How To Write The Bibliography Of An Essay

The entire point of a persuasive essay is to persuade or convince the reader to agree with your perspective on the topic. In this type of essay, you’re not limited to facts. It’s completely acceptable to include your opinions and back them up with facts, where necessary.

Tricks for Writing a Persuasive Essay

In this type of writing, you’ll find it is particularly helpful to focus on the emotional side of things. Make your reader feel what you feel and bring them into your way of thinking. There are a few ways to do that.

Be Assertive

A persuasive essay doesn’t have to be gentle in how it presents your opinion. You really want people to agree with you, so focus on making that happen, even if it means pushing the envelope a little. You’ll tend to get higher grades for this, because the essay is more likely to convince the reader to agree. Consider using an Persuasive Essay Template to understand the key elements of the essay.

Use Words that Evoke Emotion

It’s easier to get people to see things your way when they feel an emotional connection. As you describe your topic, make sure to incorporate words that cause people to feel an emotion. For example, instead of saying, “children are taken from their parents” you might say, “children are torn from the loving arms of their parents, kicking and screaming.” Dramatic? Yes, but it gets the point across and helps your reader experience the

Make it Personal

By using first person, you make the reader feel like they know you. Talking about the reader in second person can help them feel included and begin to imagine themselves in your shoes. Telling someone “many people are affected by this” and telling them “you are affected by this every day” will have very different results.

While each of these tips can help improve your essay, there’s no rule that you have to actually persuade for your own point of view. If you feel the essay would be more interesting if you take the opposite stance, why not write it that way? This will require more research and thinking, but you could end up with a very unique essay that will catch the teacher’s eye.

Topic Section Hints

A persuasive essay requires a topic that has multiple points of view. In most cases, topics like the moon being made of rock would be difficult to argue, since this is a solid fact. This means you’ll need to choose something that has more than one reasonable opinion related to it.

A good topic for a persuasive essay would be something that you could persuade for or against.

Some examples include:

  • Should children be required to use booster seats until age 12?
  • Should schools allow the sale of sugary desserts and candy?
  • Should marijuana use be legal?
  • Should high school students be confined to school grounds during school hours?
  • Should GMO food be labeled by law?
  • Should police be required to undergo sensitivity training?
  • Should the United States withdraw troops from overseas?

Some topics are more controversial than others, but any of these could be argued from either point of view . . . some even allow for multiple points of view.

As you write your persuasive essay, remember that your goal is to get the reader to nod their head and agree with you. Each section of the essay should bring you closer to this goal. If you write the essay with this in mind, you’ll end up with a paper that will receive high grades.

Finally, if you’re ever facing writer’s block for your college paper, consider WriteWell’s template gallery to help you get started.


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Dr. Beth M. Sheppard, a librarian at United Library at the Seabury-Western Theological Seminary has written an excellent essay on the bibliographic essay. She describes very clearly the differences and similarities among book reviews, annotated bibliographies, and articles. Her article is only 3 pages long and easy to read and understand. If you want a good grade for this assignment, it's imperative that you read this article and fully understand what you will be writing. After you have read the article, I would suggest you review some of the BEs I have linked for you under Examples. Below is the link to Dr. Sheppard's article:

http://journal.atla.com/ojs/index.php/theolib/article/viewFile/29/44

To synthesize Dr. Sheppard's article, the required elements of a bibliographic essay are:

  • the essay should be well ordered and follow a planned scheme
  • the resources discussed should flow easily from one to the next;large gaps in the discussion disrupts the reader
  • keep in mind that you are selecting the BEST resources to include; assume you are creating a list of the best materials available on a topic in order to recommend to a colleague; do not limit your list to print sources-- other formats are perfectly acceptable
  • how do these resources compare and fit
  • introduce your essay telling the reader what the context is for the particular study
  • a closing statement is also appropriate
  • use appropriate grammar and writing style; there are several very good writing manuals

In addition to Dr. Sheppard's recommendations, I would add these:

  • use the assigned style sheet (APA, MLA, Chicago) or select the most appropriate if given a choice by your professor
  • check in at the reference desk for writing and style manuals if you don't already own one

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