Skip Navigation
Skip to Menu Toggle Button
Online Guide to Writing and Research

Thinking Strategies and Writing Patterns

Critical Strategies and Writing


In college and graduate school, you probably will engage in persuasion more than any other writing activity. Essays, research papers, white papers - even various reports - require persuasion. You will have to make a claim and convince your readers that you are correct. Your claim may not be especially controversial, such as the kind of claims made in newspaper op-eds. To be sure, most of the time your claims will be unobjectionable. However, you will still need to persuade.

Qualities of Persuasion

Persuasion uses analysis, synthesis, and evaluation. In a sense, persuasion is the reason these exist, as each is a tool used to persuade.  However, persuasion also has qualities that are unique unto itself. Generally speaking, persuasion involves three rhetorical strategies.

Ethos is persuasion using authority. Often, this involves assuring readers of your credentials, but there are also subtler ways to communicate authority, such as using a formal tone.

Pathos is persuasion using emotion. Writers who use pathos effectively understand the emotions their readers attach to certain values and find ways to provoke those emotions.

Logos is persuasion using logic or reason. Using logos, a writer makes clear logical connections between the parts of a written work and uses evidence to support claims.


Qualities to Prioritize

Academics prize and prioritize logos (logical, reasoned argument), and college students are expected to prize it as well. It is also in reasoned argument where you can find analysis, synthesis, and evaluation most readily. 

However, you can also employ writing strategies to provide authority and appeal to emotion. For example, synthesis can lend authority to your work, allowing you to demonstrate knowledge of your field and associate your point of view with more established writers. Because evaluation by nature assigns value, a few emotion-laden verb choices can easily appeal to your reader’s feelings about those values.

Key Takeaways

  • Academic persuasion means using authority, emotion, but most of all, reason, to convince a reader of the correctness of your conclusion.
  • We use persuasion often in everyday life, whether at work or in social situations.

Mailing Address: 3501 University Blvd. East, Adelphi, MD 20783
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. © 2022 UMGC.
All links to external sites were verified at the time of publication. UMGC is not responsible for the validity or integrity of information located at external sites.

Table of Contents: Online Guide to Writing