Topic Paragraph Of A Persuasive Essay

Are you asking yourself why you should read this blog post?

Are you asking, “What’s in it for me?”

What if I promised that by reading this you’ll learn more about how to write an effective persuasive essay?

What if I promised that by reading this you’ll learn 40 persuasive essay topics to help you get started writing your persuasive essay—and that you’ll even learn some tips about how to choose a persuasive essay topic?

If you’re still reading, then I’ve achieved my goal. I’ve written a persuasive opening. And if you’re assigned to write a persuasive essay, you should definitely keep reading.

The Persuasive Essay Defined

The goal of a persuasive essay is to convince readers.

When writing the essay, you’ll first need to state your own opinion, then develop evidence to support that opinion.

These reasons and examples (evidence) should convince readers to believe your argument.

I know this quick definition gives you the basics, but you should know more about persuasive writing before you attempt to write your own essay.

It may seem tempting to skip past the additional information and go directly to the list of persuasive essay topics. But don’t do it.

Take the time now to read more about persuasive writing. (It’s all about persuasion. Are you clicking the links below yet?)

I’ll trust that I’ve persuaded you to read all three of the above articles. And now that you know how to write a persuasive essay, here are 40 persuasive essay topics to help you get started.

40 Persuasive Essay Topics to Help You Get Started

1. Does Facebook (or other forms of social media) create isolation?

Facebook lets people stay connected and meet new friends, yet some argue people spend so much time on social media that they lose contact with real life and may even become addicted.

2. Should guns be permitted on college campuses?

With recent school massacres permeating the news, people feel as though they should be able to protect themselves by carrying guns in all public spaces. Others, however, feel as though allowing guns on campuses will only increase crime and the death toll.

3. Do kids benefit if everyone on the team receives a trophy?

If everyone on the team receives a trophy (even for participation), kids may feel like part of the team and feel as though their efforts matter. Others believe handing out trophies to all kids on the team simply makes them feel entitled.

4. Is society too dependent on technology?

Technology creates great opportunities, yet some feel people can no longer function without a smartphone by their sides at all times.

5. Should all high school students be required to complete parenting classes?

Parents often believe sexuality, family planning, and parenting should be taught at home. But many don’t believe parents sufficiently educate their children about these topics and feel the school should provide teens with training for adulthood and require parenting classes.

6. Does the school day start too early?

While some simply say kids should go to bed earlier in order to be alert during the school day, others argue teens require more sleep and need to sleep later to function properly.

7. Should the minimum wage be increased?

Many business owners argue that raising the minimum wage would only cause hardship and cause them to raise their prices. But many workers argue raising the minimum wage is necessary to help low-income workers dig out of poverty.

8. Should elementary schools teach handwriting?

If no one knows how to write or read cursive handwriting, the form of communication will be lost, some believe. Others, however, believe handwriting is antiquated, and kids would be better served learning keyboarding.

9. Should childhood vaccinations be mandatory?

Though vaccinations can prevent a number of childhood illnesses, some believe mandatory vaccination violates individual rights and can actually do more harm than good.

10. Are security cameras an invasion of privacy?

Security cameras are in place to protect both businesses and the general public. But some argue cameras have gone too far and actually invade privacy because people are constantly under surveillance.

11. Should citizens be allowed to keep exotic pets?

People feel they should be allowed to keep exotic pets as they are capable of caring for the animals. They feel it is their right to keep such pets. However, others feel keeping such pets creates a danger to other people and is harmful to the animals.

12. Should a relaxed dress code be allowed in the workplace?

Some argue that a more relaxed dress code has created more relaxed and less productive workers. Others argue the more relaxed dress code creates a more casual, friendly, and creative workplace.

13. Is it ethical to sentence juveniles as adults?

The old cliche is, “If you do the crime, you should do the time.” But many believe it isn’t ethical to charge a juvenile as an adult as a child’s brain isn’t yet fully developed.

14. Should corporations be allowed to advertise in schools?

Some think schools should embrace corporate advertising as budgets are very limited. But others believe kids shouldn’t be bombarded with corporate persuasion. Instead, they think kids should focus on learning.

15. Should public transportation be free for all residents of a city?

While some say free public transportation would help the environment and reduce traffic, others think free public transportation is too expensive. They argue that the government can’t afford to pay for it.

16. Is professional football too dangerous for players?

Because of recent discoveries about chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), many believe football is too dangerous and that rules need to change. Those on the other side of the argument believe football players know the risks and thus should be allowed to play.

17. Should minors be allowed to get tattoos (if they have parental permission)?

Some feel parents should be allowed to give permission for their minor children to get tattoos as they are making the decision for their own children. On the other hand, because tattoos are essentially permanent, some feel only adults should be able to get tattoos.

18. Should fracking be banned?

Some people argue fracking is an effective way to extract natural gas, but others argue it is too dangerous and is harmful to the environment.

19. Should a college education be free for everyone?

Some people believe education is a right and will make society, on the whole, a better place for everyone. But others feel there is no true way to offer a free college education as colleges would still need to be funded (likely through tax dollars).

20. Should the US assist developing countries with immunization efforts?

Immunizations have been critical to eradicating diseases such as polio and measles in the United States, so some argue that it’s important to distribute immunizations to developing countries where people are still dying from these types of diseases. Others may argue that this type of effort would be too costly or ineffective.

21. Does corporal punishment help children?

If you’ve ever been spanked by your parents, I’m sure you weren’t in favor of corporal punishment. But does it actually help discipline children, or does it promote violence?

22. Does the welfare system need to be revised?

There are many people who clearly need the additional assistance welfare services provide. There are others, however, who take advantage of the system. Because of this, many feel the program should be revised to create alternate or stricter requirements.

23. Is learning a skilled trade more valuable than earning a college degree?

Many companies state they have numerous job openings but cannot find skilled employees. Given the current economy, some feel that it may be more advantageous for people to learn a trade.

24. Should cigarettes be illegal?

Given the trend of legalizing marijuana, it seems that it would be impossible to ban cigarettes, but some believe that cigarettes should be illegal because of the health risks they pose.

25. Should organ donors be financially compensated?

While some feel that people should donate their organs on a strictly volunteer basis, others argue that donations would increase if people were financially compensated.

26. Do laws promote racial discrimination?

Justice is supposed to be blind, though many argue that laws are designed to discriminate against minorities.

27. Do dual-parent households benefit children more than single-parent households?

A dual-parent household may have an advantage of a higher household income and the benefit of one parent who may able to spend more time with children. But many argue that a high income alone doesn’t make a happy home and that quality time spent with children is far more important than simply being present.

28. Is it acceptable for parents to lie to their children?

Most people would probably agree that the small lies parents tell their children in order to protect them or motivate them are harmless (and perhaps even helpful). But others feel that, if parents lie, they are only teaching their children to lie.

29. Are teens unfairly stereotyped?

Teens are often stereotyped as lazy and entitled. Specific groups of teens, such as skaters, are often seen as criminals and addicts. Are these classifications true, or are they unfair stereotypes?

30. Is reality television actually real?

Reality TV is supposed to follow the lives of real people. But are the shows scripted or staged to create more drama?

31. Does illegal immigration harm the U.S. economy?

While some feel that even illegal immigrants contribute to the economy through spending their wages in local economies, others feel that they don’t pay their fair share of taxes, which harms the economy.

32. Should high schools distribute birth control?

Though some claim that the distribution of birth control encourages sexual behavior, others claim that it actually protects teens who are already sexually active.

33. Does elective cosmetic surgery harm self-esteem?

Elective cosmetic surgery can make people feel confident and happier with their personal appearances, but for some people, such surgeries do not address underlying psychological issues. Thus, the surgeries leave people unhappy and striving for unattainable perfection.

34. Should people who teach in low-income areas be allowed to have their student loans forgiven?

Teachers who work in low-income areas are often eligible to have their student loans forgiven after a number of years of service. However, some argue that this practice should not continue. They argue that everyone should be eligible for loan forgiveness and that it shouldn’t only be select professions that are eligible.

35. Should classic literature be taught in high school or college?

Many argue that the classics are important to our history and that they are works of art. Others feel the writings are outdated and generally irrelevant to modern society.

36. Should colleges and universities do more to help incoming freshman transition to college life?

Though most colleges offer orientation programs, many students feel that the college itself does not do enough to prepare them for the realities of college life.

37. Has the No Child Left Behind Act helped students?

The No Child Left Behind Act was designed to help all students succeed, but many people believe that it has been an unsuccessful program.

38. Should team names deemed to be offensive be banned?

Some feel that team names such as “Redskins” or “Chiefs” are racially insensitive and are racial slurs. However, others argue that these names are steeped in tradition and should not be banned.

39. Should fast-food restaurants be blamed for obesity among Americans?

Most people already know that many fast-food meals are high in calories and are often not as healthy as other options. Thus, these restaurants are to blame for increased obesity rates. Others argue that it’s the individual’s responsibility to consume these foods in moderation and that society cannot blame fast-food restaurants for obesity rates.

40. Do modern gender roles harm women?

Though women are generally no longer expected to be stay-at-home moms, many argue that gender roles today continue to harm women. Some argue that media continues to sexualize women and thus perpetuates the classic gender roles of males being dominant over females.

Dos and Don’ts of Choosing Persuasive Essay Topics

After reading this list, I’m sure at least a few topics appeal to you. But how do you know which one of these great ideas to choose for your own paper?  Here are a few tips.

Do choose a topic that:

  • You care about. It’s easier to write about something that interests you.
  • Other people care about too. Why would you write about a topic that no one cares about?
  • You are willing to examine from multiple viewpoints. Looking at both sides of the issue shows that you’re educated about your topic.
  • You can research effectively in the allotted time. If  you can’t find enough evidence to support your viewpoint, you might need to switch topics.

Don’t choose a topic that:

  • You don’t care about. If you don’t care about the topic, it will be difficult to persuade others.
  • You are extremely passionate about. While passion is important, if you’re so passionate about the topic that you aren’t willing to learn new information or see additional viewpoints, it will be difficult to write an effective paper.
  • Can’t be researched effectively. In other words, don’t try to research a topic like the meaning of the universe or why people usually wear matching socks.

In Summary

In this blog post, you’ve learned how to write a persuasive essay, examined a variety of persuasive essay topics, and learned the dos and don’ts of selecting and narrowing a topic.

So what are you waiting for? Start researching, and start writing!

What? None of these topics are working for you? Try this list of 15 topics or these additional 15 topics.

Need a few pointers to get started with research? Check out 5 Best Resources to Help With Writing a Research Paper and How to Write a Research Paper: A Step-by-Step Guide.

Looking for even more help? I recommend reading this study guide about persuasive and argumentative essays.

Want to make sure you’re writing is convincing? Why not have one of our Kibin editors review your paper?

Psst... 98% of Kibin users report better grades! Get inspiration from over 500,000 example essays.

Contributors: Allen Brizee.
Summary:

This resource outlines the generally accepted structure for introductions, body paragraphs, and conclusions in an academic argument paper. Keep in mind that this resource contains guidelines and not strict rules about organization. Your structure needs to be flexible enough to meet the requirements of your purpose and audience.

Introductions, Body Paragraphs, and Conclusions for an Argument Paper

The following sections outline the generally accepted structure for an academic argument paper. Keep in mind that these are guidelines and that your structure needs to be flexible enough to meet the requirements of your purpose and audience.

You may also use the following Purdue OWL resources to help you with your argument paper:

Introduction

The introduction is the broad beginning of the paper that answers three important questions:

  1. What is this?
  2. Why am I reading it?
  3. What do you want me to do?

You should answer these questions by doing the following:

  1. Set the context –provide general information about the main idea, explaining the situation so the reader can make sense of the topic and the claims you make and support
  2. State why the main idea is important –tell the reader why he or she should care and keep reading. Your goal is to create a compelling, clear, and convincing essay people will want to read and act upon
  3. State your thesis/claim –compose a sentence or two stating the position you will support with logos (sound reasoning: induction, deduction), pathos (balanced emotional appeal), and ethos (author credibility).

For exploratory essays, your primary research question would replace your thesis statement so that the audience understands why you began your inquiry. An overview of the types of sources you explored might follow your research question.

If your argument paper is long, you may want to forecast how you will support your thesis by outlining the structure of your paper, the sources you will consider, and the opposition to your position. You can forecast your paper in many different ways depending on the type of paper you are writing. Your forecast could read something like this:

First, I will define key terms for my argument, and then I will provide some background of the situation. Next, I will outline the important positions of the argument and explain why I support one of these positions. Lastly, I will consider opposing positions and discuss why these positions are outdated. I will conclude with some ideas for taking action and possible directions for future research.

When writing a research paper, you may need to use a more formal, less personal tone. Your forecast might read like this:

This paper begins by providing key terms for the argument before providing background of the situation. Next, important positions are outlined and supported. To provide a more thorough explanation of these important positions, opposing positions are discussed. The paper concludes with some ideas for taking action and possible directions for future research.

Ask your instructor about what tone you should use when providing a forecast for your paper.

These are very general examples, but by adding some details on your specific topic, a forecast will effectively outline the structure of your paper so your readers can more easily follow your ideas.

Thesis checklist

Your thesis is more than a general statement about your main idea. It needs to establish a clear position you will support with balanced proofs (logos, pathos, ethos). Use the checklist below to help you create a thesis.

This section is adapted from Writing with a Thesis: A Rhetoric Reader by David Skwire and Sarah Skwire:

Make sure you avoid the following when creating your thesis:

  • A thesis is not a title: Homes and schools (title) vs. Parents ought to participate more in the education of their children (good thesis).
  • A thesis is not an announcement of the subject: My subject is the incompetence of the Supreme Court vs. The Supreme Court made a mistake when it ruled in favor of George W. Bush in the 2000 election.
  • A thesis is not a statement of absolute fact: Jane Austen is the author of Pride and Prejudice.
  • A thesis is not the whole essay: A thesis is your main idea/claim/refutation/problem-solution expressed in a single sentence or a combination of sentences.
  • Please note that according to the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, Seventh Edition, "A thesis statement is a single sentence that formulates both your topic and your point of view" (Gibaldi 42). However, if your paper is more complex and requires a thesis statement, your thesis may require a combination of sentences.

Make sure you follow these guidelines when creating your thesis:

  • A good thesis is unified:
    • NOT: Detective stories are not a high form of literature, but people have always been fascinated by them, and many fine writers have experimented with them

(floppy). vs.

  •  
    • BETTER: Detective stories appeal to the basic human desire for thrills (concise).

  • A good thesis is specific:
    • NOT: James Joyce’s Ulysses is very good. vs.

    • BETTER: James Joyce’s Ulysses helped create a new way for writers to deal with the unconscious.

  • Try to be as specific as possible (without providing too much detail) when creating your thesis:
    • NOT: James Joyce’s Ulysses helped create a new way for writers to deal with the unconscious. vs.

    • BETTER: James Joyce’s Ulysses helped create a new way for writers to deal with the unconscious by utilizing the findings of Freudian psychology and introducing the techniques of literary stream-of-consciousness.

Quick Checklist:

_____ The thesis/claim follows the guidelines outlined above

_____ The thesis/claim matches the requirements and goals of the assignment

_____ The thesis/claim is clear and easily recognizable

_____ The thesis/claim seems supportable by good reasoning/data, emotional appeal

Contributors: Allen Brizee.
Summary:

This resource outlines the generally accepted structure for introductions, body paragraphs, and conclusions in an academic argument paper. Keep in mind that this resource contains guidelines and not strict rules about organization. Your structure needs to be flexible enough to meet the requirements of your purpose and audience.

Body Paragraphs

Body paragraphs: Moving from general to specific information

Your paper should be organized in a manner that moves from general to specific information. Every time you begin a new subject, think of an inverted pyramid - The broadest range of information sits at the top, and as the paragraph or paper progresses, the author becomes more and more focused on the argument ending with specific, detailed evidence supporting a claim. Lastly, the author explains how and why the information she has just provided connects to and supports her thesis (a brief wrap-up or warrant).

Image Caption: Moving from General to Specific Information

The four elements of a good paragraph (TTEB)

A good paragraph should contain at least the following four elements: Transition, Topic sentence, specific Evidence and analysis, and a Brief wrap-up sentence (also known as a warrant) –TTEB!

  1. A Transition sentence leading in from a previous paragraph to assure smooth reading. This acts as a hand-off from one idea to the next.
  2. A Topic sentence that tells the reader what you will be discussing in the paragraph.
  3. Specific Evidence and analysis that supports one of your claims and that provides a deeper level of detail than your topic sentence.
  4. A Brief wrap-up sentence that tells the reader how and why this information supports the paper’s thesis. The brief wrap-up is also known as the warrant. The warrant is important to your argument because it connects your reasoning and support to your thesis, and it shows that the information in the paragraph is related to your thesis and helps defend it.

Supporting evidence (induction and deduction)

Induction

Induction is the type of reasoning that moves from specific facts to a general conclusion. When you use induction in your paper, you will state your thesis (which is actually the conclusion you have come to after looking at all the facts) and then support your thesis with the facts. The following is an example of induction taken from Dorothy U. Seyler’s Understanding Argument:

Facts:

There is the dead body of Smith. Smith was shot in his bedroom between the hours of 11:00 p.m. and 2:00 a.m., according to the coroner. Smith was shot with a .32 caliber pistol. The pistol left in the bedroom contains Jones’s fingerprints. Jones was seen, by a neighbor, entering the Smith home at around 11:00 p.m. the night of Smith’s death. A coworker heard Smith and Jones arguing in Smith’s office the morning of the day Smith died.

Conclusion: Jones killed Smith.

Here, then, is the example in bullet form:

  • Conclusion: Jones killed Smith
  • Support: Smith was shot by Jones’ gun, Jones was seen entering the scene of the crime, Jones and Smith argued earlier in the day Smith died.
  • Assumption: The facts are representative, not isolated incidents, and thus reveal a trend, justifying the conclusion drawn.
Deduction

When you use deduction in an argument, you begin with general premises and move to a specific conclusion. There is a precise pattern you must use when you reason deductively. This pattern is called syllogistic reasoning (the syllogism). Syllogistic reasoning (deduction) is organized in three steps:

  1. Major premise
  2. Minor premise
  3. Conclusion

In order for the syllogism (deduction) to work, you must accept that the relationship of the two premises lead, logically, to the conclusion. Here are two examples of deduction or syllogistic reasoning:

Socrates

  1. Major premise: All men are mortal.
  2. Minor premise: Socrates is a man.
  3. Conclusion: Socrates is mortal.

Lincoln

  1. Major premise: People who perform with courage and clear purpose in a crisis are great leaders.
  2. Minor premise: Lincoln was a person who performed with courage and a clear purpose in a crisis.
  3. Conclusion: Lincoln was a great leader.

So in order for deduction to work in the example involving Socrates, you must agree that (1) all men are mortal (they all die); and (2) Socrates is a man. If you disagree with either of these premises, the conclusion is invalid. The example using Socrates isn’t so difficult to validate. But when you move into more murky water (when you use terms such as courage, clear purpose, and great), the connections get tenuous.

For example, some historians might argue that Lincoln didn’t really shine until a few years into the Civil War, after many Union losses to Southern leaders such as Robert E. Lee.

The following is a clear example of deduction gone awry:

  1. Major premise: All dogs make good pets.
  2. Minor premise: Doogle is a dog.
  3. Conclusion: Doogle will make a good pet.

If you don’t agree that all dogs make good pets, then the conclusion that Doogle will make a good pet is invalid.

Enthymemes

When a premise in a syllogism is missing, the syllogism becomes an enthymeme. Enthymemes can be very effective in argument, but they can also be unethical and lead to invalid conclusions. Authors often use enthymemes to persuade audiences. The following is an example of an enthymeme:

If you have a plasma TV, you are not poor.

The first part of the enthymeme (If you have a plasma TV) is the stated premise. The second part of the statement (you are not poor) is the conclusion. Therefore, the unstated premise is “Only rich people have plasma TVs.” The enthymeme above leads us to an invalid conclusion (people who own plasma TVs are not poor) because there are plenty of people who own plasma TVs who are poor. Let’s look at this enthymeme in a syllogistic structure:

  • Major premise: People who own plasma TVs are rich (unstated above).
  • Minor premise: You own a plasma TV.
  • Conclusion: You are not poor.

To help you understand how induction and deduction can work together to form a solid argument, you may want to look at the United States Declaration of Independence. The first section of the Declaration contains a series of syllogisms, while the middle section is an inductive list of examples. The final section brings the first and second sections together in a compelling conclusion.

Contributors: Allen Brizee.
Summary:

This resource outlines the generally accepted structure for introductions, body paragraphs, and conclusions in an academic argument paper. Keep in mind that this resource contains guidelines and not strict rules about organization. Your structure needs to be flexible enough to meet the requirements of your purpose and audience.

Rebuttal Sections

In order to present a fair and convincing message, you may need to anticipate, research, and outline some of the common positions (arguments) that dispute your thesis. If the situation (purpose) calls for you to do this, you will present and then refute these other positions in the rebuttal section of your essay.

It is important to consider other positions because in most cases, your primary audience will be fence-sitters. Fence-sitters are people who have not decided which side of the argument to support.

People who are on your side of the argument will not need a lot of information to align with your position. People who are completely against your argument—perhaps for ethical or religious reasons—will probably never align with your position no matter how much information you provide. Therefore, the audience you should consider most important are those people who haven't decided which side of the argument they will support—the fence-sitters.

In many cases, these fence-sitters have not decided which side to align with because they see value in both positions. Therefore, to not consider opposing positions to your own in a fair manner may alienate fence-sitters when they see that you are not addressing their concerns or discussion opposing positions at all.

Organizing your rebuttal section

Following the TTEB method outlined in the Body Paragraph section, forecast all the information that will follow in the rebuttal section and then move point by point through the other positions addressing each one as you go. The outline below, adapted from Seyler's Understanding Argument, is an example of a rebuttal section from a thesis essay.

When you rebut or refute an opposing position, use the following three-part organization:

The opponent’s argument: Usually, you should not assume that your reader has read or remembered the argument you are refuting. Thus, at the beginning of your paragraph, you need to state, accurately and fairly, the main points of the argument you will refute.

Your position: Next, make clear the nature of your disagreement with the argument or position you are refuting. Your position might assert, for example, that a writer has not proved his assertion because he has provided evidence that is outdated, or that the argument is filled with fallacies.

Your refutation: The specifics of your counterargument will depend upon the nature of your disagreement. If you challenge the writer’s evidence, then you must present the more recent evidence. If you challenge assumptions, then you must explain why they do not hold up. If your position is that the piece is filled with fallacies, then you must present and explain each fallacy.

Contributors: Allen Brizee.
Summary:

This resource outlines the generally accepted structure for introductions, body paragraphs, and conclusions in an academic argument paper. Keep in mind that this resource contains guidelines and not strict rules about organization. Your structure needs to be flexible enough to meet the requirements of your purpose and audience.

Conclusions

Conclusions wrap up what you have been discussing in your paper. After moving from general to specific information in the introduction and body paragraphs, your conclusion should begin pulling back into more general information that restates the main points of your argument. Conclusions may also call for action or overview future possible research. The following outline may help you conclude your paper:

In a general way,

  • Restate your topic and why it is important,
  • Restate your thesis/claim,
  • Address opposing viewpoints and explain why readers should align with your position,
  • Call for action or overview future research possibilities.

Remember that once you accomplish these tasks, unless otherwise directed by your instructor, you are finished. Done. Complete. Don't try to bring in new points or end with a whiz bang(!) conclusion or try to solve world hunger in the final sentence of your conclusion. Simplicity is best for a clear, convincing message.

The preacher's maxim is one of the most effective formulas to follow for argument papers:

  1. Tell what you're going to tell them (introduction).

  2. Tell them (body).

  3. Tell them what you told them (conclusion).

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