At university, you will come across many different kinds of essay questions. The one thing to remember, no matter the question, is that academic essay writing is persuasive. This means that you are expected to take a position and present an argument in order to convince the reader of your views.
A position refers to taking a stance on a question or an issue. An argument is a list of reasons, supported by evidence, that are used to persuade readers of that position.
Arguing for a position goes beyond simple description or the presentation of a series of facts. It means understanding the question, engaging with the debate and using evidence critically.
These pages provide strategies you can use to help refine, structure and present your position and argument throughout a written essay. The principles of persuasive writing presented here apply to most forms of academic writing and can be adapted to all disciplines.