How to Compose a Striking Argumentative Essay
What is an Argumentative Essay?
An argumentative essay entails a writer researching a particular topic; gathering, generating, and assessing evidence; taking a stance on the matter, and using logical proof to back and persuade the reader to think in a specific way. Even though many essays intend to convince the reader to believe a particular claim or perspective, argumentative papers primarily depend on factual evidence derived from credible sources and research to prove that their opinion or argument is the greatest.
When students hear the name argumentative essay, the first thing that comes to their mind is that it must be aggressive or combative. However, that is not the case. Instead, this genre of writing derives its name from the style of arguing that the writer gives logical evidence to support their own idea and disapprove of opposing viewpoints. As you write an argumentative essay, keep in mind that the core goal is to portray your thesis as the only reasonable conclusion. Most students tend to confuse this type of writing with persuasive essays. The primary purpose of an argumentative essay is to inform readers instead of persuading them.
When professors grade argumentative essays, they evaluate the following skills:
- Research skills
- Analytical skills
- Writing skills
Most instructors assign this type of paper to strengthen and evaluate students’ debating skills. This paper has long-term benefits because it tremendously impacts public speaking skills applicable in the future. When composing this essay, it is essential to focus on logical facts and information rather than personal preferences and perspectives.
There are two ways of handling argumentative essays:
- The author can present arguments equally
- Or the writer can support one in favor of others
Nonetheless, the thesis should comprise the main points and counterpoints you will address in the essay.
Elements of an Argumentative Essay
- Stance: It’s essential to establish which side of the argument you are taking. For instance, you might be arguing that video games have a negative psychological impact on children. You can make a point to elaborate on why you took the initial stance. For example, you can present reasons such as increased aggressive feelings, behavior, and lack of social life to show how video games can negatively impact children’s mental health.
- Evidence: This is where you present logical facts from credible sources to support your reasons. It is essential to cite and reference where you got the information. The reader might not consider your evidence if there are no sources of your jotted down information. For instance, you can cite prior health studies or scientific research that discussed the negative impacts of video games on children’s psychological health.
- Counterarguments: This is the area you give the other side of the argument. Present the contradicting claim from your perspective. Once you have stated these counterarguments, you should provide further evidence to show why they are false, weak, or ineffective.
3 Ways of Approach Argumentative Writing
When writing an argumentative essay, there are three primary strategies one can choose from. These approaches are very beneficial in creating a suitable structure.
- Classical Approach(Aristotelian)
When to apply it: While making straightforward arguments
The classical approach is also known as Aristotelian, which mainly draws on credibility(ethos), emotion(pathos), and logic( logos) to prove its idea. You can adapt these aspects in any argument. This tactic is the most common when you aim at making a clear view. Below is the path that an Aristotelian tactic takes:
- An introduction: This is where you introduce the problem in a thesis statement. For instance, Video games can lead to negative repercussions such as unhealthy lifestyles, loneliness, depression, and isolation.
- Explain your perspective: Discuss the primary points of your argument. For example, you could talk about how gaming addiction makes it hard for children to interact with others leading to loneliness and depression.
- Elaborate on your opponent’s point of view: This is where you give room for counterarguments. In this case, you can talk about the studies that show that video games could positively affect children’s mental health, such as social interaction and cooperation when playing multiplayer online games. Nonetheless, you can refute this point by presenting statistics that show more harm than the good of video games on children’s psychological health.
- Present your evidence: Give logical facts, data, and statistics to support your argument.
- Conclude your argument: Wrap up all the primary points you have discussed and provide solutions or future studies that require to be conducted on the matter.
When to apply it: Toulmin is most applicable when your thesis is a rebuttal or a counterargument or presenting complex problems with no evident truths.
This strategy is helpful in controversial arguments. It intends to find common ground and eradicate any redundant views. For example, if your question is whether children should play video games, you should explore the most significant problems on both sides of the argument. In this case, you can discuss the merits and demerits of video games on children’s mental health.
When to apply it: Rogerian is applicable when presenting both sides as valid or addressing a mixed audience who might raise different discussions on the matter.
The Rogerian approach presents room for a middle ground, where you regard the validity of both your thesis and the opponent’s viewpoint. Compared to the other strategies, it is the least aggressive and the most respectful, which assists in persuading an audience who might be naturally biased about your main opinion. For example, it is most suitable to use the Rogerian approach when handling topics such as causes of global warming, gender identification issues, and philosophical problems. When discussing such matters, you do not have to solve the problem; it is essential to explore both sides and present them as valid, leading to a compromise that could help solve the pressing matter. Below is the structure of a Rogerian tactic.
- Introduce the problem
- First, explain your opponent’s perspective. Validate their claims when correct.
- Explain your perspective
- Bring both sides together. Present a middle ground where both perspectives coexist.
- Conclude your argument. Ensure it is balanced.
How to write an Argumentative Essay: The Writing Process
Argumentative essays follow a similar writing process to other forms of essays, although putting more focus on researching and preparing. Below is a detailed outline of how to conduct the writing process.
Step 1: Brainstorming: If you are not provided with a specific subject, this is the right opportunity to brainstorm and come up with a brilliant topic.
When thinking of a topic for your argumentative essay. You should consider the following aspects:
- Coherency and relativity to your studied subject
- Inherent values
- Possibility for future research
Nonetheless, it is essential to keep in mind that the topic should be presented in a debate format. This means that you should explain to your readers why choice A is better than choice B and vice versa. In case you choose the Rogerian approach, you should also carefully select a side.
Are you confused about what to write about? Here are some essay topics to get you started:
- Has society become too reliant on technology?
- Apple Vs. Microsoft: Which software brand is more useful for students?
- Is a highly competitive environment good or bad for studying or working?
- Should people use animal-tested cosmetics and drugs to prevent themselves from dangerous consequences?
- Do paparazzi violate the private lives of celebrities?
- Do beauty pageants influence the moral values of society in the wrong way?
The Best Argumentative Topics for High school
- Are standardized tests a fair reflection of a student’s skills?
- Should all subjects be optional?
- Does education prepare individuals for an independent life?
- What is the most vital second language to learn as a student in the US?
- Does homeschooling undermine the child’s ability to socialize?
Topics for College
- Do Cameras placed in public places infringe on people’s privacy?
- In what cases should prosecuting a child as an adult be allowed?
- Can we constitute Russia as a superpower alongside the USA and China?
- Should we sacrifice some public services for lower taxes?
- Is there enough evidence to prove that new sources have biased agendas?
Step 2: Conducting a Research
This step entails the following:
- Picking the side you will represent
- Selecting an argument that can appeal to your audience
- Investigating prior studies that support your argument
- Examining the objections your opponents or reader might raise
- Gathering your evidence
Additionally, your information should check the following criteria for its validity.
- Credibility of sources
- Objectivity or bias
Step 3: Preparations
This is where you gather all the evidence that you will use to support your claim and also draft an outline.
The outline should look as follows:
- Hook Statement
- Background Information
- Thesis Statement
- Body Paragraphs
- Topic Sentence
- Concluding Statement
- Restate the Thesis
- Brief Overview of Sub-Arguments
- Overall concluding statement
Step 4: Editing
Ensure to do the following as you are editing:
- Take a break for some time before you pick your first draft again
- Keenly check for grammar and punctuation errors as you revise the draft
- Keenly evaluate the evidence you used in your argument.
- Take advantage of family and friends around you to proofread and give an objective perspective about your work.
Before submitting your argumentative essay, ask yourself the following questions:
- Does your thesis embody a statement that people could argue for or against?
- Are all your ideas well-structured and coherent?
- Did you use strong examples to defend your argument?
- Did you successfully present and refute any counterarguments?
- Does the conclusion give a thought-provoking look into the future of this matter?