that experiments on animals have been very useful in the past. For instance, the lives of ten million human diabetics have been saved because of experiments with insulin on dogs. Dogs also benefited, as the same drug can be used on them. In fact, a third of medicines used by vets are the same as those used by doctors.
7 It is argued by researchers that the use of animals in experiments cannot be replaced by methods using living tissue which has been grown in test tubes. These tests do not show how the drugs work on whole animals and so they only have limited effectiveness.
8 Although I accept that some drugs can be used on animals and humans, this does not mean that they have to be tested on animals in the first place when alternative methods are available. Alternative methods do work. Various groups have been set up to put money into other ways of researching. For example the Dr. Hadwen Trust has shown how human cartilage can be grown in test tubes to study rheumatism. Similar research is being done into cancer and multiple sclerosis. Tests can be done on bacteria to see whether a chemical will cause cancer. There is even a programme of volunteer human researchers, where people suffering from illnesses offer to help in research.
9 In conclusion, I accept that animal experiments have brought great benefits in the past, but now money needs to be spent on developing other methods of testing drugs and medical procedures, so that the use of animals can be phased out altogether.
After reading the essay
Now that you have read the essay and, hopefully, written down some ideas in response to the questions, look over the following commentson the essay.
The comments are presented as answers to the questions provided. This way you can check your own ideas against them.
What is the main idea the writer is arguing about ?
The writer is trying to argue that it is time to stop us animals for scientific experimentation.
Each paragraph has a sub-topic which contributes to the essay's main topic: what does each paragraph contribute to the argument?
- Paragraph 1 - the writer introduces the argument: experiments on animals should cease.
- Paragraph 2 - tests can now be done using modern technology.
- Paragraph 3 - animals are different: they do not respond to tests as humans do.
- Paragraph 4 - they cause animals too much pain.
- Paragraph 5 - death-rate in UK has remained constant: experiments have not improved things.
- Paragraph 6 - the other side of the argument: animal experiments have been useful.
- Paragraph 7 - secondary argument justifies experiments: test tube tissue research is limited; whole animal testing is still needed.
- Paragraph 8 - author re-states conviction that experiments are not necessary.
- Paragraph 9 - conclusion: new methods needed to replace current animal testing methods.
What evidence does the writer offer to suport the arguments?
- Paragraph 1 - not relevant: introduction.
- Paragraph 2 - use of test tube technology; computers.
- Paragraph 3 - aspirins affect animals badly, but not humans.
- Paragraph 4 - animals given no anaesthetic.
- Paragraph 5 - more long-term sickness, despite greater number of animal experiments.
- Paragraph 6 - alternative arguments: benefits to diabetics, even animals.
- Paragraph 7 - living tissue not as satisfactory as whole animal testing.
- Paragraph 8 - Dr. Hadwen Trust re. human cartilage; research into cancer and multiple sclerosis.
- Paragraph 9 - not relevant: conclusion.
Which of the three suggested structures identified earlier does the writer adopt in this essay?
The writer is trying to argue strongly Against a given idea (i.e. that animal experiments are acceptable).
Does the writer link ideas clearly in the essay?
There is clear evidence of good linkage in the essay:
- 'One of my main reasons...' (para 2)
- 'Moreover...' (para 3) clearly continues argument
- 'In addition...' (para 4) clearly moves argument on
- 'On the other hand...' (para 6) signals clearly that the writer is moving on to arguments the opposing side would offer in support of experiments
- 'In conclusion...' (para 9) clearly indicates argument drawing to a close
In an argumentative essay, you want to convince someone to agree with your idea or opinion, using research-based evidence.
Writing an argumentative essay is a skill that anyone in school needs to know, though it can be useful outside of the classroom, as well. With today's Common Core standards, learning to write an essay that intelligently proves your point is an essential part of your education.
You will need to select solid argumentative essay topics that you can work with, create an argumentative essay outline and write, revise, and polish before you turn the argumentative essay in. It’s worth checking out an argumentative essay sample or two, just so you have a good idea of how the whole thing works. You can learn a lot from what other people have already done.
Choosing Argumentative Essay Ideas
As you look at argumentative essay examples, you’ll notice that there is a specific argumentative essay structure that is followed. It’s easiest to work with this structure if you choose easy argumentative essay topics.
Good argumentative essay topics are interesting and relatively easy to defend. They should fit into your argumentative essay outline fairly easily and will be something you can write on without doing ridiculous amounts of research. You don’t necessarily need to know everything about the topic, but having some base knowledge will help you as you do your research and write the essay.
Ideally, you’ll select interesting argumentative essay topics to work with, which will keep your writing fresh and on point. It’s difficult to write on a topic you don’t enjoy, so selecting one that you can really get into will show in your work.
How to Write an Argumentative Essay
It’s helpful to look at a good argumentative essay example to get some ideas before you begin. This section will show you how to write an argumentative essay that will wow your teachers.
Before you even get started on the actual essay, take some time to create an argumentative essay outline. This will help you follow proper argumentative essay structure and can be useful for ensuring that your work stays on track and makes sense. An outline is an essential part of any essay writing process.
If you find it difficult to create your own outline, an argumentative essay template may come in handy for structuring the essay. A template will include everything you need to get started, including the format, so you just need to fill in the blanks with your own information.
How to Start an Argumentative Essay
The argumentative essay introduction is where you present your topic and your thesis. It should include a hook in the first few sentences. A hook will grab the reader's attention and keep them reading.
Once you've laid the basis of the argumentative essay topic out for the reader, give them a bit of background information to clarify things.
What is the issue you're addressing? Why should anyone care? Where is the issue prevalent? What is your opinion on the topic and why do you feel that way? The answer to this final question will be your thesis, or what you will try to convince the reader of throughout your essay.
Your topic should be something you know is debatable and this can be mentioned in the intro. The first paragraph, according to good argumentative essay format, should include your main point or thesis statement.
As you state your thesis, make sure it is concise and use confident language to write it out. You should summarize your rational, ethical and emotional supporting arguments here. Keep in mind that the opening paragraph should only be a few sentences long in most cases, so keep it concise.
Develop Your Argument
By this point in the argumentative essay example, it's obvious what the point of the essay is, but you have not yet convinced the reader. You need to develop your argument. Each body paragraph should contain a topic sentence introducing a claim, which should support your thesis statement. You may have as few as one claim, but it's a good idea to aim for at least three or four supporting arguments.
Argumentative essay prompts are handy for helping you think more deeply about your chosen topic and will allow you to work on creating
Just stating something doesn't make it fact, so you also need to present evidence in favour of your opinion. Your own personal experience does not stand as a reputable source, so look for scientific studies and government resources to help back up your claims. Statistics and specific data can also be helpful as you argue your main point.
Look at the Opposing Viewpoint
In order to truly convince readers of your point of view, the argumentative essay must also look at the opposing views. What do those on the other side of the issue have to say? Acknowledge these views and refute them with facts, quotes, statistics or logic. The more evidence you have, the better your essay will be.
It's not enough to simply disagree with another point of view or opinion. If you really want to get people to see things your way, you need to convince them with evidence and facts. This requires some research and possibly a little creative thinking. If you’ve chosen a good topic, however, it will be obvious what the opposite view is.
Most argumentative essay prompts will have you cover opposing views in the second or third body paragraph, but it can be used as the intro to the body, as well, with your point at the end. Include every source in your reference section so the reader can double check the evidence for themselves.
Create a Conclusion
Finally, every argumentative essay example finishes with a conclusion. Yours will do the same. Restate your main points and cover the basics of the supporting evidence once more. This is essentially a summary of your entire argument. How has the argument evolved throughout the paper? Give the reader a brief look back over everything.
Before you sign off on your essay, restate your topic and stress the importance of your opinion. Keep this part to one or two paragraphs at the most, since it is simply a recap of the previous points.
If you have done your job and written a convincing argumentative essay, your reader will now either be completely on your side or thinking seriously about their views on your topic. This is the end goal, to shake up those beliefs and help others see your point of view. Doing this in a calm, professional manner will work far better than being too passionate. Use lots of examples and reputable sources to give solid evidence for your side of things and you’ll see good results.
Polish and Revise
Once your essay has been written, it's time to polish it. Go back over the whole essay and look for any spelling or grammatical errors. You should also keep an eye out for pieces that can be better written or tightened up to make better sense.
Now, it's up to the reader to make up their mind. If you've done a good job, they will see things your way and your essay will be a success.
Using a template for your argumentative essay can also help you work through the essay faster and ensures you'll meet common core standards and improve your essay writing skills. Choose a great topic, use prompts and a template and you’ll have a winning argumentative essay by the end.