How to write a Discussion Essay (with samples)

Writing a discussion essay is one of the most common assignments that you will come across in college. A discussion essay requires you to give a take on two sides of an argument. For example, when writing a discussion essay on online learning, it is essential to debate both sides. That is the advantages and disadvantages of online learning.

Still, a discussion essay requires you to support your topic using evidence, examples, or details from scholarly resources.

Below are some great tips to make writing a discussion essay a walk in the park.

What is a discussion essay?

A discussion essay, in simple terms, is giving a hot take on two sides of an argument. Unlike an argumentative essay, where you must take a side, a discussion essay requires you to debate two sides of the same topic.

The structure of a discussion essay is similar to that of an argumentative essay, but it focuses more on presenting arguments and evidence rather than refuting opposing views.

Discussion essay structure

The best discussion essay has a structure. The structure is what determines the quality of a discussion essay. The structure of a discussion essay includes the introduction, body, and conclusion; they should all be clearly written and easy to understand.

Below is a summary of various components of a discussion essay structure

Introduction

The introduction is the first part of a discussion essay. The purpose of the introduction is to “hook” the reader so that they want to read more of your paper.

The introduction should be a few paragraphs long and include:

  • A statement of the topic or question you are going to discuss.
  • Your thesis statement.
  • An explanation of how you will develop your thesis statement in your essay.
  • A preview of what you will cover in each paragraph or section of your essay.

Main body

The main body of a discussion essay is where you present your evidence. The evidence is what backs up your thesis. Your ideas are invalid unless you are bucking up by evidence, so you must use evidence to support your claims and opinions.

You should include three or four analysis paragraphs in the main body of a discussion essay. Each section should have a topic sentence and at least one or two examples that show how the evidence supports your opinion or claim.

Conclusion

The conclusion is the final part of an essay that pulls together the main points made in the body paragraphs and brings them to a close.

Conclusion, or the end, is a critical piece of a discussion essay. It is where you recap your thoughts on the debate and tie everything together with a final statement about what you have said or shown in your writing.

The conclusion should be short, but it should also be memorable and insightful. You can start by restating one of your main points, followed by a  counter-argument, and then a summary of the entire debate.

Tips for writing a discussion essay

  • Compose your objectives
  • Create a blueprint of the whole essay
  • Connect your ideas in each paragraph
  • Break down your ideas into segments
  • Follow the structure that suits your inquiry
  • Use reliable sources
  • Always proofread your work

Compose your objectives first

You can’t write an effective discussion essay until you know what you will say. A discussion is a debate of some sort.

It is therefore essential to compose your objectives first. You need to know where you want this debate to go before you start writing so that you can take your reader along with you on that journey.

The best way to compose your objectives is to research and come up with two or three points worth discussing. For example, if you were writing a discussion essay about abortion, you would first look at what other people have said about this issue and then formulate your own opinions. Finally, you would decide which of your thoughts are worth sharing in an academic paper like this one.

Create a blueprint of the whole essay

A blueprint is like a map that guides you on how to write your paper. Once you have a blueprint for writing essays, you are way ahead of most college students.  

A blueprint of a discussion essay consists of; an introduction, body, and conclusion.

The introduction should provide the reader with the thesis statement and the background information needed to understand it. The body paragraphs must explain each point made in the thesis statement and provide supporting evidence. The conclusion should summarize what you say in the body paragraphs, restate the thesis statement, and provide additional information supporting your topic.

The following steps will help you create an effective discussion essay:

1) Write your thesis statement at the top of a blank sheet of paper.

2) Develop three main points supporting your thesis statement with specific examples from texts or sources you have read on this topic.

3) Write down these main points in paragraph form using direct quotations from these sources or paraphrasing them as appropriate for your purpose.

4) Decide on a format for each main point (topic sentence, example, explanation). Remember that every paragraph should contain at least one example from each text or other source cited in Step 2 above so that readers can easily follow along as you build up evidence for each point made in Step 3 above.

Connect your ideas in each paragraph

A discussion essay is a writing assignment that requires you to present a debate with evidence. The best way to write a discussion essay is by connecting your ideas in each paragraph.

In this sense, you need to attach the points of your argument so the reader can see how each one relates to the next.

Here are some tips for doing this:

Use transitions between paragraphs and sentences. Transitions are words that connect ideas in a text. For example, “However,” “In contrast,” and “For example” are all transition words. You can use them to help readers see how your points relate to one another.

Use examples from real-life situations whenever possible. If you can’t imagine an example from real life, try using a hypothetical scenario, but be sure it’s realistic!

Break down your ideas into segments

When writing a discussion essay, it is crucial to break down your ideas into segments and explain each part in detail. For example, if you are discussing some of how climate change is affecting our environment, you could write about how climate change is causing rainforests to die out. You would then explain how this is affecting animals and plants. In another section, you can talk about how climate change may affect sea levels and ocean temperatures.

In addition to breaking down your ideas into segments, you can support each piece with specific examples from research or personal experience.

For example, if you’re writing about how climate change affects animals, you might choose a model such as polar bears who have difficulty hunting due to melting ice caps. If you’re writing about how the rising temperatures affect coral reefs, you might choose an example such as the Great Barrier Reef dying off because of rising temperatures.

Follow the structure that suits your inquiry

It is essential to understand the structure of a discussion paper. The most common structure consists of three parts: Introduction, Body, and Conclusion. The introduction should provide background information on the topic and introduce your thesis statement.

The body of a discussion essay allows you to present your evidence, give specific examples, and explain how they support your idea. You must also include counter-arguments that are backed up by sources.

The conclusion section allows you to summarize your work by using your thesis statement again and then provide a few insights about how this issue affects people in general and yourself personally. You may also include some recommendations at this stage if you think they would be helpful for other people who may read your paper later on.

Use Reliable sources

To write a good discussion essay, you need to know how to find the best sources. There are two types of sources: primary and secondary. Primary sources are those that were written at the time when an event happened, while secondary sources were written later by historians and other experts.

In your discussion essay, you will use both types of sources. For example, if you are writing about World War II and its effects on the United States economy, then a newspaper article written in 1941 would be considered a primary source. On the other hand, an article written in 2018 by an economist who studied this issue would be considered a secondary source.

It is important to use reputable sources so that your readers can trust what they are reading. It would be best if you always looked for sources that have been peer-reviewed or published by respected organizations or universities. You can also find reliable sources online through websites like Google Scholar.

Pro Tip: Avoid using sources from personal blogs and opinion pieces that might not be fact-checked by professionals.

Always proofread your work

Always proofread your work. This will help ensure that there are no typos or grammatical errors, which could weaken your debate.

If you need help with grammar, use the internet to find an online grammar checker or ask someone who knows more about grammar than you do.

Discussion essay vs. argumentative essay

A discussion essay is an essay in which the writer discusses a subject from different points of view or opinions. The writer does not take sides in such essays. In other words, they do not take a stand for or against the topic being discussed. The writer tries to present all views on a particular topic and analyze them in relation to each other so that the readers can form their own opinion on that specific subject matter.

On the other hand, an argumentative essay is an essay in which the writer takes sides in favor or against something. In other words, the writer argues for or against a certain statement, claim, or opinion. These are commonly known as persuasive essays because they try to persuade the reader to accept their point of view on whatever subject matter they are discussing.

Discussion essay vs. opinion essay

An opinion essay is a typical college assignment that relays personal experiences about a subject. It’s also a great way to share an experience that you have had or witnessed. For example, if you have been in the military, an opinion essay will be an excellent way to explain what life was like for you as a recruit.

It’s important to note that an opinion essay does not need to be written only about yourself; it can also be written about someone else or even on a general topic. An example of this would be writing about how much you love animals or how much you hate smoking; these are both topics that most people can relate to, so they are perfect subjects for writing an opinion essay on!

A discussion essay is different from an opinion essay because it requires more research than just talking about yourself or others around you. In order for your discussion paper to be successful, you need to do some research into what other people think about the topic at hand.

Discussion Essay Template

Introduction:

In this section, you will introduce the topic and provide a clear thesis statement.

Body Paragraph 1:

Provide a detailed explanation of your thesis statement and support it with evidence from your research. Your first body paragraph should be at least 3-4 sentences long. Use evidence from at least one credible source to prove your point.

Body Paragraph 2:

Use additional evidence to support your thesis statement. Your second body paragraph should be at least 3-4 sentences long but no longer than 1 page in length. Use evidence from at least one credible source to prove your point.

Body Paragraph 3:

Use additional evidence to support your thesis statement. Your third body paragraph should be at least 3-4 sentences long but no longer than 1 page in length. Use evidence from at least one credible source to prove your point.

Conclusion:

In this section, summarize the key points of your discussion essay and explain how these ideas are interconnected.

Discussion Essay Samples

Check out below discussion essay samples approved by a university professor:

Cancel Culture Discussion Essay

Intro – Cancel culture can be defined as the removal of an organization, brand, person, or anything else because of an issue that a group finds offensive. It involves withdrawing support from companies and public figures, especially when they say something objectionable, and it is mainly conducted on social media platforms as group shaming.

Moreover, cancel culture is essential in the modern media since it allows the public to show their distaste for influencers, celebrities, or companies that feel untouchable. The phenomenon has existed over the years and has been prevalent via social media. For instance, the #MeToo was a viral movement in 2017, where many survivors feared to share their stories because of the uncertainty of being trusted by others (Holman, 2020). The assault survivors exposed their abusers to show unity and support among other abuse survivors. As a result, cancel culture is beneficial since it normalizes bringing objectionable behavior to the attention of many people, leading the person or organization with offensive behavior to take accountability. It also enables the wrongdoers to educate themselves about their mistakes and change for the future.

Also, the phenomenon can ruin people and an organization’s reputation in various ways and may lead these individuals or groups to depressive states. For instance, people can make false claims about these individuals or companies without using real facts. Cancel culture can be toxic when it involves invasion and threats toward the targeted figure (Walls, & Nemati, 2022). People may think that it promotes social change; however, the victims might drive themselves to suicide since some comments people give can be harmful health-wise.

Conclusion – Cancel culture has taken a new shape in society, allowing the public to show their distaste for certain behaviors shown by influencers and organizations who feel untouchable. Cancel culture might also affect the victims since it can lead to suicidal thoughts or depression, especially when the claims are false.

References

Holman, K. J. (2020). Can You Come Back from Being Cancelled? A Case Study of Podcasting, Cancel Culture, and Comedians during# MeToo. University of Nebraska at Omaha.

Walls, K. L., & Nemati, H. R. (2022). Participation in Cancel Culture: An Exploration of the Antecedents.

Online Learning Discussion Essay

Intro – Online learning involves attending virtual classes using technological devices such as laptops and mobile phones. It is different from the traditional method of learning since students do not attend physical classes but learn online with the use of the internet. Online learning has various advantages; thus, its wide adoption by various learning institutions. However, it also has some disadvantages.

Online learning is cheaper compared to traditional educational approaches. Conventional approaches require parents and guardians to pay tuition fees, transport fee, and other expenses such as school supplies. However, online learning requires tuition fees and internet expenses which are cheaper. This enables students to access education regardless of their economic status. For instance, higher education has become affordable due to the adoption of online learning (Castro & Tumibay, 2021). Also, online learning is cost-effective for institutions since they do not have to equip physical classes and libraries, which are expensive. Moreover, online learning is convenient since students can plan their time effectively despite their busy schedules. They can access online learning from anywhere as long as there is an internet connection. Therefore, online learning is increasing as various technological advancements take place.

Despite the advantages of online learning, it offers inadequate personality development since students lack adequate interaction with their peers. While learning online, students interact on matters concerning education and do not find time to develop friendships (Wong, 2020). As a result, there is inadequate personality development. In the traditional educational approaches, students interact outside class through various activities such as playing games, thus forming relationships that promote personality development. In addition, it is hard to manage students, especially children studying online. It requires the involvement of parents and guardians, which disrupts their activities.

Conclusion – Online learning is both advantageous and disadvantageous. However, with continued technological advancements, its adoption can promote student performance. In higher education, choosing an ideal course offered in a certified university can promote success in online learning.

References

Castro, M. D. B., & Tumibay, G. M. (2021). A literature review: efficacy of online learning courses for higher education institution using meta-analysis. Education and Information Technologies26(2), 1367-1385.

Wong, R. (2020). When no one can go to school: does online learning meet students’ basic learning needs? Interactive learning environments, 1-17.

Wrapping up!

Don’t be intimidated by the thought of writing a discussion paper! A discussion essay is really just an extensive analysis of a particular issue from different perspectives. Follow these steps, and you will make a solid argument without fail.

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