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The Modes of Discourse—Exposition, Description, Narration, Argumentation (EDNA)—are common paper assignments you may encounter in your writing classes. Although these genres have been criticized by some composition scholars, the Purdue OWL recognizes the wide spread use of these approaches and students’ need to understand and produce them.
What is an argumentative essay?
The argumentative essay is a genre of writing that requires the student to investigate a topic; collect, generate, and evaluate evidence; and establish a position on the topic in a concise manner.
Please note : Some confusion may occur between the argumentative essay and the expository essay. These two genres are similar, but the argumentative essay differs from the expository essay in the amount of pre-writing (invention) and research involved. The argumentative essay is commonly assigned as a capstone or final project in first year writing or advanced composition courses and involves lengthy, detailed research. Expository essays involve less research and are shorter in length. Expository essays are often used for in-class writing exercises or tests, such as the GED or GRE.
Argumentative essay assignments generally call for extensive research of literature or previously published material. Argumentative assignments may also require empirical research where the student collects data through interviews, surveys, observations, or experiments. Detailed research allows the student to learn about the topic and to understand different points of view regarding the topic so that she/he may choose a position and support it with the evidence collected during research. Regardless of the amount or type of research involved, argumentative essays must establish a clear thesis and follow sound reasoning.
The structure of the argumentative essay is held together by the following.
- A clear, concise, and defined thesis statement that occurs in the first paragraph of the essay.
In the first paragraph of an argument essay, students should set the context by reviewing the topic in a general way. Next the author should explain why the topic is important ( exigence ) or why readers should care about the issue. Lastly, students should present the thesis statement. It is essential that this thesis statement be appropriately narrowed to follow the guidelines set forth in the assignment. If the student does not master this portion of the essay, it will be quite difficult to compose an effective or persuasive essay.
- Clear and logical transitions between the introduction, body, and conclusion.
Transitions are the mortar that holds the foundation of the essay together. Without logical progression of thought, the reader is unable to follow the essay’s argument, and the structure will collapse. Transitions should wrap up the idea from the previous section and introduce the idea that is to follow in the next section.
- Body paragraphs that include evidential support.
Each paragraph should be limited to the discussion of one general idea. This will allow for clarity and direction throughout the essay. In addition, such conciseness creates an ease of readability for one’s audience. It is important to note that each paragraph in the body of the essay must have some logical connection to the thesis statement in the opening paragraph. Some paragraphs will directly support the thesis statement with evidence collected during research. It is also important to explain how and why the evidence supports the thesis ( warrant ).
However, argumentative essays should also consider and explain differing points of view regarding the topic. Depending on the length of the assignment, students should dedicate one or two paragraphs of an argumentative essay to discussing conflicting opinions on the topic. Rather than explaining how these differing opinions are wrong outright, students should note how opinions that do not align with their thesis might not be well informed or how they might be out of date.
- Evidential support (whether factual, logical, statistical, or anecdotal).
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. As noted in the paragraph above, a successful and well-rounded argumentative essay will also discuss opinions not aligning with the thesis. It is unethical to exclude evidence that may not support the thesis. It is not the student’s job to point out how other positions are wrong outright, but rather to explain how other positions may not be well informed or up to date on the topic.
- A conclusion that does not simply restate the thesis, but readdresses it in light of the evidence provided.
It is at this point of the essay that students may begin to struggle. This is the portion of the essay that will leave the most immediate impression on the mind of the reader. Therefore, it must be effective and logical. Do not introduce any new information into the conclusion; rather, synthesize the information presented in the body of the essay. Restate why the topic is important, review the main points, and review your thesis. You may also want to include a short discussion of more research that should be completed in light of your work.
A complete argument
Perhaps it is helpful to think of an essay in terms of a conversation or debate with a classmate. If I were to discuss the cause of World War II and its current effect on those who lived through the tumultuous time, there would be a beginning, middle, and end to the conversation. In fact, if I were to end the argument in the middle of my second point, questions would arise concerning the current effects on those who lived through the conflict. Therefore, the argumentative essay must be complete, and logically so, leaving no doubt as to its intent or argument.
The five-paragraph essay
A common method for writing an argumentative essay is the five-paragraph approach. This is, however, by no means the only formula for writing such essays. If it sounds straightforward, that is because it is; in fact, the method consists of (a) an introductory paragraph (b) three evidentiary body paragraphs that may include discussion of opposing views and (c) a conclusion.
Longer argumentative essays
Complex issues and detailed research call for complex and detailed essays. Argumentative essays discussing a number of research sources or empirical research will most certainly be longer than five paragraphs. Authors may have to discuss the context surrounding the topic, sources of information and their credibility, as well as a number of different opinions on the issue before concluding the essay. Many of these factors will be determined by the assignment.
English 102: Argument and Research with Professor Williamson
English 102 objectives, understanding your assignment.
- Conducting Research
- Critical Reading
- Evaluating Sources
- Your... Audience?
- Mind Mapping
- The Argumentative Essay
- The Formal Elements of Argument
- Editing and Proofreading
This guide is designed specifically around your course, and is intended to help you fulfill the objectives that Professor Williamson has laid out in her syllabus. By the end of the course you should be able to:
1. Conduct research (both in the library and on the internet)
2. Carry out basic primary research
3. Evaluate and use sources to develop an argumentative essay
4. Demonstrate improvement in critical reading skills
5. Analyze and interpret literary works
6. Understand the writing process
7. Demonstrate proficiency in the development of a formal essay
8. Document your citations according to MLA format
9. Edit and proofread your writing
10. Show an appreciation of the diverse cultures that make up American society
Before you get started on any assignment, you're obviously going to want to make sure that you completely understand what you're being asked to do. Your prompt (or assignment) should include several vital pieces of information and it will help you to keep these in mind from the very beginning.
- Due Date - when is the assignment due? Does it need to be submitted in class, or can you send it electronically? In case of emergency, what is your teacher's policy on late assignments?
- Research requirements - how many sources do you need (if any)? Do you need print sources, or electronic sources, or a combination or both? Are there any date requirements related to your sources? For example, do you have to use only sources from the last ten years? Or do you need primary (historical) sources?
- Page length and formatting - how long does your paper have to be? What citation style should you be using? Do you need footnotes? Internal citations? A works cited/references page?
After you've spent some time analyzing the assignment you should be able to answer the following questions:
- What is the purpose of this assignment?
- Who is my audience?
- What resources do I need to begin?
The answers to those questions will guide you as you start the writing process.
- Who is My Audience?
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- Last Updated: Feb 13, 2023 12:09 PM
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The Research Argument: Resources
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An argumentative essay attempts to convince your reader of the validity of a particular opinion on a controversial issue. These following steps may assist you in forming your written argument:
1. Choose a topic that interests you. It doesn't have to be a vital topic of the day but it should be something that you can feel strongly about. 2. Clearly identify the issue at stake, and where you stand on it in the introductory paragraph. This is your thesis. 3. Provide support to your stated argument (thesis) in the subsequent body paragraphs. Support this thesis with the 3 strongest arguments you can find. Draw on statistics, expert opinions, facts, personal experiences, research studies drawn from journals, books, newspaper articles, reports etc.. 4. Acknowledge and address opposing viewpoints and repudiate them using your sources. This will lend additional persuasiveness to your argument. 5. Provide a forceful conclusion that restates your position in different words. It may include a call to action. (Adapted from Indian River State College Writing Handout)
Hear an expert
Thank you to Edward Metz for his permission to adopt and adapt his guide The Argument Essay .
Examples and more...
- Argument: UNC Writing Center
- Argumentative essays -online writing lab
- Creating an argument outline
- How to write an effective argument essay
Research and Instruction Librarian
- Last Updated: Feb 7, 2023 3:27 PM
- URL: https://library.mcla.edu/researchargument
Composition Writing Studio
From the University of Purdue’s Online Writing Lab (http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/685/05/):
The argumentative essay is a genre of writing that requires the student to investigate a topic, collect, generate, and evaluate evidence, and establish a position on the topic in a concise manner.
Argumentative essay assignments generally call for extensive research of literature or previously published material. Argumentative assignments may also require empirical research where the student collects data through interviews, surveys, observations, or experiments. Detailed research allows the student to learn about the topic and to understand different points of view regarding the topic so that s/he may choose a position and support it with the evidence collected during research. Regardless of the amount or type of research involved, argumentative essays must establish a clear thesis and follow sound reasoning.
- Argument Essays: Getting Started
- Developing Paragraphs
- Finding Academic Journals
- Logical Fallacies
- Research Writing
- Argument : UNC Chapel Hill Writing Center's online handout in argument.
- Types of Argument
- Writing Arguments: An Overview : Comprehensive guide from Colorado State University's Writing Studio
- Sample Argument Essays
- Prompts for Argument Essays : 301 ideas from the New York Times
- Argument : Main page for several argument sources from Oregon State University
- Using Rhetorical Strategies for Persuasion
Rhetorical Appeals (Logos, Pathos, Ethos)
- Examples of Ethos, Pathos, and Logos : Numerous examples of each appeal from YourDictionary
- The Rhetorical Situation : Purdue OWL's discussion of Aristotle's three appeals and use of telos and kairos
- Ethos, Pathos, and Logos in Advertising : YouTube video
- Ethos, Pathos, Logos: YouTube video
- Toulmin Method : An extensive online guide from Colorado State University on using the Toulmin method of argumentation
- Toulmin Method of Analyzing Arguments : PowerPoint that defines and offers examples for Toulmin method
- Definition of the Toulmin Method : Adaptation of a chapter on Toulmin's approach to argument
- Toulmin Argument (Aims of Argument) : YouTube video
- Rogerian Argument : Information on definition and format of argument
- Rogerian Argument Example : YouTube Video
- Rogerian Argument : YouTube Video
- Counter Argument : Overview provided by Harvard College
- Writing Counter Argument Paragraphs : YouTube video
- Rhetorical Fallacies
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- Writing Worksheets and Other Writing Resources
- Thesis, Analysis, & Structure
Suggestions for Developing Argumentative Essays
About the slc.
- Our Mission and Core Values
1. Select an arguable topic, preferably one which interests, puzzles, or appeals to you.
Make sure your topic is neither too broad--something which warrants a dissertation--nor too limited. Decide what your goals are for the paper. What is your purpose? What opinion, view, or idea do you want to prove? Try to articulate your purpose clearly before you begin writing. If you cannot state your purpose clearly, try to freewrite about your topic.
2. Take a position on your topic, and form a thesis statement.
Your thesis must be arguable; it must assert or deny something about your topic. To be arguable, a thesis must have some probability of being true. It should not, however, be generally accepted as true; it must be a statement with which people may disagree. Keep in mind that a thesis contains both an observation and an opinion:
A good way to test the strength of your thesis is to see if it yields a strong antithesis.
Common thesis pitfalls:
- A thesis expressed as a fragment.
- A thesis which is too broad.
- A thesis worded as a question. (Usually the answer to the question yields the thesis)
- A thesis which includes extraneous information.
- A thesis which begins with I think or in my opinion.
- A thesis which deals with a stale or trite issue.
- A thesis which contains words which lead to faulty generalizations (all, none, always, only, everyone, etc.)
Thesis writing tips:
- A thesis evolves as you work with your topic. Brainstorm, research, talk, and think about your topic before settling on a thesis. If you are having trouble formulating a thesis, begin freewriting about your topic. Your freewrite may suggest a workable thesis.
- During the writing process, consider your thesis a working thesis and be willing to modify and re-focus it as you draft and revise your paper.
- Copy your working thesis on an index card and keep it in front of you as you research and write. Having your thesis in plain view may help focus your writing.
3. Consider your audience.
Plan your paper with a specific audience in mind. Who are your readers? Are they a definable group--disinterested observers, opponents of your point of view, etc.? Perhaps you are writing to your classmates. Ask your professor or GSI who you should consider your target audience. If you are not certain of your audience, direct your argument to a general audience.
4. Present clear and convincing evidence.
Strong essays consist of reasons supported by evidence . Reasons can be thought of as the main points supporting your claim or thesis. Often they are the answers to the question, "Why do you make that claim?" An easy way to think of reasons is to see them as "because phrases." In order to validate your reasons and make your argument successful, support your reasons with ample evidence.
The St. Martin's Guide to Writing (Axelrod & Cooper, 2nd ed., New York: St. Martin's Press, 1988) lists the following forms of evidence:
- textual evidence
For most college papers, you will include evidence you have gathered from various sources and texts. Make sure you document your evidence properly. When using evidence, make sure you (1) introduce it properly, and (2) explain its significance. Do not assume that your evidence will speak for itself--that your readers will glean from your evidence that which you want them to glean. Explain the importance of each piece of evidence-- how it elucidates or supports your point, why it is significant. Build evidence into your text, and use it strategically to prove your points.
In addition to using evidence, thoughtful writers anticipate their readers' counterarguments Counterarguments include objections, alternatives, challenges, or questions to your argument. Imagine readers responding to your argument as it unfolds. How might they react? A savvy writer will anticipate and address counterarguments. A writer can address counterarguments by acknowledging , accommodating , and/or refuting them.
5. Draft your essay.
As is the case with any piece of writing, you should take your argumentative essay through multiple drafts. When writing and revising your drafts, make sure you:
- provide ample evidence , presented logically and fairly
- deal with the opposing point of view
- pay particular attention to the organization of your essay. Make sure its structure suits your topic and audience
- address and correct any fallacies of logic
- include proper transitions to allow your reader to follow your argument
6. Edit your draft.
After you have written a developed draft, take off your writer's hat and put on your reader's hat. Evaluate your essay carefully and critically. Exchange a draft of your essay with classmates to get their feedback. Carefully revise your draft based on your assessment of it and suggestions from your peers. For self-assessment and peer response to your draft, you may want to use a peer editing sheet. A peer editing sheet will guide you and your peers by asking specific questions about your text (i.e., What is the thesis of this essay? Is it arguable? Does the writer include ample evidence? Is the structure suitable for the topic and the audience?).
You may also want to avail yourself of the Writing Drop-In Tutoring or By-Appointment Tutoring at the Student Learning Center .
Luisa Giulianetti Student Learning Center, University of California, Berkeley ©1996 UC Regents
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
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Sat / act prep online guides and tips, 3 strong argumentative essay examples, analyzed.
Need to defend your opinion on an issue? Argumentative essays are one of the most popular types of essays you’ll write in school. They combine persuasive arguments with fact-based research, and, when done well, can be powerful tools for making someone agree with your point of view. If you’re struggling to write an argumentative essay or just want to learn more about them, seeing examples can be a big help.
After giving an overview of this type of essay, we provide three argumentative essay examples. After each essay, we explain in-depth how the essay was structured, what worked, and where the essay could be improved. We end with tips for making your own argumentative essay as strong as possible.
What Is an Argumentative Essay?
An argumentative essay is an essay that uses evidence and facts to support the claim it’s making. Its purpose is to persuade the reader to agree with the argument being made.
A good argumentative essay will use facts and evidence to support the argument, rather than just the author’s thoughts and opinions. For example, say you wanted to write an argumentative essay stating that Charleston, SC is a great destination for families. You couldn’t just say that it’s a great place because you took your family there and enjoyed it. For it to be an argumentative essay, you need to have facts and data to support your argument, such as the number of child-friendly attractions in Charleston, special deals you can get with kids, and surveys of people who visited Charleston as a family and enjoyed it. The first argument is based entirely on feelings, whereas the second is based on evidence that can be proven.
The standard five paragraph format is common, but not required, for argumentative essays. These essays typically follow one of two formats: the Toulmin model or the Rogerian model.
- The Toulmin model is the most common. It begins with an introduction, follows with a thesis/claim, and gives data and evidence to support that claim. This style of essay also includes rebuttals of counterarguments.
- The Rogerian model analyzes two sides of an argument and reaches a conclusion after weighing the strengths and weaknesses of each.
3 Good Argumentative Essay Examples + Analysis
Below are three examples of argumentative essays, written by yours truly in my school days, as well as analysis of what each did well and where it could be improved.
Argumentative Essay Example 1
Proponents of this idea state that it will save local cities and towns money because libraries are expensive to maintain. They also believe it will encourage more people to read because they won’t have to travel to a library to get a book; they can simply click on what they want to read and read it from wherever they are. They could also access more materials because libraries won’t have to buy physical copies of books; they can simply rent out as many digital copies as they need.
However, it would be a serious mistake to replace libraries with tablets. First, digital books and resources are associated with less learning and more problems than print resources. A study done on tablet vs book reading found that people read 20-30% slower on tablets, retain 20% less information, and understand 10% less of what they read compared to people who read the same information in print. Additionally, staring too long at a screen has been shown to cause numerous health problems, including blurred vision, dizziness, dry eyes, headaches, and eye strain, at much higher instances than reading print does. People who use tablets and mobile devices excessively also have a higher incidence of more serious health issues such as fibromyalgia, shoulder and back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, and muscle strain. I know that whenever I read from my e-reader for too long, my eyes begin to feel tired and my neck hurts. We should not add to these problems by giving people, especially young people, more reasons to look at screens.
Second, it is incredibly narrow-minded to assume that the only service libraries offer is book lending. Libraries have a multitude of benefits, and many are only available if the library has a physical location. Some of these benefits include acting as a quiet study space, giving people a way to converse with their neighbors, holding classes on a variety of topics, providing jobs, answering patron questions, and keeping the community connected. One neighborhood found that, after a local library instituted community events such as play times for toddlers and parents, job fairs for teenagers, and meeting spaces for senior citizens, over a third of residents reported feeling more connected to their community. Similarly, a Pew survey conducted in 2015 found that nearly two-thirds of American adults feel that closing their local library would have a major impact on their community. People see libraries as a way to connect with others and get their questions answered, benefits tablets can’t offer nearly as well or as easily.
While replacing libraries with tablets may seem like a simple solution, it would encourage people to spend even more time looking at digital screens, despite the myriad issues surrounding them. It would also end access to many of the benefits of libraries that people have come to rely on. In many areas, libraries are such an important part of the community network that they could never be replaced by a simple object.
The author begins by giving an overview of the counter-argument, then the thesis appears as the first sentence in the third paragraph. The essay then spends the rest of the paper dismantling the counter argument and showing why readers should believe the other side.
What this essay does well:
- Although it’s a bit unusual to have the thesis appear fairly far into the essay, it works because, once the thesis is stated, the rest of the essay focuses on supporting it since the counter-argument has already been discussed earlier in the paper.
- This essay includes numerous facts and cites studies to support its case. By having specific data to rely on, the author’s argument is stronger and readers will be more inclined to agree with it.
- For every argument the other side makes, the author makes sure to refute it and follow up with why her opinion is the stronger one. In order to make a strong argument, it’s important to dismantle the other side, which this essay does this by making the author's view appear stronger.
- This is a shorter paper, and if it needed to be expanded to meet length requirements, it could include more examples and go more into depth with them, such as by explaining specific cases where people benefited from local libraries.
- Additionally, while the paper uses lots of data, the author also mentions their own experience with using tablets. This should be removed since argumentative essays focus on facts and data to support an argument, not the author’s own opinion or experiences. Replacing that with more data on health issues associated with screen time would strengthen the essay.
- Some of the points made aren't completely accurate , particularly the one about digital books being cheaper. It actually often costs a library more money to rent out numerous digital copies of a book compared to buying a single physical copy. Make sure in your own essay you thoroughly research each of the points and rebuttals you make, otherwise you'll look like you don't know the issue that well.
Argumentative Essay Example 2
There are multiple drugs available to treat malaria, and many of them work well and save lives, but malaria eradication programs that focus too much on them and not enough on prevention haven’t seen long-term success in Sub-Saharan Africa. A major program to combat malaria was WHO’s Global Malaria Eradication Programme. Started in 1955, it had a goal of eliminating malaria in Africa within the next ten years. Based upon previously successful programs in Brazil and the United States, the program focused mainly on vector control. This included widely distributing chloroquine and spraying large amounts of DDT. More than one billion dollars was spent trying to abolish malaria. However, the program suffered from many problems and in 1969, WHO was forced to admit that the program had not succeeded in eradicating malaria. The number of people in Sub-Saharan Africa who contracted malaria as well as the number of malaria deaths had actually increased over 10% during the time the program was active.
One of the major reasons for the failure of the project was that it set uniform strategies and policies. By failing to consider variations between governments, geography, and infrastructure, the program was not nearly as successful as it could have been. Sub-Saharan Africa has neither the money nor the infrastructure to support such an elaborate program, and it couldn’t be run the way it was meant to. Most African countries don't have the resources to send all their people to doctors and get shots, nor can they afford to clear wetlands or other malaria prone areas. The continent’s spending per person for eradicating malaria was just a quarter of what Brazil spent. Sub-Saharan Africa simply can’t rely on a plan that requires more money, infrastructure, and expertise than they have to spare.
Additionally, the widespread use of chloroquine has created drug resistant parasites which are now plaguing Sub-Saharan Africa. Because chloroquine was used widely but inconsistently, mosquitoes developed resistance, and chloroquine is now nearly completely ineffective in Sub-Saharan Africa, with over 95% of mosquitoes resistant to it. As a result, newer, more expensive drugs need to be used to prevent and treat malaria, which further drives up the cost of malaria treatment for a region that can ill afford it.
Instead of developing plans to treat malaria after the infection has incurred, programs should focus on preventing infection from occurring in the first place. Not only is this plan cheaper and more effective, reducing the number of people who contract malaria also reduces loss of work/school days which can further bring down the productivity of the region.
One of the cheapest and most effective ways of preventing malaria is to implement insecticide-treated bed nets (ITNs). These nets provide a protective barrier around the person or people using them. While untreated bed nets are still helpful, those treated with insecticides are much more useful because they stop mosquitoes from biting people through the nets, and they help reduce mosquito populations in a community, thus helping people who don’t even own bed nets. Bed nets are also very effective because most mosquito bites occur while the person is sleeping, so bed nets would be able to drastically reduce the number of transmissions during the night. In fact, transmission of malaria can be reduced by as much as 90% in areas where the use of ITNs is widespread. Because money is so scarce in Sub-Saharan Africa, the low cost is a great benefit and a major reason why the program is so successful. Bed nets cost roughly 2 USD to make, last several years, and can protect two adults. Studies have shown that, for every 100-1000 more nets are being used, one less child dies of malaria. With an estimated 300 million people in Africa not being protected by mosquito nets, there’s the potential to save three million lives by spending just a few dollars per person.
Reducing the number of people who contract malaria would also reduce poverty levels in Africa significantly, thus improving other aspects of society like education levels and the economy. Vector control is more effective than treatment strategies because it means fewer people are getting sick. When fewer people get sick, the working population is stronger as a whole because people are not put out of work from malaria, nor are they caring for sick relatives. Malaria-afflicted families can typically only harvest 40% of the crops that healthy families can harvest. Additionally, a family with members who have malaria spends roughly a quarter of its income treatment, not including the loss of work they also must deal with due to the illness. It’s estimated that malaria costs Africa 12 billion USD in lost income every year. A strong working population creates a stronger economy, which Sub-Saharan Africa is in desperate need of.
This essay begins with an introduction, which ends with the thesis (that malaria eradication plans in Sub-Saharan Africa should focus on prevention rather than treatment). The first part of the essay lays out why the counter argument (treatment rather than prevention) is not as effective, and the second part of the essay focuses on why prevention of malaria is the better path to take.
- The thesis appears early, is stated clearly, and is supported throughout the rest of the essay. This makes the argument clear for readers to understand and follow throughout the essay.
- There’s lots of solid research in this essay, including specific programs that were conducted and how successful they were, as well as specific data mentioned throughout. This evidence helps strengthen the author’s argument.
- The author makes a case for using expanding bed net use over waiting until malaria occurs and beginning treatment, but not much of a plan is given for how the bed nets would be distributed or how to ensure they’re being used properly. By going more into detail of what she believes should be done, the author would be making a stronger argument.
- The introduction of the essay does a good job of laying out the seriousness of the problem, but the conclusion is short and abrupt. Expanding it into its own paragraph would give the author a final way to convince readers of her side of the argument.
Argumentative Essay Example 3
There are many ways payments could work. They could be in the form of a free-market approach, where athletes are able to earn whatever the market is willing to pay them, it could be a set amount of money per athlete, or student athletes could earn income from endorsements, autographs, and control of their likeness, similar to the way top Olympians earn money.
Proponents of the idea believe that, because college athletes are the ones who are training, participating in games, and bringing in audiences, they should receive some sort of compensation for their work. If there were no college athletes, the NCAA wouldn’t exist, college coaches wouldn’t receive there (sometimes very high) salaries, and brands like Nike couldn’t profit from college sports. In fact, the NCAA brings in roughly $1 billion in revenue a year, but college athletes don’t receive any of that money in the form of a paycheck. Additionally, people who believe college athletes should be paid state that paying college athletes will actually encourage them to remain in college longer and not turn pro as quickly, either by giving them a way to begin earning money in college or requiring them to sign a contract stating they’ll stay at the university for a certain number of years while making an agreed-upon salary.
Supporters of this idea point to Zion Williamson, the Duke basketball superstar, who, during his freshman year, sustained a serious knee injury. Many argued that, even if he enjoyed playing for Duke, it wasn’t worth risking another injury and ending his professional career before it even began for a program that wasn’t paying him. Williamson seems to have agreed with them and declared his eligibility for the NCAA draft later that year. If he was being paid, he may have stayed at Duke longer. In fact, roughly a third of student athletes surveyed stated that receiving a salary while in college would make them “strongly consider” remaining collegiate athletes longer before turning pro.
Paying athletes could also stop the recruitment scandals that have plagued the NCAA. In 2018, the NCAA stripped the University of Louisville's men's basketball team of its 2013 national championship title because it was discovered coaches were using sex workers to entice recruits to join the team. There have been dozens of other recruitment scandals where college athletes and recruits have been bribed with anything from having their grades changed, to getting free cars, to being straight out bribed. By paying college athletes and putting their salaries out in the open, the NCAA could end the illegal and underhanded ways some schools and coaches try to entice athletes to join.
People who argue against the idea of paying college athletes believe the practice could be disastrous for college sports. By paying athletes, they argue, they’d turn college sports into a bidding war, where only the richest schools could afford top athletes, and the majority of schools would be shut out from developing a talented team (though some argue this already happens because the best players often go to the most established college sports programs, who typically pay their coaches millions of dollars per year). It could also ruin the tight camaraderie of many college teams if players become jealous that certain teammates are making more money than they are.
They also argue that paying college athletes actually means only a small fraction would make significant money. Out of the 350 Division I athletic departments, fewer than a dozen earn any money. Nearly all the money the NCAA makes comes from men’s football and basketball, so paying college athletes would make a small group of men--who likely will be signed to pro teams and begin making millions immediately out of college--rich at the expense of other players.
Those against paying college athletes also believe that the athletes are receiving enough benefits already. The top athletes already receive scholarships that are worth tens of thousands per year, they receive free food/housing/textbooks, have access to top medical care if they are injured, receive top coaching, get travel perks and free gear, and can use their time in college as a way to capture the attention of professional recruiters. No other college students receive anywhere near as much from their schools.
People on this side also point out that, while the NCAA brings in a massive amount of money each year, it is still a non-profit organization. How? Because over 95% of those profits are redistributed to its members’ institutions in the form of scholarships, grants, conferences, support for Division II and Division III teams, and educational programs. Taking away a significant part of that revenue would hurt smaller programs that rely on that money to keep running.
While both sides have good points, it’s clear that the negatives of paying college athletes far outweigh the positives. College athletes spend a significant amount of time and energy playing for their school, but they are compensated for it by the scholarships and perks they receive. Adding a salary to that would result in a college athletic system where only a small handful of athletes (those likely to become millionaires in the professional leagues) are paid by a handful of schools who enter bidding wars to recruit them, while the majority of student athletics and college athletic programs suffer or even shut down for lack of money. Continuing to offer the current level of benefits to student athletes makes it possible for as many people to benefit from and enjoy college sports as possible.
This argumentative essay follows the Rogerian model. It discusses each side, first laying out multiple reasons people believe student athletes should be paid, then discussing reasons why the athletes shouldn’t be paid. It ends by stating that college athletes shouldn’t be paid by arguing that paying them would destroy college athletics programs and cause them to have many of the issues professional sports leagues have.
- Both sides of the argument are well developed, with multiple reasons why people agree with each side. It allows readers to get a full view of the argument and its nuances.
- Certain statements on both sides are directly rebuffed in order to show where the strengths and weaknesses of each side lie and give a more complete and sophisticated look at the argument.
- Using the Rogerian model can be tricky because oftentimes you don’t explicitly state your argument until the end of the paper. Here, the thesis doesn’t appear until the first sentence of the final paragraph. That doesn’t give readers a lot of time to be convinced that your argument is the right one, compared to a paper where the thesis is stated in the beginning and then supported throughout the paper. This paper could be strengthened if the final paragraph was expanded to more fully explain why the author supports the view, or if the paper had made it clearer that paying athletes was the weaker argument throughout.
3 Tips for Writing a Good Argumentative Essay
Now that you’ve seen examples of what good argumentative essay samples look like, follow these three tips when crafting your own essay.
#1: Make Your Thesis Crystal Clear
The thesis is the key to your argumentative essay; if it isn’t clear or readers can’t find it easily, your entire essay will be weak as a result. Always make sure that your thesis statement is easy to find. The typical spot for it is the final sentence of the introduction paragraph, but if it doesn’t fit in that spot for your essay, try to at least put it as the first or last sentence of a different paragraph so it stands out more.
Also make sure that your thesis makes clear what side of the argument you’re on. After you’ve written it, it’s a great idea to show your thesis to a couple different people--classmates are great for this. Just by reading your thesis they should be able to understand what point you’ll be trying to make with the rest of your essay.
#2: Show Why the Other Side Is Weak
When writing your essay, you may be tempted to ignore the other side of the argument and just focus on your side, but don’t do this. The best argumentative essays really tear apart the other side to show why readers shouldn’t believe it. Before you begin writing your essay, research what the other side believes, and what their strongest points are. Then, in your essay, be sure to mention each of these and use evidence to explain why they’re incorrect/weak arguments. That’ll make your essay much more effective than if you only focused on your side of the argument.
#3: Use Evidence to Support Your Side
Remember, an essay can’t be an argumentative essay if it doesn’t support its argument with evidence. For every point you make, make sure you have facts to back it up. Some examples are previous studies done on the topic, surveys of large groups of people, data points, etc. There should be lots of numbers in your argumentative essay that support your side of the argument. This will make your essay much stronger compared to only relying on your own opinions to support your argument.
Summary: Argumentative Essay Sample
Argumentative essays are persuasive essays that use facts and evidence to support their side of the argument. Most argumentative essays follow either the Toulmin model or the Rogerian model. By reading good argumentative essay examples, you can learn how to develop your essay and provide enough support to make readers agree with your opinion. When writing your essay, remember to always make your thesis clear, show where the other side is weak, and back up your opinion with data and evidence.
Do you need to write an argumentative essay as well? Check out our guide on the best argumentative essay topics for ideas!
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Christine graduated from Michigan State University with degrees in Environmental Biology and Geography and received her Master's from Duke University. In high school she scored in the 99th percentile on the SAT and was named a National Merit Finalist. She has taught English and biology in several countries.
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How to Write an Argumentative Research Paper
Last Updated: December 9, 2022 References Approved
This article was co-authored by Christopher Taylor, PhD . Christopher Taylor is an Adjunct Assistant Professor of English at Austin Community College in Texas. He received his PhD in English Literature and Medieval Studies from the University of Texas at Austin in 2014. There are 14 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. In this case, 88% of readers who voted found the article helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 355,854 times.
An argumentative essay requires you to make an argument about something and support your point of view using evidence in the form of primary and secondary sources. 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.
- 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)
- Make sure that you understand how to cite your sources for the paper and how to use the documentation style your teacher prefers. If you’re not sure, just ask.
- Don’t feel bad if you have questions. It is better to ask and make sure that you understand than to do the assignment wrong and get a bad grade.
- Listing List all of the ideas that you have for your essay (good or bad) and then look over the list you have made and group similar ideas together. Expand those lists by adding more ideas or by using another prewriting activity.  X Research source
- Freewriting Write nonstop for about 10 minutes. Write whatever comes to mind and don’t edit yourself. 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.  X Research source
- Clustering Write a brief explanation (phrase or short sentence) of the subject of your argumentative essay on the center of a piece of paper and circle it. 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.  X Research source
- Questioning On a piece of paper, write out “Who? What? When? Where? Why? How?” Space the questions about two or three lines apart on the paper so that you can write your answers on these lines. Respond to each question in as much detail as you can.  X Research source
- Ethos refers to a writer’s credibility or trustworthiness. 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). You can also show your authority, another aspect of ethos, by demonstrating that you’ve done thorough research on the topic.
- 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. Some ways that you can incorporate pathos into your paper without turning off your readers includes using descriptive language that evokes the desired reaction (positive or negative) to your subject, especially when you use other people’s language—such as quotes—to do so (which avoids damaging your ethos with overly emotional language). 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. For example, you can appeal to your readers’ desire for logic by organizing your examples in a way that shows your argument in the best light and is easy to follow, such as chronologically, by cause and effect, or by problem and solution.
- Place your thesis statement at the end of your first paragraph unless your instructor tells you to place it elsewhere. The end of the first paragraph is the traditional place to provide your thesis in an academic essay.
- For example, an arguable thesis statement might be something like, “The drinking age should be reduced to 18 in the United States.” This statement is arguable because it presents a position that others might debate by saying “The drinking age should not be reduced to 18 in the US.” Or, others might argue that the drinking age should be abolished altogether or even raised. There are many possibilities for a counter argument, which makes this topic arguable.
- For example, a detailed thesis statement might be something like, “Because youth are more drawn to drinking as a way to rebel, lowering the drinking age to 18 in the United States would help to reduce binge drinking among teenagers and college students.” This thesis still provides a position that could be debated, but it also explains the reasoning behind the position. 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.
- Organize your outline by essay part and then break those parts into subsections. For example, part 1 might be your introduction, which could then be broken into three sub-parts: a)Opening sentence, b)context/background information c)thesis statement.
Research Your Topic
- For example, some relevant key terms and phrases for a paper on lowering the drinking age to 18 might be: “drinking”, “underage”, “minors”, “binge”, “rebellion”, “drinking age”, “binge drinking culture”, “countries with low drinking age”, “drinking and rebellion”, etc.
- Use your library’s databases rather than a general internet search. University libraries subscribe to many databases, such as EBSCO and JSTOR. These databases provide you with free access to articles and other resources that you cannot usually gain access to by using a search engine. Schedule an appointment with a librarian at your school’s library if you are not sure about how to use the library databases.
- If your university doesn’t subscribe to any databases, use Google Scholar.
- Author's credentials Choose sources that include an author’s name and that provide credentials for that author. The credentials should indicate something about why this person is qualified to speak as an authority on the subject. For example, an article about a medical condition will be more trustworthy if the author is a medical doctor. If you find a source where no author is listed or the author does not have any credentials, then this source may not be trustworthy.
- Citations Think about whether or not this author has adequately researched the topic. Check the author’s bibliography or works cited page. If the author has provided few or no sources, then this source may not be trustworthy.
- Bias Think about whether or not this author has presented an objective, well-reasoned account of the topic. How often does the tone indicate a strong preference for one side of the argument? How often does the argument dismiss or disregard the opposition’s concerns or valid arguments? If these are regular occurrences in the source, then it may not be a good choice.
- Publication date Think about whether or not this source presents the most up to date information on the subject. Noting the publication date is especially important for scientific subjects, since new technologies and techniques have made some earlier findings irrelevant.
- Information provided in the source If you are still questioning the trustworthiness of this source, cross check some of the information provided against a trustworthy source. If the information that this author presents contradicts one of your trustworthy sources, then it might not be a good source to use in your paper.
- To be certain that you understand your sources and that you are capable of responding to each of them, try writing a paragraph summary and response after you finish each one. Some people find keeping notecards on their sources to be a helpful way of organizing their ideas about each one.  X Research source
- Misunderstanding and misrepresenting your sources can damage your credibility as an author and also have a negative effect on your grade. Give yourself plenty of time to read your sources and understand what they are saying.
- Be careful to properly cite your sources when taking notes. Even accidental plagiarism may result in a failing grade on a paper.
Drafting Your Essay
- For example, an argumentative essay about lowering the drinking age might begin with something like, “Binge drinking culture is killing teens in the United States, but it hasn’t always been this way.” This sentence offers a compelling statement and it also acts as a launch pad for you to provide some background on your topic.
- For example, if you are arguing that lowering the drinking age would help to counter binge drinking among teens and young adults, your introduction should talk about the damage that is being done by binge drinking. Tell your readers about this problem in more detail so that they will begin to see why something needs to change.
- Keep in mind that your background information in the first paragraph should lead up to your thesis statement. Explain everything the reader needs to know to understand what your topic is about, then narrow it down until you reach the topic itself.
- For example, a thesis statement for a paper on lowering the drinking age might look something like, “Because the current drinking age of 21 in the United States does more harm than good by proliferating binge drinking culture among teens, the drinking age should be lowered to 18.” This thesis provides a straightforward position and reason for that position that readers can easily identify as the author’s main argument.
- In your thesis, you should also address how you’ll support your argument and why your argument matters.
- For example, one of your body paragraphs might begin with something like, “Teens are more likely to engage in binge drinking in the United States than in countries where the drinking age is lower or non-existent.”
- You might then follow up this claim with evidence from your sources. For example, you could provide statistics on teen drinking in other countries where the drinking age is lower, or you could summarize an interview with an authority of the subject, or cite an article that explains the psychological basis of this phenomenon. Whatever source(s) you choose, make sure that they are relevant that they offer convincing support for your claim.
- Rephrase your thesis. It is often helpful to remind your readers of the initial argument, but don’t simply restate your thesis if you do this. Rephrase it so that it sounds different but has the same meaning. Summarize some of the most important evidence you have offered in your essay and say remind readers of how that evidence has contributed to supporting your thesis.
- Synthesize what you have discussed. Put everything together for your readers and explain what other lessons might be gained from your argument. How might this discussion change the way others view your subject?
- Explain why your topic matters. Help your readers to see why this topic deserve their attention. How does this topic affect your readers? What are the broader implications of this topic? Why does your topic matter?
- Return to your opening discussion. If you offered an anecdote or a quote early in your paper, it might be helpful to revisit that opening discussion and explore how the information you have gathered implicates that discussion.
- Ask your teacher what documentation style he or she prefers that you use if it is not mentioned in the assignment guidelines.
- Visit your school’s writing center for additional help with your works cited page and in-text citations.
Revising Your Essay
- What is your main point? How might you clarify your main point?
- Who is your audience? Have you considered their needs and expectations?
- What is your purpose? Have you accomplished your purpose with this paper?
- How effective is your evidence? How might your strengthen your evidence?
- Does every part of your paper relate back to your thesis? How might you improve these connections?
- Is anything confusing about your language or organization? How might your clarify your language or organization?
- Have you made any errors with grammar, punctuation, or spelling? How can you correct these errors?
- What might someone who disagrees with you say about your paper? How can you address these opposing arguments in your paper?  X Research source
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- If you're still stumped, ask your teacher for help. He or she will most likely be more than happy to help you AND you'll get on his or her good side for "taking the initiative." ⧼thumbs_response⧽ Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
- Plagiarism is a serious offense in the academic world. If you plagiarize your paper you may fail the assignment and even the course altogether. Make sure that you fully understand what is and is not considered plagiarism before you write your paper. Ask your teacher if you have any concerns or questions about your school’s plagiarism policy. ⧼thumbs_response⧽ Helpful 5 Not Helpful 0
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- ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/general_writing/academic_writing/essay_writing/argumentative_essays.html
- ↑ http://writing.ku.edu/prewriting-strategies
- ↑ https://stlcc.edu/student-support/academic-success-and-tutoring/writing-center/writing-resources/pathos-logos-and-ethos.aspx
- ↑ https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/673/1/
- ↑ http://writingcenter.unc.edu/handouts/thesis-statements/
- ↑ https://academicguides.waldenu.edu/writingcenter/writingprocess/outlining
- ↑ https://apus.libanswers.com/faq/2316
- ↑ https://libguides.schoolcraft.edu/c.php?g=430555&p=3011200
- ↑ http://guides.jwcc.edu/content.php?pid=65900&sid=538553
- ↑ http://www.writing.utoronto.ca/advice/reading-and-researching/notes-from-research
- ↑ https://www.grammarly.com/blog/argumentative-essay/
- ↑ https://writing.wisc.edu/handbook/process/revisingargument/
- ↑ https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/561/05/
- ↑ https://writingcenter.unc.edu/tips-and-tools/editing-and-proofreading/
About This Article
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! Did this summary help you? Yes No
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