How to Write an Argumentative Essay

Learn how to write an argumentative essay with VerifiedEssay. The guide includes an outline, writing process, tips, and argumentative essay examples.

Andrew Newman
Updated on

When it comes to composing an argumentative essay, most students tend to struggle because it appears too challenging and multifaceted. But, worry not, we’re here to assist you. Typically, institutions assign argumentative essays to students on SAT, ACT, IELTS, and TOEFL tests. In addition, this kind of paper can be assigned as a course work.

To achieve outstanding performance in your academic work, you should be familiar with all styles of writing, such as persuasive papers, expository papers, and finally, the one we are discussing argumentative essays. Read the entire article to know how to write an argumentative essay with a professional essay writing service.

What is an Argumentative Essay?

An argumentative essay is a type of writing that requires students to research a topic, collect, analyze and evaluate evidence and ascertain a position on the topic concisely. An author presents both sides of the claim equally and can choose to oppose or defend one side. The primary goal of an argumentative essay is to educate instead of persuading; therefore, one should not confuse with a persuasive essay.

Professors evaluate the following skills when grading an argumentative essay:

  • Research skills
  • Writing skills
  • Analytical skills

This type of paper aims to enhance a student’s ability to debate. In addition, it can impact the public speaking skills of an individual in the future. As you write an argumentative essay, it is vital to concentrate on facts and information instead of personal perspectives and preferences. As discussed earlier, the author discusses the two viewpoints of a topic equally or supports one in favor of the other. Despite that, the thesis must consist of all significant points and counterpoints that will appear in the essay. You can equate this form of writing to a political debate with oneself.

Elements of an Argumentative Essay 

  • Position– Determining which side of the argument you stand by is very crucial. For instance, you may be arguing that marijuana and tobacco products should be made illegal. Create a point that supports why you took your initial position. For instance, you may present reasons showing how tobacco products impact people’s health negatively.
  • Evidence– This is where facts from credible sources came in. It is vital to give citations and references of where you acquired your evidence. Your evidence might not be taken seriously if you don’t state where you gathered such information. For instance, to prove your statement about tobacco products, you could cite health studies or scientific papers related to the effects of tobacco products on peoples’ health.
  • Counterarguments– This is the part you discuss the other side of the matter. From your perspective, present the opposing argument. Once you are done with the counterarguments, you should explain why they are false, weak, or ineffective by presenting further proof.

3 Ways to Approach Argumentative Writing

One can use three strategies to approach an argumentative essay. These tactics will assist you in composing an appropriate structure.

Classical Approach 

This is the most common approach and is made up of the following:

  • An Introduction: This is where you present the primary message of your paper (thesis). Example: Tobacco products can cause several health issues such as lung cancer, chronic bronchitis, heart attack, and stroke.
  • Background of the subject: Here, you discuss prior studies about children who grow up in such environments. Furthermore, you can explain the long-term effects of smoking.
  • Main arguments: Discuss the central ideas of your position. For instance, you could write about the drug in tobacco (nicotine) that is very addictive, making it hard for someone to quit.
  • Refutation: This is where you introduce your counterarguments. Present the opposite side you will need to contest as being invalid. Example: Some individuals think that smoking does not influence health and that genetic predisposition is more impactful in causing problems for one’s health. Nonetheless, significant evidence shows that smoking can cause advanced long-term damage to the lungs than a genetic predisposition to cancer.
  • Conclusion: Present all the claims and provide solutions or investigations that scholars need to conduct in the future.

Rogerian Approach 

This approach works powerfully if your argumentative essay topic is highly controversial or a potential seed for various discussions. For example, the Rogerian approach could work best when discussing global warming causes, gender identification problems, and philosophical problems. The Rogerian approach does not require one to follow any specific structure. What counts is how you present the information: be sympathetic to both sides. Regardless of your position on the topic, it is vital to consider that the opposing side might also be valid and strong. Therefore, the more broad-view of the matter you take, the better. You don’t need to provide a solution for a problem. In order to arrive at a solution to a pressing problem, it is crucial to explore the compromise between the two sides.

Toulmin Approach

This tactic can be helpful in critical arguments. It aims to find a mutual understanding within the argument and disregard pointless arguments. For example, if your topic revolves around whether drugs should be legal, you need to explore the most prominent issues on both sides of the argument. Here you can discuss the merits and demerits.

Steps for Writing Your Argumentative Essay

Step 1: Search for Argumentative Essay Topics

Similar to other essay topics, here are various topics to select from. The primary criteria should be the following:

  • Significance;
  • Coherency and relativity to your studied subject;
  • Deep-rooted values;
  • Potential for further research.

Nonetheless, it is crucial to keep in mind that it must be presented in a debate format. In other words, explain how plan A is better than plan B or vice versa. Even in the Rogerian approach, you need to choose a side but do it wisely.

Below are several great argumentative essay topics to get you started:

  • Has society become too reliant on technology?
  • From a financial perspective, should I invest in cryptocurrencies?
  • Apple vs. Microsoft: Which software brand is more helpful to students?
  • From an economic standpoint, are electric cars better overall?
  • Do violent games have a negative psychological impact on children?
  • Feminism: a genuine movement or a group of charlatans?
  • Which is the better source of power; nuclear or solar energy?

Good Argumentative Essay Topics for High school

When students start writing this type of content in school, it is crucial to give them easy essay topics to get a good glimpse of the task. Below are some examples :

  • Should students only engage in subjects and fields that they are interested in?
  • Are standardized tests a fair reflection of a student’s skills?
  • Are athletes overpaid?
  • Should the minimum driving age be lowered?
  • Is free internet access in schools beneficial or harmful?
  • At what age should children be free of parental control?

Topics for college

As one advance to college or university level, so does the intensity of the questions asked. Given that, below are several complex topics for college students:

  • Should we sacrifice some public services for lower taxes?
  • Is there enough evidence to prove that news sources have biased agendas?
  • What was the most significant technological advancement in the history of humanity?
  • Can we constitute Russia as a superpower alongside the USA and China?
  • Would the legalization of marijuana as a recreational drug be economically justifiable?
  • Should America be involved in conflicts that do not serve the national interest?
  • Is college tuition becoming way too expensive?

Step 2: Conducting Research 

Conducting research involves some steps:

  • Selecting the side you will represent.
  • Choosing an argument that can appeal to your audience.
  • Finding out who else supports this argument.
  • Researching the objections your reader might raise.
  • Organizing the evidence.

To add to that, you should check the criteria for the validity of your information:

  • Accuracy
  • Credibility of sources
  • Timeliness
  • Objectivity or bias
  • Reliability

Step 3: Writing an Argumentative Essay Outline

By this time, you have a clear comprehension of what this type of writing entails. So, here is where we begin putting the pieces of the argumentative essay outline together. Therefore, let’s learn how to begin an argumentative essay.

The argumentative essay is usually written in a five-paragraph structure, which includes (an introduction, 2-3body paragraphs, and a conclusion). Typically, each section among the three listed has a unique structure, so comprehending them on an individual level will assist ease the writing process. Our topic will be “ the internet as the most important technological advancement in the world.”

Introduction

  • Hook statement: Like any other type of assignment, the introductory paragraph of an argumentative essay should grab the reader’s concentration from the start. Hence, construct a sentence that outshines the rest of the text. You can use a rhetorical question, a meaningful quote, or a captivating idea. The goal is to leave your reader wanting more of the piece after reading the hook.

Example:

Could you imagine how different our world would be without the creation of the internet?

  • Background Information: Once you gather the audience’s attention, the next step is to present any necessary context to narrow the focus of the discussion. Remember that this information should not yet disclose any other primary arguments from the body. In addition, it should perfectly transition the train of thoughts towards the thesis statement.
  • Thesis Statement: The last sentence should showcase the key claim/ primary argument of the whole paper. Keep in mind that your main objective is to support your point; therefore, the thesis must directly state your idea and why it is right.

Example:

The invention of the internet had helped interconnect the world like nothing else ever seen before, created millions of jobs, and is used by most of the world’s population.

Body Paragraphs

  • Topic sentence: Commence with a sentence that transitions the focus from the previous paragraph to the current one. Also, it should introduce the central sub-argument for its specific section.

Example:

Alongside global connectivity, the internet and IT has helped create over 10 million jobs worldwide.

  • Claim: Once you present your topic sentence, it is time to connect your primary sub-argument to your thesis statement. The aim is to explain how this idea validates and supports your focal message.

Example:

Thanks to the job creation provided by IT, a large percentage of students are finding an enjoyable career path that assists its field’s development and offers high wages.

  • Evidence: After giving a valid argument, you should support it with factual information. For instance, you can consider statistics, references, or logical ideas to defend your claims. If this information originates from credible external sources, it will strengthen the essay’s overall validity.

Example :

Internet technology has given 0.15% of the world’s population a stable income. Also, since IT-related positions consistently make over six figures per year, this salary is enough to support a family of 4-5. Therefore, IT-related positions single-handedly back slightly less than 1% of the world’s income.

  • Concluding statement: After introducing a valid claim and backing it with evidence, finalize the body paragraph with a concluding statement. The central goal of this sentence is to sum up the overall essence of the claim to the thesis. To put it in another way, why was this specific point so vital?

Example:

From digital marketing to software engineering, the development of IT has had a predominantly positive impact on society regarding utility, economics, and finding one’s passion.

Keep in mind that this structure works for every body paragraph. The main difference is in the paragraph’s original idea, supporting evidence, etc.

Conclusion

  • Restate the Thesis: The first sentence of the conclusion should consist of a restatement of the key message(thesis). Therefore,  restate your thesis using affirmative language to strengthen your point. When you present information with confidence, the readers are more likely to stand by your side of the argument.
  • Brief summarization of Sub-Arguments: There is a great possibility that the readers have forgotten some of the information you have provided. So, it is wise to go back and review your focal points, giving your argument closure.

Example:

As can be seen with the information presented above, the creation and development of the internet is indisputably the most significant technological advancement of all time.

  • Overall concluding statement: Here is where you present a memorable concluding statement in order to end your argumentative essay outline with a bang. Typically, this sentence should express the universal significance of the information and leave the reader with a prompt to further investigate the topic.

Example:

Realistically speaking, our society would not have developed as exponentially fast without the invention of the internet; the unparalleled value of global connectivity within seconds is an unrivaled perk. With thorough exploration, more development will inevitably be uncovered.

Step 4: Editing

Ensure to do the following when editing:

  • After you are done with the final draft, take some time off before picking it again
  • Thoroughly check for grammar and punctuation errors while revising the draft.
  • Keenly check the evidence you used in your arguments.
  • In case you have someone who can proofread your work, don’t let that chance slide.

Below are questions to check by yourself before submitting your argumentative essay:

  • Does your thesis include a statement that anybody can oppose or defend?
  • Are your arguments well-detailed and coherent?
  • Did you use the best examples to back up your arguments?
  • Have you managed to present or refute any counterargument (s) successfully?
  • Does the conclusion provide an exciting search into the future of the topic?

Final Tips

Ensure you consider each tip listed below when composing and constructing the final draft.

  • Look for an exciting topic and ensure it has counterarguments.
  • To avoid sounding biased, acquire information on both sides of the argument.
  • Ascertain that all the facts included in your argumentative essay are accurate.
  • To improve your skills on such a paper, follow a guide that illustrates how to write an argumentative paper step by step.
  • Ensure that your essay is structured correctly with Introduction, Body, and conclusion, or lose marks.
  • Before you commence writing, create an outline where you list all the information.
  • Avoid plagiarism by citing all the sources you used.
  • You can request other people to read your work to see if they are intrigued by your writing.
  • Stick to primary facts and evidence. Don’t incorporate your perspective/ideas in your work.
  • Run your paper through a grammar checker – just in case.

After revising and applying these writing tips, you are one step closer to mastering the art of argumentative essay writing.

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