An argumentative essay is a writing project commonly assigned to high school and college students. This is a guide for writing an argumentative essay. It begins by providing the definition of this paper and proceeds to giving tips for completing this paper and getting good grades.
Argumentative Essay Definition
First of all, what is an argumentative essay? An argumentative essay is a type of essay that advances a specific claim regarding a topic. In other words, this paper presents, explains, and defends an argument. Assume, for instance, that the topic is healthcare policy in the United States. Stating that the healthcare system is riddled with problems is not enough, since this is just a descriptive statement. For the paper to be argumentative, it has to make a claim, e.g., a proposed healthcare policy if passed will only make healthcare less accessible for low-income people.
Qualities of a Good Argumentative Essay
Each essay has its unique attributes and how you write your paper largely depends on the instructions and your personal skill level. But there are also some qualities common to all papers. Some of these are discussed below.
#1 Presents a specific and debatable claim
A debatable claim is one of the hallmarks of an excellent paper. A claim that has already been proven to be true is neither interesting nor useful. It’s also possibly boring and definitely redundant. Your claim needs to be timely, relatable, and should rouse your reader’s interest.
#2 Features plenty of evidence
An important aspect of this assignment is the use of credible evidence to support the claim. Improve your paper by including plenty of concrete evidence such as statistical data and established facts. Cite empirical findings from peer-reviewed studies as well as opinions from experts in the field.
#3 Employs sound reasoning
Unlike a persuasive essay that appeals to emotion, an argumentative paper must appeal to logic. It needs to demonstrate that claims are valid because they are grounded on evidence and conclusions are reached through sound reasoning.
#4 Refutes counterarguments
Because the topic is debatable, the opposite position most likely has strong points as well. An excellent write-up addresses counterarguments. Anticipate counterarguments that your reader might bring up and proactively refute them.
#5 Remains objective and non-hostile
Readers will likely be less receptive to your paper if you adopt a hostile tone. Avoid antagonizing your readers. Assume that they are reasonable individuals and appeal to their intellect and common sense.
These are the most prominent qualities of a well-written assignment. There are others more, of course, but focusing on these five should help you produce a top-notch paper.
How to Write an Argumentative Essay
To complete this project, you need to follow the basic writing process. This process always begins with reading about the topic and ends with proofreading the final copy. Of course, the difference is the content that goes into the paper.
#1 Research the topic
Begin the project by researching and reading quality materials regarding your topic. The more you know about the topic, the more likely you will be able to discuss it well. Being clueless about the topic is a recipe for disaster.
#2 Formulate the thesis statement
Once you’ve gathered enough information on the topic, come up with a thesis statement. Always remember that a thesis is a declaration and not a question. It should be concise and specific rather than general.
#3 Create an outline
An argumentative essay outline shows the order and flow of the discussion. List down the points that you will discuss individually to support your main claim, the evidence supporting those points, and the counterarguments and refutations that you will include. The outline can be considered as the skeleton of your assignment.
#4 Write the draft
Expand your outline into a full discussion. Elaborate each of your points in one or more paragraphs. Remember that points need to be discussed in separate paragraphs to keep the discussion coherent.
#5 Revise and proofread
Do not settle for the first draft. Revising your paper once or twice will help you improve its content. This step is essential for clarity and coherence. Finally, conduct a final proofread to ensure that the final copy has no errors and adheres to the prescribed argumentative essay format.
While you are encouraged to follow these steps, do not hesitate to make some modifications in your process. After all, writers have different styles and approaches when it comes to completing a project.
How to Structure an Argumentative Essay
As this paper is still an essay, it needs to follow the basic structure prescribed in academic writing. A good paper should be composed of three main parts: introduction, body, and conclusion. These three main parts serve distinct purposes.
The argumentative essay introduction should serve three purposes. First, it should catch your reader’s attention, and you can do this by adding an effective hook at the beginning of the paragraph. Second, the introduction should provide some context or background information. For instance, you can begin by discussing the details of the topic or issue you are writing about. Finally, it should present your thesis statement, which is the main claim your paper is advancing.
The body is where you present the points and evidence that support your main claim. It is also where you refute counterarguments. Begin a paragraph with a topic sentence stating your point. Then present the evidence that supports the point. Finally, explain how the evidence and the point ultimately support your thesis statement. As for the counterarguments, place them in another section that comes after your points.
The conclusion should restate the thesis but using different words. It should also summarize the main points discussed in the body. Finally, this part should offer the reader final thoughts on the topic. Note, though, that the conclusion should not feature new information or points.
Remember that the structure varies depending on factors such as scope, degree of complexity, and specific instructions. So make sure to thoroughly study your project details so that you can determine how elaborate your paper’s structure should be.
Tips for Getting a Good Grade
Completing an argument essay can be challenging to many due to the need for credible evidence and sound reasoning. But there are ways to increase your chances of getting a good grade. Some tips are provided below.
#1 Choose a fresh topic
The best topics are those that are timely and relevant to the reader. Avoid topics that are outdated, overdone, or simply irrelevant. Know and understand your reader so that you can choose a suitable topic.
#2 Polish the paper
Care and attention to detail always show. Make sure you proofread the paper well. Adhere to the standards of formatting and citation. And most importantly, make sure your paper is clear, interesting, logical, and well-supported by evidence.
#3 Study examples
There are plenty of argument essay examples available on the internet. Studying these examples should help you see how tips for effective writing are reflected in well-written essays.
#4 Review writing guides
Reading multiple writing guides on how to write an argumentative essay step by step will enhance your writing skills. Such guides don’t just teach you how to start an argumentative essay; they teach you all the basics you need to write the entire paper.
#5 Get professional help
Increase your chances by enlisting the help of professionals. There are many online services that offer writing, editing, and tutoring services. Experts will take a look at your work and give you great advice.
Although getting a good grade is a nice reward for all your labor, remember that the main goal of this project is to enhance your research, writing, and critical thinking skills. Focus on the quality of your thoughts and your output, and high grades will automatically follow.