What Is A Discursive Essay?

A discursive essay is a form of academic paper that specialises in the discussion about a particular topic. College students are usually the major assignees for such essays. The essays usually expect discussion on the following three points:

  • Provide arguments for the issue or against it.
  • Provide a neutral perspective to an issue.
  • Provide stories from both sides of the issue.

Types of Discursive Essay

Discursive essays might seem to be similar to argumentative essays. However, there are a few dissimilarities. First, the purpose of a discursive essay is to an unbiased assessment of an issue. In contrast, argumentative essays attempt to sway the reader to one side by supporting their claim with evidence. Discursive essays are neutral but provide a clear comparison between the two sides by providing facts.

Discursive essays can be written on any topic. However, each essay can be segregated into three main types:

  • Opinion Essays: They are usually centred on the author’s opinion on an issue highlighted in the first sentence of the essay. It provides a clear understanding of the author’s standpoint, followed by the reasons and arguments supporting their claim. Also, the essay contains a counterargument before the conclusion paragraph. The author also provides substantial evidence to prove why the counterargument is unconvincing.
  • For and Against Essay: These essays provides an in-depth debate on the two topics with opposing points of view. Each viewpoint is discussed objectively and described in detail. The first paragraph introduces the issue, followed by examples, reasons, and arguments supported by justifications. Finally, the author’s opinion is least concerned and is presented in the conclusive paragraph.
  • Solution Essays: These    present a problem and discuss various solutions to gauge the best answer to a problem. The main body presents the solutions and their varied consequences. While the essay should be objective, the author’s opinion is also summarized in the last paragraph.

Structure of a Discursive Essay

The basic structure of a discursive essay can be started from an introduction followed by a discussion of the topic questions in a single paragraph. The discussion is followed by strong argumentative points that are opposed by counterarguments. The structure shall be discussed in-depth later on.

The following is the in-depth discussion of the body and structure of a good discursive essay. Like every great piece of written work, any discursive essay is started with an introductory paragraph.


Present the topic with a strong one-liner that implores the reader to continue. The presentation of the problem should be accomplished in the forthcoming few sentences, followed by some quotations or rhetorical questions to increase engagement. Finally, present a short counterargument and sum up what you are going to present in the main body. Another expert tip would be to avoid common pitfalls such as presenting stereotypes or generalizing an issue to a particular demographic.

Main Body

The main body should follow strict guidelines and maintain the flow of the passage. Each subsequent paragraph is accompanied by an argument and substantial evidence to support it. Keep the following points in mind before attempting a discursive essay.

  • The author, unlike an argumentative essay, should remain vigilant and avoid showing biases. Leave your feelings behind and present a neutral standpoint.
  • The author should build an argument with several separate paragraphs presenting different arguments and supporting evidence. It shall make your essay more understandable and distinct.
  • Use the alternate approach to present ideas. For example, present a valid argument followed by a counterargument. Such an approach will make the essay look more neutral and well-researched.


The conclusion should summarize the arguments presented above and should logically present your opinion. Also, don’t repeat findings and keep them short. The conclusion should not extend beyond one paragraph.

Follow the aforementioned format and structure your discursive essay accordingly to impress your professors. Don’t forget to be wary of the don’ts and actively add the dos. If you still feel unsure about your ability to write an effective essay, allow our experts to help you.

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