Argumentative essay

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An argumentative or persuasive essay requires the writer to take a stance on a particular topic, then use evidence to persuade the reader that their view is correct. These essays can be quite challenge as gathering evidence to back your assertions make the writing process nearly as rigorous as writing a formal research paper.

As with other essay types, topic selection is very important. By selecting the best possible topic you can help make the writing process much more enjoyable for yourself. You’ll also provide something much more interesting to your readers. Here are some steps to take in order to find the ideal topic for your argumentative essay.

Finding a Topic That Best Represents You
  • 1

    Mine Current Events For Interesting And Relevant Topics. Watch the news with a pen and paper to jot down interesting topic ideas. Pay attention to the trending news on your social media feeds as well. These are the subjects people are most interested in reading about and that will receive enthusiastic response.

  • 2

    Consider Your Passions And Interests. The phrase, ‘write about what you know’ really does apply here. Pick a topic that reflects your interests and passions. Your personal knowledge will make writing much easier. Your passion will turn a dull writing assignment into something enjoyable.

  • 3

    Make Sure The Topics You Consider Are Relevant to Your Class And Audience. On the other  hand, you probably don’t have the freedom to select any topic whatsoever. It must be relevant to the class you are taking as well as being interesting to your target audience. If you can find an intersection between topics that interest you and topics that are relevant, that’s a great thing.

  • 4

    Consider Arguing Against a Popular Stance. If you’re interested in a challenge, and want your essay to stand out, take a unique approach. Consider arguing a position that isn’t widely held. Yes, the research will be more challenging. However if you are up to it, the results can be quite impressive.

  • 5

    Google! Make Sure Your Topic is Easy to Research And You Can Find Plenty of Sources. You should plan to back up your arguments with links to trustworthy and verifiable data. In fact, each assertion you make should come with at least one evidence based source to back you up. Double check your topic ideas through google or your school’s scholarly database to ensure that you will have a wide variety of sources to use.

Points to Think About
  • 1

    Be wary of sources that have an agenda. They may be providing opinions disguised as fact.

  • 2

    Don’t wait until the last minute to do your citations.

  • 3

    Using degrading or snide language only diminishes your argument.

  • 4

    Stick to one point per paragraph.

  • 5

    Using an app like Evernote will help you to keep your notes organized.

  • 6

    Refer back to your assignment sheet to ensure you have finished all the required elements.

Do and Don`t
Do
  • Address valid opposing arguments in your essay
  • Use a decent spelling and grammar checker
  • Stick with academic sources when you research your topic
  • Consider paragraph sequence to build the best possible case
  • Ask for help if you are struggling with your persuasive essay
  • Write a powerful introduction and conclusion
  • Perfect your transitions
Don't
  • Use blogs or personal websites in your research
  • Put yourself behind the 8 ball by waiting too long to begin
  • Write without creating an outline as the foundation for your paper.
  • Be afraid to change your position should evidence make you reconsider
  • Miss out on peer reviews and other important in class events
Mistakes to Avoid
  • Selecting a topic that is too broad - Instead of arguing that cats are better than dogs. Argue which type of cat is the best for apartment dwellers.
  • Failing to provide examples - Facts and figures are great, but anecdotes really win people over.
  • Burying your evidence - Start and end with your most compelling evidence.
  • Not Appealing to Logic - Ultimately your words should appeal to the reader’s sense of logic.
  • Constructing strawmen - Address opposing points that exist, not ones that you create.
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