How Do I Choose the Best Discursive Essay Topics?

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  • Written By: E. Reeder
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 18 November 2019
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The best discursive essay topics are those that are controversial and that can be argued about with varying points of view and opinions. It can be difficult to write and to come up with appropriate topics for discursive essays, which are short and informal essays that argue for a certain viewpoint, but it is helpful to choose a topic about which you have some knowledge and a strong opinion. Formal essays usually do not allow for personal references and are to remain objective. Discursive essays, however, require that their authors make personal references about their beliefs, which they back up with persuasive arguments.

Discursive essay topics should have at least two sides and be complex enough so that there are various arguments for and against them. It would not be effective in a discursive essay to argue that the autonomic nervous system controls breathing, because that is a scientifically proven fact. It might be effective, however, to argue that smoking can harm the autonomic nervous system because it can make breathing difficult.

It is helpful to pick discursive essay topics about which you feel strongly. Writing about why people should not use harmful substances such as cleaners that have been tested on animals is much easier when you feel strongly about this issue. If you are not an animal lover and believe that humans can use animals for any purpose they choose, this would not be a topic that you should pick.


Writing discursive essays about topics that you understand thoroughly and feel comfortable with is helpful and will lead to better essays. If you do not understand how automobiles work, or even how to fill up your car’s gas tank, then writing about automobiles might not be a good idea. On the other hand, if you really understand that getting your oil changed every 3,000 to 5,000 miles is essential to the long-term well-being of your automobile, then that might be an appropriate topic to choose.

Subjects that will capture the attention of the audience because they are interesting, unique and controversial make for effective discursive essay topics. Controversy or argument forms the basis of these essays. Topics such as smoking in public, abortion, school uniforms, the death penalty and raising taxes are appropriate because they can be argued for and against. All of these are topics that have been researched enough that interesting discursive essays can be written about them, giving relevant facts and the opinion of the writer as well as arguments refuting the major opinions of the opposite side.


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