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Discursive or argumentative writing involves discussing, or arguing around a particular topic.

The task of discursive writing is closely linked to that of argumentative writing. The main difference is that in discursive writing you are asked to discuss, which usually means providing points both for and against whereas in argumentative writing you are asked to argue a case, which usually involves only points for or against a particular opinion. In both discursive and argumentative writing you might be expected to try to persuade the reader that your point of view is correct. Discursive writing will generally be more balanced than argumentative writing.

Each type of writing involves:


Taking several lines of argument and developing them. Presenting lines of argument in an ordered fashion. Giving evidence to support the lines of argument. Linking coherently each line of argument.

There are basically two differences:


Discursive writing requires providing points for and against. Argumentative writing requires providing points either for or against.

You have a choice of two ways of ordering your points:

Start with what for you is the most powerful point, move on to the next most powerful point and so on. Start with what for you is the least powerful point, move on to the next most powerful and up to the most powerful.
If your essay is discursive, you must also decide whether you personally are for and against. Your own personal view will determine whether you start with the points for or points against. The best way to structure a discursive essay is to deal with your own viewpoints second.

You must develop points made by offering evidence to support them. It is also important to link points for and points against and to show when your writing is moving from for to against, or from against to for. Introduction and Conclusion: Each of these paragraphs will probably be short. Although there is probably less scope for eye-catching openings in discursive and argumentative writing than there is in narrative, that is no excuse to make your opening dull. In the case of discursive writing, the concluding paragraph gives you an opportunity to show your own views and opinions. In the case of argumentative writing, you have a chance to round off your line of argument with a final appeal to the reader.

1. Select the topic of your essay. 2. Choose the central idea, or thesis, of your essay.

For example: Information technology has revolutionized the way we work. 3. Outline your essay into introductory, body and summary paragraphs. 4. The introductory paragraph begins with an interesting sentence. For example: Home workers have grown from 150,000 to over 12 million in the past 5 years thanks to the wonders of the computer.

5. After this first sentence, add your thesis statement from above. 6. Use one sentence to introduce every body paragraph to follow. For example: The Internet has made this possible by extending the office into the home. 7. Finish the introductory paragraph with a short summary or goal statement. For example: Technological innovation has thus made the traditional workplace obsolete.

In each of the body paragraphs (usually two or three) the ideas first presented in the introductory paragraph are developed. 9. Develop your body paragraphs by giving detailed information and examples. For example: When the Internet was first introduced it was used primarily by scientists, now it is common in every classroom. 10. Body paragraphs should develop the central idea and finish with a summary of that idea. There should be at least two examples or facts in each body paragraph to support the central idea.
8.

11. The summary paragraph summarizes your essay and is often a reverse of the introductory paragraph. 12. Begin the summary paragraph by quickly restating the principal ideas of your body paragraphs. For example: The Internet in the home, benefits and ease of use of modern computer systems... 13. The penultimate sentence should restate your basic thesis of the essay. For example: We have now passed from the industrial revolution to the information revolution. 14. Your final statement can be a future prediction based on what you have shown in the essay. For example: The next step: The complete disappearance of the workplace.