What Is an Argumentative Essay?
An argumentative essay is a style of academic writing where an author presents both sides of an argument or issue. The main purpose of an argumentative essay is to inform rather than convince – that’s why this type of paper should not be confused with a persuasive essay.
The following skills are evaluated when grading an argumentative essay:
- Research skills
- Writing skills
- Analytical skills
This type of paper is assigned to train a student’s ability to debate. It can therefore greatly influence the public speaking skills of a person later on in their life. When writing an argumentative essay, it is important to focus on facts and information rather than personal ideas or preferences. The author may present arguments equally, or support one in favour of others. Regardless, the thesis must include all of the primary points (and counterpoints) that will appear in the essay. It is almost like a political debate with oneself.
Elements of an Argumentative Essay
- Position: It’s essential to determine which side of the argument you are taking. For example, you may be arguing that tobacco products or cannabis should be made illegal. Make a point to express why you took your initial position. For example, you may provide exact reasons to show how tobacco products may be damaging people’s health.
- Evidence: This is where you should provide factual substantiation for your reasons from outside resources. It is very important to give citations and references for where you gathered your evidence. If there is no proof, the evidence may not be taken into account. For example, you could cite health studies or scientific papers related to the effects of tobacco products on peoples’ health to prove your statement.
- Counterarguments: This is where you need to present the other side of the issue. Provide the opposing argument from your point of view. After stating these counterarguments, you should state why they are false, weak, or ineffective by presenting further evidence.
3 Tips for Writing an Argumentative 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.