You have received your argumentative essay assignment, but your tutor didn’t provide you with any specific instructions. The only thing you received was a definition of what an argumentative essay is.
While such an approach is welcome because you need to be able to find the required information yourself, your task becomes considerably more difficult. How do you even get started with your argumentative essay?
That’s the question that we are going to help you answer today.
What is an argumentative essay?
An argumentative essay is a paper that presents the arguments of both sides of an issue. In your argumentative essay, you may present the positions of the sides equally strong, or you could be sided with either of them. This will depend on your task and also how you view the issue.
Argumentative essays are assigned to evaluate and train your abilities to debate. In an argumentative essay, you come up with your argument and several counterarguments and then try to convince the reader that your point is more valid. Besides, the ultimate goal of your argumentative essay may also be to cause further discussions among your audience.
Many people confuse argumentative essays with persuasive essays because the differences between them are very delicate. But it is rather easy to differentiate between the two.
The purpose of an argumentative essay is to present a valid argument on the issue. The argument of an argumentative essay is based on facts, reasons, and evidence. An argumentative essay is more objective and logic-based.
On the other hand, the purpose of a persuasive essay is to convince the reader that your opinion is the right one.
While persuasive essays also need to cite credible sources, they are more subjective and one-sided. A persuasive essay focuses on the author’s side and incorporates emotion as much as it does logic. You need to still mention opposing views in an argumentative essay, but not because you need to represent the topic from multiple sides but because you need to make your argument stronger and more persuasive.
In the end, persuasive essays test your ability of persuasion, as suggested by its name.
How to structure an argumentative essay
When you look at it initially, writing an argumentative essay may seem like a very difficult task. That’s mainly because you don’t know how to approach it.
Structuring your essay in a certain way is often a requirement of teachers or professors. However, essay structure is more than just a thing that can earn you a good mark. It can greatly help you with outlining your task and understanding what you need to do.
At its basics, argumentative essays comprise of four main sections:
- Development and support of your argument (body).
- Refutation of counterarguments.
Now, let’s break down each of these sections so you clearly understand what you need to write.
In the introduction to your argumentative essay, your task is providing background information for your thesis statement. You need to help the reader understand what the issue your essay covers is about.
The introduction consists of 1-2 paragraphs that need to contain a hook, background information, and your thesis statement.
The hook is a sentence that grabs the attention of the reader. It may be anything – a quote, a hypothetical situation that illustrates the problem, or an anecdote. Of course, your hook needs to make sense with your topic.
The purpose of background information is introducing why and for whom your topic is important. This section also often includes the summary of the works in question, explanation of key theories, or definition of key terms.
Background information should be concise. Remember: you are still laying the foundation for your argument, not defending it.
Your thesis statement is the final sentence of the introduction. Here, you clearly and firmly state your position and give a reason for your stance. You aren’t providing any supporting evidence yet: that’s done in the next section.
Development and support of your argument (body)
Now that you have introduced the topic to the reader and demonstrated your position, it is time to present supporting evidence for your claims and develop your argument.
This section has two key components – claim/topic sentence and evidence. Their purpose is to help you prove your point.
A claim is a statement that supports your argument. However, any claims you make won’t have any weight, unless you support them by evidence.
Generally, each claim-evidence is just one paragraph long, but you may make it longer if it’s necessary.
Credible facts, statistics, and other data the writer finds during the research process are all evidence. At the same time, personal knowledge or opinion isn’t evidence. The main sources for evidence can be:
- Official reports.
- Scientific magazines/academic journals.
It is generally required to use sources that are no older than 5 years. If there are any other requirements, you should follow them when writing your essay. But in general, try to find as new sources as possible: even 1-2 years may make a huge difference, especially when it comes to technology.
Even if you are an expert on the topic, cite external sources. This will indicate that you are capable of collecting information relevant to your essay topic.
For each presented piece of evidence, explain to the reader how they should interpret it. Besides, explain how the evidence supports the claim you are making.
Present as many claims and supporting evidence as you need to support your thesis statement. Generally, writers of argumentative essays introduce three supporting claims, but you may come up with fewer or more claims.
However, if your assignment requires a specific number of claims, you should include as many of them as necessary.
Refutation of counterarguments.
If you don’t review the other side of the issue, the reader may think that your position is subjective. And besides, your reader may have objections. In this section, you need to prove that your opinion is based on objective evidence.
People will have different opinions on your topic. Find sources with counterarguments to use in this section. You may also come up with opposing arguments yourself and refute them. Remember that your position needs to be based on evidence.
The purpose of the conclusion is to remind the reader of your argument and restate the essay’s claim along with its supporting evidence.
Like in the introduction, restate the importance of the issue in question. Then, write your “so what” paragraph, which’s aim is to tell the reader why they should care about your paper. Describe worlds where your argument is implemented and not implemented to demonstrate that it has real-life ramifications.
In other words, present your simple argument in the scope of a more complex and global movement. Think about how your argument would affect the “big picture.”
Keep in mind that your conclusion is the climax of your analytical paper, so you should save your strongest analytical points for it.
In this section, many people repeat what they had written in the introduction. If you do this, the reader will most likely assume that you don’t have sufficient critical thinking. Besides, the conclusion will determine the reader’s final impression of your essay. Make sure that it doesn’t make your argument unsure or vague.
Don’t introduce new claims in the conclusion because they will need supporting evidence. All this should be done in the second section of the essay.
How to find great argumentative essay topics
If your teacher assigns a particular topic for your argumentative essay, then the only thing left for you to do would be to write your essay. Otherwise, you would need to come up with an issue to discuss first.
Picking an argumentative essay topic has a lot of intricacies, but we are going to help you so you don’t feel overwhelmed by them.
What makes a good argumentative essay topic?
What you should be looking with an argumentative topic is to allow the reader to look at the issue in a new light. Remember, your goal isn’t to convince the reader in something but to demonstrate another perspective.
Argumentative essay topics are always debatable, and they test your and your listeners’ ability to think about the surrounding world critically.
Good argumentative essay topics have four main characteristics. You might have heard over the course of your study that good topics are always CDRM:
- They are current (C).
- They are debatable (D).
- They are researchable (R).
- They are manageable (M).
In fact, the “debatable” is considered the most important feature of an argumentative essay topic. Your paper has to motivate the reader to continue the discussion. This is why argumentative essays feature both opposing and supporting arguments. If people easily agree with your argument, then probably no debates will take place.
To make it more specific, a good argumentative topic should:
- Be not obvious. Your argumentative essay topic shouldn’t get people to agree with you easily. Otherwise, you will most likely get a lower mark.
- Arise arguments. Choose topics that are controversial so that debates among your listeners arise. At the same time, you should probably avoid covering sensitive topics connected with religion, race, gender, or sensitive events in human history, unless you know that your audience won’t object it.
- The topic needs to represent an issue which leads to global conflicts. Remember how we said that you need to explain to the reader why your paper is important? If your paper has global ramifications, then your essay will have more value. It will be more “serious.”
- Cover aspects of contemporary life. Avoid covering fantastic issues: you must sound realistic and down to earth. Instead, choose an issue that people can relate with and are more or less well-aware of like social media, politics, or gender issues. School or college themes would work as well.
Examples and ideas of argumentative essay topics
Now that you know what makes good argumentative essay topics, it is the time for you to choose one. To provide you with a reference point, we’ll provide several examples of topics in different fields. You may choose one of them, or you may get inspired and come up with your own topic.
Education argumentative essay topics
Education definitely is a sphere that affects every one of us. There are endless options of argumentative essay topics connected with education. We’ll just introduce a couple to give you some inspiration.
- Should vending machines be banned from schools?
- Should sex education be mandatory in all public schools?
- Is education too commercialized today?
- Does homeschooling put students at a disadvantage?
- What’s the effect of gender on education?
- Do traditional methods of discipline work on students?
- Why are some countries ahead of the United States in education?
- How does a student’s poverty affect their education?
- Education should be free for everyone.
- Students must have a right to only study the disciplines they prefer.
Parenting argumentative essay topics
Everyone has their own vision of how children should be raised. But which approach is the better one? How does the US’s policy affect how parents raise their children? These are the things that you could explore in a parenting argumentative essay topic.
- Is public breastfeeding acceptable?
- How do overprotective parents affect their children?
- What parenting lessons can American parents learn from other cultures?
- Which parenting style is the most effective?
- How can childcare costs in the United States be reduced?
- Should parents restrict their children’s access to technology?
- Should parents give treats to their children when they perform well in school?
- Do people need to go through tests before being granted the right to become parents?
- Should parents financially support their children once they are grown up?
- At what age should children be introduced to gadgets?
Legal argumentative essay topics
Law is constantly evolving, and many may disagree with how it changes or whether it should even change. There are many things to argue, which is why there are plenty of law argumentative essay topics to choose from.
- Should marijuana be legalized?
- At what age should we be allowed to drink?
- Should religious institutions be exempt from tax payments?
- Should felons be granted their right to vote after serving their sentence?
- Use of animals for research purposes should be prohibited.
- Violent video games should be banned.
- Death sentence should be used worldwide.
- Should same-sex marriages be banned?
- Are judges biased towards women?
- There is nothing illegal about polygamy.
Technology argumentative essay topics
Nowadays, the entire world is extremely dependent on technology. Just 10 years ago, we couldn’t imagine that the way we think, communicate, and work will depend on advanced gadgets.
Some people welcome any new technological innovation, while others are very skeptical about the increasing integration of technology in our lives. You also most likely have your own view on this topic, so you can come up with plenty of issues to discuss.
- Does dependence on technology reduce our intelligence?
- Should students have the right to use smartphones in school?
- What are the benefits of Ebooks over paper books?
- How does technology affect development and growth in children?
- Has technology decreased our ability to socialize?
- Should net neutrality be enforced on internet service providers?
- Is cryptocurrency a threat to paper money?
- Does such thing as internet addiction exist?
- Is artificial intelligence a threat to the human race?
- If we gave up technology, would it stop human development?
Health argumentative essay topics
Everybody is concerned with their health. And the more you age, the more you start thinking about how to preserve your health. Health is thereby a very down-to-earth topic, and people will most likely have their own approach or opinion on it.
- Is obesity really a problem among the American population?
- Can diets have negative effects?
- How does insufficient sleep impact our productivity?
- What are the dangers of eating fast foods?
- Is consuming high amounts of meat dangerous for health?
- Should shopping addiction be treated as a mental condition?
- Can gadgets cause cancer?
- Can self-treatment be an alternative to going to the hospital?
- Is reducing calorie intake the best way to lose weight?
- Is weight training dangerous for your health?
Why you should do your best to write an argumentative essay
Don’t write an argumentative essay to just receive a mark from your professor. Such an assignment may seem very annoying and unnecessary at first, but you should know that its benefits go beyond your school or college.
An argumentative essay tests your ability to think critically, collect relevant evidence, and argument your position. All those are skills that are very valued outside the school. Aside from developing your analytical and data collection skills, a great argumentative essay may become an excellent academic work to showcase to your potential employers.
So do your best to write your argumentative essay and make sure to ask your professor how you could improve your skills.