Decision papers, also referred to as argument essays, are manuscripts requiring students to persuade readers toward an angle on a particular topic. Students can commonly struggle to select topics that are interesting enough to argue. Other writers have difficulty making thesis statements clear, concise and credible. In either case, preparation and revision can alleviate these trials. Interesting topics can range in scope, but decision papers tend to be most convincing when they address a finely tuned thesis.
Brainstorm before you choose your decision on a topic. A powerful exercise is to free write for 10 to 20 minutes about whatever is on your mind. By focusing on something that bothers you, you're likely to spot an area of interest about which you could become passionate. Purposeful decision papers are likely to be more lucid, can lead to successful grades and are enjoyable to write.
Create a clear, concise thesis statement. The thesis, made up of one to two sentences, is your purpose for writing the essay. Typically, this purpose is placed near the end of the introduction paragraph. Each paragraph should relate to the purpose outlined in the thesis. If any paragraph speaks apart from the message of the paper, you should delete or revise it. Some students and professionals choose to write the thesis after they have written the paper itself.
Create paragraphs that end with strong transitioning statements. This prepares readers for information unveiled in subsequent paragraphs. Solid decision papers include three to five supporting paragraphs, each offering reasons why the thesis is credible. For instance, if a student argues that the United States should abolish the death penalty, he might include a paragraph that states the reasons why he believes the U.S. should abolish this practice.
Reference outside material. Technical and political topics become more credible with viable reference material. Direct quotes incorporated into essays from experts in relevant fields can strengthen a decision paper, and in many cases, instructors require them.
Devote extra time to the title and the conclusion. The title is your paper's first impression. If readers are intrigued, they will want to learn more about your argument. Titles that are not distinct or that do not address issues raised in papers can alienate or bore readers. Conclusions are the reader's final connection to you, the writer. Create ending statements that not only recap what you have stated in the paper, but also offer new insight.
Jinnene Foster has worked as a freelance writer for advertising and personal health outlets since 2007. She teaches college-level writing courses. Foster's articles have appeared on Rollickguides.com and various other websites. Foster holds a Master of Arts in literary journalism from DePaul University.