Online Writing Lab

Roane State Community College

Types of Papers: Persuasive/Persuade

To write a persuasive paper, you’ll need to use evidence and good reasons to convince others to agree with your point of view on a particular subject.

Select a good topic!  If you don't care about your topic, how are you going to get anyone else to? You’ll also need to conduct effective research, obtaining facts and evidence to support your ideas. 

As you begin the research process, ask yourself:

  1. What type of information would I need to use in order to convince someone that I'm right?
  2. What facts, statistics, and evidence would an audience want to see?
  3. Are there any experts on this topic that I could quote in my essay?

The answers to these questions should help you determine what key words you'll want to use, as you begin searching for sources.

How is this different from a typical research paper?

It’s important to remember that a persuasive essay doesn't simply report information (like a typical research paper would)--it uses that information to make an argument or prove a point!  

Typical Research Paper on Biofuels

Persuasive Paper on Biofuels*

Popular interest in the use of biofuels developed in the 19th Century when "Henry Ford and Rudolf Diesel supported the notion"*. 

Though the public has been interested in biofuels for decades, "biofuels have attained the greatest political momentum, in part because they promise lucrative new markets for farm products."*

Biofuels are, to a certain extent, already being used.  In fact, "nearly all the gasoline sold in the United States today is mixed with 10 percent ethanol, known as E10."*

Despite the clear benefits that biofuels provide, many Americans wonder, "whether the 33 percent of the U.S. corn crop diverted to ethanol drives up the price of food."*

*Evidence taken from: http://www.nytimes.com/info/biofuels/

What should my thesis statement look like?

A persuasive thesis statement is a one-sentence description of your topic AND the argument that you plan to make.  For example, if I was arguing about the use of the death penalty in the U.S., my thesis statement would probably look like one of the following examples:  

Notice that both thesis statements not only tell us WHAT the essay will be about, but also WHERE THE AUTHOR STANDS on that issue (his or her opinion) and briefly explain WHY.  Make sure that your thesis statement includes these three elements too!