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Discursive Essay Factual Requires research Requires organisation Logical presentation Fluid, formal style Strong introduction and conclusion Use of facts, figures and supporting anecdotes or quotations from eminent figures.
Use a relevant Title Ask a Question – this helps you to stay focused on what it is you are debating. Should School Uniforms be Scrapped? Is Independence for Scotland the Right Way Forward?
Why it is worth discussing Discursive openers Example: Genetic Engineering The subject of genetic engineering has been much in the news recently. There has been debate in Parliament and the press as to the wisdom of allowing genetically modified Examples of foodstuffs to be sold in the country. Many strong supermarkets are refusing to allow GM food emotions – on their shelves. GM crop trials in Britain “refusing” have been destroyed by protesters. If so “destroyed” many people are concerned, we must try to Confirmation of discover whether GM foods are a good its validity as a point for discussionthing or not.
Organisation For • Improved crop yields Against • danger of genetic "leaking" • Less pesticide required • "super weeds" • Help Third World • poor in hock to multinationals • Better flavour • Cheaper food • end of organic farming • Profits to big companies
Organisation thesis For - antithesis - synthesis Against Evaluation Either paragraph by paragraph or first half of essay, second half of essay, final section.
• While, therefore, it is clear that GM food promises Thesis many great benefits to the human race, it is also clear that these benefits could be confined to only a small minority of humanity. There is also a real Anti thesis danger that there could be unforseen side-effects of the technology. Realistically, we should proceed with the experimentation, but only with extreme caution. Governments must play a major role in regulating what is going on, so that we end up with real benefits which are not only safe but also available for the good of the mass of humanity. Evaluation
Paragraphing The paragraph has three elements: a topic sentence, usually but not always the first one, which tells the reader in general terms what the paragraph is about; development, in which the topic sentence is expanded in various ways (see on); and linkage, which shows the connection of the paragraph to previous or subsequent paragraphs (external linkage) or the connection between the various bits of information within the paragraph (internal linkage).
Topic sentence Basketball is a sport that is growing in popularity all over the world. What is the paragraph going to be about? The topic sentence is short, clear and concise. It is a kind of launch pad for the rest of the paragraph.
Development • Basketball is a sport that is growing in popularity all over the world. It has always been extremely popular in the United States where professional teams are watched by millions of fans. However, the game is now becoming “big” in many other countries.
Link into next paragraph The closing sentence of a paragraph needs to round off this aspect of the subject and perhaps introduce another aspect of the topic that might be continued in the next paragraph. Basketball is usually seen as a male sport, whereas netball is usually viewed as a sport dominated by women, although both sports are very similar.
Complete paragraph • Basketball is a sport that is growing in popularity all over the world. It has always been extremely popular in the United States where professional teams are watched by millions of fans. However, the game is now becoming “big” in many other countries. Basketball is usually seen as a male sport, whereas netball is usually viewed as a sport dominated by women, although both sports are very similar.
Summary Ø Open with a topic sentence. Ø Develop the point made in the topic sentence. Ø Use a closing sentence that rounds off the paragraph and perhaps points the way to the next topic.
Linking words • Some of these expressions simply show that one thing follows another: • one, another, finally, firstly, secondly, also, in addition, furthermore. • Some show that one thing follows from another: • therefore, consequently, as a result, because of this. • Some show that the point you are making contradicts or disagrees with what went before: • however, nevertheless, on the other hand, conversely, despite this.
Some useful punctuation • The Colon (: ) very useful in discursive writing • The function of the colon is to: • a. introduce an explanation of something mentioned in general terms in the first part of the sentence: • The purpose of a company is clear: to make a profit. • b. To introduce a list of examples of something mentioned in general terms in the first part of the sentence, as long as these examples have more than one word.
Some useful punctuation • The Semi-Colon (; ) very useful in discursive writing • The major use of the semi-colon is to divide a list of examples after a colon, as long as these examples have more than one word; • Modern companies have many functions: make a profit; develop products; beat the opposition; deal in politics.
Some useful Hints • Such As • Such as is used instead of a colon when the list of examples are nouns and adjectives only. They are divided by commas: • There are several modified crops on the market such as soya beans, tomatoes and courgettes.