The argumentative essay is a common assignment, but teachers may present it in a variety of different ways. You can learn how to write an argumentative essay by following some standard steps for writing an essay as well as by doing some things that are required for argumentative essays, such as citing your sources. To write an argumentative research paper, choose a topic that can be argued from one or more perspectives, then pick a side. Start your paper with a thesis statement summing up your position, then support your statement with facts and arguments gathered from reputable sources.
Use background information or context to help guide your readers through your essay, telling them what they need to know to understand the rest of your argument.
For different approaches you can use while revising your paper, read on! This article was co-authored by Christopher Taylor, PhD.
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Argumentative Essay Topics
Sample Argumentative Essay Outline. Learn the basic features of an argumentative essay. Argumentative essays have some basic features that you should include in your essay. In general, argumentative essays require you to support the argument you are making using logic and support from your research.
You should also be sure to include in your argumentative essay:  a thesis statement that makes a clear argument provided in the first paragraph claims that help prove your overall argument logical transitions that connect paragraphs and sentences support for your claims from your sources a conclusion that considers the evidence you have presented in-text citations throughout your essay to indicate where you have used sources ask your teacher about what citation style to use a works cited page with an entry for each of your sources ask your teacher about what citation style to use.
How to Write an Argumentative Research Paper (with Pictures)
Ask for clarification. While most argumentative essays share these basic features, your assignment might have some special requirements or guidelines. Therefore, it is important to make sure that you understand your assignment before you get started. As soon as your teacher assigns the paper, read the guidelines carefully and highlight anything that you do not understand. Make sure that you understand how to cite your sources for the paper and how to use the documentation style your teacher prefers.
It is better to ask and make sure that you understand than to do the assignment wrong and get a bad grade. Generate ideas for your argumentative essay. It is important to take time to explore your ideas before you choose a topic and start your paper. Take some time to explore your ideas and get some things down on paper by using an invention activity. Invention activities like listing, freewriting, clustering, and questioning can help you to develop ideas for your argumentative essay.
Expand those lists by adding more ideas or by using another prewriting activity.
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When you are done, review what you have written and highlight or underline the most useful information. Repeat the freewriting exercise using the passages you underlined as a starting point. You can repeat this exercise multiple times to continue to refine and develop your ideas. Then draw three or more lines extending from the circle. Write a corresponding idea at the end of each of these lines. Continue developing your cluster until you have explored as many connections as you can.
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Respond to each question in as much detail as you can. Think about how you will incorporate ethos, pathos, and logos. An argumentative essay requires you to demonstrate your understanding of three basic rhetorical concepts: ethos, pathos, and logos. You will need to be aware of these concepts as you write your paper and demonstrate your knowledge of them through your writing.
To convince your readers that your argument is valid, you need to convince them that you are trustworthy. You can accomplish this goal by presenting yourself as confident, fair, and approachable. You can achieve these objectives by avoiding wishy-washy statements, presenting information in an unbiased manner, and identifying common ground between yourself and your readers including the ones that may disagree with you.
Pathos refers to your use of emotional appeals. Emotional appeals have a place in argumentative writing, but overuse of them may lead a reader to reject your argument. Make sure that your use of emotional appeals is minimal and appropriate.
You can also invoke pathos by providing relevant examples that evoke an emotional response in your readers and using figurative language such as metaphors to help your readers understand and sympathize with your point of view. Logos refers to your use of logic, reasoning, and sequencing. This means setting up your argument in a way that uses logic to achieve your desired endpoint or reaction, often through inductive and deductive reasoning.
Develop your tentative thesis. Once you have developed your ideas for your argumentative essay, you should be ready to write a tentative thesis statement. In other words, the tentative thesis statement is not set in stone. Effective thesis statements let readers know what the main focus of a paper is going to be. For an argumentative essay, the thesis should state an arguable claim. A thesis should not be more than one sentence in length. The end of the first paragraph is the traditional place to provide your thesis in an academic essay.
Make sure your thesis is arguable. Your thesis should express a clear position on your topic that can be supported using evidence from your sources. Do not state facts or matters of taste.
For example, something like "George Washington was the first president of the United States," would not be a good thesis because it states a fact. Likewise, "Die Hard is a great movie," would not work because it expresses a matter of taste.
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There are many possibilities for a counter argument, which makes this topic arguable. Make sure your thesis provides enough detail. In addition to having a thesis that is arguable, you should also include some details about why you hold the position.
In other words, you should avoid simply saying that something is bad and should be changed and provide a bit of detail about why it is bad and should be changed. Who would benefit if it was changed? Providing this detail gives readers a good sense of what the rest of the paper will discuss. Your thesis should tell your reader why your argument matters, and for whom.
Develop a rough outline based on your research notes. Writing an outline before you begin drafting your argumentative essay will help you to organize your information more effectively. You can make your outline as detailed or as scant as you want.
Structure of argumentative essays
Just keep in mind that the more detail you include in your outline, the more material you will have ready to put into your paper. Generate key terms and phrases to help you with your research. As you develop key terms, keep your topic and your position in mind. Find appropriate secondary sources for your argumentative essay.