How to Write an Argumentative Essay
Before looking at how to write an argumentative essay, it is important to understand what it is. An argumentative essay is a type of academic essay normally handed out to scholars by educators, and is aimed at presenting both sides of any argument. In this kind of essay, it could be that one argument is presented in a more forceful manner than the other, or that both arguments are presented in a balanced manner.
The aim of writing an argumentative essay is to assist the writer state their position in a particular cause or issue, as well as to provide a number of reasons why they have taken that position. The reasons should always be backed by facts and evidence. These are meant to help the reader determine why they should adopt your view or change their way of thinking.
Having gained a basic grasp of what makes up an argumentative essay, we can now move on to how to draft the essay.
For any argument that you advance to be deemed effective, it will need to satisfy certain criteria for it to be able to influence the reader’s thoughts. Taking this into consideration, a persuasive topic, a good and well-thought-out assessment, convincing language and quality supporting evidence will be necessary.
How to Research Potential Topics to Cover
The good thing with argumentative essays is that you can never lack a good topic to argue. You can consider the headlines on the dailies or even opt to cover a conversational topic that you may have overheard at the local coffee shop—with each passing day, there will be someone somewhere attempting to convince another individual to change their way of thinking or to start sharing their viewpoints.
Whenever you have to explore any potential topic, you will need to ask yourself a number of questions:
- Why did a certain scenario occur?
- Was it important?
- How should society react?
For you to know whether you have identified a good argumentative topic, it will need to have at least two sides that are strongly opposed to the views being shared.
Although it is important to have a keen interest in any topic that you have identified, this should never at any given point replace your ability to come up with strong, and convincing statements. The ability to believe in a particular statement is one thing, however, coming up with a reasonable and logical belief is another thing altogether.
The standout point here is that you need to be reasonable and logical without appearing to be too emotional. You should also be in a position to back up your points with tangible evidence.
It is always best to try and draft a list containing potential points to be covered when you are looking into any subject matter. The points you draft will come in handy when you are looking for evidence to either support or argue against the issue at hand.
Only Determine Your Position After You Have Looked into Both Sides of the Argument
Once you have picked a topic that you are passionate about, you can now go back to your list and use it to determine a side that you can easily relate to. A crucial element of writing an argumentative essay involves pondering the arguments being presented by both sides and then attempting to present both sides of the issue at hand.
This is something that will require you to undertake a good assessment of both arguments. Regardless of the position that you choose to take, it will be important for you to make educated arguments for the opposing sides. You must be in a position to persuade the opponents for them to view the validity of the argument that you are presenting.
Gather Supporting Material and Evidence
Unlike personal conversations, written arguments do not have any emotion or the ability to read the language being communicated by the body. As such, this makes it important to ensure that you provide sound proof to support all the claims that you have made. You will need to consider the following questions when assessing each side being presented in an argument:
- FACT: Are the statements being made factual?
- DEFINITION: What is the implication of each claim?
- CLAUSE: Is it valuable?
- VALUE: What has brought about the issue at hand? What will happen after this?
- PROPOSITION: Is there something that can be done about it?
Write Your Argumentative Essay
Having finished establishing your outline, it will now be time to start drafting the structure of your argumentative essay. As is the case with all the other essays, the format of your argumentative essay needs to have three main parts: An introduction paragraph, the main body, and the concluding statement.
Argumentative Essay Introduction
Your first paragraph ought to have a good and strong opening statement. This is basically a short explanation of what is to be covered in your essay. Include important background information and a strong thesis statement. Use the thesis statement to proclaim the stand that you will be taking.
Drafting Your Thesis Statement
For you to come up with a good thesis, you should start by considering your topic in the form of a question. You can achieve this by going back to the questions that you listed when you were looking at both sides of the argument.
In many cases, the question that you will ask will also double up as the official title of your argumentative essay. In some cases, you can also use it as the concluding line of your introduction.
At this point, you will need to be able to start calling upon the strongest evidence that you have been able to gather. This is what you will need to use in order to back up each of the claims that you have made.
You are not limited on the type of evidence that you can call upon. You could choose to back up the claims with statistics, research studies or anecdotal stories. You will also need to ensure that you have re-stated the reason why your position on that topic happens to be the most logical.
Outline of an Argumentative Essay
The structure of an argumentative essay happens to be very direct. A paper that has been well executed, researched, and thought-out will:
- Engage the person reading it. It will also educate them about the issue at hand while at the same time attempting to entice them to read more on the subject,
- Encourage readers to adopt new thinking ways
- Tactfully explain both sides of the topic
- Refute any objections that may be raised by the reader
- Persuade the person reading the essay to start viewing your point as the most logical and valid point.
Argumentative Essay Step-by-Step
You can use the following roadmap to come up with a solid outline for your essay:
- The Introduction: this paragraph will be used to explain your topic, as well as compare and contrasts the two arguments being advanced by the opposing sides. It should be concluded using a thesis statement. Use the following tips to gain some insight.
- The title should be used to deliver your position. You can use a question to make it more effective.
- Consider the people reading the essay—what parts of your essay will prove to be more persuasive or engaging?
- Make sure that the thesis statement is straight to the point and is capable of answering the questions being put forward. The statement should be able to promote the position taken as well as act as the final sentence of your introductory paragraph.
- The Body: the paragraphs in your body should explain the reasons why your readers need to take up your viewpoints and view the thesis statements as facts. It should also be able to refute any objections that may be raised by the other parties. Accompanying evidence should always be provided.
- Reasons and Facts
- Traditionally, the body of your essay should not have less than three reasons explaining why your point is valid. These are the topic sentences.
- Each sentence will need to be backed by supporting data, e.g., sound arguments, statistics, and facts.
- Determine Objections and Be Ready to Expect Opposition
- Consider the objections that are likely to be raised by the person reading your argumentative essay. You will also need to be in a position to refute them using facts backed by solid evidence.
- Reasons and Facts
- The Conclusion: this is the final paragraph and should be the one containing all closing statement. This statement will need to persuade readers to adopt the position you took earlier on.
- Ensure the conclusion answers the question: why should a reader shift their position and start to share your views?
- Try and use anticipated objections while you are putting your closing remarks forward.
Argumentative Essay Conclusion
It is important that this last paragraph restates the topic you started with and also appeals to your reader’s character. You can achieve this by:
- Going back to your introduction paragraph and revising the paragraph to ensure that it is able to substantiate what is going to occur in case the reader changes their point of view.
- Providing examples that support your argument in a bid to persuade the reader.
When you are closing, it will be important that you create one statement sentence that will help reiterate the argument that you advanced earlier when you were presenting your opening argument.
Examples of Argumentative Essay Topics
It is normal for your classmates to choose to tackle all the big issues. To ensure that the professor will not get bored having to read the same points over and over again, you can consider tackling a less popular topic. Good considerations include:
- Drug companies are suppressing important information about natural substances that may prevent and/or cure some diseases.
- The average campaign for Senator is $2-3 million; for President, it is close to $500 million. We need to get money out of politics.
- We have, in the last 50 years, eliminated half the animal species on this planet. We have to put severe restrictions in place worldwide.
- General education requirements in college are “dinosaurs” and need to go
Keep in mind that the more unique your topic is, the better its reception will be.