A pros and cons essay is a subtype of argumentative essay. In the essay, you highlight the advantages and disadvantages of a topic or choice. However, you are not usually neutral. Instead, after laying out the pros and cons, you use them to draw a conclusion on the issue. Keep in mind that this is a general rule for pros and cons essays. A professor may assign a pros and cons essay asking you to present the information without drawing a conclusion. In that case, you must be careful to present the arguments neutrally.

Remember that a pros and cons essay is not just a list of pros and cons. One of the biggest pitfalls for students is that they skip the analysis and simply present facts. You are not just presenting facts. You must also analyze them and investigate how they impact the central issue. That means combining them together in a logical way to help support your position on the subject. On our Paperdue essay database, you can find a pros and cons essay example, possibly on your topic, which can help you understand how to structure your paper.

Persuasive Pros and Cons Essay Strategies

Strategy One: Pick a Debatable Topic

The topic is the most important for a pro and con essay. You want an issue that the reader will find exciting and relevant. It would help if you also had a question with some controversy. However, that does not mean that your pros and cons essay topics have to be about serious issues. People debate all types of problems with different stakes. You can write about a frivolous topic that is hotly debated as well, such as how to hang a roll of toilet paper or whether you eat pizza with a fork and knife. You can avoid heavier topics as long as you can keep your pros and cons relevant and informative.

Of course, the more serious the topic, the easier it can be to write an essay about it. For serious issues, you will be able to find more information available to help you bolster your facts. You will also be able to find reliable and valid sources about topics because academics and other experts are more likely to weigh in on those issues. However, you will also find very biased sources, so you will need to consider which sources you use carefully.

Strategy Two: Research the Topic

Once you have chosen your topic, you need to do substantial research on it. Even if you think that you know about the subject, you need to do your research. In fact, the more you think you know about a topic, the greater the possibility that you have a biased opinion and may be filtering your points. So, you want to do research from a variety of sources. The goal of the research is not necessarily to change your position. Ultimately, your position does not matter in an academic paper. Your professor does not really care what your opinion is about the issue; they are looking to see if you can provide supporting evidence and a logical argument to support that opinion. However, by doing the research, you are going to find out more about the topic. The research may even make you change your personal opinion about the issue.

There is a fabulous website out there that can help you get started with pro and con research on various topics. It is Procon.org. The website is a non-partisan, neutral site that lays out arguments for and against hot-button issues. It can be an excellent academic source to use in a paper. It can also be a good starting point to help you understand a problem, especially if it is a new issue.

Strategy Three: List the Pros and Cons

While you are doing your research, make a list of pros and cons. This list is not going to make it into your paper. It is just a rough list to help you understand the arguments for and against an issue. Your list will probably contain more items than you will include in your paper. However, listing them is a great way to help you understand the various arguments and prioritize which ones should make it into your essay.

Once you have listed the pros and cons, you can focus your research on a few of them to help narrow down which ones you will highlight in your paper. When you are doing your research, you can add quotes, facts, or statistics and make notes of your source. That will help you easily incorporate these notes into your paper when you write it.

View 120,000+ High Quality Academic Documents

Learn-by-example to improve your academic writing

Strategy Four: Take a Position

Unless you are instructed to remain neutral, you need to take a clear position. You are listing the pros and cons, analyzing them, and then drawing a conclusion from that information. Your judgment needs to be clear to the reader. In a standard academic piece of writing, it should be part of your thesis statement.

However, depending on the topic, it is vital to keep in mind that your conclusion may not be the same as other people’s conclusions. So, you do not want to state your opinion as fact. Ensure that your audience understands that you are supporting your opinion about the question, not drawing a factual conclusion. If the facts about a topic are not debatable, then it is not a good topic for a pro and con paper.

The conclusion of your paper is going to be a restatement of your thesis statement. So, a pros a cons essay conclusion example could be something like:

Arguments about when life or viability begins are irrelevant. Abortion should be legal because criminalizing abortion strips women of their right to bodily autonomy.

Strategy Five: Make an Outline

Once you have picked your topic, researched your pros and cons, and decided on your position, it is time to outline your paper. The structure of your outline will depend on how in-depth your article will be. Are you writing a traditional five-paragraph essay? If so, then the skeleton of your outline will be

  1. Introduction
  2. Pros
  3. Cons
  4. Analysis
  5. Conclusion

If you are writing a longer, more in-depth paper, then the skeleton of your outline may contain many more paragraphs. Ideally, each pro and con would have its own section. You can analyze them all after you have presented them, or you can analyze each pro or con just after introducing them. You can show all of the pros and then all of the cons. You can present all of the cons and then all of the pros. You can also present a mix of pros and cons, which is very effective, primarily if the pros and cons are related to one another. Whichever approach you choose, having an outline helps you stay on track and keep your format in order as you are writing your paper.

Strategy Six: Flesh Out the Pros and Cons

While you need to take a position in your paper, that does not mean you should only focus on supporting your position. It is a pros and cons paper. So, you need to ensure that you spend equal time focusing on the pros and cons. That makes a pros and cons essay different from other types of persuasive or argumentative essays. In those essays, you can provide your supporting arguments and then make your arguments against the other position in a paragraph or two. In a pros and cons essay, you must spend equal time and effort on each position.

Strategy Seven: Analyze the Pros and Cons

It is not enough to list and explain the pros and cons. You have to analyze them. Depending on your paper’s length, the analysis may be in the same body paragraphs as your explanation of the pros and cons. In more extended essays, they may be separate paragraphs. You can also write a particular analysis section after explaining all the pros and cons. However you approach the analysis section, you want to ensure that you thoroughly examine each pro and con. Then, you want to use logical reasoning to put them together to explain how you came to your position.

Strategy Eight: Write a Strong Conclusion

While your introductory paragraph should be a preview of your paper, your concluding paragraph should be a recap. You want to provide a summary of the points you made, why you decided to make your decision and your decision. Generally, it would help if you started with a sentence that restates your thesis. Then, follow that up with your summary. It makes your concluding paragraph a mirror image of your introductory paragraph.

Which Three Strategies Are Elements of a Persuasive Essay?

In a persuasive essay, picking a topic where people disagree is the most important. If there is universal agreement on an issue, it is difficult to make arguments against the position. For example, taking the position that it is unhealthy to feed a child exclusively from fast food restaurants would not be a great topic. Most people will agree with that statement, and the facts you cite will not reveal new information. However, a writer can argue the other side of a position most people deem closed. For example, one could write an essay saying that feeding a child a healthy diet while eating exclusively at fast food restaurants is possible.

Next, you need to take a stance on the issue. A persuasive essay’s job is to persuade, not just present information. The reader needs to know you’s stance on the subject. It is not enough for you to present a position. They also have to present facts and evidence to back up that position. The argument needs to support you’s position.

Finally, it would help if you acknowledged arguments against their position. Supporting a position with facts and evidence without acknowledging the other side is easy. However, that does not make for a very persuasive argument. Instead, it would help to recognize opposing ideas and then present evidence of why those arguments are not compelling.

pros and cons essays

How Do You Start Writing Pros and Cons?

To start writing a pros and cons essay, start by choosing a controversial topic. By controversial, we do not mean people must have strong emotions about the subject. We simply mean that reasonable people can disagree about the issue. While you can choose a topic where most sensible people have one position, if you go that route, you will have a weak essay unless you decide to take the minority position. You want to keep that in mind while structuring your research.

What Type of Essay Has Pros and Cons?

Pros and cons essays are a subtype of argumentative or persuasive essays. However, it is essential to look at your essay prompt. In a compelling essay, you will constantly be arguing a specific position. In a pros and cons essay, you may be asked to present both sides of the issue without taking a position. So, be sure to read the instructions.

Are Pros and Cons Persuasive?

Generally, pros and cons essays are considered persuasive or argumentative essays.

What Are the Pros and Cons Examples?

You can write a pros and cons essay about anything where people disagree.

Some topics that you may consider include:

  • Gay Marriage
  • Transgender Athletes
  • Banning Books
  • Prison Privatization
  • Social Media Bans
  • Cancel Culture
  • Mandatory Vaccinations
  • Lowering the Legal Drinking Age to 18
  • Legalizing Marijuana
  • Legalizing Drugs
  • Inclusion Education for Students with Special Needs
  • Going to College
  • Getting Married
  • Having Children
  • Getting a Pet
  • Corporal Punishment
  • Mandatory Voting
  • Free College
  • Legalizing Polygamy
  • Immigration
  • Paying College Athletes
  • Legalizing Prostitution

A good how to write pros and cons essay example is our Pros and Cons of Abortion essay in our paper database.

Check out our writing guide on how to write a pros and cons essays today!