Even people who love debates and consider themselves opinionated are often intimidated by college essays that require them to argue a position. Even professional paper writing service experts admit that opinion essays are indeed a peculiar type of paper with a lot of genre conventions. But they aren’t really that hard. If you follow these tips, your grades for writing assignments will go up, and you’ll soon be a true pro in opinion essays.
Students don’t always get to choose what to write an opinion essay on. So if you do, jump at the opportunity. Professional writers from any paper writing service can confirm how important the writer’s expertise in the topic is. It’s much more enjoyable to write about something you genuinely care about, and you’re guaranteed to sound more convincing when you believe the opinion you’re arguing.
When professors give the instructions for the writing assignment to students, they often provide a list of prompts yet add that it is okay to write about something different (but the student has to email the TA or professor to get a green light for their suggested topic first). Use this loophole. Chances are, they’ll allow you to twist the prompt to fit your academic interests more as long as you can still incorporate the course readings in the paper.
The next important thing every student has to do before writing an opinion essay is research their chosen topic meticulously. Oftentimes, one feels like they are an expert already and know everything there’s to know about the subject matter. That’s rarely true, though. Most topics suitable for academic essays are complicated and controversial. Quite a lot of research is necessary to write a decent opinion piece on them.
If you feel overwhelmed with the amount of relevant literature available, start with academic databases and books published by academic publishers. EBSCO, JSTOR, and Google Scholar all work. And so do library books published by Oxford University Press, Routledge, and the likes. It’s fine to use regular Google search as well, but mostly for background research.
While you research, make sure to take notes. Ask a professional from any decent paper writing service—and they’ll tell you that note-taking cuts the writing time by a mile. Here are some of the things you need to put into notes while reading relevant materials:
- important quotes (with page and paragraph numbers),
- facts and statistics that you can use to back up your arguments,
- interesting ideas that come to your mind as you’re reading.
Once a student is done with research, they need to make sure that they have a clear stance. An opinion essay has to argue some point, preferably a somewhat controversial one. So before you even begin actually writing the essay, have a confident answer to the question of what your own perspective on the subject matter is and why.
Another deal-breaker when it comes to the quality of an essay and how much time the writing process takes is an outline. A rare student is a fan of outlining, which is perfectly understandable. Writing an outline is in no way exciting; it’s nowhere near as seamless as actual essay writing is.
But an outline is critical for the quality of an opinion essay (or any student paper longer than two pages, for that matter). It helps you stick to your point, avoid repeating the same ideas over and over again, and ensure the overall coherency of your essay. What’s more, it cuts the writing time by far.
There are a lot of overlaps and similarities when it comes to different genres of college essays. Students often struggle to understand the difference between an argumentative and an opinion essay (and rightly so).
But one of the main markers of student opinion pieces is the use of the appropriate transition words and phrases. Aside from the classic (therefore, in conclusion, for instance, and whatnot), all opinion essays should include the following:
- In my opinion
- As I see it
- Personally, I believe that
- In my mind
- As far as I am concerned, and so on.
Keep in mind, though, that not all professors welcome first-person narration (I, me, my) in students’ papers. While this is almost never the case for opinion essays, double-check first. If your professor says that you shouldn’t use first-person pronouns, stick to impersonal phrases akin to It appears that, It can be argued that, and so on.
Finally, one of the worst things a student can do in an opinion essay is to argue their position with no reference to their opponents’ arguments. Sure, it’s a great strategy to back up one’s arguments with helpful statistics and relevant quotes from experts.
However, it’s not enough. As an opinion piece author, you need to make sure that there isn’t a single doubt in your reader’s mind. The only way to achieve this is to stay fair. Acknowledge the opinions of people who don’t share your stance. Talk about their arguments and the reasoning behind them. Stay grateful, and don’t merely mock your opponents’ viewpoints.
Then, proceed to debunk their claims using evidence and logical reasoning. This way, you’ll ensure that the reader has no questions for you and is fully convinced.
Opinion essays aren’t easy to write, but they are no rocket science, either. All you have to do is choose the topic you’re excited about, dive into research, and be fair when it comes to your opponents’ opinions. And unless you’re a fan of self-sabotage, never neglect to outline. If you lack skills in it, consider hiring a paper writing service. An outline is a key to a good essay.