Writing a Persuasive Research
by Aileen Journey, MBA
Faculty, University of Phoenix
Choosing a Topic
• This is a persuasive research paper.
• That means your topic has to be controversial.
• You have to be able to persuade someone that you are right
about something using only facts, not opinions, religion,
popularity or feelings.
• An appropriate topic will be able to be argued against by a
• An appropriate topic will have research and facts that
support both sides of the argument.
• An appropriate topic cannot rely on emotion or opinion to
support the topic.
• There MUST BE FACTS!
• But there is no evidence on to support that dogs
o Abortion is bad.
oAgain, reasonable people could argue that
oBut there is no medical evidence that can prove
a subjective experience like "bad"
• Dogs are really alien people from
o Okay, reasonable people could
argue against that
More Possible Topics
• England is a country with an interesting history
o That's not particular controversial. No one will argue with
you about that.
• Cigarettes are bad for you.
o It's not particularly controversial since science pretty much
agrees with that
• Drugs should be legal
o What drugs?
o What do you mean by legal?
Make sure you are specific and develop an
argument that can be supported by evidence
• Gun control is necessary to stop crime.
• Gun control is harmful because it doesn't stop crime.
• High-stakes testing is good for students because it ensures
that everyone gets an equal education.
• High stakes testing is bad for students because it focuses
more on passing tests than teaching students a variety of
• Video games make teenagers kill each other.
• Video games do not make teenagers any more violent than
they already are.
• Physical punishment is necessary to make children behave.
• Physical punishment should never be used with children
because it is ineffective and harmful.
used in the library search and in the articles
themselves. The library often suggests
more keywords similar to the ones you typed
in along the left-hand bottom of the
screen. Try doing new searches with those.
The first thing to do is come up with some keywords related
to your topic that will help you search the Internet and the
library to find relevant sources with the information you need.
Try using a general keyword like "gun control" then try more
specific ones like "statistics on gun deaths." While you're
looking through the search results, see what other words and
You'll often find many different research articles, but not
necessarily directly related to what you think you want to write
about, so you have to adjust your topic and thesis a bit so that
you are writing about something that you can actually find
Look through the sources and determine their credibility.
• See if you can find the author's
work somewhere else
• Is the source just trying to make
• Is the article peer-reviewed?
• Is the article a research study?
• What is the purpose of the place
that published it? Is it to teach
people like an academic journal
or is it to sell magazines or
• How many places can you find
the same information?
What is Peer-Reviewed?
Peer Review is a process that journals use to ensure the
articles they publish represent the best scholarship currently
available. When an article is submitted to a peer reviewed
journal, the editors send it out to other scholars in the same
field (the author's peers) to get their opinion on the quality of
the scholarship, its relevance to the field, its appropriateness
for the journal, etc.
Publications that don't use peer review (Time, Cosmo, Salon)
just rely on the judgment of the editors whether an article is up
to snuff or not. That's why you can't count on them for solid,
How to find Peer-Reviewed articles
The reason peer-reviewed articles are considered good is
because people who know what they're talking about in the
same field the researcher is in, read it over and feels that it's
acceptable. It makes the article more credible.
You can find these articles by clicking the box for "peer-
reviewed" articles when you're searching in the library.
Most articles and sources are NOT peer-reviewed. Libraries
DO NOT peer-review anything before they buy it. Anything in
any library could be junk or it could be great.
Make sure you check the credibility of any source you want to
• Read through each source and take notes on what you find.
• Keep track of which source you read and where in the
source you find useful information.
• Read the source and then write down from what you
remember of the information without looking at the source.
• Then clean up the summary of what
you read to make sure it is in your
• If you find an interesting quote, write
the quote down exactly along with
the page and paragraph number of
where you found it.
Constructing a Good Thesis Statement
Your thesis statement must communicate your argument
clearly and directly. First, write down what you think your
argument is. What will you be proving in the paper?
• Use the thesis generator to help you come up with three or
more thesis statements.
• Use different key words and slightly different ways of saying
the same thing to try to get a thesis statement that
o makes sense
o says exactly what you want to say and nothing more
o is what you will be researching
o is grammatically correct
o is 25 words or fewer.
What to research
• Think of your major argument: Example: Positive discipline
is more effective short-term and long-term in raising
• Then brainstorm what kinds of arguments you think you will
be able to use to support that:
o Children behave better (studies)
o Children grow into more successful adults
o It's easier to do so you can be consistent
When you have 3 to 5 arguments start your research
• History of your topic
• Basic facts about your topic
• Do not use Wikipedia
Search for studies that support your argument. Use the
keywords from your arguments.
• For example, I would want to find studies that compare
different kinds of discipline and studies that look at
functional adults and how they got to be that way.
• Write down each study that is relevant and
make a list of each argument and each
study that supports it.
Read each study and paraphrase it with all the important
information, how many people were in the study, who the
people were, what was done in the study and what the
Keep your bibliography(author's name, publication date, name
of article, name of resource, date, etc.) with your paraphrase.
• When it comes time to write your outline, take each
argument and make it the I, II, III, IV. Then each item you
found to support that argument should be the A., B., C.,
etc. If you want to add more information on any of these,
just add some 1.s and 2.s.
• Make sure you don't add any 1.s without adding a 2 also
• Once you have your full-sentence outline, it's easier to write
your Rough Draft.
• Take each of your Is, II's, etc. and they will each be
• Then each of the As and B's will be paragraphs.
• Write out your paraphrase or summarize it further to make
each paragraph. Make sure you introduce each paragraph
with what the study supports in your argument and end
each one with the conclusion of how it supports your
Rough Draft Continued
• Do this for each section and each
• For any study or article you can take a
second or third paragraph to explain the
• information even more. You can add an example or add
another similar study.
• Once you have assembled the "bones" of your project
start writing fluently. To do this Look at each argument
and set a timer for about 10 minutes and just write about
the argument, ignoring citations, grammar, or
spelling. When you are done move onto the next
argument and write that one for a set amount of time.
• The idea is to continue writing for the entire time, if you
can't think of what to say write that. Just don't stop until
the timer goes off.
• Your introduction should be clear and straight to the
point. The interest that you're adding is not like an
advertisement or like a TV show, instead it needs to give a
little background to your topic, perhaps why someone
• The best ways to do this is to write a short history or
provide some statistics.
• In addition, add the main idea of the arguments (I's and II's)
you will be using as just one or two sentences.
• Make sure you have the thesis you developed as the last
sentence of the paragraph.
• Your conclusion should summarize your argument and
how you proved yourself to be right.
• Restate your thesis in a way that says, "Therefore I have
shown, ...." or something like that.
• You need to summarize each
argument in one sentence each
including how it supports your
• Once you've put it all together and have some feedback
you're ready to revise.
• Revising often takes longer than the original writing.
• Go through your paper with the checklist and make sure the
paper is readable and leads the reader through your
argument in such a way that they agree with you.
• Check your paper for
citations. Read every paragraph
and if there's anything in there
that you learned from a source,
put an in-text citation there.
Title and Reference Pages
• Follow the guidelines in the Writing Style Guide
guides1.asp) to create your title page.
• Insert a page after the end of your paper and put the word
"References" in the middle, then list your references in
proper APA format in alphabetical order.
• Both of these need to be in the SAME document as the
paper. They are part of your paper.
Hand in your beautiful paper
and dance around your house.
by Aileen Journey, MBA