How to Answer a Discuss Essay

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When an essay title includes the word ‘Discuss’, this means that you are being asked to debate the subject of the essay. In other words, you need to be able to demonstrate that you have understood and evaluated both sides of the topic, problem, or opposing views in a theoretical perspective. At the same time, you need to be able to show, through rational evaluation of the evidence why you favour a particular view.

From this definition, it is clear that a ‘discuss’ essay is looking for balance, not bias or persuasion. In other words, the essay is not starting from one perspective and aiming to confirm this. Rather the intent of a ‘discuss’ essay is to deliver a work that clearly separates facts and opinions. The skills required for this include paraphrasing, summation, and the clear evaluation of different viewpoints. Common titles for a discuss essay include the format “AI is killing natural innovation from engineers. Discuss”, “Highlight and examine the advantages and disadvantages of home schooling for toddlers”, “Examine the arguments for and against the widespread mandatory delivery of the Covid-19 vaccine”. All of these titles require a discuss essay to be produced.

Key Points

  • A discuss essay of the highest standard will be logical, flow well and make arguments and statements based on knowledge and evidence, covering all perspectives.
  • You should include all the most important (key) factors or issues in a subject area, highlighting where there is debate over these, ensuring that both sides of the argument are presented.
  • Make statements and deliberations that are based only on credible and viable research, that has been previously well presented.

Structure of a Discuss Essay

Introduction

In all essays the best introductions are those which draw in the reader with a strong statement from the outset.  The remainder of the introduction should give a brief indication of the subject being covered, the key points that will be discussed, and if you wish, anticipated conclusions. You should also incorporate any acronyms, or industry specific terms that will be covered in the essay.

Main Body of the work

The main body (or the meat of the essay) should be divided into separate paragraphs that each cover one distinct point or statement.  A discuss essay requires presentation of evidence, so each paragraph should be focused on one point with both for and against perspectives, before a final summary point identifying one or the other as being justified.  In all cases, any points made should be backed up by evidence, correctly cited and referenced at the end of your work.

Important point: The evidence provided, and references cited should only come from valid, credible sources, preferably peer-reviewed articles, and fully referenced. It is vital to ensure that the views expressed are not opinions but have been delivered based on evidence of wider reading in the field.

To ensure a logical flow, you should raise the main or key points of an arguments first, and then move onto sub-arguments, ensuring that all the paragraphs are well linked to deliver a cohesive, essay that flows in a logical way.

Conclusion

A discuss essay conclusion should contain two elements.  Firstly, a summary of the core ideas, returning to the evidence presented and the points made, along with an indication of which you believe delivered the strongest arguments for or against the statement in the title.

Secondly, a discuss essay should give your opinion, which should be grounded in the presented evidence, to demonstrate your ability to draw a conclusion from the data considered.  In other words, following an internal debate with yourself, evaluating the information available, you should demonstrate that you have an informed opinion on the subject under discussion.

To help you in the construction of your discussion essay, we have put together a list of key words and phrases that can be used to ensure you deliver a first-class piece of work.

Key Discussion Essay Vocabulary

When presenting evidence:

  • It is suggested that…
  • Evidence available indicates that….
  • It has been indicated that…
  • Aspects of the work suggest that…
  • The evidence presented supports the view that…
  • The evidence presented however overlooks…
  • Closer examination suggests….

For summarising, the following phrases are useful:

  • The most important
  • Finally
  • Lastly

When introducing an opinion:

  • There is no doubt that…
  • A key argument in favour is that…
  • I believe that…

 

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