Discursive essay topics are a favourite form of assessment at university, as the writing process develops a students critical and analytical skills. Further writing ability is acquired as a student is tested in terms of his/her critical, analytical, integrative and problem solving abilities.
These skills, honed by writing on discursive essay topics are crucial for higher level university tests; literature reviews and dissertations. Acquiring these academic writing skills are key to leaving university with a decent grade.
Of course, these skills are desirable in real world settings too. The development of such skills is one reason why employers are willing to employ people from university regardless of subject studied.
In order to write an effective discursive essay it is essential to understand the question correctly. The question will have some form of instructional phrase intended to advise the student as to how the essay should be structured in regard to the question.
The instruction make be simply ‘discuss’ or could involve a combination of instructions ‘compare and contrast’ or even a phrase ‘while referring to X study, discuss’. When planning the response to the question it is vital the instruction word is considered so the answer truly reflects the question. If not your grade will not be as good as it could be.
Once the question has been analysed and understood, research can be tailored appropriately and response planned. Once the plan is drafted it should be checked against the question, if it does not correspond some adjustment is required. It is a lot easier to make any adjustment prior to actually writing the essay.
The plan should include a short introduction which expands on the question and presents some of the issues behind the question. Then the pro’s and con’s of the issues can be presented with reference to evidence from your research, any implications of the issues need to be expanded on. This should all be written objectively and pulled together in the conclusion, where the writers point of view can be expressed.
Once completed it is a good idea to read through the question and the response again to ensure they are compatible. If not you will need to tweak the whole essay. It is essential that the meaning of the instructional words are represented in the essay. If you have been informed to ‘discuss’ ensure you have not merely ‘explained’.
When writing discursive essays it is important to properly analyse the question posed by understanding and acting on the instruction words. To get a decent grade it is essential that the essay content is compatible with the question.