The goal of a persuasive essay is to convince readers of a certain perspective on a topic. To write it, you'll need to keep them interested with a well-crafted and engaging introductory section that leads to a developed thesis statement. However, the best introduction will depend on the topic at hand, the argument you want to make about it, and the audience you want to persuade. Before you can write an amazing introduction, you will need to do some initial research so that you can tailor the introduction according to the needs of the essay, plot, and audience.
Part 1 of 4: Brainstorming and Outlines for Introduction
Step 1. Pick a topic in case you haven't already
If you are going to choose the topic of your persuasive essay yourself, you should consider current issues that interest you, that you have a specific position on, or that you would like to learn more about. You can also search online for topics for persuasive essays or ask your friends and relatives for suggestions. You should be careful that the topic you choose is limited and specific so that you can think at a sharp angle.
- For example, if you want to write about juvenile crime, you should opt for a limited part of this topic (for example, the practice of trying young people as adults in certain cases).
- You should try to make the topic you choose very interesting, since, in this way, it will be much more fun to write the essay.
- Your essay topic may be predetermined (for example, if you're writing your essay for a class, or if you're sending it to a senator or newspaper on a particular topic).
Step 2. Choose the angle that you find most interesting to write
After choosing your topic, you should start thinking about what you want to say about it. Why do you have strong opinions on this? What solution do you propose for this problem or question? Brainstorm possible angles and choose one that you find more interesting or that is more in line with your natural beliefs.
- Ask yourself what is at stake in terms of the topic you are going to investigate. What is the importance of this topic and why should others care? When you have been able to identify it, it will be easier for you to formulate the argument.
- For example, if your topic is industrialized agriculture, your angle might be that this type of agriculture releases a large amount of methane gas, and this contributes to climate change and the global epidemic of unpredictable and increasingly violent weather. This could be formulated as an environmental issue and also as a public safety issue.
Step 3. Do some research to find supporting evidence
You should start doing research on the topic both online and in the library to build your knowledge base. As you read, take notes as a way to point out the evidence that might help you or the arguments that are beginning to form. You won't use most of this research in the introduction, but familiarizing yourself with it from now on will help you determine the most effective ways to introduce the topic.
Do not use search engines but instead use academic search engines (eg Google Scholar, EBSCO or JSTOR). Also try to use trusted websites, such as news agencies and URLs that end in ".edu."
Step 4. Find 3-5 pieces of evidence to support your argument
As you review your research, you should begin to piece together the most precise and remarkable arguments you can find to form supporting evidence. In persuasive essays, this supporting evidence may appeal to the reader's sense of reason (logos), ethics (ethos), or emotions (pathos).
- The introductory paragraph will hint at the evidence, and for this reason, it is important to know what this evidence will be before you write.
- The evidence that appeals to the reader's ethics is that which comes from a reliable source. For example, if you are writing an essay on the use of euthanasia, you could refer to works or quotes from doctors or end-of-life caregivers who have had direct experience working with it.
- In the case of an essay that wants to persuade readers to consume less water, one piece of evidence that appeals to the sense of logic could be "Consuming more water not only wastes more of this resource, but also increases the utility bill. public services".
- In the case of an essay that wants to persuade readers to adopt animals from a shelter, an appeal to the emotional might be "Milo, a golden retriever puppy, was found on the side of the road when he was just 4 weeks old. If no one adopts him soon from his overcrowded shelter, they will have to euthanize him. "
Step 5. Make an outline of a thesis statement
After gathering some preliminary research, reconsider your chosen angle and give it more body if possible. Write it in the form of 1-2 clear and concise sentences that hint at the evidence that you will present later. This will constitute a draft of your thesis statement.
For example, if you started from the angle that the death penalty should be illegal worldwide, you could expand it until you get the following thesis: "The death penalty should be prohibited worldwide for humanitarian reasons only, but also due to its lack of effectiveness as a deterrent to crime. "
Step 6. Organize your ideas to form an outline
It will be helpful to develop an outline before you start writing so that your essay has more structure and organization. Opt for a basic 5-paragraph structure, awarding one paragraph for the introduction, three for the three pieces of evidence, and one for the conclusion. Make a note of bullet points and short sentences for each section to sketch out what you want to include.
- Although the essay may be longer, try to avoid making it shorter, as it will not be possible to include all the necessary evidence.
- It is possible to organize the scheme either with Roman numerals, regular numerals or bullets. Use what you feel most comfortable with.
Part 2 of 4: Composing the hook
Step 1. Arouse the reader's interest with a surprising fact or quote
The hook consists of a few sentences at the beginning of the essay that capture the reader's attention while explaining the importance of your argument. To do this, one way is to start with a surprising fact or an interesting quote that relates to the topic. You should opt for a single-line quote or statistic to most effectively capture the reader's attention and persuade them to keep reading.
- For example, in the case of an essay that wants to persuade readers to support prison reform, this might be a way to start: "The US has the largest prison population in the world. China, the country that the closer it gets, it has a 25% smaller prison population. "
- In the case of an essay on the death penalty, you could introduce it with a quote like the following: "When discussing the death penalty, two quotes are often brought up: 'an eye for an eye' and 'an eye for an eye and the the world will end up blind. '
- In case you do opt for any of these approaches, don't forget to include a short one-sentence explanation of your reasons for using them. You shouldn't just start with a quote or a statistic and then go directly to the background information.
Step 2. Allow readers to identify with the topic by starting with a short anecdote
Anecdotes are a great way to attract the reader to an essay that will rely heavily on emotional arguments. On the other hand, it can also be a good strategy to personalize a topic that is not so human or with which it is not so easy to identify. You can choose to tell a short story of something that happened to you or to narrate an example in the format of a story.
- For example, in the case of an essay on reforming the juvenile justice system, you could say "José Castro was just 14 years old when he was first sent to a juvenile detention center. What was his crime? Stealing a package chewing gum from the grocery store in front of his school. "
- If you are using a personal anecdote, you should first be careful that this format is appropriate for first-person narration. If you are writing the essay for a class, you can ask your teacher.
Step 3. Start with a broad generalization and then zoom into your topic
Starting your essay with a broad perspective and narrowing the scope slowly feels natural, both in writing and reading, and has the effect of gently drawing the reader into your essay. It is also possible to do the opposite and start with a small example and slowly work your way out to make a larger statement.
- For example, in the case of an essay on conserving water consumption, you could say: "Even before science demonstrated how necessary water is for human survival, people understood the fundamental importance, and even sanctity., of this resource ".
- Make an effort not to use cliches like "Since the world is world …" or "The dictionary defines _____ as …".
Step 4. Get the reader thinking with a rhetorical question
A straightforward way to start your essay is by asking the reader a question, putting them directly into action, and forcing them to start thinking about the topic. This is a way to start that feels natural and interesting, but you need to be careful that the question you choose is really food for thought and doesn't have an obvious answer.
For example, in the case of an essay on the protection of animals, you could write: "Many people know that animal species are going extinct, but have you ever wondered exactly how many species have gone extinct since they were born?"
Step 5. Present a counterargument first as a way to make an interesting change
A particularly intriguing way to start an essay is with a counterargument, plus it can make you sound like a righteous and deep-thinking writer before you've even presented the evidence. This can be an excellent strategy for topics that are particularly emotionally charged and on which your readers are likely to have an opinion.
For example, in the case of an essay against the use of euthanasia, you could write: "According to its advocates, euthanasia is a compassionate and painless way to end a life that is no longer wanted, and they are right."
Part 3 of 4: Introduce the topic and thesis
Step 1. Write 1-2 sentences that specifically introduce the topic
After hooking your readers, it's time to show them exactly what your topic is and why it's important. You should convey to them in a few sentences your reasons for sharing this topic, why it should matter to them, and why it is important in general.
For example, in the case of an essay against the death penalty, you could say: "The death penalty has a direct effect on a very small percentage of the population, but its domino effect (the effects on the family and friends of the person, about the people who read and hear about it) is much higher. In an even greater sense, the death penalty is a statement about the society in which we live. "
Step 2. Provide the necessary background for the reader
Unless you are told otherwise, you should assume that the public knows very little about your topic. Your job is to fill in the blanks with information that has direct relevance to your argument. This could consist of data, historical background, or any other type of information that paves the way. In this way, the reader acquires a foothold in your essay and prepares him for the rest of it.
- For example, in the case of a persuasive essay on gun control, you could write: "Gun control laws have a long and tense history in the US, and it is critical to understand the nature of their growth and decline. from one place to another in order to understand the current state of arms legislation. "
- The background information could range from 2-3 sentences to an entire paragraph, although this will depend on your essay.
Step 3. State your position clearly in your thesis statement
Your thesis statement will be the backbone of your essay, capturing the angle on your topic, what's at stake, and what you think needs to be done about it based on the evidence. It is usually 1-2 sentences long, although this could be longer for larger essays. You need to use the strongest, clearest, and most concise language possible to show readers exactly what you think and your reasons for it.
For example, in the case of an essay that wants to persuade readers to oppose the project for a new park, you could write "As much as a new park is beneficial to the residents of a city, natural green areas are crucial for the Environmental life of a community. In addition to serving as an interesting insight into what the area was like before it was urbanized, it provides critical habitat for native plants and animals that might otherwise turn to residential spaces and be at risk. in an urban environment "
Step 4. Hint at the evidence to transition to the first body paragraph
In your thesis statement or later, you can also begin to hint at the evidence that you will present later in the essay, particularly emphasizing the first paragraph of the body. In this way, the essay can move more smoothly from the introductory material to the supporting evidence.
For example, in the case of a trial supporting euthanasia, you could write "There is no way in which the effectiveness of euthanasia is more visible than in the cases of patients suffering from painful terminal illnesses." Such a sentence could be located either at the end of the introductory paragraph or at the beginning of the first body paragraph
Part 4 of 4: Avoid Common Mistakes
Step 1. Do not present or analyze the evidence in the introduction
Your evidence will be strong and interesting, and it is natural that you want to dive right into it, but you should save in-depth descriptions of your arguments and analyzes of the evidence for later, in the body paragraphs. This way, you can fully focus on engaging and introducing the reader to the topic, plus it will help you avoid revealing your ideas before you can fully endorse them.
For example, in the case of a trial opposing driving under the influence, there is no problem with using an eye-catching statistic such as "Every 2 minutes, a person is injured in a crash caused by driving under the influence." However, you should not analyze this statistic by writing something like "Everyone probably knows at least one person who has been affected by an incident related to driving under the influence, which means that this problem has wide-ranging consequences. In many places, one of the effects is a growing insensitivity entirely towards this issue. According to police officers… "
Step 2. Keep your argument clear, but present it in a fluid and subtle way
The reader must be able to recognize the thesis statement and main argument. However, they should not be too obvious, as this could interrupt the flow of the essay and make the experience of reading it less satisfying or persuasive. Instead, you should present your argument in a solid but subtle way and convey to your readers that they have reached an important sentence without pointing it out too much.
For example, you should not write "I am going to verify that …" or "This essay will show that …", as sentences of this type are often jarring and unnecessary
Step 3. Skip unnecessary details
Sometimes a lot of background information is needed, but you must be careful that all the details you include are necessary to persuade the reader. If you include additional data, this will confuse the reader and make your essay seem lacking in direction and even boring.
- For example, while a piece of information you have found about the flight patterns of bees might be interesting, it will not be relevant in an essay about the reasons why the world should protect the population of bees.
- Also, you may need to omit "book report" information, such as the full title, author, or year of publication of a book about which you are writing your persuasive essay (unless this information serves a specific purpose).. You will be able to fully cite the sources on the bibliography or works cited page.
Step 4. Avoid extremely wide introductions
Generalist introductions to essays can sometimes seem natural and convincing, but they should not be too broad. You're writing a persuasive essay to convince a reader to take a particular position on a topic, so you don't need to relate to the larger human existence.