How to Engage Readers by Picking and Developing an Appeal

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

Coming up next: What Is Brainstorming?

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:05 Engaging Readers…
  • 0:48 What is an Appeal?
  • 1:18 Logical Appeals
  • 2:24 Ethical Appeals
  • 4:44 Emotional Appeals
  • 6:52 Lesson Summary
Save Save Save

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Log in or Sign up

Speed Speed

Recommended Lessons and Courses for You

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Amy Bonn

Amy has taught college and law school writing courses and has a master's degree in English and a JD.

There are three types of appeals that you can use in your persuasive writing to make your arguments more effective. In this video, you'll learn about logical, ethical, and emotional appeals as well as how to use them.

Engaging Readers Through Appeal

You should watch this video because it will help you prepare to take written essay exams that you want to do well on.

You should watch this video because I'm an experienced English instructor, so I have good ideas about what you need to do to prepare for essay exams.

You should watch this video because doing well on exams can mean doing well in college, and succeeding in college can help you achieve all of your personal goals.

Each of these statements is a different type of appeal. Were any of them convincing? Did they affect you in different ways? Did any of them seem better than the others? The main reason that you should watch this video is to learn about these different types of appeals in persuasive writing, as well as how and why you should make use of them to do well on the essays you write.

What Is an Appeal?

In writing, an appeal is a persuasive strategy that a writer uses to support an argument. We use facts, data, and examples to support our arguments, but those are different from appeals, which have to do with how we present facts and examples in our persuasive writing.

There are three basic types of persuasive appeals: logical appeals; ethical appeals, or those based on the credibility of the writer; and emotional appeals. We'll take a look at each type, as well as how and why you might work with each type of appeal in an essay.

Logical Appeals

I mentioned earlier that 'you should watch this video because it will help you prepare to take written essay exams that you want to do well on.' That's a logical appeal because I've tried to appeal to your reasoning and logical judgment. When you make a logical appeal, you use reasoning to make your case. This is probably the most important type of appeal you'll make in most of your writing as a student and the type that should be used most often.

For example, if you're writing a persuasive essay arguing that your high school should make community service a requirement for graduation, you might offer the logical points that such efforts would lead to improvements within the community and students will learn the value of community service work. Develop each of your logical appeals thoroughly by offering facts and examples to back up those assertions.

Why should you rely on logical appeals most often when writing persuasively? Well, teachers who grade argumentative papers look to see whether you can construct a sound, logical argument. You may have personal, emotionally driven reasons for feeling the way that you do about an issue, but for graded essays, work on developing logical, well-supported persuasive points.

Ethical Appeals

I mentioned earlier that ethical appeals are those based on the credibility of the writer. I said at the start of this video that 'you should watch this video because I'm an experienced English instructor, so I have good ideas about what you need to do to prepare for essay exams.' I was trying to convince you that I'm a good, reliable source and that watching this video is a good idea based on my qualifications. An ethical appeal is based on the credibility of the writer.

It seems that everyone has an opinion about most things, but that doesn't mean that we want to listen to what just anyone has to say about every issue. We tend to be convinced by experts and trustworthy people who have experience with the issues that they write about. You might think 'I'm just a student; I'm not an expert on the topics I have to write about.' That's okay!

There are several ways that you can build your credibility and prove your character through your writing. You'll typically use sources when you write essays, either by conducting research for term papers or by relying on source materials provided to you for an essay exam. As you write, it's important to convey to your reader that you've sought out and referenced the ideas of people who are knowledgeable and experienced on the topic you're dealing with.

For example, let's say you have an interview with a long-time, distinguished high school principal discussing her views on requiring community service for students. You can use this resource to make an ethical appeal to your readers. You could highlight the fact that a high school educator and principal of twenty years has witnessed firsthand how compulsory community service can help build the character of students.

Making this ethical appeal can add weight to your own assertions about why this type of community service should be required and may help convince your reader of your point of view. You can develop an ethical appeal by thoroughly conveying the expert opinion and experiences of the credible, reliable sources that you come across in your research or that are provided to you for an essay exam.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use

Become a member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account