Persuasive writing is one form of nonfiction writing with the goal of convincing the audience to view or think a certain way. Its accomplished through certain word choice, structure of information and a cohesive ending thought. Everyone uses this structure in their daily life, except orally. We have all been there when your friend wants Chinese food but you want pizza or when you want too go to the beach and your parents want to go to the movies. You then form an argument attempting to persuade the other person that your choice is better. Persuasive writing is the same thing. I find that students especially struggle with persuasive writing. I know when I hear that I am writing a persuasion piece it can become intimidating. It often requires research to not only back up your position on the matter but the opposing views argument. Forming an outline with a setup and goal will help to structure the assignment.

Here are some helpful things to keep in mind.

-Know whether your claim is a matter of fact, value, or policy

-Different types of evidence may be better suited for different types of claims:

  • Fact: hard facts, new figures, definitions, statistics, quotes, expert testimony, inductive reasoning
  • Value: appeals to morality and the values of the audience, finding common ground, use of psychological/emotional appeals, arguments by analogy, deductive reasoning
  • Policy: definitions, need for policy, analysis of problem with current policy, discuss feasibility of the policy your propose (how easily it could be implemented), argument by analogy

-Incorporate emotional appeals (stories, punch words, emotive and inclusive language)

-If you find an argument for your position within your research, be sure to give the author of that argument credit. You cannot use someone else’s argument as if you came up with it yourself. Make sure to cite your sources.


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