While some essays are mainly based on opinions and emotions, others require irrefutable evidence. Going through various research materials helps one to come up with proof that their arguments are correct. Argumentative essays are some of those pieces of writing that are more objective than subjective. You have to take a side by providing credible reasons as to why your point of view is the right one. Argumentative essays are some of the most common ones that students encounter in the course of their studies. However, they still find it difficult to come up with a flawless paper without the use of outside help.
What is an argumentative essay?
To start with, one has to understand what makes a perfect argumentative essay. An argumentative essay can be defined as a piece of academic writing where a writer uses supporting evidence to convince the reader about a stand they take. The writing skills are mandatory to ensure that there is a flow of the information provided. However, the writer must also conduct thorough research to come up with evidence that strengthens their point of view. The audience must feel that they have been provided with ideas that convince them to believe in the argument.
Types of arguments that can be adopted
Numerous arguments can help a writer produce a flawless argumentative essay. However, we will focus on three major ones: Classical, Rogerian and Toulmin arguments
- Classical: This approach helps you when the reader has minimal information about your topic of discussion. It entails presenting a problem, stating your solution and trying to convince the reader why it is the right one. Since the reader has no strong opinion or adequate information, your task is to make them agree with you. This approach is also known as Aristotelian.
- Rogerian: In this method, you present a problem and acknowledge its opposing arguments. You further state your opinion in the argument, explaining why your approach is the most suitable. This approach is used to polarize ideas where both sides do not seem to agree.
- Toulmin argument: This approach involves introducing your claim and backing it up. It also presents another claim that the opponent will also agree with, hence creating a neutral ground. This technique is also used in highly charged debates.
Characteristics and features of argumentative essay
Features and characteristics of argumentative essay include:
- The main purpose of the argumentative essay is to prove that one’s point of view about something is correct and accurate, while the other points of view are wrong or inaccurate. Argumentative essays may often be considered persuasive essays in nature, but not always.
- The text must include facts related to the argument, by providing information on when it happened, where it happened, who was involved in it and why did it happen the way it did. All facts play an important part in advancing the argument in favor of your point of view.
- It should include logical arguments based on theoretical evidence supported by facts which help provide reasonable explanations regarding certain events or phenomena associated with a given situation or topic under consideration;
- All facts and evidence presented in the text must be accurate, verified sources;
- The text must include references that provide further reading on the given topic;
- It must incorporate facts and evidence based on your own findings, not merely quotes which you have simply copied from other sources;
- An argumentative essay must follow proper structure of introduction, body paragraphs with coherent development of points, and conclusions drawn based on facts provided in previous paragraphs; each part of an argumentative essay must clearly support its thesis;
- Good argumentative essays are written in clear language characterised by precise word choice (diction) that suited to the subject matter under discussion.
- It must include a clear structure of presentation, which can be illustrated with the help of such features/elements/parts as:
- Introduction: It is meant to grab your reader’s’ attention and explain what aspect of issue or phenomena you will discuss in your argumentative essay;
- Body: It includes various paragraphs where each discusses some particular aspect of phenomenon under consideration;
- Conclusion or Summary: This part summarizes main thesis or idea that has been discussed throughout the whole argumentative essay; it sometimes contains suggestions on how to solve certain problem related to topic under discussion.
How To Outline an Argumentative Essay in 4 Steps
If you find yourself in a situation where you have to submit a critical argumentative essay, it’s all too easy to lose sight of the bigger picture. When writing about a sensitive topic, it is very important that you present your case backed by facts and solid reasoning instead of personal opinion or emotional appeal. In order to do this, you need the support of an outline. Before we share four steps on how to outline an argumentative essay, let us first define these terms for those who are unfamiliar with them.
What is an Argument?
In its simplest form, an argument can be defined as a series of statements intended to prove a particular point. An argumentative essay is one which tries convince a reader that the author’s opinion is valid by giving examples and presenting factual evidence. Such an essay could be anything from “argument against gun control” to “argument for higher education”.
There are two types of argumentative essays – formal and informal. A formal argumentative essay follows certain rules laid down by its particular educational institution, so even if you write one based on your own topic it has to adhere to these requirements. An informal argumentative essay, on the other hand, is not constrained by any strict conventions so it gives free reign to the author in terms of topics and presentation style. Usually, an informal paper takes a journalistic approach when covering controversial issues or events (which is why this type of paper can be considered to fall under the category of ‘nonfiction’).
In order to make an argument, one needs an idea and many supporting points that back it up. Each point is called a reason. In a proper argumentative essay, each reason should be supported by relevant examples or evidence from the real-life situation under discussion. The author may also use counter arguments if he/she anticipates readers challenging his/her line of reasoning. If you want your paper to stand out from the pack, you need to take this element seriously and present all sides of the story instead of just sugarcoating your opinion.
What is an Outline?
An outline is a brief summary of your ideas that contains the following key elements: topic, thesis statement, sub-thesis statements, and main points. You can start writing your paper once you’ve fleshed out these components to give you a better picture of what your argumentative essay should look like in the end. At first glance, it may seem like lots of work for little gain but it will be worth it in the long run because this document will help you keep all your ideas together during the writing process (which can often get complicated). It’s also great if you want to make changes to your draft or turn it into a persuasive speech down the road.
You can skip the outline and jump straight to writing but as we mentioned earlier it’s a good idea to at least have your concept defined. We will now present four simple steps that’ll help you with that task:
Step 1: Brainstorm
Before you start coming up with possible topics, take some time and think about what you feel strongly about and why. Make an exhaustive list of ideas, interests, opinions even fictional characters or political personas – anything goes! Once you’ve finished making your initial inventory, narrow down your options by looking at the most relevant aspects.
Step 2: Define the Thesis Statement
If you’re new to this, an argument can be defined as a series of statements intended to prove a particular point. A thesis statement is what comes after “I think” in an argumentative essay (put more eloquently by Henry James – “The thesis must seem the inevitable, if not the predestined formulation, of the insistent facts themselves.”) This construction allows you to state your opinion without seeming biased while still making it clear that there are other possible explanations out there which you’ll present later on in your paper. However, remember that some institutions may require more traditional thesis statements which appear at the beginning of a sentence. For example: “The EU should be more transparent in its decision-making process because increased openness will build trust among European citizens.”
Step 3: Create Sub Points
Every argument needs to have supporting points or reasons that back up your initial thesis statement. Make a list of these ideas and add some evidence for each one. This part of the outline is called a roadmap because it clearly maps out where your essay’s going while also giving you a chance to see if all the components fit together well. You should try writing this section even before you start working on your actual paper so you can avoid any unpleasant surprises down the road – sometimes, opinions change over time and what seems like a perfect topic at first might not seem so riveting when you actually sit down to write it.
Step 4: Create the Body
This is where you flesh out your roadmap and add more detail. It’s also a good idea to start writing actual sentences because this part of the outline will give you a better picture of what direction your essay is going in. If you need further clarification, take notes during your reading or research sessions by jotting down anything that seems important or interesting. For example, if your paper is about how public indecency laws are unfairly enforced only against women then maybe you should read up on cases where men have been charged with lewd behavior – even just one case can serve as an excellent counterargument that’ll strengthen your paper.
Step 5: Write a First Draft
Even though you’ll still have to edit and review it at least once or twice, this last step is the easiest because all you have to do is follow the map – so long as each of your points has been thoroughly discussed in detail, you should have nothing to worry about. It’s often a good idea to start out by repeating or paraphrasing what you’ve already said because that can help better organize your essay around a central theme. Remember that even though having an outline doesn’t guarantee a perfect score, going through these steps can definitely improve both the quality and style of your work!
You’re done! Now just put it all together and make sure not to forget the conclusion. Anytime someone needs to communicate a series of ideas or facts, an outline is a helpful way to structure your thoughts before writing something down. While there’s no need to follow these steps exactly as-is, they should give you an idea of what goes into outlining and how it can help make your college assignments easier to write.
One thing that must be kept in mind when writing outlines is that not all academic institutions require students to use them – if you’re not sure, always check with your professor first so you don’t waste any time working on the wrong things! In case you need further clarification, feel free to leave a comment below and we’ll try our best to answer any questions you might have regarding this topic.
Main Types of Argument Claims
While writing argumentative essays, there are 5 types of argument claims you should be aware of.
- Inference-based arguments: Inference-based arguments, or inductive arguments, make a generalization from particular facts or observations. The most common kind of inference is the generalization from particulars to a universal proposition about all members of a class. For example: “Dickens’s contemporary Victorians saw in his novels a mirror of their own lives and concerns”. This statement infers that most people who read Charles Dickens during the Victorian age will find things that look like them in his novels.
- Value-based arguments: A value argument makes an inference on the basis of values such as justice, welfare or morality. For example: “For this reason we must recognize that the protection of national security is one of the few legitimate grounds for limiting individual liberty”. This statement infers that governments have a responsibility to protect their citizens.
- Counter-Argument-based arguments: A counter-argument claim responds directly to an opponent’s argument or evidence by interpreting it in a certain way. For example: “The assumption that because there are different rates of crime between races means that one race is genetically predisposed to be more criminal than another, which Darwinism would support, can be countered by noting that social factors alone cannot account for these racial disparities”. This statement counters an argument against racism by drawing attention to social factors rather than biological ones.
- Evidence-based arguments: Evidence-based arguments make a claim about how the evidence in a debate should be interpreted. For example: “In his book on sport, Bourdieu accuses football clubs of being more interested in profit than winning trophies while neglecting to mention that Barcelona’s turnover was only £37 million while Manchester United’s was £157 million”. This statement cites a fact from a book and draws a conclusion from it.
- Cause-and-effect argument claims: A cause-and-effect argument makes an inference about why something is or will happen, based on evidence about what preceded it or what followed it. For example: “Wider consequences for society include…problems of social inclusion and exclusion, such as feelings of alienation, isolation and the breakdown of community”. This statement makes an inference about societal issues that are apparent in one specific situation.
Structuring an argumentative essay
An argumentative essay structure takes the five-paragraph approach to present the ideas. However, others are longer than that especially when the writer has to present data from own research. The first paragraph is the introduction, the next three present the arguments while the least is the conclusion.
Your introduction plays a crucial role in determining the reader’s attitude towards your entire argumentative essay. It would be disappointing to be judged from a poor introduction while the rest of the essay is intriguing. Therefore, make a habit of grabbing the audience’s attention from the word go. You must introduce your topic, provide background information and introduce the main argument. The following techniques help in coming up with a perfect introduction;
- Use a hook to start your introduction
- Be concise
- Consider your readers’ emotions
- Have a clear thesis statement
How to write a thesis statement
A majority of students find it difficult to come up with a compelling thesis statement. This is the backbone of your essay and hence, should be carefully thought. The following tips can help you come up with an ideal thesis statement:
- Question/answer format: Come up with a question relevant to your topic and answer. This answer gives a perfect thesis statement.
- Refute objections: You can present two sides of an argument but refute one claim by using some proof to lean towards the other side. You can use words such as while, but, and nevertheless in such a thesis statement.
- Roadmap: Use a statement that shows the ideas you intend to unveil in your arguments. This strategy states a claim, gives your opinion and the supporting points too.
Having grabbed your readers’ attention, you must keep them hooked throughout the entire essay. How you present and organize your arguments determines whether the audience remains interested in your work. The body paragraphs are the meat of your essay and need to be as spiced as possible. However, remember that this is an argumentative essay where credibility is essential. Divide your paragraphs according to the arguments you will present and conduct thorough research on each. Ensure that you cite other people’s work according to the required referencing styles.
In the first two paragraphs of the essay’s body paragraph, present the arguments that support your thesis statement. Provide facts, statistics, data and any other credible information to support these arguments. Ensure that they are strong enough to sway the reader’s opinion and look at them from your point of view. In the third body paragraph, anticipate your rival’s opinion. Therefore, present the reader with a counterargument that differs from your prior arguments. Go further and explain why you stand against your rivals’ opinion. Again, ensure that you have credible evidence to help you do this.
Provide a summary of the arguments through the evidence presented. Do not restate the thesis statement, rather show how the evidence you give supports it. At this point, you should not introduce new ideas that were not covered in your arguments. However, you can use a personal experience to highlight a lesson you may have learned from such a topic. Ensure that your argumentative essay resembles a debate held with a friend or classmate. Your conclusion should, therefore, present the strongest opinion from the debate.
How to write an argumentative essay
Do you know how to write an argumentative essay? If not, don’t worry – this blog post will teach you everything you need to know. An argumentative essay is a type of essay that requires you to argue a point. You will need to provide evidence to support your argument, and then refute any opposing arguments. In this guide, we will walk you through the process of how to write an argumentative essay step by step.
Step 1. Choose a topic.
In order to write a convincing argument, you need to choose a topic that you are passionate about. Your goal should be to persuade your audience to see things from your perspective. If you can do that, then half of the battle is already won. But how do you choose the right topic? It’s important to select a subject that you have strong feelings about, but it’s also important to make sure that there is enough evidence to support your position. You don’t want to choose a topic that is so controversial that there is no middle ground, or one that is so personal that it’s difficult to find objective evidence to back up your claims. Once you have selected a topic, take some time to brainstorm potential arguments. What are the main points that you want to make? What evidence can you use to support those points?
Step 2: Do Your Research.
After you have chosen a topic and settled on an angle to take, it’s time to start your research. You’ll need to look at both sides of the issue to get a complete understanding of the debate. However, it’s important to remember that you are not simply writing a report on the two sides of the argument. Instead, you want to develop a well-reasoned opinion of your own. In order to do this, you’ll need to back up your claims with evidence. Start by looking for reliable sources that support your position. Newspapers, magazines, and websites that are trustworthy and objective can be good sources of information. Once you have found some reputable sources, take some time to read through them carefully. As you read, take note of any particularly strong evidence that supports your position.
Step 3: Develop Your Thesis Statement.
Now that you have a basic understand of your topic and audience, it’s time to develop your thesis statement. A thesis statement is a one-sentence claim that expresses the main idea of your paper. It should include your topic and your position on that topic. For example, “Littering is bad for the environment.” As you write your paper, you may find that your opinion changes or that your direction has veered slightly. So, don’t hesitate to revise your thesis as you go.
Step 4: Write Your Introduction.
Introductions are important because they give your reader a roadmap of what to expect in your paper. A good introduction should start with a hook that gets the reader’s attention and makes them want to read more. It should then provide some background information on the topic, including any relevant history or context. Finally, it should present your thesis statement. The thesis statement is the most important part of your introduction, as it tells the reader what your paper will be about. A strong thesis must take a position on an issue and be able to defend it. Once you have written your introduction, you can move on to Step 5: Write Your Body Paragraphs.
Step 5: Write Your Body Paragraphs.
The body paragraphs are where you present your paper’s main points. Your body paragraphs should contain ample textual evidence, be correctly formatted, and have seamless transitions. The body is the meat and potatoes of your essay. As such, it needs to contain lots of supporting detail in the form of facts, statistics, quotes from experts, and real-life examples. The best way to do this is to use an active voice. Be sure to cite all textual evidence to prevent plagiarism. The formatting for this section can vary depending on the citation style you are using, but it is important to keep it consistent throughout your paper. Transitions are key in keeping your reader engaged with your writing; without them, your paper will feel choppy and disjointed. Be sure to use transition words and phrases, such as “however,” “in addition,” and “moreover,” to signal to your reader that you are changing topics.
Step 6: Write Your Conclusion.
Your conclusion should be the final say on your argument. It should leave the reader with no doubt about which side of the argument you stand on. This is not the place to introduce new information or ideas; that should have been done in the body paragraphs. The conclusion is all about reinforcing the main points of your argument and providing a final perspective on the issue.
To write a strong conclusion, start by restating your thesis statement in different words.
Then, briefly summarize each of your body paragraphs. Finally, end with a call to action or a thought-provoking statement that will leave the reader with something to think about. Following these steps will help you write a clear and convincing conclusion that reinforce the main points of your argument.
Step 7: Proofreading and editing
After you have written your first draft, it is important to proofread and edit your work. This will help to ensure that your argument is clear and well-supported. First, read through your essay carefully, checking for any errors in grammar or spelling. Then, see if there are any areas where you can strengthen your argument. For example, you may want to add more supporting evidence or clarify your position on the issue. Finally, take a break from your essay and then come back to it with fresh eyes. This will help you to catch any final mistakes. By taking the time to proofread and edit your work, you will be able to submit an excellent argumentative essay.
That is how you write an argumentative essay in 7 steps only.
Argumentative essay writing tips:
Argumentative essay writing can be difficult, particularly when students are faced with a controversial topic; however the challenge of developing an argument will make the student more committed and enthusiastic about their work. This list offers great tips for those that want to improve upon their argumentative essay skills. By following these simple guidelines, students will have a better chance of acing the assignment.
- Recognize your audience – When writing an argumentative essay it is important to first recognize who the readers are. Once the readers know that their point of view will be valued and taken into account, they can then relax and give more attention to what you have written.
- Know your position – Before you can begin to argue a point, you have to know what that point is. Opinionated topics are the best for argumentative writing because they allow students to be passionate about their work while convincing others of their viewpoint. Once again, this will strengthen the piece because it will come from a grounded and committed perspective.
- Be objective – While it might seem challenging to argue one side of an issue, being objective means taking all aspects into consideration and not withholding information. Objectivity allows for a more thorough analysis so that counter arguments can be better formed and weaker points strengthened.
- Deliver your message clearly and precisely – One of the biggest mistakes made when writing is unnecessary wordiness; however language is key in persuading the reader to change their mindset. Be open and honest by saying what you mean, but make sure that it is clear enough for your target audience to understand.
- Make the opposing argument – While there are many situations in which this strategy would not prove effective (such as one’s personal life experiences) it can be used when writing argumentative essays on topics with multiple viewpoints. As long as students keep an open mind while creating counter arguments, they can use them later on to strengthen their own position.
- Write a convincing thesis – A strong introduction will give readers a good idea of what the upcoming claim will be leaving little room for doubt or confusion. The thesis statement should state both sides of the issue or problem being discussed followed by an explanation of why the writer’s opinion is correct.
- Practice – One of the biggest tips that writers can learn is that practice makes perfect. The more you write, the better you will become at it. If possible, try to practice writing argumentative essays on topics with which students are familiar so they can be comfortable with their position before moving forward.
- Remember your audience throughout your writing– This tip applies not only to argumentative essays, but also all other types of essay writing as well. Personalizing your work by remembering who it is for will make it more meaningful and memorable leaving an impression long after reading.
Resources and References:
- Argumentative Essay/Commentary – The University of Toledo
- Suggestions for Developing Argumentative Essays – Student
- Rollins.edu argumentative-essay.pdf
- Sample Argumentative Paper – UAGC Writing Center
- The Research Argument: Resources
- Steps for Writing an Argumentation Essay – Lycoming College
- Argumentative Essay – Excelsior College OWL
- How to Write an Argumentative Essay – Planning – YouTube
- Essay Structure | – Harvard College Writing Center
- Argumentative and Persuasive Essay – Alamo Colleges
- Classic Model for an Argument – Valencia College
- Writing for Success: Argument | English Composition I
- Suggestions for Improving Your Argumentative Essay
- Argumentative vs. Persuasive Writing
- Contents of an Argumentative Essay
- Argumentative Essays – George Brown College
- Argumentative essay | Quick guide (article) | Khan Academy
- Templates for structuring argumentative essays with practice exercises and solutions
- Revising an Argumentative Paper
- Tips for Organizing an Argumentative Essay – Judith L. Beumer Writing Center
Argumentative Essay Post writing tips
Your essay remains a draft as long as you do not go through it after completion. Take time to proofread your work and identify any grammatical, punctuation, spelling or citation anomalies. Also, consider the flow of your work and if your arguments arrive at the intended point.
- Have you formulated your arguments appropriately?
- Can you easily identify the thesis statement and relate it to the entire essay?
- How strong are the arguments you have presented?
You can also make use of a friend, classmate or professional to revise your work.
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