In a discursive piece you are expected to discuss a given topic and present an argument related to it.
Organising a discursive essay
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. In these you look at a discussion topic in a balanced way.
Finding information for a discursive essay
There are many sources you can use to find information for your discursive essay. These include:
- relevant books from a library
- online sources
- magazines and newspapers
- television and video
- family members
When looking in the library, focus on the non-fiction and reference sections. When searching online, always think carefully about key words.
Make sure you consider the reliability of all your sources. It is important you keep a note of where all your information comes from. This will allow you to check it again later and to complete your bibliography and footnotes.
Writing an argument for GCSE English is different from arguing with a friend. You should write a balanced and rational argument, less passionate or emotional than if you were writing to persuade. You should take opposing views into account in your response.
Writing to argue: sample question
Remember: always consider GAPS before planning your response:
- Genre - this could be a letter, article, formal planned speech etc. You should follow the conventions of the type of writing.
- Audience - this could be a certain age group, readers of a particular publication, a councillor etc. Use a vocabulary and style that suits them.
- Purpose - this is an argument so the purpose is to influence the readers views, to change minds.
- Style - this might be chatty and informal, depending on the audience, or use vocabulary in a particular way.
|GENRE||Formal letter||You should think about layout, openings and closings and structure|
|AUDIENCE||A member of the Local Education Authority||They'll be a professional adult who you should address in formal tone and style|
|PURPOSE||Influence their decision on the compulsory wearing of school uniform||Either for or against|
|STYLE||Formal and measured||No use of slang words - you are hoping to influence your audience and be taken seriously.|
The genre is a formal letter. This means you should think about layout, openings and closings and structure.
The intended audience is a member of the Local Education Authority. This means that they'll be a professional adult who you should address in formal tone and style.
The purpose is to influence their decision on the compulsory wearing of school uniform, either for or against.
The style is formal and measured so no use of slang words - you are hoping to influence your audience and be taken seriously.
Write a letter to your Local Education Authority arguing for or against compulsory school uniforms for all pupils.
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