How to write argumentative essay assignment

How to write argumentative essay assignment

You may be asked to write an argumentative essay as a coursework assignment. An argumentative essay assignment is an academic paper where a writer is required to present two sides of an argument.

The aim of the writer in this type of essay assignment is to inform readers rather than to convince them. An argumentative essay helps to develop your research skills, writing skills, and analytical skills.

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Writing an argumentative paper develops your ability to debate and improves your public speaking capability. The best way to write an argumentative essay is to present facts rather than your personal opinion. A writer can decide to present both sides of the argument equally or to present one side in favor of another.

How to write an argumentative essay step by step

Writing an effective argumentative essay requires you to understand what is an argumentative essay, and how it is structured. A strong argument is thoroughly researched. It provides relevant evidence to support a claim and presents an overview of the topic from all angles.

A writer should take readers through various facets of an argument and lead them to a logical conclusion. The desired outcome of an essay should always be in the mind of a writer when presenting both sides of the argument. Here are steps on how to write an argumentative essay

Step 1 Choose an argumentative essay topic

Choose a debatable topic. This means your topic should have two sides.

Present your arguments in favor of a particular view of an issue. Make sure your topic is arguable and interesting.

An interesting topic will motivate you to research and write about it. The topic you select should be

  • Coherent and relevant
  • Important
  • Adding inherent value
  • Having potential for more research

Avoid topics that have been done repeatedly or obscure topics. Finding supporting evidence for obscure topics may be difficult, so it is best to avoid them.

Test your topic by discussing it with a classmate or a friend who holds a contrary view to your argument. Engage in a debatable conversation and use aspects of controversy as you try to explain your viewpoint. This way, you will be able to refine your thinking and come up with new ideas to support your point.

Argumentative essay topics examples

An argumentative essay topic needs to be arguable, which means you can choose one side instead of the other. Here are some examples of debatable argumentative essay topics 

  • Should marijuana be legalized?
  • What is the biggest impact of technology on the advancement of people?
  • Are news sources biased?

Step 2 Research your topic idea

Perform in-depth research on your topic idea. Find information about your topic from library books or from reliable internet sources that cover all sides of the topic.

Read about the subject and collect all the relevant information, including evidence and examples that will make your essay strong. Make sure the resources you choose are accurate, reputable, and provide up-to-date information.

Good research should acknowledge the foundation or initial work of a subject and look at innovations in the same field. Look at old sources to understand the foundational work and new sources for current trends about your topic.

Incorporating quotes in your work will add support to your argument. This will make your paper more credible.

Make sure you cite all the quotes appropriately. This is how you give credit to the people who own the ideas you have used in the essay.

Ask your instructor about the formatting style when citing your sources. Here is a criterion you can use to check your work

  • The validity of the information from your research
  • Accuracy, timeliness, and reliability
  • The credibility of the sources
  • Objectivity or bias level

Step 3 Write an outline for your argument

Draw a plan for your argumentative essay. This will act as a road map that will guide you in the writing process.

An outline will enable you to remember your key points and to present your arguments logically. This way your readers can follow your line of reasoning. It will enable you to write your essay faster and save time.

argumentative essay assignment

Step 4 Create a catchy argumentative essay title

Write an original and creative title for your paper that will attract your readers’ attention. A catchy title will make your readers want to read your paper even before they get to your introduction.

Step 5 Write your thesis statement

Write a concise thesis that summarizes your view on the subject. The thesis statement should come at the end of your introduction paragraph.

Make sure your thesis tells your readers the agenda of your paper and its importance. This will help guide readers through the paper.

Types of argumentative claims

A thesis statement usually makes a claim. This can be a claim of

  • Value, describing worth and how people view something
  • Definition, arguing about the definition of something or idea and how it needs to be altered
  • Cause and effect, showing how one event or something causes another event or thing to occur
  • Policy situations, arguing about how people do things and reasons why that should change

Step 6 Introduce your argumentative essay

This is the first section of your paper that introduces your essay topic briefly. Include background information to tell readers a bit more about your topic. Make sure you end the introduction with your thesis statement.

Step 7 Present your arguments in the body paragraph

The body section is where you present all your arguments and all the relevant and supporting information. Present relevant information from your research work.

Include evidence in the form of statistics, quotes, and all credible facts in a logical manner. In your argumentative essay assignment, include the counter-arguments.

Acknowledge evidence supporting the counter-argument but use stronger evidence to assert your position and refute the counter-argument. Make sure you explain to your readers why your position is accurate and logical. Make sure you exhaustively cover all important aspects of your topic in this section.

Step 8 Conclude your essay

This final part of your paper restates your central message, which is your thesis statement. Highlight your main points and emphasize your arguments.

Your goal is to wrap up your arguments, so you should not introduce any new information or arguments at this point. Finally, conclude with a suggestion of further research that can be done on the subject.

Step 9 Proofread and edit your paper

It is essential to go through your work and thoroughly edit and proofread it before submitting your essay to your instructor. A paper full of errors can make you lose marks in the subject, and you lose credibility as a writer. Here are some of the things you need to pay attention to when proofreading your work

Take a break

Most of the time, authors can get caught up in their own writing that they miss noticing obvious mistakes or errors. Take a break from your work for at least some hours and, if possible for a day or two.

Taking a break from your writing is a good way to clear your head before you can resume and read it over again. Read your work one more time with a clear mind and fresh eyes. You will realize that you can see glaring errors that were not so obvious before.

Correct all grammar issues

Grammatical errors will make your paper look unprofessional, and readers can easily lose interest in it. Look for incomplete sentences and correct them.

Check spelling mistakes and punctuations and make sure they are all corrected. To ensure thorough editing, use spelling and grammar checking software to edit and correct all issues.

Check your evidence and examples

Double-check the evidence you have used in your argumentative essay assignment. Make sure the evidence is relevant, they are from credible external sources, and are properly placed in your essay.

Any information or example that does not make sense or is misplaced should be deleted or corrected. Read your essay out loud and try to hear if there is any sentence that sounds awkward and edit accordingly.

Confirm formatting style and quotes

The formatting style you have used in your paper should be correct according to the essay assignment instructions provided. Using the wrong format can lead to a lower grade. Check how you have formatted quotes and references as well.

Ask a friend to proofread your argumentative essay assignment

A friend or classmate can help you proofread your work and critique it. Constructive criticism will help you make necessary corrections and incorporate suggestions into your work.

Checklist for your argumentative essay assignment

A checklist will help you to validate your paper and improve the quality of the work you produce. Here is a list that you can use

  • Confirm whether your thesis statement is debatable
  • Check if arguments are presented in a coherent and clear manner
  • Confirm if your examples are the most relevant and appropriate
  • Check counter-arguments and verify the refutation

How to outline an argumentative essay

An argumentative essay has a five-paragraph structure consisting of an introduction paragraph, three body sections, and a final conclusion paragraph. Each section is structured in a unique way, so it is important to understand them to present your information appropriately.

1.   Introduction

The introduction should captivate your readers from the beginning. Use a hook in the first sentence to attract the interest of your audience.

Consider using an intriguing idea, quote, or a rhetorical question as your hook. This should lure your readers into reading your entire paper.

2.   Background information

Put your topic in context to give your audience a good idea of what the topic is all about. Do not reveal your main arguments at this point instead; transition your readers to the thesis statement.

3.   Thesis statement

Argumentative essay assignment thesis statement

The focal point, which is the central message of your essay, is your thesis statement. The thesis is the last sentence in your introduction paragraph that states your idea and why it is the right idea. It informs the readers what the paper is all about.

4.   Body paragraph

The body section is where you will present your arguments. This includes evidence and examples to support your point of view.

You will also present counter-arguments and refute them. This is how you should structure your body paragraph.

Topic sentence

Each body paragraph begins with a topic sentence that acts as a transition from one paragraph to the next. The topic sentence, which is the first sentence of a paragraph, introduces the sub-argument that will be discussed in that section.

Claim

Next is to present your claim that acts as a link between your sub-argument and your main idea, which is your thesis statement. Your aim should be to explain how your point validates your main idea.

Evidence

Defend your claim with relevant and credible evidence, which is factual support. Consider using statistics, logical ideas, or references from credible and reliable external sources. The evidence you present adds credibility to your argumentative essay and makes your paper valid.

Concluding sentence

This is the last sentence in each paragraph. The concluding sentence comes after you have presented your argument with a claim and defended it with credible argumentative essay examples in the paragraph.

A concluding sentence shows the significance of your claim to the thesis. It also shows a reader why the point you have presented is important.

5.   The conclusion

Restate your thesis statement in the first sentence of your concluding paragraph. Paraphrase and present your central message assertively to your audience.

An assertive presentation will most likely cause your readers to become inclined to your position on the subject. Summarize your main arguments in this section. This helps remind your readers of what you have presented in the body section of your argumentative essay.

Reference your title and give your argument closure by bringing it full circle. Make an impact in the minds of your audience with an overall concluding statement.

Make your conclusion memorable. Express the significance of the topic and presentations and encourage readers to perform further investigation of the topic.

Parts of an argumentative essay

An argumentative essay has unique parts, and you should include them in your essay. How well you use these elements in your assignment will determine the marks you get in your assignment. Here are elements that should be part of your argumentative essay assignment sheet

1.   Position

A good argumentative essay topic is debatable, which means there are two sides to the issue. It is important that you identify one side and take a position on the topic, state your claim and defend your arguments. The goal is to present your position as the most logical and correct.

2.   Evidence

These are the facts that you have gathered from your research work aimed at substantiating your claim. The evidence is usually gathered from credible outside sources.

Make sure you give citations and references for the evidence you present. They show that your evidence is valid, and without references, the evidence you provide may not count.

3.   Counter arguments

These are arguments that represent the other side of your subject. Provide the opposite side of your argument from your perspective. State the counter-arguments of your topic and give reasons why they are false and ineffective using proof.

Types of Argumentative Essays

There are three approaches to writing an argumentative essay. The techniques will enable you to present your paper in different argumentative essay formats.

1.   Classical approach

Most argumentative essay assignments follow this approach to present arguments. The structure is usually a five-paragraph essay with the following elements

  • Introduction paragraph section for introducing your topic to an audience
  • Background information to provide relevant contextual information regarding your topic
  • The main arguments which are the main points of the argument you will discuss
  • Refutation is presenting counter-arguments that show the opposite side of your position and refutes it as invalid
  • A conclusion that emphasizes the central message and highlights the main arguments leaving the audience with a suggestion of further research

2.   Rogerian approach

A topic that is a potential seed for many other discussions follows the Rogerian approach. Subjects such as global warming, gender topics, or philosophical problems are perfect for the Rogerian presentation method.

This approach does not require you to follow any specific approach. It focuses more on how you present your information. The Rogerian approach of presentation requires you to be more sympathetic when presenting both sides of an argument.

Conclude your argument, indicating that the opposing side of the subject may also be valid. This conclusion makes the approach more appropriate for a wider subject. The emphasis in Rogerian is not to solve the problem, but to reach a compromise between two opposing sides that seeks to solve a pressing problem.

3.   Toulmin approach

This approach is used in polemical arguments. It does not focus on arguments but aims at finding common ground on a specific issue. It explores both sides of the issue and looks at the pros and cons of each side.

Tips for writing an argumentative essay assignment

Students can sometimes be intimidated by an essay assignment, especially when they are not sure where to start. Here are a few tips that you need to have in mind to write an effective argumentative essay.

1.   Understand the argumentative essay format

The first thing you need to be sure about is the format of the essay. This type of essay follows the classical format of five-paragraph essays.

It also has elements like position, evidence, and counter-arguments. You need to have these elements in mind before you can start writing your essay.

2.   Know the purpose

Make sure you fully understand the purpose of an argumentative essay which is to present both sides of an argument to a reader. The topic you choose for your argumentative essay should be arguable, which means it should have two sides.

Your research should be extensive and must present the arguments you support and the counter-arguments. The arguments of the position you support should be stronger than the counterarguments.

3.   Understand the methodology

The effectiveness of your argumentative essay assignment will depend on your ability to present various facets of your topic. Readers should be able to follow your arguments until they reach a logical conclusion. In this type of essay, you need to familiarize yourself with all viewpoints on the subject and outline the opposing views.

4.   Know the expected outcome

Understand what you want your argumentative paper to achieve and keep it in mind as you write your essay. Reread the prompt to ensure you are on the right track.

Seek clarification from your instructor if necessary. Create an essay structure that will help you achieve your desired goal.

5.   Understand your audience

Know who you are writing to. Make sure the formatting and tone of your essay are appropriate for the audience you are engaging.

Writing an essay as a class assignment means your professor is your primary audience. Other students could be your audience as well, especially if you are required to make a presentation in class. The audience you are addressing will determine how you write your essay and the outcome.

6.   Have a meaningful ending

Make an impactful ending in the mind of your readers. Give them something to think about as you bring your paper to a close. You can also challenge them to research the topic further.

Key takeaway

How to write an argumentative essay assignment requires proper planning and preparation. One of the ways to successfully write your essay is to follow a step-by-step guide. Have the goal of your essay in mind and use an outline to structure your work and to guide your writing process.

A well-written argumentative essay is one that follows a laid down plan and is thoroughly researched. Follow writing tips and your instructor’s instructions so that you do not lose marks on the assignment.

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