Discussion Essay, how to write it
Discussions are competent deliberations, which are embedded within knowledge. A productive and a tactful discussion must consider both the opposing viewpoints thus resulting in a balanced view in the whole paper. Discussion essays present issues that surround a particular topic mostly found being open and debatable to the argument. As such, a discussion essay needs to include the thorough discussion of the different sides of a given topic. The essay should offer a well-rounded understanding of all issues before the writer shows his personal conclusions and opinions. Similar to many persuasive formats of essays, a quality discussion essay is dependent on the ability of the author to offer a substantial research and evidences that show the various views of the topic.
When you discuss an idea in the essay, you are expected to maintain some concrete structure. Select a single opinion and come up with negative and the positive arguments for the viewpoint. Your opinion should then be summed up in some elegant conclusion. Discussion type essays have some discussion questions. These issues might ask for a summary of arguments towards some particular point of view or the opinion towards the subject. Always read through the questions carefully. If it is a test, you might lose marks if you answer the wrong question.
Developing a discussion essay
Select the appropriate topic for the essay. The topic needs to be one that interests you. You are expected to discuss all the sides of the issues that surround the essay. Intense research with appropriate evidence will help a great deal by providing pertinent information for the essay.
The outline of the discussion essay should be made using a pen and paper. The primary goal at this point involves getting the thoughts on the topic organized in writing. A detailed outline could be written for the discussion essay using the formal traditional outline and numbers, which separates the main points. Another way, of coming up with the outline, involves jotting down the main points of discussion which you want to cover in the body.
Focus to write the essay in the following way. The objectives in the introduction of the assignment are to have all issues relating to the topic introduced. The introduction also offers the reader with vital background information. You are expected to explain the relevant terms or words that are used in the essay. Providing the reader with the basic overview of the organization of the discussion ensures that the flow of thought is understood in the whole essay body.
Body of the essay can be written with the help of the research sources collected. Each issue needs to be presented impartially and individually. You should start by discussing a single side then the other side of the argument, which is related to the given topic. The arguments in the body should be progressive beginning with weak arguments or issue and progressing to the stronger argument. A well-structured discussion essay helps the reader to follow the flow of thought in an easy way without any distraction.
The last section of the discussion essay is the essay conclusion. The role of the conclusion involves summarizing the information from the body of the essay. The conclusion makes the reader review the merits and demerits of the argument topic. In most cases, you are not expected to choose any side of the argument. If you decided to select a particular side of the argument, you would need to show your conclusion on the argument.
Phrases in discussion essay
In preparing for an argument essay the first thing, that should be done, involves memorizing some ready-made phrases. In this case, learning a number of sentences has a number of advantages. These include:
Disadvantages of using phrases in an essay.
This time we advise that you follow a view that is balanced. The phrases can be used in the essay, but these phrases should never be overused. Critical for you is to present your real personality in the essay by expressing yourself using your words.
There are a number of qualities of an acceptable discussion essay. The basic competence level is characterized by:
Using the first person pronoun (“I”)
A decent number of scientists have been exploring how to use first person pronoun in academic writing. These scholars have agreed on the fact that using the first person pronoun has had minimum effect on the nature of the academic writing. In this case, using the first person pronoun “I” may not necessarily make the essay less formal. In addition, doing away with the “I” may not automatically make the essay more academic. This means that the overall use of language and vocabulary instead of the selection of personal pronoun has a significant effect on the tone of the university writing. However, the general rules on using the first person include:
The figure above shows that using “I” in the introduction and conclusion could shows whatever would be done before it is done. It can also be used in highlighting whatever is done afterward.
“I” may be used instead of referring to the writer as “the research” or “the writer,” which may appear being more artificial.
Some fields like the social studies use “I”, when emphasizing the practical research. In language tests, the distinction may not be helpful hence not important in considering it.
In using the first person pronoun “I,”, it is vital to vary the verb that follows. For example, words like “I feel”, “I tend to regard..” “I would consider.,” could be used in the place of, “I think”. You should always find a way through which you can soften your language making it categorical or less direct.
The “I” can also be used in relating the personal experience to a given example thus distinguishing the personal experience from the reading aspects and research. In all cases, you avoid being too anecdotal.
Use of mnemonic device
In the preparation of a test, it is extremely vital to apply the mnemonic devices. The mnemonic devices are systems of words that are useful in recalling the main points. A mnemonic device can be remembered by just remembering the initial letters of the words in the phrase.
Where the first letter G is for Grammar, the second letter S is for Students, the third letter R is for Relevance, the fourth letter E is for Examples, and the last letter C is for Cohesion.
Grammar-Your grammar must be accurate and correct
Structure- Your essay should be well-organized
Relevance-All the asked questions must be answered
Examples- Illustrations should be included in the essay to ensure that all points are reinforced
Cohesion- Phrases and linking words should be used appropriately in the discussion essay.
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This is in response to a highly intelligent thread started in the forum by one of the readers of this site. Are there particular skills you need for writing introductions to discussion essays? Here is my response!
The basics of an IELTS essay introduction
The place to start is to remember what the basics of an IELTS essay introduction are. These, I will stress, are guidelines not rules – there is always more than one way to do it:
keep if brief: it is just the introduction, you want to spend most of your time on the main body paragraphs. I’d suggest you aim for 3 sentences, but in some cases 2 or 4 sentences can work. I personally HATE one sentence introductions.
keep it clear: it is really important that the examiner knows what your essay will be about after she/he has read your introduction. Don’t try and be clever. Think clearly and aim to let the examiner know what you want say. Think is the important word in that sentence.
identify the task: all IELTS essay questions ask you to write in a particular way: this is the task. Examples of this are “Say whether you agree or disagree about x”, or “Say what the causes of y are”. For me, it is really important to put this in the intro because if you don’t your essay may not answer the question. A huge mistake.
identify your point of view: this is what some teachers call “thesis statement”. I don’t. The idea is that what you think should be clear throughout the essay. That means you want to give your answer in the introduction and not just the conclusion.
Is writing introductions to discussion essays special?
I don’t think so. I know lots of candidates and teachers like to categorise essays. Personally, I’m not sure that this is necessary. Better I think to have one set of guidelines and answer the question in front of you. Much simpler that way. It is also much more likely to get you a good score. There are no marks for writing a “discussion essay”, there are only marks for answering the question. So focus on that.
Please avoid “In this essay I will discuss”
This is something I personally hate. Much more importantly, it is an example of tired language that almost all IELTS examiners hate too – they want to see you use your own words and not “learned language” . I will show you some examples of how to do this below.
Top tip – learn to write different introductions
A lot of IELTS essays go wrong because students try to write a particular type of essay that they have practised before. Then they get a question in the test that doesn’t quite fit the model. They try to repeat a form of essay they have learned and fail to answer the question. To avoid this it really helps to learn different ways of doing the same thing. Learn how to write introductions that are two and three sentences long.
Two examples of introductions to discussion essays
This is the original task posted by Rohit, read my intro:
Some people think that the teenage years are the happiest times of most people’s lives. Others think that adult life brings more happiness, in spite of greater responsibilities.
Discuss both these views and give your own opinion.
There are different views about whether people are happier as teenagers or in adulthood. While there is something to be said for the idea that the teenage years can be extremely happy, my view is that most people achieve greater satisfaction later in life when they have a career and a family of their own.
- This is only two sentences long. that can be fine. There are very few rules remember.
- I clearly identify the task.
- My point of view is clear too – I also show that I will be talking about the family and careers too. Neat.
- Note how I use while to connect the two different views I need to discuss. Excellent for your grammar and helpful for this task.
- The logical structure of the essay will be one para about how childhood can be best and another about the joys of being 40! Then when I write my conclusion I simply come back to my intro.
This is a slightly more complex question, but asked in the same way:
There is an increasing shortage of housing in many countries. Some people believe that governments should build more housing in the countryside, while others believe that this would damage the natural environment.
Discuss both these views and give your opinion
Most people would accept that some action needs to be taken about the chronic housing shortage that is threatening so many countries around the world. One logical solution to thisproblem would be to create more housing in the countryside which is relatively underpopulated. My view, however, is that thiswould lead to serious damage to the environment and alternative options need to be found.
- See how this introduction is three sentences long. It is still clear and simple though. This is the situation. Here is a solution. This is what I think about the solution. I am still discussing both view and giving my opinion. Just in a different way.
- See how I link the different part of my introduction together with this and however. You want to make sure that your introduction is well-written. Don’t write too quickly.
- Just like the previous introduction, I Identify the task and I clearly state my view.
- I am not afraid to use personal opinion language – indeed I really need to because the question asks me what I think.
Now test yourself
If you like you can leave me an introduction as a comment to this lesson. The alternative is to pop into the forum and post there. Actually, I’d prefer that as that would allow you to share your language and ideas better. If you follow my advice, you will:
- write 2/3 introductions – don’t bother with the whole essay – focussing on a skill is better for learning
- write different types of introduction – this will help in the test – you can’t predict the question you will have