How to Write a Good Argumentative Essay

by Julie Petersen Dec 09, 2016, 0 Comments

It doesn’t matter what courses you decide to take during college; your professors will probably expect you to write argumentative essays for most of them.

Argumentative writing is different from other types of papers (such as narrative, descriptive, or cause/effect). With this essay, you should investigate a topic from multiple angles. You’ll do that by collecting and evaluating evidence. Then, you’ll establish your position and support your thesis with undisputable facts.

The purpose of this type of academic writing is to convince the reader to consider your point of view.

How exactly do you write a powerful argumentative essay? You’re aware of the effect you should achieve, but how do you get there? We have some tips that will help you get better at argumentative writing.

Understand What the Assignment Calls For

Before you start doing the research and writing the essay, you need to understand this type of assignment. Your professor gave you general instructions, but they didn’t tell you how to write a great paper. These are the main things you need to understand before you start:

  • You need to support each claim with arguments, and each argument with facts. Argumentative writing calls for an in-depth research through reliable resources.
  • The thesis statement, positioned at the end of the first paragraph, should showcase your point of view. Each and every argument in the content should be directly related to this statement.
  • The logical flow has to be impeccable. You need to write an outline, which will allow you to stay focused and develop a clear discussion.
  • You have to reference all sources you use. Make sure to get informed about the proper style guide and stick to those guidelines when formatting references.

Specific Qualities You Need for Argumentative Writing

Professors value great argumentative writing upon three qualities:

Precision and focus of arguments

Before you start writing on a particular topic, make sure to craft an outline. Draft out the introduction points with the main thesis statement, the main arguments in the body paragraphs, and the point you’re going to make in the conclusion. This frame will keep you focused on the goal to provide precise arguments.

Evidence

If, for example, you’re writing about the effects of air pollution on our environment, you cannot base your arguments on personal opinions. You’ll have to search for research studies that support those claims. The evidence is a crucial aspect of an argumentative paper. It’s what makes the reader believe that you have a point worthy of consideration.

Clarity and logical flow

This one is all about the style. It’s not okay to use big words just to make yourself sound smarter. When there’s a simple word for something, use that one. In addition, make sure the thoughts flow in a logical order, without any gaps that make the sections of the paper appear disconnected.

Developing the Essay through Stages

The argumentative essay usually comes in five paragraphs: introduction, three body paragraphs, and conclusion.

The introduction is the part that hooks the reader

Some professors read only this part before deciding if they should continue spending time with your paper. Think as a lawyer: you have a unique chance to present your case and hook the audience. You can start by defining the major terms and providing some background on the topic. Then, at the end of the introduction, you will state your thesis in a clear, single sentence. The thesis shouldn’t be an obvious fact. It’s something that you can argue and support with evidence.

For example, a statement like “Traffic is contributing towards greater pollution” is not a solid thesis, since you can’t really argue about it. “Although eco-friendly cars are polluting the air less than traditional engines, they do not have the potential to decrease the levels of air pollution.” Now, that’s something we can argue with research and statistics.

The three body paragraphs give you a chance to develop your argument

The last thing you should do is waste time with fillers. Do not repeat the same statements in different words. In the usual structure of an argumentative essay, you should show three claims; one at the beginning of each paragraph. Then, you’ll support those claims with arguments and facts. Another alternative is presenting two claims supported with facts, and using the third body paragraph for showing and defying opposing opinions.

The conclusion cements your thesis

In the conclusion, you should restate your thesis statement and remind the reader how important this issue is. You connect all threads into a logical ending, which leaves the reader with an impression that they have learned something new. The conclusion should be logical and based on all arguments you presented throughout the body of the paper.

Submit Clean Writing

If you submit a paper that is poorly written and riddled with mistakes, it doesn’t matter how good your argument is. Your grade will be poor. Professors read all day long and so common errors like passive voice, over-reliance on adverbs, and poorly constructed sentences drive them crazy. Run your paper through an editing tool like ProWritingAid before you even think of handing anything in.


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About the Author:

Julie Petersen is a freelance writer and a blogger. She shares her experience with students on her educational blog askpetersen.com. Follow Julie on Twitter

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