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26 Planning a Discursive Essay

Discursive essay – description.

A discursive essay is a form of critical essay that attempts to provide the reader with a balanced argument on a topic, supported by evidence. It requires critical thinking, as well as sound and valid arguments (see Chapter 25) that acknowledge and analyse arguments both for and against any given topic, plus discursive essay writing appeals to reason, not emotions or opinions. While it may draw some tentative conclusions, based on evidence, the main aim of a discursive essay is to inform the reader of the key arguments and allow them to arrive at their own conclusion.

The writer needs to research the topic thoroughly to present more than one perspective and should check their own biases and assumptions through critical reflection (see Chapter 30).

Unlike persuasive writing, the writer does not need to have knowledge of the audience, though should write using academic tone and language (see Chapter 20).

Choose Your Topic Carefully

A basic guide to choosing an assignment topic is available in Chapter 23, however choosing a topic for a discursive essay means considering more than one perspective. Not only do you need to find information about the topic via academic sources, you need to be able to construct a worthwhile discussion, moving from idea to idea. Therefore, more forward planning is required. The following are decisions that need to be considered when choosing a discursive essay topic:

  • These will become the controlling ideas for your three body paragraphs (some essays may require more). Each controlling idea will need arguments both for and against.
  • For example, if my topic is “renewable energy” and my three main (controlling) ideas are “cost”, “storage”, “environmental impact”, then I will need to consider arguments both for and against each of these three concepts. I will also need to have good academic sources with examples or evidence to support my claim and counter claim for each controlling idea (More about this in Chapter 27).
  • Am I able to write a thesis statement about this topic based on the available research? In other words, do my own ideas align with the available research, or am I going to be struggling to support my own ideas due to a lack of academic sources or research? You need to be smart about your topic choice. Do not make it harder than it has to be. Writing a discursive essay is challenging enough without struggling to find appropriate sources.
  • For example, perhaps I find a great academic journal article about the uptake of solar panel installation in suburban Australia and how this household decision is cost-effective long-term, locally stored, and has minimal, even beneficial environmental impact due to the lowering of carbon emissions. Seems too good to be true, yet it is perfect for my assignment. I would have to then find arguments AGAINST everything in the article that supports transitioning suburbs to solar power. I would have to challenge the cost-effectiveness, the storage, and the environmental impact study. Now, all of a sudden my task just became much more challenging.
  • There may be vast numbers of journal articles written about your topic, but consider how relevant they may be to your tentative thesis statement. It takes a great deal of time to search for appropriate academic sources. Do you have a good internet connection at home or will you need to spend some quality time at the library? Setting time aside to complete your essay research is crucial for success.

It is only through complete forward planning about the shape and content of your essay that you may be able to choose the topic that best suits your interests, academic ability and time management. Consider how you will approach the overall project, not only the next step.

Research Your Topic

When completing a library search for online peer reviewed journal articles, do not forget to use Boolean Operators to refine or narrow your search field. Standard Boolean Operators are (capitalized) AND, OR and NOT. While using OR will expand your search, AND and NOT will reduce the scope of your search. For example, if I want information on ageism and care giving, but I only want it to relate to the elderly, I might use the following to search a database: ageism AND care NOT children. Remember to keep track of your search strings (like the one just used) and then you’ll know what worked and what didn’t as you come and go from your academic research.

The UQ Library provides an excellent step-by-step guide to searching databases:

Searching in databases – Library – University of Queensland (uq.edu.au)

Did you know that you can also link the UQ Library to Google Scholar? This link tells you how:

Google Scholar – Library – University of Queensland (uq.edu.au)

Write the Thesis Statement

The concept of a thesis statement was introduced in Chapter 21. The information below relates specifically to a discursive essay thesis statement.

As noted in the introduction to this chapter, the discursive essay should not take a stance and therefore the thesis statement must also impartially indicate more than one perspective. The goal is to present both sides of an argument equally and allow the reader to make an informed and well-reasoned choice after providing supporting evidence for each side of the argument.

Sample thesis statements: Solar energy is a cost -effective solution to burning fossil fuels for electricity , however lower income families cannot afford the installation costs .

Some studies indicate that teacher comments written in red may have no effect on students’ emotions , however other studies suggest that seeing red ink on papers could cause some students unnecessary stress. [1]

According to social justice principles, education should be available to all , yet historically, the intellectually and physically impaired may have been exempt from participation due to their supposed inability to learn. [2]

This is where your pros and cons list comes into play. For each pro, or positive statement you make, about your topic, create an equivalent con, or negative statement and this will enable you to arrive at two opposing assertions – the claim and counter claim.

While there may be multiple arguments or perspectives related to your essay topic, it is important that you match each claim with a counter-claim. This applies to the thesis statement and each supporting argument within the body paragraphs of the essay.

It is not just a matter of agreeing or disagreeing. A neutral tone is crucial. Do not include positive or negative leading statements, such as “It is undeniable that…” or “One should not accept the view that…”. You are NOT attempting to persuade the reader to choose one viewpoint over another.

Leading statements / language will be discussed further, in class, within term three of the Academic English course.

Thesis Structure:

  • Note the two sides (indicated in green and orange)
  • Note the use of tentative language: “Some studies”, “may have”, “could cause”, “some students”
  • As the thesis is yet to be discussed in-depth, and you are not an expert in the field, do not use definitive language
  • The statement is also one sentence, with a “pivot point” in the middle, with a comma and signposting to indicate a contradictory perspective (in black). Other examples include, nevertheless, though, although, regardless, yet, albeit. DO NOT use the word “but” as it lacks academic tone. Some signposts (e.g., although, though, while) may be placed at the start of the two clauses rather than in the middle – just remember the comma, for example, “While some studies suggest solar energy is cost-effective, other critical research questions its affordability.”
  • Also note that it is based on preliminary research and not opinion: “some studies”, “other studies”, “according to social justice principles”, “critical research”.

Claims and Counter Claims

NOTE: Please do not confuse the words ‘claim’ and ‘counter-claim’ with moral or value judgements about right/wrong, good/bad, successful/unsuccessful, or the like. The term ‘claim’ simply refers to the first position or argument you put forward (whether for or against), and ‘counter-claim’ is the alternate position or argument.

In a discursive essay the goal is to present both sides equally and then draw some tentative conclusions based on the evidence presented.

  • To formulate your claims and counter claims, write a list of pros and cons.
  • For each pro there should be a corresponding con.
  • Three sets of pros and cons will be required for your discursive essay. One set for each body paragraph. These become your claims and counter claims.
  • For a longer essay, you would need further claims and counter claims.
  • Some instructors prefer students to keep the pros and cons in the same order across the body paragraphs. Each paragraph would then have a pro followed by a con or else a con followed by a pro. The order should align with your thesis; if the thesis gives a pro view of the topic followed by a negative view (con) then the paragraphs should also start with the pro and follow with the con, or else vice versa. If not aligned and consistent, the reader may easily become confused as the argument proceeds. Ask your teacher if this is a requirement for your assessment.

discursive essay example national 5

Use previous chapters to explore your chosen topic through concept mapping (Chapter 18) and essay outlining (Chapter 19), with one variance; you must include your proposed claims and counter claims in your proposed paragraph structures. What follows is a generic model for a discursive essay. The following Chapter 27 will examine this in further details.

Sample Discursive Essay Outline 

The paragraphs are continuous; the dot-points are only meant to indicate content.

Introduction

  • Thesis statement
  • Essay outline (including 3 controlling ideas)

Body Paragraphs X 3 (Elaboration and evidence will be more than one sentence, though the topic, claim and counter claim should be succinct)

  • T opic sentence, including 1/3 controlling ideas (the topic remains the same throughout the entire essay; it is the controlling idea that changes)
  • A claim/assertion about the controlling idea
  • E laboration – more information about the claim
  • E vidence -academic research (Don’t forget to tell the reader how / why the evidence supports the claim. Be explicit in your E valuation rather than assuming the connection is obvious to the reader)
  • A counter claim (remember it must be COUNTER to the claim you made, not about something different)
  • E laboration – more information about the counter claim
  • E vidence – academic research (Don’t forget to tell the reader how / why the evidence supports the claim. Be explicit in your E valuation rather than assuming the connection is obvious to the reader)
  • Concluding sentence – L inks back to the topic and/or the next controlling idea in the following paragraph

Mirror the introduction. The essay outline should have stated the plan for the essay – “This essay will discuss…”, therefore the conclusion should identify that this has been fulfilled, “This essay has discussed…”, plus summarise the controlling ideas and key arguments. ONLY draw tentative conclusions BOTH for and against, allowing the reader to make up their own mind about the topic. Also remember to re-state the thesis in the conclusion. If it is part of the marking criteria, you should also include a recommendation or prediction about the future use or cost/benefit of the chosen topic/concept.

A word of warning, many students fall into the generic realm of stating that there should be further research on their topic or in the field of study. This is a gross statement of the obvious as all academia is ongoing. Try to be more practical with your recommendations and also think about who would instigate them and where the funding might come from.

This chapter gives an overview of what a discursive essay is and a few things to consider when choosing your topic. It also provides a generic outline for a discursive essay structure. The following chapter examines the structure in further detail.

  • Inez, S. M. (2018, September 10). What is a discursive essay, and how do you write a good one? Kibin. ↵
  • Hale, A., & Basides, H. (2013). The keys to academic English. Palgrave ↵

researched, reliable, written by academics and published by reputable publishers; often, but not always peer reviewed

assertion, maintain as fact

The term ‘claim’ simply refers to the first position or argument you put forward (whether for or against), and ‘counter-claim’ is the alternate position or argument.

Academic Writing Skills Copyright © 2021 by Patricia Williamson is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

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How to Write a Discursive Essay: Tips to Succeed & Examples

So, you need to accomplish your discursive essay writing. The typical questions most students ask are: How do you write it? What is discursive essay?

A discursive essay is an academic paper that involves a discussion on a particular topic. It is usually assigned to college students. You may be required to write a paper wherein you have to do one of the following:

  • argue for the issue or against it;
  • present your points of view on both sides;
  • provide your unprejudiced opinion on that matter.

Don’t panic!

Check out the tips from  Custom-writing.org  experts below. They will assist you in discursive writing and encourage you to examine essay examples. Moreover, in this article, you’ll also learn about different types of discursive essay, and its introduction, main body, and conclusion structure.

  • ❓ What Is It?
  • 🏁 Main Types

Introduction

  • Basic Don’Ts
  • ✏️ Frequent Questions

❓ What Is a Discursive Essay?

First of all, let’s figure out what the discursive essay is.

You may think it’s similar to the argumentative essay. Yes, but there’s a difference between them in the structure and purpose of these two types of assignments:

We will take a detailed look at how to structure a discursive essay later, and now let’s find out what are the types of this assignment.

Keep reading!

🏁 Discursive Essay: Main Types

You have to think more critically and more in-depth when reviewing all viewpoints and aspects of discursive writing. Check these three main types of essay writing:

  • Opinion Essay  requires the author’s opinion on an issue which is stated in the introductory paragraph. It should be clearly presented and followed by reasons and supporting examples. Also, this essay paper should contain an opposing argument that comes before the conclusion. The writer must explain to readers why the mentioned argument is considered to be unconvincing. The writer’s opinion should be restated/summarized in the conclusion.
  • For and Against Essay  provides readers with a thorough debate on the topic with the help of opposing points of view. Each point should be discussed objectively and described in details. The introductory paragraph puts the issue under consideration. The main body of this essay paper should present examples, reasons, and arguments supported by justifications. The author’s own opinion with balanced reflections on the topic should be stated only in conclusion.
  • Essay Suggesting Solution to a Problem  discusses problems and finds the main solutions. The introduction paragraph explicitly declares a problem and analyses its causes and consequences. The main body of the essay should offer some suggestions for a possible solution to the problem and potential state consequences or expected results. In conclusion, author’s opinion should be distinctly summarized.

📑 How to Write a Discursive Essay

Well, it’s time to talk about the structure of a discursive essay. Like most of the assignments, a discursive paper starts with an introduction and ends with a conclusion:

The first question you may ask is how to start a discursive essay introduction. Simple!

  • Give your readers a hook – something that would sound interesting to them.
  • Provide a short explanation of the problem. You may use quotations, as well as rhetorical questions.
  • Show your readers both sides of the arguments and sum up.

You may be wondering…

Is there something I should avoid in my discursive essay introduction?

Yes. No stereotypes and generalizations, please!

The next step under formal essay writing you should take is to compose the body.

Tips on how to write a discursive essay.

There are a few points you should remember:

  • First and foremost: stay unprejudiced . Assess all of the aspects of an issue. Leave your feelings behind or for another essay type.
  • Second: build your argumentation . If you have several arguments for your viewpoint—provide them in separate paragraphs. This will help you to keep your essay comprehensible and distinct. Don’t forget to submit supporting evidence.
  • Third: write the body of an essay in an alternate manner. What does it mean? If your first paragraph supports the paper’s argument, then in the second paragraph you should write something in the opposite of it. Such a combination of supporting and opposite paragraphs will make your essay look apparent, and well researched. Besides, it will help you to remain neutral.
  • Fourth: include topic sentences and evidence . Write a summary of the argument at the beginning of the paragraph. It will allow the reader to easier understand what the paragraph is about. Provide evidence to show that you’re not making the facts up.

Well, you’ve almost finished your writing. Now you should focus on the last section. Keep reading, and you will learn how to write a conclusion for a discursive essay.

  • In the last section, you should summarize your article including the main points, specified in the body paragraphs.
  • You may also logically express your opinion. Remember: it should resonate with your evidence stated in the body paragraphs.
  • Don’t repeat findings, just summarize them.

Keep it short. Your conclusion length should not exceed one paragraph.

👍 Do’s and Don’ts

Do you want more discursive essay writing tips? Fine! Just check them below:

Basic Do’s of a Discursive Essay

  • Write in formal, impersonal style.
  • Introduce each point in a separate paragraph
  • Use topic sentences for each paragraph
  • Write well-developed paragraphs
  • Give reasons and examples for each point
  • Use sequencing
  • Use linking words and phrases
  • Make references to other sources and make sure that you follow proper citation style
  • Identify used sources

Basic Don’Ts of a Discursive Essay

  • Don’t use short forms, like I’ll, don’t, they’ve
  • Don’t use informal/colloquial language, for example: old as the hills, ain’t, gonna, etc.
  • Don’t use very emotional language, since it might make your discursive article look prejudiced
  • Don’t use over-generalizations. Extending the features of some elements from a group more than it is reasonable will lead to generous and inaccurate conclusions.
  • Don’t express your personal opinion too insistently
  • Don’t refer to statistics without proper referencing (check our citation guides )
  • Don’t use personal examples, leave it for a personal experience essay

Well, now you know what discursive essay means, what are its main types, and how to structure it.

Tips on how to write a discursive essay.

Discursive Essay Topics

  • Discussion of risk factors that impact human health.
  • Discuss the necessity of understanding cultural heritage to provide efficient health care.
  • Analyze different opinions on withdrawing patients’ treatment.
  • Examine different views on the Civil War.
  • Discuss what hostile emotional states are and how they impact human life.
  • Discuss the meaning of metaphors used by Virgil in Aeneid .
  • Describe different opinions on telehealth in nursing homes.
  • The ethicality of stem cell technology.
  • Explore the effectiveness of motivational interviewing .
  • Discuss how people present themselves online .
  • Discuss the reasons for Coca-Cola’s marketing success.
  • Analyze the food safety issues and the ways to improve the situation.
  • Examine the essential meaning of sleep for people’s physical and mental health.
  • Explore various complications of working with groups.
  • Discussion of the modern issues with virtue ethics .
  • Describe different views on the definition of love .
  • Give the for and against arguments considering food security technologies .
  • Discuss how the concept of the American dream is presented in the film The Great Gatsby.
  • Analyze the influence of family problems on children and suggest ways to improve the situation.
  • Present the various points of view on the ethical concepts of Buddhism.
  • Examine the attitudes towards the problem of homelessness and the suggested ways of its solution.
  • Explore different opinions on the American revolution and its consequences.
  • Discuss various policies and views around the globe on abortion .
  • Discussion of the history of food foraging in different communities.
  • Multiple thoughts on civility on the Internet .
  • Analyze arguments on the effectiveness of hand sanitizers.
  • Discuss the importance of visual aids in learning.
  • Present and evaluate the theories of international development .
  • Discuss how to prevent the spread of the West Nile Virus (WNV).
  • Is embracing renewable energy sources beneficial for both environment and the global economy?
  • Examine the correctness of the statement that the ideology of pleasure is the foundation of social activism.
  • Discussion of the ethical dilemma of population control.
  • Discuss the ethics of experimental studies .
  • Analyze the topic of gun violence and gun control laws.
  • Explore the reasons for opioid crises in the US.
  • Give arguments for and against random drug testing.
  • Discuss the problem of endangered species .
  • Express your opinion on the necessity of parents to be included in children’s education .
  • Present your attitude towards working in a bureaucratic organization.
  • Discuss the issue of the nursing shortage and suggest a solution.
  • Give different viewpoints on the definition of beauty .
  • Analyze the problem of police misconduct .
  • Discuss the description of violence of African people in literature.
  • Examine the views on Gardner’s multiple intelligence theory .
  • Describe the various opinions on mysticism and express your attitude towards it.
  • Discuss the diverse standpoints on spirituality.
  • Is nature protection an urgent problem?
  • Analyze different ideas on physical privacy at work.
  • Discussion on the Jewish heritage in nursing.
  • Examine the views on the meaning of life .

Good luck with your discussions and discursive essays! Be sure to check out the articles on our blog for more academic wisdom. By the way, on the Custom-Writing website, you may find the best essay topics for your academic writing.

And don’t forget to share your opinion in the comments below.

You might also be interested in:

  • Friendship Essay: Writing Guide & Topic Ideas about Friendship
  • Teamwork Essay: Quick Guide on How to Write a Good Paper
  • Compare and Contrast Essay Writing Tips and Examples
  • Transportation Essay: Writing Tips and Brilliant Topics

✏️ Discursive Essay FAQ

There is no one definitely correct answer to this question. Like any other essay, the text should have a clear structure with an introduction, body, and conclusion. The most important thing is that the overall book needs to be cohesive, persuasive, and exciting to read.

An example of a step by step guide is:

1. Take a closer look at the topic, think about the points to cover.

2. Choose the most relevant points and compose the Body of the essay.

3. Add an appropriate Introduction and Conclusion.

To write a good conclusion, you need to have the rest of the essay finished. Does the body of your essay present well-structured points? Great, then see what you can conclude based on that. If possible, make a connection between the introduction and the conclusion.

To ensure that your essay has a perfect structure, start with creating an outline. Based on such a plan, you can present your points step by step. Your text should have a relevant introduction, several points in the main body (with examples), and a logical conclusion.

🔗 References

  • Writing an Opinion Essay: Grace Fleming, ThoughtCo
  • How to Write a Good Argumentative Essay: Easy Step-by-Step Guide: Master Class
  • Ending the Essay: Conclusions: Harvard College Writing Center
  • Academic Writing Style: University of Southern California
  • Cite Your Sources: Library Guides at University of California, Santa Cruz
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155 Exceptional Discursive Essay Topics To Try

Discursive Essay Topics

Do you have a discursive essay to prepare, and getting the right topic is proving challenging? Selecting the best title for your essay can be challenging because it requires a lot of research and a deep understanding of the respective discipline. For others, it is simply a lack of confidence and materials for research. So, what is the way out?

To help you get high grades, this post provides a list of 155 hot topics that you can use. Consider using them as they are or tweak a little to fit your preference. Do not just select any topic for your discursive essay; select the best.

How to Select a Good Discursive Essay Topic

Before we can list the best topics to write a discursive essay on, it is important to answer the question, “How do you pick the best?” Here are some expert tips:

Interesting to You No matter the study discipline, the topic you select should be interesting. This can help you to develop a stronger attachment with the work, increasing the chances of crafting a high-quality paper. If you select a topic that is not interesting, the chances are that it will become challenging midway. Relevant As a college or university student, every paper you do should help push you higher into your career ladder. Therefore, it is important to select topics that are relevant to your field, especially the latest happenings. For example, a student pursuing international relations might want to explore areas such as the recent withdrawal of the US from Afghanistan, the recent Israel-Hamas war, or the American policy on climate change. Enough Materials As you select the topic, it will be an excellent idea to also think about the resources that will be used to prepare it. If you do not have ample books, journals, and other publications, there is a danger of getting stuck. Focused and Catchy

When your lecturer checks the essay, the topic is what you will get first, and, therefore, you should make it catchy. This makes the reader want to go deeper into the paper and see what you have to say. A good topic is also likely to earn you a higher grade.

Next, we will highlight the main essay ideas, starting with higher English discursive essay topics. We will also tell you why it is important to work with an expert writer.

Good Discursive Essay Topics for Higher English

  • Should foreign languages be taught in all schools?
  • Both safe sex and abstinence should be taught in high school.
  • In education, are motivational theories effective?
  • Teenagers and children should always speak out about domestic violence.
  • Should the government ban all types of sports betting?
  • Cheating during college examinations should be punished severely.
  • Alternative sources of energy are excellent in addressing global warming phenomena.
  • Good communication skills are crucial for success in business.
  • Should we make recycling mandatory for all?
  • E-books should not replace conventional books in college and university.
  • Should we reduce the legal age for acquiring a driving license in the UK?
  • Every business should invest in innovation.
  • Competition: Is it a good thing?
  • Are girls too mean in relationships?
  • Is fashion important?

Discursive Writing Topics in Sports

  • Can you keep children out of danger through sports?
  • Girls should be allowed to participate in the same sports as boys.
  • Should we legalize the use of steroid alternatives in athletics?
  • Students should be paid for participating in school sports.
  • All females should be banned from taking part in extreme sports.
  • Alcohol and tobacco adverts should be banned from school sports events.
  • The rules used to guide how coaches treat players are not strict enough.
  • Parents should disallow their students from participating in school soccer.
  • Should sports betting be made legal in all countries?
  • Are video games sports?
  • Is there a way of preventing injuries in soccer?
  • Engaging in professional sports is a way of life and not a hobby.
  • Being gay in sports draws a lot of attention from the media.
  • Is it acceptable for a soccer coach to lose his/her emotions on the field?
  • Sports can result in both positive and negative impacts on a person’s health.
  • Chess: Should it be considered a fully-fledged type of sport like basketball and soccer?
  • Do athletes experience stress?

Controversial Discursive Essay Topics for You

  • Death penalty: Is it effective?
  • What are the main causes of war?

Should we abolish all tobacco products?

  • Abortion should be abolished.
  • Illegal migrants: Should they be granted the right of abode?
  • What should society do to reduce payment inequality between men and women?
  • Capitalism is the best economic model.
  • Should we use animals for research?
  • BREXIT was a huge mistake.
  • Computer games are bad for children.
  • Ballarat Rebellion: Why did it end in just 30 minutes?
  • Sex before marriage should be forbidden.
  • Is homeschooling better than normal schooling?
  • To succeed in business, communication is the most important thing?
  • Fast foods should be disqualified as food.
  • Parents are to blame for high levels of overweight and obesity among children.
  • Is globalization really important?
  • Should human cloning be allowed?
  • Online dating has ruined the importance of traditional romance.
  • Can politics be free and fair?

Interesting Topics for Discursive Essays

  • Uniforms in school limit student’s freedom of expression.
  • Should all steroid users be banned from all sports in the UK?
  • Should all court proceedings be captured on camera?
  • Same-sex marriages: Should they be banned?
  • Does workplace diversity result in higher productivity?
  • What is the main challenge for women in the workplace?
  • Post-WWII America: How did it grow?
  • Should parents select careers for their children?
  • Reading non-fiction books helps to improve a person’s writing skills.
  • Should famous people get involved in leadership, especially politics?
  • Is Yoga a more spiritual event than fasting?
  • Short dresses should be banned from schools and workplaces.
  • Is space exploration a worthy undertaking?
  • Do we really require social media to stay in touch with each other?
  • Are vegetarians healthier than meat lovers?
  • WWI: What was the potential of the Russian Army?
  • Can virtual reality become dangerous to young people?
  • Rock music: Is it related to Satanism?

Unique Discursive Essay Topics

  • Do video games have an advantage for adults?
  • Punishing students that include physical torture should be banned in schools.
  • Is the global society becoming over-regulated?
  • Should we allow students to rate their trainers?
  • What is the biggest challenge faced by learners in college today?
  • Movies are better than cartoons.
  • Should America and Canada merge to form one country?
  • Smartphones are excellent learning tools.
  • Why do teenagers feel freer to talk on social media as opposed to face-to-face?
  • Does the training offered in college prepare students adequately for the real world?
  • To be successful, hard work alone is not enough.
  • Is the taxation system in the US effective?
  • Is college tuition in the UK too expensive?
  • Is studying Shakespeare in college a good idea today?
  • Without faith, life is incomplete.

Good Discursive Essay Topics in History

  • What was the impact of colonization on the Native Americans?
  • The main causes of the American Revolution.
  • History of racism in the UK.
  • What role did women play in WWII?
  • How significant are the measures adopted by the US to control terrorism?
  • What issues caused major conflicts between the South and North, resulting in the American Civil-war?
  • Were Egyptian pyramids constructed using slave labor?
  • Did WWII spur the creation of a new set of professionals?
  • During WWII, soldiers were the main spreaders of the Spanish Flu.
  • The results of WWI caused WWII: Is it correct?
  • The Second Civil War in South Sudan resulted in the creation of the independent republic of South Sudan.
  • Spanish-American War: Was it the cheapest war in history?
  • Why did the Soviet invade Afghanistan?
  • The Haiti Revolution of 1791-1804: Was it the only successful rebellion of liberated slaves?
  • Socio-economic and political revolution: What is the main difference?
  • The Panama Canal made the country one of the fastest-growing nations in Latin America.
  • Mexican-American War: Why did America Carry the Day?
  • How are the weapons of ancient Asian Civilization reflected in their culture?
  • How did the decolonized African states try to decolonize their history?

List of Discursive Essay Topics in Sociology

  • Should governments put some limits on the freedom of speech?
  • Giving male workers paternity leave: Is it a good idea?
  • Are there circumstances when torture is acceptable?
  • Failed parenting: What is the right form of punishment?
  • What are the main causes of single-parenthood in society today?
  • Socialism or capitalism: What is more beneficial to society?
  • Are women less privileged in society?
  • Increase in youth crime in the society: What are the major causes?
  • Is beauty more perceived than intelligence?
  • Racial stereotyping: What are the implications?
  • Society and culture: What is the meeting point?
  • Modern technology: Has it made the globe a better place?
  • Ethnicity: How does it impact social class?
  • Is it possible to stop social violence?
  • What are the psychological impacts of war on children?
  • Family structure: Does it influence societal development?
  • What is the best way to encourage society to have good morals?
  • Is the gay culture a threat to the traditional family?
  • Single parenting: Has it been accepted in society?

Top Discursive Essay Topics on Nature

  • Why is underground water not considered clean for drinking?
  • Tourism is one of the main reasons for animal theft.
  • Should all countries make recycling compulsory?
  • Plastic manufacturing factories: Should they be banned?
  • Between the public and government, who is more responsible for disturbing nature?
  • How does a vegan diet help the environment?
  • Is global warming real?
  • Can deaths caused by earthquakes be prevented?
  • Is scientific advancement creating an imbalance in nature?
  • Deforestation: How does it degrade the standard of life?
  • Is it possible to dump nuclear waste safely?
  • Can renewable sources of energy meet the growing demand?
  • Imagining the globe in 2300: How will it be when the oil is exhausted?
  • Should environmental conservation be introduced as a core course for all students?
  • Does smoking outdoors have any impact on the environment?
  • Should governments advocate for more artificial environments?
  • Is it a good idea to buy bottled water?
  • Are environmental awareness forums important?

Ideas for Discursive Essays in Nursing

  • Who between nurses and doctors is exposed to more health hazards?
  • Racial discrimination: Is it a major issue in nursing?
  • Do nurses play a bigger role than doctors in defining a patient’s recovery?
  • Should the government ban costumes that sexualize nurses?
  • What is the right number of nurses to have in a hospital?
  • Are female nurses more indifferent to patients than male ones?
  • Night shift nurses and day-time nurses: Who should earn more?
  • Nurses’ remuneration: Should their wages be at par with that of doctors?
  • Are most nurses negligent?
  • The importance of interpersonal skills in nursing?
  • What is the impact of nursing theories in nursing practice?
  • The importance of leadership and managerial skills in nursing.
  • Sociological issues in nursing.
  • Do nurses face racial issues in their course of work?

Use Essay Writing Help to Craft A-Rated Discursive Essays

Once you have selected the preferred topic to write a discursive essay on, it marks the start of the next phase, which is the actual writing of the paper. Here, you need to have top-notch research and writing skills to be able to prepare high-quality work. You also require a good mastery of the subject under consideration and enough time to work on the paper. Rarely do students have this combination, and their best way out is working with online academic writing experts.

The professionals offering academic writing services have been on this type of job for years and amassed enough experience. Indeed, they are likely to have handled similar types of paper before, and yours will be pretty easy to complete. The services are also cheap and the writers can work really fast to complete even the essays with the tightest deadlines. You can never go wrong with an expert holding your hand!

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  • Past Papers
  • National Qualifications  >  Subjects  >  English  >  National 5  > National 5 English

National 5 English

Updates and announcements, change to conditions of assessment in english portfolios from session 2024-25 (28/05/24).

We’re tightening the conditions of assessment in National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher English writing portfolios from session 2024-25.

What’s changing:

There will be a new mandatory requirement for learners to complete their first draft during class time, under the supervision of the teacher or lecturer.

This will enable teachers and lecturers to review learners’ first drafts before learners continue to work on them independently. Learners will then complete their final piece under some supervision and control, as is currently the case.

We aren’t making any other changes to the writing portfolios. The assessment standards remain the same.

Why we’re making this change:

We’ve been receiving ongoing feedback from the English teaching profession that, under the current assessment conditions, it can be difficult to verify that learners’ work is their own, as it’s possible they may have had input from others when working on their draft outside of school or college hours.

This change will further support teachers and lecturers with authenticating learners’ work in the writing portfolio. It will allow them to observe how learners’ work is developing without any outside influences. This will help them to identify if there are any unusual changes in the quality and content of a learner’s writing portfolio at the final submission stage, or if the final piece is unrecognisable from the first draft, which may indicate that it’s not the learner’s own work.

Updated documents

We’ve updated the course specifications and the portfolio-writing coursework assessment tasks at each level. These provide a clear process that learners need to follow when producing their portfolios. The updated documents are dated May 2024 and are valid from session 2024-25 onwards.

Alternative certification model

Essential information, course specification ( 27/05/24 ).

Explains the structure of the course, including its purpose and aims and information on the skills, knowledge and understanding that will be developed.

  • N5 English Course Specification  May 2024

Past Papers and Marking Instructions

Access all past papers by subject/level

Additional question papers resources

Illustrates the standard, structure and requirements of the question papers candidates will sit (includes marking instructions).

  • English: Reading for Understanding, Analysis and Evaluation Specimen Question Paper National 5 June 2018
  • English: Critical Reading Specimen Question Paper National 5 October 2018

There were no exams in 2021. The 2020-21 question paper resources are, for most subjects, modified papers which reflect the modifications put in place for session 2020-21

  • National 5 English Critical Reading question paper
  • National 5 English Reading for Understanding, Analysis and Evaluation question paper
  • National 5 English Critical Reading marking instructions
  • National 5 English Reading for Understanding, Analysis and Evaluation marking instructions

Coursework ( 27/05/24 )

This section provides information on marking instructions and/or the coursework assessment task(s). It includes information that centres need to administer coursework and must be read in conjunction with the course specification.

Instructions

  • Instructions for the submission of National 5 and Higher English coursework  January 2024
  • English Coursework Template - Microsoft Word
  • English Coursework Template - Google Docs
  • Coursework assessment task for National 5 English  
  • Guidance on conditions of assessment

Information on the production and submission of SQA-assessed coursework for National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher.

  • Coursework for External Assessment (261 KB)

Understanding Standards ( 27/11/2023 )

  • Examples of candidate evidence with commentaries

Webinar (recording)

Changes to course assessment from academic session 2017-18 onwards

  • Download webinar

Audio Presentation

  • Overview of Course Assessment (2 minutes)
  • Overview of Question Paper (4 minutes)

Changes to Understanding Standards materials

  • Changes to published Understanding Standards materials for all subjects

Please note: Understanding Standards materials are regularly reviewed to ensure they remain up to date.

Additional Resources session 2020-22

Further information can be found on the Understanding Standards Website.

Course reports ( 14/09/2023 )

Provides information on the performance of candidates - which is useful to teachers, lecturers and assessors in their preparation of candidates for future assessment.

Course Reports

  • 2023 National 5 English Course Report  September 2023
  • 2022 National 5 English Course Report  September 2022
  • 2019 National 5 English Course Report  September 2019

Verification Reports

  • English Verification Key Messages Round 1  March 2017
  • English and Communication Qualification Verification Summary Report  June 2019

Scottish Texts in English Courses

Scottish text list for National 5 and Higher English courses (valid from session 2018-19):

  • Scottish set text list 2018-19

Ushare open learning resources

Where can you take this course?

Centre Finder

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National 5 Discursive Persuasive Folio Piece For your

National 5 Discursive/ Persuasive Folio Piece

National 5 Discursive/ Persuasive Folio Piece

For your second folio piece, you are required to write a discursive essay of

For your second folio piece, you are required to write a discursive essay of 800 -1000 words.

You will be doing a Persuasive essay or discursive essay. A persuasive essay is

You will be doing a Persuasive essay or discursive essay. A persuasive essay is one that pushes/ supports one side of the argument. A discursive essay has a more balanced view.

What will the SQA expect? • • Well researched. Appropriate use of evidence. Detailed

What will the SQA expect? • • Well researched. Appropriate use of evidence. Detailed ideas and insights. Well-developed and coherent argument. Effective structure and well organised. Well-written with a good use of language. A bibliography- a list of any websites/ books used.

Research and planning

Research and planning

Choosing a topic You are allowed to write about almost anything. You should consider

Choosing a topic You are allowed to write about almost anything. You should consider the following before choosing your topic: • Do I know anything about the topic already? • Am I interested in the topic? • Is the topic current? • Can I easily find reliable information on the topic?

There are many topics to choose from. . . For example: • Nuclear weaponry.

There are many topics to choose from. . . For example: • Nuclear weaponry. • The use of torture. • Separate schools for gifted children. • Childhood obesity. • Social media. • Freedom of the press. • British membership of the E. U. • Regulation of the banks.

 • • • The use of renewable energy sources. The content of video

• • • The use of renewable energy sources. The content of video games. Reality T. V shows. The salary of sports stars. The benefits system. And so on. . .

Formulate a question Once you have chosen your topic, you must then formulate a

Formulate a question Once you have chosen your topic, you must then formulate a question based upon that topic. This question will then be the basis for your essay.

For example, if your topic is Scottish Independence your question could be: “Do video

For example, if your topic is Scottish Independence your question could be: “Do video games have a negative influence on young people? ”

If your topic is Drug taking in sport then your question might be something

If your topic is Drug taking in sport then your question might be something like: “Are sports people ever justified in using drugs to enhance their performance? ”

Task 1 What do you know or think about your topic already? Put all

Task 1 What do you know or think about your topic already? Put all your ideas into a spider diagram.

Task 2 What do you want to know or need to find out about

Task 2 What do you want to know or need to find out about your topic? Put all your ideas into a spider diagram.

Homework Come to a final decision about: • A topic. • Your question. •

Homework Come to a final decision about: • A topic. • Your question. • The side that you are on.

Research You must make sure that you research your topic in depth and detail.

Research You must make sure that you research your topic in depth and detail. You should research all sides of the argument so that you are completely informed about the all aspects of your topic.

Where will you look for information? • Books; magazines; journals. • Online articles and

Where will you look for information? • Books; magazines; journals. • Online articles and websites. • Video and audio clips. Make sure that you are using quality and reliable sources and that your information is up-to-date.

Some suggestions. • Debatabase. • International Debate Education Association.

Some suggestions. • Debatabase. • International Debate Education Association.

Quoting It is fine to quote from someone else’s work. This is not the

Quoting It is fine to quote from someone else’s work. This is not the same as plagiarism. You must make sure: • You use quotation marks (inverted commas) around the quote. • You write the quote down exactly as it is written or said. • You say where you got the quote from or who said the quote (Acknowledge your source)

Bibliography It is very important that you keep a note of the different books,

Bibliography It is very important that you keep a note of the different books, websites etc. that you use for your research. When you hand in your essay, you must include a list of the sources of information you used.

Planning When you have completed all your research, you must plan out your essay

Planning When you have completed all your research, you must plan out your essay before you start writing it. Organise your notes and organise your ideas so that you can start to plan how your essay will be organised and structured.

Structuring your essay

Structuring your essay

Your essay must have a good structure and must be well organised. Introduction Main

Your essay must have a good structure and must be well organised. Introduction Main Body Write approx. four or five paragraphs. Conclusion.

Introduction Try to include the following, in any order: • Make your topic clear.

Introduction Try to include the following, in any order: • Make your topic clear. • Make it clear what your overall opinion is on your topic. • Indicate what your essay will be discussing. • Try to include a great “hook” to get the readers immediate attention and make her want to read more.

Examples of “hooks” • • • A quotation. An interesting fact. An unusual piece

Examples of “hooks” • • • A quotation. An interesting fact. An unusual piece of trivia. A rhetorical question. An exaggeration or outrageous statement. An allusion to a piece of literature or historical event.

First two sentences are rhetorical questions which “hook” the reader. Topic is made clear

First two sentences are rhetorical questions which “hook” the reader. Topic is made clear What would you say if I told you that we were close to a source of fuel that was cheaper and cleaner than oil and coal? What if I also told you that we could extract it in the United Kingdom? Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, offers us hope on both Opinion is fronts. This is the process of extracting natural gas made and oil from rock formations deep underground clear by fracturing and injecting chemicals into them. The time has come for all our politicians, and the public, to get behind a process that offers enormous benefits to the environment, the what he will be economy, and the consumer. Indicates discussing

Main Body paragraphs You should write approximately four or five paragraphs. • Each paragraph

Main Body paragraphs You should write approximately four or five paragraphs. • Each paragraph should focus on a particular argument or idea related to your topic. • The sequence of the paragraphs should be logical and sensible. • Each paragraph should be well-organised.

In these paragraphs you must: • Emphasise your opinions and ideas. • Go into

In these paragraphs you must: • Emphasise your opinions and ideas. • Go into detail with your arguments. • Use lots of persuasive techniques.

In each paragraph you must: • Begin with a topic sentence which indicates what

In each paragraph you must: • Begin with a topic sentence which indicates what the paragraph will be focusing on. • Include evidence. • Explain and evaluate that evidence.

Conclusion • Re-cap your main argument(s). • Re-emphasise your overall opinion about your topic.

Conclusion • Re-cap your main argument(s). • Re-emphasise your overall opinion about your topic.

Other tips: • Avoid using the same phrases you have been using already in

Other tips: • Avoid using the same phrases you have been using already in your essay. Vary your vocabulary. • Try to include an indication as to why this issue is important to you. • If possible, link back to a point you made earlier on in your essay. • Try to finish with a memorable closing line.

Re-emphasises her overall opinion Social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter play a huge

Re-emphasises her overall opinion Social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter play a huge part in our lives, with almost 1. 4 billion of us using them each day. There are many reasons as to why I believe young children should not be allowed on these sites. They can be mentally affected due to the lack of social skills and interaction in ‘real-life’. Children face many dangers online such as grooming by paedophiles whom they can’t protect themselves from. Cyber-bulling is also, unfortunately another reason why children should stay away from these sites. We are forced to grow up very early in this day and age and I believe children shouldn’t have to worry about the aforementioned things, they should Sums up her main be able to just be children. arguments

Other things to consider. . .

Other things to consider. . .

Use of vocabulary It is essential that you are using formal language as well

Use of vocabulary It is essential that you are using formal language as well as a wide range of mature and sophisticated vocabulary. However, avoid using too much jargon. Your essay must be easy to understand for the marker.

Linking It is important to ensure that you are using specific words in order

Linking It is important to ensure that you are using specific words in order to link your paragraphs, phrases and sentences together. See your handout for different types of linking words/phrases that you should try to use in your essay.

Persuasive vs discursive

IMAGES

  1. Sqa Creative Writing National 5

    discursive essay example national 5

  2. College Essay: Discursive essay

    discursive essay example national 5

  3. Example of an discursive essay

    discursive essay example national 5

  4. How to Write a Discursive Essay: Tips to Succeed & Examples

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  5. Discursive essay plan national 5 day forecast how does

    discursive essay example national 5

  6. How To Write Discursive Essay? Structure, Types & Examples

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VIDEO

  1. Important Questions for || 12th English || Unseen Discursive Passage & Prose

  2. 🧐Term 2 Reading Comprehension

  3. Cindy Juyoung Ok Reads "Home Ward" from Ward Toward

  4. Discursive essay

  5. #895 Naomi de Ruiter

  6. Persuasive Writing for National 5 / Higher Portfolio

COMMENTS

  1. PDF National 5 Discursive Folio Piece

    National 5 Discursive Folio Piece. For your first folio piece, you are required to write a discursive essay of 500-1000 words. This essay will be worth 15% of your total mark. You will be doing a Persuasive essay. ... -Use of examples.-Use of facts and statistics.-Quotes from reliable experts.

  2. Discursive writing

    National 5; Discursive Discursive writing. Discursive writing presents an argument related to a given topic. It can either examine both sides of the issue in a balanced way or argue persuasively ...

  3. Writing Folio

    National 5 Folio 2 - WB 9th December. SAMPLE FOLIO: On-the-Edge-SAMPLE. Writing Types. 1) Discursive. There are two basic types of discursive essay. Firstly there are persuasive essays in which you can argue strongly either in favour of or against a given discussion. Alternatively, there are argumentative essays.

  4. English National 5 Essay Examples Available

    The English Department have sent more resources for National 5 critical essay revision to this site for inclusion. They take the form of exemplar timed essays on the novels studied in the course: Stone Cold, Of Mice and Men and Animal Farm. Find them on the dedicated critical essay revision page. The PDF files are named according to: the novel ...

  5. Introductions

    National 5; Discursive Introductions. Discursive writing presents an argument related to a given topic. It can either examine both sides of the issue in a balanced way or argue persuasively on one ...

  6. PDF National 5 Folio: Persuasive Essay Writing

    Task 1: Talk to friends and family and come up with 3 possible topics you could research and write about. Write down your 3 possible topics. It is unrealistic to take a wide topic and say: 'My essay is on Scottish Independence'. You must narrow your focus and have a clear argument based around your topic.

  7. All levels

    Follow the steps to writing a good discursive essay. Higher English tuition: improve your Higher English grade. Sign up at www.myetutor.tv

  8. Writing

    Writing. Description is used to convey an impression of a person or place and to create an atmosphere. The best writers select only those descriptive details which help create these effects ...

  9. Planning a Discursive Essay

    Planning. Use previous chapters to explore your chosen topic through concept mapping (Chapter 18) and essay outlining (Chapter 19), with one variance; you must include your proposed claims and counter claims in your proposed paragraph structures. What follows is a generic model for a discursive essay. The following Chapter 27 will examine this ...

  10. SQA

    Portfolio 2018 (All links open as PDF files) Candidate A - Holiday to Blackpool. Candidate B - School Uniforms; good thing or a bad thing? Candidate C - The Long and Winding Road. Candidate D - Why childhood beauty pageants should be banned. Candidate E - My Story.

  11. How to Write a Discursive Essay: Tips, Dos & Don'ts

    State your opinion in the introduction, supported by examples and reasons. Present the opposing argument before the conclusion, explaining why you find it unconvincing. Summarize your important points in the conclusion. 2. Essay providing a solution to a problem. Focus on discussing an issue and proposing solutions.

  12. PDF National 5 Portfolio-writing and Performance-spoken lanugauge

    This document contains instructions for candidates for the National 5 English portfolio- writing and performance-spoken language, and recording documentation for the performance-spoken language. It must be read in conjunction with the course specification. The portfolio-writing is worth 30 marks. It consists of one piece, which is ...

  13. How to Write a Discursive Essay: Tips to Succeed & Examples

    Start with an introduction to the topic. Discuss each essay question in a single paragraph. Begin each paragraph with a powerful issue sentence. Paragraphs with one point usually followed by a counterpoint paragraph. Its style is general for essays as the reader should understand what you stand for.

  14. 155 Hot Discursive Essay Topics To Use Right Now

    Focused and Catchy. When your lecturer checks the essay, the topic is what you will get first, and, therefore, you should make it catchy. This makes the reader want to go deeper into the paper and see what you have to say. A good topic is also likely to earn you a higher grade. Next, we will highlight the main essay ideas, starting with higher ...

  15. PDF National 5

    The 21 year olds had to break the news to his parents and girlfriend, who somehow had tracked him down. Just as they will do so soon - in the real world of hospitals. Because the mystery patient is a mannequin who lives in a simulated intensive care unit at Glasgow Caledonian University.

  16. National 5 English

    Find SQA National 5 English past papers, specimen question papers and course specification and important subject updates here. ... Examples of candidate evidence with commentaries. Examples of candidate evidence with commentaries; Webinar (recording) Changes to course assessment from academic session 2017-18 onwards. Download webinar; Audio ...

  17. Discursive Writing

    In a discursive piece you are expected to discuss a given topic and present an argument related to it. There are two basic types of discursive essay. Firstly there are persuasive essays in which ...

  18. PDF Advanced Self-Access Learning Writing

    Spending 5 to 10 minutes collecting your thoughts and organising them in a logical way, will help you fully answer the question and write a coherent and cohesive essay. 1. Make a paragraph plan in your notebook using your ideas from Step 1 and the suggestions below. Introduction Essay title: The impact of [your topic] on society today.

  19. Persuasive Writing for National 5 / Higher Portfolio

    This explains the difference between discursive and persuasive writing and why a persuasive essay is the better choice for an English folio. It also suggests...

  20. National 5 Discursive Persuasive Folio Piece For your

    Download presentation. National 5 Discursive/ Persuasive Folio Piece. For your second folio piece, you are required to write a discursive essay of 800 -1000 words. You will be doing a Persuasive essay or discursive essay. A persuasive essay is one that pushes/ supports one side of the argument. A discursive essay has a more balanced view.