Higher – Discursive Writing Topics

The following are topics which might be used for a discursive essay. Many have been used successfully by students in the past.

Remember, though, that often the best essays are based on topical issues, presently being debated in the media. Do not feel that you are restricted to the list below.

Cars – a blessing or a curse?

Given the traffic congestion on our roads, should we be doing more to keep cars off the road, and if so, what?

Should Britain be processing nuclear waste?

Should wolves be re-introduced to certain parts of Scotland?

Should humans treat farm animals more humanely?

Is there any place for zoos in a civilised society?

What is the future for the British (Scottish) countryside – a recreational retreat or a living, working environment for the production of food? Discuss.

It has been said that the glory game of football has been turned into the money game. To what extent do you think this statement is true and how has the game been affected?

Should athletes be allowed to take drugs to enhance their performance providing the drugs do no long-term damage to their bodies?

Should ‘soft’ drugs such as cannabis be legalised?

Should the age for the legal consumption of alcohol be lowered to 16?

“Alcopops, with their trendy packaging and fashionable image, are encouraging under-age drinking.” To what extent do you agree with this statement?

Should euthanasia be legalised in Britain?

Should abortion have any place in a civilised society?

Has abortion become too widespread?

How old is “too old” for parenthood?

Have improvements in contraception brought about liberation or a passport to promiscuity?

Has genetic engineering gone too far?

Cloning – a tremendous medical advance or an ominous development?

Should animal organs be used for human transplantation?

Should doctors have the right to refuse expensive treatment to patients who will not change their habits (eg lose weight, stop smoking, stop drinking)?

Should there be a minimum BMI for models?

Should surrogacy be allowed?

Has cosmetic surgery become too readily available?

Should Britain bring back capital punishment?

Is marriage an outdated institution?

Social Networking sites should be controlled by the government. Discuss.

Is there still too much discrimination against women?

Should gay couples be allowed to have children?

Does racism continue in today’s society? If so, what can be done to combat this?

Should people be allowed to express their faith through the clothes they wear?

Arranged marriages should be banned worldwide. Discuss.

Should more be done to help travelers?

What place does the Church have in modern society?

Should clergymen comment on government policies?

Should children of different faiths be educated separately?

Why do teenagers have such a bad press?

Has Britain had enough immigration?

Is enough being done to halt climate change?

Should film censorship be banned?

Should Youtube be exempt from censorship laws?

Ancient cultures are being destroyed by tourism. Discuss.

What are the benefits of a gap year?

Our rail networks should be extended. Discuss.

“Rap music is misogynistic!” Discuss.

Should pupils have to wear school uniform?

Does Britain need public schools?

Is education for life or is it a means to an end?

Is the National Lottery a good thing?

The Royal Family: are they a luxury we can no longer afford?

Money: the root of all evil or a necessary evil?

Why should we remember the Holocaust?

Now that the World Wars are outwith most people’s experience, is it time to forget about Remembrance Sunday?

Should Britain have become involved in the current conflict in Iraq?

No man is born evil. Discuss.

Should Britain get rid of its nuclear weapons?

Though Scotland has been given devolution, many people want to go a step further and achieve full independence. Do you think independence would be good for Scotland?

Should public figures be made to resign in the light of revelations about their private lives?

Are celebrities entitled to a private life?

What is the purpose of reality television?

CCTV is an intrusion on our privacy. Discuss.

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