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 where 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.
This is my eighth and final post on discursive writing. For my first post, please click here.
Finally, we have reached the last part of this series on discursive writings, which is on conclusions of discursive writings. However, the technique for writing conclusions works for almost all types of persuasive writing.
Researches have shown that introductions and conclusions are often the crucial points where writers are able to engage and connect with their readers. This is not surprising, since our attention span are (considering that we are at the fresh start of day) almost always highest in the beginning, but which gradually declines over time, but spike again towards the end of an activity (such as speaking, listening etc.)
“That our attention rises at the concluding segment of most activity can often be attributed to the fact that much as we put much attention to the inception of something, we almost always put as much attention on its conclusion. Our minds seem to have a predilection for logic and structure, in the same way that individuals often look forward to leader to lead the masses with a vivid vision and clearly-defined goal(s) – although many creatives would ,well, pretty much disagree with this. “
Nevertheless, it remains a fact that the introductory and concluding segment of most entities, be it novels, films, presentations or music, give us the deepest impression and the strongest mental imprints.
One interesting aspect of penning conclusions, or of any types of writing, can be confusing for some young and adult writers. That is, some writers tend to replicate almost the entire introductory paragraph in the conclusion, often in the forms of paraphrased words and sentences. The English language is often an accomplice in accomplishing this since the great variations of synonyms in its vocabulary makes this easily achievable. Of course, it is through no fault of the language and I strongly admire and respect the English language not only because it has made its way across the world over time and enter the arena of global business communication language, but also because its varied sentence structures and diverse vocabulary enable its users to express themselves easily and articulately.
“While the conclusion is as important as the introductory paragraph , if not more, this is not an excuse to replicate everything from the introductory paragraph in the concluding segment of one’s writings (other than a summative attempt to highlight the mentioned argument points) – because the concluding segment is not about singing the same songs again within the same night by a concert singer (which is a voluntary and kind act by a singer) but an encore – a demand by the readers that an additional performance be given. And it better not be the same as the same songs sang in the beginning – although a highlight of each song sang in the earlier segments by singing a line or two from each track would be beautiful. “
So, what purpose does the conclusion serve?
Most conventional writing schools teach that the conclusion serves as a highlight both of what has been mentioned (which means a summative of points mentioned in the preceding paragraphs, which is great since it serves as a reminder of what have been mentioned through written reinforcements, but this is not the most important aspect of conclusions). More important than a summative of mentioned points is the contribution of insights that readers can take away from.
Consider the example of an earlier example of gambling addiction I have highlighted in Part 7 of this series. A a appropriate example of a conclusion for this subject matter would be as follows:
In conclusion, while gambling affects not only the physical and mental well-being of the gamblers, excessive indulgence usually creates a ripple effect that reverberates from the gamblers, adversely affecting their loved ones. It is interesting to note that gambling is not an innate and inborn trait, that gambling addictions arise from a desire for an instant big win, and that basic desire stems from a fascination with the unpredictable and the joy of surprise in the same way that birthday boys or girls can be aroused by elation if a surprise party is thrown for them. Hence, to eradicate gambling addiction, one has to calm their cravings and desires, while understanding that in life, every rewards come only with consistent and persevering effort – and never on a stroke of luck or a series of winning streaks. if luck plays such a determining role in big wins, then 10,000 hours would not be needed to develop a talent.
With this, I conclude this series on discursive writings.
I hope that you have enjoyed reading them, and that you have found them insightful.
Author’s background:Patrick Tay is an English Writing Specialist who lectures in various polytechnics in Singapore, and coaches students in English as a private tutor. His professional services can be found here.