Throughout your years as a student, you will encounter various tasks that require you to write different types of essays. You will write narrative essays, compare and contrast essays, and cause and effect essays among many others. One type of essay that many students find particularly difficult to write is the argumentative essay. Crafting this essay requires a great deal of work, from brainstorming for topics and conducting research for evidence to writing the essay itself and proofreading the final copy. With all these tasks to accomplish, it is not surprising that a lot of students feel overwhelmed. But coming up with a good argumentative essay is not impossible. In this post, we will discuss what makes a good argumentative essay and some strategies for crafting a well-written paper.
What is an Argumentative Essay?
An argumentative essay is a type of essay that argues a point. The main purpose of the argumentative essay is to present the reader with compelling reasons that prove the point. Note, however, that the term “argumentative essay” does not mean that the paper should be hostile in tone. Rather, in the academic context, this term refers to a type of writing that relies on presenting extensive evidence in a structured way.
In an argumentative essay, the writer presents a specific claim. This is the thesis of the paper. But a claim cannot be automatically considered as valid since it needs to be supported by evidence. This is why an argumentative essay must make a claim and at the same time show the reader why the claim is valid. For example, suppose that an argumentative essay claims that it will be better for Europe’s economy if the European Union is dissolved. The paper cannot simply assert that this is true. Rather, the paper has to prove why this assertion is correct through the use of evidence. Hence, the paper will present compelling evidence in a structured manner to drive home the point that you want to make.
Difference Between Argumentative Essay and Persuasive Essay
Many students often confuse the argumentative essay with the persuasive essay. After all, it does seem like argumentative and persuasive essays are just the same in that both present a specific claim. But these two types of essays actually differ on two counts. How you write an argumentative essay is different from how you write a persuasive essay.
- Purpose. Firstly, the two essays differ when it comes to purpose. As discussed earlier, the main purpose of an argumentative essay is to present a claim and support it with evidence. An argumentative essay does not necessarily aim to get the reader to agree with the paper’s thesis. Rather, the aim is to get the reader to at least acknowledge the validity of the thesis. On the other hand, a persuasive essay’s main purpose is to influence the reader into agreeing with the paper’s claim or thesis.
- Method. Secondly, these two essays also differ in their method of presenting details. An argumentative essay relies more on facts and logic to defend its thesis. This approach requires you to conduct extensive research. Not only will you search for hard evidence, but you need to ensure that your sources are reputable. On the other hand, a persuasive essay relies on emotional appeals. Your goal is to stir your reader’s emotions so that they will agree with you. A persuasive essay also tends to feature opinions and emotionally-charged content, whereas an argumentative essay uses a more academic content and formal language.
The Structure of an Argumentative Essay
Like other essays, the argumentative essay follows the basic structure for academic writing. The essay must begin with a concise INTRODUCTION. In this section, you should introduce your topic, provide some background information, and narrow down to your thesis statement. When writing a thesis statement, make sure that it is sufficiently narrow. The thesis statement is usually placed at the end of the introduction. When writing this section, it would be better if you make your opening lines attention-grabbing. You can, for instance, cite an interesting fact.
After the introduction, your paper then proceeds to the BODY. This section is composed of the arguments you present to support your thesis. Remember that each argument must work towards proving your main claim. For example, suppose that your thesis asserts that people should start purchasing electric or hybrid cars rather than gasoline cars, each argument you raise should explain why this position is valid. You may therefore discuss arguments such financial, human, and environmental benefits.
The final part of your paper is the CONCLUSION. In this section, you should restate your thesis statement and summarize your main arguments. Note that restatement here does not mean that you simply repeat the thesis word for word. Rather, your thesis should be slightly reworded so that your paper does not across as lazy and repetitive.
How to Write an Argumentative Essay
At this point, you are already familiar with what an argumentative essay is, its purpose, how it differs from a persuasive essay, and its basic structure. But the question of how to write this essay still remains. So, how do you write an argumentative essay? There is no single style in writing an essay. Like most people, you will develop your own approach to writing over time. But for now, these strategies should help make the writing process easier for you.
Choose a Debatable Topic
One of the strategies towards successfully writing an argumentative essay is to come up with a debatable topic. The whole point of argumentation is to demonstrate that a particular position regarding a complex topic is valid. If you choose a topic that is no longer debatable, then there is no point in arguing your position, and your paper only comes off as weak. For example, there is no sense debating that the Earth revolves around the Sun. This is a scientific certainty and is universally acknowledged as true. On the other hand, censorship in the media remains a controversial issue that involves different perspectives. Choose a topic that you can take a position on. This will make your paper more interesting because your readers will likely have differing views.
Use Hard Evidence and Reputable Sources
Once you decide on a topic, you will have to learn more about it, especially if the topic is something that you’re not well-informed about. You will also need to present hard evidence to support your thesis statement. As stated earlier, an argumentative essay relies more on facts and logic than emotional appeals. Examples of hard evidence include statistical data, findings from research, established knowledge, and even the opinions of highly respected experts.
When researching for information and evidence, pay attention to your sources. The internet has made researching far easier than before. You no longer need to spend hours in the library poring through books and journals. Instead, you can now search for tons of sources by using search engines and online libraries. However, the internet is also filled with false information and unreliable sources. To avoid using poor-quality sources, stick to using online libraries. Your school probably has online databases where you can search for books, journals, and periodicals. If you’re using internet sources, opt for websites published by government agencies, universities, and respected institutions. Learning the difference between scholarly and non-scholarly sources should make it easier for you to determine the quality of your sources.
Structure Your Essay
Because an argumentative essay relies on facts and logic, its content tends to be more technical and therefore more confusing than the content of other types of essays. To avoid confusing your reader, keep your paper organized and structured. Learn how to write a body paragraph effectively. For one, make sure that each of your body paragraphs focuses on a single point. For another, you should group your arguments according to theme. Take for example the thesis about the need to shift from gasoline cars to electric or hybrid cars. When writing about this topic, organize the content by discussing financial benefits, human benefits, and environmental benefits separately. Avoid going back and forth between different arguments. For instance, if you’ve already discussed financial benefits and have moved on to discussing human benefits, it gets confusing if you suddenly revert to discussing financial benefits. Writing an outline will help you establish an effective structure for your paper.
Include Counterarguments and Rebuttals
While a well-written argumentative essay utilizes hard evidence to support its claim, you can further enhance your essay’s quality by including counterarguments and rebuttals. Counterarguments are arguments that support the opposing side. On the other hand, rebuttals are the arguments you use to address the opposing side’s counterarguments. While writing your essay, think about the arguments that the opposing side might throw your way. Then look for rebuttals to address these counterarguments. Remember that your readers have a mind of their own. They are likely to question your arguments as they read. If you put yourself in your readers’ position, you will be able to anticipate their counterarguments and prepare rebuttals to address them.
Hire Professional Help
Writing an argumentative essay is not easy. It is a complex task that involves a great deal of researching, reading, brainstorming, analyzing, and writing. If your experience in writing this essay is not enough, you might find yourself lost and frustrated. If you truly need it, do not hesitate to hire professional help. There are plenty of professional tutors, writers, and editors who offer assistance for reasonable prices. Apart from helping you save time and effort in writing, a professional can give you valuable insight on not just writing argumentative essays but also writing as a general practice. Having a professional working with you is worth the investment.