how to write an argumentative essay

How to Write an Argumentative Essay

We know this type of essay doesn’t need a lengthy introduction, but we’re still giving you one because we are that annoying! Kidding aside, we are a hundred percent sure that your teacher or professor has given you an assignment that required you to take a stance about a particular issue and convince others about your argument’s logic. Well, congratulations because if that’s the case, you already know the basics of how to write an argumentative essay.

In high school and college, your research and critical thinking skills are often tested through argumentative essays. Some opt to seek the help of a college paper writing service while others are more confident to write one on their own. Either way, this writing rhetoric is training you to be a good judge of situations and to form your opinions based on facts.

In this article, we will look into some tips in writing an argumentative essay, so you won’t find it hard to craft your paper once your teacher assigned another one. This is also helpful if you would like to start your journey of being a student freelance writer.

Defining an Argumentative Essay

An argumentative essay is a type of writing that requires one to develop an argument by providing evidence. In other words, the students writing this piece would need to:

1. Investigate a specific topic.

2. Collect and evaluate evidence from research.

3. Establish a stance by logically presenting the facts.

An Argumentative Essay is not:

  • a piece where you only write down your opinions and expect people to believe you.
  • a piece of writing where emotional tirades should be used.
  • a paper where you can dismiss the opposing viewpoint using insults.

Tips on How to Write an Argumentative Essay 

If you find it hard to write a good essay that can persuade others to believe in what you got to say, you no longer need to worry! We have compiled some proven tips to improve your writing skills. Read on to learn more about them.

Tip 1: Choose an interesting topic

If you are wondering how to start an argumentative essay, you should think of an interesting topic that hits close to home. What we mean is that write something that you can relate to, or you already have an idea of. You can watch the news for some current issues in politics and laws. You can talk about gay rights or climate change. Or you can also choose simple ones like the efficiency of a specific app. Ensure that in thinking of a topic, you are even considering its impact on your readers. Your argumentative essay should be insightful, and the first step to achieve this is to think of a relevant and timely topic.

Tip 2: Take a stance

What’s an argumentative essay without a stance, right? The very reason you are writing your paper is to inform the readers that you choose to take a particular side about the issue through careful analysis of the facts you have researched. This is the heart of an argumentative essay, so focus on this!

Tip 3: Do extensive research

This tip is anchored to tip no. 2. You cannot do one without the other. Before taking a stance, you should first have an initial idea of the opposing viewpoints. Once you have decided to take a side, you need to research more evidence to back up your claim. In doing so, we advise that you verify if the websites where you are drawing your facts are reputable. You don’t want to submit a paper made of fake information.

Tip 4: Create an argumentative essay outline

Outlining is already an old technique of organizing any writing piece, but it is still very useful. In creating an outline for your argumentative essay, you should list some of the facts supporting your argument and divide and distribute them in different paragraphs. Also, outline some of the opposing views and discuss some evidence why the reader should find them not plausible.

Tip 5: Use a logical argumentative essay structure

You will be able to write a more comprehensive outline if you have already established your argumentative essay structure. We strongly suggest that you follow this argumentative essay format, including the introduction, thesis, body, and conclusion. This will serve as your guide on how to write an argumentative essay step by step.

Introduction

In starting your essay, the introductory paragraph should give your reader some background about your paper’s topic. You should make it catchy by including an interesting fact and issue and then relate it to your argument.

Thesis

The thesis statement is most of the time included in the introduction. This consists of a concise summary of your main argument or your informed opinion about your essay topic.

Body

The body paragraphs contain the evidence for your claim. Each section should focus on one argument and should be explained clearly by citing some research and statistics. If you are only writing a short essay, a three-paragraph body will do.

Conclusion

Your conclusion should sum up all the evidence you have included in your essay and how it relates to your main argument. Do not include new facts because this will confuse the reader—instead, state how your whole piece can affect others on a larger scale.

Tip 6: Present both sides

What most students forget in writing an argumentative essay is to present the opposing side. They think that by doing this, they will lose the credibility of their stance. Well, that will be the case if the evidence were not clearly stated. But if you include the opposing side and worked on discrediting it through your research, you’ll find your essay more interesting. This will work on your ACT writing test and even on the SAT essay.

Tip 7: Be objective

Some students rely on their experience in presenting their arguments. This is totally wrong because experiences are subjective, and it makes your essay informal. You can be more objective in your argumentative essay by strictly presenting facts based on your research.

Tip 8: Don’t use disrespectful terms

You should avoid using disrespectful words in refuting the main argument of the opposing side. As much as possible, discredit them only with statistics and facts that you deemed relevant. Using cringe-worthy terms will not make your essay look professional, and your teacher may even find it offensive that you’re using those words for an academic requirement.

Tip 9: Do not invent evidence

This is one of the essential pieces of advice we can give on how to write an argumentative essay. Do not attempt to invent evidence just to make you sound more believable. It is already the age of the internet. You can find reliable sources in just a click, so doing this will earn you a failing grade and ruin your class reputation.

Tip 10: Include in-text citation if possible

An excellent way to show your reader that your main point is valid is through including some in-text citation. This makes you sound more profound and confident in your writing. If you aren’t familiar with this, research APA or MLA because they are among the most common formats used in academic paper requirements.

Tip 11: Find people with similar stance and quote them

If you find out that a significant person said something similar to your stance, we suggest you quote them on your paper. This kind of evidence is highly encouraged to inform the reader that you are not the only one who thinks in that particular way. 

Tip 12: Have someone critique your work

It is next to impossible to critique your work, so we recommend that you ask someone knowledgeable in writing and consult them regarding the effectiveness of the way you weaved your words. You should also ask them to look for grammatical errors you might have missed while writing. 

Sample Argumentative Essay

Among all the argumentative essay examples we saw on the web, we found this piece from Skyline College adhering to the tips we have mentioned above.

Performance Enhancement through Biotechnology Has No Place in Sports 

The debate over athletes’ use of performance-enhancing substances is getting more complicated as biotechnologies such as gene therapy become a reality. The availability of these new methods of boosting performance will force us to decide what we value most in sports—displays of physical excellence developed through hard work or victory at all costs. For centuries, spectators and athletes have cherished the tradition of fairness in sports. While sports competition is, of course, largely about winning, it is also about the means by which a player or team wins. Athletes who use any type of biotechnology give themselves an unfair advantage and disrupt the sense of fair play, and they should be banned from competition. 

Researchers are experimenting with techniques that could manipulate an athlete’s genetic code to build stronger muscles or increase endurance. Searching for cures for diseases like Parkinson’s and muscular dystrophy, scientists at the University of Pennsylvania have created “Schwarzenegger mice,” rodents that grew larger than-normal muscles after receiving injections with a gene that stimulates growth protein. The researchers also found that a combination of gene manipulation and exercise led to a 35% increase in the strength of rats’ leg muscles (Lamb 13).

Such therapies are breakthroughs for humans suffering from muscular diseases; for healthy athletes, they could mean new world records in sports involving speed and endurance—but at what cost to the integrity of athletic competition? The International Olympic Committee’s World Anti-Doping Agency has become so alarmed about the possible effects of new gene technology on athletic competition that it has banned the use of gene therapies and urged researchers to devise a test for detecting genetic modification (Lamb 13). 

Some bioethicists argue that this next wave of performance enhancement is an acceptable and unavoidable feature of competition. As Dr. Andy Miah, who supports the regulated use of gene  therapies in sports, claims,  “The idea of the naturally perfect athlete is romantic nonsense. . . . An athlete achieves what he or she achieves through all sorts of means—technology, sponsorship, support and so on”  (qtd. in Rudebeck). Miah, in fact, sees athletes’ imminent turn to genetic modification as  “merely a continuation of the way sport works; it allows us to create more extraordinary performances” (Rudebeck). Miah’s approval of “extraordinary performances” as the goal of competition reflects our culture’s tendency to demand and reward new heights of athletic achievement. The problem is that achievement nowadays increasingly results from biological and high-tech intervention rather than  strictly from hard work. 

Better equipment, such as aerodynamic bicycles and fiberglass poles for pole vaulting, have made it possible for athletes to record achievements unthinkable a generation ago. But athletes themselves must put forth the physical effort of training and practice—they must still build their skills—even in the murky area of legal and illegal drug use (Jenkins D11). There is a difference between the use of state-of-the-art equipment and drugs and the modification of the body itself. Athletes who use medical technology to alter their bodies can bypass the hard work of training by taking on the powers of a machine. If they set new records this way, we lose the opportunity to witness sports as a spectacle of human effort and are left marveling at scientific advances, which have little relation to the athletic tradition of fair play. 

Such a tradition has long defined athletic competition. Sports rely on equal conditions to ensure fair play, from regulations that demand similar equipment to referees who evenhandedly apply the rules to all participants. If the rules that guarantee an even playing field are violated, competitors and spectators alike are deprived of a sound basis of comparison on which to judge athletic effort and accomplishment. When major league baseball rules call for solid-wood bats, the player who uses a corked bat enhances his hitting statistics at the expense of players who use regulation equipment. When Ben Johnson tested positive  for steroids after setting a world record in the 100-meter dash in the 1988 Olympics, his  “achievement”  devalued the intense training that his competitors had undergone to prepare for the event—and the International Olympic Committee responded by stripping Johnson of his medal and his world record. Likewise, athletes who use gene therapy to alter their bodies and enhance their performance will create an uneven playing field.

If we let athletes alter their bodies through biotechnology, we might as well dispense with the human element altogether. Instead of watching the 100-meter dash to see who the fastest runner in the world is, we might just as well watch the sprinters mount motorcycles and race across the finish line. The absurdity of such an example, however, points to the damage that we will do to sports if we allow these therapies. Thomas Murray, chair of the ethics advisory panel for the World Anti-Doping Agency, says he hopes, not too optimistically, for an  “alternative future . . . where we still find meaning in great performances as an alchemy of two factors, natural talents . . . and virtues”  (qtd. in Jenkins D11). 

Unless we are willing to organize separate sporting events and leagues—an Olympics, say, for athletes who have opted for a boost  from the test tube and another for athletes who have chosen to keep their bodies natural—we should ask from our athletes that they dazzle us less with extraordinary performance and more with the fruits  of their hard work.

Conclusion

Let us recap the tips we have discussed in this article about how to write an argumentative essay:

Tip 1: Choose an interesting topic

Tip 2: Take a stance

Tip 3: Do extensive research

Tip 4: Create an outline

Tip 5: Use a logical structure

  • Introduction
  • Thesis
  • Body
  • Conclusion

Tip 6: Present both sides

Tip 7: Be objective

Tip 8: Don’t use disrespectful terms

Tip 9: Do not invent evidence

Tip 10: Include in-text citation if possible

Tip 11: Find people with similar stance and quote them

Tip 12: Have someone critique your work

Did we miss any tips on how to write an argumentative essay? Write it down in the comment section below!

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Todd VanDuzer

Co-Founder & CEO at Student-Tutor
Hello! My name is Todd. I help students design the life of their dreams by ensuring college, scholarship, and career success! I am a former tutor for seven years, $85,000 scholarship recipient, Huffington Post contributor, lead SAT & ACT course developer, host of a career exploration podcast for teens, and have worked with thousands of students and parents to ensure a brighter future for the next generation. I invite you to join my next webinar to learn how to save thousands + set your teenager up for college, scholarship, and career success!

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