How to Write a Point of View Essay

A point of view essay, or persuasive essay, expresses an opinion or position on a topic. Rather than summarizing a topic, the writer must take a position and then create arguments that back the position. This requires planning, outlining and drafting to fully develop effective arguments and prose.

Choose a Position

Before you begin a point of view essay, you'll need to take a position. This means taking a side if the topic discusses an either/or scenario, such as capital punishment or abortion. The writer must decide to argue for one side before developing an outline. Once you know your position, write a thesis statement. The thesis has three main objectives: It states the position of your paper, addresses the extent to which your paper will cover the topic and explains the essay's organization.

Research your Topic

To create a persuasive essay, you need to know your topic inside and out. Know your side of the argument, but you must also know the opposing viewpoints fully. The more prepared you are to counter the opposing view, the stronger your essay will be. Research the major questions and arguments your topic raises, and brainstorm strong arguments for each side.

Outline Your Arguments

A point of view paper will have anywhere from two to five major arguments that support the position of the writer. These should be seen as "reasons" for the position. For example, if you are writing about capital punishment, your three arguments against capital punishment might be: (1) The death penalty is cruel and unusual, and the Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution forbids cruel and unusual punishment; (2) capital punishment does not effectively deter violent crimes; and (3) the length of death row proceedings crowds prisons and burdens prison budgets. These are three distinct arguments, or reasons, why the death penalty should not exist.

Draft and Revise

Using your outline, create a rough draft that addresses your topic, your position and your supporting arguments in order. Each argument should contain "evidence" that supports your argument. Evidence may take the form of statistics, quotes, facts or research from primary sources. In a closing paragraph that follows your arguments, summarize your points and restate your position on the topic. Any sources you use should be listed in a references page at the end of the essay. Typically, your teacher or professor will tell you which format to use in structuring these sources.

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