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The importance of writing argumentative essays in education.

Write argumentative essay

If you want to create a convincing argumentative essay, follow these essential steps:

1. Choose a Controversial Topic: Select a topic that sparks debate and has two opposing sides.

2. Research Thoroughly: Gather credible sources to support your arguments and counterarguments.

3. Develop a Strong Thesis: Clearly state your position in a concise and debatable thesis statement.

4. Outline Your Argument: Organize your points logically and plan the structure of your essay.

5. Write with Conviction: Craft each paragraph with strong evidence and persuasive language.

6. Address Counterarguments: Acknowledge opposing views and refute them to strengthen your argument.

7. Conclude Effectively: Summarize your key points and leave a lasting impression on your readers.

Follow these steps to create a compelling argumentative essay that will engage your audience and showcase your writing skills.

Understanding the Topic

Before you start writing your argumentative essay, it is crucial to fully grasp the topic you are dealing with. Take the time to research and gather information about the issue from reliable sources. This will help you form a solid foundation for your arguments and ensure that you have a thorough understanding of the subject matter.

When analyzing the topic, consider different perspectives and viewpoints that exist around it. Identify the key components of the issue and determine the main arguments that are being made. This will enable you to present a well-rounded view in your essay and address potential counterarguments effectively.

Additionally, it is essential to define the scope of the topic and establish the boundaries of your argument. Be specific and focused in your approach to avoid ambiguity and ensure clarity in your writing. By understanding the topic thoroughly, you will be better equipped to craft a compelling argumentative essay that engages readers and persuades them to consider your point of view.

Researching Key Points

Once you have chosen a topic for your argumentative essay, the next step is to research key points that will support your argument. This involves conducting thorough research to gather evidence and data that will strengthen your position.

Identify Reliable Sources: Start by identifying credible sources such as academic journals, books, and reputable websites. Make sure to use sources that are current and relevant to your topic.

Analyze and Evaluate Information: As you gather information, critically analyze and evaluate the sources to determine their credibility and reliability. Consider the author’s credentials, the publication date, and any potential biases.

Organize Your Research: Create an outline or a structured plan to organize your research findings. This will help you stay focused and ensure that you include all the necessary information in your essay.

Take Notes: While researching key points, take detailed notes to keep track of important information and ideas. Note down key statistics, quotes, and arguments that you can use to support your thesis.

Use Different Perspectives: Explore different perspectives on the topic to gain a comprehensive understanding of the issue. Consider counterarguments and opposing viewpoints to address them effectively in your essay.

Stay Objective: It’s important to remain impartial and objective during the research process. Base your arguments on facts and evidence rather than personal opinions or emotions.

By thoroughly researching key points, you can develop a strong argumentative essay that persuasively presents your position on the topic.

Present the Key Arguments: In the body of your argumentative essay, elaborate on your main points. Each paragraph should focus on a single argument and provide supporting evidence or examples to back it up. Make sure to address opposing views and counterarguments to strengthen your stance.

Logical Organization: Structure your essay in a logical manner by following a clear progression of ideas. Start with an introduction that introduces the topic and presents your thesis statement. Then, develop your arguments in the body paragraphs, ensuring a smooth transition between each point. Conclude the essay with a strong summary that reinforces your main arguments.

Evidence and Examples: Support each argument with relevant evidence and examples to make your points convincing and persuasive. Use credible sources, statistics, quotations, and real-life examples to back up your claims. Make sure to explain how the evidence supports your argument to make your essay more compelling.

Engage the Reader: Keep your audience engaged by using varied sentence structures, transitions, and vivid language. Use persuasive techniques such as rhetorical questions, anecdotes, and emotional appeals to capture the reader’s attention and make your essay more impactful.

Creating a Thesis Statement

One of the most crucial elements of crafting a compelling argumentative essay is creating a strong thesis statement. Your thesis statement is the central argument that you will be defending or proving throughout your essay. It should be clear, concise, and specific, setting the tone for the rest of your paper.

When crafting your thesis statement, make sure to clearly state your position on the topic and provide a brief overview of the main points you will be discussing to support your argument. Avoid vague or general statements and strive to make your thesis statement debatable and thought-provoking.

Remember that your thesis statement should guide the reader through your essay, providing a roadmap for what to expect and highlighting the key points you will be addressing. It is the foundation upon which your argumentative essay will be built, so take the time to craft a compelling and effective thesis statement that will set the stage for a persuasive essay.

Structuring the Essay

Structuring the Essay

When structuring an argumentative essay, it is important to follow a clear and logical format. A well-structured essay will help you present your arguments effectively and persuade your audience. Here are some key steps to structuring your argumentative essay:

  • Introduction: Start with a strong introduction that provides background information on the topic and clearly states your thesis statement.
  • Body Paragraphs: Organize your arguments in separate paragraphs. Each paragraph should focus on a specific point and include evidence to support your argument.
  • Counterarguments: Acknowledge opposing views in your essay and counter them with compelling evidence and logical reasoning.
  • Conclusion: Summarize your key points and restate your thesis in the conclusion. Leave your readers with a strong closing statement that highlights the importance of your argument.

By structuring your essay in this way, you can effectively communicate your ideas and persuade your audience to agree with your viewpoint. Remember to use clear and concise language throughout your essay to make your argument compelling and convincing.

Developing Arguments

With a clear understanding of your topic and a strong thesis statement in place, the next step is to develop compelling arguments to support your position. Here are some key strategies to help you build a convincing argumentative essay:

Start by conducting thorough research to gather evidence and supporting data for your argument. Look for credible sources, statistics, and examples that will strengthen your position.
Create a logical outline that organizes your key points and evidence effectively. This will help you stay organized and ensure a coherent flow in your essay.
Acknowledge and address counterarguments to show that you have considered different perspectives. Refuting opposing views will strengthen your argument and persuade your audience.
Use logical reasoning and sound evidence to support your claims. Avoid fallacies and emotional appeals, focusing instead on well-supported arguments.
Organize your essay with a clear introduction, body paragraphs that present your arguments cohesively, and a strong conclusion that reinforces your main points.

By following these steps and crafting strong arguments, you can create a compelling argumentative essay that persuades your readers and effectively conveys your viewpoint.

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8 Effective Strategies to Write Argumentative Essays

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In a bustling university town, there lived a student named Alex. Popular for creativity and wit, one challenge seemed insurmountable for Alex– the dreaded argumentative essay!

One gloomy afternoon, as the rain tapped against the window pane, Alex sat at his cluttered desk, staring at a blank document on the computer screen. The assignment loomed large: a 350-600-word argumentative essay on a topic of their choice . With a sigh, he decided to seek help of mentor, Professor Mitchell, who was known for his passion for writing.

Entering Professor Mitchell’s office was like stepping into a treasure of knowledge. Bookshelves lined every wall, faint aroma of old manuscripts in the air and sticky notes over the wall. Alex took a deep breath and knocked on his door.

“Ah, Alex,” Professor Mitchell greeted with a warm smile. “What brings you here today?”

Alex confessed his struggles with the argumentative essay. After hearing his concerns, Professor Mitchell said, “Ah, the argumentative essay! Don’t worry, Let’s take a look at it together.” As he guided Alex to the corner shelf, Alex asked,

Table of Contents

“What is an Argumentative Essay?”

The professor replied, “An argumentative essay is a type of academic writing that presents a clear argument or a firm position on a contentious issue. Unlike other forms of essays, such as descriptive or narrative essays, these essays require you to take a stance, present evidence, and convince your audience of the validity of your viewpoint with supporting evidence. A well-crafted argumentative essay relies on concrete facts and supporting evidence rather than merely expressing the author’s personal opinions . Furthermore, these essays demand comprehensive research on the chosen topic and typically follows a structured format consisting of three primary sections: an introductory paragraph, three body paragraphs, and a concluding paragraph.”

He continued, “Argumentative essays are written in a wide range of subject areas, reflecting their applicability across disciplines. They are written in different subject areas like literature and philosophy, history, science and technology, political science, psychology, economics and so on.

Alex asked,

“When is an Argumentative Essay Written?”

The professor answered, “Argumentative essays are often assigned in academic settings, but they can also be written for various other purposes, such as editorials, opinion pieces, or blog posts. Some situations to write argumentative essays include:

1. Academic assignments

In school or college, teachers may assign argumentative essays as part of coursework. It help students to develop critical thinking and persuasive writing skills .

2. Debates and discussions

Argumentative essays can serve as the basis for debates or discussions in academic or competitive settings. Moreover, they provide a structured way to present and defend your viewpoint.

3. Opinion pieces

Newspapers, magazines, and online publications often feature opinion pieces that present an argument on a current issue or topic to influence public opinion.

4. Policy proposals

In government and policy-related fields, argumentative essays are used to propose and defend specific policy changes or solutions to societal problems.

5. Persuasive speeches

Before delivering a persuasive speech, it’s common to prepare an argumentative essay as a foundation for your presentation.

Regardless of the context, an argumentative essay should present a clear thesis statement , provide evidence and reasoning to support your position, address counterarguments, and conclude with a compelling summary of your main points. The goal is to persuade readers or listeners to accept your viewpoint or at least consider it seriously.”

Handing over a book, the professor continued, “Take a look on the elements or structure of an argumentative essay.”

Elements of an Argumentative Essay

An argumentative essay comprises five essential components:

Claim in argumentative writing is the central argument or viewpoint that the writer aims to establish and defend throughout the essay. A claim must assert your position on an issue and must be arguable. It can guide the entire argument.

2. Evidence

Evidence must consist of factual information, data, examples, or expert opinions that support the claim. Also, it lends credibility by strengthening the writer’s position.

3. Counterarguments

Presenting a counterclaim demonstrates fairness and awareness of alternative perspectives.

4. Rebuttal

After presenting the counterclaim, the writer refutes it by offering counterarguments or providing evidence that weakens the opposing viewpoint. It shows that the writer has considered multiple perspectives and is prepared to defend their position.

The format of an argumentative essay typically follows the structure to ensure clarity and effectiveness in presenting an argument.

How to Write An Argumentative Essay

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to write an argumentative essay:

1. Introduction

  • Begin with a compelling sentence or question to grab the reader’s attention.
  • Provide context for the issue, including relevant facts, statistics, or historical background.
  • Provide a concise thesis statement to present your position on the topic.

2. Body Paragraphs (usually three or more)

  • Start each paragraph with a clear and focused topic sentence that relates to your thesis statement.
  • Furthermore, provide evidence and explain the facts, statistics, examples, expert opinions, and quotations from credible sources that supports your thesis.
  • Use transition sentences to smoothly move from one point to the next.

3. Counterargument and Rebuttal

  • Acknowledge opposing viewpoints or potential objections to your argument.
  • Also, address these counterarguments with evidence and explain why they do not weaken your position.

4. Conclusion

  • Restate your thesis statement and summarize the key points you’ve made in the body of the essay.
  • Leave the reader with a final thought, call to action, or broader implication related to the topic.

5. Citations and References

  • Properly cite all the sources you use in your essay using a consistent citation style.
  • Also, include a bibliography or works cited at the end of your essay.

6. Formatting and Style

  • Follow any specific formatting guidelines provided by your instructor or institution.
  • Use a professional and academic tone in your writing and edit your essay to avoid content, spelling and grammar mistakes .

Remember that the specific requirements for formatting an argumentative essay may vary depending on your instructor’s guidelines or the citation style you’re using (e.g., APA, MLA, Chicago). Always check the assignment instructions or style guide for any additional requirements or variations in formatting.

Did you understand what Prof. Mitchell explained Alex? Check it now!

Fill the Details to Check Your Score

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Prof. Mitchell continued, “An argumentative essay can adopt various approaches when dealing with opposing perspectives. It may offer a balanced presentation of both sides, providing equal weight to each, or it may advocate more strongly for one side while still acknowledging the existence of opposing views.” As Alex listened carefully to the Professor’s thoughts, his eyes fell on a page with examples of argumentative essay.

Example of an Argumentative Essay

Alex picked the book and read the example. It helped him to understand the concept. Furthermore, he could now connect better to the elements and steps of the essay which Prof. Mitchell had mentioned earlier. Aren’t you keen to know how an argumentative essay should be like? Here is an example of a well-crafted argumentative essay , which was read by Alex. After Alex finished reading the example, the professor turned the page and continued, “Check this page to know the importance of writing an argumentative essay in developing skills of an individual.”

Importance of an Argumentative Essay

Importance_of_an_ArgumentativeEssays

After understanding the benefits, Alex was convinced by the ability of the argumentative essays in advocating one’s beliefs and favor the author’s position. Alex asked,

“How are argumentative essays different from the other types?”

Prof. Mitchell answered, “Argumentative essays differ from other types of essays primarily in their purpose, structure, and approach in presenting information. Unlike expository essays, argumentative essays persuade the reader to adopt a particular point of view or take a specific action on a controversial issue. Furthermore, they differ from descriptive essays by not focusing vividly on describing a topic. Also, they are less engaging through storytelling as compared to the narrative essays.

Alex said, “Given the direct and persuasive nature of argumentative essays, can you suggest some strategies to write an effective argumentative essay?

Turning the pages of the book, Prof. Mitchell replied, “Sure! You can check this infographic to get some tips for writing an argumentative essay.”

Effective Strategies to Write an Argumentative Essay

StrategiesOfWritingArgumentativeEssays

As days turned into weeks, Alex diligently worked on his essay. He researched, gathered evidence, and refined his thesis. It was a long and challenging journey, filled with countless drafts and revisions.

Finally, the day arrived when Alex submitted their essay. As he clicked the “Submit” button, a sense of accomplishment washed over him. He realized that the argumentative essay, while challenging, had improved his critical thinking and transformed him into a more confident writer. Furthermore, Alex received feedback from his professor, a mix of praise and constructive criticism. It was a humbling experience, a reminder that every journey has its obstacles and opportunities for growth.

Frequently Asked Questions

An argumentative essay can be written as follows- 1. Choose a Topic 2. Research and Collect Evidences 3. Develop a Clear Thesis Statement 4. Outline Your Essay- Introduction, Body Paragraphs and Conclusion 5. Revise and Edit 6. Format and Cite Sources 7. Final Review

One must choose a clear, concise and specific statement as a claim. It must be debatable and establish your position. Avoid using ambiguous or unclear while making a claim. To strengthen your claim, address potential counterarguments or opposing viewpoints. Additionally, use persuasive language and rhetoric to make your claim more compelling

Starting an argument essay effectively is crucial to engage your readers and establish the context for your argument. Here’s how you can start an argument essay are: 1. Begin With an Engaging Hook 2. Provide Background Information 3. Present Your Thesis Statement 4. Briefly Outline Your Main 5. Establish Your Credibility

The key features of an argumentative essay are: 1. Clear and Specific Thesis Statement 2. Credible Evidence 3. Counterarguments 4. Structured Body Paragraph 5. Logical Flow 6. Use of Persuasive Techniques 7. Formal Language

An argumentative essay typically consists of the following main parts or sections: 1. Introduction 2. Body Paragraphs 3. Counterargument and Rebuttal 4. Conclusion 5. References (if applicable)

The main purpose of an argumentative essay is to persuade the reader to accept or agree with a particular viewpoint or position on a controversial or debatable topic. In other words, the primary goal of an argumentative essay is to convince the audience that the author's argument or thesis statement is valid, logical, and well-supported by evidence and reasoning.

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Great article! The topic is simplified well! Keep up the good work

Excellent article! provides comprehensive and practical guidance for crafting compelling arguments. The emphasis on thorough research and clear thesis statements is particularly valuable. To further enhance your strategies, consider recommending the use of a counterargument paragraph. Addressing and refuting opposing viewpoints can strengthen your position and show a well-rounded understanding of the topic. Additionally, engaging with a community like ATReads, a writers’ social media, can provide valuable feedback and support from fellow writers. Thanks for sharing these insightful tips!

wow incredible ! keep up the good work

I love it thanks for the guidelines

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how to create an argumentative essay

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How to Write an Argumentative Essay

How to Write an Argumentative Essay

4-minute read

  • 30th April 2022

An argumentative essay is a structured, compelling piece of writing where an author clearly defines their stance on a specific topic. This is a very popular style of writing assigned to students at schools, colleges, and universities. Learn the steps to researching, structuring, and writing an effective argumentative essay below.

Requirements of an Argumentative Essay

To effectively achieve its purpose, an argumentative essay must contain:

●  A concise thesis statement that introduces readers to the central argument of the essay

●  A clear, logical, argument that engages readers

●  Ample research and evidence that supports your argument

Approaches to Use in Your Argumentative Essay

1.   classical.

●  Clearly present the central argument.

●  Outline your opinion.

●  Provide enough evidence to support your theory.

2.   Toulmin

●  State your claim.

●  Supply the evidence for your stance.

●  Explain how these findings support the argument.

●  Include and discuss any limitations of your belief.

3.   Rogerian

●  Explain the opposing stance of your argument.

●  Discuss the problems with adopting this viewpoint.

●  Offer your position on the matter.

●  Provide reasons for why yours is the more beneficial stance.

●  Include a potential compromise for the topic at hand.

Tips for Writing a Well-Written Argumentative Essay

●  Introduce your topic in a bold, direct, and engaging manner to captivate your readers and encourage them to keep reading.

●  Provide sufficient evidence to justify your argument and convince readers to adopt this point of view.

●  Consider, include, and fairly present all sides of the topic.

●  Structure your argument in a clear, logical manner that helps your readers to understand your thought process.

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●  Discuss any counterarguments that might be posed.

●  Use persuasive writing that’s appropriate for your target audience and motivates them to agree with you.

Steps to Write an Argumentative Essay

Follow these basic steps to write a powerful and meaningful argumentative essay :

Step 1: Choose a topic that you’re passionate about

If you’ve already been given a topic to write about, pick a stance that resonates deeply with you. This will shine through in your writing, make the research process easier, and positively influence the outcome of your argument.

Step 2: Conduct ample research to prove the validity of your argument

To write an emotive argumentative essay , finding enough research to support your theory is a must. You’ll need solid evidence to convince readers to agree with your take on the matter. You’ll also need to logically organize the research so that it naturally convinces readers of your viewpoint and leaves no room for questioning.

Step 3: Follow a simple, easy-to-follow structure and compile your essay

A good structure to ensure a well-written and effective argumentative essay includes:

Introduction

●  Introduce your topic.

●  Offer background information on the claim.

●  Discuss the evidence you’ll present to support your argument.

●  State your thesis statement, a one-to-two sentence summary of your claim.

●  This is the section where you’ll develop and expand on your argument.

●  It should be split into three or four coherent paragraphs, with each one presenting its own idea.

●  Start each paragraph with a topic sentence that indicates why readers should adopt your belief or stance.

●  Include your research, statistics, citations, and other supporting evidence.

●  Discuss opposing viewpoints and why they’re invalid.

●  This part typically consists of one paragraph.

●  Summarize your research and the findings that were presented.

●  Emphasize your initial thesis statement.

●  Persuade readers to agree with your stance.

We certainly hope that you feel inspired to use these tips when writing your next argumentative essay . And, if you’re currently elbow-deep in writing one, consider submitting a free sample to us once it’s completed. Our expert team of editors can help ensure that it’s concise, error-free, and effective!

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Argumentative Essay Examples to Inspire You (+ Free Formula)

Argumentative Essay Examples to Inspire You (+ Free Formula)

Table of contents

how to create an argumentative essay

Meredith Sell

Have you ever been asked to explain your opinion on a controversial issue? 

  • Maybe your family got into a discussion about chemical pesticides
  • Someone at work argues against investing resources into your project
  • Your partner thinks intermittent fasting is the best way to lose weight and you disagree

Proving your point in an argumentative essay can be challenging, unless you are using a proven formula.

Argumentative essay formula & example

In the image below, you can see a recommended structure for argumentative essays. It starts with the topic sentence, which establishes the main idea of the essay. Next, this hypothesis is developed in the development stage. Then, the rebuttal, or the refutal of the main counter argument or arguments. Then, again, development of the rebuttal. This is followed by an example, and ends with a summary. This is a very basic structure, but it gives you a bird-eye-view of how a proper argumentative essay can be built.

Structure of an argumentative essay

Writing an argumentative essay (for a class, a news outlet, or just for fun) can help you improve your understanding of an issue and sharpen your thinking on the matter. Using researched facts and data, you can explain why you or others think the way you do, even while other reasonable people disagree.

how to create an argumentative essay

What Is an Argumentative Essay?

An argumentative essay is an explanatory essay that takes a side.

Instead of appealing to emotion and personal experience to change the reader’s mind, an argumentative essay uses logic and well-researched factual information to explain why the thesis in question is the most reasonable opinion on the matter.  

Over several paragraphs or pages, the author systematically walks through:

  • The opposition (and supporting evidence)
  • The chosen thesis (and its supporting evidence)

At the end, the author leaves the decision up to the reader, trusting that the case they’ve made will do the work of changing the reader’s mind. Even if the reader’s opinion doesn’t change, they come away from the essay with a greater understanding of the perspective presented — and perhaps a better understanding of their original opinion.

All of that might make it seem like writing an argumentative essay is way harder than an emotionally-driven persuasive essay — but if you’re like me and much more comfortable spouting facts and figures than making impassioned pleas, you may find that an argumentative essay is easier to write. 

Plus, the process of researching an argumentative essay means you can check your assumptions and develop an opinion that’s more based in reality than what you originally thought. I know for sure that my opinions need to be fact checked — don’t yours?

So how exactly do we write the argumentative essay?

How do you start an argumentative essay

First, gain a clear understanding of what exactly an argumentative essay is. To formulate a proper topic sentence, you have to be clear on your topic, and to explore it through research.

Students have difficulty starting an essay because the whole task seems intimidating, and they are afraid of spending too much time on the topic sentence. Experienced writers, however, know that there is no set time to spend on figuring out your topic. It's a real exploration that is based to a large extent on intuition.

6 Steps to Write an Argumentative Essay (Persuasion Formula)

Use this checklist to tackle your essay one step at a time:

how to create an argumentative essay

1. Research an issue with an arguable question

To start, you need to identify an issue that well-informed people have varying opinions on. Here, it’s helpful to think of one core topic and how it intersects with another (or several other) issues. That intersection is where hot takes and reasonable (or unreasonable) opinions abound. 

I find it helpful to stage the issue as a question.

For example: 

Is it better to legislate the minimum size of chicken enclosures or to outlaw the sale of eggs from chickens who don’t have enough space?
Should snow removal policies focus more on effectively keeping roads clear for traffic or the environmental impacts of snow removal methods?

Once you have your arguable question ready, start researching the basic facts and specific opinions and arguments on the issue. Do your best to stay focused on gathering information that is directly relevant to your topic. Depending on what your essay is for, you may reference academic studies, government reports, or newspaper articles.

‍ Research your opposition and the facts that support their viewpoint as much as you research your own position . You’ll need to address your opposition in your essay, so you’ll want to know their argument from the inside out.

2. Choose a side based on your research

You likely started with an inclination toward one side or the other, but your research should ultimately shape your perspective. So once you’ve completed the research, nail down your opinion and start articulating the what and why of your take. 

What: I think it’s better to outlaw selling eggs from chickens whose enclosures are too small.
Why: Because if you regulate the enclosure size directly, egg producers outside of the government’s jurisdiction could ship eggs into your territory and put nearby egg producers out of business by offering better prices because they don’t have the added cost of larger enclosures.

This is an early form of your thesis and the basic logic of your argument. You’ll want to iterate on this a few times and develop a one-sentence statement that sums up the thesis of your essay.

Thesis: Outlawing the sale of eggs from chickens with cramped living spaces is better for business than regulating the size of chicken enclosures.

Now that you’ve articulated your thesis , spell out the counterargument(s) as well. Putting your opposition’s take into words will help you throughout the rest of the essay-writing process. (You can start by choosing the counter argument option with Wordtune Spices .)

how to create an argumentative essay

Counter argument:

how to create an argumentative essay

There may be one main counterargument to articulate, or several. Write them all out and start thinking about how you’ll use evidence to address each of them or show why your argument is still the best option.

3. Organize the evidence — for your side and the opposition

You did all of that research for a reason. Now’s the time to use it. 

Hopefully, you kept detailed notes in a document, complete with links and titles of all your source material. Go through your research document and copy the evidence for your argument and your opposition’s into another document.

List the main points of your argument. Then, below each point, paste the evidence that backs them up.

If you’re writing about chicken enclosures, maybe you found evidence that shows the spread of disease among birds kept in close quarters is worse than among birds who have more space. Or maybe you found information that says eggs from free-range chickens are more flavorful or nutritious. Put that information next to the appropriate part of your argument. 

Repeat the process with your opposition’s argument: What information did you find that supports your opposition? Paste it beside your opposition’s argument.

You could also put information here that refutes your opposition, but organize it in a way that clearly tells you — at a glance — that the information disproves their point.

Counterargument: Outlawing the sale of eggs from chickens with too small enclosures will negatively affect prices and sales.
BUT: Sicknesses like avian flu spread more easily through small enclosures and could cause a shortage that would drive up egg prices naturally, so ensuring larger enclosures is still a better policy for consumers over the long term.

As you organize your research and see the evidence all together, start thinking through the best way to order your points.  

Will it be better to present your argument all at once or to break it up with opposition claims you can quickly refute? Would some points set up other points well? Does a more complicated point require that the reader understands a simpler point first?

Play around and rearrange your notes to see how your essay might flow one way or another.

4. Freewrite or outline to think through your argument

Is your brain buzzing yet? At this point in the process, it can be helpful to take out a notebook or open a fresh document and dump whatever you’re thinking on the page.

Where should your essay start? What ground-level information do you need to provide your readers before you can dive into the issue?

Use your organized evidence document from step 3 to think through your argument from beginning to end, and determine the structure of your essay.

There are three typical structures for argumentative essays:

  • Make your argument and tackle opposition claims one by one, as they come up in relation to the points of your argument - In this approach, the whole essay — from beginning to end — focuses on your argument, but as you make each point, you address the relevant opposition claims individually. This approach works well if your opposition’s views can be quickly explained and refuted and if they directly relate to specific points in your argument.
  • Make the bulk of your argument, and then address the opposition all at once in a paragraph (or a few) - This approach puts the opposition in its own section, separate from your main argument. After you’ve made your case, with ample evidence to convince your readers, you write about the opposition, explaining their viewpoint and supporting evidence — and showing readers why the opposition’s argument is unconvincing. Once you’ve addressed the opposition, you write a conclusion that sums up why your argument is the better one.
  • Open your essay by talking about the opposition and where it falls short. Build your entire argument to show how it is superior to that opposition - With this structure, you’re showing your readers “a better way” to address the issue. After opening your piece by showing how your opposition’s approaches fail, you launch into your argument, providing readers with ample evidence that backs you up.

As you think through your argument and examine your evidence document, consider which structure will serve your argument best. Sketch out an outline to give yourself a map to follow in the writing process. You could also rearrange your evidence document again to match your outline, so it will be easy to find what you need when you start writing.

5. Write your first draft

You have an outline and an organized document with all your points and evidence lined up and ready. Now you just have to write your essay.

In your first draft, focus on getting your ideas on the page. Your wording may not be perfect (whose is?), but you know what you’re trying to say — so even if you’re overly wordy and taking too much space to say what you need to say, put those words on the page.

Follow your outline, and draw from that evidence document to flesh out each point of your argument. Explain what the evidence means for your argument and your opposition. Connect the dots for your readers so they can follow you, point by point, and understand what you’re trying to say.

As you write, be sure to include:

1. Any background information your reader needs in order to understand the issue in question.

2. Evidence for both your argument and the counterargument(s). This shows that you’ve done your homework and builds trust with your reader, while also setting you up to make a more convincing argument. (If you find gaps in your research while you’re writing, Wordtune can help.

how to create an argumentative essay

3. A conclusion that sums up your overall argument and evidence — and leaves the reader with an understanding of the issue and its significance. This sort of conclusion brings your essay to a strong ending that doesn’t waste readers’ time, but actually adds value to your case.

6. Revise (with Wordtune)

The hard work is done: you have a first draft. Now, let’s fine tune your writing.

I like to step away from what I’ve written for a day (or at least a night of sleep) before attempting to revise. It helps me approach clunky phrases and rough transitions with fresh eyes. If you don’t have that luxury, just get away from your computer for a few minutes — use the bathroom, do some jumping jacks, eat an apple — and then come back and read through your piece.

As you revise, make sure you …

  • Get the facts right. An argument with false evidence falls apart pretty quickly, so check your facts to make yours rock solid.
  • Don’t misrepresent the opposition or their evidence. If someone who holds the opposing view reads your essay, they should affirm how you explain their side — even if they disagree with your rebuttal.
  • Present a case that builds over the course of your essay, makes sense, and ends on a strong note. One point should naturally lead to the next. Your readers shouldn’t feel like you’re constantly changing subjects. You’re making a variety of points, but your argument should feel like a cohesive whole.
  • Paraphrase sources and cite them appropriately. Did you skip citations when writing your first draft? No worries — you can add them now. And check that you don’t overly rely on quotations. (Need help paraphrasing? Wordtune can help. Simply highlight the sentence or phrase you want to adjust and sort through Wordtune’s suggestions.)
  • Tighten up overly wordy explanations and sharpen any convoluted ideas. Wordtune makes a great sidekick for this too 😉

how to create an argumentative essay

Words to start an argumentative essay

The best way to introduce a convincing argument is to provide a strong thesis statement . These are the words I usually use to start an argumentative essay:

  • It is indisputable that the world today is facing a multitude of issues
  • With the rise of ____, the potential to make a positive difference has never been more accessible
  • It is essential that we take action now and tackle these issues head-on
  • it is critical to understand the underlying causes of the problems standing before us
  • Opponents of this idea claim
  • Those who are against these ideas may say
  • Some people may disagree with this idea
  • Some people may say that ____, however

When refuting an opposing concept, use:

  • These researchers have a point in thinking
  • To a certain extent they are right
  • After seeing this evidence, there is no way one can agree with this idea
  • This argument is irrelevant to the topic

Are you convinced by your own argument yet? Ready to brave the next get-together where everyone’s talking like they know something about intermittent fasting , chicken enclosures , or snow removal policies? 

Now if someone asks you to explain your evidence-based but controversial opinion, you can hand them your essay and ask them to report back after they’ve read it.

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How to Write an Argumentative Essay

Last Updated: June 14, 2023 Fact Checked

This article was co-authored by Jake Adams . Jake Adams is an academic tutor and the owner of Simplifi EDU, a Santa Monica, California based online tutoring business offering learning resources and online tutors for academic subjects K-College, SAT & ACT prep, and college admissions applications. With over 14 years of professional tutoring experience, Jake is dedicated to providing his clients the very best online tutoring experience and access to a network of excellent undergraduate and graduate-level tutors from top colleges all over the nation. Jake holds a BS in International Business and Marketing from Pepperdine University. There are 14 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 847,374 times.

Understanding how to structure and write an argumentative essay is a useful skill. Strong argumentative essays present relevant evidence that supports an argument and convinces the audience of a particular stance. This type of essay provides the reader with a thorough overview of a topic, covering all facets, but also attempts to persuade the reader into agreeing with the author's point of view.

Understanding the Format

Step 1 Understand the purpose of an argumentative essay.

  • Argumentative essays also provide your audience with a well-rounded summary of the issue at hand, but clearly indicate what your own point of view is and why this view is the best option over others.

Step 2 Understand the methodology of an argumentative essay.

  • The effectiveness of this type of essay depends on the author's ability to parse through the various facets of the topic and lead the reader toward an obvious and logical conclusion. To this end, you must familiarize yourself with all opinions about the topic so that you can also outline the viewpoints that oppose your own view (counterarguments).

Step 3 Understand the desired outcome of an argumentative essay.

  • Make sure you have your desired outcome in mind as you move forward in the writing process.

Selecting a Topic

Step 1 Choose something that fits the format.

  • For example, writing an argumentative essay on the fact that exercise is good for you would be undesirable because it would be difficult to find contradicting views on the topic; everyone agrees that exercise is good for people.

Step 2 Pick an issue that is interesting to you.

  • Avoid choosing a topic that has been overdone, or, on the other hand, one that is too obscure (since supporting evidence may be more difficult to find).

Step 3 Test your argument.

  • Try a debate-style conversation in which you each bring up aspects of the controversy and attempt to explain your view on the topic.

Step 4 Keep your audience in mind.

  • Are you writing the paper for a class, in which case your audience is your professor and your classmates? Or perhaps you are writing it for a presentation to a larger group of people. Regardless, you must think about where your audience is coming from in order to lead them to your desired outcome.
  • People's backgrounds and experiences often influence how they will react to views different from their own, so it is helpful for you to be knowledgeable about these factors.
  • You also use different language when addressing different groups of people. For example, you would speak to the pastor at your church differently than you might speak in a casual setting with your best friend. It is important to be mindful of these distinctions when considering your audience.

Step 5 Understand the rhetorical situation.

  • Rhetorical situations usually involve employing language that is intended to persuade someone toward a particular view or belief. That is why rhetoric is important in an argumentative essay. These types of essays aim to convince the reader that the author's view on the subject is the most correct one. [6] X Trustworthy Source Purdue Online Writing Lab Trusted resource for writing and citation guidelines Go to source

Structuring Your Argument

Step 1 Create a catchy title.

  • A good title will act as a "preview" for what your paper will be about. Many titles for academic papers come in two parts, separated by a colon. The first part is often a catchy hook that involves a pun on your topic or an impactful quote, and the second part is usually a sentence that sums up or provides details about your argument. [8] X Research source

Step 2 Come up with a thesis statement.

  • A good thesis statement is concise and clear. It tells the reader what the point of the paper is and why it's important. The thesis must make a claim of some sort. [10] X Research source This can be a claim of value (describing the worth of how we view a certain thing), a claim of definition (arguing that the way we define a term or idea needs to be altered in some way), a claim of cause and effect (claiming that one event or thing caused another event or thing), or a claim about policy solutions (arguing that the way we do things needs to be changed for some reason).
  • Here is an example of a strong thesis statement: Excessive meat consumption in America is the leading cause of pollution today, and, thus, is a significant influence on global warming. This thesis makes a claim (specifically a cause and effect claim) about a debatable topic with a narrow enough focus to create an interesting, manageable argumentative essay.
  • Here is an example of a weak thesis statement: Pollution is a problem in the world today. This is not a debatable issue; few people would argue that pollution is not a problem. The topic is also too broad. You can't write a paper on every single aspect of pollution.

Step 3 Avoid the standard three-part thesis often taught to beginning writers.

  • Changing the thesis to avoid this form will make for a much more functional essay that is written at a more advanced level. A more effective thesis would be something like this: Due to increasing global temperatures and rising ocean levels, global warming has become an issue that needs to be acknowledged by a wider audience in order to begin reversing the effects.

Step 2 Write an introduction.

  • There are many different ways to organize your argument, but the most important thing is that you cover all aspects of the issue. Leaving out information simply because it contradicts your thesis idea is unethical as it does not provide an accurate portrayal of the issue.
  • Be sure to include counterarguments (those ideas that are at odds with your own view), but explain to your reader why your own viewpoint is more logical and accurate, perhaps because the opposing view is based on outdated information, etc. Avoid implicating opposing views as wrong because it could alienate your readers.

Step 4 Write a conclusion.

  • Be sure to review your main points and restate your thesis. But make sure not to introduce any new information in the conclusion so that you can effectively wrap up what you've already said.
  • Often, it is helpful to end with a look forward to further research that could be done on the topic in light of what you have said in your paper.

Including Research and Sources

Step 1 Do your research.

  • Ask a reference librarian for assistance in finding reputable, useful sources for your argument. They will probably be happy to help you.

Step 2 Pick sources that are reputable and provide accurate, up-to-date information.

  • Scholarly sources should be written by experts in the field (i.e. use a quote from someone with a PhD in environmental science if you are writing an argumentative paper on the dangers of global warming) or published in scholarly, peer-reviewed outlets. This means that sources are fact-checked by a panel of experts before they are approved for publication.
  • It is important to remember that anyone can write things on the internet without any kind of publication standards for accuracy, so using blogs and many websites is not a good idea in an academic paper.

Step 4 Cite your sources.

  • Citing sources involves writing quotation marks (") around the verbatim quotes and then including a parenthetical in-text citation at the end of the quote that refers to a source listed on the Bibliography or Works Cited page at the end of your paper.
  • There are several different formatting methods that are used in different fields. [16] X Research source For example, in English departments they use MLA formatting and in history departments they usually implement Chicago style formatting.

Editing and Applying Final Touches

Step 1 Take a step back.

  • Sentence fragments. [18] X Trustworthy Source Purdue Online Writing Lab Trusted resource for writing and citation guidelines Go to source Fragments are incomplete phrases that cannot stand alone as a sentence because they are missing either a verb, a noun, or a complete thought.
  • Parallelism. [19] X Trustworthy Source Purdue Online Writing Lab Trusted resource for writing and citation guidelines Go to source Errors in parallelism occur when words or groups of words do not appear in the same format or structure within a sentence.
  • Subject-verb agreement. [20] X Trustworthy Source Purdue Online Writing Lab Trusted resource for writing and citation guidelines Go to source Errors with subject-verb agreement happen when an incorrect verb form is used with a particular subject. For example, he know instead of he knows.

Step 3 Check for problems with formatting or quote incorporation.

Community Q&A

Community Answer

  • Include only relevant information. Don't drift off-topic. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
  • Try to make each paragraph about a different aspect. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
  • Use basic writing techniques to write the essay. Sentences should logically flow and have a specific purpose. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0

how to create an argumentative essay

  • It is important to respect different views and to only use information, not insults, to support your claim. Thanks Helpful 41 Not Helpful 7
  • It is also important not to base your reasons on opinions. Thanks Helpful 4 Not Helpful 0

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Write an Argumentative Research Paper

  • ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/general_writing/academic_writing/essay_writing/argumentative_essays.html
  • ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/general_writing/academic_writing/establishing_arguments/organizing_your_argument.html
  • ↑ https://www.grammarly.com/blog/argumentative-essay/
  • ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/general_writing/academic_writing/rhetorical_situation/index.html
  • ↑ https://grammar.yourdictionary.com/style-and-usage/top-10-argumentative-essay-topics.html
  • ↑ https://umanitoba.ca/student/academiclearning/media/Writing_a_Great_Title_NEW.pdf
  • ↑ Jake Adams. Academic Tutor & Test Prep Specialist. Expert Interview. 20 May 2020.
  • ↑ https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/588/01/
  • ↑ https://slc.berkeley.edu/writing-worksheets-and-other-writing-resources/suggestions-developing-argumentative-essays
  • ↑ https://writingcenter.uagc.edu/argumentative-writing
  • ↑ https://guides.skylinecollege.edu/c.php?g=279231&p=4339683
  • ↑ https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/section/2/
  • ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/general_writing/the_writing_process/proofreading/proofreading_for_errors.html
  • http://homeworktips.about.com/od/essaywriting/a/argument.htm

About This Article

Jake Adams

To write an argumentative essay, select a debatable topic that you have a strong opinion about. Your job is to convince the reader that your view on the subject is the best one, so choose a topic you can investigate and support with research. Open the essay with a concise thesis that asserts your viewpoint, then sum up all aspects of the issue, including your opinion and counterarguments. Pull quotes from reputable sources to support your stance, and end by restating your thesis and reasserting your main points. If you want to learn more, like how to format your Works Cited page to list your sources, keep reading the article! Did this summary help you? Yes No

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How to write an argumentative essay

How to write an argumentative essay

The argumentative essay is a staple in university courses, and writing this style of essay is a key skill for students across multiple disciplines. Here’s what you need to know to write an effective and compelling argumentative essay.

What is an argumentative essay?

An argumentative essay takes a stance on an issue and presents an argument to defend that stance with the intent of persuading the reader to agree. It generally requires extensive research into a topic so that you have a deep grasp of its subtleties and nuances, are able to take a position on the issue, and can make a detailed and logical case for one side or the other.

It’s not enough to merely have an opinion on an issue—you have to present points to justify your opinion, often using data and other supporting evidence.

When you are assigned an argumentative essay, you will typically be asked to take a position, usually in response to a question, and mount an argument for it. The question can be two-sided or open-ended, as in the examples provided below.

Examples of argumentative essay prompts:

Two-sided Question

Should completing a certain number of volunteer hours be a requirement to graduate from high school? Support your argument with evidence.

Open-ended Question

What is the most significant impact that social media has had on this generation of young people?

Once again, it’s important to remember that you’re not just conveying facts or information in an argumentative essay. In the course of researching your topic, you should develop a stance on the issue. Your essay will then express that stance and attempt to persuade the reader of its legitimacy and correctness through discussion, assessment, and evaluation.

The main types of argumentative essays

Although you are advancing a particular viewpoint, your argumentative essay must flow from a position of objectivity. Your argument should evolve thoughtfully and rationally from evidence and logic rather than emotion.

There are two main models that provide a good starting point for crafting your essay: the Toulmin model and the Rogerian model.

The Toulmin Model

This model is commonly used in academic essays. It mounts an argument through the following four steps:

  • Make a claim.
  • Present the evidence, or grounds, for the claim.
  • Explain how the grounds support the claim.
  • Address potential objections to the claim, demonstrating that you’ve given thought to the opposing side and identified its limitations and deficiencies.

As an example of how to put the Toulmin model into practice, here’s how you might structure an argument about the impact of devoting public funding to building low-income housing.

  • Make your claim that low-income housing effectively solves several social issues that drain a city’s resources, providing a significant return on investment.
  • Cite data that shows how an increase in low-income housing is related to a reduction in crime rates, homelessness, etc.
  • Explain how this data proves the beneficial impact of funding low-income housing.
  • Preemptively counter objections to your claim and use data to demonstrate whether these objections are valid or not.

The Rogerian Model

This model is also frequently used within academia, and it also builds an argument using four steps, although in a slightly different fashion:

  • Acknowledge the merits of the opposing position and what might compel people to agree with it.
  • Draw attention to the problems with this position.
  • Lay out your own position and identify how it resolves those problems.
  • Proffer some middle ground between the two viewpoints and make the case that proponents of the opposing position might benefit from adopting at least some elements of your view.

The persuasiveness of this model owes to the fact that it offers a balanced view of the issue and attempts to find a compromise. For this reason, it works especially well for topics that are polarizing and where it’s important to demonstrate that you’re arguing in good faith.

To illustrate, here’s how you could argue that smartphones should be permitted in classrooms.

  • Concede that smartphones can be a distraction for students.
  • Argue that what teachers view as disruptions are actually opportunities for learning.
  • Offer the view that smartphones, and students’ interest in them, can be harnessed as teaching tools.
  • Suggest teaching activities that involve smartphones as a potential resource for teachers who are not convinced of their value.

It’s not essential to adhere strictly to one model or the other—you can borrow elements from both models to structure your essay. However, no matter which model of argumentation you choose, your essay will need to have an outline that effectively presents and develops your position.

How to outline and write an argumentative essay

A clear and straightforward structure works best for argumentative essays since you want to make it easy for your reader to understand your position and follow your arguments. The traditional essay outline comprises an introductory paragraph that announces your thesis statement, body paragraphs that unfold your argument point by point, and a concluding paragraph that summarizes your thesis and supporting points.

Introductory paragraph

This paragraph provides an overview of your topic and any background information that your readers will need in order to understand the context and your position. It generally concludes with an explicit statement of your position on the topic, which is known as your thesis statement.

Over the last decade, smartphones have transformed nearly every aspect of our lives, socially, culturally, and personally. They are now incorporated into almost every facet of daily life, and this includes making their way into classrooms. There are many educators who view smartphones with suspicion and see them as a threat to the sanctity of the classroom. Although there are reasons to regard smartphones with caution, there are ways to use them responsibly to teach and educate the next generation of young minds. Indeed, the value they hold as teaching tools is nearly unlimited: as a way to teach digital literacy, to reach students through a medium that is familiar and fun for them, and to provide a nimble and adaptable learning environment.

Body paragraphs

Most argumentative essays have at least three body paragraphs that lay out the supporting points in favor of your argument. Each paragraph should open with a topic sentence that presents a separate point that is then fleshed out and backed up by research, facts, figures, data, and other evidence. Remember that your aim in writing an argumentative essay is to convince or persuade your reader, and your body paragraphs are where you present your most compelling pieces of information in order to do just that.

The body of your essay is also where you should address any opposing arguments and make your case against them, either disproving them or stating the reasons why you disagree. Responding to potential rebuttals strengthens your argument and builds your credibility with your readers.

A frequent objection that teachers have to smartphones in the classroom is that students use them to socialize when they should be learning. This view overlooks the fact that students are using smartphones to connect with each other and this is a valuable skill that should be encouraged, not discouraged, in the classroom. A 2014 study demonstrated the benefits of providing students with individual smartphones. Sanctioned smartphone use in the classroom proved to be of particular importance in improving educational outcomes for low-income and at-risk students. What’s more, learning apps have been developed specifically to take advantage of the potential of smartphones to reach learners of various levels and backgrounds, and many offer the ability to customize the method and delivery of lessons to individual learner preferences. This shows that the untapped potential of smartphones is huge, and many teachers would do well to consider incorporating them into their classrooms.

Your concluding paragraph wraps up your essay by restating your thesis and recapping the arguments you presented in your body paragraphs. No new information should be introduced in your conclusion, however, you may consider shifting the lens of your argument to make a comment on how this issue affects the world at large or you personally, always keeping in mind that objectivity and relevance are your guiding principles.

Smartphones have a growing place in the world of education, and despite the presence of legitimate concerns about their use, their value as teaching tools has been clearly established. With more and more of our lives going digital and with the growing emphasis on offering distance learning as an option, educators with an eye to the future won't wait to embrace smartphones and find ways to use them to their fullest effect. As much time and space as we could devote to weighing the pros and cons of smartphones, the fact is that they are not going to disappear from our lives, and our best bet is to develop their, and our students', potential.

Frequently Asked Questions about argumentative essays

Your argumentative essay starts with an introductory paragraph. This paragraph provides an overview of your topic and any background information that your readers will need in order to understand the context and your position.

Like any traditional essay, the argumentative essay consists of three parts:

  • Introduction

There are do's and don'ts in argumentative writing. This article summarizes some of them well - you should, for example, avoid coming to an argument based on feelings, without any evidence. Everything you say needs to be backed up by evidence, unless you are the renowned expert in the field.

Yes, you can start your argumentative essay with a question or with a thesis statement. Or you can do both - ask a question and then immediately answer it with a statement.

There are contrasting views on that. In some situations it can make sense to end your argumentative essay with a question - for example, when you want to create room for further discussions or want the reader to leave thinking about the question.

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How To Write An Argumentative Essay

Monali Ghosh

Table of Contents

Crafting a convincing argumentative essay can be challenging. You might feel lost about where to begin. But with a systematic approach and helpful tools that simplify sourcing and structuring, mastering good argumentative essay writing becomes achievable.

In this article, we'll explore what argumentative essays are, the critical steps to crafting a compelling argumentative essay, and best practices for essay organization.

What is an argumentative essay?

An argumentative essay asserts a clear position on a controversial or debatable topic and backs it up with evidence and reasoning. They are written to hone critical thinking, structure clear arguments, influence academic and public discourse, underpin reform proposals, and change popular narratives.

What-is-argumentative-essay

The fundamentals of a good argumentative essay

Let's explore the essential components that make argumentative essays compelling.

1 . The foundation: crafting a compelling claim for your argumentative essay

The claim is the cornerstone of your argumentative essay. It represents your main argument or thesis statement , setting the stage for the discussion.

A robust claim is straightforward, debatable, and focused, challenging readers to consider your viewpoint. It's not merely an observation but a stance you're prepared to defend with logic and evidence.

The strength of your essay hinges on the clarity and assertiveness of your claim, guiding readers through your argumentative journey.

2. The structure: Organizing your argument strategically

An effective argumentative essay should follow a logical structure to present your case persuasively. There are three models for structuring your argument essay:

  • Classical: Introduce the topic, present the main argument, address counterarguments, and conclude . It is ideal for complex topics and prioritizes logical reasoning.
  • Rogerian: Introduce the issue neutrally, acknowledge opposing views, find common ground, and seek compromise. It works well for audiences who dislike confrontational approaches.
  • Toulmin: Introduce the issue, state the claim, provide evidence, explain the reasoning, address counterarguments, and reinforce the original claim. It confidently showcases an evidence-backed argument as superior.

Each model provides a framework for methodically supporting your position using evidence and logic. Your chosen structure depends on your argument's complexity, audience, and purpose.

3. The support: Leveraging evidence for your argumentative essay

The key is to select evidence that directly supports your claim, lending weight to your arguments and bolstering your position.

Effective use of evidence strengthens your argument and enhances your credibility, demonstrating thorough research and a deep understanding of the topic at hand.

4. The balance: Acknowledging counterarguments for the argumentative essay

A well-rounded argumentative essay acknowledges that there are two sides to every story. Introducing counterarguments and opposing viewpoints in an argument essay is a strategic move that showcases your awareness of alternative viewpoints.

This element of your argumentative essay demonstrates intellectual honesty and fairness, indicating that you have considered other perspectives before solidifying your position.

5. The counter: Mastering the art of rebuttal

A compelling rebuttal anticipates the counterclaims and methodically counters them, ensuring your position stands unchallenged. By engaging critically with counterarguments in this manner, your essay becomes more resilient and persuasive.

Ultimately, the strength of an argumentative essay is not in avoiding opposing views but in directly confronting them through reasoned debate and evidence-based.

How to write an argumentative essay

The workflow for crafting an effective argumentative essay involves several key steps:

Step 1 — Choosing a topic

Argumentative essay writing starts with selecting a topic with two or more main points so you can argue your position. Avoid topics that are too broad or have a clear right or wrong answer.

How-to-choose-a-topic-for-argumentative-essays

Use a semantic search engine to search for papers. Refine by subject area, publication date, citation count, institution, author, journal, and more to narrow down on promising topics. Explore citation interlinkages to ensure you pick a topic with sufficient academic discourse to allow crafting a compelling, evidence-based argument.

Discover-research-papers-using-SciSpace

Seek an AI research assistant's help to assess a topic's potential and explore various angles quickly. They can generate both generic and custom questions tailored to each research paper. Additionally, look for tools that offer browser extensions . These allow you to interact with papers from sources like ArXiv, PubMed, and Wiley and evaluate potential topics from a broader range of academic databases and repositories.

Review-the-papers-online-using-SciSpace-chrome-extension

Step 2 — Develop a thesis statement

Your thesis statement should clearly and concisely state your position on the topic identified. Ensure to develop a clear thesis statement which is a focused, assertive declaration that guides your discussion. Use strong, active language — avoid vague or passive statements.  Keep it narrowly focused enough to be adequately supported in your essay.

Develop-a-thesis-statement

The SciSpace literature review tool can help you extract thesis statements from existing papers on your chosen topic. Create a custom column called 'thesis statement' to compare multiple perspectives in one place, allowing you to uncover various viewpoints and position your concise thesis statement appropriately.

Use-SciSpace-AI-literature-review-tool-to-extract-thesis-statements

Ask AI assistants questions or summarize key sections to clarify the positions taken in existing papers. This helps sharpen your thesis statement stance and identify gaps. Locate related papers in similar stances.

Step 3 — Researching and gathering evidence

The evidence you collect lends credibility and weight to your claims, convincing readers of your viewpoint. Effective evidence includes facts, statistics, expert opinions, and real-world examples reinforcing your thesis statement.

Use the SciSpace literature review tool to locate and evaluate high-quality studies. It quickly extracts vital insights, methodologies, findings, and conclusions from papers and presents them in a table format. Build custom tables with your uploaded PDFs or bookmarked papers. These tables can be saved for future reference or exported as CSV for further analysis or sharing.

Automate-literature-review-using-SciSpace

AI-powered summarization tools can help you quickly grasp the core arguments and positions from lengthy papers. These can condense long sections or entire author viewpoints into concise summaries. Make PDF annotations to add custom notes and highlights to papers for easy reference. Data extraction tools can automatically pull key statistics from PDFs into spreadsheets for detailed quantitative analysis.

Use-SciSpace-Copilot-AI-Research-assistants-to-extract-core-arguments

Step 4 — Build an outline

The argumentative model you choose will impact your outline's specific structure and progression. If you select the Classical model, your outline will follow a linear structure. On the other hand, if you opt for the Toulmin model, your outline will focus on meticulously mapping out the logical progression of your entire argument. Lastly, if you select the Rogerian model, your outline should explore the opposing viewpoint and seek a middle ground.

While the specific outline structure may vary, always begin the process by stating your central thesis or claim. Identify and organize your argument claims and main supporting points logically, adding 2-3 pieces of evidence under each point. Consider potential counterarguments to your position. Include 1-2 counterarguments for each main point and plan rebuttals to dismantle the opposition's reasoning. This balanced approach strengthens your overall argument.

As you outline, consider saving your notes, highlights, AI-generated summaries, and extracts in a digital notebook. Aggregating all your sources and ideas in one centralized location allows you to quickly refer to them as you draft your outline and essay.

Save-notes-from-research-papers-for-argumentative-essays

To further enhance your workflow, you can use AI-powered writing or GPT tools to help generate an initial structure based on your crucial essay components, such as your thesis statement, main arguments, supporting evidence, counterarguments, and rebuttals.

Step 5 — Write your essay

Begin the introductory paragraph with a hook — a question, a startling statistic, or a bold statement to draw in your readers. Always logically structure your arguments with smooth transitions between ideas. Ensure the body paragraphs of argumentative essays focus on one central point backed by robust quantitative evidence from credible studies, properly cited.

Refer to the notes, highlights, and evidence you've gathered as you write. Organize these materials so that you can easily access and incorporate them into your draft while maintaining a logical flow. Literature review tables or spreadsheets can be beneficial for keeping track of crucial evidence from multiple sources.

how to create an argumentative essay

Quote others in a way that blends seamlessly with the narrative flow. For numerical data, contextualize figures with practical examples. Try to pre-empt counterarguments and systematically dismantle them. Maintain an evidence-based, objective tone that avoids absolutism and emotional appeals. If you encounter overly complex sections during the writing process, use a paraphraser tool to rephrase and clarify the language. Finally, neatly tie together the rationale behind your position and directions for further discourse or research.

Step 6 — Edit, revise, and add references

Set the draft aside so that you review it with fresh eyes. Check for clarity, conciseness, logical flow, and grammar. Ensure the body reflects your thesis well. Fill gaps in reasoning. Check that every claim links back to credible evidence. Replace weak arguments. Finally, format your citations and bibliography using your preferred style.

Chat-with-PDF-using-SciSpace-Copilot

To simplify editing, save the rough draft or entire essay as a PDF and upload it to an AI-based chat-with-PDF tool. Use it to identify gaps in reasoning, weaker arguments requiring ample evidence, structural issues hampering the clarity of ideas, and suggestions for strengthening your essay.

SciSpace-AI-Citation-Generator

Use a citation tool to generate citations for sources instantly quoted and quickly compile your bibliography or works cited in RIS/BibTex formats. Export the updated literature review tables as handy CSV files to share with co-authors or reviewers in collaborative projects or attach them as supplementary data for journal submissions. You can also refer to this article that provides you with argumentative essay writing tips .

Final thoughts

Remember, the strength of your argumentative essay lies in the clarity of your strong argument, the robustness of supporting evidence, and the consideration with which you treat opposing viewpoints. Refining these core skills will make you a sharper, more convincing writer and communicator.

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How to Write an A+ Argumentative Essay

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You'll no doubt have to write a number of argumentative essays in both high school and college, but what, exactly, is an argumentative essay and how do you write the best one possible? Let's take a look.

A great argumentative essay always combines the same basic elements: approaching an argument from a rational perspective, researching sources, supporting your claims using facts rather than opinion, and articulating your reasoning into the most cogent and reasoned points. Argumentative essays are great building blocks for all sorts of research and rhetoric, so your teachers will expect you to master the technique before long.

But if this sounds daunting, never fear! We'll show how an argumentative essay differs from other kinds of papers, how to research and write them, how to pick an argumentative essay topic, and where to find example essays. So let's get started.

What Is an Argumentative Essay? How Is it Different from Other Kinds of Essays?

There are two basic requirements for any and all essays: to state a claim (a thesis statement) and to support that claim with evidence.

Though every essay is founded on these two ideas, there are several different types of essays, differentiated by the style of the writing, how the writer presents the thesis, and the types of evidence used to support the thesis statement.

Essays can be roughly divided into four different types:

#1: Argumentative #2: Persuasive #3: Expository #4: Analytical

So let's look at each type and what the differences are between them before we focus the rest of our time to argumentative essays.

Argumentative Essay

Argumentative essays are what this article is all about, so let's talk about them first.

An argumentative essay attempts to convince a reader to agree with a particular argument (the writer's thesis statement). The writer takes a firm stand one way or another on a topic and then uses hard evidence to support that stance.

An argumentative essay seeks to prove to the reader that one argument —the writer's argument— is the factually and logically correct one. This means that an argumentative essay must use only evidence-based support to back up a claim , rather than emotional or philosophical reasoning (which is often allowed in other types of essays). Thus, an argumentative essay has a burden of substantiated proof and sources , whereas some other types of essays (namely persuasive essays) do not.

You can write an argumentative essay on any topic, so long as there's room for argument. Generally, you can use the same topics for both a persuasive essay or an argumentative one, so long as you support the argumentative essay with hard evidence.

Example topics of an argumentative essay:

  • "Should farmers be allowed to shoot wolves if those wolves injure or kill farm animals?"
  • "Should the drinking age be lowered in the United States?"
  • "Are alternatives to democracy effective and/or feasible to implement?"

The next three types of essays are not argumentative essays, but you may have written them in school. We're going to cover them so you know what not to do for your argumentative essay.

Persuasive Essay

Persuasive essays are similar to argumentative essays, so it can be easy to get them confused. But knowing what makes an argumentative essay different than a persuasive essay can often mean the difference between an excellent grade and an average one.

Persuasive essays seek to persuade a reader to agree with the point of view of the writer, whether that point of view is based on factual evidence or not. The writer has much more flexibility in the evidence they can use, with the ability to use moral, cultural, or opinion-based reasoning as well as factual reasoning to persuade the reader to agree the writer's side of a given issue.

Instead of being forced to use "pure" reason as one would in an argumentative essay, the writer of a persuasive essay can manipulate or appeal to the reader's emotions. So long as the writer attempts to steer the readers into agreeing with the thesis statement, the writer doesn't necessarily need hard evidence in favor of the argument.

Often, you can use the same topics for both a persuasive essay or an argumentative one—the difference is all in the approach and the evidence you present.

Example topics of a persuasive essay:

  • "Should children be responsible for their parents' debts?"
  • "Should cheating on a test be automatic grounds for expulsion?"
  • "How much should sports leagues be held accountable for player injuries and the long-term consequences of those injuries?"

Expository Essay

An expository essay is typically a short essay in which the writer explains an idea, issue, or theme , or discusses the history of a person, place, or idea.

This is typically a fact-forward essay with little argument or opinion one way or the other.

Example topics of an expository essay:

  • "The History of the Philadelphia Liberty Bell"
  • "The Reasons I Always Wanted to be a Doctor"
  • "The Meaning Behind the Colloquialism ‘People in Glass Houses Shouldn't Throw Stones'"

Analytical Essay

An analytical essay seeks to delve into the deeper meaning of a text or work of art, or unpack a complicated idea . These kinds of essays closely interpret a source and look into its meaning by analyzing it at both a macro and micro level.

This type of analysis can be augmented by historical context or other expert or widely-regarded opinions on the subject, but is mainly supported directly through the original source (the piece or art or text being analyzed) .

Example topics of an analytical essay:

  • "Victory Gin in Place of Water: The Symbolism Behind Gin as the Only Potable Substance in George Orwell's 1984"
  • "Amarna Period Art: The Meaning Behind the Shift from Rigid to Fluid Poses"
  • "Adultery During WWII, as Told Through a Series of Letters to and from Soldiers"

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There are many different types of essay and, over time, you'll be able to master them all.

A Typical Argumentative Essay Assignment

The average argumentative essay is between three to five pages, and will require at least three or four separate sources with which to back your claims . As for the essay topic , you'll most often be asked to write an argumentative essay in an English class on a "general" topic of your choice, ranging the gamut from science, to history, to literature.

But while the topics of an argumentative essay can span several different fields, the structure of an argumentative essay is always the same: you must support a claim—a claim that can reasonably have multiple sides—using multiple sources and using a standard essay format (which we'll talk about later on).

This is why many argumentative essay topics begin with the word "should," as in:

  • "Should all students be required to learn chemistry in high school?"
  • "Should children be required to learn a second language?"
  • "Should schools or governments be allowed to ban books?"

These topics all have at least two sides of the argument: Yes or no. And you must support the side you choose with evidence as to why your side is the correct one.

But there are also plenty of other ways to frame an argumentative essay as well:

  • "Does using social media do more to benefit or harm people?"
  • "Does the legal status of artwork or its creators—graffiti and vandalism, pirated media, a creator who's in jail—have an impact on the art itself?"
  • "Is or should anyone ever be ‘above the law?'"

Though these are worded differently than the first three, you're still essentially forced to pick between two sides of an issue: yes or no, for or against, benefit or detriment. Though your argument might not fall entirely into one side of the divide or another—for instance, you could claim that social media has positively impacted some aspects of modern life while being a detriment to others—your essay should still support one side of the argument above all. Your final stance would be that overall , social media is beneficial or overall , social media is harmful.

If your argument is one that is mostly text-based or backed by a single source (e.g., "How does Salinger show that Holden Caulfield is an unreliable narrator?" or "Does Gatsby personify the American Dream?"), then it's an analytical essay, rather than an argumentative essay. An argumentative essay will always be focused on more general topics so that you can use multiple sources to back up your claims.

Good Argumentative Essay Topics

So you know the basic idea behind an argumentative essay, but what topic should you write about?

Again, almost always, you'll be asked to write an argumentative essay on a free topic of your choice, or you'll be asked to select between a few given topics . If you're given complete free reign of topics, then it'll be up to you to find an essay topic that no only appeals to you, but that you can turn into an A+ argumentative essay.

What makes a "good" argumentative essay topic depends on both the subject matter and your personal interest —it can be hard to give your best effort on something that bores you to tears! But it can also be near impossible to write an argumentative essay on a topic that has no room for debate.

As we said earlier, a good argumentative essay topic will be one that has the potential to reasonably go in at least two directions—for or against, yes or no, and why . For example, it's pretty hard to write an argumentative essay on whether or not people should be allowed to murder one another—not a whole lot of debate there for most people!—but writing an essay for or against the death penalty has a lot more wiggle room for evidence and argument.

A good topic is also one that can be substantiated through hard evidence and relevant sources . So be sure to pick a topic that other people have studied (or at least studied elements of) so that you can use their data in your argument. For example, if you're arguing that it should be mandatory for all middle school children to play a sport, you might have to apply smaller scientific data points to the larger picture you're trying to justify. There are probably several studies you could cite on the benefits of physical activity and the positive effect structure and teamwork has on young minds, but there's probably no study you could use where a group of scientists put all middle-schoolers in one jurisdiction into a mandatory sports program (since that's probably never happened). So long as your evidence is relevant to your point and you can extrapolate from it to form a larger whole, you can use it as a part of your resource material.

And if you need ideas on where to get started, or just want to see sample argumentative essay topics, then check out these links for hundreds of potential argumentative essay topics.

101 Persuasive (or Argumentative) Essay and Speech Topics

301 Prompts for Argumentative Writing

Top 50 Ideas for Argumentative/Persuasive Essay Writing

[Note: some of these say "persuasive essay topics," but just remember that the same topic can often be used for both a persuasive essay and an argumentative essay; the difference is in your writing style and the evidence you use to support your claims.]

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KO! Find that one argumentative essay topic you can absolutely conquer.

Argumentative Essay Format

Argumentative Essays are composed of four main elements:

  • A position (your argument)
  • Your reasons
  • Supporting evidence for those reasons (from reliable sources)
  • Counterargument(s) (possible opposing arguments and reasons why those arguments are incorrect)

If you're familiar with essay writing in general, then you're also probably familiar with the five paragraph essay structure . This structure is a simple tool to show how one outlines an essay and breaks it down into its component parts, although it can be expanded into as many paragraphs as you want beyond the core five.

The standard argumentative essay is often 3-5 pages, which will usually mean a lot more than five paragraphs, but your overall structure will look the same as a much shorter essay.

An argumentative essay at its simplest structure will look like:

Paragraph 1: Intro

  • Set up the story/problem/issue
  • Thesis/claim

Paragraph 2: Support

  • Reason #1 claim is correct
  • Supporting evidence with sources

Paragraph 3: Support

  • Reason #2 claim is correct

Paragraph 4: Counterargument

  • Explanation of argument for the other side
  • Refutation of opposing argument with supporting evidence

Paragraph 5: Conclusion

  • Re-state claim
  • Sum up reasons and support of claim from the essay to prove claim is correct

Now let's unpack each of these paragraph types to see how they work (with examples!), what goes into them, and why.

Paragraph 1—Set Up and Claim

Your first task is to introduce the reader to the topic at hand so they'll be prepared for your claim. Give a little background information, set the scene, and give the reader some stakes so that they care about the issue you're going to discuss.

Next, you absolutely must have a position on an argument and make that position clear to the readers. It's not an argumentative essay unless you're arguing for a specific claim, and this claim will be your thesis statement.

Your thesis CANNOT be a mere statement of fact (e.g., "Washington DC is the capital of the United States"). Your thesis must instead be an opinion which can be backed up with evidence and has the potential to be argued against (e.g., "New York should be the capital of the United States").

Paragraphs 2 and 3—Your Evidence

These are your body paragraphs in which you give the reasons why your argument is the best one and back up this reasoning with concrete evidence .

The argument supporting the thesis of an argumentative essay should be one that can be supported by facts and evidence, rather than personal opinion or cultural or religious mores.

For example, if you're arguing that New York should be the new capital of the US, you would have to back up that fact by discussing the factual contrasts between New York and DC in terms of location, population, revenue, and laws. You would then have to talk about the precedents for what makes for a good capital city and why New York fits the bill more than DC does.

Your argument can't simply be that a lot of people think New York is the best city ever and that you agree.

In addition to using concrete evidence, you always want to keep the tone of your essay passionate, but impersonal . Even though you're writing your argument from a single opinion, don't use first person language—"I think," "I feel," "I believe,"—to present your claims. Doing so is repetitive, since by writing the essay you're already telling the audience what you feel, and using first person language weakens your writing voice.

For example,

"I think that Washington DC is no longer suited to be the capital city of the United States."

"Washington DC is no longer suited to be the capital city of the United States."

The second statement sounds far stronger and more analytical.

Paragraph 4—Argument for the Other Side and Refutation

Even without a counter argument, you can make a pretty persuasive claim, but a counterargument will round out your essay into one that is much more persuasive and substantial.

By anticipating an argument against your claim and taking the initiative to counter it, you're allowing yourself to get ahead of the game. This way, you show that you've given great thought to all sides of the issue before choosing your position, and you demonstrate in multiple ways how yours is the more reasoned and supported side.

Paragraph 5—Conclusion

This paragraph is where you re-state your argument and summarize why it's the best claim.

Briefly touch on your supporting evidence and voila! A finished argumentative essay.

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Your essay should have just as awesome a skeleton as this plesiosaur does. (In other words: a ridiculously awesome skeleton)

Argumentative Essay Example: 5-Paragraph Style

It always helps to have an example to learn from. I've written a full 5-paragraph argumentative essay here. Look at how I state my thesis in paragraph 1, give supporting evidence in paragraphs 2 and 3, address a counterargument in paragraph 4, and conclude in paragraph 5.

Topic: Is it possible to maintain conflicting loyalties?

Paragraph 1

It is almost impossible to go through life without encountering a situation where your loyalties to different people or causes come into conflict with each other. Maybe you have a loving relationship with your sister, but she disagrees with your decision to join the army, or you find yourself torn between your cultural beliefs and your scientific ones. These conflicting loyalties can often be maintained for a time, but as examples from both history and psychological theory illustrate, sooner or later, people have to make a choice between competing loyalties, as no one can maintain a conflicting loyalty or belief system forever.

The first two sentences set the scene and give some hypothetical examples and stakes for the reader to care about.

The third sentence finishes off the intro with the thesis statement, making very clear how the author stands on the issue ("people have to make a choice between competing loyalties, as no one can maintain a conflicting loyalty or belief system forever." )

Paragraphs 2 and 3

Psychological theory states that human beings are not equipped to maintain conflicting loyalties indefinitely and that attempting to do so leads to a state called "cognitive dissonance." Cognitive dissonance theory is the psychological idea that people undergo tremendous mental stress or anxiety when holding contradictory beliefs, values, or loyalties (Festinger, 1957). Even if human beings initially hold a conflicting loyalty, they will do their best to find a mental equilibrium by making a choice between those loyalties—stay stalwart to a belief system or change their beliefs. One of the earliest formal examples of cognitive dissonance theory comes from Leon Festinger's When Prophesy Fails . Members of an apocalyptic cult are told that the end of the world will occur on a specific date and that they alone will be spared the Earth's destruction. When that day comes and goes with no apocalypse, the cult members face a cognitive dissonance between what they see and what they've been led to believe (Festinger, 1956). Some choose to believe that the cult's beliefs are still correct, but that the Earth was simply spared from destruction by mercy, while others choose to believe that they were lied to and that the cult was fraudulent all along. Both beliefs cannot be correct at the same time, and so the cult members are forced to make their choice.

But even when conflicting loyalties can lead to potentially physical, rather than just mental, consequences, people will always make a choice to fall on one side or other of a dividing line. Take, for instance, Nicolaus Copernicus, a man born and raised in Catholic Poland (and educated in Catholic Italy). Though the Catholic church dictated specific scientific teachings, Copernicus' loyalty to his own observations and scientific evidence won out over his loyalty to his country's government and belief system. When he published his heliocentric model of the solar system--in opposition to the geocentric model that had been widely accepted for hundreds of years (Hannam, 2011)-- Copernicus was making a choice between his loyalties. In an attempt t o maintain his fealty both to the established system and to what he believed, h e sat on his findings for a number of years (Fantoli, 1994). But, ultimately, Copernicus made the choice to side with his beliefs and observations above all and published his work for the world to see (even though, in doing so, he risked both his reputation and personal freedoms).

These two paragraphs provide the reasons why the author supports the main argument and uses substantiated sources to back those reasons.

The paragraph on cognitive dissonance theory gives both broad supporting evidence and more narrow, detailed supporting evidence to show why the thesis statement is correct not just anecdotally but also scientifically and psychologically. First, we see why people in general have a difficult time accepting conflicting loyalties and desires and then how this applies to individuals through the example of the cult members from the Dr. Festinger's research.

The next paragraph continues to use more detailed examples from history to provide further evidence of why the thesis that people cannot indefinitely maintain conflicting loyalties is true.

Paragraph 4

Some will claim that it is possible to maintain conflicting beliefs or loyalties permanently, but this is often more a matter of people deluding themselves and still making a choice for one side or the other, rather than truly maintaining loyalty to both sides equally. For example, Lancelot du Lac typifies a person who claims to maintain a balanced loyalty between to two parties, but his attempt to do so fails (as all attempts to permanently maintain conflicting loyalties must). Lancelot tells himself and others that he is equally devoted to both King Arthur and his court and to being Queen Guinevere's knight (Malory, 2008). But he can neither be in two places at once to protect both the king and queen, nor can he help but let his romantic feelings for the queen to interfere with his duties to the king and the kingdom. Ultimately, he and Queen Guinevere give into their feelings for one another and Lancelot—though he denies it—chooses his loyalty to her over his loyalty to Arthur. This decision plunges the kingdom into a civil war, ages Lancelot prematurely, and ultimately leads to Camelot's ruin (Raabe, 1987). Though Lancelot claimed to have been loyal to both the king and the queen, this loyalty was ultimately in conflict, and he could not maintain it.

Here we have the acknowledgement of a potential counter-argument and the evidence as to why it isn't true.

The argument is that some people (or literary characters) have asserted that they give equal weight to their conflicting loyalties. The refutation is that, though some may claim to be able to maintain conflicting loyalties, they're either lying to others or deceiving themselves. The paragraph shows why this is true by providing an example of this in action.

Paragraph 5

Whether it be through literature or history, time and time again, people demonstrate the challenges of trying to manage conflicting loyalties and the inevitable consequences of doing so. Though belief systems are malleable and will often change over time, it is not possible to maintain two mutually exclusive loyalties or beliefs at once. In the end, people always make a choice, and loyalty for one party or one side of an issue will always trump loyalty to the other.

The concluding paragraph summarizes the essay, touches on the evidence presented, and re-states the thesis statement.

How to Write an Argumentative Essay: 8 Steps

Writing the best argumentative essay is all about the preparation, so let's talk steps:

#1: Preliminary Research

If you have the option to pick your own argumentative essay topic (which you most likely will), then choose one or two topics you find the most intriguing or that you have a vested interest in and do some preliminary research on both sides of the debate.

Do an open internet search just to see what the general chatter is on the topic and what the research trends are.

Did your preliminary reading influence you to pick a side or change your side? Without diving into all the scholarly articles at length, do you believe there's enough evidence to support your claim? Have there been scientific studies? Experiments? Does a noted scholar in the field agree with you? If not, you may need to pick another topic or side of the argument to support.

#2: Pick Your Side and Form Your Thesis

Now's the time to pick the side of the argument you feel you can support the best and summarize your main point into your thesis statement.

Your thesis will be the basis of your entire essay, so make sure you know which side you're on, that you've stated it clearly, and that you stick by your argument throughout the entire essay .

#3: Heavy-Duty Research Time

You've taken a gander at what the internet at large has to say on your argument, but now's the time to actually read those sources and take notes.

Check scholarly journals online at Google Scholar , the Directory of Open Access Journals , or JStor . You can also search individual university or school libraries and websites to see what kinds of academic articles you can access for free. Keep track of your important quotes and page numbers and put them somewhere that's easy to find later.

And don't forget to check your school or local libraries as well!

#4: Outline

Follow the five-paragraph outline structure from the previous section.

Fill in your topic, your reasons, and your supporting evidence into each of the categories.

Before you begin to flesh out the essay, take a look at what you've got. Is your thesis statement in the first paragraph? Is it clear? Is your argument logical? Does your supporting evidence support your reasoning?

By outlining your essay, you streamline your process and take care of any logic gaps before you dive headfirst into the writing. This will save you a lot of grief later on if you need to change your sources or your structure, so don't get too trigger-happy and skip this step.

Now that you've laid out exactly what you'll need for your essay and where, it's time to fill in all the gaps by writing it out.

Take it one step at a time and expand your ideas into complete sentences and substantiated claims. It may feel daunting to turn an outline into a complete draft, but just remember that you've already laid out all the groundwork; now you're just filling in the gaps.

If you have the time before deadline, give yourself a day or two (or even just an hour!) away from your essay . Looking it over with fresh eyes will allow you to see errors, both minor and major, that you likely would have missed had you tried to edit when it was still raw.

Take a first pass over the entire essay and try your best to ignore any minor spelling or grammar mistakes—you're just looking at the big picture right now. Does it make sense as a whole? Did the essay succeed in making an argument and backing that argument up logically? (Do you feel persuaded?)

If not, go back and make notes so that you can fix it for your final draft.

Once you've made your revisions to the overall structure, mark all your small errors and grammar problems so you can fix them in the next draft.

#7: Final Draft

Use the notes you made on the rough draft and go in and hack and smooth away until you're satisfied with the final result.

A checklist for your final draft:

  • Formatting is correct according to your teacher's standards
  • No errors in spelling, grammar, and punctuation
  • Essay is the right length and size for the assignment
  • The argument is present, consistent, and concise
  • Each reason is supported by relevant evidence
  • The essay makes sense overall

#8: Celebrate!

Once you've brought that final draft to a perfect polish and turned in your assignment, you're done! Go you!

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Be prepared and ♪ you'll never go hungry again ♪, *cough*, or struggle with your argumentative essay-writing again. (Walt Disney Studios)

Good Examples of Argumentative Essays Online

Theory is all well and good, but examples are key. Just to get you started on what a fully-fleshed out argumentative essay looks like, let's see some examples in action.

Check out these two argumentative essay examples on the use of landmines and freons (and note the excellent use of concrete sources to back up their arguments!).

The Use of Landmines

A Shattered Sky

The Take-Aways: Keys to Writing an Argumentative Essay

At first, writing an argumentative essay may seem like a monstrous hurdle to overcome, but with the proper preparation and understanding, you'll be able to knock yours out of the park.

Remember the differences between a persuasive essay and an argumentative one, make sure your thesis is clear, and double-check that your supporting evidence is both relevant to your point and well-sourced . Pick your topic, do your research, make your outline, and fill in the gaps. Before you know it, you'll have yourself an A+ argumentative essay there, my friend.

What's Next?

Now you know the ins and outs of an argumentative essay, but how comfortable are you writing in other styles? Learn more about the four writing styles and when it makes sense to use each .

Understand how to make an argument, but still having trouble organizing your thoughts? Check out our guide to three popular essay formats and choose which one is right for you.

Ready to make your case, but not sure what to write about? We've created a list of 50 potential argumentative essay topics to spark your imagination.

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Argumentative Essay – Outline, Form, and Examples

What is an argumentative essay.

An argumentative essay requires the writer to investigate a specific topic by collecting and evaluating evidence to establish a position on the subject matter.

When preparing to compose a good argumentative essay, utilize the following steps:

Step 1: Select a topic.

Step 2: Identify a position.

Step 3: Locate appropriate resources.

Step 4: Identify evidence supporting the position. ( NOTE: If there is little evidence in support of the claim, consider re-examining the main argument.)

Steps to write an argumentative essay

When gathering evidence, use credible sources . To determine the credibility of the source, consider authority, currency, accuracy, and objectivity:

Who is the author ? Are they an expert in the field? Has a reputable publisher published the work?

How current is the information in the source? Does the currency of the source matter? Does the age of the source impact the content? Is there newer information that disproves the source’s information?

Can other sources verify the accuracy of the information? Does the information contradict that found in other commonly accepted sources?

Is there any evidence of bias, or is the source objective ? Is the research sponsored by an organization that may skew the information?

The following are typically recognized as providing appropriate, credible research material:

Peer-reviewed journals/research papers

Government agencies

Professional organizations

Library databases

Reference books

Credible sources

Writers should avoid using the following sources:

Social media posts

Out-of-date materials

Step 5: Utilize the research to determine a thesis statement that identifies the topic, position, and support(s).

Step 6: Use the evidence to construct an outline, detailing the main supports and relevant evidence.

Steps to write an argumentative essay

Argumentative essay outline

After gathering all of the necessary research, the next step in composing an argumentative essay focuses on organizing the information through the use of an outline:

Introduction

Attention Grabber/Hook

Background Information: Include any background information pertinent to the topic that the reader needs to know to understand the argument.

Thesis: State the position in connection to the main topic and identify the supports that will help prove the argument.

Topic sentence

Identify evidence in support of the claim in the topic sentence

Explain how the evidence supports the argument

Evidence 3 (Continue as needed)

Support 2 (Continue as needed)

Restate thesis

Review main supports

Concluding statement

Invite the audience to take a specific action.

Identify the overall importance of the topic and position.

Argumentative essay outline

How to write an argumentative essay

Regardless of the writer’s topic or point of view, an argumentative essay should include an introductory paragraph, body paragraphs, a conclusion, and works cited.

Background information

Body Paragraphs

Analysis of evidence

Rephrased thesis

Review of main ideas

Call to action

Works Cited

Components of an argumentative essay

Argumentative essay introduction

The introduction sets the tone for the entire paper and introduces the argument. In general, the first paragraph(s) should attract the reader’s attention, provide relevant context, and conclude with a thesis statement.

To attract the reader's attention , start with an introductory device. There are several attention-grabbing techniques, the most common of which consist of the following:

The writer can emphasize the topic’s importance by explaining the current interest in the topic or indicating that the subject is influential.

Pertinent statistics give the paper an air of authority.

There are many reasons for a stimulating statement to surprise a reader. Sometimes it is joyful; sometimes it is shocking; sometimes it is surprising because of who said it.

An interesting incident or anecdote can act as a teaser to lure the reader into the remainder of the essay. Be sure that the device is appropriate for the subject and focus of what follows.

Provide the reader with relevant context and background information necessary to understand the topic.

Conclude with a thesis statement that identifies the overall purpose of the essay (topic and position). Writers can also include their support directly in the thesis, which outlines the structure of the essay for the reader.

Avoid the following when writing the introduction to argumentative writing:

Starting with dictionary definitions is too overdone and unappealing.

Do not make an announcement of the topic like “In this paper I will…” or “The purpose of this essay is to….”

Evidence supporting or developing the thesis should be in the body paragraphs, not the introduction.

Beginning the essay with general or absolute statements such as “throughout history...” or “as human beings we always...” or similar statements suggest the writer knows all of history or that all people behave or think in the same way.

Argumentative essay thesis

The thesis statement is the single, specific claim the writer sets out to prove and is typically positioned as the last sentence of the introduction . It is the controlling idea of the entire argument that identifies the topic, position, and reasoning.

When constructing a thesis for an argumentative paper, make sure it contains a side of the argument, not simply a topic. An argumentative thesis identifies the writer’s position on a given topic. If a position cannot be taken, then it is not argumentative thesis:

Topic: Capital punishment is practiced in many states.

Thesis: Capital punishment should be illegal.

While not always required, the thesis statement can include the supports the writer will use to prove the main claim. Therefore, a thesis statement can be structured as follows:

TOPIC + POSITION (+ SUPPORTS)

No Supports: College athletes (TOPIC) should be financially compensated (POSITION).

Supports: College athletes (TOPIC) should be financially compensated (POSITION) because they sacrifice their minds and bodies (SUPPORT 1), cannot hold

Argumentative essay body paragraphs

Body paragraphs can be of varying lengths, but they must present a coherent argument unified under a single topic. They are rarely ever longer than one page, double-spaced; usually they are much shorter.

Lengthy paragraphs indicate a lack of structure. Identify the main ideas of a lengthy paragraph to determine if they make more sense as separate topics in separate paragraphs.

Shorter paragraphs usually indicate a lack of substance; there is not enough evidence or analysis to prove the argument. Develop the ideas more or integrate the information into another paragraph.

The structure of an argumentative paragraph should include a topic sentence, evidence, and a transition.

The topic sentence is the thesis of the paragraph that identifies the arguable point in support of the main argument. The reader should know exactly what the writer is trying to prove within the paragraph by reading the first sentence.

The supporting evidence and analysis provide information to support the claim. There should be a balance between the evidence (facts, quotations, summary of events/plot, etc.) and analysis (interpretation of evidence). If the paragraph is evidence-heavy, there is not much of an argument; if it is analysis-heavy, there is not enough evidence in support of the claim.

The transition can be at the beginning or the end of a paragraph. However, it is much easier to combine the transition with the concluding observation to help the paragraphs flow into one another. Transitions in academic writing should tell the reader where you were, where you are going, and relate to the thesis.

Some essays may benefit from the inclusion of rebuttals to potential counterarguments of the writer’s position.

Argumentative essay conclusion

The conclusion should make readers glad they read the paper. It can suggest broader implications that will not only interest readers but also enrich their understanding in some way. There are three aspects to follow when constructing the conclusion: rephrase the thesis, synthesize information, and call the reader to action.

Rephrased the thesis in the first sentence of the conclusion. It must be in different words; do not simply write it verbatim.

Synthesize the argument by showing how the paper's main points support the argument.

Propose a course of action or a solution to an issue. This can redirect the reader's thought process to apply the ideas to their life or to see the broader implications of the topic.

Avoid the following when constructing the conclusion:

Beginning with an unnecessary, overused phrase such as "in conclusion," "in summary," or "in closing;" although these phrases can work in speeches, they come across as trite in writing

Introducing a new idea or subtopic in the conclusion

Making sentimental, emotional appeals that are out of character with the rest of the paper

Including evidence (quotations, statistics, etc.) that should be in the body of the paper

Argumentative essay examples

Examples of argumentative essays vary depending upon the type:

Academic essays differ based upon the topic and position. These essays follow a more traditional structure and are typically assigned in high school or college. Examples of academic argumentative essay topics include the following:

Advantages or disadvantages of social media

Animal testing

Art education

Benefit or detriment of homework

Capital punishment

Class warfare

Immigration

School uniforms

Universal healthcare

Violence in video games

Argumentative literary essays are typically more informal and do not follow the same structure as an academic essay. The following are popular examples of argumentative literary essays:

“Letter from Birmingham Jail” by Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Death of the Moth” by Virginia Woolf

“Shooting an Elephant” by George Orwell

“Thoughts for the Times on War and Death” by Sigmund Freud

“Does the Truth Matter? Science, Pseudoscience, and Civilization” by Carl Sagan

“Self-Reliance” by Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Argumentative essay writing, as the name implies, involves creating strong arguments based on facts and evidence. The goal of this essay is to convince the reader to adopt a logical viewpoint based on the available proof. It is a complex form of essay writing which requires extensive first-hand as well as second-hand research.

Let’s understand what an argumentative essay is and how to write it with the help of numerous argumentative essay examples. To guide you in your essay writing journey, we’ve also provided a well-structured argumentative essay outline.

Let’s start off with understanding what is an argumentative essay.

What is an argumentative essay?

An argumentative essay is a piece of writing that convinces one to adopt a particular viewpoint, based on statistics and evidence. Unlike an expository essay, an argumentative essay involves adopting a particular point of view on a topic based on the available information.  

Since it’s aimed at convincing the readers, it needs to contain strong supporting evidence. This requires a much more thorough examination of the available data sources. An argumentative essay is the most common essay type assigned in science, technology or even advanced literature courses in colleges. 

A well-written argumentative essay makes use of information rather than personal opinion. For instance, the statement “beaches are better than mountains” makes for a poor argument. However, including statistical data and figures makes this argument more substantial. For instance “48% of Americans prefer beaches, whereas only 27% prefer mountains”

Now that we’ve understood the meaning of an argumentative essay, let’s take a look at its outline.

Argumentative essay outline

The argumentative essay structure is different from other essay types. Although its aim is to convince the reader to adopt a viewpoint, a good argumentative essay structure looks at an argument from all sides and also addresses the counterargument. The goal is to disprove the opposing arguments with the use of logic and the latest evidence. 

There are three main argumentative essay formats. Let’s take a look:

This is the simplest structure of an argumentative essay when it comes to writing. It follows a logical path of introducing the argument, providing evidence supporting the argument, refuting counterarguments, and finally concluding your argument.

The following outline talks about the advantages of using nuclear power for environmental protection. 

Advantages of Nuclear Power for Environmental Protection

I. Introduction

A. Background information on the topic

B. Thesis statement: Despite the negative reputation and potential risks associated with nuclear power, it is the best bet for our environment due to its low carbon emissions, high energy production, and advancements in safety technology.

II. Low carbon emissions

A. Explanation of carbon emissions and their impact on the environment

B. Comparison of nuclear power to other energy sources in terms of carbon emissions

C. Case studies and statistics supporting the low carbon emission of nuclear power

III. High energy production

A. Explanation of energy production and its importance

B. Comparison of nuclear power to other energy sources in terms of energy production

C. Case studies and statistics supporting the high energy production of nuclear power

IV. Advancements in safety technology

A. Explanation of nuclear power safety concerns

B. Overview of advancements in nuclear power safety technology

C. Comparison of nuclear power safety technology to other energy sources

D. Case studies and statistics supporting the advancements in nuclear power safety technology

V. Counterarguments and refutations

A. Discussion of common counterarguments against nuclear power

B. Refutation of counterarguments with evidence and examples

VI. Conclusion

A. Restatement of thesis

B. Summary of main points

C. Final thoughts on the importance of nuclear power in addressing environmental challenges.

This format is used to explain your stance on a highly polarizing, complex topic. It involves presenting your stance and comparing it with the generally accepted evidence. It also involves presenting the limitations of your claim along with rebuttals. 

The following Toulmin essay outline highlights the dangers of genetic modification:

The Dark Side of Genetic Modification

B. Thesis statement: Genetic modification is dangerous due to the potential risks it poses to human health, the environment, and ethical concerns surrounding genetic engineering.

II. Claim 1: Risks to human health

A. Explanation of the potential risks to human health associated with genetic modification

B. Overview of studies and research that have shown adverse effects on human health

C. Evidence and examples supporting the claim

III. Claim 2: Risks to the environment

A. Explanation of the potential risks to the environment associated with genetic modification

B. Overview of studies and research that have shown negative impacts on the environment

IV. Claim 3: Ethical concerns

A. Explanation of the ethical concerns surrounding genetic engineering

B. Overview of the potential consequences of genetic modification on social, cultural, and ethical values

V. Counterargument and refutation

A. Discussion of common counterarguments in favor of genetic modification

V. Conclusion

C. Final thoughts on the dangers of genetic modification and the need for caution in its application.

3. Rogerian

This format acknowledges both sides of the argument and provides evidence as to why your stance is valid. It is the least confrontational form of argument which is used to convince to opposition to adopt your point of view.  

The following Rogerian essay outline talks about why more government funds should be dedicated to space exploration.

A Cosmic Investment

B. Thesis statement: While some may argue that government funds should be allocated towards pressing issues on earth, dedicating more funds to space travel is necessary because of the technological advancements it brings, the potential for scientific discoveries, and economic benefits.

II. Understanding the opposing arguments

A. Explanation of the opposing viewpoint’s concerns and arguments

B. Acknowledgement of valid points made by the opposing viewpoint

C. Statement of common ground between the opposing viewpoint and the argument

III. Presenting the supporting arguments

A. Explanation of the technological advancements made possible through space travel

B. Overview of the scientific discoveries that have been made possible through space exploration

C. Explanation of the economic benefits of space travel and the growth of the space industry

IV. Addressing concerns of the opposition

A. Discussion of concerns raised by the opposing viewpoint and why they should not prevent the dedication of funds to space travel

B. Explanation of how funding for space travel can coexist with funding for pressing issues on earth

C. Evidence and examples to support the argument

V. Common ground and conclusion

A. Restatement of the thesis statement

B. Summary of the main points of the argument

C. Statement of common ground and call to action for continued exploration of space.

Now that you’ve learned how to structure, let’s understand how to write an argumentative essay. 

How to write an argumentative essay

Although the process of writing an argumentative essay is similar to other essay types, it requires much more research and planning. Developing an argument requires a significant understanding of the subject matter from all angles. 

Let’s take a look at the steps to writing an argumentative essay:

1. Choose appropriate argumentative essay topics.

Although topics for an argumentative essay are highly diverse, they are based on a controversial stance. So, make sure that your argumentative essay topics are debatable. Here are a few examples of good argumentative essay topics:

Should animal testing be prohibited?

Should sports be segregated by gender?

Are wildlife sanctuaries ethical?

2. Construct a thesis statement. 

The thesis statement involves taking a stance on your topic. For instance, if your topic is “Should school uniforms be mandatory?”, your thesis statement will take a stance for, or against this. However, make sure that your thesis statement has sufficient evidence from reliable sources to back it up. 

Let’s take a look at a thesis statement example for the topic “Why four-day work-weeks should  be encouraged”: 

A four-day workweek is a viable solution for reducing employee burnout, enhancing work-life balance, and improving overall productivity. It not only promotes a healthier and happier workforce but also reduces costs for employers.

3. Collect evidence.

After taking your stance on your essay topic, it’s time to back it up with facts, evidence, and statistics. This requires an extensive amount of research. 

Make sure to facilitate your research from reputed sources. To make your essay up-to-date and reliable, you can even collect evidence with the help of surveys and experiments. 

Next, sort your evidence into main points to create a basic outline of your essay. This is also a good time to address the counterarguments to your stance.

4. Write the first draft.

After developing the outline, it’s time to flesh it out. Start by constructing an interesting hook, and providing background information for your thesis statement in the introduction. 

Next, elaborate on the topic sentences that provide support to your thesis statement. You can add statistics and empirical data along with plenty of direct quotes and citations to give credibility to your essay. 

And finally, conclude your essay with a summarization of the main points of your essay along with the key takeaway. A powerful conclusion not only allows the readers to see your viewpoint but also creates a lasting impression on their minds.

5. Edit your draft.

Your first draft may not be perfect. Make sure to optimize the sentence structure and word choice. Also, modify your arguments if necessary. You can have friends and family go over your essay and spot any errors that slip through the cracks. For a more fool-proof, error-free essay you can also take the help of professional essay proofreading services .

Now that we’ve understood how to write an effective argumentative essay, let’s take a look at an example of an argumentative essay.

Argumentative essay example 

To guide you in your essay-writing journey, we’ve provided you with an argumentative essay example. It discusses the ill effects of automation. This essay is slightly longer in length and deviates from the commonly used five-paragraph structure. 

Should Companies Invest in Manpower over Autonomous Machines?

The rise of autonomous machines has revolutionized the manufacturing industry, with robots now able to perform tasks that were once done exclusively by human workers. While this technology has undoubtedly improved efficiency and productivity, the question remains whether companies should be required to hire human workers over using autonomous machines. 

The use of autonomous machines has resulted in job losses in the manufacturing industry. According to a study by the Brookings Institution, the use of robots in the United States has led to the loss of over 1.7 million jobs since 2000. While automation has created new jobs in certain industries, such as software development and engineering, the number of jobs lost is significantly higher.

Hiring human workers also has a positive impact on the economy. According to a report by the National Bureau of Economic Research, every robot that replaces a human worker leads to a net loss of 1.6 jobs. This means that for every 10 robots introduced into the workforce, 16 jobs are lost. Hiring human workers over using autonomous machines can help to create more jobs and improve the overall economic situation.

In addition to the economic benefits, human workers offer several advantages over autonomous machines. Human workers are able to adapt to changing situations and problem-solve in a way that machines cannot. This is particularly important in industries where there is a high level of variability in the work being done. 

Furthermore, the use of autonomous machines can lead to safety concerns in the workplace. While robots have become increasingly sophisticated, they are still prone to malfunctions and errors. In some cases, this can lead to workplace accidents and injuries. Human workers are able to identify potential safety hazards and take preventative measures to reduce the risk of accidents.

Although the use of autonomous machines has led to increased efficiency and productivity, their negative impact cannot be ignored. Hiring human workers over using autonomous machines can create jobs, improve the economy, and offer many more advantages. Additionally, the safety concerns associated with the use of autonomous machines highlight the importance of prioritizing human workers. Human workers are more adept at ensuring the well-being of the workforce and the economy as a whole. Therefore, they should be prioritized over machines. 

We hope the above explanation and examples have clarified the basics of writing argumentative essays. As providers of essay editing services , we understand how writing good essays is not a piece of cake. 

To help you write good essays, our team has created detailed resources. Continue reading to take your essay-writing skills to the next level! 

  • Guide to a Perfect Descriptive Essay
  • Expository Essays | Step-by-Step Manual
  • How to Start an Essay
  • How to Write an Essay Outline

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Home / Guides / Writing Guides / Paper Types / How to Write an Argumentative Essay

How to Write an Argumentative Essay

Are you writing an argumentative essay for school and just don’t feel that it’s as good as it could be? This type of writing can be challenging, since it requires plenty of research, but it can also be quite rewarding.

Argumentative writing tends to be balanced in that it acknowledges all sides of the issue. Rather than only discuss your own point of view, you will be conducting research on all views of the subject, then presenting them in a way that will allow the reader to make their decision.

Guide Overview

  • Choose a topic
  • Draft an outline
  • Include quotes
  • Look at both sides of the issue

Choose a Topic

It’s far easier to write on a topic that interests you and that you feel passionate about. Selecting a topic with strong opposing views can be a great way to get your grades up, provided you do a good job of proving your point.

Great topics may include legal topics, moral topics and social topics, among others. Here are a few to get you started:

  • Should businesses be permitted to advertise in schools?
  • Should circumcision for infants be banned?
  • Is the death penalty the best option for murderers?
  • Should employers be permitted to refuse to hire pregnant women
  • Should tobacco products be banned?
  • Should firearms be restricted?Is abortion a legal right?

These topics have very strong views on either side and it is up to you to select which one to represent first in your essay. While both (or more, if you find others) perspectives should be represented, one will feature more strongly as your preferred opinion.

Hints for a Better Essay

Still need some extra tricks to make sure your essay is amazing? Here are a few ways you can boost the value of your writing.

Draft an Outline

Before you get too far into creating your essay, you’ll want an essay to keep things nice and neat. It’s easy to ramble if you don’t have a specific direction to follow. As you do your research, write the information you find on sticky notes. Then arrange these into a simple outline that flows. Work without a solid outline at your own risk. Consider using an argumentative essay template to understand key elements of the essay.

Include Quotes

Using quotes from experts on the topic will appeal to logic and help the reader understand why your thesis statement hold true. You can find these online, from reputable sources, or you can actually talk to some experts to get the quotes. Be sure to cite these sources to demonstrate credibility and allow the reader to see where the quotes came from. It doesn’t matter if it is in MLA format ( examples ), APA format ( examples ), or another style—be sure to include citations.

Look at Both Sides of the Issue

Balance is the key to argumentative writing. Ideally, you will present both the pros and cons of the various arguments, with a strong slant toward your preferred view. With the right research and arranging of facts, you should be able to present your perspective in a very persuasive way.

While your essay should be written to encourage people to see things from your point of view, it should also present all sides of issue. This will come across as balanced and fair and you allow the reader to ultimately choose which option they prefer.

Finally, if you’re ever facing writer’s block for your college paper, consider WriteWell Essay Templates  to help you get started.

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12 Essential Steps for Writing an Argumentative Essay (with 10 example essays)

Bonus Material: 10 complete example essays

Writing an essay can often feel like a Herculean task. How do you go from a prompt… to pages of beautifully-written and clearly-supported writing?

This 12-step method is for students who want to write a great essay that makes a clear argument.

In fact, using the strategies from this post, in just 88 minutes, one of our students revised her C+ draft to an A.

If you’re interested in learning how to write awesome argumentative essays and improve your writing grades, this post will teach you exactly how to do it.

First, grab our download so you can follow along with the complete examples.

Then keep reading to see all 12 essential steps to writing a great essay.

Download 10 example essays

Download 10 great example essays

Why you need to have a plan

One of the most common mistakes that students make when writing is to just dive in haphazardly without a plan.

Writing is a bit like cooking. If you’re making a meal, would you start throwing ingredients at random into a pot? Probably not!

Instead, you’d probably start by thinking about what you want to cook. Then you’d gather the ingredients, and go to the store if you don’t already have them in your kitchen. Then you’d follow a recipe, step by step, to make your meal.

Preparing to cook a dish in an organized way, just like we prepare to write an essay

Here’s our 12-step recipe for writing a great argumentative essay:

  • Pick a topic
  • Choose your research sources
  • Read your sources and take notes
  • Create a thesis statement
  • Choose three main arguments to support your thesis statement —now you have a skeleton outline
  • Populate your outline with the research that supports each argument
  • Do more research if necessary
  • Add your own analysis
  • Add transitions and concluding sentences to each paragraph
  • Write an introduction and conclusion for your essay
  • Add citations and bibliography

Grab our download to see the complete example at every stage, along with 9 great student essays. Then let’s go through the steps together and write an A+ essay!

1. Pick a topic

Sometimes you might be assigned a topic by your instructor, but often you’ll have to come up with your own idea! 

If you don’t pick the right topic, you can be setting yourself up for failure.

Be careful that your topic is something that’s actually arguable —it has more than one side. Check out our carefully-vetted list of 99 topic ideas .

Let’s pick the topic of laboratory animals . Our question is should animals be used for testing and research ?

Hamster, which could potentially be used for animal research

Download our set of 10 great example essays to jump to the finished version of this essay.

2. Choose your research sources

One of the big differences between the way an academic argumentative essay and the version of the assignment that you may have done in elementary school is that for an academic argumentative essay, we need to support our arguments with evidence .

Where do we get that evidence?

Let’s be honest, we all are likely to start with Google and Wikipedia.

Now, Wikipedia can be a useful starting place if you don’t know very much about a topic, but don’t use Wikipedia as your main source of evidence for your essay. 

Instead, look for reputable sources that you can show to your readers as proof of your arguments. It can be helpful to read some sources from either side of your issue.

Look for recently-published sources (within the last 20 years), unless there’s a specific reason to do otherwise.

Support all your points with evidence

Good places to look for sources are:

  • Books published by academic presses
  • Academic journals
  • Academic databases like JSTOR and EBSCO
  • Nationally-published newspapers and magazines like The New York Times or The Atlantic
  • Websites and publications of national institutions like the NIH
  • Websites and publications of universities

Some of these sources are typically behind a paywall. This can be frustrating when you’re a middle-school or high-school student.

However, there are often ways to get access to these sources. Librarians (at your school library or local public library) can be fantastic resources, and they can often help you find a copy of the article or book you want to read. In particular, librarians can help you use Interlibrary Loan to order books or journals to your local library!

More and more scientists and other researchers are trying to publish their articles for free online, in order to encourage the free exchange of knowledge. Check out respected open-access platforms like arxiv.org and PLOS ONE .

How do you find these sources?

If you have access to an academic database like JSTOR or EBSCO , that’s a great place to start.

Example of a search on JSTOR

Everyone can use Google Scholar to search for articles. This is a powerful tool and highly recommended!

Google scholar search

Of course, if there’s a term you come across that you don’t recognize, you can always just Google it!

How many sources do you need? That depends on the length of your essay and on the assignment. If your instructor doesn’t give you any other guidance, assume that you should have at least three good sources.

For our topic of animal research, here’s a few sources that we could assemble:

Geoff Watts. “Animal Testing: Is It Worth It?” BMJ: British Medical Journal , Jan. 27, 2007, Vol. 334, No. 7586 (Jan. 27, 2007), pp. 182-184.

Kim Bartel Sheehan and Joonghwa Lee. “What’s Cruel About Cruelty Free: An Exploration of Consumers, Moral Heuristics, and Public Policy.” Journal of Animal Ethics , Vol. 4, No. 2 (Fall 2014), pp. 1-15.

Justin Goodman, Alka Chandna and Katherine Roe. “Trends in animal use at US research facilities.” Journal of Medical Ethics , July 2015, Vol. 41, No. 7 (July 2015), pp. 567-569.

Katy Taylor. “Recent Developments in Alternatives to Animal Testing.” In Animal Experimentation: Working Towards a Paradigm Change . Brill 2019.

Thomas Hartung. “Research and Testing Without Animals: Where Are We Now and Where Are We Heading?” In Animal Experimentation: Working Towards a Paradigm Change . Brill 2019.

Bonus: download 10 example essays now .

3. Read your sources and take notes

Once you have a nice pile of sources, it’s time to read them!

As we read, we want to take notes that will be useful to us later as we write our essay.

We want to be careful to keep the source’s ideas separate from our own ideas . Come up with a system to clearly mark the difference as you’re taking notes: use different colors, or use little arrows to represent the ideas that are yours and not the source’s ideas.

We can use this structure to keep notes in an organized way:

Bibliographic details– Specific evidence that the source uses
– Ideas and themes in the source that seem useful
Figure out the main arguments in the source
– Figure out the supporting arguments in the source
– How does this source relate to the other sources that you’re using? Does it agree/disagree? Does it use the same or different evidence and reasoning?
–  What kind of bias does the author have?
– Any other thoughts or observations

Download a template for these research notes here .

Petri dish in laboratory research

For our topic of animal research, our notes might look something like this:

Kim Bartel Sheehan and Joonghwa Lee. “What’s Cruel About Cruelty Free: An Exploration of Consumers, Moral Heuristics, and Public Policy.” Journal of Animal Ethics , Vol. 4, No. 2 (Fall 2014), pp. 1-15.Because there are many definitions of the phrase “cruelty-free,” many companies “can (and do) use the term when the product or its ingredients were indeed tested on animals” (1).

The authors compare “cruelty-free” to the term “fair trade.” There is an independent inspection and certification group (Flo-Cert) that reviews products labeled as “fair trade,” but there’s no analogous process for “cruelty-free” (2).

Companies can also hire outside firms to test products and ingredients on animals (3).
→ So anyone can just put that label on a product? Apparently, apart from in the European Union. That seems really easy to abuse for marketing purposes.
Andrew Knight. “Critically Evaluating Animal Research.” In . Brill 2019.Knight cites “significant methodological flaws” in “most published animal experiments” (326). For example, “randomized allocation of animals to test groups was reported in only 12%” of a set of 271 studies—in the rest of the studies, researchers could select (whether consciously or not) weaker animals to serve as the control group, for example (326). Similarly, only 14% of papers in a different survey reported the use of blinding in making qualitative assessments of outcomes (327). 

The ARRIVE guidelines have been widely endorsed by leading research journals (including Nature, PLoS, and BioMed Central) and major UK funding agencies, and they’re part of the US National Research Council Institute for Laboratory Animal Research guidelines (330).

But…compliance with the guidelines “remains poor” (330).
→ Many people championing or opposing animal testing have their careers at stake. They’re either researchers who use animals as a fundamental part of their research, or they are working on alternatives to animal testing (like Harding). This seems like a potential problem with the debate.

→ So one way to improve the methodological quality of studies would be to encourage (or regulate) randomization and blinded assessment of outcomes.
(continued) Andrew Knight. “Critically Evaluating Animal Research.” In . Brill 2019.Knight advocates that compliance with the ARRIVE guidelines and other standards “must become mandatory,” and that “compliance with such standards should be a necessary condition for security research funding and ethical approval; licensing of researchers, facilities, and experimental protocols; and publication of subsequent results” (331).

Knight also argues that “prior to designing any new animal study, researchers should conduct a systematic review to collate, appraise, and synthesize all existing, good-quality evidence relating to their research questions,” and that this step should also be required by grant agencies, licensing bodies, and journals (332). He notes that systematic reviews are really helpful and should be funded more frequently (332).

The article then covers impacts on laboratory animals—invasive procedures, stress, pain, and death (333). These aren’t very widely or clearly reported (333).
→ This seems like a reasonable position. What would there be to lose from requiring compliance with these guidelines? I suppose it could make research more difficult or expensive to conduct—but probably it would weed out some bad research. 

→ Good to remember that research requires money and is shaped by market forces—it’s not some neutral thing happening in an ivory tower.

Grab our download to read the rest of the notes and see more examples of how to do thoughtful research!

Student taking notes on research project

4. Create a thesis

What major themes did you find in your reading? What did you find most interesting or convincing?

Now is the point when you need to pick a side on your topic, if you haven’t already done so. Now that you’ve read more about the issue, what do you think? Write down your position on the issue:

Animal testing is necessary but should be reduced.

Next, it’s time to add more detail to your thesis. What reasons do you have to support that position? Add those to your sentence.

Animal testing is necessary but should be reduced by eliminating testing for cosmetics, ensuring that any testing is scientifically sound, and replacing animal models with other methods as much as possible.

Add qualifiers to refine your position. Are there situations in which your position would not apply? Or are there other conditions that need to be met? 

Cancer research

For our topic of animal research, our final thesis statement (with lead-in) might look something like this:

The argument: Animal testing and research should not be abolished, as doing so would upend important medical research and substance testing. However, scientific advances mean that in many situations animal testing can be replaced by other methods that not only avoid the ethical problems of animal testing, but also are less costly and more accurate. Governments and other regulatory bodies should further regulate animal testing to outlaw testing for cosmetics and other recreational products, ensure that the tests conducted are both necessary and scientifically rigorous, and encourage the replacement of animal use with other methods whenever possible.

The highlighted bit at the end is the thesis statement, but the lead-in is useful to help us set up the argument—and having it there already will make writing our introduction easier!

The thesis statement is the single most important sentence of your essay. Without a strong thesis, there’s no chance of writing a great essay. Read more about it here .

See how nine real students wrote great thesis statements in 9 example essays now.

5. Create three supporting arguments

Think of three good arguments why your position is true. We’re going to make each one into a body paragraph of your essay.

For now, write them out as 1–2 sentences. These will be topic sentences for each body paragraph.

Laboratory setup

For our essay about animal testing, it might look like this:

Supporting argument #1: For ethical reasons, animal testing should not be allowed for cosmetics and recreational products.

Supporting argument #2: The tests that are conducted with animals should be both necessary (for the greater good) and scientifically rigorous—which isn’t always the case currently. This should be regulated by governments and institutions.

Supporting argument #3: Governments and institutions should do more to encourage the replacement of animal testing with other methods.

Optional: Find a counterargument and respond to it

Think of a potential counterargument to your position. Consider writing a fourth paragraph anticipating this counterargument, or find a way to include it in your other body paragraphs. 

Laboratory mouse

For our essay, that might be:

Possible counterargument: Animal testing is unethical and should not be used in any circumstances.

Response to the counterargument: Animal testing is deeply entrenched in many research projects and medical procedures. Abruptly ceasing animal testing would upend the scientific and medical communities. But there are many ways that animal testing could be reduced.

With these three arguments, a counterargument, and a thesis, we now have a skeleton outline! See each step of this essay in full in our handy download .

6. Start populating your outline with the evidence you found in your research

Look through your research. What did you find that would support each of your three arguments?

Copy and paste those quotes or paraphrases into the outline. Make sure that each one is annotated so that you know which source it came from!

Ideally you already started thinking about these sources when you were doing your research—that’s the ideas in the rightmost column of our research template. Use this stuff too! 

A good rule of thumb would be to use at least three pieces of evidence per body paragraph.

Think about in what order it would make most sense to present your points. Rearrange your quotes accordingly! As you reorder them, feel free to start adding short sentences indicating the flow of ideas .

Research at the National Cancer Institute

For our essay about animal testing, part of our populated outline might look something like:

Argument #1: For ethical reasons, animal testing should not be allowed for cosmetics and recreational products.

Lots of animals are used for testing and research.

In the US, about 22 million animals were used annually in the early 1990s, mostly rodents (BMJ 1993, 1020).

But there are ethical problems with using animals in laboratory settings. Opinions about the divide between humans and animals might be shifting.

McIsaac refers to “the essential moral dilemma: how to balance the welfare of humans with the welfare of other species” (Hubel, McIsaac 29).

The fundamental legal texts used to justify animal use in biomedical research were created after WWII, and drew a clear line between experiments on animals and on humans. The Nuremburg Code states that “the experiment should be so designed and based on the results of animal experimentation and a knowledge of the natural history of the disease or other problem under study that the anticipated results will justify the performance of the experiment” (Ferrari, 197). The 1964  Declaration of the World Medical Association on the Ethical Principles for Medical Research Involving Human Subjects (known as the Helsinki Declaration) states that “Medical research involving human subjects must conform to generally accepted scientific principles, be based on a thorough knowledge of the scientific literature, other relevant sources of information, and adequate laboratory and, as appropriate, animal experimentation. The welfare of animals used for research must be respected” (Ferrari, 197).

→ Context? The Nuremberg Code is a set of ethical research principles, developed in 1947 in the wake of Nazi atrocities during WWII, specifically the inhumane and often fatal experimentation on human subjects without consent.

“Since the 1970s, the animal-rights movement has challenged the use of animals in modern Western society by rejecting the idea of dominion of human beings over nature and animals and stressing the intrinsic value and rights of individual animals” (van Roten, 539, referencing works by Singer, Clark, Regan, and Jasper and Nelkin).

“The old (animal) model simply does not fully meet the needs of scientific and economic progress; it fails in cost, speed, level of detail of understanding, and human relevance. On top of this, animal experimentation lacks acceptance by an ethically evolving society” (Hartung, 682).

Knight’s article summarizes negative impacts on laboratory animals—invasive procedures, stress, pain, and death (Knight, 333). These aren’t very widely or clearly reported (Knight, 333). → Reading about these definitely produces an emotional reaction—they sound bad.

Given this context, it makes sense to ban animal testing in situations where it’s just for recreational products like cosmetics.

Fortunately, animal testing for cosmetics is less common than we might think.

A Gallup poll published in 1990 found that 14% of people thought that the most frequent reason for using animals to test cosmetics for safety—but figures from the UK Home Office in 1991 found that less than 1% of animals were used for tests for cosmetics and toiletries (BMJ 1993, 1019). → So in the early 1990s there was a big difference between what people thought was happening and what actually was happening!

But it still happens, and there are very few regulations of it (apart from in the EU).

Because there are many definitions of the phrase “cruelty-free,” many companies “can (and do) use the term when the product or its ingredients were indeed tested on animals” (Sheehan and Lee, 1).

The authors compare “cruelty-free” to the term “fair trade.” There is an independent inspection and certification group (Flo-Cert) that reviews products labeled as “fair trade,” but there’s no analogous process for “cruelty-free” (Sheehan and Lee, 2). → So anyone can just put that label on a product? Apparently, apart from in the European Union. That seems really easy to abuse for marketing purposes.

Companies can also hire outside firms to test products and ingredients on animals (Sheehan and Lee, 3).

Animal testing for recreational, non-medical purposes should be banned, like it is in the EU.

Download the full example outline here .

Research at the National Cancer Institute

7. Do more research if necessary

Occasionally you might realize that there’s a hole in your research, and you don’t have enough evidence to support one of your points.

In this situation, either change your argument to fit the evidence that you do have, or do a bit more research to fill the hole!

For example, looking at our outline for argument #1 for our essay on animal testing, it’s clear that this paragraph is missing a small but crucial bit of evidence—a reference to this specific ban on animal testing for cosmetics in Europe. Time for a bit more research!

A visit to the official website of the European Commission yields a copy of the law, which we can add to our populated outline:

“The cosmetics directive provides the regulatory framework for the phasing out of animal testing for cosmetics purposes. Specifically, it establishes (1) a testing ban – prohibition to test finished cosmetic products and cosmetic ingredients on animals, and (2) a marketing ban – prohibition to market finished cosmetic products and ingredients in the EU which were tested on animals. The same provisions are contained in the cosmetics regulation , which replaced the cosmetics directive as of 11 July 2013. The testing ban on finished cosmetic products applies since 11 September 2004. The testing ban on ingredients or combination of ingredients applies since 11 March 2009. The marketing ban applies since 11 March 2009 for all human health effects with the exception of repeated-dose toxicity, reproductive toxicity, and toxicokinetics. For these specific health effects, the marketing ban applies since 11 March 2013, irrespective of the availability of alternative non-animal tests.” (website of the European Commission, “Ban on animal testing”)

Alright, now this supporting argument has the necessary ingredients!

You don’t need to use all of the evidence that you found in your research. In fact, you probably won’t use all of it!

This part of the writing process requires you to think critically about your arguments and what evidence is relevant to your points .

Cancer research

8. Add your own analysis and synthesis of these points

Once you’ve organized your evidence and decided what you want to use for your essay, now you get to start adding your own analysis!

You may have already started synthesizing and evaluating your sources when you were doing your research (the stuff on the right-hand side of our template). This gives you a great starting place!

For each piece of evidence, follow this formula:

  • Context and transitions: introduce your piece of evidence and any relevant background info and signal the logical flow of ideas
  • Reproduce the paraphrase or direct quote (with citation )
  • Explanation : explain what the quote/paraphrase means in your own words
  • Analysis : analyze how this piece of evidence proves your thesis
  • Relate it back to the thesis: don’t forget to relate this point back to your overarching thesis! 

If you follow this fool-proof formula as you write, you will create clear, well-evidenced arguments.

As you get more experienced, you might stray a bit from the formula—but a good essay will always intermix evidence with explanation and analysis, and will always contain signposts back to the thesis throughout.

For our essay about animal testing, our first body paragraph might look like:

Every year, millions of animals—mostly rodents—are used for testing and research (BMJ 1993, 1020) . This testing poses an ethical dilemma: “how to balance the welfare of humans with the welfare of other species” (Hubel, McIsaac 29) . Many of the fundamental legal tests that are used to justify animal use in biomedical research were created in wake of the horrors of World War II, when the Nazi regime engaged in terrible experimentation on their human prisoners. In response to these atrocities, philosophers and lawmakers drew a clear line between experimenting on humans without consent and experimenting on (non-human) animals. For example, the 1947 Nuremberg Code stated that “the experiment should be so designed and based on the results of animal experimentation and a knowledge of the natural history of the disease or other problem under study that the anticipated results will justify the performance of the experiment” (Ferrari, 197) . Created two years after the war, the code established a set of ethical research principles to demarcate ethical differences between animals and humans, clarifying differences between Nazi atrocities and more everyday research practices. However, in the following decades, the animal-rights movement has challenged the philosophical boundaries between humans and animals and questioned humanity’s right to exert dominion over animals (van Roten, 539, referencing works by Singer, Clark, Regan, and Jasper and Nelkin) . These concerns are not without justification, as animals used in laboratories are subject to invasive procedures, stress, pain, and death (Knight, 333) . Indeed, reading detailed descriptions of this research can be difficult to stomach . In light of this, while some animal testing that contributes to vital medical research and ultimately saves millions of lives may be ethically justified, animal testing that is purely for recreational purposes like cosmetics cannot be ethically justified . Fortunately, animal testing for cosmetics is less common than we might think . In 1990, a poll found that 14% of people in the UK thought that the most frequent reason for using animals to test cosmetics for safety—but actual figures were less than 1% (BMJ 1993, 1019) . Unfortunately, animal testing for cosmetics is not subject to very much regulation . In particular, companies can use the phrase “cruelty-free” to mean just about anything, and many companies “can (and do) use the term when the product or its ingredients were indeed tested on animals” (Sheehan and Lee, 1) . Unlike the term “fair trade,” which has an independent inspection and certification group (Flo-Cert) that reviews products using the label, there’s no analogous process for “cruelty-free” (Sheehan and Lee, 2) . Without regulation, the term is regularly abused by marketers . Companies can also hire outside firms to test products and ingredients on animals and thereby pass the blame (Sheehan and Lee, 3) . Consumers trying to avoid products tested on animals are frequently tricked . Greater regulation of terms would help, but the only way to end this kind of deceit will be to ban animal testing for recreational, non-medical purposes . The European Union is the only governmental body yet to accomplish this . In a series of regulations, the EU first banned testing finished cosmetic products (2004), then testing ingredients or marketing products which were tested on animals (2009); exceptions for specific health effects ended in 2013 (website of the European Commission, “Ban on animal testing”) . The result is that the EU bans testing cosmetic ingredients or finished cosmetic products on animals, as well as marketing any cosmetic ingredients and products which were tested on animals elsewhere (Regulation 1223/2009/EU, known as the “Cosmetics Regulation”) . The rest of the world should follow this example and ban animal testing on cosmetic ingredients and products, which do not contribute significantly to the greater good and therefore cannot outweigh the cost to animal lives .

Edit down the quotes/paraphrases as you go. In many cases, you might copy out a great long quote from a source…but only end up using a few words of it as a direct quote, or you might only paraphrase it!

There were several good quotes in our previous step that just didn’t end up fitting here. That’s fine!

Take a look at the words and phrases highlighted in red. Notice how sometimes a single word can help to provide necessary context and create a logical transition for a new idea. Don’t forget the transitions! These words and phrases are essential to good writing.

The end of the paragraph should very clearly tie back to the thesis statement.

As you write, consider your audience

If it’s not specified in your assignment prompt, it’s always appropriate to ask your instructor who the intended audience of your essay or paper might be. (Your instructor will usually be impressed by this question!) 

If you don’t get any specific guidance, imagine that your audience is the typical readership of a newspaper like the New York Times —people who are generally educated, but who don’t have any specialized  knowledge of the specific subject, especially if it’s more technical.

That means that you should explain any words or phrases that aren’t everyday terminology!

Equally important, you don’t want to leave logical leaps for your readers to make. Connect all of the dots for them!

See the other body paragraphs of this essay, along with 9 student essays, here .

9. Add paragraph transitions and concluding sentences to each body paragraph

By now you should have at least three strong body paragraphs, each one with 3–5 pieces of evidence plus your own analysis and synthesis of the evidence. 

Each paragraph has a main topic sentence, which we wrote back when we made the outline. This is a good time to check that the topic sentences still match what the rest of the paragraph says!

Think about how these arguments relate to each other. What is the most logical order for them? Re-order your paragraphs if necessary.

Then add a few sentences at the end of each paragraph and/or the beginning of the next paragraph to connect these ideas. This step is often the difference between an okay essay and a really great one!

You want your essay to have a great flow. We didn’t worry about this at the beginning of our writing, but now is the time to start improving the flow of ideas!

10. The final additions: write an introduction and a conclusion

Follow this formula to write a great introduction:

  • It begins with some kind of “hook”: this can be an anecdote, quote, statistic, provocative statement, question, etc. 

(Pro tip: don’t use phrases like “throughout history,” “since the dawn of humankind,” etc. It’s good to think broadly, but you don’t have to make generalizations for all of history.)

  • It gives some background information that is relevant to understand the ethical dilemma or debate
  • It has a lead-up to the thesis
  • At the end of the introduction, the thesis is clearly stated

This makes a smooth funnel that starts more broadly and smoothly zeroes in on the specific argument.

Essay intro funnel

Your conclusion is kind of like your introduction, but in reverse. It starts with your thesis and ends a little more broadly.

For the conclusion, try and summarize your entire argument without being redundant. Start by restating your thesis but with slightly different wording . Then summarize each of your main points.

If you can, it’s nice to point to the larger significance of the issue. What are the potential consequences of this issue? What are some future directions for it to go in? What remains to be explored?

See how nine students wrote introductions in different styles here .

11. Add citations and bibliography

Check what bibliographic style your instructor wants you to use. If this isn’t clearly stated, it’s a good question to ask them!

Typically the instructions will say something like “Chicago style,” “APA,” etc., or they’ll give you their own rules. 

These rules will dictate how exactly you’ll write your citations in the body of your essay (either in parentheses after the quote/paraphrase or else with a footnote or endnote) and how you’ll write your “works cited” with the full bibliographic information at the end.

Follow these rules! The most important thing is to be consistent and clear.

Pro tip: if you’re struggling with this step, your librarians can often help! They’re literally pros at this. 🙂

Now you have a complete draft!

Read it from beginning to end. Does it make sense? Are there any orphan quotes or paraphrases that aren’t clearly explained? Are there any abrupt changes of topic? Fix it!

Are there any problems with grammar or spelling ? Fix them!

Edit for clarity.

Sharpening a pencil, just like you should sharpen your argument.

Ideally, you’ll finish your draft at least a few days before it’s due to be submitted. Give it a break for a day or two, and then come back to it. Things to be revised are more likely to jump out after a little break!

Try reading your essay out loud. Are there any sentences that don’t sound quite right? Rewrite them!

Double-check your thesis statement. This is the make-or-break moment of your essay, and without a clear thesis it’s pretty impossible for an essay to be a great one. Is it:

  • Arguable: it’s not just the facts—someone could disagree with this position
  • Narrow & specific: don’t pick a position that’s so broad you could never back it up
  • Complex: show that you are thinking deeply—one way to do this is to consider objections/qualifiers in your thesis

Try giving your essay to a friend or family member to read. Sometimes (if you’re lucky) your instructors will offer to read a draft if you turn it in early. What feedback do they have? Edit accordingly!

See the result of this process with 10 example essays now .

You’re done!

You did it! Feel proud of yourself 🙂

We regularly help students work through all of these steps to write great academic essays in our Academic Writing Workshop or our one-on-one writing tutoring . We’re happy to chat more about what’s challenging for you and provide you customized guidance to help you write better papers and improve your grades on writing assignments!

Want to see what this looks like when it’s all pulled together? We compiled nine examples of great student essays, plus all of the steps used to create this model essay, in this handy resource. Download it here !

how to create an argumentative essay

Emily graduated  summa cum laude  from Princeton University and holds an MA from the University of Notre Dame. She was a National Merit Scholar and has won numerous academic prizes and fellowships. A veteran of the publishing industry, she has helped professors at Harvard, Yale, and Princeton revise their books and articles. Over the last decade, Emily has successfully mentored hundreds of students in all aspects of the college admissions process, including the SAT, ACT, and college application essay. 

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Tips on How to Write an Argumentative Essay

  • M.Ed., Education Administration, University of Georgia
  • B.A., History, Armstrong State University

To be effective, an argumentative essay must contain elements to help persuade the audience to see things from your perspective. These components include a compelling topic, a balanced assessment, strong evidence, and persuasive language.

Find a Good Topic and Point of View

To find a good topic for an argumentative essay, consider several issues and choose a few that spark at least two solid, conflicting points of view. As you look over a list of topics , find one that really piques your interest, as you'll be more successful if you're passionate about your topic.

Once you have selected a topic you feel strongly about, make a list of points for both sides of the argument. When shaping an argument you'll have to explain why your belief is reasonable and logical, so list points you can use as evidence for or against an issue. Ultimately, determine your side of the argument and make sure you can back up your point of view with reasoning and evidence. Work against the opposing point of view and prove why your stance is correct.

Gather Evidence

One of your essay's first objectives will be to assess both sides of your issue. Consider strong arguments for both your side, as well as the "other" side—in order to shoot their statements down. Provide evidence without drama; sticking to the facts and clear examples that support your stance.

You may look for research that provides statistics on your topic that support your reasoning, as well as examples of how your topic impacts people, animals, or even the Earth. Interviewing experts on your topic can also help you structure a compelling argument.

Write the Essay

Once you've given yourself a solid foundation of information, begin to craft your essay. An argument essay, as with all essays, should contain three parts: the introduction , the body, and the conclusion . The length of paragraphs in these parts will vary depending on the length of your essay assignment.

As in any essay, the first paragraph of your argument essay should introduce the topic with a brief explanation of your topic, some background information, and a thesis statement . In this case, your thesis is a statement of your position on a specific controversial topic.

Present Both Sides of the Controversy

The body of your essay should contain the meat of your argument. Go into more detail about the two sides of your topic and state the strongest points of the counter-side of your issue.

After describing the "other" side, present your own viewpoint and then provide evidence to show why your position is the correct one. Work to discredit the other side using some of the information you discovered in your research. Choose your strongest evidence and present your points one by one. Use a mix of evidence, from statistics to other studies and anecdotal stories.

A strong conclusion can help summarize your point of view and reinforce with your reader why your stance is the best option. You might consider reserving one overwhelmingly shocking statistic for the conclusion, one that leaves no room for doubt in your reader's mind. At the very least, use this final paragraph or two as an opportunity to restate your position as the most sensible one.

When writing your essay, consider these tips to help craft the most rational and poignant argument for your readers. Avoid emotional language that can sound irrational. Know the difference between a logical conclusion and an emotional point of view.

Don't fabricate evidence and don't use​ ​ untrustworthy sources for evidence, and be sure to cite your sources .

  • 50 Argumentative Essay Topics
  • 100 Persuasive Essay Topics
  • Examples of Great Introductory Paragraphs
  • LSAT Writing: What You Need to Know
  • Premise Definition and Examples in Arguments
  • Usage and Examples of a Rebuttal
  • 5 Steps to Writing a Position Paper
  • Higher Level Thinking: Synthesis in Bloom's Taxonomy
  • LSAT Sections: What's on the LSAT?
  • What Does Argumentation Mean?
  • Writing an Opinion Essay
  • How To Write an Essay
  • What Is a Critique in Composition?
  • Common Application Essay Option 6: Losing Track of Time
  • Tips for Writing a "What I Did on Vacation" Essay
  • Preparing an Argument Essay: Exploring Both Sides of an Issue

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  • Knowledge Base
  • How to write an essay outline | Guidelines & examples

How to Write an Essay Outline | Guidelines & Examples

Published on August 14, 2020 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on July 23, 2023.

An essay outline is a way of planning the structure of your essay before you start writing. It involves writing quick summary sentences or phrases for every point you will cover in each paragraph , giving you a picture of how your argument will unfold.

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Table of contents

Organizing your material, presentation of the outline, examples of essay outlines, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about essay outlines.

At the stage where you’re writing an essay outline, your ideas are probably still not fully formed. You should know your topic  and have already done some preliminary research to find relevant sources , but now you need to shape your ideas into a structured argument.

Creating categories

Look over any information, quotes and ideas you’ve noted down from your research and consider the central point you want to make in the essay—this will be the basis of your thesis statement . Once you have an idea of your overall argument, you can begin to organize your material in a way that serves that argument.

Try to arrange your material into categories related to different aspects of your argument. If you’re writing about a literary text, you might group your ideas into themes; in a history essay, it might be several key trends or turning points from the period you’re discussing.

Three main themes or subjects is a common structure for essays. Depending on the length of the essay, you could split the themes into three body paragraphs, or three longer sections with several paragraphs covering each theme.

As you create the outline, look critically at your categories and points: Are any of them irrelevant or redundant? Make sure every topic you cover is clearly related to your thesis statement.

Order of information

When you have your material organized into several categories, consider what order they should appear in.

Your essay will always begin and end with an introduction and conclusion , but the organization of the body is up to you.

Consider these questions to order your material:

  • Is there an obvious starting point for your argument?
  • Is there one subject that provides an easy transition into another?
  • Do some points need to be set up by discussing other points first?

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how to create an argumentative essay

Within each paragraph, you’ll discuss a single idea related to your overall topic or argument, using several points of evidence or analysis to do so.

In your outline, you present these points as a few short numbered sentences or phrases.They can be split into sub-points when more detail is needed.

The template below shows how you might structure an outline for a five-paragraph essay.

  • Thesis statement
  • First piece of evidence
  • Second piece of evidence
  • Summary/synthesis
  • Importance of topic
  • Strong closing statement

You can choose whether to write your outline in full sentences or short phrases. Be consistent in your choice; don’t randomly write some points as full sentences and others as short phrases.

Examples of outlines for different types of essays are presented below: an argumentative, expository, and literary analysis essay.

Argumentative essay outline

This outline is for a short argumentative essay evaluating the internet’s impact on education. It uses short phrases to summarize each point.

Its body is split into three paragraphs, each presenting arguments about a different aspect of the internet’s effects on education.

  • Importance of the internet
  • Concerns about internet use
  • Thesis statement: Internet use a net positive
  • Data exploring this effect
  • Analysis indicating it is overstated
  • Students’ reading levels over time
  • Why this data is questionable
  • Video media
  • Interactive media
  • Speed and simplicity of online research
  • Questions about reliability (transitioning into next topic)
  • Evidence indicating its ubiquity
  • Claims that it discourages engagement with academic writing
  • Evidence that Wikipedia warns students not to cite it
  • Argument that it introduces students to citation
  • Summary of key points
  • Value of digital education for students
  • Need for optimism to embrace advantages of the internet

Expository essay outline

This is the outline for an expository essay describing how the invention of the printing press affected life and politics in Europe.

The paragraphs are still summarized in short phrases here, but individual points are described with full sentences.

  • Claim that the printing press marks the end of the Middle Ages.
  • Provide background on the low levels of literacy before the printing press.
  • Present the thesis statement: The invention of the printing press increased circulation of information in Europe, paving the way for the Reformation.
  • Discuss the very high levels of illiteracy in medieval Europe.
  • Describe how literacy and thus knowledge and education were mainly the domain of religious and political elites.
  • Indicate how this discouraged political and religious change.
  • Describe the invention of the printing press in 1440 by Johannes Gutenberg.
  • Show the implications of the new technology for book production.
  • Describe the rapid spread of the technology and the printing of the Gutenberg Bible.
  • Link to the Reformation.
  • Discuss the trend for translating the Bible into vernacular languages during the years following the printing press’s invention.
  • Describe Luther’s own translation of the Bible during the Reformation.
  • Sketch out the large-scale effects the Reformation would have on religion and politics.
  • Summarize the history described.
  • Stress the significance of the printing press to the events of this period.

Literary analysis essay outline

The literary analysis essay outlined below discusses the role of theater in Jane Austen’s novel Mansfield Park .

The body of the essay is divided into three different themes, each of which is explored through examples from the book.

  • Describe the theatricality of Austen’s works
  • Outline the role theater plays in Mansfield Park
  • Introduce the research question : How does Austen use theater to express the characters’ morality in Mansfield Park ?
  • Discuss Austen’s depiction of the performance at the end of the first volume
  • Discuss how Sir Bertram reacts to the acting scheme
  • Introduce Austen’s use of stage direction–like details during dialogue
  • Explore how these are deployed to show the characters’ self-absorption
  • Discuss Austen’s description of Maria and Julia’s relationship as polite but affectionless
  • Compare Mrs. Norris’s self-conceit as charitable despite her idleness
  • Summarize the three themes: The acting scheme, stage directions, and the performance of morals
  • Answer the research question
  • Indicate areas for further study

If you want to know more about AI tools , college essays , or fallacies make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples or go directly to our tools!

  • Ad hominem fallacy
  • Post hoc fallacy
  • Appeal to authority fallacy
  • False cause fallacy
  • Sunk cost fallacy

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You will sometimes be asked to hand in an essay outline before you start writing your essay . Your supervisor wants to see that you have a clear idea of your structure so that writing will go smoothly.

Even when you do not have to hand it in, writing an essay outline is an important part of the writing process . It’s a good idea to write one (as informally as you like) to clarify your structure for yourself whenever you are working on an essay.

If you have to hand in your essay outline , you may be given specific guidelines stating whether you have to use full sentences. If you’re not sure, ask your supervisor.

When writing an essay outline for yourself, the choice is yours. Some students find it helpful to write out their ideas in full sentences, while others prefer to summarize them in short phrases.

You should try to follow your outline as you write your essay . However, if your ideas change or it becomes clear that your structure could be better, it’s okay to depart from your essay outline . Just make sure you know why you’re doing so.

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Purdue Online Writing Lab Purdue OWL® College of Liberal Arts

Organizing Your Argument

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How can I effectively present my argument?

In order for your argument to be persuasive, it must use an organizational structure that the audience perceives as both logical and easy to parse. Three argumentative methods —the  Toulmin Method , Classical Method , and Rogerian Method — give guidance for how to organize the points in an argument.

Note that these are only three of the most popular models for organizing an argument. Alternatives exist. Be sure to consult your instructor and/or defer to your assignment’s directions if you’re unsure which to use (if any).

Toulmin Method

The  Toulmin Method  is a formula that allows writers to build a sturdy logical foundation for their arguments. First proposed by author Stephen Toulmin in  The Uses of Argument (1958), the Toulmin Method emphasizes building a thorough support structure for each of an argument's key claims.

The basic format for the Toulmin Method  is as follows:

Claim:  In this section, you explain your overall thesis on the subject. In other words, you make your main argument.

Data (Grounds):  You should use evidence to support the claim. In other words, provide the reader with facts that prove your argument is strong.

Warrant (Bridge):  In this section, you explain why or how your data supports the claim. As a result, the underlying assumption that you build your argument on is grounded in reason.

Backing (Foundation):  Here, you provide any additional logic or reasoning that may be necessary to support the warrant.

Counterclaim:  You should anticipate a counterclaim that negates the main points in your argument. Don't avoid arguments that oppose your own. Instead, become familiar with the opposing perspective.   If you respond to counterclaims, you appear unbiased (and, therefore, you earn the respect of your readers). You may even want to include several counterclaims to show that you have thoroughly researched the topic.

Rebuttal:  In this section, you incorporate your own evidence that disagrees with the counterclaim. It is essential to include a thorough warrant or bridge to strengthen your essay’s argument. If you present data to your audience without explaining how it supports your thesis, your readers may not make a connection between the two, or they may draw different conclusions.

Example of the Toulmin Method:

Claim:  Hybrid cars are an effective strategy to fight pollution.

Data1:  Driving a private car is a typical citizen's most air-polluting activity.

Warrant 1:  Due to the fact that cars are the largest source of private (as opposed to industrial) air pollution, switching to hybrid cars should have an impact on fighting pollution.

Data 2:  Each vehicle produced is going to stay on the road for roughly 12 to 15 years.

Warrant 2:  Cars generally have a long lifespan, meaning that the decision to switch to a hybrid car will make a long-term impact on pollution levels.

Data 3:  Hybrid cars combine a gasoline engine with a battery-powered electric motor.

Warrant 3:  The combination of these technologies produces less pollution.

Counterclaim:  Instead of focusing on cars, which still encourages an inefficient culture of driving even as it cuts down on pollution, the nation should focus on building and encouraging the use of mass transit systems.

Rebuttal:  While mass transit is an idea that should be encouraged, it is not feasible in many rural and suburban areas, or for people who must commute to work. Thus, hybrid cars are a better solution for much of the nation's population.

Rogerian Method

The Rogerian Method  (named for, but not developed by, influential American psychotherapist Carl R. Rogers) is a popular method for controversial issues. This strategy seeks to find a common ground between parties by making the audience understand perspectives that stretch beyond (or even run counter to) the writer’s position. Moreso than other methods, it places an emphasis on reiterating an opponent's argument to his or her satisfaction. The persuasive power of the Rogerian Method lies in its ability to define the terms of the argument in such a way that:

  • your position seems like a reasonable compromise.
  • you seem compassionate and empathetic.

The basic format of the Rogerian Method  is as follows:

Introduction:  Introduce the issue to the audience, striving to remain as objective as possible.

Opposing View : Explain the other side’s position in an unbiased way. When you discuss the counterargument without judgement, the opposing side can see how you do not directly dismiss perspectives which conflict with your stance.

Statement of Validity (Understanding):  This section discusses how you acknowledge how the other side’s points can be valid under certain circumstances. You identify how and why their perspective makes sense in a specific context, but still present your own argument.

Statement of Your Position:  By this point, you have demonstrated that you understand the other side’s viewpoint. In this section, you explain your own stance.

Statement of Contexts : Explore scenarios in which your position has merit. When you explain how your argument is most appropriate for certain contexts, the reader can recognize that you acknowledge the multiple ways to view the complex issue.

Statement of Benefits:  You should conclude by explaining to the opposing side why they would benefit from accepting your position. By explaining the advantages of your argument, you close on a positive note without completely dismissing the other side’s perspective.

Example of the Rogerian Method:

Introduction:  The issue of whether children should wear school uniforms is subject to some debate.

Opposing View:  Some parents think that requiring children to wear uniforms is best.

Statement of Validity (Understanding):  Those parents who support uniforms argue that, when all students wear the same uniform, the students can develop a unified sense of school pride and inclusiveness.

Statement of Your Position : Students should not be required to wear school uniforms. Mandatory uniforms would forbid choices that allow students to be creative and express themselves through clothing.

Statement of Contexts:  However, even if uniforms might hypothetically promote inclusivity, in most real-life contexts, administrators can use uniform policies to enforce conformity. Students should have the option to explore their identity through clothing without the fear of being ostracized.

Statement of Benefits:  Though both sides seek to promote students' best interests, students should not be required to wear school uniforms. By giving students freedom over their choice, students can explore their self-identity by choosing how to present themselves to their peers.

Classical Method

The Classical Method of structuring an argument is another common way to organize your points. Originally devised by the Greek philosopher Aristotle (and then later developed by Roman thinkers like Cicero and Quintilian), classical arguments tend to focus on issues of definition and the careful application of evidence. Thus, the underlying assumption of classical argumentation is that, when all parties understand the issue perfectly, the correct course of action will be clear.

The basic format of the Classical Method  is as follows:

Introduction (Exordium): Introduce the issue and explain its significance. You should also establish your credibility and the topic’s legitimacy.

Statement of Background (Narratio): Present vital contextual or historical information to the audience to further their understanding of the issue. By doing so, you provide the reader with a working knowledge about the topic independent of your own stance.

Proposition (Propositio): After you provide the reader with contextual knowledge, you are ready to state your claims which relate to the information you have provided previously. This section outlines your major points for the reader.

Proof (Confirmatio): You should explain your reasons and evidence to the reader. Be sure to thoroughly justify your reasons. In this section, if necessary, you can provide supplementary evidence and subpoints.

Refutation (Refuatio): In this section, you address anticipated counterarguments that disagree with your thesis. Though you acknowledge the other side’s perspective, it is important to prove why your stance is more logical.  

Conclusion (Peroratio): You should summarize your main points. The conclusion also caters to the reader’s emotions and values. The use of pathos here makes the reader more inclined to consider your argument.  

Example of the Classical Method:  

Introduction (Exordium): Millions of workers are paid a set hourly wage nationwide. The federal minimum wage is standardized to protect workers from being paid too little. Research points to many viewpoints on how much to pay these workers. Some families cannot afford to support their households on the current wages provided for performing a minimum wage job .

Statement of Background (Narratio): Currently, millions of American workers struggle to make ends meet on a minimum wage. This puts a strain on workers’ personal and professional lives. Some work multiple jobs to provide for their families.

Proposition (Propositio): The current federal minimum wage should be increased to better accommodate millions of overworked Americans. By raising the minimum wage, workers can spend more time cultivating their livelihoods.

Proof (Confirmatio): According to the United States Department of Labor, 80.4 million Americans work for an hourly wage, but nearly 1.3 million receive wages less than the federal minimum. The pay raise will alleviate the stress of these workers. Their lives would benefit from this raise because it affects multiple areas of their lives.

Refutation (Refuatio): There is some evidence that raising the federal wage might increase the cost of living. However, other evidence contradicts this or suggests that the increase would not be great. Additionally,   worries about a cost of living increase must be balanced with the benefits of providing necessary funds to millions of hardworking Americans.

Conclusion (Peroratio): If the federal minimum wage was raised, many workers could alleviate some of their financial burdens. As a result, their emotional wellbeing would improve overall. Though some argue that the cost of living could increase, the benefits outweigh the potential drawbacks.

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How to Write an Argumentative Essay | Full Guide and Examples [2025]

Jul 19, 2024 | 0 comments

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Jul 19, 2024 | Blog | 0 comments

As a writer and educator, I’ve guided countless students on how to write an argumentative essay. Whether you’re a high school student preparing for college or a university student honing your academic skills, mastering the art of argumentative writing is crucial.

In this blog post, I’ll explain how to create a powerful and persuasive argumentative essay that will impress your professors and engage your readers.

An argumentative essay is a powerful tool for presenting a well-reasoned stance on a controversial topic. It’s not just about stating your opinion ; it’s about building a logical case supported by evidence and addressing potential counterarguments. Let’s dive into the world of argumentative writing and unlock the secrets to crafting essays that make a lasting impact.

Table of Contents

What is an Argumentative Essay?

Before we delve into the writing process, it’s crucial to understand the core elements that define an argumentative essay. At its heart, an argumentative essay is a type of persuasive writing that aims to convince the reader of a particular viewpoint or course of action. Unlike other forms, an argumentative essay requires a clear stance on a debatable issue and supports it with logical reasoning and concrete evidence.

The key components of an argumentative essay include:

  • A clear thesis statement that presents your main argument
  • Supporting evidence from credible sources
  • Logical reasoning that connects your evidence to your thesis
  • Acknowledgment and refutation of counterarguments
  • A strong conclusion that reinforces your position

Remember, the goal is to express your opinion and engage in a thoughtful debate with your reader, anticipating and addressing their potential objections.

What Is the AP Language Argument Essay?

The AP Language Argument Essay is a key component of the Advanced Placement English Language and Composition exam. This essay task requires students to craft a persuasive argument on a given topic, demonstrating their ability to analyze complex issues and communicate effectively. Students must develop a clear thesis, present logical reasoning, and use relevant evidence to support their position.

The essay also tests students’ skill in addressing counterarguments and using rhetorical modes to enhance their persuasive power. Successful essays typically incorporate a variety of credible sources, proper citation techniques, and strong rhetoric to convince readers of the argument’s validity. The AP Language Argument Essay assesses writing ability and critical thinking skills, preparing students for college-level discourse and argument essay composition.

Argumentative Essay Structure

Basic Argumentative Essay Structure

Now that we understand what an argumentative essay is, let’s look at its basic structure. A strong argumentative essay follows a clear and logical structure that guides the reader through your argument. This structure typically includes:

  • Introduction: Grab the reader’s attention and present your thesis statement
  • Body paragraphs : Present your main points and supporting evidence
  • Counterargument: Address opposing viewpoints
  • Conclusion: Reinforce your thesis and leave a lasting impression

This structure provides a roadmap for your reader, making your argument easy to follow and understand. We’ll explore each of these elements in more detail as we move forward

Read Also: How to Structure an Argumentative Essay: A Step-by-Step Guide

Argumentative Essay Outline Example

  • Introduction
  • Hook: Grab the reader’s attention with a striking fact or question
  • Background information: Provide context for the topic
  • Thesis statement: Clearly state your position
  • Body Paragraph 1: First Main Argument
  • Topic sentence introducing the first main point
  • Supporting evidence (use data or quotation )
  • Explanation of how this evidence supports your thesis
  • Transition to the next point
  • Body Paragraph 2: Second Main Argument
  • Topic sentence introducing the second main point
  • Supporting evidence from literature or expert observation
  • Analysis of the evidence
  • Body Paragraph 3: Counterargument and Rebuttal
  • Acknowledge an opposing viewpoint
  • Present evidence for this counterargument
  • Refute the counterargument with stronger evidence or logic
  • Reinforce your original position
  • Restate the thesis in light of the presented arguments
  • Summarize key points
  • Provide a final thought or call to action

Read Also: The Importance of an Argumentative Essay Outline: Tips, Examples and Templates

Elements of an Argumentative Essay

To craft a compelling argumentative essay, you must include several key elements to support your thesis. Let’s break these down:

  • Thesis statement : This is the heart of your essay, clearly stating your position on the topic.
  • Supporting evidence: Use facts, statistics , expert opinions, and real-world examples to support your claims.
  • Logical reasoning: Connect your evidence to your thesis using clear, rational arguments.
  • Counterarguments: Acknowledge opposing viewpoints and explain why your position is stronger.
  • Refutation: Address and disprove counterarguments to strengthen your position.
  • Conclusion: Summarize your main points and reinforce your thesis.

By incorporating these elements, you create a well-rounded argument that anticipates and addresses potential objections, making your essay more persuasive and credible.

How to Write an Argumentative Essay: The Writing Process

The Argumentative Writing Process Explained Clearly

An effective argumentative essay involves a step-by-step process that helps you organize your thoughts and present your argument. Let’s walk through this process together:

  • Choose your topic: Select a debatable issue you’re passionate about.
  • Research: Gather information from credible sources to support your argument.
  • Develop your thesis: Craft a clear, concise statement of your position.
  • Create an outline: Organize your main points and supporting evidence.
  • Write your first draft: Focus on getting your ideas down without worrying too much about perfection.
  • Revise and edit: Refine your arguments, improve your language, and check for logical flow.
  • Proofread: Check for grammar , spelling, and formatting errors.

Remember, writing is an iterative process. Don’t be afraid to revise and refine your essay multiple times to make it as strong as possible.

Read Also: How To Write An Argumentative Abortion Essay (With Examples)

Choosing your topic

The first step in crafting a compelling argument is choosing your topic wisely. This foundational decision sets the stage for your entire essay, so it’s crucial to get it right.

  • Identify your interests: Reflect on subjects that spark your curiosity or evoke strong opinions. Your genuine interest in the topic will fuel your research and writing process. Consider current events, social issues, or academic debates that resonate with you. Remember, your passion for the subject will shine through in your argument essay , making it more engaging for readers.
  • Ensure the topic is debatable: A good argumentative topic should have multiple valid perspectives. Look for issues where reasonable people might disagree. This allows you to present a balanced view and refute opposing arguments effectively. Avoid topics with clear-cut answers or those that are purely factual. The goal is to engage in meaningful debate, not simply state obvious truths.
  • Consider your audience: Consider who will read your essay. Is it for a class assignment, a scholarly publication, or a general audience? Understanding your readers will help you choose a topic that’s appropriate and interesting to them. It will also guide your use of rhetorical modes and the type of evidence you’ll need to support your claims.
  • Assess available resources: Before committing to a topic, do some preliminary research. Ensure there’s sufficient literature and data available to support your arguments. You’ll need reliable sources for citation in APA style or other required formats. A topic with ample scholarly articles, studies, and expert opinions will provide a solid foundation for your essay.
  • Narrow your focus: Once you’ve chosen a broad topic, refine it to a specific angle or question. This helps make your essay more manageable and allows for deeper analysis. For example, instead of writing about “climate change” in general, you might focus on “the impact of carbon taxes on reducing greenhouse gas emissions in urban areas.”
  • Test your topic: Articulate both sides before diving into full research. If you can easily list several points for and against the issue, it’s likely a good choice. This exercise also helps you identify potential counterarguments to address in your essay, strengthening your overall rhetoric .
  • Seek feedback: Don’t hesitate to discuss your topic ideas with others. Conversations with peers, instructors, or experts can provide valuable insights and help you gauge the topic’s potential. Their input might reveal new angles or challenges you still need to consider, enhancing the depth of your argument.
  • Be open to change: As you research, remain flexible. Sometimes, initial observations lead to unexpected discoveries that might shift your focus. Be willing to adjust your topic if you find a more compelling angle or if your original choice proves too broad or narrow.

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Conducting Thorough Research

Solid research is essential for building a credible and persuasive argument in your essay. Here are some tips for effective research:

  • Use various sources: Books, academic journals, reputable websites, and expert interviews.
  • Evaluate source credibility: Check the author’s credentials, publication date, and potential biases.
  • Take detailed notes: Record key information and ideas and their sources.
  • Look for opposing viewpoints: Understanding counterarguments will strengthen your position.

Remember to cite your sources properly using the required format (APA, MLA, Chicago, etc.). This not only gives credit to the original authors but also adds credibility to your argument.

For more information on conducting research, check out our guide on the steps in the research process .

Read Also: How to Write an Essay: A Step-by-Step Guide

Developing a Strong Thesis Statement

The thesis statement is the backbone of your argumentative essay, clearly stating your position on the topic. A strong thesis should be:

  • Clear and concise
  • Focused on a single main idea

For example, instead of writing “Social media is bad,” you might write:

“The excessive use of social media platforms negatively impacts young adults’ mental health and social skills.”

This thesis is specific and debatable and establishes a clear argument that you can support with evidence.

When crafting your thesis, consider the counterarguments you’ll need to address. This will help you refine your position and make your argument stronger.

Enhance your skills in writing a thesis statement for an argumentative essay with our comprehensive tutorial on how to write a thesis statement .

Read Also: Synthesis Essay Writing Guide: How to Write +Examples

Crafting a Compelling Introduction

Your introduction sets the stage for your argument and should grab the reader’s attention from the start. A strong introduction typically includes the following:

  • A hook: An interesting fact, question, or anecdote that draws the reader in.
  • Background information: Provide context for your topic.
  • Your thesis statement: Clearly state your position.

For example, you might start with a surprising statistic about social media usage, give a brief background on its rise, and then present your thesis about its negative impacts. The goal is to engage your reader and clearly establish your essay’s arguments.

Not sure where to start? Our beginner’s guide on how to write an introduction paragraph is the perfect introduction.

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Writing Effective Body Paragraphs

The body paragraphs of your argumentative essay are where you present your evidence and reasoning to support your thesis. Each body paragraph should focus on a single main point supporting your argument. Here’s a structure you can follow:

  • Topic sentence: Introduce the main idea of the paragraph.
  • Evidence: Present facts, statistics, or expert opinions that support your point.
  • Explanation: Explain how this evidence supports your argument.
  • Transition: Connect this paragraph to the next one.

Remember to use logical transitions between paragraphs to ensure a smooth flow of ideas. This helps your reader follow your argument more easily.

Read Also: 500 Word Essay – Writing Guide and Examples

Addressing Counterarguments

A strong argumentative essay acknowledges and addresses potential counterarguments to strengthen your position. This shows that you’ve considered different perspectives and demonstrates the strength of your argument. Here’s how to effectively address counterarguments:

  • Identify the strongest counterarguments to your position.
  • Present these counterarguments fairly and accurately.
  • Explain why these counterarguments are flawed or why your position is stronger.

By addressing opposing viewpoints, you show you’ve engaged in  critical thinking and considered the issue from multiple angles. This adds depth and credibility to your essay.

For advanced techniques in crafting counterarguments, don’t miss our expert-level article on how to write counter arguments .

Concluding Your Argumentative Essay

Concluding Your Argumentative Essay

Your conclusion should reinforce your thesis and leave a lasting impression on your reader. A strong conclusion:

  • Restate your thesis (in different words)
  • Summarize your main points
  • Provides a final thought or call to action

Avoid introducing new information in your conclusion. Instead, focus on synthesizing what you’ve already discussed and emphasizing the importance of your argument.

Read Also: How to Write an Opinion Essay: Simple Guide+ Examples

Argumentative Essay Writing Tips

To elevate your argumentative essay from good to great, consider these additional tips on how to write an argumentative essay:

  • Use clear, concise language: Avoid jargon and overly complex sentences.
  • Vary sentence structure: This keeps your writing engaging and easy to read.
  • Use strong, active verbs: They make your writing more dynamic and persuasive.
  • Anticipate objections: Address potential counterarguments before your reader can raise them.
  • Use rhetorical questions to engage your readers and make them think critically about your topic.
  • Proofread carefully: Small errors can undermine your credibility.

Remember, the goal is to persuade your reader through clear, logical arguments and compelling evidence.

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Example of an Argumentative Essay

Examining a well-written example can help you understand how to apply these principles in practice. Let’s look at the following examples of argumentative academic essays:

To see how to write an argumentative essay in real-world scenarios, read our comprehensive article on Easy Argumentative Essay Examples for Students

Mastering the art of writing an argumentative essay is a valuable skill that will serve you well in academics and beyond. By following this guide, you’ll be well-equipped to craft persuasive, well-reasoned arguments that engage your readers and make a lasting impact.

Remember, the key to a great argumentative essay lies in thorough research, clear reasoning, and the ability to anticipate and address counterarguments. With practice and persistence, you’ll find your voice as a writer and develop the skills to tackle even the most challenging topics.

As you embark on your next argumentative essay, remember these strategies. And remember, every great writer was once a beginner. Embrace the process, seek  feedback , and don’t be afraid to revise and refine your work. Happy writing!

FAQs on How To Write An Argumentative Essay

How do you start an argumentative essay.

To start an argumentative essay, begin by selecting a topic that interests you and is arguable . Conduct thorough research to gather knowledge and evidence to support your argument. Create an outline with your main claim or thesis and supporting points . Craft a compelling introductory paragraph that grabs the reader’s attention and clearly states your position.

What is the structure of an argumentative essay example?

An argumentative essay’s structure typically includes an introductory paragraph with a thesis statement, followed by body paragraphs that present arguments and evidence, address opposing views, summarize the key points discussed, and reiterate the main claim .

What are the five parts of an argumentative essay?

The five parts of an argumentative essay include the introduction, where the thesis statement is presented; body paragraphs that support the argument with evidence and analysis; counterarguments addressing opposing views; rebuttal to refute counterarguments; and  a conclusion that restates the thesis and summarizes key points.

What is argumentative writing with examples?

Argumentative writing is academic writing that presents a  claim or argument on a specific topic and supports it with evidence and logic . For example, an argumentative essay on the impact of social media might present statistics, expert opinions, and real-life examples to support the argument.

ElainaFerrell

With a deep understanding of the student experience, I craft blog content that resonates with young learners. My articles offer practical advice and actionable strategies to help students achieve a healthy and successful academic life.

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How to Write an Academic Paragraph (Step-by-Step Guide)

academic paragraph

Unlike creative writing or day-to-day writing, academic writing is highly focused on critical analysis, is typically based on research, and adheres to strict academic conventions. In academic writing, every paragraph seeks to serve the purpose of discussing and sharing information on scientific or scholarly topics with a focused academic community. That is why it is important that each sentence within a paragraph should be relevant and flow in a logically correct and engaging narrative.    

There are different elements that constitute an academic paragraph. Each of these elements works together to present concepts, ideas, and innovative new developments in a coherent manner. Let’s take a look at how to craft an impactful academic paragraph.   

How to write an academic paragraph?  

Any academic writing is centered on a well-formulated main idea or argument. This main idea needs to be developed further, or a research question needs to be answered in a systematic and logical manner. Such a process entails identifying and building points along with relevant supporting evidence to support the main idea.   

In academic writing, the discussion of each of these points is done in separate paragraphs. To aid this process, an outline of your academic assignment can be prepared that helps organize your thoughts and ideas and list the various points or topic sentences to build your argument. A well-articulated and strong paragraph can be developed by ensuring that it contains certain key elements, as discussed below.   

Topic sentence

Each paragraph can have a topic sentence at or near its start. The topic sentence is basically the main point that you will be focusing on in the paragraph. The scope of the topic sentence should be such that it can be discussed and developed in a single paragraph. In reading the topic sentence, the reader should get an idea of the focus of the paragraph.    

Significance

The significance of the point that is being discussed in the paragraph should come out clearly in the ensuing body sentences. This allows readers to understand how it relates to the overall article, thesis, or dissertation.   

What you state in the topic sentence should be backed by evidence. This will depend on your topic, discipline, and nature of the assignment. Evidence can include information drawn from primary sources, such as surveys or interviews that were conducted as part of the study, while secondary sources typically include personal experience based on practice, such as education. You must assess how much evidence needs to be provided to substantiate and prove your point.   

In the rest of the body sentences, the focus should be on your interpretation and analysis of the data and evidence, how these support your argument and the main thesis, and how it is building up to your conclusion. The paragraph can be wrapped up in a concluding sentence that underlines the implications of the evidence.   

4 strategies to enhance academic paragraphs     

In order to achieve clarity and coherence, every paragraph must advance the reader’s understanding of the topic, provide evidence or support for the main argument, and establish connections between ideas. Without this deliberate organization and structure, academic writing can become disjointed, confusing, and less persuasive.   

Using the right transition words

The main purpose of paragraphs is to provide logical sequencing to your ideas and main points. Hence, in moving from one point to another through paragraphs, the use of transition sentences helps in linking ideas presented in one paragraph to the next and previous ones. Transition sentences are usually used either at the beginning or the end of a paragraph.    

Adding citations and references

Where supporting evidence is provided from secondary sources, it is crucial to provide citations and references to acknowledge original sources and avoid the risk of plagiarism.    

Ensuring cohesion and flow

Each sentence in the paragraph should be relevant to the point you are conveying. Hence, while writing a paragraph, make sure that you have a topic sentence, body sentences which develop the ideas and provide evidence and interpretation, a linking sentence that links the point to the overall thesis of the assignment, and appropriate transitions. Then, evaluate whether these provide a cohesive whole and logical flow.   

Ideal length

The ideal length of a paragraph varies between 200 and 300 words, but it can be more. Ensure that a paragraph is neither too long nor too short and that there are sufficient explanations and analysis. Overly lengthy paragraphs with huge volumes of information tend to distract and confuse readers from the main argument.   

Once the paragraph has been written, a close reading is needed to assess whether the core idea is being communicated logically and if there is sufficient evidence and analysis. Each paragraph must link seamlessly with the previous ones using transitions. See that each sentence is conveyed coherently and relevant and that the thread of the argument is flowing clearly. By following the basic structure and key elements of academic paragraphs and implementing strategies to enhance clarity, cohesion, and flow, writers can effectively communicate their ideas and engage with scholarly discourse.  

Paperpal is a comprehensive AI writing toolkit that helps students and researchers achieve 2x the writing in half the time. It leverages 21+ years of STM experience and insights from millions of research articles to provide in-depth academic writing, language editing, and submission readiness support to help you write better, faster.  

Get accurate academic translations, rewriting support, grammar checks, vocabulary suggestions, and generative AI assistance that delivers human precision at machine speed. Try for free or upgrade to Paperpal Prime starting at US$19 a month to access premium features, including consistency, plagiarism, and 30+ submission readiness checks to help you succeed.  

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How to Write an Argumentative Essay- Steps with Examples

Being a student and writing essays is not something everybody enjoys, but in my personal opinion as a writer, anyone can find contentment and pleasure in writing, especially when it comes to argumentative essays. While they may seem tricky to navigate, they offer this unique opportunity to express your opinions and make your voice heard. Consider this a growing process—once you overcome the challenges of writing argumentative essays, you will learn the art of agreeing or disagreeing with popular opinions and defending your stance. As far as the essay is concerned, I will show you how to master this process on how to write an argumentative essay.

When is an Argumentative Essay Written?

You will likely be required to write argumentative essays throughout your academic life, from high school to university. These assignments will present opportunities to develop and showcase your critical thinking and persuasive writing skills. Here are some scenarios where you might encounter the need to write argumentative essays:

Academic Assignments

Often assigned in school or college courses to help students develop critical thinking and persuasive writing skills. These assignments encourage students to research thoroughly, form coherent arguments, and present their viewpoints convincingly.

Debates and Discussions

Serve as the basis for presenting and defending viewpoints in academic or competitive settings. Argumentative essays provide a structured way to organize thoughts and evidence, helping participants articulate their arguments effectively during debates.

Opinion Pieces

Commonly used in newspapers, magazines, and online publications to influence public opinion on current issues. These essays allow writers to present their stance on controversial topics, backed by evidence and reasoning, to sway readers' views.

Policy Proposals

Utilized in government and policy-related fields to propose and defend specific policy changes or solutions to societal problems. Argumentative essays in this context present well-researched arguments to persuade policymakers and stakeholders of the necessity and viability of the proposed changes.

Persuasive Speeches

Prepared as a foundation for delivering persuasive speeches. Writing an argumentative essay helps speakers organize their thoughts and evidence logically, providing a solid framework for their oral presentations.

What is the Structure of an Argumentative Essay?

An argumentative essay uses factual evidence and logical support to convince the reader of a particular point of view. Here's a breakdown of the structure and what goes into each part of an argumentative essay:

Basic Argumentative Essay Structure

1.Introduction

Purpose: Introduce the topic, present the thesis, and set up the argument.

Hook: A sentence to grab the reader’s attention.

Background Information: Brief context about the topic.

Thesis Statement: The main argument or claim.

2.Body Paragraphs

Purpose: Present arguments and evidence to support the thesis and refute opposing arguments.

Topic Sentence: Introduces the main idea of the paragraph.

Evidence and Analysis: Present facts, statistics, quotes, or examples to support the argument.

Counterarguments and Rebuttals: Address opposing views and explain why they are invalid or less significant.

3.Conclusion

Purpose: Summarize the arguments, restate the thesis in light of the evidence presented, and offer final thoughts.

Restate Thesis: Reiterate the main argument.

Summarize Key Points: Highlight the main points made in the body paragraphs.

Final Thought: A closing statement that underscores the importance of the topic

How to Write an Argumentative Essay [4 Steps with Examples]

As an experienced writer, I've come to understand the structure of argumentative essays quite well. But what I found truly challenging when I first started was nailing the right approach. Many beginners, myself included at one point, fall into traps like letting personal biases creep in or thinking that being argumentative means being aggressive. Trust me, that's not the case at all!

In this section, I'm going to lay out an effective approach on how to write an argumentative essay step by step for beginners. I'll break it down in a way that I wish someone had done for me when I was starting out. Plus, I'll share some insider tips on tools like WPS Office that I've come to rely on to streamline my writing process. So let's learn how to write an argumentative essay with a few examples.

1.Brainstorming

When I sit down to craft an argumentative essay, my first step is to engage in a comprehensive brainstorming session. This is your opportunity to let your creativity run wild and explore every angle of your topic. Write down every idea that comes to you, whether it supports or opposes your topic. Remember, at this stage, there are no bad ideas.

Now, while there's nothing wrong with the classic pen and paper approach, I've found that using WPS Office takes my brainstorming to a whole new level. It's not just about having a digital notepad; the AI features often toss out ideas that I might never have thought of on my own. It's like having a creative partner who never gets tired! Let me show you how I use it:

Let's say our topic is "Are Electric Cars Better for the Environment?"

Step 1: Open WPS Office and type "@AI" on a blank document to activate WPS AI.

Step 2: Click on the "Brainstorm" option and enter your prompt. Make sure it's detailed and clearly explains what you want. Here's an example of an effective prompt:

"Generate a list of arguments both for and against the idea that electric cars are better for the environment. Consider factors like emissions, manufacturing processes, battery disposal, and energy sources"

Step 3: WPS AI will generate several arguments on both sides. If you want more, simply click "Rewrite”.

Jot down any valuable arguments before hitting "Rewrite", as you might not see the same ones again.

With these arguments in hand, you'll likely find yourself leaning towards one side of the debate. Armed with a variety of points and counterpoints, you'll be well-equipped to write an effective argumentative essay. Remember, a strong argumentative essay is built on a foundation of thorough preparation and diverse ideas.

2.Preparing

Now that we've generated our initial arguments and counterarguments, it's time to dive deeper into research to strengthen our position. Let's continue with our example topic: "Are Electric Cars Better for the Environment?"

Let's continue with our example topic: "Are Electric Cars Better for the Environment?" Our next step is to select the most impactful supporting arguments and conduct in-depth research to substantiate them with solid evidence. Simultaneously, we'll identify the strongest counterarguments and explore ways to address or neutralize them through our research.

All of this might seem a little overwhelming, but with the help of WPS AI, the research phase becomes significantly more manageable. As we gather research papers, we can upload them to WPS Office and quickly gain insights using the AI features.

Here's how to leverage WPS AI for efficient research:

Step 1: Open your research paper PDFs in WPS Office, then click on the WPS AI widget in the top right corner.

Step 2: In the WPS AI panel that appears on the right side of your screen, click "Upload" to add your PDF.

Step 3: Once processed, WPS AI will provide you with key insights from the PDF at a glance.

Step 4: For more specific information, click on the "Inquiry" tab and use the WPS AI chatbot to ask further questions about the PDF contents.

As you conduct your research, begin organizing your findings into an outline. Remember to structure your outline according to the elements we discussed in previous sections. This will ensure your outline contains all the necessary components for an effective argumentative essay.

3.First Drafting

Now that we have our research and outline ready, it's time to start writing our first draft. This is where your essay really starts to take shape. Don't worry about perfection at this stage—the goal is to get your ideas down coherently.

Using the outline we prepared during our research, you'll find it easier to organize your thoughts for your essay. To make things simpler, use WPS Office editing tools. When I write my essay, I always ensure it is properly formatted, giving it a cleaner look and helping me focus better.

Now, simply start your draft on WPS Office with an introduction, followed by a body paragraph, and conclude with a strong summary that reviews your main points and leaves the reader with something to think about.

Once you have your draft ready, make use of WPS Office's AI features, which can help you improve writing, shorten or elongate your paragraphs, and much more. Let's say you've written your first body paragraph, and it's a bit too long. So, let's shorten it with WPS AI:

Step 1: Select the paragraph you want to shorten, then click on the WPS AI icon in the hover menu.

Step 2: From the list of options, simply click on "Make shorter" to shorten your paragraph.

Step 3: WPS AI will display the shorter version on a small screen. Click on "Replace" to replace the original text with the shorter version.

4.Revising & Proofreading

Congratulations on completing your first draft! However, there is one crucial step remaining: revising and proofreading.  Revising and proofreading are where good essays become great essays.

A method I find most effective for revising my essay is reading it aloud. This technique helps in identifying awkward phrasing and run-on sentences that may go unnoticed when reading silently. As you read, ask yourself:

Does my introduction effectively grab the reader's attention and clearly state my thesis?

Do my body paragraphs each focus on a single main idea that supports my thesis?

Have I provided enough evidence to support each of my arguments?

Have I addressed potential counterarguments?

Does my conclusion effectively summarize my main points and leave a lasting impression?

You might find that you need to make some structural changes. For instance, you might realize that your second body paragraph would be more effective if it came first. Don't be afraid to move things around!

Once you have made the necessary changes to your essay, the next step is to ensure it does not have any grammatical errors. For this, I use WPS AI's spell check feature. With just a single click, WPS AI spell check ensures that my essay is complete and ready to be submitted!

Bonus Tips: How to Polish your argumentative Essay with WPS AI

WPS Office is already a premium choice among students, offering all the features needed to write a perfect essay. With WPS Office, students can write better without payment issues, annoying ads, or difficulty navigating the tools. It's a free tool with advanced features, including WPS AI, which supports the entire writing process.

1.Check for Grammar and Spelling:

WPS AI carefully scans your essay for grammatical errors and spelling mistakes, ensuring that your writing is polished and professional. This feature not only helps you avoid common errors but also enhances the readability and credibility of your work.

2.Seek Style and Tone Adjustments:

WPS AI offers suggestions to improve the style and tone of your writing, making it more engaging and suitable for your target audience. Whether your essay requires a formal academic tone or a more conversational approach, WPS AI tailors its recommendations to fit your needs, ensuring your writing is coherent and compelling.

Here's an example of WPS AI's 'Improve Writing' feature in action, enhancing the formality and persuasiveness of my body paragraph for the reader.

3.Writing Assistance:

From the initial brainstorming phase to the final touches, WPS AI provides comprehensive writing assistance. It helps you structure your arguments logically, develop clear and concise thesis statements, and refine your conclusions. WPS AI also offers suggestions for enhancing clarity and coherence, making the writing process smoother and more efficient.

With the assistance of WPS AI's 'Continue Writing' feature, we can extend our essays by seamlessly incorporating additional sections that complement the existing content's flow and tone.

FAQs about Writing an Argumentative Essay

1. what’s the difference between an expository essay and an argumentative essay.

An argumentative essay is typically more extensive and requires independent research to establish a unique claim regarding a specific topic. It includes a thesis statement that presents a debatable assertion, which must be supported by objective evidence. In contrast, an expository essay strives for objectivity but does not propose an original argument. Instead, it aims to clarify and explain a topic straightforwardly, such as a process or concept. Generally, expository essays are shorter and do not rely as heavily on research.

2. When do I need to cite sources?

In a college environment, accurately citing sources is vital for essays, research papers, and other academic assignments, but this requirement does not extend to exams or in-class tasks. Proper citations are needed for direct quotes, paraphrased material, and summaries, and it is necessary to provide complete source information in a bibliography or reference list. Following the specified citation style, such as APA or MLA, is essential for maintaining academic integrity. Whenever you utilize information or ideas from another work in college-level writing, proper citation is required to acknowledge the original source.

3. What is an Argumentative essay?

An argumentative essay is a type of writing that asserts a specific stance on a debatable issue, backing it up with reasoning and evidence. The main objective is to convince the reader to accept or seriously consider the author's viewpoint. This essay usually contains a clear thesis statement and develops arguments while addressing opposing views to reinforce its position. Ultimately, it seeks to encourage critical engagement with the topic at hand.

Excel the Art of Persuasion With WPS Office

Argumentative essays are possibly the most thought-provoking when it comes to writing, presenting a higher difficulty level. Despite the challenge on how to write an argumentative essay, they are also the most fun to write, as they allow you to express your opinions in a highly opinionated form. WPS Office strives to enhance your writing experience, and as a writer, I can vouch for this. WPS Office not only offers advanced tools like WPS AI to help refine and improve your writing skills but also provides options to make your work as presentable as you want it to be. Download WPS Office today to experience the difference.

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The Gunman and the Would-Be Dictator

Violence stalks the president who has rejoiced in violence to others.

A photomontage illustration of Donald Trump.

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When a madman hammered nearly to death the husband of then–House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Donald Trump jeered and mocked . One of Trump’s sons and other close Trump supporters avidly promoted false claims that Paul Pelosi had somehow brought the onslaught upon himself through a sexual misadventure.

After authorities apprehended a right-wing-extremist plot to abduct Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, Trump belittled the threat at a rally. He disparaged Whitmer as a political enemy. His supporters chanted “Lock her up.” Trump laughed and replied , “Lock them all up.”

Fascism feasts on violence. In the years since his own supporters attacked the Capitol to overturn the 2020 election—many of them threatening harm to Speaker Pelosi and Vice President Mike Pence—Trump has championed the invaders, would-be kidnappers, and would-be murderers as martyrs and hostages. He has vowed to pardon them if returned to office. His own staffers have testified to the glee with which Trump watched the mayhem on television.

Now the bloodshed that Trump has done so much to incite against others has touched him as well. The attempted murder of Trump—and the killing of a person nearby—is a horror and an outrage. More will be learned about the man who committed this appalling act, and who was killed by the Secret Service. Whatever his mania or motive, the only important thing about him is the law-enforcement mistake that allowed him to bring a deadly weapon so close to a campaign event and gain a sight line of the presidential candidate. His name should otherwise be erased and forgotten.

It is sadly incorrect to say, as so many have, that political violence “has no place” in American society. Assassinations, lynchings, riots, and pogroms have stained every page of American political history. That has remained true to the present day. In 2016 , and even more in 2020, Trump supporters brought weapons to intimidate opponents and vote-counters. Trump and his supporters envision a new place for violence as their defining political message in the 2024 election. Fascist movements are secular religions. Like all religions, they offer martyrs as their proof of truth. The Mussolini movement in Italy built imposing monuments to its fallen comrades. The Trump movement now improves on that: The leader himself will be the martyr in chief, his own blood the basis for his bid for power and vengeance.

Christopher R. Browning: A new kind of fascism

The 2024 election was already shaping up as a symbolic contest between an elderly and weakening liberalism too frail and uncertain to protect itself and an authoritarian, reactionary movement ready to burst every barrier and trash every institution. To date, Trump has led only a minority of U.S. voters, but that minority’s passion and audacity have offset what it lacks in numbers. After the shooting, Trump and his backers hope to use the iconography of a bloody ear and face, raised fist, and call to “Fight!” to summon waverers to their cause of installing Trump as an anti-constitutional ruler, exempted from ordinary law by his allies on the Supreme Court.

Other societies have backslid to authoritarianism because of some extraordinary crisis: economic depression, hyperinflation, military defeat, civil strife. In 2024, U.S. troops are nowhere at war. The American economy is booming, providing spectacular and widely shared prosperity. A brief spasm of mild post-pandemic inflation has been overcome. Indicators of social health have abruptly turned positive since Trump left office after years of deterioration during his term. Crime and fatal drug overdoses are declining in 2024; marriages and births are rising. Even the country’s problems indirectly confirm the country’s success: Migrants are crossing the border in the hundreds of thousands, because they know, even if Americans don’t, that the U.S. job market is among the hottest on Earth.

Yet despite all of this success, Americans are considering a form of self-harm that in other countries has typically followed the darkest national failures: letting the author of a failed coup d’état return to office to try again.

One reason this self-harm is nearing consummation is that American society is poorly prepared to understand and respond to radical challenges, once those challenges gain a certain mass. For nearly a century, “radical” in U.S. politics has usually meant “fringe”: Communists, Ku Kluxers, Black Panthers, Branch Davidians, Islamist jihadists. Radicals could be marginalized by the weight of the great American consensus that stretches from social democrats to business conservatives. Sometimes, a Joe McCarthy or a George Wallace would throw a scare into that mighty consensus, but in the past such challengers rarely formed stable coalitions with accepted stakeholders in society. Never gaining an enduring grip on the institutions of state, they flared up and burned out.

Trump is different. His abuses have been ratified by powerful constituencies. He has conquered and colonized one of the two major parties. He has defeated—or is on the way to defeating—every impeachment and prosecution to hold him to account for his frauds and crimes. He has assembled a mass following that is larger, more permanent, and more national in reach than any previous American demagogue. He has dominated the scene for nine years already, and he and his supporters hope they can use yesterday’s appalling event to extend the Trump era to the end of his life and beyond.

The American political and social system cannot treat such a person as an alien. It inevitably accommodates and naturalizes him. His counselors, even the thugs and felons, join the point-counterpoint dialogue at the summit of the American elite. President Joe Biden nearly wrecked his campaign because he felt obliged to meet Trump in debate. How could Biden have done otherwise? Trump is the three-time nominee of the Republican Party; it’s awkward and strange to treat him as an insurrectionist against the American state—though that’s what Trump was and is.

David Frum: Biden’s heartbreaking press conference

The despicable shooting at Trump, which also caused death and injury to others, now secures his undeserved position as a partner in the protective rituals of the democracy he despises. The appropriate expressions of dismay and condemnation from every prominent voice in American life have the additional effect of habituating Americans to Trump’s legitimacy. In the face of such an outrage, the familiar and proper practice is to stress unity, to proclaim that Americans have more things in common than that divide them. Those soothing words, true in the past, are less true now.

Nobody seems to have language to say: We abhor, reject, repudiate, and punish all political violence, even as we maintain that Trump remains himself a promoter of such violence, a subverter of American institutions, and the very opposite of everything decent and patriotic in American life.

The Republican National Convention, which opens this week, will welcome to its stage apologists for Vladimir Putin’s Russia and its aggression against U.S. allies. Trump’s own infatuation with Russia and other dictatorships has not dimmed even slightly with age or experience. Yet all of these urgent and necessary truths must now be subordinated to the ritual invocation of “thoughts and prayers” for someone who never gave a thought or uttered a prayer for any of the victims of his own many incitements to bloodshed. The president who used his office to champion the rights of dangerous people to own military-type weapons says he was grazed by a bullet from one such assault rifle.

Conventional phrases and polite hypocrisy fill a useful function in social life. We say “Thank you for your service” both to the decorated hero and to the veteran who barely escaped dishonorable discharge. It’s easier than deciphering which was which. We wish “Happy New Year!” even when we dread the months ahead.

Adrienne LaFrance: Thoughts, prayers, and Facebook rants aren’t enough

But conventional phrases don’t go unheard. They carry meanings, meanings no less powerful for being rote and reflexive. In rightly denouncing violence, we are extending an implicit pardon to the most violent person in contemporary U.S. politics. In asserting unity, we are absolving a man who seeks power through the humiliation and subordination of disdained others.

Those conventional phrases are inscribing Trump into a place in American life that he should have forfeited beyond redemption on January 6, 2021. All decent people welcome the sparing of his life. Trump’s reckoning should be with the orderly process of law, not with the bloodshed he rejoiced in when it befell others. He and his allies will exploit a gunman’s vicious criminality as their path to exonerate past crimes and empower new ones. Those who stand against Trump and his allies must find the will and the language to explain why these crimes, past and planned, are all wrong, all intolerable—and how the gunman and Trump, at their opposite ends of a bullet’s trajectory, are nonetheless joined together as common enemies of law and democracy.

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Guest Essay

George Clooney: I Love Joe Biden. But We Need a New Nominee.

how to create an argumentative essay

By George Clooney

Mr. Clooney is an actor, director and film producer.

I’m a lifelong Democrat; I make no apologies for that. I’m proud of what my party represents and what it stands for. As part of my participation in the democratic process and in support of my chosen candidate, I have led some of the biggest fund-raisers in my party’s history. Barack Obama in 2012 . Hillary Clinton in 2016 . Joe Biden in 2020 . Last month I co-hosted the single largest fund-raiser supporting any Democratic candidate ever, for President Biden’s re-election. I say all of this only to express how much I believe in this process and how profound I think this moment is.

I love Joe Biden. As a senator. As a vice president and as president. I consider him a friend, and I believe in him. Believe in his character. Believe in his morals. In the last four years, he’s won many of the battles he’s faced.

But the one battle he cannot win is the fight against time. None of us can. It’s devastating to say it, but the Joe Biden I was with three weeks ago at the fund-raiser was not the Joe “ big F-ing deal ” Biden of 2010. He wasn’t even the Joe Biden of 2020. He was the same man we all witnessed at the debate.

Was he tired? Yes. A cold? Maybe. But our party leaders need to stop telling us that 51 million people didn’t see what we just saw. We’re all so terrified by the prospect of a second Trump term that we’ve opted to ignore every warning sign. The George Stephanopoulos interview only reinforced what we saw the week before. As Democrats, we collectively hold our breath or turn down the volume whenever we see the president, whom we respect, walk off Air Force One or walk back to a mic to answer an unscripted question.

Is it fair to point these things out? It has to be. This is about age. Nothing more. But also nothing that can be reversed. We are not going to win in November with this president. On top of that, we won’t win the House, and we’re going to lose the Senate. This isn’t only my opinion; this is the opinion of every senator and Congress member and governor who I’ve spoken with in private. Every single one, irrespective of what he or she is saying publicly.

We love to talk about how the Republican Party has ceded all power, and all of the traits that made it so formidable with Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, to a single person who seeks to hold on to the presidency, and yet most of our members of Congress are opting to wait and see if the dam breaks. But the dam has broken. We can put our heads in the sand and pray for a miracle in November, or we can speak the truth.

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  1. How To Write a Compelling Argumentative Essay: Expert Tips & Guide

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  2. Tips on How to Write an Argumentative Essay

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  3. How to Write an Argumentative Essay Step by Step

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  4. How to Write an Argumentative Essay Step by Step

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  5. Argumentative Essay Outline Format [12 Best Examples]

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  2. What is an Argumentative Essay? What are the steps to write an Argumentative Essay?

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  4. Step by Step on How to Write an Argumentative Essay

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COMMENTS

  1. How to Write an Argumentative Essay

    Make a claim. Provide the grounds (evidence) for the claim. Explain the warrant (how the grounds support the claim) Discuss possible rebuttals to the claim, identifying the limits of the argument and showing that you have considered alternative perspectives. The Toulmin model is a common approach in academic essays.

  2. Steps to Writing a Compelling Argumentative Essay

    Research Thoroughly: Gather credible sources to support your arguments and counterarguments. 3. Develop a Strong Thesis: Clearly state your position in a concise and debatable thesis statement. 4. Outline Your Argument: Organize your points logically and plan the structure of your essay. 5.

  3. How to Write a Good Argumentative Essay: Easy Step-by-Step Guide

    When you're writing a persuasive essay, you need more than just an opinion to make your voice heard. Even the strongest stance won't be compelling if it's not structured properly and reinforced with solid reasoning and evidence. Learn what elements every argumentative essay should include and how to structure it depending on your audience in this easy step-by-step guide.

  4. How to Write an Argumentative Essay

    Here's a step-by-step guide on how to write an argumentative essay: 1. Introduction. Begin with a compelling sentence or question to grab the reader's attention. Provide context for the issue, including relevant facts, statistics, or historical background.

  5. 3 Key Tips for How to Write an Argumentative Essay

    Introduction paragraph with a thesis statement (which we just talked about); New paragraph that starts with a topic sentence presenting Argumentative Point #1 . Support Point #1 with evidence; Explain/interpret the evidence with your own, original commentary (AKA, the fun part!); New paragraph that starts with a topic sentence presenting Argumentative Point #2

  6. How to Write an Argumentative Essay

    Requirements of an Argumentative Essay. To effectively achieve its purpose, an argumentative essay must contain: A concise thesis statement that introduces readers to the central argument of the essay A clear, logical, argument that engages readers Ample research and evidence that supports your argument. Approaches to Use in Your Argumentative ...

  7. What is an Argumentative Essay? How to Write It (With Examples)

    An argumentative essay in academic writing is where one takes a stance on a particular topic, presents arguments to support that stance, and aims to persuade readers to accept the point of view presented. Read this to learn how to write an argumentative essay with examples, create an argumentative essay outline, and gain expert tips for authors.

  8. Argumentative Essay Examples to Inspire You [+Formula]

    Argumentative essay formula & example. In the image below, you can see a recommended structure for argumentative essays. It starts with the topic sentence, which establishes the main idea of the essay. Next, this hypothesis is developed in the development stage. Then, the rebuttal, or the refutal of the main counter argument or arguments.

  9. Argumentative Essays

    The argumentative essay requires well-researched, accurate, detailed, and current information to support the thesis statement and consider other points of view. Some factual, logical, statistical, or anecdotal evidence should support the thesis. However, students must consider multiple points of view when collecting evidence.

  10. How to Write an Argumentative Essay (with Pictures)

    As previously mentioned, your thesis statement should appear at the end of the introduction. 3. Write the body of the paper. Carefully present information that supports both your argument and opposition. Acknowledge evidence that supports the opposition, but utilize powerful evidence to assert your claim.

  11. How to write an argumentative essay

    It mounts an argument through the following four steps: Make a claim. Present the evidence, or grounds, for the claim. Explain how the grounds support the claim. Address potential objections to the claim, demonstrating that you've given thought to the opposing side and identified its limitations and deficiencies.

  12. How To Write An Argumentative Essay

    What is argumentative essay? The fundamentals of a good argumentative essay. Let's explore the essential components that make argumentative essays compelling. 1. The foundation: crafting a compelling claim for your argumentative essay. The claim is the cornerstone of your argumentative essay. It represents your main argument or thesis statement ...

  13. How to Write an A+ Argumentative Essay

    An argumentative essay attempts to convince a reader to agree with a particular argument (the writer's thesis statement). The writer takes a firm stand one way or another on a topic and then uses hard evidence to support that stance. An argumentative essay seeks to prove to the reader that one argument —the writer's argument— is the ...

  14. Argumentative Essay

    When preparing to compose a good argumentative essay, utilize the following steps: Step 1: Select a topic. Step 2: Identify a position. Step 3: Locate appropriate resources. Step 4: Identify evidence supporting the position.(NOTE: If there is little evidence in support of the claim, consider re-examining the main argument.)Steps to write an argumentative essay

  15. How to Write an Argumentative Essay (Examples Included)

    Let's take a look at the steps to writing an argumentative essay: 1. Choose appropriate argumentative essay topics. Although topics for an argumentative essay are highly diverse, they are based on a controversial stance. So, make sure that your argumentative essay topics are debatable.

  16. How to Write an Argumentative Essay Step by Step

    1. Question/Answer Format: The easiest way to write a thesis statement is to turn the topic or prompt into a question and then answer that question. In order to write a clear answer, you need to understand the kind of question you are asking. Most types of questions fall into one of 5 categories: fact, definition, cause, value, or proposing a ...

  17. How to Write an Argumentative Essay

    Balance is the key to argumentative writing. Ideally, you will present both the pros and cons of the various arguments, with a strong slant toward your preferred view. With the right research and arranging of facts, you should be able to present your perspective in a very persuasive way. While your essay should be written to encourage people to ...

  18. 12 Essential Steps for Writing an Argumentative Essay (with 10 example

    Here's our 12-step recipe for writing a great argumentative essay: Pick a topic. Choose your research sources. Read your sources and take notes. Create a thesis statement. Choose three main arguments to support your thesis statement —now you have a skeleton outline.

  19. Tips on How to Write an Argumentative Essay

    Gather Evidence. One of your essay's first objectives will be to assess both sides of your issue. Consider strong arguments for both your side, as well as the "other" side—in order to shoot their statements down. Provide evidence without drama; sticking to the facts and clear examples that support your stance.

  20. How to Write an Essay Outline

    Revised on July 23, 2023. An essay outline is a way of planning the structure of your essay before you start writing. It involves writing quick summary sentences or phrases for every point you will cover in each paragraph, giving you a picture of how your argument will unfold. You'll sometimes be asked to submit an essay outline as a separate ...

  21. Organizing Your Argument

    The basic format for the Toulmin Method is as follows: Claim: In this section, you explain your overall thesis on the subject. In other words, you make your main argument. Data (Grounds): You should use evidence to support the claim. In other words, provide the reader with facts that prove your argument is strong.

  22. How To Write An Argumentative Essay

    How do you start an argumentative essay? To start an argumentative essay, begin by selecting a topic that interests you and is arguable.Conduct thorough research to gather knowledge and evidence to support your argument. Create an outline with your main claim or thesis and supporting points.Craft a compelling introductory paragraph that grabs the reader's attention and clearly states your ...

  23. Create an Argumentative Thesis Statement in 3 Key Steps

    It's essay time! Your professor or teacher asks you to write an argumentative essay. One of the goals is to have a strong thesis statement, but you already feel worried. What is a thesis statement? A thesis statement is the road map to your essay. It lets your reader know the main ideas you will be making throughout the essay.

  24. How to Write an Academic Paragraph (Step-by-Step Guide)

    Each sentence in the paragraph should be relevant to the point you are conveying. Hence, while writing a paragraph, make sure that you have a topic sentence, body sentences which develop the ideas and provide evidence and interpretation, a linking sentence that links the point to the overall thesis of the assignment, and appropriate transitions.

  25. How to Write an Argumentative Essay- Steps with Examples

    Argumentative essays in this context present well-researched arguments to persuade policymakers and stakeholders of the necessity and viability of the proposed changes. Persuasive Speeches. Prepared as a foundation for delivering persuasive speeches. Writing an argumentative essay helps speakers organize their thoughts and evidence logically ...

  26. The Gunman and the Would-Be Dictator

    When a madman hammered nearly to death the husband of then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Donald Trump jeered and mocked.One of Trump's sons and other close Trump supporters avidly promoted false ...

  27. George Clooney: I Love Joe Biden. But We Need a New Nominee

    Mr. Clooney is an actor, director and film producer. I'm a lifelong Democrat; I make no apologies for that. I'm proud of what my party represents and what it stands for. As part of my ...