1. Gather some information about your topic by writing down everything you know, checking out some information on Google, or looking at TED lectures by experts on new technologies and science like the ones in the videos I include on this blog. Use what you read to help you create some search terms, and to help you decide on your own position.
2. Write down different positions people argue on this topic. Academic persuasive essays usually make one of five types of claims:
- Claims of Value: What is really important? What should we protect or value most?
- Claims of Fact: What really did happen? How should we think about this issue?
- Claims of Definition: What is the actual meaning of a word, an event, or an idea? What really is the problem?
- Claims of Policy: What should be done about this problem?
- Claims of Cause or Effect: What is the reason for this problem? What is the cause? What is the effect?
3. Use the questions above to write as many Claim questions for your issue as you can. Most issues can have essays on all of the above questions.
4. Write your Claim Question. Decide which of the questions you are most interested in writing about. Write it down. The question may be a part of your introduction, or it can make a great title.
5. Write down your own answer to the question. This is your thesis.
6. Write down the reasons you believe this answer. These will be your topic ideas for the body of your paper. Turn these into sentences and you will have your topic sentences done.
7. Write down what other answers people have to this question. This will help you refine the persuasive essay claim you want to make, and prepare you for adjusting your claim answer. You may want to qualify your answer by saying “If this… then…” Or you might want to narrow the claim to a certain group, or a certain time period. You can also use these opposing views in the body of your paper by bringing them up and then refuting them and saying why your ideas are better.
8. Make a list of search terms. Looking at what you’ve written so far, make a list of terms you can look up to try to get articles for your paper.
9. Do research in your library or on Google Scholar. As you read each article, underline parts that give you ideas you can use to support different parts of your paper.