How to Write an Argumentative Essay in Powerful Way
An argumentative essay is one of the most difficult types of essays. You need to conduct extensive research to complete your work in accordance with all the requirements. In this article, you’ll get acquainted with the steps to writing an argumentative essay. We hope that following them will help you to get the best scores. As well, you’ll find a short sample for you to know what kind of result you should get.
Before You Start
Be aware of your instructor’s requirements
Before you choose a topic, you should ask for detailed instructions. This easy but important step simplifies the rest of the process. You’ll prevent yourself from rewriting your work over and over again. Remember to ask about the length of the essay, format style, maybe structure, and of course the deadline. As a rule, instructors tell you all that, but sometimes it happens they forget to mention some details (they are still humans, aren’t they?).
Choose a topic
When you are not assigned with any defined topic, you should choose one on your own, and what is more important, you have to cope with this quickly. Keep in mind that the most time-consuming step is researching. Do not waste much time on selecting a topic — this step should take 5% or less of the whole writing process.
For an argumentative essay, you should choose an issue that is controversial. For example, there is no sense to persuade people that smoking kills, as anyone is aware of this information. You need to write about something that is still debatable.
Some pieces of advice
- If you don’t have much time before the deadline, write on a topic that you are interested in. It will take you less time to immerse yourself in this sphere. In addition, you know where to look for reliable information.
- If you have enough time before the deadline, and you would like develop your mind, choose a topic that you know nothing about or seems to be boring for you. The beauty of it is that you can change the course any moment and return to the area of your interests. But any topic should have a chance to be explored properly.
- Show your topic to your instructor, if possible. It may happen that you have some ideas, but you can’t find words to express them correctly. Ask your instructor for help. Instructors are used to academic language and it is not a problem for them to transform some idea into a specified topic.
- Select a narrow topic. For example, if you are going to write about the influence of relationships on a personality, you should specify what exactly relationships you mean. It can look like this: ‘The influence of relationships with mothers on mens’ personalities.’
Time-management is crucial for you when you are going to complete such an extensive work as an argumentative essay. The length of this work differs. It can consist of a couple of pages or 10–15 pages. For example, the sample that you’ll see in the end is quite short for an argumentative essay. It was created by a writer from EssayShark.com only as an example. Anyways, you need a lot of time to complete this work — at least a day.
We prepared an approximate plan for you. There is no sense to demonstrate a plan based on days or hours. As we already told you, some instructors will assign you a paper with the length of 20 pages, and other ones with 3 pages. So, we decided to illustrate a plan in percentages:
- Choosing a topic — 5%
- Planning — 1 %
- General researching — 20%
- Making an outline — 10%
- Detailed researching — 20%
- Writing — 30%
- Editing — 10%
- Proofreading — 4%
For example, if you have 10 hours for working on your essay (not before deadline), you’ll spend on:
- Choosing a topic — 5% — 30 min
- Planning — 2 % — 12 min
- General researching — 15% — 1 h 30 min
- Making an outline — 10% — 1 h
- Detailed researching and outline editing- 20% — 2 h
- Writing — 28% — 2 h and 50 min
- Editing — 10% — 1 h
- Proofreading — 10% — 1 h
This is only our perspective of your work. Of course, you can have your own plan. But we insist that you should definitely have some plan.
The Process of Writing
First, you should be wrapped up in your theme. Start from the nuts and bolts and continue with more specified information. Remember that your topic is controversial, so, you should look for different views on your issue. When you deal with an argumentative essay, you don’t need to express your own opinion. You should find different points of view and propose only one of them. We don’t say that you need to take a side of one particular person. Choose an opinion of a big group of people.
When you proposed one side, explain why by writing a thesis statement. It is your main idea and the rest of your essay should be dedicated to proving this idea. Stating a thesis statement is not a simple task, so we would like to give you some recommendations:
- Your thesis statement must be clear and explicit. Argumentative essay writing doesn’t imply tolerance. You should say that ‘opinion N’ is the only correct for the ‘reason N.’ You have to explain your position.
- Your statement should contain several reasons. You can’t persuade someone if you give him or her only one argument. That’s why ‘the reason N’ from the previous point should contain several little reasons. For example, if you say that apple juice is good for health, you should divide the notion of ‘health’ into smaller parts. It can look like this: ‘Apple juice is useful for our health: it improves metabolism, it affects our mental condition positively, and it is clean our teeth.’ This is crude example, but it will help you to understand the gist of a thesis statement.
Note: at this step, do not waste much time to find right words for your thesis statement, as you’ll have time for this during another step. Just express your idea in words that are understandable for you.
When you have completed this point, you should look for information that will help you to prove your idea. Make notes. Write down facts, notions, names, and theories that can be useful for reaching your goals. Do the same with opinions that you don’t support. You can’t struggle without knowing your enemy well.
Making an Outline
Besides the plan for the whole process, you should have a plan for the paper. We recommend including these general items in your outline:
- Main statements and giving arguments (reasons that you gave in thesis statement + description of your arguments)
- Opposite views and their refutations
We’ll give you more details for all these points of argumentative essay outline in paragraph writing. At this step, you should make only the first draft of your outline. It should contain only general statements. You’ll add details later.
Detailed researching and outline editing
When you have the whole picture of the essay in your mind, start looking for details that will help you persuade readers. Add specific facts, comments, results of different research, etc. Let’s return to the example with apple juice. Again, we did not say that it is a debatable issue, but it is an understandable example. The reasons why you think it is good for health were: it improves metabolism, it affects our mental condition positively, and it cleans our teeth. Your reasons are your main statements. Then, you should give arguments for each statement. For all these arguments, you’ll use the results of some research, but the research should be different. The same is with comments. You can’t ask a neurosurgeon about the metabolism gained from apple juice. It is not an area of his or her expertise. But you can ask a nutritionist to comment on it.
Subsequently, you need to add these facts in your outline. Try to express them in a few words. You do this to see the whole picture. Pay attention to whether you have enough proof or not, which paragraph you still should work on, and so on.
Let’s return to our outline and talk about every point in details.
- Strike readers’ attention from the first sentence. Your readers should be eager to continue reading. You should provoke readers’ emotions. Besides, it is not obligatory to show a positive emotion. Readers can be astonished or indignant with your statement. But they’ll continue reading, as they are intrigued. You first sentence can be expressed in the form of question. This question should make readers think about the answer for it.
- Demonstrate the importance of your topic. You can’t persuade anyone in the world to think like you. Think of your audience and its values. Write about the importance according to them.
Main statements and arguments:
We already told you how to define statements and arguments. But we would like to add that:
- Look for information in reliable sources. If you can’t find one, ask your instructor for help. If you are not sure about some pieces of information, just exclude them. No matter how they support your idea, you’ll lose credibility if someone notices that some information is unreliable. In this case, all your evidence can be discredited.
- Use up-to-date information. If your text contains some pieces of outdated information, your readers won’t be convinced that your position is the only right one. They will be even more likely to choose another position.
Opposite views and their refuting
We can’t say that we told you enough on how to write an argumentative essay if we wouldn’t explain how to refute opposing views. Use the language of evidence and arguments. You shouldn’t discredit some people or institutions, but only opinions. Do you feel the difference? Do not offend particular persons or professions, or whatever. For example, if you present the result of some research that contradicts your idea, you can say that this experiment was conducted under inappropriate conditions, as there wasn’t much information on how this experiment should be held. You can say this only if you have evidence, of course. We just wanted to show you how to refute ideas with tolerance to your opposition.
You should return to your thesis and briefly repeat your arguments that support your idea. If you succeed with the previous parts of the text, your conclusion will sound natural. Your reader thought when he or she started reading your essay: ‘why does he or she think that this is the only right opinion?’ And in the end, he or she should think: ‘oh, that’s why he thinks so, and now I agree with him or her.’ Of course, we described a perfect result. You can convince many people, but you are not going to convince everyone.
After Completing Your Essay
- Rereading. When your text is completed, you should put it away for some time. Do not read your essay immediately after writing it. You’ll definitely think that everything is perfect, as you just wrote it. Even in an hour, it will be easier for you to find weak places in your work.
- Deleting. You should delete everything from your text that makes it overloaded. First of all, delete words and expressions that do not influence the meaning of a sentence. When you are writing, you sometimes add words with the same meaning just for emphasizing something, but it is not always justified. Then, delete paragraphs that do not reveal your topic. Always keep your main idea in mind. If the information doesn’t develop it in some way, exclude such information.
- Adding. Some of your arguments can be unrevealed. Add more facts if needed. Also, you should add transitions between paragraphs.
- Again rereading. After adding and deleting stuff, you should reread the whole text again. If something still bothers, you can repeat this algorithm.
Check your text for grammatical mistakes. If don’t feel confident in your writing skills, ask someone to help you. Ask for assistance from someone is more competent than you.
What Should You Get as a Result?
We already told you a lot about how to write a good argumentative essay. Now, we are going to show you how it should look.
Argumentative Essay Sample
Was Charles Darwin An Atheist?
Charles Johnson, who died in 2001, has been forgotten. He claimed that the Apollo moon landings, and space exploration in general, were faked to lead people away from biblical truth and claimed that the world was flat. (Charles K. Johnson)
J.B. Stoner said, “we had lost the fight for preservation of the white race until God himself intervened in earthly affairs with AIDS to rescue and preserve the white race that he had created…I praise God all the time for AIDS”. (http://www.azquotes.com/quote/541862)
Both Johnson and Stoner held views which they justified from the Bible. Both were Christians who believed in God yet the realities of the modern world show their views to be misguided.
Years ago, when I was a university student, I roomed with a rough-and-ready truck driver. He told me that in all his years of driving cross country, he had never been lost. I smiled in astonishment, only to be told that he had been temporarily misdirected many times but that he had always found his way in the end.
From the perspective of those who criticize Charles Darwin, organized Christianity is the path which must be followed. Likewise, those who say that Charles Darwin was an atheist because he challenged creationism fail to realize that those who believe in God can hold reasonable and scientific beliefs. Ecclesiastes 12:7, states that change is inevitable: “and the dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit returns to God who gave it.” (New International Version)
We are all shaped by our experiences. We are shaped by our memories and these memories make us who we are today. Not one person exists in a vacuum. Through study and coming to embrace ideas, we are changed. Our thoughts allow us to grow, broaden our horizons and have our base of knowledge widened by our curiosity. This is an ontological change which profoundly influences our sense of self and for Christians and Jews, shapes our sense of the world around us. With change, however, comes uncertainty.
Forsyth-Vail (2007) notes that from early age, Darwin was always an explorer. He loved to roam the fields and hills near his home in Shrewsbury, England. He was curious about everything he saw and found delight in grasses, trees, leaves and flowers which provided homes for his favourite creature — the beetle. Although Forsyth-Vail would like to imply that Darwin was a Unitarian, and that he was greatly influenced by Unitarian beliefs, there is no evidence to support this other than conjecture.
Smith, (1999) who believes the late American country / folk singer John Denver was a prophet, indirectly captures the difficulty of classifying Darwin as a theist, “from ancient and modern times, Jesus, Gandhi, Buddha, and John Denver are souls who recognize the necessity of love and live their lives in an effort to teach that truth to others…love is the answer to all.”
Van Whyhe (2008) realizes that for most of his life Darwin was not an atheist, but a deist; that he believed that a creator had designed the universe and set up natural laws according to which all of nature was unwaveringly governed. It was the pursuit of a man of science to discover the laws by which nature operated.
For those of us who classify theists as those of us who bring comfort and support to others in times of need, Darwin does not fit this definition but in reality, love is not the answer to all. Using Smith’s definition, Darwin would be seen an as atheist, as would Stoner who preached hate. The question if Charles Darwin was an atheist is really asking for a definition of theism which goes far beyond a belief in God.
Charles K. Johnson. (2016, February 13). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved May 18, 2016 from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title+Charles_K._Johnson&oldid=704763696
Smith, C. (1999). John Denver Remembered; John — Always Flying For Me. Retrieved from http://www.vtinet.com/johndenver/article9.htm
Van Whyne, J. (2008) Darwin Online. Retrieved from http://darwin-online.org.uk/darwin.html
Forsyth-Vail, G. (2007) Adapted from Stories in Faith: Exploring Our Unitarian Universalist Principals and Sources Through Wisdom Tales. Retrieved from http://www.uua.org/re/tapestry/children/windows/session1/charles-darwin