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8 Effective Strategies to Write Argumentative Essays

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In a bustling university town, there lived a student named Alex. Popular for creativity and wit, one challenge seemed insurmountable for Alex– the dreaded argumentative essay!

One gloomy afternoon, as the rain tapped against the window pane, Alex sat at his cluttered desk, staring at a blank document on the computer screen. The assignment loomed large: a 350-600-word argumentative essay on a topic of their choice . With a sigh, he decided to seek help of mentor, Professor Mitchell, who was known for his passion for writing.

Entering Professor Mitchell’s office was like stepping into a treasure of knowledge. Bookshelves lined every wall, faint aroma of old manuscripts in the air and sticky notes over the wall. Alex took a deep breath and knocked on his door.

“Ah, Alex,” Professor Mitchell greeted with a warm smile. “What brings you here today?”

Alex confessed his struggles with the argumentative essay. After hearing his concerns, Professor Mitchell said, “Ah, the argumentative essay! Don’t worry, Let’s take a look at it together.” As he guided Alex to the corner shelf, Alex asked,

Table of Contents

“What is an Argumentative Essay?”

The professor replied, “An argumentative essay is a type of academic writing that presents a clear argument or a firm position on a contentious issue. Unlike other forms of essays, such as descriptive or narrative essays, these essays require you to take a stance, present evidence, and convince your audience of the validity of your viewpoint with supporting evidence. A well-crafted argumentative essay relies on concrete facts and supporting evidence rather than merely expressing the author’s personal opinions . Furthermore, these essays demand comprehensive research on the chosen topic and typically follows a structured format consisting of three primary sections: an introductory paragraph, three body paragraphs, and a concluding paragraph.”

He continued, “Argumentative essays are written in a wide range of subject areas, reflecting their applicability across disciplines. They are written in different subject areas like literature and philosophy, history, science and technology, political science, psychology, economics and so on.

Alex asked,

“When is an Argumentative Essay Written?”

The professor answered, “Argumentative essays are often assigned in academic settings, but they can also be written for various other purposes, such as editorials, opinion pieces, or blog posts. Some situations to write argumentative essays include:

1. Academic assignments

In school or college, teachers may assign argumentative essays as part of coursework. It help students to develop critical thinking and persuasive writing skills .

2. Debates and discussions

Argumentative essays can serve as the basis for debates or discussions in academic or competitive settings. Moreover, they provide a structured way to present and defend your viewpoint.

3. Opinion pieces

Newspapers, magazines, and online publications often feature opinion pieces that present an argument on a current issue or topic to influence public opinion.

4. Policy proposals

In government and policy-related fields, argumentative essays are used to propose and defend specific policy changes or solutions to societal problems.

5. Persuasive speeches

Before delivering a persuasive speech, it’s common to prepare an argumentative essay as a foundation for your presentation.

Regardless of the context, an argumentative essay should present a clear thesis statement , provide evidence and reasoning to support your position, address counterarguments, and conclude with a compelling summary of your main points. The goal is to persuade readers or listeners to accept your viewpoint or at least consider it seriously.”

Handing over a book, the professor continued, “Take a look on the elements or structure of an argumentative essay.”

Elements of an Argumentative Essay

An argumentative essay comprises five essential components:

Claim in argumentative writing is the central argument or viewpoint that the writer aims to establish and defend throughout the essay. A claim must assert your position on an issue and must be arguable. It can guide the entire argument.

2. Evidence

Evidence must consist of factual information, data, examples, or expert opinions that support the claim. Also, it lends credibility by strengthening the writer’s position.

3. Counterarguments

Presenting a counterclaim demonstrates fairness and awareness of alternative perspectives.

4. Rebuttal

After presenting the counterclaim, the writer refutes it by offering counterarguments or providing evidence that weakens the opposing viewpoint. It shows that the writer has considered multiple perspectives and is prepared to defend their position.

The format of an argumentative essay typically follows the structure to ensure clarity and effectiveness in presenting an argument.

How to Write An Argumentative Essay

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to write an argumentative essay:

1. Introduction

  • Begin with a compelling sentence or question to grab the reader’s attention.
  • Provide context for the issue, including relevant facts, statistics, or historical background.
  • Provide a concise thesis statement to present your position on the topic.

2. Body Paragraphs (usually three or more)

  • Start each paragraph with a clear and focused topic sentence that relates to your thesis statement.
  • Furthermore, provide evidence and explain the facts, statistics, examples, expert opinions, and quotations from credible sources that supports your thesis.
  • Use transition sentences to smoothly move from one point to the next.

3. Counterargument and Rebuttal

  • Acknowledge opposing viewpoints or potential objections to your argument.
  • Also, address these counterarguments with evidence and explain why they do not weaken your position.

4. Conclusion

  • Restate your thesis statement and summarize the key points you’ve made in the body of the essay.
  • Leave the reader with a final thought, call to action, or broader implication related to the topic.

5. Citations and References

  • Properly cite all the sources you use in your essay using a consistent citation style.
  • Also, include a bibliography or works cited at the end of your essay.

6. Formatting and Style

  • Follow any specific formatting guidelines provided by your instructor or institution.
  • Use a professional and academic tone in your writing and edit your essay to avoid content, spelling and grammar mistakes .

Remember that the specific requirements for formatting an argumentative essay may vary depending on your instructor’s guidelines or the citation style you’re using (e.g., APA, MLA, Chicago). Always check the assignment instructions or style guide for any additional requirements or variations in formatting.

Did you understand what Prof. Mitchell explained Alex? Check it now!

Fill the Details to Check Your Score

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Prof. Mitchell continued, “An argumentative essay can adopt various approaches when dealing with opposing perspectives. It may offer a balanced presentation of both sides, providing equal weight to each, or it may advocate more strongly for one side while still acknowledging the existence of opposing views.” As Alex listened carefully to the Professor’s thoughts, his eyes fell on a page with examples of argumentative essay.

Example of an Argumentative Essay

Alex picked the book and read the example. It helped him to understand the concept. Furthermore, he could now connect better to the elements and steps of the essay which Prof. Mitchell had mentioned earlier. Aren’t you keen to know how an argumentative essay should be like? Here is an example of a well-crafted argumentative essay , which was read by Alex. After Alex finished reading the example, the professor turned the page and continued, “Check this page to know the importance of writing an argumentative essay in developing skills of an individual.”

Importance of an Argumentative Essay

Importance_of_an_ArgumentativeEssays

After understanding the benefits, Alex was convinced by the ability of the argumentative essays in advocating one’s beliefs and favor the author’s position. Alex asked,

“How are argumentative essays different from the other types?”

Prof. Mitchell answered, “Argumentative essays differ from other types of essays primarily in their purpose, structure, and approach in presenting information. Unlike expository essays, argumentative essays persuade the reader to adopt a particular point of view or take a specific action on a controversial issue. Furthermore, they differ from descriptive essays by not focusing vividly on describing a topic. Also, they are less engaging through storytelling as compared to the narrative essays.

Alex said, “Given the direct and persuasive nature of argumentative essays, can you suggest some strategies to write an effective argumentative essay?

Turning the pages of the book, Prof. Mitchell replied, “Sure! You can check this infographic to get some tips for writing an argumentative essay.”

Effective Strategies to Write an Argumentative Essay

StrategiesOfWritingArgumentativeEssays

As days turned into weeks, Alex diligently worked on his essay. He researched, gathered evidence, and refined his thesis. It was a long and challenging journey, filled with countless drafts and revisions.

Finally, the day arrived when Alex submitted their essay. As he clicked the “Submit” button, a sense of accomplishment washed over him. He realized that the argumentative essay, while challenging, had improved his critical thinking and transformed him into a more confident writer. Furthermore, Alex received feedback from his professor, a mix of praise and constructive criticism. It was a humbling experience, a reminder that every journey has its obstacles and opportunities for growth.

Frequently Asked Questions

An argumentative essay can be written as follows- 1. Choose a Topic 2. Research and Collect Evidences 3. Develop a Clear Thesis Statement 4. Outline Your Essay- Introduction, Body Paragraphs and Conclusion 5. Revise and Edit 6. Format and Cite Sources 7. Final Review

One must choose a clear, concise and specific statement as a claim. It must be debatable and establish your position. Avoid using ambiguous or unclear while making a claim. To strengthen your claim, address potential counterarguments or opposing viewpoints. Additionally, use persuasive language and rhetoric to make your claim more compelling

Starting an argument essay effectively is crucial to engage your readers and establish the context for your argument. Here’s how you can start an argument essay are: 1. Begin With an Engaging Hook 2. Provide Background Information 3. Present Your Thesis Statement 4. Briefly Outline Your Main 5. Establish Your Credibility

The key features of an argumentative essay are: 1. Clear and Specific Thesis Statement 2. Credible Evidence 3. Counterarguments 4. Structured Body Paragraph 5. Logical Flow 6. Use of Persuasive Techniques 7. Formal Language

An argumentative essay typically consists of the following main parts or sections: 1. Introduction 2. Body Paragraphs 3. Counterargument and Rebuttal 4. Conclusion 5. References (if applicable)

The main purpose of an argumentative essay is to persuade the reader to accept or agree with a particular viewpoint or position on a controversial or debatable topic. In other words, the primary goal of an argumentative essay is to convince the audience that the author's argument or thesis statement is valid, logical, and well-supported by evidence and reasoning.

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You'll no doubt have to write a number of argumentative essays in both high school and college, but what, exactly, is an argumentative essay and how do you write the best one possible? Let's take a look.

A great argumentative essay always combines the same basic elements: approaching an argument from a rational perspective, researching sources, supporting your claims using facts rather than opinion, and articulating your reasoning into the most cogent and reasoned points. Argumentative essays are great building blocks for all sorts of research and rhetoric, so your teachers will expect you to master the technique before long.

But if this sounds daunting, never fear! We'll show how an argumentative essay differs from other kinds of papers, how to research and write them, how to pick an argumentative essay topic, and where to find example essays. So let's get started.

What Is an Argumentative Essay? How Is it Different from Other Kinds of Essays?

There are two basic requirements for any and all essays: to state a claim (a thesis statement) and to support that claim with evidence.

Though every essay is founded on these two ideas, there are several different types of essays, differentiated by the style of the writing, how the writer presents the thesis, and the types of evidence used to support the thesis statement.

Essays can be roughly divided into four different types:

#1: Argumentative #2: Persuasive #3: Expository #4: Analytical

So let's look at each type and what the differences are between them before we focus the rest of our time to argumentative essays.

Argumentative Essay

Argumentative essays are what this article is all about, so let's talk about them first.

An argumentative essay attempts to convince a reader to agree with a particular argument (the writer's thesis statement). The writer takes a firm stand one way or another on a topic and then uses hard evidence to support that stance.

An argumentative essay seeks to prove to the reader that one argument —the writer's argument— is the factually and logically correct one. This means that an argumentative essay must use only evidence-based support to back up a claim , rather than emotional or philosophical reasoning (which is often allowed in other types of essays). Thus, an argumentative essay has a burden of substantiated proof and sources , whereas some other types of essays (namely persuasive essays) do not.

You can write an argumentative essay on any topic, so long as there's room for argument. Generally, you can use the same topics for both a persuasive essay or an argumentative one, so long as you support the argumentative essay with hard evidence.

Example topics of an argumentative essay:

  • "Should farmers be allowed to shoot wolves if those wolves injure or kill farm animals?"
  • "Should the drinking age be lowered in the United States?"
  • "Are alternatives to democracy effective and/or feasible to implement?"

The next three types of essays are not argumentative essays, but you may have written them in school. We're going to cover them so you know what not to do for your argumentative essay.

Persuasive Essay

Persuasive essays are similar to argumentative essays, so it can be easy to get them confused. But knowing what makes an argumentative essay different than a persuasive essay can often mean the difference between an excellent grade and an average one.

Persuasive essays seek to persuade a reader to agree with the point of view of the writer, whether that point of view is based on factual evidence or not. The writer has much more flexibility in the evidence they can use, with the ability to use moral, cultural, or opinion-based reasoning as well as factual reasoning to persuade the reader to agree the writer's side of a given issue.

Instead of being forced to use "pure" reason as one would in an argumentative essay, the writer of a persuasive essay can manipulate or appeal to the reader's emotions. So long as the writer attempts to steer the readers into agreeing with the thesis statement, the writer doesn't necessarily need hard evidence in favor of the argument.

Often, you can use the same topics for both a persuasive essay or an argumentative one—the difference is all in the approach and the evidence you present.

Example topics of a persuasive essay:

  • "Should children be responsible for their parents' debts?"
  • "Should cheating on a test be automatic grounds for expulsion?"
  • "How much should sports leagues be held accountable for player injuries and the long-term consequences of those injuries?"

Expository Essay

An expository essay is typically a short essay in which the writer explains an idea, issue, or theme , or discusses the history of a person, place, or idea.

This is typically a fact-forward essay with little argument or opinion one way or the other.

Example topics of an expository essay:

  • "The History of the Philadelphia Liberty Bell"
  • "The Reasons I Always Wanted to be a Doctor"
  • "The Meaning Behind the Colloquialism ‘People in Glass Houses Shouldn't Throw Stones'"

Analytical Essay

An analytical essay seeks to delve into the deeper meaning of a text or work of art, or unpack a complicated idea . These kinds of essays closely interpret a source and look into its meaning by analyzing it at both a macro and micro level.

This type of analysis can be augmented by historical context or other expert or widely-regarded opinions on the subject, but is mainly supported directly through the original source (the piece or art or text being analyzed) .

Example topics of an analytical essay:

  • "Victory Gin in Place of Water: The Symbolism Behind Gin as the Only Potable Substance in George Orwell's 1984"
  • "Amarna Period Art: The Meaning Behind the Shift from Rigid to Fluid Poses"
  • "Adultery During WWII, as Told Through a Series of Letters to and from Soldiers"

body_juggle

There are many different types of essay and, over time, you'll be able to master them all.

A Typical Argumentative Essay Assignment

The average argumentative essay is between three to five pages, and will require at least three or four separate sources with which to back your claims . As for the essay topic , you'll most often be asked to write an argumentative essay in an English class on a "general" topic of your choice, ranging the gamut from science, to history, to literature.

But while the topics of an argumentative essay can span several different fields, the structure of an argumentative essay is always the same: you must support a claim—a claim that can reasonably have multiple sides—using multiple sources and using a standard essay format (which we'll talk about later on).

This is why many argumentative essay topics begin with the word "should," as in:

  • "Should all students be required to learn chemistry in high school?"
  • "Should children be required to learn a second language?"
  • "Should schools or governments be allowed to ban books?"

These topics all have at least two sides of the argument: Yes or no. And you must support the side you choose with evidence as to why your side is the correct one.

But there are also plenty of other ways to frame an argumentative essay as well:

  • "Does using social media do more to benefit or harm people?"
  • "Does the legal status of artwork or its creators—graffiti and vandalism, pirated media, a creator who's in jail—have an impact on the art itself?"
  • "Is or should anyone ever be ‘above the law?'"

Though these are worded differently than the first three, you're still essentially forced to pick between two sides of an issue: yes or no, for or against, benefit or detriment. Though your argument might not fall entirely into one side of the divide or another—for instance, you could claim that social media has positively impacted some aspects of modern life while being a detriment to others—your essay should still support one side of the argument above all. Your final stance would be that overall , social media is beneficial or overall , social media is harmful.

If your argument is one that is mostly text-based or backed by a single source (e.g., "How does Salinger show that Holden Caulfield is an unreliable narrator?" or "Does Gatsby personify the American Dream?"), then it's an analytical essay, rather than an argumentative essay. An argumentative essay will always be focused on more general topics so that you can use multiple sources to back up your claims.

Good Argumentative Essay Topics

So you know the basic idea behind an argumentative essay, but what topic should you write about?

Again, almost always, you'll be asked to write an argumentative essay on a free topic of your choice, or you'll be asked to select between a few given topics . If you're given complete free reign of topics, then it'll be up to you to find an essay topic that no only appeals to you, but that you can turn into an A+ argumentative essay.

What makes a "good" argumentative essay topic depends on both the subject matter and your personal interest —it can be hard to give your best effort on something that bores you to tears! But it can also be near impossible to write an argumentative essay on a topic that has no room for debate.

As we said earlier, a good argumentative essay topic will be one that has the potential to reasonably go in at least two directions—for or against, yes or no, and why . For example, it's pretty hard to write an argumentative essay on whether or not people should be allowed to murder one another—not a whole lot of debate there for most people!—but writing an essay for or against the death penalty has a lot more wiggle room for evidence and argument.

A good topic is also one that can be substantiated through hard evidence and relevant sources . So be sure to pick a topic that other people have studied (or at least studied elements of) so that you can use their data in your argument. For example, if you're arguing that it should be mandatory for all middle school children to play a sport, you might have to apply smaller scientific data points to the larger picture you're trying to justify. There are probably several studies you could cite on the benefits of physical activity and the positive effect structure and teamwork has on young minds, but there's probably no study you could use where a group of scientists put all middle-schoolers in one jurisdiction into a mandatory sports program (since that's probably never happened). So long as your evidence is relevant to your point and you can extrapolate from it to form a larger whole, you can use it as a part of your resource material.

And if you need ideas on where to get started, or just want to see sample argumentative essay topics, then check out these links for hundreds of potential argumentative essay topics.

101 Persuasive (or Argumentative) Essay and Speech Topics

301 Prompts for Argumentative Writing

Top 50 Ideas for Argumentative/Persuasive Essay Writing

[Note: some of these say "persuasive essay topics," but just remember that the same topic can often be used for both a persuasive essay and an argumentative essay; the difference is in your writing style and the evidence you use to support your claims.]

body_fight

KO! Find that one argumentative essay topic you can absolutely conquer.

Argumentative Essay Format

Argumentative Essays are composed of four main elements:

  • A position (your argument)
  • Your reasons
  • Supporting evidence for those reasons (from reliable sources)
  • Counterargument(s) (possible opposing arguments and reasons why those arguments are incorrect)

If you're familiar with essay writing in general, then you're also probably familiar with the five paragraph essay structure . This structure is a simple tool to show how one outlines an essay and breaks it down into its component parts, although it can be expanded into as many paragraphs as you want beyond the core five.

The standard argumentative essay is often 3-5 pages, which will usually mean a lot more than five paragraphs, but your overall structure will look the same as a much shorter essay.

An argumentative essay at its simplest structure will look like:

Paragraph 1: Intro

  • Set up the story/problem/issue
  • Thesis/claim

Paragraph 2: Support

  • Reason #1 claim is correct
  • Supporting evidence with sources

Paragraph 3: Support

  • Reason #2 claim is correct

Paragraph 4: Counterargument

  • Explanation of argument for the other side
  • Refutation of opposing argument with supporting evidence

Paragraph 5: Conclusion

  • Re-state claim
  • Sum up reasons and support of claim from the essay to prove claim is correct

Now let's unpack each of these paragraph types to see how they work (with examples!), what goes into them, and why.

Paragraph 1—Set Up and Claim

Your first task is to introduce the reader to the topic at hand so they'll be prepared for your claim. Give a little background information, set the scene, and give the reader some stakes so that they care about the issue you're going to discuss.

Next, you absolutely must have a position on an argument and make that position clear to the readers. It's not an argumentative essay unless you're arguing for a specific claim, and this claim will be your thesis statement.

Your thesis CANNOT be a mere statement of fact (e.g., "Washington DC is the capital of the United States"). Your thesis must instead be an opinion which can be backed up with evidence and has the potential to be argued against (e.g., "New York should be the capital of the United States").

Paragraphs 2 and 3—Your Evidence

These are your body paragraphs in which you give the reasons why your argument is the best one and back up this reasoning with concrete evidence .

The argument supporting the thesis of an argumentative essay should be one that can be supported by facts and evidence, rather than personal opinion or cultural or religious mores.

For example, if you're arguing that New York should be the new capital of the US, you would have to back up that fact by discussing the factual contrasts between New York and DC in terms of location, population, revenue, and laws. You would then have to talk about the precedents for what makes for a good capital city and why New York fits the bill more than DC does.

Your argument can't simply be that a lot of people think New York is the best city ever and that you agree.

In addition to using concrete evidence, you always want to keep the tone of your essay passionate, but impersonal . Even though you're writing your argument from a single opinion, don't use first person language—"I think," "I feel," "I believe,"—to present your claims. Doing so is repetitive, since by writing the essay you're already telling the audience what you feel, and using first person language weakens your writing voice.

For example,

"I think that Washington DC is no longer suited to be the capital city of the United States."

"Washington DC is no longer suited to be the capital city of the United States."

The second statement sounds far stronger and more analytical.

Paragraph 4—Argument for the Other Side and Refutation

Even without a counter argument, you can make a pretty persuasive claim, but a counterargument will round out your essay into one that is much more persuasive and substantial.

By anticipating an argument against your claim and taking the initiative to counter it, you're allowing yourself to get ahead of the game. This way, you show that you've given great thought to all sides of the issue before choosing your position, and you demonstrate in multiple ways how yours is the more reasoned and supported side.

Paragraph 5—Conclusion

This paragraph is where you re-state your argument and summarize why it's the best claim.

Briefly touch on your supporting evidence and voila! A finished argumentative essay.

body_plesiosaur

Your essay should have just as awesome a skeleton as this plesiosaur does. (In other words: a ridiculously awesome skeleton)

Argumentative Essay Example: 5-Paragraph Style

It always helps to have an example to learn from. I've written a full 5-paragraph argumentative essay here. Look at how I state my thesis in paragraph 1, give supporting evidence in paragraphs 2 and 3, address a counterargument in paragraph 4, and conclude in paragraph 5.

Topic: Is it possible to maintain conflicting loyalties?

Paragraph 1

It is almost impossible to go through life without encountering a situation where your loyalties to different people or causes come into conflict with each other. Maybe you have a loving relationship with your sister, but she disagrees with your decision to join the army, or you find yourself torn between your cultural beliefs and your scientific ones. These conflicting loyalties can often be maintained for a time, but as examples from both history and psychological theory illustrate, sooner or later, people have to make a choice between competing loyalties, as no one can maintain a conflicting loyalty or belief system forever.

The first two sentences set the scene and give some hypothetical examples and stakes for the reader to care about.

The third sentence finishes off the intro with the thesis statement, making very clear how the author stands on the issue ("people have to make a choice between competing loyalties, as no one can maintain a conflicting loyalty or belief system forever." )

Paragraphs 2 and 3

Psychological theory states that human beings are not equipped to maintain conflicting loyalties indefinitely and that attempting to do so leads to a state called "cognitive dissonance." Cognitive dissonance theory is the psychological idea that people undergo tremendous mental stress or anxiety when holding contradictory beliefs, values, or loyalties (Festinger, 1957). Even if human beings initially hold a conflicting loyalty, they will do their best to find a mental equilibrium by making a choice between those loyalties—stay stalwart to a belief system or change their beliefs. One of the earliest formal examples of cognitive dissonance theory comes from Leon Festinger's When Prophesy Fails . Members of an apocalyptic cult are told that the end of the world will occur on a specific date and that they alone will be spared the Earth's destruction. When that day comes and goes with no apocalypse, the cult members face a cognitive dissonance between what they see and what they've been led to believe (Festinger, 1956). Some choose to believe that the cult's beliefs are still correct, but that the Earth was simply spared from destruction by mercy, while others choose to believe that they were lied to and that the cult was fraudulent all along. Both beliefs cannot be correct at the same time, and so the cult members are forced to make their choice.

But even when conflicting loyalties can lead to potentially physical, rather than just mental, consequences, people will always make a choice to fall on one side or other of a dividing line. Take, for instance, Nicolaus Copernicus, a man born and raised in Catholic Poland (and educated in Catholic Italy). Though the Catholic church dictated specific scientific teachings, Copernicus' loyalty to his own observations and scientific evidence won out over his loyalty to his country's government and belief system. When he published his heliocentric model of the solar system--in opposition to the geocentric model that had been widely accepted for hundreds of years (Hannam, 2011)-- Copernicus was making a choice between his loyalties. In an attempt t o maintain his fealty both to the established system and to what he believed, h e sat on his findings for a number of years (Fantoli, 1994). But, ultimately, Copernicus made the choice to side with his beliefs and observations above all and published his work for the world to see (even though, in doing so, he risked both his reputation and personal freedoms).

These two paragraphs provide the reasons why the author supports the main argument and uses substantiated sources to back those reasons.

The paragraph on cognitive dissonance theory gives both broad supporting evidence and more narrow, detailed supporting evidence to show why the thesis statement is correct not just anecdotally but also scientifically and psychologically. First, we see why people in general have a difficult time accepting conflicting loyalties and desires and then how this applies to individuals through the example of the cult members from the Dr. Festinger's research.

The next paragraph continues to use more detailed examples from history to provide further evidence of why the thesis that people cannot indefinitely maintain conflicting loyalties is true.

Paragraph 4

Some will claim that it is possible to maintain conflicting beliefs or loyalties permanently, but this is often more a matter of people deluding themselves and still making a choice for one side or the other, rather than truly maintaining loyalty to both sides equally. For example, Lancelot du Lac typifies a person who claims to maintain a balanced loyalty between to two parties, but his attempt to do so fails (as all attempts to permanently maintain conflicting loyalties must). Lancelot tells himself and others that he is equally devoted to both King Arthur and his court and to being Queen Guinevere's knight (Malory, 2008). But he can neither be in two places at once to protect both the king and queen, nor can he help but let his romantic feelings for the queen to interfere with his duties to the king and the kingdom. Ultimately, he and Queen Guinevere give into their feelings for one another and Lancelot—though he denies it—chooses his loyalty to her over his loyalty to Arthur. This decision plunges the kingdom into a civil war, ages Lancelot prematurely, and ultimately leads to Camelot's ruin (Raabe, 1987). Though Lancelot claimed to have been loyal to both the king and the queen, this loyalty was ultimately in conflict, and he could not maintain it.

Here we have the acknowledgement of a potential counter-argument and the evidence as to why it isn't true.

The argument is that some people (or literary characters) have asserted that they give equal weight to their conflicting loyalties. The refutation is that, though some may claim to be able to maintain conflicting loyalties, they're either lying to others or deceiving themselves. The paragraph shows why this is true by providing an example of this in action.

Paragraph 5

Whether it be through literature or history, time and time again, people demonstrate the challenges of trying to manage conflicting loyalties and the inevitable consequences of doing so. Though belief systems are malleable and will often change over time, it is not possible to maintain two mutually exclusive loyalties or beliefs at once. In the end, people always make a choice, and loyalty for one party or one side of an issue will always trump loyalty to the other.

The concluding paragraph summarizes the essay, touches on the evidence presented, and re-states the thesis statement.

How to Write an Argumentative Essay: 8 Steps

Writing the best argumentative essay is all about the preparation, so let's talk steps:

#1: Preliminary Research

If you have the option to pick your own argumentative essay topic (which you most likely will), then choose one or two topics you find the most intriguing or that you have a vested interest in and do some preliminary research on both sides of the debate.

Do an open internet search just to see what the general chatter is on the topic and what the research trends are.

Did your preliminary reading influence you to pick a side or change your side? Without diving into all the scholarly articles at length, do you believe there's enough evidence to support your claim? Have there been scientific studies? Experiments? Does a noted scholar in the field agree with you? If not, you may need to pick another topic or side of the argument to support.

#2: Pick Your Side and Form Your Thesis

Now's the time to pick the side of the argument you feel you can support the best and summarize your main point into your thesis statement.

Your thesis will be the basis of your entire essay, so make sure you know which side you're on, that you've stated it clearly, and that you stick by your argument throughout the entire essay .

#3: Heavy-Duty Research Time

You've taken a gander at what the internet at large has to say on your argument, but now's the time to actually read those sources and take notes.

Check scholarly journals online at Google Scholar , the Directory of Open Access Journals , or JStor . You can also search individual university or school libraries and websites to see what kinds of academic articles you can access for free. Keep track of your important quotes and page numbers and put them somewhere that's easy to find later.

And don't forget to check your school or local libraries as well!

#4: Outline

Follow the five-paragraph outline structure from the previous section.

Fill in your topic, your reasons, and your supporting evidence into each of the categories.

Before you begin to flesh out the essay, take a look at what you've got. Is your thesis statement in the first paragraph? Is it clear? Is your argument logical? Does your supporting evidence support your reasoning?

By outlining your essay, you streamline your process and take care of any logic gaps before you dive headfirst into the writing. This will save you a lot of grief later on if you need to change your sources or your structure, so don't get too trigger-happy and skip this step.

Now that you've laid out exactly what you'll need for your essay and where, it's time to fill in all the gaps by writing it out.

Take it one step at a time and expand your ideas into complete sentences and substantiated claims. It may feel daunting to turn an outline into a complete draft, but just remember that you've already laid out all the groundwork; now you're just filling in the gaps.

If you have the time before deadline, give yourself a day or two (or even just an hour!) away from your essay . Looking it over with fresh eyes will allow you to see errors, both minor and major, that you likely would have missed had you tried to edit when it was still raw.

Take a first pass over the entire essay and try your best to ignore any minor spelling or grammar mistakes—you're just looking at the big picture right now. Does it make sense as a whole? Did the essay succeed in making an argument and backing that argument up logically? (Do you feel persuaded?)

If not, go back and make notes so that you can fix it for your final draft.

Once you've made your revisions to the overall structure, mark all your small errors and grammar problems so you can fix them in the next draft.

#7: Final Draft

Use the notes you made on the rough draft and go in and hack and smooth away until you're satisfied with the final result.

A checklist for your final draft:

  • Formatting is correct according to your teacher's standards
  • No errors in spelling, grammar, and punctuation
  • Essay is the right length and size for the assignment
  • The argument is present, consistent, and concise
  • Each reason is supported by relevant evidence
  • The essay makes sense overall

#8: Celebrate!

Once you've brought that final draft to a perfect polish and turned in your assignment, you're done! Go you!

body_prepared_rsz

Be prepared and ♪ you'll never go hungry again ♪, *cough*, or struggle with your argumentative essay-writing again. (Walt Disney Studios)

Good Examples of Argumentative Essays Online

Theory is all well and good, but examples are key. Just to get you started on what a fully-fleshed out argumentative essay looks like, let's see some examples in action.

Check out these two argumentative essay examples on the use of landmines and freons (and note the excellent use of concrete sources to back up their arguments!).

The Use of Landmines

A Shattered Sky

The Take-Aways: Keys to Writing an Argumentative Essay

At first, writing an argumentative essay may seem like a monstrous hurdle to overcome, but with the proper preparation and understanding, you'll be able to knock yours out of the park.

Remember the differences between a persuasive essay and an argumentative one, make sure your thesis is clear, and double-check that your supporting evidence is both relevant to your point and well-sourced . Pick your topic, do your research, make your outline, and fill in the gaps. Before you know it, you'll have yourself an A+ argumentative essay there, my friend.

What's Next?

Now you know the ins and outs of an argumentative essay, but how comfortable are you writing in other styles? Learn more about the four writing styles and when it makes sense to use each .

Understand how to make an argument, but still having trouble organizing your thoughts? Check out our guide to three popular essay formats and choose which one is right for you.

Ready to make your case, but not sure what to write about? We've created a list of 50 potential argumentative essay topics to spark your imagination.

Courtney scored in the 99th percentile on the SAT in high school and went on to graduate from Stanford University with a degree in Cultural and Social Anthropology. She is passionate about bringing education and the tools to succeed to students from all backgrounds and walks of life, as she believes open education is one of the great societal equalizers. She has years of tutoring experience and writes creative works in her free time.

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Argumentative Essay Writing

Cathy A.

Argumentative Essay - A Complete Writing Guide

11 min read

Published on: Mar 10, 2023

Last updated on: Jan 30, 2024

argumentative essay writing

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Writing an argumentative essay is in every student’s academic life. No matter which level you are on, writing essays will be part of your life.

So learning to write good essays is essential if you want to be successful. Students who want to ace their language class often forget that their grades massive chunk depends on essay writing.

Writing about these arguments can be tricky, but one should know the art of doing so. This blog focuses on what an argumentative essay is and how it is written.

So without further ado, let’s begin!

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What is an Argumentative Essay?

An argumentative essay is a piece of writing in which your argument is the most important thing.

An argumentative essay has various other approaches, but they all share the basic idea and purpose. In this essay, a writer is asked to investigate and analyze a topic or a subject. 

Moreover, the writer chooses which side of the issue he stands on and asks for reasons and evidence for his stance.

Unlike other essay types, this essay is based on the logic and facts that a writer uses to prove his claim.

Although an argumentative essay is based on an argument, this is nothing like a verbal argument between two informal people in a really heated situation. Therefore, the presentation of the argument in this essay is different.

The primary goal of this essay is based on a point-counterpoint idea. Thus, the writer presents his argument and the counter-argument and leaves it to the audience to decide which side to support.

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Types of Arguments

Generally speaking, there are three types of arguments. These arguments are used in the formation of your argumentative essay. 

All these types of arguments can be separately used or used in combination in your essay, depending on the topic and how you present it.

Rogerian Argument Strategy

A Rogerian model is a negotiating strategy in which you identify common ideas or goals. Also, opposing arguments and views are presented objectively to reach an agreement.

Topic: Should smoking be banned in public places?

In a Rogerian argument, you would aim to find common ground between those in favor of and those against the ban on smoking in public places. 

For example:

Aristotelian Argument Strategy

According to this strategy, a writer tries to persuade their audience to a specific point of view. This argument is made on ethos, pathos, and logos.

Topic: Should school uniforms be mandatory?

Using the Aristotelian argument strategy, you would appeal to the audience's emotions, credibility, and logical reasoning. 

For instance:

Toulmin Argument Strategy

This argument strategy breaks down an argument into several parts using logic and facts. This argument style has 6 elements; backing, warrant, claim, quantifier, grounds, and rebuttal.

Topic: Should the use of plastic bags be banned?

No matter which argument type you choose, make sure to persuade the audience with powerful reasoning.

Check our expert blog on types of arguments to learn more in detail!

How to Start an Argumentative Essay?

A writer can not just jump onto the writing process of an argumentative essay. Before beginning the actual writing process, there is a whole pre-writing procedure that should be considered.

The pre-writing procedure involves drafting a plan according to which the writer will craft his essay. The following are the steps that you should take to plan out your argumentative essay:

  • Discover your topic
  • Decide on the claim
  • Pick your stance
  • Conduct research
  • Develop an argumentative essay outline

These steps will make the writing procedure easier for you. Each step is discussed in detail in the following section.

1. Discover your Topic

To begin your essay, you must have a topic or a subject to write your paper on. A good argumentative essay is based on a strong persuasive topic presented to the reader by a writer.

Choose a topic of interest or an issue that prevails widely in your society to talk and persuade people about it.

There is a criterion while selecting a topic. If your topic answers the following question vividly, then it is “The Topic”.

  • Why did that particular event happen?
  • Significance
  • Writer's reaction
  • Select a topic that you can think can be proved with logic and facts.

Check out this video to learn more about selecting a topic!

2. Decide on the Claim

After you have your topic, develop your claim. Generally, there are five types of claims that are used in the argumentative essay.

If not all, try to use some of these claims to give your essay strength.

  • Value - Is your topic valuable? Is it meaningful and worthy enough to talk about?
  • Authenticity - Is your claim a fact or not?
  • Cause and Effect - How it happened and what was the cause of the occurrence of the issue? Its effects?
  • Definition - What the particular issue is? Its interpretation, definition, and classification?
  • Policy - What are the courses of action that should take? How to tackle the specific issue?

Try to use some of these claims to give your essay strength.

3. Pick your Stance

Every coin has two sides. When you select your topic of the issue, you know there is another side to it as well. 

To write an argumentative essay, a writer needs to weigh both sides of the argument. They need to analyze which side is stronger and can be justified by logic and facts .

Unlike a persuasive essay, an argumentative essay presents the argument of an opposing side, letting the audience decide which side to choose.

4. Conduct Research

When you choose a topic for your essay, ensure the information can be easily gathered. You want maximum logic and facts to prove your point.

Opinions will not make a difference in this essay type, so it is important to present authentic and reliable information for the readers.

You can only convince the reader with your point of view that is logically sound and by providing supporting material to your thesis statement. So, first, do research and write the essay.

5. Develop an Argumentative Essay Outline

An argumentative essay follows the basic 5 paragraph outline. An outline of an argumentative essay includes:

A complete argumentative essay outline guide will help you further. After arranging all the gathered information in these sections, grab a pen to start writing your essay.

How to Write an Argumentative Essay?

Once you have a proper plan for your essay, it is time to start drafting it. Keep in mind the outline developed and start writing your argumentative essay in the following order:

1. Argumentative Essay Introduction

As the name suggests, the introductory paragraph introduces the topic or the issue that a writer selected for his audience.

In these paragraphs, a hook is written to grab the reader’s attention and motivate them to read your essay. A hook is the opening line of an essay and plays a significant role in your essay.

Another ingredient that is used to make an introduction is the background information about your topic. 

Here, provide information about the previous works concerning your topic, their findings, etc. Mention the strengths and weaknesses of the chosen topic.

The last and most important part is the thesis statement of your essay.

It is the main argument on which your entire essay is based. All the information in the content aims to prove this statement by providing evidence and facts.

2. Argumentative Essay Body Paragraphs

The body of an argumentative essay contains shreds of evidence and material that support the claim and the major thesis statement.

Each paragraph starts with a topic sentence. Then, all the information in that paragraph talks about a particular idea about the subject.

In the body paragraphs of an argumentative essay, the writer presents his arguments, supporting information that proves the argument is valid, and the counter-argument.

All of this information is provided by maintaining the transition. It helps protect the essay’s flow. Together, all the paragraphs aim and lead up to the conclusion.

3. Argumentative Essay Conclusion

In the conclusion of an argumentative essay, the writer describes the key ideas, restating the thesis statement. Also, in the concluding paragraphs, the writer put forward the courses of action and gives the final verdict.

 Argumentative Essay Examples

Below are some examples of argumentative essays presented for you by experts.

Argumentative Essay Outline

Argumentative Essay Example

Argumentative Essay Format

Follow these examples to get an idea of how a professional argumentative essay is written.

Argumentative Essay Topics

Topics for an argumentative essay can easily take from your day-to-day life. But for your ease, our experts have gathered some good essay topics so that you can write the best essays.

Following is a list of some good topics:

  • Are college degrees worth their price?
  • Does everyone need to go to college to be successful?
  • Why is Shakespeare the greatest poet of all time?
  • College students must be providing practical life knowledge as well.
  • Are SATs effective for everyone?
  • What is the importance of learning multiple languages?
  • Do violent video games affect child behavior?
  • How does social media lead to isolation?
  • How important is the censorship of online content?
  • Is fast food really the cause of obesity and other diseases in the United States?
  • Is it justified to test animals for beauty products in any way?
  • Is mercy killing justified?
  • Women can multitask better.
  • Electronic voting - What are its pros and cons?
  • Should there be an option for Youtubers to edit foul and derogatory comments?

Check our extensive blog on argumentative essay topics to get inspired. 

Writing an argumentative paper for high school can be overwhelming, but you can score best in it once you get to know the basics. 

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160 Good Argumentative Essay Topics for Students in 2024

April 3, 2024

argumentative essay topics

The skill of writing an excellent argumentative essay is a crucial one for every high school or college student to master. In sum, argumentative essays teach students how to organize their thoughts logically and present them in a convincing way. This skill is helpful not only for those pursuing degrees in law , international relations , or public policy , but for any student who wishes to develop their critical thinking faculties. In this article, we’ll cover what makes a good argument essay and offer several argumentative essay topics for high school and college students. Let’s begin!

What is an Argumentative Essay?

An argumentative essay is an essay that uses research to present a reasoned argument on a particular subject . As with the persuasive essay , the purpose of an argumentative essay is to sway the reader to the writer’s position. However, a strong persuasive essay makes its point through diligent research and emotion while a strong argumentative essay should be based solely on facts, not feelings.

Moreover, each fact should be supported by clear evidence from credible sources . Furthermore, a good argumentative essay will have an easy-to-follow structure. When organizing your argumentative essay, use this format as a guide:

  • Introduction
  • Supporting body paragraphs
  • Paragraph(s) addressing common counterarguments

Argumentative Essay Format

In the introduction , the writer presents their position and thesis statement —a sentence that summarizes the paper’s main points. The body paragraphs then draw upon supporting evidence to back up this initial statement, with each paragraph focusing on its own point. The length of your paper will determine the amount of examples you need. In general, you’ll likely need at least two to three. Additionally, your examples should be as detailed as possible, citing specific research, case studies, statistics, or anecdotes.

In the counterargument paragraph , the writer acknowledges and refutes opposing viewpoints. Finally, in the conclusion , the writer restates the main argument made in the thesis statement and summarizes the points of the essay. Additionally, the conclusion may offer a final proposal to persuade the reader of the essay’s position.

How to Write an Effective Argumentative Essay, Step by Step

  • Choose your topic. Use the list below to help you pick a topic. Ideally, a good argumentative essay topic will be meaningful to you—writing is always stronger when you are interested in the subject matter. In addition, the topic should be complex with plenty of “pro” and “con” arguments. Avoid choosing a topic that is either widely accepted as fact or too narrow. For example, “Is the earth round?” would not be a solid choice.
  • Research. Use the library, the web, and any other resources to gather information about your argumentative essay topic. Research widely but smartly. As you go, take organized notes, marking the source of every quote and where it may fit in the scheme of your larger essay. Moreover, remember to look for (and research) possible counterarguments.
  • Outline . Using the argument essay format above, create an outline for your essay. Then, brainstorm a thesis statement covering your argument’s main points, and begin to put your examples in order, focusing on logical flow. It’s often best to place your strongest example last.
  • Write . Draw on your research and outline to create a first draft. Remember, your first draft doesn’t need to be perfect. (As Voltaire says, “Perfect is the enemy of good.”) Accordingly, just focus on getting the words down on paper.
  • Does my thesis statement need to be adjusted?
  • Which examples feel strongest? Weakest?
  • Do the transitions flow smoothly?
  • Do I have a strong opening paragraph?
  • Does the conclusion reinforce my argument?

Tips for Revising an Argument Essay

Evaluating your own work can be difficult, so you might consider the following strategies:

  • Read your work aloud to yourself.
  • Record yourself reading your paper, and listen to the recording.
  • Reverse outline your paper. Firstly, next to each paragraph, write a short summary of that paragraph’s main points/idea. Then, read through your reverse outline. Does it have a logical flow? If not, where should you adjust?
  • Print out your paper and cut it into paragraphs. What happens when you rearrange the paragraphs?

Good Argumentative Essay Topics for Middle School, High School, and College Students

Family argumentative essay topics.

  • Should the government provide financial incentives for families to have children to address the declining birth rate?
  • Should we require parents to provide their children with a certain level of nutrition and physical activity to prevent childhood obesity?
  • Should parents implement limits on how much time their children spend playing video games?
  • Should cell phones be banned from family/holiday gatherings?
  • Should we hold parents legally responsible for their children’s actions?
  • Should children have the right to sue their parents for neglect?
  • Should parents have the right to choose their child’s religion?
  • Are spanking and other forms of physical punishment an effective method of discipline?
  • Should courts allow children to choose where they live in cases of divorce?
  • Should parents have the right to monitor teens’ activity on social media?
  • Should parents control their child’s medical treatment, even if it goes against the child’s wishes?
  • Should parents be allowed to post pictures of their children on social media without their consent?
  • Should fathers have a legal say in whether their partners do or do not receive an abortion?
  • Can television have positive developmental benefits on children?
  • Should the driving age be raised to prevent teen car accidents?
  • Should adult children be legally required to care for their aging parents?

Education Argument Essay Topics

  • Should schools ban the use of technology like ChatGPT?
  • Are zoos unethical, or necessary for conservation and education?
  • To what degree should we hold parents responsible in the event of a school shooting?
  • Should schools offer students a set number of mental health days?
  • Should school science curriculums offer a course on combating climate change?
  • Should public libraries be allowed to ban certain books? If so, what types?
  • What role, if any, should prayer play in public schools?
  • Should schools push to abolish homework?
  • Are gifted and talented programs in schools more harmful than beneficial due to their exclusionary nature?
  • Should universities do away with Greek life?
  • Should schools remove artwork, such as murals, that some perceive as offensive?
  • Should the government grant parents the right to choose alternative education options for their children and use taxpayer funds to support these options?
  • Is homeschooling better than traditional schooling for children’s academic and social development?
  • Should we require schools to teach sex education to reduce teen pregnancy rates?
  • Should we require schools to provide sex education that includes information about both homosexual and heterosexual relationships?
  • Should colleges use affirmative action and other race-conscious policies to address diversity on campus?
  • Should public schools remove the line “under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance?
  • Should college admissions officers be allowed to look at students’ social media accounts?
  • Should schools abolish their dress codes, many of which unfairly target girls, LGBTQ students, and students of color?
  • Should schools be required to stock free period products in bathrooms?
  • Should legacy students receive preferential treatment during the college admissions process?
  • Are school “voluntourism” trips ethical?

Government Argumentative Essay Topics

  • Should the U.S. decriminalize prostitution?
  • Should the U.S. issue migration visas to all eligible applicants?
  • Should the federal government cancel all student loan debt?
  • Should we lower the minimum voting age? If so, to what?
  • Should the federal government abolish all laws penalizing drug production and use?
  • Should the U.S. use its military power to deter a Chinese invasion of Taiwan?
  • Should the U.S. supply Ukraine with further military intelligence and supplies?
  • Should the North and South of the U.S. split up into two regions?
  • Should Americans hold up nationalism as a critical value?
  • Should we permit Supreme Court justices to hold their positions indefinitely?
  • Should Supreme Court justices be democratically elected?
  • Is the Electoral College still a productive approach to electing the U.S. president?
  • Should the U.S. implement a national firearm registry?
  • Is it ethical for countries like China and Israel to mandate compulsory military service for all citizens?
  • Should the U.S. government implement a ranked-choice voting system?
  • Should institutions that benefited from slavery be required to provide reparations?
  • Based on the 1619 project, should history classes change how they teach about the founding of the U.S.?
  • Should term limits be imposed on Senators and Representatives? If so, how long?
  • Should women be allowed into special forces units?
  • Should the federal government implement stronger, universal firearm licensing laws?
  • Do public sex offender registries help prevent future sex crimes?
  • Should the government be allowed to regulate family size?
  • Should all adults legally be considered mandated reporters?
  • Should the government fund public universities to make higher education more accessible to low-income students?
  • Should the government fund universal preschool to improve children’s readiness for kindergarten?

Health/Bioethics Argumentative Essay Topics

  • Should the U.S. government offer its own healthcare plan?
  • In the case of highly infectious pandemics, should we focus on individual freedoms or public safety when implementing policies to control the spread?
  • Should we legally require parents to vaccinate their children to protect public health?
  • Is it ethical for parents to use genetic engineering to create “designer babies” with specific physical and intellectual traits?
  • Should the government fund research on embryonic stem cells for medical treatments?
  • Should the government legalize assisted suicide for terminally ill patients?
  • Should organ donation be mandatory?
  • Is cloning animals ethical?
  • Should cancer screenings start earlier? If so, what age?
  • Is surrogacy ethical?
  • Should birth control require a prescription?
  • Should minors have access to emergency contraception?
  • Should hospitals be for-profit or nonprofit institutions?

Good Argumentative Essay Topics — Continued

Social media argumentative essay topics.

  • Should the federal government increase its efforts to minimize the negative impact of social media?
  • Do social media and smartphones strengthen one’s relationships?
  • Should antitrust regulators take action to limit the size of big tech companies?
  • Should social media platforms ban political advertisements?
  • Should the federal government hold social media companies accountable for instances of hate speech discovered on their platforms?
  • Do apps such as TikTok and Instagram ultimately worsen the mental well-being of teenagers?
  • Should governments oversee how social media platforms manage their users’ data?
  • Should social media platforms like Facebook enforce a minimum age requirement for users?
  • Should social media companies be held responsible for cases of cyberbullying?
  • Should the United States ban TikTok?
  • Is social media harmful to children?
  • Should employers screen applicants’ social media accounts during the hiring process?

Religion Argument Essay Topics

  • Should religious institutions be tax-exempt?
  • Should religious symbols such as the hijab or crucifix be allowed in public spaces?
  • Should religious freedoms be protected, even when they conflict with secular laws?
  • Should the government regulate religious practices?
  • Should we allow churches to engage in political activities?
  • Religion: a force for good or evil in the world?
  • Should the government provide funding for religious schools?
  • Is it ethical for healthcare providers to deny abortions based on religious beliefs?
  • Should religious organizations be allowed to discriminate in their hiring practices?
  • Should we allow people to opt out of medical treatments based on their religious beliefs?
  • Should the U.S. government hold religious organizations accountable for cases of sexual abuse within their community?
  • Should religious beliefs be exempt from anti-discrimination laws?
  • Should religious individuals be allowed to refuse services to others based on their beliefs or lifestyles? (As in this famous case .)
  • Should the US ban religion-based federal holidays?
  • Should public schools be allowed to teach children about religious holidays?

Science Argument Essay Topics

  • Would the world be safer if we eliminated nuclear weapons?
  • Should scientists bring back extinct animals? If so, which ones?
  • Should we hold companies fiscally responsible for their carbon footprint?
  • Should we ban pesticides in favor of organic farming methods?
  • Should the federal government ban all fossil fuels, despite the potential economic impact on specific industries and communities?
  • What renewable energy source should the U.S. invest more money in?
  • Should the FDA outlaw GMOs?
  • Should we worry about artificial intelligence surpassing human intelligence?
  • Should the alternative medicine industry be more stringently regulated?
  • Is colonizing Mars a viable option?
  • Is the animal testing worth the potential to save human lives?

Sports Argument Essay Topics

  • Should colleges compensate student-athletes?
  • How should sports teams and leagues address the gender pay gap?
  • Should youth sports teams do away with scorekeeping?
  • Should we ban aggressive contact sports like boxing and MMA?
  • Should professional sports associations mandate that athletes stand during the national anthem?
  • Should high schools require their student-athletes to maintain a certain GPA?
  • Should transgender athletes compete in sports according to their gender identity?
  • Should schools ban football due to the inherent danger it poses to players?
  • Should performance-enhancing drugs be allowed in sports?
  • Do participation trophies foster entitlement and unrealistic expectations?
  • Should sports teams be divided by gender?
  • Should professional athletes be allowed to compete in the Olympics?
  • Should women be allowed on NFL teams?

Technology Argumentative Essay Topics

  • Should sites like DALL-E compensate the artists whose work it was trained on?
  • Should the federal government make human exploration of space a more significant priority?
  • Is it ethical for the government to use surveillance technology to monitor citizens?
  • Should websites require proof of age from their users? If so, what age?
  • Should we consider A.I.-generated images and text pieces of art?
  • Does the use of facial recognition technology violate individuals’ privacy?
  • Is online learning as effective as in-person learning?
  • Does computing harm the environment?
  • Should buying, sharing, and selling collected personal data be illegal?
  • Are electric cars really better for the environment?
  • Should car companies be held responsible for self-driving car accidents?
  • Should private jets be banned?
  • Do violent video games contribute to real-life violence?

Business Argument Essay Topics

  • Should the U.S. government phase out the use of paper money in favor of a fully digital currency system?
  • Should the federal government abolish its patent and copyright laws?
  • Should we replace the Federal Reserve with free-market institutions?
  • Is free-market ideology responsible for the U.S. economy’s poor performance over the past decade?
  • Will cryptocurrencies overtake natural resources like gold and silver?
  • Is capitalism the best economic system? What system would be better?
  • Should the U.S. government enact a universal basic income?
  • Should we require companies to provide paid parental leave to their employees?
  • Should the government raise the minimum wage? If so, to what?
  • Should antitrust regulators break up large companies to promote competition?
  • Is it ethical for companies to prioritize profits over social responsibility?
  • Should gig-economy workers like Uber and Lyft drivers be considered employees or independent contractors?
  • Should the federal government regulate the gig economy to ensure fair treatment of workers?
  • Should the government require companies to disclose the environmental impact of their products?
  • Should companies be allowed to fire employees based on political views or activities?
  • Should tipping practices be phased out?
  • Should employees who choose not to have children be given the same amount of paid leave as parents?
  • Should MLMs (multi-level marketing companies) be illegal?
  • Should employers be allowed to factor tattoos and personal appearance into hiring decisions?

In Conclusion – Argument Essay Topics

Using the tips above, you can effectively structure and pen a compelling argumentative essay that will wow your instructor and classmates. Remember to craft a thesis statement that offers readers a roadmap through your essay, draw on your sources wisely to back up any claims, and read through your paper several times before it’s due to catch any last-minute proofreading errors. With time, diligence, and patience, your essay will be the most outstanding assignment you’ve ever turned in…until the next one rolls around.

Looking for more fresh and engaging topics for use in the classroom? You might consider checking out the following:

  • 125 Good Debate Topics for High School Students
  • 150 Good Persuasive Speech Topics
  • 7 Best Places to Study
  • Guide to the IB Extended Essay
  • How to Write the AP Lang Rhetorical Analysis Essay
  • AP Lit Reading List
  • How to Write the AP Lang Synthesis Essay
  • 49 Most Interesting Biology Research Topics
  • High School Success

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Lauren Green

With a Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing from Columbia University and an MFA in Fiction from the Michener Center for Writers at the University of Texas at Austin, Lauren has been a professional writer for over a decade. She is the author of the chapbook  A Great Dark House  (Poetry Society of America, 2023) and a forthcoming novel (Viking/Penguin).

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how to write a college level argumentative essay

52 Argumentative Essay Ideas that are Actually Interesting

What’s covered:, how to pick a good argumentative essay topic, elements of a strong argumentative essay, argumentative essay idea example topics.

Are you having writer’s block? Coming up with an essay topic can be the hardest part of the process. You have very likely encountered argumentative essay writing in high school and have been asked to write your own. If you’re having trouble finding a topic, we’ve created a list of 52 essay ideas to help jumpstart your brainstorming process! In addition, this post will cover strategies for picking a topic and how to make your argument a strong one. Ultimately, the goal is to convince your reader. 

An argumentative essay tasks the writer with presenting an assertion and bolstering that assertion with proper research. You’ll present the claim’s authenticity. This means that whatever argument you’re making must be empirically true! Writing an argumentative essay without any evidence will leave you stranded without any facts to back up your claim. When choosing your essay topic, begin by thinking about themes that have been researched before. Readers will be more engaged with an argument that is supported by data.

This isn’t to say that your argumentative essay topic has to be as well-known, like “Gravity: Does it Exist?” but it shouldn’t be so obscure that there isn’t ample evidence. Finding a topic with multiple sources confirming its validity will help you support your thesis throughout your essay. If upon review of these articles you begin to doubt their worth due to small sample sizes, biased funding sources, or scientific disintegrity, don’t be afraid to move on to a different topic. Your ultimate goal should be proving to your audience that your argument is true because the data supports it.

The hardest essays to write are the ones that you don’t care about. If you don’t care about your topic, why should someone else? Topics that are more personal to the reader are immediately more thoughtful and meaningful because the author’s passion shines through. If you are free to choose an argumentative essay topic, find a topic where the papers you read and cite are fun to read. It’s much easier to write when the passion is already inside of you!

However, you won’t always have the choice to pick your topic. You may receive an assignment to write an argumentative essay that you feel is boring. There is still value in writing an argumentative essay on a topic that may not be of interest to you. It will push you to study a new topic, and broaden your ability to write on a variety of topics. Getting good at proving a point thoroughly and effectively will help you to both understand different fields more completely and increase your comfort with scientific writing.

Convincing Thesis Statement

It’s important to remember the general essay structure: an introduction paragraph with a thesis statement, body paragraphs, and a conclusion. A strong thesis statement will set your essay up for success. What is it? A succinct, concise, and pithy sentence found in your first paragraph that summarizes your main point. Pour over this statement to ensure that you can set up your reader to understand your essay. You should also restate your thesis throughout your essay to keep your reader focused on your point.

Ample Research

A typical argumentative essay prompt may look like this: “What has been the most important invention of the 21st century? Support your claim with evidence.” This question is open-ended and gives you flexibility. But that also means it requires research to prove your point convincingly. The strongest essays weave scientific quotes and results into your writing. You can use recent articles, primary sources, or news sources. Maybe you even cite your own research. Remember, this process takes time, so be sure you set aside enough time to dive deep into your topic.

Clear Structure

If the reader can’t follow your argument, all your research could be for nothing! Structure is key to persuading your audience. Below are two common argumentative essay structures that you can use to organize your essays.

The Toulmin argument and the Rogerian argument each contain the four sections mentioned above but executes them in different ways. Be sure to familiarize yourself with both essay structures so that your essay is the most effective it can be.

The Toulmin argument has a straightforward presentation. You begin with your assertion, your thesis statement. You then list the evidence that supports your point and why these are valid sources. The bulk of your essay should be explaining how your sources support your claim. You then end your essay by acknowledging and discussing the problems or flaws that readers may find in your presentation. Then, you should list the solutions to these and alternative perspectives and prove your argument is stronger.

The Rogerian argument has a more complex structure. You begin with a discussion of what opposing sides do right and the validity of their arguments. This is effective because it allows you to piece apart your opponent’s argument. The next section contains your position on the questions. In this section, it is important to list problems with your opponent’s argument that your argument fixes. This way, your position feels much stronger. Your essay ends with suggesting a possible compromise between the two sides. A combination of the two sides could be the most effective solution.

  • Is the death penalty effective?
  • Is our election process fair?
  • Is the electoral college outdated?
  • Should we have lower taxes?
  • How many Supreme Court Justices should there be?
  • Should there be different term limits for elected officials?
  • Should the drinking age be lowered?
  • Does religion cause war?
  • Should the country legalize marijuana?
  • Should the country have tighter gun control laws?
  • Should men get paternity leave?
  • Should maternity leave be longer?
  • Should smoking be banned?
  • Should the government have a say in our diet?
  • Should birth control be free?
  • Should we increase access to condoms for teens?
  • Should abortion be legal?
  • Do school uniforms help educational attainment?
  • Are kids better or worse students than they were ten years ago?
  • Should students be allowed to cheat?
  • Is school too long?
  • Does school start too early?
  • Are there benefits to attending a single-sex school?
  • Is summer break still relevant?
  • Is college too expensive?

Art / Culture

  • How can you reform copyright law?
  • What was the best decade for music?
  • Do video games cause students to be more violent?
  • Should content online be more harshly regulated?
  • Should graffiti be considered art or vandalism?
  • Should schools ban books?
  • How important is art education?
  • Should music be taught in school?
  • Are music-sharing services helpful to artists?
  • What is the best way to teach science in a religious school?
  • Should fracking be legal?
  • Should parents be allowed to modify their unborn children?
  • Should vaccinations be required for attending school?
  • Are GMOs helpful or harmful?
  • Are we too dependent on our phones?
  • Should everyone have internet access?
  • Should internet access be free?
  • Should the police force be required to wear body cams?
  • Should social media companies be allowed to collect data from their users?
  • How has the internet impacted human society?
  • Should self-driving cars be allowed on the streets?
  • Should athletes be held to high moral standards?
  • Are professional athletes paid too much?
  • Should the U.S. have more professional sports teams?
  • Should sports be separated by gender?
  • Should college athletes be paid?
  • What are the best ways to increase safety in sports?

Where to Get More Argumentative Essay Topic Ideas

If you need more help brainstorming topics, especially those that are personalized to your interests, you can use CollegeVine’s free AI tutor, Ivy . Ivy can help you come up with original argumentative essay ideas, and she can also help with the rest of your homework, from math to languages.

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how to write a college level argumentative essay

Writing a Persuasive Essay

View in pdf format, the introduction.

Simply enough, the introductory paragraph introduces the argument of your paper. A well-constructed introductory paragraph immediately captures a reader’s interest and gives appropriate background information about the paper’s topic. Such a paragraph might include a brief summary of the ideas to be discussed in body of the paper as well as other information relevant to your paper’s argument. The most important function of the introductory paragraph, however, is to present a clear statement of the paper’s argument. This sentence is your paper’s thesis. Without a thesis, it is impossible for you to present an effective argument. The thesis sentence should reflect both the position that you will argue and the organizational pattern with which you will present and support your argument. A useful way to think about the construction of a thesis sentence is to view it in terms of stating both the “what” and the “how” of the paper’s argument. The “what” is simply the basic argument in your paper: what exactly are you arguing? The “how” is the strategy you will use to present this argument. The following are helpful questions for you to consider when formulating a thesis sentence:

  • What is the argument that I am trying to convince the reader to accept?
  • How exactly do I expect to convince the reader that this argument is sound?

Once you have answered these questions, the next step is to synthesize these answers into a single thesis sentence, or, if necessary, two thesis sentences.

For example: You want to convince your reader that the forces of industry did not shape American foreign policy from the late 19th century through 1914, and you plan to do this by showing that there were other factors which were much more influential in shaping American foreign policy. Both of these elements can be synthesized into a thesis sentence:

Fear of foreign influence in the Western hemisphere, national pride, and contemporary popular ideas concerning both expansion and foreign peoples had significantly more influence on American foreign policy than did the voices of industrialists.

This sentence shows the position you will argue and also sets up the organizational pattern of your paper's body.

The body of your paper contains the actual development of your paper’s argument. Each body paragraph presents a single idea or set of related ideas that provides support for your paper’s argument. Each body paragraph addresses one key aspect of your paper’s thesis and brings the reader closer to accepting the validity of your paper’s argument. Because each body paragraph should be a step in your argument, you should be mindful of the overall organization of your body paragraphs. The first step in writing an effective body paragraph is the construction of the first sentence of this paragraph, the topic sentence. Just as the thesis sentence holds together your essay, the topic sentence is the glue binding each individual body paragraph. A body paragraph’s topic sentence serves two main purposes: introducing the content of the paragraph and introducing the next step of your argument. It is important to keep in mind that the goal of the topic sentence is to advance your paper's argument, not just to describe the content of the paragraph. For example: The first part in your thesis on page two states that fear of foreign influence in the Western Hemisphere had more influence on American foreign policy than did industry. Thus, you need to elaborate on this point in your body paragraphs. An effective topic sentence for one of these paragraphs could be:

American fear of foreign influence was a key factor in the United States’ actions in the Spanish-American War. Subsequent body paragraphs might offer further evidence for the idea presented in this body paragraph.

A good way to test the strength of both your topic sentences and your argument as a whole is to construct an outline of your paper using only your paper's thesis statement and topic sentences. This outline should be a logical overview of your paper's argument; all of your paper’s topic sentences should work together to support your thesis statement.

The Conclusion

A basic purpose of your paper’s concluding paragraph is both to restate the paper’s argument and to restate how you have supported this argument in the body of the paper. However, your conclusion should not simply be a copy of your introduction. The conclusion draws together the threads of the paper’s argument and shows where the argument of your paper has gone. An effective conclusion gives the reader reasons for bothering to read your paper. One of the most important functions of this paragraph is to bring in fresh insight. Some possible questions to consider when writing your conclusion are:

  • What are some real world applications of this paper’s argument?
  • Why is what I am writing about important?
  • What are some of the questions that this paper’s argument raises?
  • What are the implications of this paper’s argument?

While the organization and structure described in this handout are necessary components of an effective persuasive essay, keep in mind that writing itself is a fluid process. There are no steadfast rules that you need to adhere to as you write. Simply because the introduction is the first paragraph in your essay does not mean that you must write this paragraph before any other. Think of the act of writing as an exploration of ideas, and let this sense of exploration guide you as you write your essay.

by Adam Polak ’98 and Jen Collins ’96

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  • Understanding Passive Voice

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How to Write a Persuasive Essay (This Convinced My Professor!)

How to Write a Persuasive Essay (This Convinced My Professor!)

Table of contents

how to write a college level argumentative essay

Meredith Sell

You can make your essay more persuasive by getting straight to the point.

In fact, that's exactly what we did here, and that's just the first tip of this guide. Throughout this guide, we share the steps needed to prove an argument and create a persuasive essay.

This AI tool helps you improve your essay > This AI tool helps you improve your essay >

persuasive essay

Key takeaways: - Proven process to make any argument persuasive - 5-step process to structure arguments - How to use AI to formulate and optimize your essay

Why is being persuasive so difficult?

"Write an essay that persuades the reader of your opinion on a topic of your choice."

You might be staring at an assignment description just like this 👆from your professor. Your computer is open to a blank document, the cursor blinking impatiently. Do I even have opinions?

The persuasive essay can be one of the most intimidating academic papers to write: not only do you need to identify a narrow topic and research it, but you also have to come up with a position on that topic that you can back up with research while simultaneously addressing different viewpoints.

That’s a big ask. And let’s be real: most opinion pieces in major news publications don’t fulfill these requirements.

The upside? By researching and writing your own opinion, you can learn how to better formulate not only an argument but the actual positions you decide to hold. 

Here, we break down exactly how to write a persuasive essay. We’ll start by taking a step that’s key for every piece of writing—defining the terms.

What Is a Persuasive Essay?

A persuasive essay is exactly what it sounds like: an essay that persuades . Over the course of several paragraphs or pages, you’ll use researched facts and logic to convince the reader of your opinion on a particular topic and discredit opposing opinions.

While you’ll spend some time explaining the topic or issue in question, most of your essay will flesh out your viewpoint and the evidence that supports it.

The 5 Must-Have Steps of a Persuasive Essay

If you’re intimidated by the idea of writing an argument, use this list to break your process into manageable chunks. Tackle researching and writing one element at a time, and then revise your essay so that it flows smoothly and coherently with every component in the optimal place.

1. A topic or issue to argue

This is probably the hardest step. You need to identify a topic or issue that is narrow enough to cover in the length of your piece—and is also arguable from more than one position. Your topic must call for an opinion , and not be a simple fact .

It might be helpful to walk through this process:

  • Identify a random topic
  • Ask a question about the topic that involves a value claim or analysis to answer
  • Answer the question

That answer is your opinion.

Let’s consider some examples, from silly to serious:

Topic: Dolphins and mermaids

Question: In a mythical match, who would win: a dolphin or a mermaid?

Answer/Opinion: The mermaid would win in a match against a dolphin.

Topic: Autumn

Question: Which has a better fall: New England or Colorado?

Answer/Opinion: Fall is better in New England than Colorado.

Topic: Electric transportation options

Question: Would it be better for an urban dweller to buy an electric bike or an electric car?

Answer/Opinion: An electric bike is a better investment than an electric car.

Your turn: Walk through the three-step process described above to identify your topic and your tentative opinion. You may want to start by brainstorming a list of topics you find interesting and then going use the three-step process to find the opinion that would make the best essay topic.

2. An unequivocal thesis statement

If you walked through our three-step process above, you already have some semblance of a thesis—but don’t get attached too soon! 

A solid essay thesis is best developed through the research process. You shouldn’t land on an opinion before you know the facts. So press pause. Take a step back. And dive into your research.

You’ll want to learn:

  • The basic facts of your topic. How long does fall last in New England vs. Colorado? What trees do they have? What colors do those trees turn?
  • The facts specifically relevant to your question. Is there any science on how the varying colors of fall influence human brains and moods?
  • What experts or other noteworthy and valid sources say about the question you’re considering. Has a well-known arborist waxed eloquent on the beauty of New England falls?

As you learn the different viewpoints people have on your topic, pay attention to the strengths and weaknesses of existing arguments. Is anyone arguing the perspective you’re leaning toward? Do you find their arguments convincing? What do you find unsatisfying about the various arguments? 

Allow the research process to change your mind and/or refine your thinking on the topic. Your opinion may change entirely or become more specific based on what you learn.

Once you’ve done enough research to feel confident in your understanding of the topic and your opinion on it, craft your thesis. 

Your thesis statement should be clear and concise. It should directly state your viewpoint on the topic, as well as the basic case for your thesis.

Thesis 1: In a mythical match, the mermaid would overcome the dolphin due to one distinct advantage: her ability to breathe underwater.

Thesis 2: The full spectrum of color displayed on New England hillsides is just one reason why fall in the northeast is better than in Colorado.

Thesis 3: In addition to not adding to vehicle traffic, electric bikes are a better investment than electric cars because they’re cheaper and require less energy to accomplish the same function of getting the rider from point A to point B.

Your turn: Dive into the research process with a radar up for the arguments your sources are making about your topic. What are the most convincing cases? Should you stick with your initial opinion or change it up? Write your fleshed-out thesis statement.

3. Evidence to back up your thesis

This is a typical place for everyone from undergrads to politicians to get stuck, but the good news is, if you developed your thesis from research, you already have a good bit of evidence to make your case.

Go back through your research notes and compile a list of every …

… or other piece of information that supports your thesis. 

This info can come from research studies you found in scholarly journals, government publications, news sources, encyclopedias, or other credible sources (as long as they fit your professor’s standards).

As you put this list together, watch for any gaps or weak points. Are you missing information on how electric cars versus electric bicycles charge or how long their batteries last? Did you verify that dolphins are, in fact, mammals and can’t breathe underwater like totally-real-and-not-at-all-fake 😉mermaids can? Track down that information.

Next, organize your list. Group the entries so that similar or closely related information is together, and as you do that, start thinking through how to articulate the individual arguments to support your case. 

Depending on the length of your essay, each argument may get only a paragraph or two of space. As you think through those specific arguments, consider what order to put them in. You’ll probably want to start with the simplest argument and work up to more complicated ones so that the arguments can build on each other. 

Your turn: Organize your evidence and write a rough draft of your arguments. Play around with the order to find the most compelling way to argue your case.

4. Rebuttals to disprove opposing theses

You can’t just present the evidence to support your case and totally ignore other viewpoints. To persuade your readers, you’ll need to address any opposing ideas they may hold about your topic. 

You probably found some holes in the opposing views during your research process. Now’s your chance to expose those holes. 

Take some time (and space) to: describe the opposing views and show why those views don’t hold up. You can accomplish this using both logic and facts.

Is a perspective based on a faulty assumption or misconception of the truth? Shoot it down by providing the facts that disprove the opinion.

Is another opinion drawn from bad or unsound reasoning? Show how that argument falls apart.

Some cases may truly be only a matter of opinion, but you still need to articulate why you don’t find the opposing perspective convincing.

Yes, a dolphin might be stronger than a mermaid, but as a mammal, the dolphin must continually return to the surface for air. A mermaid can breathe both underwater and above water, which gives her a distinct advantage in this mythical battle.

While the Rocky Mountain views are stunning, their limited colors—yellow from aspen trees and green from various evergreens—leaves the autumn-lover less than thrilled. The rich reds and oranges and yellows of the New England fall are more satisfying and awe-inspiring.

But what about longer trips that go beyond the city center into the suburbs and beyond? An electric bike wouldn’t be great for those excursions. Wouldn’t an electric car be the better choice then? 

Certainly, an electric car would be better in these cases than a gas-powered car, but if most of a person’s trips are in their hyper-local area, the electric bicycle is a more environmentally friendly option for those day-to-day outings. That person could then participate in a carshare or use public transit, a ride-sharing app, or even a gas-powered car for longer trips—and still use less energy overall than if they drove an electric car for hyper-local and longer area trips.

Your turn: Organize your rebuttal research and write a draft of each one.

5. A convincing conclusion

You have your arguments and rebuttals. You’ve proven your thesis is rock-solid. Now all you have to do is sum up your overall case and give your final word on the subject. 

Don’t repeat everything you’ve already said. Instead, your conclusion should logically draw from the arguments you’ve made to show how they coherently prove your thesis. You’re pulling everything together and zooming back out with a better understanding of the what and why of your thesis. 

A dolphin may never encounter a mermaid in the wild, but if it were to happen, we know how we’d place our bets. Long hair and fish tail, for the win.

For those of us who relish 50-degree days, sharp air, and the vibrant colors of fall, New England offers a season that’s cozier, longer-lasting, and more aesthetically pleasing than “colorful” Colorado. A leaf-peeper’s paradise.

When most of your trips from day to day are within five miles, the more energy-efficient—and yes, cost-efficient—choice is undoubtedly the electric bike. So strap on your helmet, fire up your pedals, and two-wheel away to your next destination with full confidence that you made the right decision for your wallet and the environment.

3 Quick Tips for Writing a Strong Argument

Once you have a draft to work with, use these tips to refine your argument and make sure you’re not losing readers for avoidable reasons.

1. Choose your words thoughtfully.

If you want to win people over to your side, don’t write in a way that shuts your opponents down. Avoid making abrasive or offensive statements. Instead, use a measured, reasonable tone. Appeal to shared values, and let your facts and logic do the hard work of changing people’s minds.

Choose words with AI

how to write a college level argumentative essay

You can use AI to turn your general point into a readable argument. Then, you can paraphrase each sentence and choose between competing arguments generated by the AI, until your argument is well-articulated and concise.

2. Prioritize accuracy (and avoid fallacies).

Make sure the facts you use are actually factual. You don’t want to build your argument on false or disproven information. Use the most recent, respected research. Make sure you don’t misconstrue study findings. And when you’re building your case, avoid logical fallacies that undercut your argument.

A few common fallacies to watch out for:

  • Strawman: Misrepresenting or oversimplifying an opposing argument to make it easier to refute.
  • Appeal to ignorance: Arguing that a certain claim must be true because it hasn’t been proven false.
  • Bandwagon: Assumes that if a group of people, experts, etc., agree with a claim, it must be true.
  • Hasty generalization: Using a few examples, rather than substantial evidence, to make a sweeping claim.
  • Appeal to authority: Overly relying on opinions of people who have authority of some kind.

The strongest arguments rely on trustworthy information and sound logic.

Research and add citations with AI

how to write a college level argumentative essay

We recently wrote a three part piece on researching using AI, so be sure to check it out . Going through an organized process of researching and noting your sources correctly will make sure your written text is more accurate.

3. Persuasive essay structure

Persuasive essay structure

If you’re building a house, you start with the foundation and go from there. It’s the same with an argument. You want to build from the ground up: provide necessary background information, then your thesis. Then, start with the simplest part of your argument and build up in terms of complexity and the aspect of your thesis that the argument is tackling.

A consistent, internal logic will make it easier for the reader to follow your argument. Plus, you’ll avoid confusing your reader and you won’t be unnecessarily redundant.

The essay structure usually includes the following parts:

  • Intro - Hook, Background information, Thesis statement
  • Topic sentence #1 , with supporting facts or stats
  • Concluding sentence
  • Topic sentence #2 , with supporting facts or stats
  • Concluding sentence Topic sentence #3 , with supporting facts or stats
  • Conclusion - Thesis and main points restated, call to action, thought provoking ending

Are You Ready to Write?

Persuasive essays are a great way to hone your research, writing, and critical thinking skills. Approach this assignment well, and you’ll learn how to form opinions based on information (not just ideas) and make arguments that—if they don’t change minds—at least win readers’ respect. ‍

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So much is at stake in writing a conclusion. This is, after all, your last chance to persuade your readers to your point of view, to impress yourself upon them as a writer and thinker. And the impression you create in your conclusion will shape the impression that stays with your readers after they've finished the essay.

The end of an essay should therefore convey a sense of completeness and closure as well as a sense of the lingering possibilities of the topic, its larger meaning, its implications: the final paragraph should close the discussion without closing it off.

To establish a sense of closure, you might do one or more of the following:

  • Conclude by linking the last paragraph to the first, perhaps by reiterating a word or phrase you used at the beginning.
  • Conclude with a sentence composed mainly of one-syllable words. Simple language can help create an effect of understated drama.
  • Conclude with a sentence that's compound or parallel in structure; such sentences can establish a sense of balance or order that may feel just right at the end of a complex discussion.

To close the discussion without closing it off, you might do one or more of the following:

  • Conclude with a quotation from or reference to a primary or secondary source, one that amplifies your main point or puts it in a different perspective. A quotation from, say, the novel or poem you're writing about can add texture and specificity to your discussion; a critic or scholar can help confirm or complicate your final point. For example, you might conclude an essay on the idea of home in James Joyce's short story collection,  Dubliners , with information about Joyce's own complex feelings towards Dublin, his home. Or you might end with a biographer's statement about Joyce's attitude toward Dublin, which could illuminate his characters' responses to the city. Just be cautious, especially about using secondary material: make sure that you get the last word.
  • Conclude by setting your discussion into a different, perhaps larger, context. For example, you might end an essay on nineteenth-century muckraking journalism by linking it to a current news magazine program like  60 Minutes .
  • Conclude by redefining one of the key terms of your argument. For example, an essay on Marx's treatment of the conflict between wage labor and capital might begin with Marx's claim that the "capitalist economy is . . . a gigantic enterprise of dehumanization "; the essay might end by suggesting that Marxist analysis is itself dehumanizing because it construes everything in economic -- rather than moral or ethical-- terms.
  • Conclude by considering the implications of your argument (or analysis or discussion). What does your argument imply, or involve, or suggest? For example, an essay on the novel  Ambiguous Adventure , by the Senegalese writer Cheikh Hamidou Kane, might open with the idea that the protagonist's development suggests Kane's belief in the need to integrate Western materialism and Sufi spirituality in modern Senegal. The conclusion might make the new but related point that the novel on the whole suggests that such an integration is (or isn't) possible.

Finally, some advice on how not to end an essay:

  • Don't simply summarize your essay. A brief summary of your argument may be useful, especially if your essay is long--more than ten pages or so. But shorter essays tend not to require a restatement of your main ideas.
  • Avoid phrases like "in conclusion," "to conclude," "in summary," and "to sum up." These phrases can be useful--even welcome--in oral presentations. But readers can see, by the tell-tale compression of the pages, when an essay is about to end. You'll irritate your audience if you belabor the obvious.
  • Resist the urge to apologize. If you've immersed yourself in your subject, you now know a good deal more about it than you can possibly include in a five- or ten- or 20-page essay. As a result, by the time you've finished writing, you may be having some doubts about what you've produced. (And if you haven't immersed yourself in your subject, you may be feeling even more doubtful about your essay as you approach the conclusion.) Repress those doubts. Don't undercut your authority by saying things like, "this is just one approach to the subject; there may be other, better approaches. . ."

Copyright 1998, Pat Bellanca, for the Writing Center at Harvard University

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How to Title an Argumentative Essay

November 17, 2023

Identifying the Purpose of the Essay

Before you can create a compelling title for your argumentative essay, it’s crucial to have a clear understanding of its purpose. Is your goal to persuade readers to adopt a certain viewpoint, criticize an existing argument, or propose a solution to a problem? Determining the purpose will help you in crafting a title that aligns with your intentions.

The purpose of your essay will guide the tone, language, and overall approach you take. Are you aiming to be informative, provocative, or authoritative? Identifying the purpose will also help you in selecting the most suitable words and phrases to convey your message effectively. By defining the purpose upfront, you can develop a concise and powerful title that grabs readers’ attention and gives them a glimpse of your argumentative stance.

Analyzing the Target Audience

To create an impactful title for your argumentative essay, it is essential to have a deep understanding of your target audience. Consider their interests, knowledge level, beliefs, and values. By analyzing the target audience, you can tailor the title in a way that resonates with them and captures their attention. Here are some factors to consider:

  • Knowledge level: Are your readers familiar with the topic, or is it relatively new to them? This will determine whether you need to use technical terms or simplify the language in the title.
  • Demographics: Consider the age, education level, and cultural background of your audience. This information can help you choose the right tone and style for the title.
  • Values and beliefs: What are the prevailing beliefs or opinions of your target audience regarding the subject? Craft a title that connects with their existing viewpoint or challenges it in a thought-provoking manner.
  • Emotional appeal: Identify the emotions you want to evoke in your readers — curiosity, surprise, concern, or a desire for change. Incorporating emotional triggers in the title can generate interest and engagement.
  • Priorities and interests: Determine the key concerns or priorities of your audience related to the topic. Highlighting these aspects in the title will grab their attention and make your essay more relevant to their interests.

Analyzing your target audience allows you to tailor your title to their specific needs, making it more compelling and effective in capturing their attention and sparking their interest in your argumentative essay.

Strategies for Creating an Effective Title

Crafting an effective title for your argumentative essay is crucial to grab readers’ attention and convey the essence of your argument. Here are some strategies to consider when creating your title:

  • Be concise and clear: Keep your title brief and to the point, avoiding any unnecessary words or phrases. Aim for clarity so that readers can quickly understand the main focus of your essay.
  • Be specific: Instead of using generic terms, be specific in your title to give readers a clear idea of what your essay is about. Specific titles tend to be more attention-grabbing and engaging.
  • Use compelling language: Capture readers’ interest by using powerful and persuasive language in your title. Strong verbs, impactful adjectives, or intriguing phrases can help make your title more enticing.
  • Consider a question or a statement: Pose a thought-provoking question or make a bold statement in your title to pique readers’ curiosity and encourage them to delve into your argumentative essay.
  • Use a unique angle: Stand out from the crowd by approaching your title from a unique angle. Find a fresh perspective or highlight an unusual aspect of your argument to intrigue your audience.

By implementing these strategies, you can create an effective title that not only accurately represents your argumentative essay but also captures readers’ attention and compels them to explore your ideas further.

Using Keywords and Key Phrases

Including relevant keywords and key phrases in your title can help increase your argumentative essay’s visibility and attract readers who are interested in its topic. Begin by considering the words or phrases that are central to your argument. These could be technical terms, concepts, or keywords that you expect readers to search for.

Once you have identified these keywords and phrases, you can then experiment with different combinations until you find a title that accurately represents your argument while also utilizing these terms. Keep in mind that the goal is not to stuff as many keywords as possible into your title, but to use them in a way that is natural and helps communicate the essence of your essay’s argument.

Using keywords and key phrases can also help readers quickly recognize what your essay is about, making it more likely for them to click on and read further. Incorporating them into your title can help boost your essay’s online visibility and attract the right audience to your argumentative essay.

Focusing on Clarity and Conciseness

When creating a title for your argumentative essay, it is vital to prioritize clarity and conciseness. Your title should immediately convey the main idea of your essay without causing confusion or leaving room for misinterpretation. Here are some tips to ensure clarity and conciseness in your title:

  • Avoid ambiguity: Make sure your title is specific and unambiguous, leaving no room for multiple interpretations. Ambiguous titles can confuse readers and diminish their interest.
  • Cut out unnecessary words: Keep your title concise by eliminating any unnecessary words. Each word should serve a purpose in conveying your argument, and brevity helps to maintain reader engagement.
  • Use straightforward language: Use clear and accessible language in your title, ensuring that it is easily understood by a wide range of readers. Avoid jargon or technical terms that might alienate or confuse your audience.
  • Organize the title effectively: Structure your title in a way that clearly presents the main focus or argument of your essay. Use keywords or key phrases strategically to capture the essence of your argument.
  • Proofread and revise: After crafting a draft title, review and revise it to ensure clarity and conciseness. Proofreading helps to identify any potential confusion, ambiguity, or redundancy that could be eliminated.

By focusing on clarity and conciseness, your title will effectively communicate the main idea of your argumentative essay, intrigue readers, and encourage them to explore your content further.

Highlighting the Argumentative Nature of the Essay

When titling your argumentative essay, it is essential to emphasize its argumentative nature in order to set clear expectations for readers. By incorporating the keyword “title an argumentative essay” into your title, you can effectively convey the purpose and nature of your essay. Here are some strategies to highlight the argumentative aspect:

  • Include words like “debate,” “persuasion,” or “controversy” to signal that your essay presents differing viewpoints and aims to persuade readers.
  • Use strong and assertive language that showcases the clash of ideas inherent in an argumentative essay. Words like “challenging,” “contradictory,” or “disputable” can help emphasize the opposing viewpoints central to your argument.
  • Reflect the topic and stance: Incorporate words that clearly represent the topic of your essay. For instance, if your essay argues for stricter gun control laws, consider using phrases like “advocating for change” or “evaluating gun policy.”
  • Consider using a question format: Pose an intriguing question that highlights the contentious nature of your argument. This can spark curiosity and engage readers from the outset.

By selecting a title that highlights the argumentative nature of your essay, while incorporating the keyword “title an argumentative essay,” you can capture readers’ attention and convey the persuasive and contentious essence of your writing.

Averting Misleading Titles

When crafting a title for your argumentative essay, it is crucial to avoid misleading titles that may give readers a false impression of your essay’s content. Misleading titles can lead to confusion, disappointment, and a lack of trust from your audience. Here are some tips to avoid misleading titles:

  • Stay true to your argument: Ensure that your title accurately reflects the main argument of your essay. Don’t exaggerate or make claims that are not supported by your content.
  • Avoid clickbait tactics: While it may be tempting to use sensational or exaggerated phrases to attract attention, it is essential to maintain integrity in your title. Misleading readers for the sake of gaining clicks will harm your credibility.
  • Be specific and precise: Clearly convey the core argument and scope of your essay in the title. This will help readers understand what they can expect from your essay and avoid any misconceptions.
  • Consider the tone: The tone of your title should align with the tone of your essay. If your essay takes a serious and analytical approach, a title with a lighthearted or sensational tone may mislead readers.

By being honest, specific, and precise in your title, you can ensure that it accurately represents your argumentative essay’s content and avoids misleading your audience. This will not only cultivate trust but also attract the right readers who are genuinely interested in engaging with your argument.

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COMMENTS

  1. How to Write an Argumentative Essay

    Make a claim. Provide the grounds (evidence) for the claim. Explain the warrant (how the grounds support the claim) Discuss possible rebuttals to the claim, identifying the limits of the argument and showing that you have considered alternative perspectives. The Toulmin model is a common approach in academic essays.

  2. PDF Strategies for Essay Writing

    Harvard College Writing Center 2 Tips for Reading an Assignment Prompt When you receive a paper assignment, your first step should be to read the assignment prompt carefully to make sure you understand what you are being asked to do. Sometimes your assignment will be open-ended ("write a paper about anything in the course that interests you").

  3. How to Write an Argumentative Essay

    An argumentative essay comprises five essential components: 1. Claim. Claim in argumentative writing is the central argument or viewpoint that the writer aims to establish and defend throughout the essay. A claim must assert your position on an issue and must be arguable. It can guide the entire argument.

  4. Developing A Thesis

    A good thesis has two parts. It should tell what you plan to argue, and it should "telegraph" how you plan to argue—that is, what particular support for your claim is going where in your essay. Steps in Constructing a Thesis. First, analyze your primary sources. Look for tension, interest, ambiguity, controversy, and/or complication.

  5. Argumentative Essay Examples to Inspire You [+Formula]

    Argumentative essay formula & example. In the image below, you can see a recommended structure for argumentative essays. It starts with the topic sentence, which establishes the main idea of the essay. Next, this hypothesis is developed in the development stage. Then, the rebuttal, or the refutal of the main counter argument or arguments.

  6. 3 Strong Argumentative Essay Examples, Analyzed

    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.

  7. How to Write a Good Argumentative Essay: Easy Step-by-Step Guide

    When you're writing a persuasive essay, you need more than just an opinion to make your voice heard. Even the strongest stance won't be compelling if it's not structured properly and reinforced with solid reasoning and evidence. Learn what elements every argumentative essay should include and how to structure it depending on your audience in this easy step-by-step guide.

  8. How to Write an A+ Argumentative Essay

    An argumentative essay attempts to convince a reader to agree with a particular argument (the writer's thesis statement). The writer takes a firm stand one way or another on a topic and then uses hard evidence to support that stance. An argumentative essay seeks to prove to the reader that one argument —the writer's argument— is the ...

  9. Argumentative Essays

    The argumentative essay is a genre of writing that requires the student to investigate a topic; collect, generate, and evaluate evidence; and establish a position on the topic in a concise manner. Please note: Some confusion may occur between the argumentative essay and the expository essay. These two genres are similar, but the argumentative ...

  10. Thesis

    Thesis. Your thesis is the central claim in your essay—your main insight or idea about your source or topic. Your thesis should appear early in an academic essay, followed by a logically constructed argument that supports this central claim. A strong thesis is arguable, which means a thoughtful reader could disagree with it and therefore ...

  11. Argumentative Essay Examples & Analysis

    Introduction Example. Now let's move on to those argumentative essay examples, and examine in particular a couple of introductions. The first takes on a common argumentative essay topic —capital punishment. The death penalty has long been a divisive issue in the United States. 24 states allow the death penalty, while the other 26 have ...

  12. How to Write an Essay Outline

    Revised on July 23, 2023. An essay outline is a way of planning the structure of your essay before you start writing. It involves writing quick summary sentences or phrases for every point you will cover in each paragraph, giving you a picture of how your argument will unfold. You'll sometimes be asked to submit an essay outline as a separate ...

  13. Step By Step Guide To Write An Argumentative Essay

    1. Discover your Topic. To begin your essay, you must have a topic or a subject to write your paper on. A good argumentative essay is based on a strong persuasive topic presented to the reader by a writer. Choose a topic of interest or an issue that prevails widely in your society to talk and persuade people about it.

  14. Strong Thesis Statements

    An argumentative or persuasive piece of writing must begin with a debatable thesis or claim. In other words, the thesis must be something that people could reasonably have differing opinions on. If your thesis is something that is generally agreed upon or accepted as fact then there is no reason to try to persuade people.

  15. 160 Good Argumentative Essay Topics for Students in 2024

    April 3, 2024. The skill of writing an excellent argumentative essay is a crucial one for every high school or college student to master. In sum, argumentative essays teach students how to organize their thoughts logically and present them in a convincing way. This skill is helpful not only for those pursuing degrees in law, international ...

  16. 52 Argumentative Essay Ideas that are Actually Interesting

    Coming up with an essay topic can be the hardest part of the process. You have very likely encountered argumentative essay writing in high school and have been asked to write your own. If you're having trouble finding a topic, we've created a list of 52 essay ideas to help jumpstart your brainstorming process!

  17. Writing Resources

    The first step in writing an effective body paragraph is the construction of the first sentence of this paragraph, the topic sentence. Just as the thesis sentence holds together your essay, the topic sentence is the glue binding each individual body paragraph. A body paragraph's topic sentence serves two main purposes: introducing the content ...

  18. How to Write a Persuasive Essay (This Convinced My Professor!)

    The 5 Must-Have Steps of a Persuasive Essay. If you're intimidated by the idea of writing an argument, use this list to break your process into manageable chunks. Tackle researching and writing one element at a time, and then revise your essay so that it flows smoothly and coherently with every component in the optimal place. 1.

  19. Argumentative Essays: MLA Sample Argumentative Papers

    MLA Sample Argumentative Papers (Note: these sample papers are in MLA 7th ed. format). For sample papers in MLA 8th or 9th ed., please ask a librarian or check the Documenting Sources in MLA Style: 2016 Update: A Bedford/St. Martin's Supplement pp. 30-41, at Skyline College Library's Ready Reference shelf.

  20. Ending the Essay: Conclusions

    Finally, some advice on how not to end an essay: Don't simply summarize your essay. A brief summary of your argument may be useful, especially if your essay is long--more than ten pages or so. But shorter essays tend not to require a restatement of your main ideas. Avoid phrases like "in conclusion," "to conclude," "in summary," and "to sum up ...

  21. Welcome to the Purdue Online Writing Lab

    The Purdue On-Campus Writing Lab and Purdue Online Writing Lab assist clients in their development as writers—no matter what their skill level—with on-campus consultations, online participation, and community engagement. The Purdue Writing Lab serves the Purdue, West Lafayette, campus and coordinates with local literacy initiatives.

  22. How to Title an Argumentative Essay

    Highlighting the Argumentative Nature of the Essay. When titling your argumentative essay, it is essential to emphasize its argumentative nature in order to set clear expectations for readers. By incorporating the keyword "title an argumentative essay" into your title, you can effectively convey the purpose and nature of your essay.