How do I Write a Persuasive Research Paper?

B. Miller

To write a persuasive research paper, it will be necessary to immediately state your thesis at the beginning of the paper so the reader is clear as to what he or she is reading. Then, back up your thesis statement throughout the paper with facts from various scholarly sources. You may also choose to show opposing viewpoints in the paper, just to demonstrate to the reader that you have thoroughly researched all angles and are standing by your opinion.

Persuasive papers should be supported by factual research.
Persuasive papers should be supported by factual research.

In a persuasive research paper, your point of view should be abundantly clear; the reader should not need to guess what you are trying to prove. For this reason, it is a good idea to spend time writing a clear introductory paragraph that introduces the topic of the paper as well as provides a clear and concise thesis statement. The entire paper can and should be based off the thesis statement, to make it more cohesive.

Use scholarly sources such as journals, books, and magazines when writing a persuasive research paper.
Use scholarly sources such as journals, books, and magazines when writing a persuasive research paper.

It is necessary to gather your research ahead of time for a persuasive research paper. Use scholarly sources such as journals, books, and magazines; all of your information should not come from web sites. Search for facts and expert theories that support your thesis, and you can use those facts or quotes in the research paper to back up your own statements or additional research. In addition, search for opposing viewpoints as well. You may or may not choose to include these in your final paper, but it will make your research more thorough.

Each paragraph in a persuasive research paper should include a main idea that is then supported by facts. It is best to keep to one main idea per paragraph to make it easier to read and understand. Depending on the length of the research paper, there may be a number of main ideas and paragraphs that make up the paper. Each paragraph should generally not include a quote, as it is best to attempt to put research into your own words, being sure to cite sources properly for the idea.

A conclusion paragraph should wrap up the paper and restate the thesis. It should also demonstrate that the research in the paper proves the thesis. A persuasive research paper, as with any research paper, should include a bibliography where all the sources used in the paper are cited. Not citing sources that are used in the paper is plagiarism.

A library may prove to be an invaluable place to start writing a research paper.
A library may prove to be an invaluable place to start writing a research paper.

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Discussion Comments


@miriam98 - I agree. Another thing that’s important in persuasive essays is to avoid the “straw man” argument. This is where you play the devil’s advocate by pretending to present the opposing viewpoint, when in fact you have not really presented a fair, accurate representation of that viewpoint.

You’ve exaggerated the opposition’s claims to your argument, or created an opposing position that doesn’t really exist. This is what they call the “straw man”—an opponent that doesn’t really exist or is easy to knock down.

Spend some time really researching the opposing viewpoint. Then state their position clearly and use facts to argue why your position is better. That will make your paper more authoritative.


The most important part of the persuasive research paper is the thesis, which gives you a laser-like focus into what your paper is about. Sometimes you don’t always have a thesis up front, so a good strategy is to research a broad overview of your research paper subject and then start collecting information on index cards (for easy note-taking on the fly) or on your computer if you prefer.

As you review your notes, you’ll begin to see an “angle” or a theme that you can use as a thesis. You can argue the “pro” or the “con” position of that angle and make that your thesis. Then begin collecting more facts to buttress your argument.


@everetra - There are places on the Internet where you can go for authoritative sources like academic journals. You can try Google Scholar or Ebsco Host or any other academic databases.

If you don’t have direct access to these databases you should try your local library. Usually they have a portal to these academic databases online.


My friend’s son needs help in writing a persuasive research paper. The stumbling-block right now is sources. He searches the Internet but he gets a lot of websites that his teacher doesn’t consider authoritative sources for his paper. Does anyone have any ideas to help? Thanks in advance.

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