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How to guide on writing essays -- tips and tricks to write effectively

Updated on March 28, 2013

Almost everyone has faced the tall task of writing a paper

How to write a strong persuasive essay

If you went to school recently or you are in school now, you know how important it is to be able to write a convincing essay. Writing papers is a major part of the educational curriculum at educational institutions the world over. Most students would rather that they did not have to write so much, if at all. The essay that some find daunting is the argumentative or persuasive essay; the prompt might say, research this unfamiliar topic and pick a side -- and then write for your position. All right, the prompt will not say it in those words, but that is pretty much, what the student is faced with, before the unpleasant deadline comes to hand in papers. This will try to outline some general guidelines that are useful in writing this kind of paper.

Don't dread what is given to you

First, confirm that you are clear on the directions. The assignment is only looming inasmuch as the directions are intimidating. This means you do not have to write a dissertation and self-make a research project. Usually those annoying directions contain the large numbers next to words that the paper should have at minimum. For our purpose, the number of words does not matter, because we look at it as a balloon, knowing we can puff air and blow to expand to our desired size.

Preparing supporting references

If we have to use at least five sources, our first business is to determine if we have enough material to support the topic we choose or the peculiar angle we take on the topic (if it is assigned). Check the topic and verify that you are comfortable devoting mental time; this helps to ease the task. If you do not have the luxury of choosing what you are going to write about, start researching whatever it is that you are required to write about.

Contrary to what some say, is a first good stop, and it should supply a general overview to give you some idea what it is you are getting into. If is not comprehensive, it will at least refer to some key phrases that point us in the right direction, and maybe it even has direct links at the bottom to good sources. After, have nearby the website to oxford dictionaries, along with our perennial favorite,, and start getting smart on the key phrases you have gleaned. This step is recommended because it cut the need for us to read information, which might be vaguely on our topic, but which is otherwise just a waste of time.

Once you have gathered your sources, prepare the end citation page or end references according to the style you use. Now, after scouring the sources and considering some different views,commit to a resolute thesis.Talk out your thesis to someone, and practice the most likely responses to get accustomed to the main talking points that you will borrow for your discussion issues. Check that your position is practical, realistic, and sensible; the last is a subjective judgment, but the first two are not. You should be able to reason and decide what is applicable to the situation and what is just stretching it.

The most important THESIS

Great, you have thought about your paper or made an outline/brainstorm. Now, get to the business of framing your position -- and, with enough expository information -- in such a way that the reader knows what you are proposing and most of what you are not proposing! Narrow the scope of your first paragraph(s) enough to remove doubt about what you do not advocate, so that the audience can look at your thesis, memorize, and repeat it like it were theirs. This is tricky business, and it is just the most important part of the paper, so it deserves disproportionate attention. As a general example, if you are arguing against abortion, specify those conditions that you feel are mitigating. Even if you believe abortion is wrong in any case, address those issues briefly to preempt the guessing. The wrong way to go is to repudiate abortion categorically, and then proceed into your reason for your beliefs. The right way to go is to make a few remarks about those who contend that it should be an option in extreme cases, and then dismiss them anyway, without elaborating just yet. The final sentences in the first paragraph should not be about the discussion content; instead they should firmly state what the way to go is, even if it just your way. Clearly, the reader is looking at your first passages with extra scrutiny to understand your stance; if you execute the message articulately, your whole paper will benefit from it, and if you are ambiguous or vague, then your whole paper will be a game of catch up for your lack of consideration.

Pick the easier position

Having browsed five links about your topic, you know which side has subsumed more merits in its favor.

The side I'm compelled to side with contains a plethora of useful points; that is, for the example, the factors that may be used to argue against the death penalty outnumber the factors that may be used to argue in favor of the death penalty by a factor of two. Looking at each site briefly, one should identify shared points in common. Supported by statistics, four out of the five sites I visit address racial disparities in the application of the death penalty. All five sites cite the high costs of death penalty cases compared with the costs of life in prison as yet another cost of the death penalty and another reason why it should be abolished.

I have amassed three solid criticisms that I can use to explain why I am against the death penalty. Moreover, I can write at length on any of these points, paraphrasing information from other sites as needed -- while synthesizing common sense generalizations.


Paraphrasing + Commenting = Synthesizing

The first paragraph contains 2 facts:

Boasting the highest documented incarceration rate in the world, the United States also is one of three countries in North America that pursue a policy lowering the rate by executing people. All but one country in Europe have abolished the death penalty. Proponents of capital punishment claim it’s the only source of redress in some cases. But life without parole reaches the same purpose short of administering a punishment that is total and irreversible. The finality of the death penalty leaves no room for error; and still, after people on death row are exonerated, people are executed based on legal processes that are hardly error proof. If one innocent person is wrongfully executed, the loss surpasses any benefits of the legal process. What good is a legal process that subjects innocent people to the possibility of death?

3 facts:

For that matter, what good is a legal process that applies the death penalty differently based on the race of the victim? A report released by the U.S. General Accounting Office in 1990 concluded that defendants were more likely to get death sentences if their victim was white. A study conducted by Yale Law School in 2007 found black defendants were three times more likely to get the death penalty than white defendants in cases where the victim was white. Several other studies have concluded that defendants are much more likely to get the death penalty if the victim is white. Racial disparities in imposing death penalty sentences send disturbing signals; that the death penalty acts as an instrument of government social policy. Taking a person’s life – taking a person’s life out of his hands -- should not be a function of race.

5-6 facts:

The death penalty is not applied consistently. Certain geographic regions account for disproportionate executions and death penalty cases. As of May 1, 2012 two counties in Texas explained over 12.5% of all executions since the Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976. When the former governor of Maryland Parris N. Glendening declared a moratorium on executions in May of 2002, he was quoted in reference to his concern that the death penalty had become a “lottery of jurisdiction”; at the time, 9 of 13 death row inmates had been sentenced to death for crimes committed in Baltimore County – caused by the local prosecutor’s campaign of aggressively seeking the death penalty where the law would permit it. Concurrently, Baltimore City – with 10 times as many murders as Baltimore County – had only one inmate on death row.

No facts:

In the end, it’s the prosecutor’s decision whether to seek the death penalty; and zealous prosecutors can effect life or death decisions based on personal agendas, on career interests, and on political considerations. But defendants that can afford adequate legal counsel do not face the same disadvantage. According to Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a justice on the US Supreme Court, “People who are well represented at trial do not get the death penalty…” The legal system favors wealthier people as they can afford better counsel; this enables them to better challenge prosecutors’ version of events and obtain better outcomes. If nothing else, with experienced counsel they could expect favorable prospects for negotiating a plea deal to avoid a death sentence.

No facts:

Thus, in totality the death penalty is not enforced to a standard. In the absence of specific guidance and proper limitations, such factors as one’s race, one’s locality, and one’s wealth also influence death sentences. Despicable murders might not result in death sentences, while less shocking crimes might result in a sentence of death. The death penalty’s effect on poor people is outsize; the potential for more innocent people to end up on death row and be wrongfully executed is a disgrace. No one has the right to take the life of another.

In total, I used about 10 facts to write 600 words. Besides the 2 facts in the first paragraph, which I gleaned from wikipedia, all other facts came from the links.

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This logo is owned by the state of Texas



This hub will be continued in later editions to focus on each part of the essay

There are only a few distinct parts to the essay, but they each bear discussing alone in a little depth, so the rest will be published in a few separate, related hubs, starting where this leaves off and looking at the specifics of a good thesis.

Persuasive Essay Topics -- The Genesis?

Should certain crimes be punishable by death in certain instances?

See results


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    • MoneyCreator24 profile image

      MoneyCreator24 6 years ago

      Good hub. Thank you.

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