Short Persuasive Essay Worksheet


As you develop your ideas for your research paper, you must focus on three pertinent questions. Keep these in mind as you think, organize, research, draft, and develop.

  • What is happening? What do you see going on in regard to this issue? You see a problem and you don’t like it. Identify the issue to your audience. Let them see it clearly and share with them the common perspectives on the issue. Example: In today’s public schools we are seeing increased numbers of dropouts, greater peer pressure that leads to numerous social problems (drugs, violence, gangs, pregnancy), and greater rates of academic failure.
  • What should happen? This section contains your statement of claim. It should be clear and direct, and you should be able to identify what type of claim you are making (value, cause, policy, etc). Your claim is a “should” statement. Example: Schools should adopt uniforms/uniform dress codes.
  • How do you make it happen/How will we solve this problem? This section overviews your main argument points. You’re arguing for something to happen. You can follow the “should” statement with a “because” or “by” statement. This statement contains your main argument points. Example: Schools should adopt uniforms/uniform dress codes because doing so will help retention rates, decrease peer pressure, and increase academic achievement. By adopting uniforms we can help solve these problems.

When you organize your argument in outline form just make your points briefly, as shown in the above examples. Your introduction will contain three statements that answer what is happening, what should happen, and how to make it happen.

Create Your Own WWH Based on a Problem Connected to One of Your Research Sources

This worksheet will serve as a general outline/draft of a research problem.

Based on your connection between a problem you are aware of and concerned about and a particular point or perspective shared in one of your research sources you’ll be reflecting on the problem itself and how that problem affects a particular environment or social or community setting. If that problem did not exist, the setting would be different.

  • Who is affected by the problem? 
  • Who is concerned about the problem?
  • Who would like to see the problem go away?
  • Is that audience in a position to take your advice and solve the problem?
  • What must you do to persuade the audience to solve the problem in the way you argue?

What does the author suggest that you could transfer to the problem that you are concerned with? You would like to see that problem eradicated, so consider a creative application from your source to help solve the problem.

Your next step is to research the problem and discover how it has been solved by others. Make connections between your other sources. Use the sources together in such a way that you are suggesting new ways to solve the problem.

You’ll be organizing and drafting your argument using the basic WWH questions (below). First, state the problem clearly and how it affects the situation in which it exists. Second, explain how the situation would be different if the problem did not exist. Third, using source support, persuade your reader how to solve the problem.

What’s Happening?

What Should Happen?

How Can I Make It Happen?