There are four main essay styles: narrative, expository, descriptive, and the one we are going to discuss in this post: the argumentative essay.
What is an Argumentative Essay?
An argumentative essay seeks to persuade the reader that the writer’s point of view is the right one. It is common for students to be given an argumentative essay for their final year’s project. The professor wants to see an indication of detailed evidence gathering, a thorough investigation of a topic, and a full review of the topic in question.
Since this type of essay often takes a lot of time to write, it is important that you don’t leave it until the last minute. Prepare a writing schedule. Allow enough time for research and note-taking. Leave a buffer at the end of your schedule, just in case you need extra time to find suitable case studies or research studies to reference.
Choosing a Topic
Unless you have been given a topic as part of the assignment, you need to choose one. Look around. Read media stories. Consider issues in your own life. There are many different topics you could tackle. Common argumentative essay topics include:
- Should capital punishment be banned?
- Is euthanasia ever appropriate?
- Is sugar really bad for us?
- Does divorce damage kids?
Ideally, choose a topic that interests you. It is a lot easier to research a topic when you care about it. In addition, you’ll be a lot more passionate when arguing for/against something if you feel very strongly about the subject matter.
Once you have a topic in mind, decide which side of the fence you are on. Your goal is to argue your side of the argument and persuade the reader why the opposing argument is wrong. This is hard to do if you are uncertain about which camp you are in. Any arguments you present will come across as ‘weak’ if you don’t believe a word of what you’re saying.
Research and Evidence Gathering
Next, it’s time to do some research. This could take a while, depending on what your topic is, so allow plenty of time. You may need to hunt down research papers and statistical studies to back up your argument. Look for good quality, original sources of data where possible. Referencing an article in the Huffington Post is not exactly going to score you maximum points.
Bear in mind that you may also need to collect empirical research. This will involve interviewing subjects, possibly conducting experiments or research, or observing subjects. Again, this will take time, so allow enough time for data collection.
Organize your data and keep detailed notes to make it easier to refer back to specific pieces of research. In the case of interviews, record each interview and transcribe your notes later. Keep folders on your desktop, where you can place online research and snipped articles that are relevant.
Have a research notebook with dividers where you can organize your notes. The more methodical you are, the easier it will be to draft your essay once you complete the research phase.
Writing a Thesis Statement
A thesis statement is your introductory paragraph. In broad terms, it outlines the topic and explains why it is important. This section is arguably the most important in an argumentative essay. If you don’t write a persuasive thesis statement, it’s not going to be easy to argue your point in the main body of the essay.
Hook the Reader
The best argumentative essays hook the reader with a surprising fact or a thought-provoking question. If you are working on a topic that has personal relevance for you, include an anecdote that offers some insight into why you are making your argument. Explain why the reader should care about the topic and offer some context to make it easier for them.
Appealing to the reader’s morals and emotions makes for a very powerful essay.
Alternative Ways to Present Your Topic
As well as opening your essay with a clear question, you could also present the reader with one argument and explain in a brief statement how it’s wrong. The main body of the essay will then go into greater detail. Alternatively, you could give the reader an overview of the topic and briefly mention the points you intend to cover. This helps to keep you and the reader on-topic.
Different Argument Strategies
You need an effective argumentative essay outline. There are different ways to argue a topic.
The first – the classical method – is to introduce the topic, provide some background, offer your thesis and argument, and explain why it’s incorrect. The conclusion would summarize the information presented and reiterate why your argument is the right one.
A Rogerian approach offers both sides of the argument before you present your case and explain why the reader should adopt your point of view.
A Toulmin approach presents evidence and data to back up the argument and then discusses potential arguments against the claim. The writer typically uses qualifiers and limiters. Think of this approach as a court case where you are acting as both the prosecution and defense.
Crafting a Conclusion
The conclusion must summarize your argument and reinforce the points you have made in the main body of your essay. Try and ensure your conclusion is logical; avoid overly emotive language.
Lastly, don’t forget to proofread your essay!
Help! I Have No Time to Write!
Are you the kind of student who likes to leave essay writing until the last possible minute? Unfortunately, you are not going to achieve good grades with that kind of approach. It’s very difficult to craft a well-researched essay in an hour or less. It takes time to read around the subject and find appropriate research material.
If you have left writing your essay a bit late or your professor has sprung a last-minute assignment on you and you have other plans, why not use an essay writing service like Papers Marketplace? Instead of sweating buckets over a tough argumentative essay, pay a grad student to ace the paper on your behalf.