Writing a paper is a crucial part of studying. Whether you’re in high school or taking doctoral studies, you’ll be asked to write a paper to complete your courses. There are different types of papers, with different purposes, contents, and audiences. One type of project that you will encounter is the argumentative research paper. In some cases, your professor will assign the topic to you. But in other cases you will be asked to choose your own topic. While coming up with you own topic may seem easy, bear in mind that your choice is crucial. A topic can make or break an essay, so you have to choose your argumentative essay topic well. In this post, we provide you with advice on how to choose argumentative essay topics. We also present argumentative research paper topics that you can consider using in the future.
What is an Argumentative Essay?
Before anything else, it will be good to learn more about the argumentative essay. An argumentative essay is a paper that advances an argument. The general purpose of this paper is to present a claim. It also seeks to illustrate the validity of the claim by backing it with evidence. In some cases, an argumentative essay can be used in writing an argumentative speech. Like other types of writing, an argumentative paper can be on various topics. But not all topics are appropriate for this type of project. This is why choosing good argumentative essay topics is an important part of the writing process.
Argumentative Essay VS Persuasive Essay
Many students consider an argumentative essay and a persuasive paper to be the same. While they do have similarities, they are different when it comes to purpose and content. As mentioned earlier, the purpose of an argumentative paper is to present a claim supported by evidence. The goal here is to make the audience consider the claim as valid. In other words, the writer needs to convince the audience that the claim holds water. The purpose of a persuasive paper, on the other hand, is to persuade the audience that the opinion or position being presented is correct. The goal of a persuasive paper is to prompt the audience into taking action. Another significant difference between these two types of paper is the content. An argumentative paper relies more on the use of facts and logic. A persuasive paper, by contrast, relies more on emotional appeals and less on evidence.
How to Write an Argumentative Essay
Similar to writing other papers, writing an argumentative essay is a process composed of several steps. Personal styles to writing may vary, but the writing process often includes the following steps in the same order:
This is the first step of writing. In this stage, you may choose to write down all argumentative essay topics that you can think of. Do not worry whether these topics are appropriate or not. You can narrow down your list to appropriate argumentative essay ideas later. The important thing is to get your creative juices flowing. If you’re having trouble brainstorming, you can read samples of argumentative essays online for inspiration. Such samples can also be a source of ideas for topics for argumentative research paper projects.
This step involves three major activities: researching, reading, and reflecting on your approach to writing. Assuming that you’ve already chosen a topic, you can now begin researching about it. Remember that an argumentative essay relies more on facts and logic. This means that you need to learn a lot about your topic by reading the materials you gather. The more you know about your topic, the better you’ll be able to discuss it in your paper. Learning about your topic will also help you come up with your main claim. End this stage by thinking of how you want to approach your paper. You can also generate argumentative essay ideas in this stage. Ask yourself questions. What is my opinion on this issue? What idea do I want to communicate? What is my goal in writing the paper? If you can, write down a working thesis statement. The thesis will express your main claim.
Outlining and Drafting
The third step is to create an outline and a draft. Once you have a thesis statement, start generating separate arguments that support you main claim. Make sure that each argument is distinct from the others, since you’re going to develop each of these in a separate paragraph or section. Add evidence for each of your arguments. You will not be able to use all the arguments that you come up with, so rank them by strength. A good way to organize your outline is by following this order: strong argument first, weaker arguments in between, and strongest argument last. This way, you start off strong and end with the best argument. Audiences often remember only the first and last parts of writing. Presenting your arguments in this order will ensure that they will retain your most solid arguments. Write your draft by expanding your completed argumentative essay outline.
Unless you’re a writing genius, it’s not a good idea to consider your first draft as the final copy. Even the most seasoned writers subject their works to continuous editing. There are good reasons why you should edit your work. Editing allows you to detect any mistakes or ambiguities. For example, there may be grammatical errors, misspelled words, or unclear parts. Editing helps you remove this. Revising your work also enables you to improve the quality of your paper. For instance, you might not have noticed that your paper has unnecessary repetitions or that your arguments are not supported by enough evidence. Revising is all about refining your paper, so devote enough time to editing your paper. Also, remember to edit your paper on a different day. Leave your paper for a couple of days before revising. Staying away from your draft for a day or two will allow you to read it with fresh eyes, which will help you detect ambiguities and errors better.
The final step is proofreading. Once you feel satisfied with your paper, read it a couple of times to ensure that there are no grammatical or typographical errors. Bear in mind that an argumentative paper is an academic paper. It needs to be free of mistakes. Even if you present strong arguments, having a lot of mistakes can reduce the quality of your paper. Errors can also distract your readers and prevent them from understanding your paper.
Structure of an Argumentative Research Paper
The structure of an argumentative research paper follows the basic structure of an essay. These include introduction, body, conclusion, and a references page.
This is the first part of the paper. Your introduction should achieve three goals. The first goal is to draw your audience into the discussion. A good way to do this is by opening with a hook, which is a statement intended to catch your audience’s attention. Examples of hooks are a quote, a thought-provoking question, an anecdote, or an interesting fact. The second goal is to give background information on the topic. If your audience is unfamiliar with the topic, you need to give them some context. You also need to justify the importance of your topic. Your audience needs to know why you are presenting your thesis in the first place. For instance, is this something that affects them? Is this something they have a stake in? Why is it important for them to know about the topic? The third goal is to present your thesis statement. End your introduction with a line that presents your main claim.
The body is where you expand on your thesis statement. Note that your main claim needs to be supported by arguments. The body is where you do this. Present your arguments one at a time. Make sure that you show how each argument is connected to the thesis. Also make sure that you have evidence that back each argument. For instance, suppose that your thesis claims that the government should give tax breaks to those who buy electric cars. A good argument for this is citing how this action would help reduce carbon emissions by encouraging more people to shift from fuel cars to electric cars. Evidence for this argument include data on the emissions of different types of cars, consumer trends, and data from surveys among others. The body may also feature counterarguments from the opposing side and refutations.
The last part is the conclusion. This part usually has three goals. The first goal is to restate the thesis. Tell your audience the thesis again, but not in the exact same words. You should paraphrase the thesis instead without changing its message or meaning. The second goal is to review your main arguments. You do not have to provide a detailed summary. Note that the conclusion needs to be concise, so a few sentences should be enough. The third goal is to give your audience some final thoughts. For example, you may leave your audience some questions or ideas to reflect upon. Avoid presenting new information or arguments in the conclusion.
The references page is generally considered as part of any academic paper that relies on sources. Special attention is given here, however, due to its importance in an argumentative paper. As mentioned before, this type of essay uses evidence to support its arguments and its main claim. A references page is thus essential because it shows the sources you used. This tells the audience that you did not plagiarize your paper. This part also tells your readers which sources you used, which allows them to view the sources themselves and evaluate their reliability. The references page should be formatted correctly according to an appropriate citation style.
General Content of an Argumentative Essay
Because you’ll spend most of your essay proving your thesis, you need to know more about the content of your essay. A big part of your paper will be composed of arguments, counterarguments, and refutations. Let’s take a look at each in more detail.
Arguments are the major points you make in support of your thesis. Think of arguments as the “reasons” why your main claim is correct. For instance, your thesis states that toddlers should be allowed to use tablets. This claim cannot stand on its own; you need to prove it. One argument for this would be stating that using tablets help develop their minds. If an argument supports a thesis, then evidence support the argument. A good argument relies on facts rather than emotional appeals. For example, arguing that tablets have a positive effect on brain development should cite studies that present this finding rather than anecdotes. Examples of good evidence include research findings, statistics, and expert opinions among others. Logical reasoning is also important. Make sure that your arguments are logical.
Remember that there’s an opposing side to any position you take. If you claim that the current healthcare system payment method needs reforms, the other side will claim the opposite. With this in mind, strengthen your paper by including counterarguments. Counterarguments are the opposing side’s arguments. You might ask, “Why should I include these if they support the opposing side?” There are good reasons why. For one, including counterarguments makes your paper more balanced. You must note that your claim is debatable, and there are times when you may need to concede. Acknowledging the opposing side’s arguments when necessary shows that you are not biased. For another, including counterarguments gives you the opportunity to debunk them. Some of your readers probably disagree with you. They will also probably question your arguments and present counterarguments of their own. Addressing counterarguments, therefore, is your way of addressing them. Think of this as anticipating your readers’ thoughts and preparing for them.
To effectively address counterarguments, you need to either concede or include refutations. Refutations are arguments that show why the opposing side’s arguments are invalid. Like arguments, refutations need to be grounded on facts and logical reasoning.
Tips for Choosing a Good Argumentative Essay Topic
Choosing your argumentative research paper topic can be a challenging task. But there are some pieces of advice that you can follow. Here are some tips on how to choose argumentative research paper topics.
Relevance to Your Audience
One of the main factors to consider when choosing good argumentative essay topics is your audience. Audiences are not the same. They vary in their interests and level of understanding of certain topics. When choosing a topic, consider that your audience will find interesting. For instance, if your audience is healthcare professionals, then your topic should be something that relates to them. The topic may also be something that they have a stake in. You cannot expect an audience of healthcare professionals to be interested in a topic on engineering. Also, take note of their level of understanding. If your audience is composed of graduate students, it goes without saying that you should not choose 6th-grade argumentative essay topics. Your essay will be unsuccessful no matter the quality if you can’t get your audience to care about what you have to say.
The currency of the Issue
Another important factor when looking for topics for argumentative essay projects is the currency of the issue. The topic you choose should be relevant to the current situation. It should be something that remains debatable in the present. The right argumentative topics in 2019 are probably different from those that were considered appropriate thirty years ago. There’s not much point to discussing an issue that had already been settled in the past. For instance, debating that women should be allowed to vote had been settled for decades. We know now for a fact that women deserve this right. Debating that more women should hold public office, on the other hand, is an issue that’s still being debated today. That said, remember that the currency of topics also depend on their contexts. Going back to the example of voting rights for women, this topic is outdated in the United States. But it may be relevant when it refers to a country where women are not allowed to vote. If you’re not sure whether a topic is currently relevant or not, you can check a list of controversial argumentative essay topics on the internet.
Availability of Information
One of the lesser known tips for choosing argumentative topics is to look at the availability of information. When brainstorming, you may come up with very good argumentative speech topics. But once you move on to prewriting, you may realize that there are not many sources on your topic. Without sources, you will not be able to gather enough evidence to build a compelling case. Avoid this problem by conducting early research. For instance, once you have a list of topics, you can research your argumentative essay ideas one at a time to see how much information is available for each.
Your Personal Interest
Your interest in the topic is perhaps the most important factor to consider. Writing is a meticulous process. Even those who write a lot sometimes find it boring. If you choose a topic that you’re interested in, you’ll likely get with writing and produce a low-quality paper. But choosing a topic that you’re personally interested in can make a big difference. You’re more likely to find the writing process more fulfilling. Researching will not be just about looking for information; it will also be about satisfying your curiosity. Being interested will boost your commitment to the project.
Tips for Success
Choosing the right topic for your paper is crucial. But remember that it is not the only key to a successful essay. Here are a few more tips on how to be successful in writing your paper.
This tip is true for writing in general. Writing is a process that takes time. Start as early as you can. This way you do not have to worry about failing to meet your deadline. Putting off writing until the last minute will just force you to rush your paper. This will result in a poorly-written essay. Starting early will give you the time to polish your paper before the deadline.
Have Backup Topics
While your paper will be about one topic, keep a list of a few other topics as alternatives. For instance, you may keep a list of argumentative essay topics after you’ve settled on one. This way, you can come up with a new topic if your first choice doesn’t work out. But take note that you should not change your topic unless necessary.
It’s normal to have a position on a given topic even before starting on your paper. A writer can never be completely free of bias, after all. But keep an open mind once you start researching. Prepare to change your position if you feel that the evidence you gathered persuades you to. By keeping an open mind, you are more likely to adopt a position that you believe in. Don’t forget to be critical, though, since you need to scrutinize sources and evidence.
Hard Evidence and Academic Sources
The quality of your arguments is only as good as the quality of your evidence and sources. When it comes to evidence, focus on hard facts. Support your arguments with findings from research and viewpoints by experts in the topic. Also make sure that you use high-quality sources. Although the internet has made researching for materials easier than before, it is also filled with sources that are unreliable and downright misleading. Learn the differences between scholarly and non-scholarly sources. Using sources of questionable quality will only cast doubts upon the validity of your arguments. Some examples of scholarly sources are peer-reviewed journal articles, academic books, and publications by respected organizations.
Avoid Logical Fallacies (Refutations)
As stated earlier, your arguments should be grounded on logical reasoning. One way to ensure that your paper is logical is by avoiding logical fallacies. Familiarize yourself with logical fallacies so that you can avoid committing them. Some examples of logical fallacies include attacking the person rather than the argument, diverting the issue by bringing up unrelated information, and using anecdotes as evidence.
Ask for Professional Help
Writing can get overwhelming. If you feel that you have writer’s block, don’t waste time forcing yourself to write. Go ahead and seek help from others. For instance, most professors accommodate their students’ inquiries. If this is the case, approach your professor and ask for guidance. You can also ask your parents to help you out. There are also firms that provide quality argumentative essay help. Comprised of professional writers, such firms can help you edit and improve your paper. They will provide you tips on how to choose argumentative topics or lessons on how to write your paper.
List of Argumentative Research Paper Topics
No guide to writing is complete without sample argumentative research paper topics and ideas. Here is a list of good argumentative research paper topics and ideas that you may consider when choosing your paper’s focus. These examples are categorized according to their subject. Many are presented in question format to encourage you to come up with a thesis that advances a claim.
- Do businesses really benefit from practicing corporate social responsibility?
- Should profitability be the most important goal of organizations?
- What is the most effective management style?
- What is the most effective leadership style?
- Is servant leadership a practical approach to leading people?
- Is it advantageous for businesses to promote diversity in the workplace?
- Why are there fewer female CEOs?
- Should organizations be allowed to refuse service to clients based on race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation?
- How does outsourcing of operations to foreign countries affect the economy of the United States?
- Should offices have cubicles or are open plans better?
- Should organizations implement strict dress codes in the workplace?
- Are mergers better than acquisitions?
- Should employers be allowed to view applicants’ social media profiles as part of background check?
- How does working from home affect employees’ productivity?
- Should higher education be free for everyone?
- With the cost of high education skyrocketing, is getting a college degree really worth it?
- Should vending machines selling sugary beverages be banned in schools?
- Should schools serve healthier food?
- Are standardized tests such as the SATs a reliable measure of academic competence?
- Are students overburdened by too much homework?
- Do school uniforms have tangible benefits to students?
- Do single-sex schools have tangible benefits to students?
- Should comprehensive sex education be mandated in all public and private high schools?
- Should LGBT studies be included in the high school curriculum?
- What is the best solution to the United States’ ongoing problem with student debt?
- Should it be mandatory for parents who choose to homeschool to use their local school’s curriculum?
- Are male students really better at STEM courses than female students?
- Should students be allowed to use smartphones in school?
- Should classes start later in the day to give students more time to rest?
- Should financial management courses be included in the curriculum for high school?
- Should colleges implement affirmative action or is it unfair to implement racial quotas?
- Should schools be allowed to ban the teaching of evolution?
- Should schools be allowed to put tracking devices in identification cards?
- Should students be allowed to grade their teachers?
- Does a bigger class size have a negative effect on student learning?
- Should schools put more emphasis on humanities courses?
- Should the adoption of children be made available to same-sex couples?
- What is the ideal parenting style?
- Should corporal punishment be allowed?
- Should breastfeeding be allowed in public?
- Should stay-at-home parents receive monetary compensation from the government?
- What are the reasons why many women are not entitled to paid maternity leave in the United States?
- Should paid maternity leave be made mandatory across the United States?
- Should men be granted paid paternity leave?
- Should polygamy be allowed in the United States?
- Are couples spending too much on weddings?
- Should children be allowed to compete in beauty pageants?
- Are retirement homes a good environment for older people?
Healthcare and Wellness
- Should the healthcare system shift to a single-payer method?
- Why is the cost of healthcare in the United States much higher compared to other countries?
- Should healthcare be free for all?
- Are health supplements beneficial or harmful?
- Should the government legalize physician-assisted suicide?
- Should the government legalize euthanasia?
- Should organ donation be mandatory?
- Should stem cell research be banned?
- Should human cloning be allowed?
- What is the biggest healthcare issue facing the United States?
- Why does the United States have one of the highest rates of obesity in the world?
- Is eating carbohydrates really bad for you?
- Is caffeine really bad for you?
- Are crash diets beneficial or harmful?
- What is the best way to support teenagers with eating disorders?
- What is the best way to address the United States’ growing opioid addiction crisis?
- Should insurance companies cover cosmetic surgical procedures?
- Should the practice of circumcising young males be prohibited?
- To what extent is colonization responsible for the problems faced by developing nations today?
- Should former colonizers provide reparations to their former colonies?
- What is the single most important event in the 21st century?
- To what extent was the Treaty of Versailles responsible for World War II?
- Was the United States’ use of the atomic bomb against Japan justified?
- How did the Black Death change the course of history?
Nature and Environment
- How big of a threat is climate change?
- Is climate change a natural occurrence or is it caused by human activity?
- Should the production of plastic be stopped?
- To what extent is vegetarianism the solution to climate change?
- Should the government give tax breaks to those who purchase electric cars?
- Are electric cars better than fuel cars?
- Is the Kyoto Protocol successful in addressing climate change?
- Which alternative source of energy is the best substitute to fossil fuels?
- Should the government ban the use of animals in medical research?
- To what extent are humans responsible for the current mass extinction?
- Should people consume less?
- What is the best way to decrease our individual carbon footprint?
- What is the best way to dispose of non-biodegradable waste?
Politics and Foreign Policy
- Should countries intervene when other countries enact oppressive laws like stoning to death people who identify as LGBT?
- How should the United States respond to China’s maritime disputes with other Asian countries?
- Should the United States support Taiwan in the event the latter declares itself an independent sovereign state?
- Is Brexit beneficial or harmful to the United Kingdom?
- Does a country really lose its sovereignty once it joins the European Union?
- Should the United States cut back on foreign aid?
- Are free trade agreements beneficial or harmful to the American economy?
- Is communism a success or a failure?
- Is absolute monarchy a viable form of government in the modern age?
- Is building the wall on the Mexican border really necessary to address the immigration problem?
- Should the United Kingdom abolish the monarchy?
- Will China surpass the United States as the largest economy in the world?
- Should North Korea and South Korea reunite or are they better off as separate countries?
- Should the United States shift to a unicameral legislature?
- Should the Electoral College be dissolved?
Science, Technology, and Social Media
- Is being an influencer a viable career option?
- Is technology causing more people to be lonely?
- Should there be a minimum age requirement for signing up for social media accounts?
- Should research on artificial intelligence continue or are we going too far?
- Should children be allowed to play video games without adult supervision?
- Is the United States spending too much on its space exploration programs?
- Will robots take over all the jobs?
- Is print media obsolete?
- What it comes to personal relationships, is social media good or bad for society?
- Do social media companies have the obligation to regulate content shared in social media platforms?
- What is the likelihood that there’s life in outer space?
- Should NASA send astronauts to the moon again?
- Which social media platform should you use when looking for a job?
- Should extinct species be brought back to life?
- Is it acceptable for parents to alter the genetic makeup of their children?
- Should recreational marijuana be legalized across the United States?
- Should capital punishment be abolished?
- Is illegal immigration the United States’ biggest problem?
- Is globalization beneficial or harmful to developing nations?
- Is the Second Amendment still relevant today or is it obsolete?
- Should there be more restrictions and background checks when it comes to gun control?
- Should prostitution be legalized?
- Should the government ban GMO food?
- Was the government right in bailing out big banks during the financial crisis of 2007-2008?
- Is fast fashion beneficial or detrimental to society?
- Should we shift to a four-day workweek?
- Should the United States increase the taxes of the rich?
- Should schools have the right to prevent children who did not receive vaccination for non-medical reasons from attending class?
- Is the current minimum wage enough or should it be raised?
- Should we end the practice of daylight saving time?
- Are millennials paid enough?
- Are millennials lazy or are they just misunderstood?
- What is the ideal legal drinking age?
- How significant is the Me Too movement?
- Should religious organizations pay taxes?
- Do beauty pageants really empower women or is it a step back?
- Is it acceptable for juvenile offenders to receive life sentences?
Sports, Art, and Pop Culture
- Should transgender athletes be allowed to compete with cisgender athletes in the same gender category?
- Should athletes who take performance-enhancing substances be banned from competitions?
- Are current movies relying too much on computer-generated imagery over plot and character development?
- Is it acceptable for historical drama movies to have historical inaccuracies?
- Should works that depict witchcraft in a positive light be banned?
- Should playing online video games be considered a sport?
- Does playing video games benefit teenagers?
- Can artworks produced by computers be considered as real artworks?
- Why should you visit a foreign country?
- Why should you learn a foreign language?
- Is graffiti art or is it vandalism?
- Should cities do their best to preserve its old buildings?
- Which TV shows best portray diversity in the United States?
Writing an argumentative essay is one of the more challenging projects you will do as a student. One important aspect of writing this paper is choosing the topic. A good topic will help you write an excellent essay. An inappropriate one will result in a weak paper. In this post, we provided ideas for argumentative research paper topics. We also provided a list of argumentative research paper topics that you could choose from.