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How to Write an Argumentative Essay: Steps of Successful Writing

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Almost every student is at some point assigned to write an argumentative essay. While it may seem a daunting task and students are often struggling with finding the best way to complete it, there are some secrets that can help. Use our recommendations to succeed in your academic writing.

What Is an Argumentative Essay

When you are assigned to come up with an argumentative essay, it means that you must explore the topic, gather, generate, and assess evidence, and clearly establish your standpoint on the topic. Typically, such assignments involve comprehensive research of literature or previously published material. However, such tasks sometimes require empirical research, as well, where students have to gather information through interviews, observations, or experiments. Due to thorough research, students get a chance to get a full understanding of the topic and consider various opinions regarding the topic so that they may pick a position and provide strong evidence.

Choosing the Argument Strategy

There are three main types of arguments, listed below. You can pick one of them or combine them to come up with the best paper.

Classical Argument Strategy. This technique is the most common one. It involves presenting the issue, stating your opinion, and persuading the reader that your standpoint is the right one. Your reader may know nothing about the topic, or they may not have a strong point of view. Your goal should be making them care about this particular issue and sharing your opinion.

Rogerian Argument Strategy. By using this strategy, you attempt to convince readers by providing certain points of agreement. It is often utilized in highly polarized debates — those, in which neither side listens to another. If you choose this technique, you show that you are considering opposing opinions and that they are valid. You are attempting for the middle ground.

Toulmin Model of Argument. This technique is also often used in highly charged debates. However, it tries to use clear logic and thorough qualifiers to limit the argument to things that can be agreed upon, rather than appealing to commonalities.

How to Come Up with the Topic

You can get inspired literary from anything and find the topic for writing an argumentative essay everywhere. You can check the headlines of favorite blog articles, or simply listen in on a conversation in some coffee shop. You will likely hear somebody trying to persuade another person to share their opinion about a particular issue.

Creating an Outline

Argumentative essays are quite simple in their organization. Having an argumentative essay outline is one of the key points to come up with a good paper. In this type of essay, your task is to:

  1. Provoke the readers' interest and make them want to continue reading
  2. Tell more about the controversy of the issue plainly
  3. Write about various standpoints on the topic
  4. Explain your point of view
  5. Convince that your standpoint is the right one
  6. Refute any potential objections
  7. Urge the reader to share your standpoint

Writing a Thesis Statement

A thesis statement is placed at the beginning of the essay and briefly introduces your key point or claim. It is vital to devote enough time for producing a strong thesis as it provides the reader with an idea of what the paper is about and helps them understand if they want to continue reading.

There are several ways to write a thesis statement:

  • The question/answer format. This is the easiest way to craft your thesis: turn the issue into a question, and then answer it. You can use the question as the title of the essay, and the answer as the thesis statement.
  • Refute objections. You can create a thesis statement by stating one side of the argument and presenting a refuting statement.
  • By using this strategy, you can create a "Roadmap" that presents the key points you are going to describe further just in a couple of words.

Creating an Introductory Part

The introduction should be crafted around the thesis statement, and present background data required for understanding the argument and evidence that supports it.

To begin, include some exciting facts, surprising statistics, citation, quote, personal anecdotes, or a thought-provoking question. Strive to make it catchy. Always keep your audience in mind — consider the aspects of the topic that are the most likely to grab their attention.

Then, give some background information. Tell what exactly led you to your argument, the reasons why people should concern. The background should smoothly flow into the main argument. State the key points which support your argument and that is all. The rest of the information should be provided in the body of your essay. It is important to be concise, as, on this stage, you are only indicating the argument, not debating it yet.

Here are some ideas for writing an introduction:

  • Write some personal story
  • Describe some hypothetical situation that describes the issue
  • Simply explain the problem
  • Use trustworthy sources to include undeniable facts
  • Compare and contrast

Working on the Body Paragraphs

The body of argumentative essays typically includes three or more paragraphs, each of which presents a single piece of evidence to support the thesis statement. The first sentence of each paragraph is also called the topic sentence. Here, you aim to explain to the readers why they have to share your viewpoint. Use the chance to make the writing even stronger by explaining opposing opinions and refuting them.

Based on this, you will likely have three or more reasons for the reader to share your standpoint. These reasons should become your topic sentences. Each of them must be backed up with facts, statistics, examples from life, logic, etc. There is also one hack to make the reasons seem specious: connect them back to your point of view by using "if… then" reasoning.

You should also foresee opposing viewpoints and arguments. Think carefully about the objections that your readers may have, and provide the answers to them with evidence. Consider other opinions on this particular topic, and develop your reason for rejecting them.

Concluding the Paper

The concluding paragraph in most essays mirrors its introductory part. Here, you should sum up the thesis and key argument and try to persuade the reader that your argument is the right one. The conclusion must tie the entire piece together. You must not present any new information here.

Here are some ideas for the conclusion:

  • Think "big picture." Include hypotheticals. Explain what are the probable consequences of adopting (or ignoring) your ideas. Mention how the changes can have an impact on the reader, in particular. Provide some real-life examples of how your ideas might work.
  • Provide a call to action. Make the reader inspired to share your standpoint. Force them to think, believe, feel or act in the way you want them to.
  • Appeal to your audience's feelings, emotions, or logic.

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