Guide to Writing a Discussion Essay

Discussion essay definition

What is a discussion essay? When assigned a discussion essay, what are you expected to do? In this guide to writing a discussion essay, we’ll start by answering these questions. First, a discussion essay discusses issues surrounding an open and debatable topic. Discussion essays are also known as argumentative essays. Second, when given a discussion essay, you should provide a detailed discussion of both sides of a given topic. The quality of a discussion essay relies on the evidence used to support different views of a topic. In the next part, we provide a step-by-step guide to writing a discussion essay. Read on and become a better writer.


How to write a good discussion essay

Step 1- Read and understand the question

This sounds like an obvious step. But did you know some students skip it? Some students read the question once and proceed to answer it. Such students provide an irrelevant answer. An irrelevant answer attracts poor grades if any. Essay content carries more points. This is the reason you must get it right. How can you get it? It is simple. By first reading and understanding the question. You need to know what exactly the question needs you to do. Look at this example question (below).

Abortion has been a heated topic across the world. With restrictive abortion laws, the topic is likely to remain a key issue. Using scholarly sources to support your argument, take a stance on restrictive abortion laws and establish whether you think the laws should be less strict or stricter. Give reasons.

To understand a question, start by reading it several times. Identify any words that you don’t understand. Then, establish the issue at hand. For example, in the example above, what is the issue at hand? The issue at hand is abortion. Specifically, the issue at hand is restrictive abortion laws. This is clear from the words “take a stance on restrictive abortion laws”.

If you can’t seem to understand the question, talk to your instructor. Just don’t write your essay before understanding the question. It will be a waste of time, energy, and effort. You’re also more likely to get poor grades.

Step 2- Research

You’ve understood the question. What do you do to get enough material for your essay? Our guide to writing a discussion essay provides a detailed answer to this question. Do the following;

  • Review your course notes. Find any information surrounding your topic. For example, in our example above, we would find notes about abortion. The notes will help you understand the topic better.
  • Check your textbook. In most cases, teachers assign topics that are in the main textbook. In such a case, gather all information about the topic.

What if the notes and the textbook have no information surrounding your topic? It is simple. Visit your library. You can also use the internet. You’ll find lots of sources with information on your topic. Search for academic journals. You can also rely on reliable sites such as ‘.gov’. Avoid opinion-based sources such as blogs.

The initial research will give you a starting point. After identifying credible sources, dig deeper. Find more information for supporting your discussion essay. Remember to take notes as you research. Include citations in your notes.

Step 3- Outline your essay

Step 3 in our guide to writing a discussion essay is outlining your discussion essay. Before outlining, you need to decide on your discussion essay structure. A standard structure will have three main sections. It will have an introduction, main body, and a concluding section. In the main body, you’ll present arguments from both sides. A wrong discussion essay structure frustrates your reader. This is the reason you need a correct structure. After deciding on your structure, outline the essay. Your outline should have bulleted points. This will be useful while drafting the essay. Following is a structure you can use to outline your essay.

Discussion essay outline

1.    Introduction

General statement

Relevant definitions

Thesis statement

2.    Main body

Ø  Arguments for

One:  Argument 1

Two: Argument 2

Three: Argument ….

Ø  Arguments against

o   One: Argument 1

o   Two: Argument….

3.    Conclusion

Ø  Summary of main points

Ø  Call to action


Note: The number of arguments will depend on the length of your essay. For a five-paragraph essay, your arguments will be three. This is because you should present only one argument in each body paragraph. You can choose to have two arguments for and one against. Alternatively, you can choose to have two arguments against and one argument for. For a longer essay, you can have several arguments for and against. Just ensure that you have arguments for both sides. List down your arguments in the outline. You can highlight any other relevant point in the outline. This will make it even easier to write your discussion essay.

Step 4- Draft your discussion essay

The next step in our guide to writing a discussion essay is drafting the essay. With an outline, this should be way easier.

Start with the introduction. Now, let’s look at how to write a discussion introduction. Start your introduction with a general statement. For example, you may begin your introduction with a general statement on abortion. This is for our example question provided in step 1 above. Then, introduce your specific topic. In our example, this would be restrictive abortion laws. Lastly, present your thesis statement with your position.

Then, move to the next main section. This is the main body. Use the outline as a guide. Based on your position, start with the arguments for or against. Use research to develop your paragraphs. After writing your argument, explain. Then, provide evidence from your notes. Evidence may include statistics, quotes, or paraphrased ideas. Remember to always include citations. You can get this information from the notes you made during the research. This is the reason you need not skip any step.

Finally, write the concluding paragraph. Provide enough information for the reader to form an opinion. Start by restating your thesis statement and position. Then, state your arguments. Close your concluding paragraph with a call to action.

Step 5- Revise your discussion essay

The last step in our guide to writing a discussion essay involves revising the essay. You need to read and reread your essay to eliminate any errors. Ensure that the ideas flow from one to the next. If not, add transitions. Ensure that every section is clear. If not, rewrite them. Read the essay to look for typos and grammatical errors. Try leading it out aloud. This will force you to read each word. Reread the essay one more time. When sure that it is error-free, submit it.

What to avoid when writing a discussion essay

Don’t wait for the deadline to approach to start working on a discussion essay. From our guide to writing a discussion essay, you can see there is a lot to do. You need to research, find good sources, outline, and draft. This means that you need enough time. Also, you need enough time to provide a clear analysis. It is impossible to provide a logical argument when in rush. In short, give yourself enough time to write a good discussion essay. What if you find yourself doing your essay at the last minute. You don’t have to worry. The best essay service can help you out. Professional essay writers will ensure that you complete your essay before the deadline. Most importantly, the best professional essay writers will ensure that you produce a high-quality discussion essay even when in rush.


In this guide to writing a discussion essay, you’ve learned how to write a good discussion essay. This is a five-step process. Start by reading and understanding your question. Second, research the topic to find supporting materials. Third, outline the essay using a proper structure. Fourth, use your outline to draft the discussion essay. Lastly, revise your essay and then submit it. Following this guide will help you to write a winning discussion essay. If you still find it difficult to write a discussion essay, don’t give up. Allow the best professional essay writers to help you learn how to write a discussion essay.


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