How to Write an Argumentative Essay: The Ultimate Guide

Do you feel passionate about an issue but don’t know how to make your voice heard? Are you looking for a way to convince others of your viewpoint? If so, then you need to learn how to write an argumentative essay. In this guide, we will teach you everything you need to know about this type of paper, from the structure and organization to the evidence and reasoning that will support your position. Let’s get started!

What Is an Argumentative Essay? 

An argumentative essay is a piece of writing that takes a stance on an issue. In a good argumentative essay, a writer attempts to persuade readers to understand and support their point of view about a topic by stating their reasoning and providing evidence to back it up. Definition: “A composition that offers value judgments about a subject according to a set of criteria” (Theodorson & Theodorson, 1969).

In other words, it’s an academic paper that presents your point of view on a specific topic. To convince the reader of your stance, you will need to provide evidence and use logic when making a case.

What Is the Structure of an Argumentative Essay? 

Each argumentative essay follows a specific structure which will be explained in this section. First, let’s look at the parts that make up an essay and then we’ll look at how to organize them into a structured piece of writing:

Parts of An Essay

Introduction

The introduction is the first paragraph of your essay and it should accomplish three things: introduce the topic, provide context, and present your thesis statement. The introduction should be between one-third and one-half of the total length of the essay. 

Thesis Statement 

The thesis statement is a one-sentence summary of your position on the topic. It should be clear, concise, and specific. 

Body Paragraphs 

Each body paragraph should focus on a single piece of evidence that supports your argument. Each paragraph should have: Topic sentence which introduces the main point of the paragraph

  • Evidence that supports the topic sentence
  • Analysis which explains the significance of the evidence 
Conclusion 

The conclusion should restate your position, remind readers of the evidence you presented, and suggest ways they can learn more about the topic. It should be no more than one-third of the length of the introduction.

Now that we know what an argumentative essay is and how it should be structured, let’s look at how to organize the body paragraphs.

How to Organize the Body Paragraphs 

There are three ways to organize the body paragraphs of an argumentative essay: by order of importance, by cause and effect, or by problem and solution. 

The order of importance structure is most suitable for short essays. It’s a good idea to start your essay with an attention-grabbing sentence that will make the reader want to learn more about your topic. Then, you can explain why it’s important to use statistics and facts before finally getting into what needs to be done in order to solve this issue or prevent it from happening again. 

The cause and effect structure might work well when you’re writing about solutions to a problem, but it’s also useful for explaining why something occurred in the first place. It’s best used when there are several factors involved or if your argument is complex because this allows readers to easily follow along with how each cause is related to the effect. 

The problem and solution structure can be used when you’re writing about a single issue or if there are just two factors involved. For example, an essay on gun control might start with why guns should not be banned then explain how they could instead be controlled better by requiring background checks for anyone purchasing them. 

This structure is also useful when writing about controversial topics because it allows you to address each side of the argument separately before presenting your own opinion as a solution.

Argumentative Essay Outline Template

Now that we know what an argumentative essay is, let’s take a look at some of the different types you might come across.

Types of Argumentative Essays 

There are several different types of essays that you can use to present an argument in academic writing. We’ll look at five in more detail below:

Persuasive Essays 

A persuasive essay is an argumentative essay that uses evidence and facts to convince readers of the validity of a given thesis. You can write persuasive essays on any type of topic. But they’re typically assigned as part of college or graduate school coursework. 

Cause and Effect Essays 

A cause-and-effect essay is an argumentative essay that explores the relationship between two factors. Its goal is to explain how one event or action leads to another. 

Problem and Solution Essays 

A problem and solution essay is an argumentative essay that presents a problem and then suggests a solution for it. The goal of this type of essay is to convince readers that there’s an issue worth solving or discussing, as well as provide them with potential solutions that could address those problems. 

Policy Analysis Essays 

A policy analysis essay is a type of argumentative essay that we use to explore the effects of a given policy. The goal of policy analysis essays is to help readers understand how a particular policy will impact them. Moreover, it will also help them understand what could be done to improve or change it. 

Position Papers 

A position paper is a type of argumentative essay that takes the reader through your point of view, reasoning why they should agree with you. The aim of this type of essay is to convince readers that your position on an issue or question matters and deserves consideration. 

Argumentative Essay Topics 

You can find a topic for argumentative essay everywhere – from news items to published articles and from advertisements to tweets. The key is finding something that you’re passionate about, so choose a topic wisely! 

When picking out an argumentative essay topic, it’s important for you as the writer to make sure there are two sides to your issue or question because no one will take you seriously if there isn’t a counterargument to your position. 

Another important aspect of choosing an argumentative essay topic is that it should be one you can present solid evidence for – so don’t choose something too broad or vague unless you’re okay with just presenting opinions rather than facts and statistics. 

Some good examples include:

  • Should gun control be stricter? 
  • Is affirmative action still necessary in today’s society? 
  • Do standardized tests really measure a student’s academic ability and knowledge base? 
  • Would legalizing marijuana help or hurt the economy? 
  • Can money buy happiness for people who have enough to live comfortably, but are not extravagantly wealthy? 
  • Should the drinking age be lowered? 
  • Does social media have a positive or negative impact on our lives? 
  • Is nuclear energy safer than traditional energy sources like coal or oil? 
  • Are robots becoming a threat to humans in terms of employment opportunities and job security? 
  • Does the pornography industry have a negative impact on society? 
  • Should we reduce carbon emissions by restricting car use? 
  • Do women make better politicians than men do? 
  • Is it morally right for adults to have cosmetic surgery for purely aesthetic reasons (i.e., not for reconstructive purposes)? 

Now that you know what an argumentative essay is and how to structure it, it’s time to learn how to write one. 

The following steps will help you produce a high-quality essay that will make your argument persuasive and compelling:

Step One: Choose Your Topic 

As mentioned before, the best topics for an argumentative essay are those that have two sides. The topic should be something upon which people can reasonably disagree.

Step Two: Do Your Research 

Once you’ve chosen your topic, it’s time to do some research. Look for articles, studies, and statistics that back up your position. Remember – the more evidence you have, the better your argument will be!

Step Three: Create a Thesis Statement 

Your thesis statement is the backbone of your argument, so it’s important that you get it right. This is the place where you’ll summarize your position on the issue at hand and explain why readers should agree with you. 

To write a good thesis statement:

  • Write down all of your ideas about this topic in one sentence.
  • Take out words that aren’t really necessary to understand it and make sure there are no grammatical or spelling errors.
  • Then choose one side of the topic to write about (e.g., should we reduce carbon emissions by restricting car use?)

Step Four: Organize Your Argument 

Once you’ve chosen your topic, put together an outline that will serve as a roadmap for your argument. This will help you stay on track while writing.

Step Five: Write Your Essay 

Begin with an introduction that presents your thesis statement. Then offer a few sentences of background information to give context for readers who might not be familiar with this issue. In the body of your essay, present your argument point-by-point, using evidence from your research to support each claim. Finally, end with a conclusion that restates your thesis and reinforces the main points you’ve made throughout the essay.

Congratulations – you’ve now written a high-quality argumentative essay! 

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