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12 Essential Steps for Writing an Argumentative Essay (with 10 example essays)
Bonus Material: 10 complete example essays
Writing an essay can often feel like a Herculean task. How do you go from a prompt… to pages of beautifully-written and clearly-supported writing?
This 12-step method is for students who want to write a great essay that makes a clear argument.
In fact, using the strategies from this post, in just 88 minutes, one of our students revised her C+ draft to an A.
If you’re interested in learning how to write awesome argumentative essays and improve your writing grades, this post will teach you exactly how to do it.
First, grab our download so you can follow along with the complete examples.
Then keep reading to see all 12 essential steps to writing a great essay.
Download 10 example essays
Why you need to have a plan
One of the most common mistakes that students make when writing is to just dive in haphazardly without a plan.
Writing is a bit like cooking. If you’re making a meal, would you start throwing ingredients at random into a pot? Probably not!
Instead, you’d probably start by thinking about what you want to cook. Then you’d gather the ingredients, and go to the store if you don’t already have them in your kitchen. Then you’d follow a recipe, step by step, to make your meal.
Here’s our 12-step recipe for writing a great argumentative essay:
- Pick a topic
- Choose your research sources
- Read your sources and take notes
- Create a thesis statement
- Choose three main arguments to support your thesis statement —now you have a skeleton outline
- Populate your outline with the research that supports each argument
- Do more research if necessary
- Add your own analysis
- Add transitions and concluding sentences to each paragraph
- Write an introduction and conclusion for your essay
- Add citations and bibliography
Grab our download to see the complete example at every stage, along with 9 great student essays. Then let’s go through the steps together and write an A+ essay!
1. Pick a topic
Sometimes you might be assigned a topic by your instructor, but often you’ll have to come up with your own idea!
If you don’t pick the right topic, you can be setting yourself up for failure.
Be careful that your topic is something that’s actually arguable —it has more than one side. Check out our carefully-vetted list of 99 topic ideas .
Let’s pick the topic of laboratory animals . Our question is should animals be used for testing and research ?
Download our set of 10 great example essays to jump to the finished version of this essay.
2. Choose your research sources
One of the big differences between the way an academic argumentative essay and the version of the assignment that you may have done in elementary school is that for an academic argumentative essay, we need to support our arguments with evidence .
Where do we get that evidence?
Let’s be honest, we all are likely to start with Google and Wikipedia.
Now, Wikipedia can be a useful starting place if you don’t know very much about a topic, but don’t use Wikipedia as your main source of evidence for your essay.
Instead, look for reputable sources that you can show to your readers as proof of your arguments. It can be helpful to read some sources from either side of your issue.
Look for recently-published sources (within the last 20 years), unless there’s a specific reason to do otherwise.
Good places to look for sources are:
- Books published by academic presses
- Academic journals
- Academic databases like JSTOR and EBSCO
- Nationally-published newspapers and magazines like The New York Times or The Atlantic
- Websites and publications of national institutions like the NIH
- Websites and publications of universities
Some of these sources are typically behind a paywall. This can be frustrating when you’re a middle-school or high-school student.
However, there are often ways to get access to these sources. Librarians (at your school library or local public library) can be fantastic resources, and they can often help you find a copy of the article or book you want to read. In particular, librarians can help you use Interlibrary Loan to order books or journals to your local library!
More and more scientists and other researchers are trying to publish their articles for free online, in order to encourage the free exchange of knowledge. Check out respected open-access platforms like arxiv.org and PLOS ONE .
How do you find these sources?
If you have access to an academic database like JSTOR or EBSCO , that’s a great place to start.
Everyone can use Google Scholar to search for articles. This is a powerful tool and highly recommended!
Of course, if there’s a term you come across that you don’t recognize, you can always just Google it!
How many sources do you need? That depends on the length of your essay and on the assignment. If your instructor doesn’t give you any other guidance, assume that you should have at least three good sources.
For our topic of animal research, here’s a few sources that we could assemble:
Geoff Watts. “Animal Testing: Is It Worth It?” BMJ: British Medical Journal , Jan. 27, 2007, Vol. 334, No. 7586 (Jan. 27, 2007), pp. 182-184.
Kim Bartel Sheehan and Joonghwa Lee. “What’s Cruel About Cruelty Free: An Exploration of Consumers, Moral Heuristics, and Public Policy.” Journal of Animal Ethics , Vol. 4, No. 2 (Fall 2014), pp. 1-15.
Justin Goodman, Alka Chandna and Katherine Roe. “Trends in animal use at US research facilities.” Journal of Medical Ethics , July 2015, Vol. 41, No. 7 (July 2015), pp. 567-569.
Katy Taylor. “Recent Developments in Alternatives to Animal Testing.” In Animal Experimentation: Working Towards a Paradigm Change . Brill 2019.
Thomas Hartung. “Research and Testing Without Animals: Where Are We Now and Where Are We Heading?” In Animal Experimentation: Working Towards a Paradigm Change . Brill 2019.
Bonus: download 10 example essays now .
3. Read your sources and take notes
Once you have a nice pile of sources, it’s time to read them!
As we read, we want to take notes that will be useful to us later as we write our essay.
We want to be careful to keep the source’s ideas separate from our own ideas . Come up with a system to clearly mark the difference as you’re taking notes: use different colors, or use little arrows to represent the ideas that are yours and not the source’s ideas.
We can use this structure to keep notes in an organized way:
Download a template for these research notes here .
For our topic of animal research, our notes might look something like this:
Grab our download to read the rest of the notes and see more examples of how to do thoughtful research!
4. Create a thesis
What major themes did you find in your reading? What did you find most interesting or convincing?
Now is the point when you need to pick a side on your topic, if you haven’t already done so. Now that you’ve read more about the issue, what do you think? Write down your position on the issue:
Animal testing is necessary but should be reduced.
Next, it’s time to add more detail to your thesis. What reasons do you have to support that position? Add those to your sentence.
Animal testing is necessary but should be reduced by eliminating testing for cosmetics, ensuring that any testing is scientifically sound, and replacing animal models with other methods as much as possible.
Add qualifiers to refine your position. Are there situations in which your position would not apply? Or are there other conditions that need to be met?
For our topic of animal research, our final thesis statement (with lead-in) might look something like this:
The argument: Animal testing and research should not be abolished, as doing so would upend important medical research and substance testing. However, scientific advances mean that in many situations animal testing can be replaced by other methods that not only avoid the ethical problems of animal testing, but also are less costly and more accurate. Governments and other regulatory bodies should further regulate animal testing to outlaw testing for cosmetics and other recreational products, ensure that the tests conducted are both necessary and scientifically rigorous, and encourage the replacement of animal use with other methods whenever possible.
The highlighted bit at the end is the thesis statement, but the lead-in is useful to help us set up the argument—and having it there already will make writing our introduction easier!
The thesis statement is the single most important sentence of your essay. Without a strong thesis, there’s no chance of writing a great essay. Read more about it here .
See how nine real students wrote great thesis statements in 9 example essays now.
5. Create three supporting arguments
Think of three good arguments why your position is true. We’re going to make each one into a body paragraph of your essay.
For now, write them out as 1–2 sentences. These will be topic sentences for each body paragraph.
For our essay about animal testing, it might look like this:
Supporting argument #1: For ethical reasons, animal testing should not be allowed for cosmetics and recreational products.
Supporting argument #2: The tests that are conducted with animals should be both necessary (for the greater good) and scientifically rigorous—which isn’t always the case currently. This should be regulated by governments and institutions.
Supporting argument #3: Governments and institutions should do more to encourage the replacement of animal testing with other methods.
Optional: Find a counterargument and respond to it
Think of a potential counterargument to your position. Consider writing a fourth paragraph anticipating this counterargument, or find a way to include it in your other body paragraphs.
For our essay, that might be:
Possible counterargument: Animal testing is unethical and should not be used in any circumstances.
Response to the counterargument: Animal testing is deeply entrenched in many research projects and medical procedures. Abruptly ceasing animal testing would upend the scientific and medical communities. But there are many ways that animal testing could be reduced.
With these three arguments, a counterargument, and a thesis, we now have a skeleton outline! See each step of this essay in full in our handy download .
6. Start populating your outline with the evidence you found in your research
Look through your research. What did you find that would support each of your three arguments?
Copy and paste those quotes or paraphrases into the outline. Make sure that each one is annotated so that you know which source it came from!
Ideally you already started thinking about these sources when you were doing your research—that’s the ideas in the rightmost column of our research template. Use this stuff too!
A good rule of thumb would be to use at least three pieces of evidence per body paragraph.
Think about in what order it would make most sense to present your points. Rearrange your quotes accordingly! As you reorder them, feel free to start adding short sentences indicating the flow of ideas .
For our essay about animal testing, part of our populated outline might look something like:
Argument #1: For ethical reasons, animal testing should not be allowed for cosmetics and recreational products.
Lots of animals are used for testing and research.
In the US, about 22 million animals were used annually in the early 1990s, mostly rodents (BMJ 1993, 1020).
But there are ethical problems with using animals in laboratory settings. Opinions about the divide between humans and animals might be shifting.
McIsaac refers to “the essential moral dilemma: how to balance the welfare of humans with the welfare of other species” (Hubel, McIsaac 29).
The fundamental legal texts used to justify animal use in biomedical research were created after WWII, and drew a clear line between experiments on animals and on humans. The Nuremburg Code states that “the experiment should be so designed and based on the results of animal experimentation and a knowledge of the natural history of the disease or other problem under study that the anticipated results will justify the performance of the experiment” (Ferrari, 197). The 1964 Declaration of the World Medical Association on the Ethical Principles for Medical Research Involving Human Subjects (known as the Helsinki Declaration) states that “Medical research involving human subjects must conform to generally accepted scientific principles, be based on a thorough knowledge of the scientific literature, other relevant sources of information, and adequate laboratory and, as appropriate, animal experimentation. The welfare of animals used for research must be respected” (Ferrari, 197).
→ Context? The Nuremberg Code is a set of ethical research principles, developed in 1947 in the wake of Nazi atrocities during WWII, specifically the inhumane and often fatal experimentation on human subjects without consent.
“Since the 1970s, the animal-rights movement has challenged the use of animals in modern Western society by rejecting the idea of dominion of human beings over nature and animals and stressing the intrinsic value and rights of individual animals” (van Roten, 539, referencing works by Singer, Clark, Regan, and Jasper and Nelkin).
“The old (animal) model simply does not fully meet the needs of scientific and economic progress; it fails in cost, speed, level of detail of understanding, and human relevance. On top of this, animal experimentation lacks acceptance by an ethically evolving society” (Hartung, 682).
Knight’s article summarizes negative impacts on laboratory animals—invasive procedures, stress, pain, and death (Knight, 333). These aren’t very widely or clearly reported (Knight, 333). → Reading about these definitely produces an emotional reaction—they sound bad.
Given this context, it makes sense to ban animal testing in situations where it’s just for recreational products like cosmetics.
Fortunately, animal testing for cosmetics is less common than we might think.
A Gallup poll published in 1990 found that 14% of people thought that the most frequent reason for using animals to test cosmetics for safety—but figures from the UK Home Office in 1991 found that less than 1% of animals were used for tests for cosmetics and toiletries (BMJ 1993, 1019). → So in the early 1990s there was a big difference between what people thought was happening and what actually was happening!
But it still happens, and there are very few regulations of it (apart from in the EU).
Because there are many definitions of the phrase “cruelty-free,” many companies “can (and do) use the term when the product or its ingredients were indeed tested on animals” (Sheehan and Lee, 1).
The authors compare “cruelty-free” to the term “fair trade.” There is an independent inspection and certification group (Flo-Cert) that reviews products labeled as “fair trade,” but there’s no analogous process for “cruelty-free” (Sheehan and Lee, 2). → So anyone can just put that label on a product? Apparently, apart from in the European Union. That seems really easy to abuse for marketing purposes.
Companies can also hire outside firms to test products and ingredients on animals (Sheehan and Lee, 3).
Animal testing for recreational, non-medical purposes should be banned, like it is in the EU.
Download the full example outline here .
7. Do more research if necessary
Occasionally you might realize that there’s a hole in your research, and you don’t have enough evidence to support one of your points.
In this situation, either change your argument to fit the evidence that you do have, or do a bit more research to fill the hole!
For example, looking at our outline for argument #1 for our essay on animal testing, it’s clear that this paragraph is missing a small but crucial bit of evidence—a reference to this specific ban on animal testing for cosmetics in Europe. Time for a bit more research!
A visit to the official website of the European Commission yields a copy of the law, which we can add to our populated outline:
“The cosmetics directive provides the regulatory framework for the phasing out of animal testing for cosmetics purposes. Specifically, it establishes (1) a testing ban – prohibition to test finished cosmetic products and cosmetic ingredients on animals, and (2) a marketing ban – prohibition to market finished cosmetic products and ingredients in the EU which were tested on animals. The same provisions are contained in the cosmetics regulation , which replaced the cosmetics directive as of 11 July 2013. The testing ban on finished cosmetic products applies since 11 September 2004. The testing ban on ingredients or combination of ingredients applies since 11 March 2009. The marketing ban applies since 11 March 2009 for all human health effects with the exception of repeated-dose toxicity, reproductive toxicity, and toxicokinetics. For these specific health effects, the marketing ban applies since 11 March 2013, irrespective of the availability of alternative non-animal tests.” (website of the European Commission, “Ban on animal testing”)
Alright, now this supporting argument has the necessary ingredients!
You don’t need to use all of the evidence that you found in your research. In fact, you probably won’t use all of it!
This part of the writing process requires you to think critically about your arguments and what evidence is relevant to your points .
8. Add your own analysis and synthesis of these points
Once you’ve organized your evidence and decided what you want to use for your essay, now you get to start adding your own analysis!
You may have already started synthesizing and evaluating your sources when you were doing your research (the stuff on the right-hand side of our template). This gives you a great starting place!
For each piece of evidence, follow this formula:
- Context and transitions: introduce your piece of evidence and any relevant background info and signal the logical flow of ideas
- Reproduce the paraphrase or direct quote (with citation )
- Explanation : explain what the quote/paraphrase means in your own words
- Analysis : analyze how this piece of evidence proves your thesis
- Relate it back to the thesis: don’t forget to relate this point back to your overarching thesis!
If you follow this fool-proof formula as you write, you will create clear, well-evidenced arguments.
As you get more experienced, you might stray a bit from the formula—but a good essay will always intermix evidence with explanation and analysis, and will always contain signposts back to the thesis throughout.
For our essay about animal testing, our first body paragraph might look like:
Every year, millions of animals—mostly rodents—are used for testing and research (BMJ 1993, 1020) . This testing poses an ethical dilemma: “how to balance the welfare of humans with the welfare of other species” (Hubel, McIsaac 29) . Many of the fundamental legal tests that are used to justify animal use in biomedical research were created in wake of the horrors of World War II, when the Nazi regime engaged in terrible experimentation on their human prisoners. In response to these atrocities, philosophers and lawmakers drew a clear line between experimenting on humans without consent and experimenting on (non-human) animals. For example, the 1947 Nuremberg Code stated that “the experiment should be so designed and based on the results of animal experimentation and a knowledge of the natural history of the disease or other problem under study that the anticipated results will justify the performance of the experiment” (Ferrari, 197) . Created two years after the war, the code established a set of ethical research principles to demarcate ethical differences between animals and humans, clarifying differences between Nazi atrocities and more everyday research practices. However, in the following decades, the animal-rights movement has challenged the philosophical boundaries between humans and animals and questioned humanity’s right to exert dominion over animals (van Roten, 539, referencing works by Singer, Clark, Regan, and Jasper and Nelkin) . These concerns are not without justification, as animals used in laboratories are subject to invasive procedures, stress, pain, and death (Knight, 333) . Indeed, reading detailed descriptions of this research can be difficult to stomach . In light of this, while some animal testing that contributes to vital medical research and ultimately saves millions of lives may be ethically justified, animal testing that is purely for recreational purposes like cosmetics cannot be ethically justified . Fortunately, animal testing for cosmetics is less common than we might think . In 1990, a poll found that 14% of people in the UK thought that the most frequent reason for using animals to test cosmetics for safety—but actual figures were less than 1% (BMJ 1993, 1019) . Unfortunately, animal testing for cosmetics is not subject to very much regulation . In particular, companies can use the phrase “cruelty-free” to mean just about anything, and many companies “can (and do) use the term when the product or its ingredients were indeed tested on animals” (Sheehan and Lee, 1) . Unlike the term “fair trade,” which has an independent inspection and certification group (Flo-Cert) that reviews products using the label, there’s no analogous process for “cruelty-free” (Sheehan and Lee, 2) . Without regulation, the term is regularly abused by marketers . Companies can also hire outside firms to test products and ingredients on animals and thereby pass the blame (Sheehan and Lee, 3) . Consumers trying to avoid products tested on animals are frequently tricked . Greater regulation of terms would help, but the only way to end this kind of deceit will be to ban animal testing for recreational, non-medical purposes . The European Union is the only governmental body yet to accomplish this . In a series of regulations, the EU first banned testing finished cosmetic products (2004), then testing ingredients or marketing products which were tested on animals (2009); exceptions for specific health effects ended in 2013 (website of the European Commission, “Ban on animal testing”) . The result is that the EU bans testing cosmetic ingredients or finished cosmetic products on animals, as well as marketing any cosmetic ingredients and products which were tested on animals elsewhere (Regulation 1223/2009/EU, known as the “Cosmetics Regulation”) . The rest of the world should follow this example and ban animal testing on cosmetic ingredients and products, which do not contribute significantly to the greater good and therefore cannot outweigh the cost to animal lives .
Edit down the quotes/paraphrases as you go. In many cases, you might copy out a great long quote from a source…but only end up using a few words of it as a direct quote, or you might only paraphrase it!
There were several good quotes in our previous step that just didn’t end up fitting here. That’s fine!
Take a look at the words and phrases highlighted in red. Notice how sometimes a single word can help to provide necessary context and create a logical transition for a new idea. Don’t forget the transitions! These words and phrases are essential to good writing.
The end of the paragraph should very clearly tie back to the thesis statement.
As you write, consider your audience
If it’s not specified in your assignment prompt, it’s always appropriate to ask your instructor who the intended audience of your essay or paper might be. (Your instructor will usually be impressed by this question!)
If you don’t get any specific guidance, imagine that your audience is the typical readership of a newspaper like the New York Times —people who are generally educated, but who don’t have any specialized knowledge of the specific subject, especially if it’s more technical.
That means that you should explain any words or phrases that aren’t everyday terminology!
Equally important, you don’t want to leave logical leaps for your readers to make. Connect all of the dots for them!
See the other body paragraphs of this essay, along with 9 student essays, here .
9. Add paragraph transitions and concluding sentences to each body paragraph
By now you should have at least three strong body paragraphs, each one with 3–5 pieces of evidence plus your own analysis and synthesis of the evidence.
Each paragraph has a main topic sentence, which we wrote back when we made the outline. This is a good time to check that the topic sentences still match what the rest of the paragraph says!
Think about how these arguments relate to each other. What is the most logical order for them? Re-order your paragraphs if necessary.
Then add a few sentences at the end of each paragraph and/or the beginning of the next paragraph to connect these ideas. This step is often the difference between an okay essay and a really great one!
You want your essay to have a great flow. We didn’t worry about this at the beginning of our writing, but now is the time to start improving the flow of ideas!
10. The final additions: write an introduction and a conclusion
Follow this formula to write a great introduction:
- It begins with some kind of “hook”: this can be an anecdote, quote, statistic, provocative statement, question, etc.
(Pro tip: don’t use phrases like “throughout history,” “since the dawn of humankind,” etc. It’s good to think broadly, but you don’t have to make generalizations for all of history.)
- It gives some background information that is relevant to understand the ethical dilemma or debate
- It has a lead-up to the thesis
- At the end of the introduction, the thesis is clearly stated
This makes a smooth funnel that starts more broadly and smoothly zeroes in on the specific argument.
Your conclusion is kind of like your introduction, but in reverse. It starts with your thesis and ends a little more broadly.
For the conclusion, try and summarize your entire argument without being redundant. Start by restating your thesis but with slightly different wording . Then summarize each of your main points.
If you can, it’s nice to point to the larger significance of the issue. What are the potential consequences of this issue? What are some future directions for it to go in? What remains to be explored?
See how nine students wrote introductions in different styles here .
11. Add citations and bibliography
Check what bibliographic style your instructor wants you to use. If this isn’t clearly stated, it’s a good question to ask them!
Typically the instructions will say something like “Chicago style,” “APA,” etc., or they’ll give you their own rules.
These rules will dictate how exactly you’ll write your citations in the body of your essay (either in parentheses after the quote/paraphrase or else with a footnote or endnote) and how you’ll write your “works cited” with the full bibliographic information at the end.
Follow these rules! The most important thing is to be consistent and clear.
Pro tip: if you’re struggling with this step, your librarians can often help! They’re literally pros at this. 🙂
Now you have a complete draft!
Read it from beginning to end. Does it make sense? Are there any orphan quotes or paraphrases that aren’t clearly explained? Are there any abrupt changes of topic? Fix it!
Are there any problems with grammar or spelling ? Fix them!
Edit for clarity.
Ideally, you’ll finish your draft at least a few days before it’s due to be submitted. Give it a break for a day or two, and then come back to it. Things to be revised are more likely to jump out after a little break!
Try reading your essay out loud. Are there any sentences that don’t sound quite right? Rewrite them!
Double-check your thesis statement. This is the make-or-break moment of your essay, and without a clear thesis it’s pretty impossible for an essay to be a great one. Is it:
- Arguable: it’s not just the facts—someone could disagree with this position
- Narrow & specific: don’t pick a position that’s so broad you could never back it up
- Complex: show that you are thinking deeply—one way to do this is to consider objections/qualifiers in your thesis
Try giving your essay to a friend or family member to read. Sometimes (if you’re lucky) your instructors will offer to read a draft if you turn it in early. What feedback do they have? Edit accordingly!
See the result of this process with 10 example essays now .
You did it! Feel proud of yourself 🙂
We regularly help students work through all of these steps to write great academic essays in our Academic Writing Workshop or our one-on-one writing tutoring . We’re happy to chat more about what’s challenging for you and provide you customized guidance to help you write better papers and improve your grades on writing assignments!
Want to see what this looks like when it’s all pulled together? We compiled nine examples of great student essays, plus all of the steps used to create this model essay, in this handy resource. Download it here !
Emily graduated summa cum laude from Princeton University and holds an MA from the University of Notre Dame. She was a National Merit Scholar and has won numerous academic prizes and fellowships. A veteran of the publishing industry, she has helped professors at Harvard, Yale, and Princeton revise their books and articles. Over the last decade, Emily has successfully mentored hundreds of students in all aspects of the college admissions process, including the SAT, ACT, and college application essay.
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The Modes of Discourse—Exposition, Description, Narration, Argumentation (EDNA)—are common paper assignments you may encounter in your writing classes. Although these genres have been criticized by some composition scholars, the Purdue OWL recognizes the wide spread use of these approaches and students’ need to understand and produce them.
What is an argumentative essay?
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 essay differs from the expository essay in the amount of pre-writing (invention) and research involved. The argumentative essay is commonly assigned as a capstone or final project in first year writing or advanced composition courses and involves lengthy, detailed research. Expository essays involve less research and are shorter in length. Expository essays are often used for in-class writing exercises or tests, such as the GED or GRE.
Argumentative essay assignments generally call for extensive research of literature or previously published material. Argumentative assignments may also require empirical research where the student collects data through interviews, surveys, observations, or experiments. Detailed research allows the student to learn about the topic and to understand different points of view regarding the topic so that she/he may choose a position and support it with the evidence collected during research. Regardless of the amount or type of research involved, argumentative essays must establish a clear thesis and follow sound reasoning.
The structure of the argumentative essay is held together by the following.
- A clear, concise, and defined thesis statement that occurs in the first paragraph of the essay.
In the first paragraph of an argument essay, students should set the context by reviewing the topic in a general way. Next the author should explain why the topic is important ( exigence ) or why readers should care about the issue. Lastly, students should present the thesis statement. It is essential that this thesis statement be appropriately narrowed to follow the guidelines set forth in the assignment. If the student does not master this portion of the essay, it will be quite difficult to compose an effective or persuasive essay.
- Clear and logical transitions between the introduction, body, and conclusion.
Transitions are the mortar that holds the foundation of the essay together. Without logical progression of thought, the reader is unable to follow the essay’s argument, and the structure will collapse. Transitions should wrap up the idea from the previous section and introduce the idea that is to follow in the next section.
- Body paragraphs that include evidential support.
Each paragraph should be limited to the discussion of one general idea. This will allow for clarity and direction throughout the essay. In addition, such conciseness creates an ease of readability for one’s audience. It is important to note that each paragraph in the body of the essay must have some logical connection to the thesis statement in the opening paragraph. Some paragraphs will directly support the thesis statement with evidence collected during research. It is also important to explain how and why the evidence supports the thesis ( warrant ).
However, argumentative essays should also consider and explain differing points of view regarding the topic. Depending on the length of the assignment, students should dedicate one or two paragraphs of an argumentative essay to discussing conflicting opinions on the topic. Rather than explaining how these differing opinions are wrong outright, students should note how opinions that do not align with their thesis might not be well informed or how they might be out of date.
- Evidential support (whether factual, logical, statistical, or anecdotal).
The argumentative essay requires well-researched, accurate, detailed, and current information to support the thesis statement and consider other points of view. Some factual, logical, statistical, or anecdotal evidence should support the thesis. However, students must consider multiple points of view when collecting evidence. As noted in the paragraph above, a successful and well-rounded argumentative essay will also discuss opinions not aligning with the thesis. It is unethical to exclude evidence that may not support the thesis. It is not the student’s job to point out how other positions are wrong outright, but rather to explain how other positions may not be well informed or up to date on the topic.
- A conclusion that does not simply restate the thesis, but readdresses it in light of the evidence provided.
It is at this point of the essay that students may begin to struggle. This is the portion of the essay that will leave the most immediate impression on the mind of the reader. Therefore, it must be effective and logical. Do not introduce any new information into the conclusion; rather, synthesize the information presented in the body of the essay. Restate why the topic is important, review the main points, and review your thesis. You may also want to include a short discussion of more research that should be completed in light of your work.
A complete argument
Perhaps it is helpful to think of an essay in terms of a conversation or debate with a classmate. If I were to discuss the cause of World War II and its current effect on those who lived through the tumultuous time, there would be a beginning, middle, and end to the conversation. In fact, if I were to end the argument in the middle of my second point, questions would arise concerning the current effects on those who lived through the conflict. Therefore, the argumentative essay must be complete, and logically so, leaving no doubt as to its intent or argument.
The five-paragraph essay
A common method for writing an argumentative essay is the five-paragraph approach. This is, however, by no means the only formula for writing such essays. If it sounds straightforward, that is because it is; in fact, the method consists of (a) an introductory paragraph (b) three evidentiary body paragraphs that may include discussion of opposing views and (c) a conclusion.
Longer argumentative essays
Complex issues and detailed research call for complex and detailed essays. Argumentative essays discussing a number of research sources or empirical research will most certainly be longer than five paragraphs. Authors may have to discuss the context surrounding the topic, sources of information and their credibility, as well as a number of different opinions on the issue before concluding the essay. Many of these factors will be determined by the assignment.
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Sat / act prep online guides and tips, how to write an a+ argumentative essay.
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 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 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?"
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'"
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"
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.]
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
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.
"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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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!
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
Once you've brought that final draft to a perfect polish and turned in your assignment, you're done! Go you!
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.
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.
Need more help with this topic? Check out Tutorbase!
Our vetted tutor database includes a range of experienced educators who can help you polish an essay for English or explain how derivatives work for Calculus. You can use dozens of filters and search criteria to find the perfect person for your needs.
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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Suggestions for Developing Argumentative Essays
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1. Select an arguable topic, preferably one which interests, puzzles, or appeals to you.
Make sure your topic is neither too broad--something which warrants a dissertation--nor too limited. Decide what your goals are for the paper. What is your purpose? What opinion, view, or idea do you want to prove? Try to articulate your purpose clearly before you begin writing. If you cannot state your purpose clearly, try to freewrite about your topic.
2. Take a position on your topic, and form a thesis statement.
Your thesis must be arguable; it must assert or deny something about your topic. To be arguable, a thesis must have some probability of being true. It should not, however, be generally accepted as true; it must be a statement with which people may disagree. Keep in mind that a thesis contains both an observation and an opinion:
A good way to test the strength of your thesis is to see if it yields a strong antithesis.
Common thesis pitfalls:
- A thesis expressed as a fragment.
- A thesis which is too broad.
- A thesis worded as a question. (Usually the answer to the question yields the thesis)
- A thesis which includes extraneous information.
- A thesis which begins with I think or in my opinion.
- A thesis which deals with a stale or trite issue.
- A thesis which contains words which lead to faulty generalizations (all, none, always, only, everyone, etc.)
Thesis writing tips:
- A thesis evolves as you work with your topic. Brainstorm, research, talk, and think about your topic before settling on a thesis. If you are having trouble formulating a thesis, begin freewriting about your topic. Your freewrite may suggest a workable thesis.
- During the writing process, consider your thesis a working thesis and be willing to modify and re-focus it as you draft and revise your paper.
- Copy your working thesis on an index card and keep it in front of you as you research and write. Having your thesis in plain view may help focus your writing.
3. Consider your audience.
Plan your paper with a specific audience in mind. Who are your readers? Are they a definable group--disinterested observers, opponents of your point of view, etc.? Perhaps you are writing to your classmates. Ask your professor or GSI who you should consider your target audience. If you are not certain of your audience, direct your argument to a general audience.
4. Present clear and convincing evidence.
Strong essays consist of reasons supported by evidence . Reasons can be thought of as the main points supporting your claim or thesis. Often they are the answers to the question, "Why do you make that claim?" An easy way to think of reasons is to see them as "because phrases." In order to validate your reasons and make your argument successful, support your reasons with ample evidence.
The St. Martin's Guide to Writing (Axelrod & Cooper, 2nd ed., New York: St. Martin's Press, 1988) lists the following forms of evidence:
- textual evidence
For most college papers, you will include evidence you have gathered from various sources and texts. Make sure you document your evidence properly. When using evidence, make sure you (1) introduce it properly, and (2) explain its significance. Do not assume that your evidence will speak for itself--that your readers will glean from your evidence that which you want them to glean. Explain the importance of each piece of evidence-- how it elucidates or supports your point, why it is significant. Build evidence into your text, and use it strategically to prove your points.
In addition to using evidence, thoughtful writers anticipate their readers' counterarguments Counterarguments include objections, alternatives, challenges, or questions to your argument. Imagine readers responding to your argument as it unfolds. How might they react? A savvy writer will anticipate and address counterarguments. A writer can address counterarguments by acknowledging , accommodating , and/or refuting them.
5. Draft your essay.
As is the case with any piece of writing, you should take your argumentative essay through multiple drafts. When writing and revising your drafts, make sure you:
- provide ample evidence , presented logically and fairly
- deal with the opposing point of view
- pay particular attention to the organization of your essay. Make sure its structure suits your topic and audience
- address and correct any fallacies of logic
- include proper transitions to allow your reader to follow your argument
6. Edit your draft.
After you have written a developed draft, take off your writer's hat and put on your reader's hat. Evaluate your essay carefully and critically. Exchange a draft of your essay with classmates to get their feedback. Carefully revise your draft based on your assessment of it and suggestions from your peers. For self-assessment and peer response to your draft, you may want to use a peer editing sheet. A peer editing sheet will guide you and your peers by asking specific questions about your text (i.e., What is the thesis of this essay? Is it arguable? Does the writer include ample evidence? Is the structure suitable for the topic and the audience?).
You may also want to avail yourself of the Writing Drop-In Tutoring or By-Appointment Tutoring at the Student Learning Center .
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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
How to Write an Argumentative Essay: Easy Guide with Tips and Examples
What Is an Argumentative Essay
Argumentative essays involve a strong stance on an issue to sway the reader toward the author's viewpoint. This differs from a persuasive essay, which relies more on the writer's emotions and views.
This kind of essay typically necessitates a deep study of argumentative essay topics and is structured in three main parts consisting of five paragraphs: one opening, three body, and one closing. Argumentative essays aim to get the reader to agree with the thesis statement, which is backed by evidence, facts, and data. At that point, you should specify your main thought or thesis statement while considering this. It will be the focus of attention for whatever comes after this juncture.
A student is given this kind of paper to practice debating. As a result, it may significantly impact a person's ability to speak in front of an audience later in life. Concentrating on facts and information while writing an argumentative essay rather than your opinions or preferences is crucial. The author may choose to present opposing views equally or to favor one over the other. Nevertheless, the thesis must contain all the main arguments and rebuttals discussed in the paper. It is similar to a political dialogue with oneself in many aspects. Now that you understand what is an argumentative essay let's browse through more interesting details that make up an argumentative essay.
Elements of an Argumentative Essay
The key elements of an argument include the following:
1. Problem Statement - Academic papers often begin with an unanswered question, a contradiction, or an explanation of a crucial concept. This is standard practice in academic writing to grab the reader's attention, highlight the importance of the study, and identify the literature to which the study will add.
2. Literature Review - After stating the problem, describe a gap in the literature that the research is trying to fill. This gap can be an unresolved question, a paradox, a missing piece of information, a theoretical inconsistency, or any other flaw in the existing understanding of the phenomenon in question.
3. The Research Focus - A statement describing the specific emphasis of the research is included after the literature review. This might be expressed in various ways, such as a question, a hypothesis, or—more frequently—a declaration of the research's goals or objectives.
4. Method and Methodology - The approach and methodology explain how you would answer the inquiry or how you achieved your results. Normally, the argumentative essay introduction and abstract concisely summarize the procedure and methodology. Here you outline your extensive research process, present conclusions, and explain why these steps were essential for the project. You should aim to concisely provide the most pertinent information using a few terms.
5. Results/Evidence - You're informing the reader of what you discovered. Evidence may be arranged according to methodological components, major topics, theories, concepts, case studies, historical eras, laws, literary genres, contexts, geographic regions, or other categories. The discussion must be directly related to the thesis's issue or argument, which is crucial.
6. Discussion and Conclusion - The last part of the storyline involves providing the answer to the inquiry or summarizing the argument and the primary proof used to validate it. This is then followed by a review of the importance of the research and the implications that result from it.
How to Write an Argumentative Essay with Steps
For an argumentative essay to be effective, having more than one opinion isn't enough. A strong stance won't be impactful if improperly organized and supported with sound reasons and facts. With this easy-to-follow guide, let us discover how to write an argumentative essay tailored to your target audience!
In the meantime, you can always ask us - ' write essay for me ' without putting in your effort!
Choose Your Research Sources for Your Argumentative Essay
Researching the available literature in-depth is necessary for an argumentative essay. Additionally, they call for empirical study, where a writer gathers the data through the following techniques.
Present your readers with dependable sources that back up your assertions. It's wise to read material from both sides of the subject. For the most current data, try and use sources released within the last two decades unless there is a distinct reason why not. Here are some good sources to look at:
- Books produced by scholarly presses
- Scholarly journals
- Academic resources such as EBSCO and JSTOR
- Nationally distributed publications like The New York Times
And if you struggle with finding good academic sources, feel free to use our research paper help !
Consider the Argumentative Essay Outline
As the argumentative essay structure is contingent upon its content and argument, each essay will have its particular structural difficulties. However, a fundamental part of the writing process is honing the ability to put forth an argument that is both convincing and lucid. Let's take a look at the argumentative essay format:
Start with the main claim in the introduction – The core thesis you want to support. Establishing your claim is one of the most crucial components of any academic work, whether a movie review essay , a presentation, a dissertation, a research paper, or a thesis. A strong assertion should be audacious, captivating, and, most crucially, debatable.
Present the proofs in the body paragraphs - Facts, data, sources, and examples must be provided as evidence and correctly connected. It is essential to acknowledge that just because there is evidence, it does not necessarily make the proposition true. You must contribute some effort to convince your reader of the relationship between the data and your reasoning.
Find opposing arguments and respond to them - Taking other perspectives into account and looking for potential objections is also essential. We may favor ideas that endorse our views, which can result in one-sided or faulty arguments. If we take the time to actively consider opposing opinions and incorporate them into our own thinking, we can create arguments with more depth and complexity.
Conclusion - The last piece of your argumentative essay outline is the conclusion, which should be an informed summary of the argument, using language that is in line with the reliability of your discoveries. You may use this as a chance to make predictions or recommendations, offer some practical applications, or identify potential further research.
Add Transitions within Argumentative Essay Paragraphs
At this point, you should have at least three strong body paragraphs, each containing 3-5 pieces of supporting evidence and your personal analysis/synthesis. It's a good idea to ensure that the paragraph's topic sentences still reflect the rest of the content. And consider the relationship between these arguments.
If needed, reorganize your paragraphs for the most logical order. To take your entire essay to the next level, add some sentences at the beginning or end of each paragraph to link the argumentative essay ideas together.
Add Bibliography to Your Argumentative Essay
See what bibliographic style your teacher wants you to use. Generally, the instructions will include 'MLA style,' 'APA,' etc., or they will give you their own rules.
These guidelines will specify how to structure your 'works cited' section after your essay with the complete bibliographic information and how to format your citations in the body of your essay.
Revise Your Final Argumentative Essay
As you are editing, look through your work from start to finish. Does everything make sense? Are there any quotations or paraphrases that don't have a context? Are there any sudden changes in the subject? Fix it up!
Verify your thesis statement twice, as your essay's success hinges on the clarity of this statement, and without a clear thesis, it is difficult to write an outstanding essay. Make sure it is:
- Debatable because someone could disagree with this assertion notwithstanding the facts.
- Narrow & specific: Avoids a stance that is too wide to support.
- Complex: demonstrates your profound thought processes by taking into account the qualifiers and/or objections in your argument.
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3 Ways to Approach Argumentative Writing
Classical Approach - This is the most common approach and where you should:
- Introduce your issue. Most lecturers will want you to deliver a strong thesis statement after your introductory paragraph. The goal is to introduce your main points to your audience before delving further.
- Explain the problem in detail. Provide the reasons why a certain course of action or thinking is required to make your case. This will happen throughout several sentences.
- Address the opposition. Briefly describe the opposing viewpoint in a few paragraphs. Make each argument against the adversary.
- Provide your proof. After addressing the opposing viewpoint, explain why your side is superior.
- Present your conclusion. Reiterate your core claim or thesis and highlight the important aspects of your argument in your conclusion. This is a good time to urge your audience to act if you advocate for change. Inform them of the changes they might make.
Rogerian Approach - The Rogerian method works well for argumentative pieces on contentious issues like global warming, gender identity, and philosophical problems. In contrast to other approaches, there is no set framework to adhere to. Instead, it involves giving both sides of an argument equal weight when presenting the facts. A broader view is essential, and finding a compromise is more significant than finding a solution.
Toulmin Approach - Polemical debates can benefit greatly from this tactic. It seeks to reduce pointless debates by locating areas of agreement within a discussion. For instance, if your topic is whether animal testing is banned, you would need to examine the most important points on both sides of the debate. You may discuss the benefits and drawbacks here.
Good Argumentative Essay Topics
Here are some good argumentative essay topics from our argumentative essay writing service you can consider for your next assignment:
- Are virtual personalities expected to adhere to the same ethical codes as human influencers?
- Should businesses be mandated to offer retraining and educational opportunities for workers that have been laid off?
- Do social media networks bear any responsibility for the harm caused to their users?
- Is remote work a workable solution for contemporary workplaces?
- Is gene editing appropriate to remove inherited illnesses or improve physical characteristics?
- Is it wise to prioritize sustainable agriculture and plant-based diets to lessen carbon emissions?
- Who should be held liable for incidents involving autonomous cars?
- Are gig workers deserving of the same advantages and security as regular workers?
- Does playing violent video games correlate with aggressive behavior in children and adolescents?
- Should corporations be permitted to secure exclusive rights to genes and genetic data for commercial gain?
Read also an informative article about the movie review essay .
Argumentative Essay Examples
Below you can find some good argumentative essay examples from our argumentative essay writer . The first essay talks about the value that comes with the freedom of being able to strike for public workers.
Argumentative Essay Example: Should Public Workers be Allowed to Strike?
Say goodbye to 'stress at work' and welcome the 'freedom to express yourself.' Most public workers are denied their right to expression even after being exposed to bad working conditions and rights violations. These violations deny them the morale to perform well in their duties. Enabling workers to strike motivates them to work since it encourages them to speak out whenever they feel their rights, safety, and/or regulations have been compromised. Countries across the globe should always allow public workers to strike.
The second essay from our dissertation writing services discusses the importance of economic equality in a nation, alongside possible repercussions and potential threats if not met.
At this point, you should be well aware of the argumentative essay definition and the ways you can structure it perfectly. You might even have already composed your argumentative essay and would like to have it evaluated. In this case, don't hesitate to contact us. We can review your academic essays and help you gain the grade you deserve. If you haven't written it yet, our service can assist you. Even if you want to know how to write an autobiography , all you need to do is submit your essay writing help request, and we'll take care of it in a flash!
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8 Effective Strategies to Write Argumentative Essays
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.
“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 common situations to write argumentative essays include:
1. Academic assignments
In school or college, teachers or professors may assign argumentative essays as part of coursework. These essays help students 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. These essays aim 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.
Evidence must consist of factual information, data, examples, or expert opinions that support the claim. Also, it lends credibility to the argument by strengthening the writer’s position.
Acknowledging the opposing viewpoint is crucial in an argumentative essay. Presenting a counterclaim demonstrates fairness and awareness of alternative perspectives.
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:
- 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.
- Provide evidence and support for your argument. Explain the facts, statistics, examples, expert opinions, and quotations from credible sources that supports and add relevance to 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.
- Address these counterarguments and explain why they do not weaken your position. Provide evidence and reasoning to support your rebuttal.
- Restate your thesis statement in different words to remind the reader of your main argument.
- 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.
- Include a bibliography or works cited page 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 for grammar, spelling, and .
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.
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.” Turing the page, the professor continued, “Check this page to know the importance of writing an argumentative essay in developing skills of an individual.”
Importance of an Argumentative Essay
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?
Turing 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
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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The Writing Process | 5 Steps with Examples & Tips
Published on April 24, 2020 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on July 23, 2023.
Good academic writing requires effective planning, drafting, and revision.
The writing process looks different for everyone, but there are five basic steps that will help you structure your time when writing any kind of text.
Receive feedback on language, structure, and formatting
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Table of contents
Step 1: prewriting, step 2: planning and outlining, step 3: writing a first draft, step 4: redrafting and revising, step 5: editing and proofreading, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about the writing process.
Before you start writing, you need to decide exactly what you’ll write about and do the necessary research.
Coming up with a topic
If you have to come up with your own topic for an assignment, think of what you’ve covered in class— is there a particular area that intrigued, interested, or even confused you? Topics that left you with additional questions are perfect, as these are questions you can explore in your writing.
The scope depends on what type of text you’re writing—for example, an essay or a research paper will be less in-depth than a dissertation topic . Don’t pick anything too ambitious to cover within the word count, or too limited for you to find much to say.
Narrow down your idea to a specific argument or question. For example, an appropriate topic for an essay might be narrowed down like this:
Doing the research
Once you know your topic, it’s time to search for relevant sources and gather the information you need. This process varies according to your field of study and the scope of the assignment. It might involve:
- Searching for primary and secondary sources .
- Reading the relevant texts closely (e.g. for literary analysis ).
- Collecting data using relevant research methods (e.g. experiments , interviews or surveys )
From a writing perspective, the important thing is to take plenty of notes while you do the research. Keep track of the titles, authors, publication dates, and relevant quotations from your sources; the data you gathered; and your initial analysis or interpretation of the questions you’re addressing.
Prevent plagiarism. Run a free check.
Especially in academic writing , it’s important to use a logical structure to convey information effectively. It’s far better to plan this out in advance than to try to work out your structure once you’ve already begun writing.
Creating an essay outline is a useful way to plan out your structure before you start writing. This should help you work out the main ideas you want to focus on and how you’ll organize them. The outline doesn’t have to be final—it’s okay if your structure changes throughout the writing process.
Use bullet points or numbering to make your structure clear at a glance. Even for a short text that won’t use headings, it’s useful to summarize what you’ll discuss in each paragraph.
An outline for a literary analysis essay might look something like this:
- Describe the theatricality of Austen’s works
- Outline the role theater plays in Mansfield Park
- Introduce the research question: How does Austen use theater to express the characters’ morality in Mansfield Park ?
- Discuss Austen’s depiction of the performance at the end of the first volume
- Discuss how Sir Bertram reacts to the acting scheme
- Introduce Austen’s use of stage direction–like details during dialogue
- Explore how these are deployed to show the characters’ self-absorption
- Discuss Austen’s description of Maria and Julia’s relationship as polite but affectionless
- Compare Mrs. Norris’s self-conceit as charitable despite her idleness
- Summarize the three themes: The acting scheme, stage directions, and the performance of morals
- Answer the research question
- Indicate areas for further study
Once you have a clear idea of your structure, it’s time to produce a full first draft.
This process can be quite non-linear. For example, it’s reasonable to begin writing with the main body of the text, saving the introduction for later once you have a clearer idea of the text you’re introducing.
To give structure to your writing, use your outline as a framework. Make sure that each paragraph has a clear central focus that relates to your overall argument.
Hover over the parts of the example, from a literary analysis essay on Mansfield Park , to see how a paragraph is constructed.
The character of Mrs. Norris provides another example of the performance of morals in Mansfield Park . Early in the novel, she is described in scathing terms as one who knows “how to dictate liberality to others: but her love of money was equal to her love of directing” (p. 7). This hypocrisy does not interfere with her self-conceit as “the most liberal-minded sister and aunt in the world” (p. 7). Mrs. Norris is strongly concerned with appearing charitable, but unwilling to make any personal sacrifices to accomplish this. Instead, she stage-manages the charitable actions of others, never acknowledging that her schemes do not put her own time or money on the line. In this way, Austen again shows us a character whose morally upright behavior is fundamentally a performance—for whom the goal of doing good is less important than the goal of seeming good.
When you move onto a different topic, start a new paragraph. Use appropriate transition words and phrases to show the connections between your ideas.
The goal at this stage is to get a draft completed, not to make everything perfect as you go along. Once you have a full draft in front of you, you’ll have a clearer idea of where improvement is needed.
Give yourself a first draft deadline that leaves you a reasonable length of time to revise, edit, and proofread before the final deadline. For a longer text like a dissertation, you and your supervisor might agree on deadlines for individual chapters.
Now it’s time to look critically at your first draft and find potential areas for improvement. Redrafting means substantially adding or removing content, while revising involves making changes to structure and reformulating arguments.
Evaluating the first draft
It can be difficult to look objectively at your own writing. Your perspective might be positively or negatively biased—especially if you try to assess your work shortly after finishing it.
It’s best to leave your work alone for at least a day or two after completing the first draft. Come back after a break to evaluate it with fresh eyes; you’ll spot things you wouldn’t have otherwise.
When evaluating your writing at this stage, you’re mainly looking for larger issues such as changes to your arguments or structure. Starting with bigger concerns saves you time—there’s no point perfecting the grammar of something you end up cutting out anyway.
Right now, you’re looking for:
- Arguments that are unclear or illogical.
- Areas where information would be better presented in a different order.
- Passages where additional information or explanation is needed.
- Passages that are irrelevant to your overall argument.
For example, in our paper on Mansfield Park , we might realize the argument would be stronger with more direct consideration of the protagonist Fanny Price, and decide to try to find space for this in paragraph IV.
For some assignments, you’ll receive feedback on your first draft from a supervisor or peer. Be sure to pay close attention to what they tell you, as their advice will usually give you a clearer sense of which aspects of your text need improvement.
Redrafting and revising
Once you’ve decided where changes are needed, make the big changes first, as these are likely to have knock-on effects on the rest. Depending on what your text needs, this step might involve:
- Making changes to your overall argument.
- Reordering the text.
- Cutting parts of the text.
- Adding new text.
You can go back and forth between writing, redrafting and revising several times until you have a final draft that you’re happy with.
Think about what changes you can realistically accomplish in the time you have. If you are running low on time, you don’t want to leave your text in a messy state halfway through redrafting, so make sure to prioritize the most important changes.
Editing focuses on local concerns like clarity and sentence structure. Proofreading involves reading the text closely to remove typos and ensure stylistic consistency.
Editing for grammar and clarity
When editing, you want to ensure your text is clear, concise, and grammatically correct. You’re looking out for:
- Grammatical errors.
- Ambiguous phrasings.
- Redundancy and repetition .
In your initial draft, it’s common to end up with a lot of sentences that are poorly formulated. Look critically at where your meaning could be conveyed in a more effective way or in fewer words, and watch out for common sentence structure mistakes like run-on sentences and sentence fragments:
- Austen’s style is frequently humorous, her characters are often described as “witty.” Although this is less true of Mansfield Park .
- Austen’s style is frequently humorous. Her characters are often described as “witty,” although this is less true of Mansfield Park .
To make your sentences run smoothly, you can always use a paraphrasing tool to rewrite them in a clearer way.
Proofreading for small mistakes and typos
When proofreading, first look out for typos in your text:
- Spelling errors.
- Missing words.
- Confused word choices .
- Punctuation errors .
- Missing or excess spaces.
Use a grammar checker , but be sure to do another manual check after. Read through your text line by line, watching out for problem areas highlighted by the software but also for any other issues it might have missed.
For example, in the following phrase we notice several errors:
- Mary Crawfords character is a complicate one and her relationships with Fanny and Edmund undergoes several transformations through out the novel.
- Mary Crawford’s character is a complicated one, and her relationships with both Fanny and Edmund undergo several transformations throughout the novel.
Proofreading for stylistic consistency
There are several issues in academic writing where you can choose between multiple different standards. For example:
- Whether you use the serial comma .
- Whether you use American or British spellings and punctuation (you can use a punctuation checker for this).
- Where you use numerals vs. words for numbers.
- How you capitalize your titles and headings.
Unless you’re given specific guidance on these issues, it’s your choice which standards you follow. The important thing is to consistently follow one standard for each issue. For example, don’t use a mixture of American and British spellings in your paper.
Additionally, you will probably be provided with specific guidelines for issues related to format (how your text is presented on the page) and citations (how you acknowledge your sources). Always follow these instructions carefully.
If you want to know more about AI for academic writing, AI tools, or fallacies make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples or go directly to our tools!
- Ad hominem fallacy
- Post hoc fallacy
- Appeal to authority fallacy
- False cause fallacy
- Sunk cost fallacy
- Deep learning
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- Machine learning
- Reinforcement learning
- Supervised vs. unsupervised learning
- Grammar Checker
- Paraphrasing Tool
- Text Summarizer
- AI Detector
- Plagiarism Checker
- Citation Generator
Revising, proofreading, and editing are different stages of the writing process .
- Revising is making structural and logical changes to your text—reformulating arguments and reordering information.
- Editing refers to making more local changes to things like sentence structure and phrasing to make sure your meaning is conveyed clearly and concisely.
- Proofreading involves looking at the text closely, line by line, to spot any typos and issues with consistency and correct them.
Whether you’re publishing a blog, submitting a research paper , or even just writing an important email, there are a few techniques you can use to make sure it’s error-free:
- Take a break : Set your work aside for at least a few hours so that you can look at it with fresh eyes.
- Proofread a printout : Staring at a screen for too long can cause fatigue – sit down with a pen and paper to check the final version.
- Use digital shortcuts : Take note of any recurring mistakes (for example, misspelling a particular word, switching between US and UK English , or inconsistently capitalizing a term), and use Find and Replace to fix it throughout the document.
If you want to be confident that an important text is error-free, it might be worth choosing a professional proofreading service instead.
If you’ve gone over the word limit set for your assignment, shorten your sentences and cut repetition and redundancy during the editing process. If you use a lot of long quotes , consider shortening them to just the essentials.
If you need to remove a lot of words, you may have to cut certain passages. Remember that everything in the text should be there to support your argument; look for any information that’s not essential to your point and remove it.
To make this process easier and faster, you can use a paraphrasing tool . With this tool, you can rewrite your text to make it simpler and shorter. If that’s not enough, you can copy-paste your paraphrased text into the summarizer . This tool will distill your text to its core message.
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- ACADEMIC ADVICE
How to Write an Argumentative Essay
- November 27, 2022
Table of Contents
What is an argumentative essay, introduction, thesis statement, body paragraphs, outline and research, wrapping up.
We’ve all dreaded writing an intimidating essay at some point or other. Argumentative essays are extra intimidating as you’ll have to do justice to the topic and make a strong argument in its favor.
Read on if you want to master writing clear and concise argumentative essays and have common questions answered, such as:
- How to write an argumentative essay
- What are the types of arguments
- How to write a thesis statement for an argumentative essay and others
An argumentative essay is designed to convince the reader why your stance is correct by expanding on the topic and offering fact-based evidence against counter-claims. It requires thorough research of the topic, a clear thesis statement, and follow sound reasoning.
An exceptionally written argumentative essay will:
- Engage the reader with a compelling and exciting topic.
- Give a fair explanation of all points of view.
- Address the potential counter-claims.
- Make the reader ponder and convince them to adopt and consider a new perspective.
Structure of an Argumentative Essay
When writing an argumentative essay, you’ll want to present your stance in the best way possible, which is where a structure is essential. A strong structure consists of:
- A clear and defined thesis statement
- Organic transitions between paragraphs
- Evidential support (factual, logical, or statistical)
Because argumentative essays usually follow a five-paragraph structure, your structure should be as follows:
- First paragraph: introduction and thesis statement.
- Second to the fourth paragraph: body paragraphs , each one detailing your claims.
- Fifth paragraph: conclusion.
However, depending on the complexity of the topic, argumentative essays can be longer than five paragraphs. So, keep in mind to follow the assignment specifications when outlining your essay.
You’ll want to grab the reader’s attention and retain it until the last sentence, which is why the introduction paragraph should be entertaining while still following academic writing rules. For example, you can open up an interesting statistic not well-known in the field.
Your introduction paragraph should serve to outline the topic and the evidence you will present, provide background information, and your statement thesis.
The thesis statement should be the last sentence of the introduction paragraph, and while it’s only a sentence long, it’s the most important part of your essay. A well-constructed thesis will summarize what your argumentative essay is about and what the reader can expect. You can write a thesis statement by following these three steps:
- Turning the topic into a question and then answering it: ask a big question in the title or the first few sentences and then answer it in your thesis statement.
- Stating an argument and then refuting it: introduce an idea you don’t align with and then explain why you disagree with it.
- Briefly outlining your points: introduce your main point and explain how you’ll back it with evidence.
In the body paragraphs, you should include evidential support to your statement thesis. When writing them, keep the following in mind:
- Explain how the evidence supports the thesis statement,
- Present differing points of view on the topic and why these points don’t support the thesis,
- Connect logically to the thesis statement,
- Try to limit a paragraph to one point.
Lastly, in the conclusion paragraph, you restate the thesis statement, but in the light of the evidence you provided. You can use the conclusion to showcase why the topic is important and what future research should focus on. Note that you should refrain from introducing new information in this section.
Types of Arguments
An argumentative essay can use one of the three arguments to approach a topic. Following an approach or combining them can help you structure your essay more easily and be more evident in your claims.
The classical or Aristotelian argument is a classic for a reason, as it is the most common strategy for making a straightforward argument. It relies on five parts:
- Introduction: it introduces the topic and how you’re going to prove your stance.
- Thesis: it explains your point of view.
- Refutation: it includes counter-arguments and refutes them.
- Confirmation: it presents your evidence.
- Conclusion: it summarizes your argument powerfully with evidential support.
The Toulmin argument approach is better used for complex topics or when refuting an opposing point of view. This method is founded on logic and deep analysis, and it relies on six areas:
- Claim: stating the argument clearly.
- Reasons: presenting the evidence.
- Warrant: connecting the argument with evidence.
- Backing: providing additional evidence.
- Qualifier: explaining the limits of the argument.
- Rebuttal: finding opposing views and refuting them.
The Rogerian argument is best used in essays where you have to show the validity of both sides of an argument. When using this approach, you should take a wider-scope view of the topic. While it is more structure-free than the other approaches, you can still follow a structure by:
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- introducing the argument,
- explaining and validating the opposite point of view,
- explaining your point of view and why you hold that stance,
- finding the middle ground between the opposing points of view, and
- concluding the argument and recognizing where there’s still work to be done.
Steps in the Writing Process
Although the writing process is unique to each person, following some steps can help you be more productive.
If your argument or point of view isn’t provided as an assignment, you can try brainstorming to come up with the perfect topic for your project. When looking for topics or arguments, you should:
- be coherent and relevant to the course,
- pick an important topic, and
- pick a topic with potential for further research.
Outlining and researching are crucial, as they set the foundation for an excellent argumentative essay.
When outlining, you should decide whether to follow the five-paragraph outline or the longer essay outline, depending on the complexity of your topic.
On the other hand, when researching, you’ll have to follow a few steps:
- Picking a point of view and argument,
- researching who else supports your argument,
- exploring the potential counter-arguments, and
- organizing your evidence.
You should also keep in mind to check the validity of your evidence.
After outlining your essay and gathering all the material you need, you can start writing. It’s important to write a rough draft with all your ideas and opinions. You should also remember that in this step, it is more important to write and fill in the gaps than to have a perfect version immediately.
Following the rough draft is the revision part, in which you polish it and transform it into the perfect version. When revising, you should ensure your language is clear, optimize word choice, and strengthen any weak argument. This step will help you retain your essay’s credibility and intellectual integrity.
Naturally, when writing, we can all make grammatical and technical mistakes, which is why you should always proofread your essay before submitting it. While you can proofread it yourself, you can also use online resources such as Grammarly to ease the proofreading process. A handy trick is to proofread your essay after taking a break, as it will help you find tiny mistakes you might otherwise have overlooked.
Writing can be a challenging process, especially when you have to prove your point clearly and concisely. However, by sticking to a bulletproof structure and utilizing our tips for writing a stellar argumentative essay, we’re sure you can take on any topic without any difficulty.
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50 Argumentative Essay Topics
Illustration by Catherine Song. ThoughtCo.
- M.Ed., Education Administration, University of Georgia
- B.A., History, Armstrong State University
An argumentative essay requires you to decide on a topic and take a position on it. You'll need to back up your viewpoint with well-researched facts and information as well. One of the hardest parts is deciding which topic to write about, but there are plenty of ideas available to get you started.
Choosing a Great Argumentative Essay Topic
Students often find that most of their work on these essays is done before they even start writing. This means that it's best if you have a general interest in your subject, otherwise you might get bored or frustrated while trying to gather information. (You don't need to know everything, though.) Part of what makes this experience rewarding is learning something new.
It's best if you have a general interest in your subject, but the argument you choose doesn't have to be one that you agree with.
The subject you choose may not necessarily be one that you are in full agreement with, either. You may even be asked to write a paper from the opposing point of view. Researching a different viewpoint helps students broaden their perspectives.
Ideas for Argument Essays
Sometimes, the best ideas are sparked by looking at many different options. Explore this list of possible topics and see if a few pique your interest. Write those down as you come across them, then think about each for a few minutes.
Which would you enjoy researching? Do you have a firm position on a particular subject? Is there a point you would like to make sure to get across? Did the topic give you something new to think about? Can you see why someone else may feel differently?
50 Possible Topics
A number of these topics are rather controversial—that's the point. In an argumentative essay, opinions matter and controversy is based on opinions, which are, hopefully, backed up by facts. If these topics are a little too controversial or you don't find the right one for you, try browsing through persuasive essay and speech topics as well.
- Is global climate change caused by humans?
- Is the death penalty effective?
- Is our election process fair?
- Is torture ever acceptable?
- Should men get paternity leave from work?
- Are school uniforms beneficial?
- Do we have a fair tax system?
- Do curfews keep teens out of trouble?
- Is cheating out of control?
- Are we too dependent on computers?
- Should animals be used for research?
- Should cigarette smoking be banned?
- Are cell phones dangerous?
- Are law enforcement cameras an invasion of privacy?
- Do we have a throwaway society?
- Is child behavior better or worse than it was years ago?
- Should companies market to children?
- Should the government have a say in our diets?
- Does access to condoms prevent teen pregnancy?
- Should members of Congress have term limits?
- Are actors and professional athletes paid too much?
- Are CEOs paid too much?
- Should athletes be held to high moral standards?
- Do violent video games cause behavior problems?
- Should creationism be taught in public schools?
- Are beauty pageants exploitative ?
- Should English be the official language of the United States?
- Should the racing industry be forced to use biofuels?
- Should the alcohol drinking age be increased or decreased?
- Should everyone be required to recycle?
- Is it okay for prisoners to vote (as they are in some states)?
- Is it good that same-sex couples are able to marry?
- Are there benefits to attending a single-sex school ?
- Does boredom lead to trouble?
- Should schools be in session year-round ?
- Does religion cause war?
- Should the government provide health care?
- Should abortion be illegal?
- Are girls too mean to each other?
- Is homework harmful or helpful?
- Is the cost of college too high?
- Is college admission too competitive?
- Should euthanasia be illegal?
- Should the federal government legalize marijuana use nationally ?
- Should rich people be required to pay more taxes?
- Should schools require foreign language or physical education?
- Is affirmative action fair?
- Is public prayer okay in schools?
- Are schools and teachers responsible for low test scores?
- Is greater gun control a good idea?
- Preparing an Argument Essay: Exploring Both Sides of an Issue
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- 25 Essay Topics for American Government Classes
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- Expository Essay Genre With Suggested Prompts
- Topical Organization Essay
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- Process Analysis
105 Best Process Analysis Essay Topics for Inspiration
If you find yourself in need of process analysis essay topics, rest assured: we’ve got you covered. Step-like tasks are common in college and university: almost all professors assign them to their students sooner or later, so this is something you should prepare yourself for. To begin with, let’s answer the question of what this kind of writing entails. Procedural papers require you to pick a process and describe what steps it involves as well as what outcome it leads to. It could be from any sphere, from cooking to teaching or even dancing. But it’s important to find good ideas for process essays because they determine how informative and effective you are going to be in sharing instructions with your readers. By crafting this essay, students will learn how to divide a process into separate stages and how to articulate their thoughts properly. It’s an important skill to develop, but before you get to it, you have to understand what you’ll be working on. This is exactly what we’re going to discuss.
Where Could I Find Great Process Essay Ideas?
Imagine that you’re writing an essay on how to cook the delicious chocolate cake. The problem is, you have never actually cooked it — and you don’t like chocolate in the first place. Such writing won’t have a good impact on the readers, including professor, so you risk getting a bad mark because you were unconvincing or even worse, confusing. There are plenty of examples such as this, and for avoiding this outcome, you should know which process papers topics to select.
- Choose what you know. When it comes to process essays, students will likely be able to make their own choice of a topic. So, consider the things you know. What are you good at? Maybe you are a secret writer who knows how to tell an interesting tale. Or you are known for your commanding demeanor, so giving instructional speech about discipline is something you’d love to try. For succeeding with an essay, you should be confident and knowledgeable, which is why you should think only about process analysis ideas that you find personally engaging.
- Repeat this process mentally or physically . If you have several ideas in mind, try recreating them practically. It could be done just in your mind: go through all the steps one by one. But if you want to complete your description truly powerful, better try doing this process for real. Watch your actions, take some notes, and you’re almost ready to go.
- Find sources. No matter how good you are at the topic for process essay you chose, you’ll need to support your ideas with academic sources. Look for them and find those that are credible. If you can’t, then maybe you should try another idea. This isn’t always needed — maybe in your assignment, professor allowed you to simply express your own thoughts without relying on anyone else. If so, then it’s great! But if sources are required and you can’t locate good ones, you’ll need to change your theme.
- Discuss with others. Talk about process paragraphs topics you’re considering with your professor or classmates. They could give you valuable insights and supply you with extra inspiration. If you misunderstood the task and chose something inappropriate, then you’ll get a chance to learn about it at an early stage — it’s better than writing some useless paper and being forced to redo it later.
105 Inspiring Process Essay Topics
The list below is full of ideas for your potential essay. There are seven different categories with different topics: use them as prompts for your work. You could take them just in the form they are presented or do some editing. They are yours, so twist them as you want — they are interesting enough to turn your writing into an exciting process.
Funny Process Analysis Essay Ideas
For starting with something original, here are funny process essay topics. They could amuse you as you’re writing!
- How to Ask a Person You Like on a Date in a Creative Way?
- Doing a Haircut on Your Own at Home: How Could It Be Done?
- Spending Birthday in the Great Way Despite Not Having Anyone to Invite to You
- Watching a Show You Hate for Staying in Touch with the News: How Should One Live Through It?
- Process of Celebrating Divorce: How Could That Be Organized?
- Way of Downloading Videos From the Internet
- Cleaning Your Room in an Hour: Detailed Instructions
- Choosing a Gift for a Loved One for Christmas
- Picking Up Attractive Clothes for Your First Date
- Living a Day Like I Do It: Step by Step Instruction
- Ways of Annoying Your Neighbors Into Hating You
- Ways for DIYing a Pair of Old Jeans Look Fashionable
- Preparing for Picnic in 7 Simple Steps
- Making Yourself See Specific Things in a Dream
- Putting on the Weird Makeup: How Could This Be Achieved?
Perhaps you like a challenge? You could enjoy these complex processes topics, then!
- How to Build a House From Scratch?
- Ways for Nursing Yourself Back to Health After Serious Flu
- Raising a Child to be Polite: How Should Parents Act?
- Interpreting a Dream: All Stages That Should Be Followed
- Using Photoshop in a Way That Is Not Immediately Obvious
- Creating Encyclopedia: Describe Each Step That Must Be Followed
- Repairing Relationships with People You Have Betrayed
- Devising a Catchy Design for a Living Room
- Learning Math Principles on the Basis of Your Experience
- Planting Flowers and Keeping Them Alive When You Live in Sunless Apartment
- Coping with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder: 4 Vital Steps
- Fighting Against Insomnia and Reaching Success in It
- Getting Yourself Out of the Forest When You Are Lost
- Writing an Essay in the Way That Could Get You an A
- Becoming a Respected Leader: What Does It Take?
Good Ideas for Process Analysis Essays
Here are some more or less solid good process analysis essay topics: students often choose them in their work.
- Cooking a Rare Dish (Choose One by Yourself)
- Making Your Parents Trust You Despite Previous Grievances
- Explain How People Could Access Internet if They Have Never Done It Before
- Learning Something New: What Principles Should Be Applied?
- Becoming the Popular YouTube Blogger These Days
- Building a Toy For Your Siblings: How Should People Go About It?
- Ways of Writing Fanfiction That Will Gather Lots of Kudos & Comments
- Getting Used to Life in a Village: Most Effective Strategy
- Painting Nails Carefully and Beautifully: Tips for People Who Never Tried It
- How to Tolerate Teachers Who Are Out to Get You?
- Fighting Your Own Inherent Bias: Make It Sound Possible
- Choosing the New Hobby When the Old Ones Get Boring
- Learning Ways for Cooking: Starting Points & Dishes
- Coming Up With Your Unique Life Hack That Could Help Others with Something Crucial
- How Could One Enjoy a Walk When They Generally Hate This Process?
Process Analysis Essays Topics For College
College education is a niche that only some topics for process essay could fill. We’ve prepared some of them below.
- Learning How to Dance for Dummies: Pick a Specific Dance or Style
- Curating Your Own Online Content: How to Use Internet Without Triggering Yourself?
- Teaching Children How They Should Swim Despite Their Protests
- How to Understand Whom to Vote For When People Know Nothing of Politics
- How Could One Learn to Reject People Politely for Avoiding Hurting Their Feelings?
- Choosing the Best Car Model on the Tight Budget: What to Focus On?
- Sharing the Room with Someone You Do Not Like: Tested Strategy
- Fighting Self-Hatred and Becoming a Better Person: Is This Possible?
- Improving a Sense of Modern Style When People Are Old Fashioned
- Ways for Effectively Combining Studies, Work, and Free Time
- Strategy for Improving Your Sense of Humor by At Least 50%
- Patting Your Cat in the Way That Will Make It Purr
- Using Cutlery Like the Queen Does It
- Calming Down After Being Triggered by Something Traumatic
- Learning Some Foreign Language When People Start with Nothing
Interesting Process Analysis Ideas
Look at these interesting process analysis essay ideas: they might not all be easy, but they are engaging for sure!
- Planning a Wedding for Your Best Friend
- Having Your Plane Crash: How to Survive After It and Stay Sane?
- Being Lost in the Middle of Jungles: How to Find a Way to Survive?
- Finding a Great Book for Reading & Not Regretting Your Choice Afterward
- List All Steps in the Process of Developing a Healthy Menu For Oneself
- Avoiding Being Arrested When One Sees a Police Officer
- Getting the Job Interview & Passing It Successfully
- Being a Popular Blogger on Tumblr: What Order of Actions Should People Follow?
- Looking Beautiful & Elegant Despite Having Little Money
- Organizing the Best Proposal for the One You Love
- Process of Selecting the Fitting Wedding or Engagement Ring: How Should It Pass?
- Buying Things in the Internet Without Getting Scammed
- Making Friends in Another Country Despite the Language Barrier
- Learning How to Stick to Decision of Being a Vegetarian
- Becoming the Best Student in Class: How Could One Achieve This Goal?
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Informative Process Analysis Prompts
If students want to inform others about something, these topics for a process essay will fit.
- Doing Homework and Getting A+ After Submitting It
- How to Inform Someone About the Death of a Loved One
- Keeping a Snake as a Pet: How to Keep Them Happy?
- Teaching Some Complex Subject to Someone
- Ways for Boarding a Plane Correctly: All Actions That People Have to Complete
- Making Origami Like a Pro
- Choosing the Most Amazing Christmas Tree
- Making an Ice Cream At Home without Buying Anything
- Getting PayPal Account, Using It, & Withdrawing Money From It
- Driving a New Car Properly & Safely
- Instructions for Applying for American Visa
- Avoiding COVID in 2020: Tested & Effective Methods
- Playing Baseball Without Knowing the Basics: How to Start?
- Boxing & Winning Against Your Opponent
- Explaining a Complex Subject for a Friend Who Does Not Understand It
Creative Process Analysis Essay Prompts
Some students like letting their imagination run wild. If you’re among them, these process essay topics ideas will meet your demands!
- Making Your Classmates Drop Their Jaws Upon Seeing You
- Making Parents Offer You Something You Have Always Wanted
- Creating a Happy Family That Will Last
- Writing a Love Letter That Will Make the Recipient Swoon
- Ways for Preserving Romantic Relationship When People Involved Are Separated for Years
- Cooking Sushi Together with Your Significant Others: Things Worth Knowing
- Turning the Boring Date Exciting in Three Simple Actions
- How to Travel on the Cruise Ship Without Falling Aboard?
- New Tactics for Calming Down After Panic Attack
- Teaching Your Pet Principles of Talking
- Learning How to Stop Yourself From Procrastinating: Strategies That Work
- Having Real Fun on the Road Trip with Friends
- Way of Learning Magic These Days
- Building the Website That Will Wow Your Audience
- How Could People Mislead Plag Checker?
Learn How to Look For the Best Topics
After reading the list above, you have likely found at least one attractive option. Before you write an essay based on it, follow other suggestions we’ve outlined: look for good sources and discuss everything with your instructor. If you face problems at any stage of writing, look for an answer online or hire a professional writer who could assist you in a professional way. Our team consists of people like this: contact us, explain your task along with your problem, and we’ll suggest useful ‘how to’ essay topics, compose an outline, or craft a whole paper for you. This way, you won’t face any issues and you’ll save your time while earning a great mark.
Can’t come up with a topic for you paper? We’ve prepared a collection of essay topics for you
Want to write a winning essay but lack experience? Browse our free essay samples
Related essays to process analysis essays.
Got to the bottom and still stuck with essay ideas?
Argumentative Essay Examples to Inspire You [+Formula]
Have you ever been asked to explain your opinion on a controversial issue?
- Maybe your family got into a discussion about chemical pesticides
- Someone at work argues against investing resources into your project
- Your partner thinks intermittent fasting is the best way to lose weight and you disagree
Proving your point in an argumentative essay can be challenging, unless you are using a proven 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. Then, again, development of the rebuttal. This is followed by an example, and ends with a summary. This is a very basic structure, but it gives you a bird-eye-view of how a proper argumentative essay can be built.
Writing an argumentative essay (for a class, a news outlet, or just for fun) can help you improve your understanding of an issue and sharpen your thinking on the matter. Using researched facts and data, you can explain why you or others think the way you do, even while other reasonable people disagree.
Free AI argumentative essay generator > Free AI argumentative essay generator >
What Is an Argumentative Essay?
An argumentative essay is an explanatory essay that takes a side.
Instead of appealing to emotion and personal experience to change the reader’s mind, an argumentative essay uses logic and well-researched factual information to explain why the thesis in question is the most reasonable opinion on the matter.
Over several paragraphs or pages, the author systematically walks through:
- The opposition (and supporting evidence)
- The chosen thesis (and its supporting evidence)
At the end, the author leaves the decision up to the reader, trusting that the case they’ve made will do the work of changing the reader’s mind. Even if the reader’s opinion doesn’t change, they come away from the essay with a greater understanding of the perspective presented — and perhaps a better understanding of their original opinion.
All of that might make it seem like writing an argumentative essay is way harder than an emotionally-driven persuasive essay — but if you’re like me and much more comfortable spouting facts and figures than making impassioned pleas, you may find that an argumentative essay is easier to write.
Plus, the process of researching an argumentative essay means you can check your assumptions and develop an opinion that’s more based in reality than what you originally thought. I know for sure that my opinions need to be fact checked — don’t yours?
So how exactly do we write the argumentative essay?
How do you start an argumentative essay
First, gain a clear understanding of what exactly an argumentative essay is. To formulate a proper topic sentence, you have to be clear on your topic, and to explore it through research.
Students have difficulty starting an essay because the whole task seems intimidating, and they are afraid of spending too much time on the topic sentence. Experienced writers, however, know that there is no set time to spend on figuring out your topic. It's a real exploration that is based to a large extent on intuition.
6 Steps to Write an Argumentative Essay (Persuasion Formula)
Use this checklist to tackle your essay one step at a time:
1. Research an issue with an arguable question
To start, you need to identify an issue that well-informed people have varying opinions on. Here, it’s helpful to think of one core topic and how it intersects with another (or several other) issues. That intersection is where hot takes and reasonable (or unreasonable) opinions abound.
I find it helpful to stage the issue as a question.
Is it better to legislate the minimum size of chicken enclosures or to outlaw the sale of eggs from chickens who don’t have enough space?
Should snow removal policies focus more on effectively keeping roads clear for traffic or the environmental impacts of snow removal methods?
Once you have your arguable question ready, start researching the basic facts and specific opinions and arguments on the issue. Do your best to stay focused on gathering information that is directly relevant to your topic. Depending on what your essay is for, you may reference academic studies, government reports, or newspaper articles.
Research your opposition and the facts that support their viewpoint as much as you research your own position . You’ll need to address your opposition in your essay, so you’ll want to know their argument from the inside out.
2. Choose a side based on your research
You likely started with an inclination toward one side or the other, but your research should ultimately shape your perspective. So once you’ve completed the research, nail down your opinion and start articulating the what and why of your take.
What: I think it’s better to outlaw selling eggs from chickens whose enclosures are too small.
Why: Because if you regulate the enclosure size directly, egg producers outside of the government’s jurisdiction could ship eggs into your territory and put nearby egg producers out of business by offering better prices because they don’t have the added cost of larger enclosures.
This is an early form of your thesis and the basic logic of your argument. You’ll want to iterate on this a few times and develop a one-sentence statement that sums up the thesis of your essay.
Thesis: Outlawing the sale of eggs from chickens with cramped living spaces is better for business than regulating the size of chicken enclosures.
Now that you’ve articulated your thesis , spell out the counterargument(s) as well. Putting your opposition’s take into words will help you throughout the rest of the essay-writing process. (You can start by choosing the counter argument option with Wordtune Spices .)
Counterargument: Outlawing the sale of eggs from chickens with too small enclosures will immediately drive up egg prices for consumers, making the low-cost protein source harder to afford — especially for low-income consumers.
There may be one main counterargument to articulate, or several. Write them all out and start thinking about how you’ll use evidence to address each of them or show why your argument is still the best option.
3. Organize the evidence — for your side and the opposition
You did all of that research for a reason. Now’s the time to use it.
Hopefully, you kept detailed notes in a document, complete with links and titles of all your source material. Go through your research document and copy the evidence for your argument and your opposition’s into another document.
List the main points of your argument. Then, below each point, paste the evidence that backs them up.
If you’re writing about chicken enclosures, maybe you found evidence that shows the spread of disease among birds kept in close quarters is worse than among birds who have more space. Or maybe you found information that says eggs from free-range chickens are more flavorful or nutritious. Put that information next to the appropriate part of your argument.
Repeat the process with your opposition’s argument: What information did you find that supports your opposition? Paste it beside your opposition’s argument.
You could also put information here that refutes your opposition, but organize it in a way that clearly tells you — at a glance — that the information disproves their point.
Counterargument: Outlawing the sale of eggs from chickens with too small enclosures will immediately drive up egg prices for consumers.
BUT: Sicknesses like avian flu spread more easily through small enclosures and could cause a shortage that would drive up egg prices naturally, so ensuring larger enclosures is still a better policy for consumers over the long term.
As you organize your research and see the evidence all together, start thinking through the best way to order your points.
Will it be better to present your argument all at once or to break it up with opposition claims you can quickly refute? Would some points set up other points well? Does a more complicated point require that the reader understands a simpler point first?
Play around and rearrange your notes to see how your essay might flow one way or another.
4. Freewrite or outline to think through your argument
Is your brain buzzing yet? At this point in the process, it can be helpful to take out a notebook or open a fresh document and dump whatever you’re thinking on the page.
Where should your essay start? What ground-level information do you need to provide your readers before you can dive into the issue?
Use your organized evidence document from step 3 to think through your argument from beginning to end, and determine the structure of your essay.
There are three typical structures for argumentative essays:
- Make your argument and tackle opposition claims one by one, as they come up in relation to the points of your argument - In this approach, the whole essay — from beginning to end — focuses on your argument, but as you make each point, you address the relevant opposition claims individually. This approach works well if your opposition’s views can be quickly explained and refuted and if they directly relate to specific points in your argument.
- Make the bulk of your argument, and then address the opposition all at once in a paragraph (or a few) - This approach puts the opposition in its own section, separate from your main argument. After you’ve made your case, with ample evidence to convince your readers, you write about the opposition, explaining their viewpoint and supporting evidence — and showing readers why the opposition’s argument is unconvincing. Once you’ve addressed the opposition, you write a conclusion that sums up why your argument is the better one.
- Open your essay by talking about the opposition and where it falls short. Build your entire argument to show how it is superior to that opposition - With this structure, you’re showing your readers “a better way” to address the issue. After opening your piece by showing how your opposition’s approaches fail, you launch into your argument, providing readers with ample evidence that backs you up.
As you think through your argument and examine your evidence document, consider which structure will serve your argument best. Sketch out an outline to give yourself a map to follow in the writing process. You could also rearrange your evidence document again to match your outline, so it will be easy to find what you need when you start writing.
5. Write your first draft
You have an outline and an organized document with all your points and evidence lined up and ready. Now you just have to write your essay.
In your first draft, focus on getting your ideas on the page. Your wording may not be perfect (whose is?), but you know what you’re trying to say — so even if you’re overly wordy and taking too much space to say what you need to say, put those words on the page.
Follow your outline, and draw from that evidence document to flesh out each point of your argument. Explain what the evidence means for your argument and your opposition. Connect the dots for your readers so they can follow you, point by point, and understand what you’re trying to say.
As you write, be sure to include:
1. Any background information your reader needs in order to understand the issue in question.
2. Evidence for both your argument and the counterargument(s). This shows that you’ve done your homework and builds trust with your reader, while also setting you up to make a more convincing argument. (If you find gaps in your research while you’re writing, Wordtune Spices can source statistics or historical facts on the fly!)
3. A conclusion that sums up your overall argument and evidence — and leaves the reader with an understanding of the issue and its significance. This sort of conclusion brings your essay to a strong ending that doesn’t waste readers’ time, but actually adds value to your case.
6. Revise (with Wordtune)
The hard work is done: you have a first draft. Now, let’s fine tune your writing.
I like to step away from what I’ve written for a day (or at least a night of sleep) before attempting to revise. It helps me approach clunky phrases and rough transitions with fresh eyes. If you don’t have that luxury, just get away from your computer for a few minutes — use the bathroom, do some jumping jacks, eat an apple — and then come back and read through your piece.
As you revise, make sure you …
- Get the facts right. An argument with false evidence falls apart pretty quickly, so check your facts to make yours rock solid.
- Don’t misrepresent the opposition or their evidence. If someone who holds the opposing view reads your essay, they should affirm how you explain their side — even if they disagree with your rebuttal.
- Present a case that builds over the course of your essay, makes sense, and ends on a strong note. One point should naturally lead to the next. Your readers shouldn’t feel like you’re constantly changing subjects. You’re making a variety of points, but your argument should feel like a cohesive whole.
- Paraphrase sources and cite them appropriately. Did you skip citations when writing your first draft? No worries — you can add them now. And check that you don’t overly rely on quotations. (Need help paraphrasing? Wordtune can help. Simply highlight the sentence or phrase you want to adjust and sort through Wordtune’s suggestions.)
- Tighten up overly wordy explanations and sharpen any convoluted ideas. Wordtune makes a great sidekick for this too 😉
Words to start an argumentative essay
The best way to introduce a convincing argument is to provide a strong thesis statement . These are the words I usually use to start an argumentative essay:
- It is indisputable that the world today is facing a multitude of issues
- With the rise of ____, the potential to make a positive difference has never been more accessible
- It is essential that we take action now and tackle these issues head-on
- it is critical to understand the underlying causes of the problems standing before us
- Opponents of this idea claim
- Those who are against these ideas may say
- Some people may disagree with this idea
- Some people may say that ____, however
When refuting an opposing concept, use:
- These researchers have a point in thinking
- To a certain extent they are right
- After seeing this evidence, there is no way one can agree with this idea
- This argument is irrelevant to the topic
Are you convinced by your own argument yet? Ready to brave the next get-together where everyone’s talking like they know something about intermittent fasting , chicken enclosures , or snow removal policies?
Now if someone asks you to explain your evidence-based but controversial opinion, you can hand them your essay and ask them to report back after they’ve read it.
P.S. This article was co-written with Wordtune . Wordtune didn’t write the whole piece. Instead, it contributed ideas, suggested rephrasing alternatives, maintained consistency in tone, and of course - made the process much more fun for the writer.
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How to Write an Argumentative Essay
No matter your major, at some point during your college career, you will likely be asked to write an argumentative essay. Argumentative writing is an evidence-based approach to essay writing, in which the writer gives an argument and supports their position through the presentation of supporting evidence.
Argumentative writing is commonly used in academic writing in the humanities and social sciences. Argumentative essays generally call for extensive research, which may involve data collection and the examination and interpretation of various forms of evidence. In general, writers present their argument early in the essay and reveal evidence supporting their thesis in the body.
Argumentative essays generally have a serious and dispassionate tone. They are based upon the revelation of evidence and avoid appeals to emotion in favor of facts and statements. By definition, argumentative essays focus on controversial topics that inspire debate and disagreement. However, they avoid use of hyperbolic or impassioned language and opinion. Moreover, argumentative essays are almost always written in the third person and avoid subjective voicings.
In this article, we will discuss the process of writing an argumentative essay and outline the most common and effective structure for argumentative essays.
Process of writing argumentative essays
Argumentative writing is an evidence-based writing style, so the process is largely based around the collection of various forms of evidence through research. In some writing styles, the writer may begin writing or conceptualizing their thesis before conducting the bulk of their research. However, in this style, it is the first and most important stage.
- Choose a topic
The first step in the process of writing any kind of essay is to select the topic you are writing about. If you are writing for a class, the topic may be chosen for you. Otherwise, you are free to write on the topics you please. Generally speaking, it is best to write about topics of interest or significance to the public. Furthermore, there should be an active debate surrounding the topic with various sides and opinions.
After deciding on your topic, you can begin to dive into your research phase. Depending on the field of study you are working in, the type of research you do may vary. If you are studying history, you will likely be looking at historical artifacts (primary sources) and historical analyses (secondary sources). If you are studying economics, you might look at a mixture of economic theory and empirical data. Social sciences might employ a variety of research methods, including interviews, data collection and analysis, and reviews of academic literature and theory.
In order to present a fair, accurate, and effective argument, it is important to review all types of sources and academic literature. Furthermore, during the research phase, writers should familiarize themselves with all sides of the debate that they are engaging in.
- Construct argument
After an extensive research phase, it is time to start constructing an argument. At this point, you should have a pretty thorough understanding of your topic and the different positions that experts and academics have taken on it. Moreover, you should know generally where you stand and what position you want to take in your paper. You can begin to construct your argument by formulating your position and beginning to organize evidence in support of it.
- Organize evidence
After you have decided where you stand on an issue, you can start to organize evidence supporting your position. You should gather a variety of types of evidence and sources so that your research is as varied and compelling as possible. Overreliance on few sources is considered a form of academic dishonesty and even plagiarism. At this point, you should begin to understand how you want to present your argument in your essay and in what order you want to present your evidence. You can start to organize your sources into different themes and even into different points. This will help you as you begin to write your outline.
- Build outline
Now that you have your evidence organized into different topics, you can start to build your outline. A complete outline should include your argument, topic sentences for each paragraph or section, and strong supporting evidence for each major claim you make. By the time you complete your outline, the research phase should be all but over.
For details on how to craft an argumentative essay outline, check here .
- Write essay
After building a thorough outline, you will be ready to start writing. If you have a complete outline, the writing process should mostly consist of connecting evidence and fleshing out sections of your paper with transitions. It is important to make sure that your essay has a natural and logical flow. Many young writers and students add a lot of flourish to their writing to “sound smart” or mimic academic-sounding writing. More often than not, however, this leads to writing sounding dense, overcomplicated, and confusing. Writers should instead strive for clarity and readability. This will not only help your readers understand what you are trying to say, but it will help you stay focused and allow your ideas to take center stage.
- Reread, revise, and edit
Now that you have a complete draft, it is time to reread, revise, and edit. First, read over your draft aloud to yourself and try to identify any areas that sound unclear or confusing. Reword and rephrase these ideas to the best of your ability. Once you’ve edited on your own to a sufficient extent, you should seek a second opinion on your work. Have a colleague, professor, or teaching assistant read over your paper and help you identify areas of strength and weakness. In the end, you should have a paper that is tightly-edited and contains few to no grammatical or syntactical errors.
Structure of argumentative essays
Argumentative essays tend to follow a general structure featuring an introduction containing a thesis, body paragraphs containing evidence, and a conclusion outlining broader implications. While they do not need to follow this structure strictly, it is the most effective structure for a clear and compelling argument, and most essays in the genre are organized in this manner.
Introduction to argumentative essays
The introduction to an argumentative essay should clearly and concisely introduce the topic of an essay, demonstrate to readers why the essay topic is important, relevant, and interesting, provide readers with some familiarity of the debate surrounding the topic, and clearly state the argument that will be put forward in the paper.
- Topic sentence
At the very beginning of an argumentative essay, the writer should introduce the essay topic in a clear but general manner, without yet making an argument or claim about the topic. The “topic sentence,” as this subsection is often called, may be longer than one sentence, but it should be concise and probably no longer than two sentences. In some styles of essay writing, the introduction may open with an engaging hook or narrative. While there is nothing wrong with engaging writing, in argumentative essay writing, the writer should pursue clarity above flourish.
“In the past decade, the minimum wage has become one of the most contested topics in politics and economics.”
Here, the writer makes it clear that their essay will focus on the debate surrounding the minimum wage.
In the exigence of an essay, the writer must justify the essay on the grounds that the issue being discussed is relevant or important. Sometimes referred to as the “so what?” statement, the writer is tasked with convincing the reader that the issue at hand is important, and furthermore, that they should be interested in it. The writer should concisely explain the significance of the essay topic and give a brief overview of the debate surrounding the topic.
“As worker productivity has risen over the past 35 years, workers at the bottom of the economic ladder are receiving a smaller share of the pie. Some economists have pointed to stagnant wages as symptoms, or even a cause, of a trend of deepening inequality that has beset the U.S. economy since the 1980s. Economists on the political left, such as Joseph Stiglitz, propose that an increased minimum wage would lift hundreds of thousands out of poverty and have beneficial ripple effects for working class communities. Economists on the right contend that an increased minimum wage would cause an increase in unemployment that would offset gains caused by an increased minimum wage.”
In this example, the writer explains why the minimum wage is a relevant and controversial issue and discusses the major arguments for and against an increased minimum wage.
The thesis statement is the heart of an argumentative essay. A thesis is an arguable statement on a given topic, defined in Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary as “a position or proposition that a person (such as a candidate for scholastic honors) advances and offers to maintain by argument.”
A thesis should make a specific claim about a topic that can be defended with reason and evidence. Moreover, a thesis is not a statement of a fact or an opinion. Rather, it is a statement of a position that can be supported by facts.
A reader should be able to formulate a counterargument against the argument put forward in your thesis. For example, “World War II was a devastating war that killed millions of people around the world,” is mostly a statement of fact, and therefore not an effective thesis, because there is no substantial counterclaim.
A strong thesis should also preview how an author intends to present and defend their argument in the rest of the paper. While it shouldn’t list evidence, it should provide readers with a general idea of how the writer intends to frame their argument.
In total, a reader should be able to read the thesis of a paper and understand what claim the author is making, and have a general idea of how they intend to defend it.
“While a minimum wage increase could lead to a short-term rise in unemployment in some areas, it would increase consumer spending and business activity by redistributing billions of dollars to lower-income workers, ultimately providing a net economic benefit.”
In this example, the author makes a clear argument (the minimum wage would benefit the economy) and gives the reader a general idea of how they will defend the claim (a higher minimum wage would increase consumer spending and business activity). The claim also has clear counterarguments (i.e., higher unemployment would outweigh the gains of increased spending; business activity and consumer spending would decrease).
The thesis on its own does not prove anything. Rather, the author states their claim, now they must defend it.
Body of argumentative essays
The body is the bulk of an essay and the space where the author provides the evidence for the claim they make in the introduction. The body of an essay consists of multiple paragraphs, each of which make a supporting argument for their thesis. Each paragraph should be limited to the discussion of one general idea.
Each body paragraph should follow the same general structure, beginning with a topic sentence that makes a supporting claim followed by evidence gathered through research.
In the first sentence of each body paragraph, the author will make a supporting claim for their thesis. The topic sentence of each paragraph will introduce the idea that will be advanced through the evidence presented in that paragraph. Each topic sentence should have a logical connection to the thesis and should provide a supporting point for the overall argument of the essay.
“In areas where a higher minimum wage has been implemented, it has led to an increase in consumer spending on durable goods and on services such as food consumption.”
Here, the author lays out a specific supporting claim for their thesis. While this topic sentence makes a claim, it does not yet provide any specific evidence to support this claim.
After the topic sentence, the writer can start to present evidence that supports the claim being made in the topic sentence of the paragraph. The strongest essays present their supporting evidence in a logical order with smooth transitions. In argumentative essays, writers can use a variety of forms of evidence to support their claims, including statistics, historical facts, logic, interviews, or anecdotal evidence.
In order to make their argument effective and convincing, the writer needs to select and frame their evidence carefully, with their readers in mind. To this point, writers should always address the counterarguments and evidence that goes against their conclusions. It is considered academically dishonest and unethical to exclude evidence that goes against your claim. In an argumentative essay, the writer should always address counterevidence and recontextualize it within their argument or explain how its conclusions are either misguided or misleading.
“ A 2017 study on the local effects of minimum wage increases in Seattle, New York State, and California found that certain sectors of the economy — most notably food and durable goods– experienced small but significant increases in both consumption and prices. The authors of the study note that ‘firms may offset their higher labor costs by raising prices,’ while acknowledging that ‘these price increases have thus far been fairly modest.’”
In this example, the author references a study that supports the claim made in the topic sentence of the paragraph. It also subtly acknowledges a counterargument — that minimum wage increases could cause inflation — and frames this argument as overstated.
This, however, is only one piece of evidence. In order for the author to make a compelling argument, they should provide a variety of evidence gathered from different sources. Crucially, writers should not repeatedly reference one or two sources. In fact, the overuse of sources is considered a form of plagiarism, so it is very important for writers to address a variety of sources in order to make a truly original claim.
Conclusion to argumentative essays
After all of the evidence is laid out in a logical progression in the body paragraphs, the conclusion reframes the thesis statement considering the evidence presented throughout the essay. The writer should never present new information in the conclusion. Rather, in the conclusion, the writer should discuss and reconsider the evidence presented throughout the essay. The conclusion can also provide the writer with an opportunity to suggest areas for further research. Ultimately, the writer should finish the essay by pointing to the big-picture implications of their research.
“As various studies and economic analyses demonstrate, a large-scale implementation of a minimum wage increase may cause modest inflation and could temporarily depress the hiring market, but would also provide a significant stimulatory effect on economic activity across multiple sectors of the economy. On the whole, an incremental increase of the minimum wage is more likely to stimulate than depress economic activity by redistributing wealth to lower-income workers, who spend a greater percentage of their income than their wealthier counterparts. The economic gains caused by increased consumption are ultimately more likely to outweigh the resultant inflation and employment losses. Further research is needed to identify the optimal increase to the minimum wage as well as long-term inflationary trends. However, as the research presented in this paper makes clear, a minimum wage would help alleviate much of the economic stress currently facing lower-income workers and reduce the ever-widening wealth gap.”
In this example, we can see the major properties of an effective conclusion at work. At the beginning, the author restates their thesis with attention to the evidence presented in the body of an essay. Then, they redress some of the evidence that they have presented throughout the essay, identifying areas where further research is needed. Lastly, they connected their research to broader societal issues, reminding the reader why their research is relevant and important.
Research-based argumentative essays can be daunting, but with a strong understanding of the conventions of the genre and an organized approach to the research and writing process, they can be painless and even fun to write. Follow the steps and structure laid out in this article to formulate a compelling and well-written argumentative essay.
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Argumentative Essay Writing
Argumentative Essay - A Complete Writing Guide
11 min read
Published on: Mar 10, 2023
Last updated on: Jul 21, 2023
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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.
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.
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 âThe Topicâ.
- Why did that particular event happen?
- 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 readerâs 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 essayâs 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?
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Check our extensive blog on argumentative essay topics to get inspired.
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A Step-By-Sep Guide On How To Write An Argumentative Essay
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Almost every type of essay writing aims at informing, educating, or even convincing readers. Writers employ different tactics, from using literary devices to syntactical structures, to achieve this end.
An argumentative essay takes the task of convincing the readers to a new limit. It relies on factual information and logical support to make the reader think in a certain way. Many students believe that they need to be aggressive or emotional to get people back on the claims in the essay. This is not true because the writer needs to show that other perspectives, apart from his, are false.
Argumentative Essay Writing – In A Nutshell
Students and novice writers often think that a successful argumentative essay needs to be fuming and puffing with aggression. On the contrary, the more structured and composed an argumentative essay is, the more academically sound it is. This leads us to its simplest definition.
An argumentative essay convinces the reader of a particular point of view through factual information and arguments with logical flow and support. It stands on the shoulders of the argument and the way of convincing. If you want your argumentative essay to fetch good scores, the argument and the logic behind it should be immutable.
Argumentative essays are also called persuasive essays because they follow the same structure. The approach is different, however. The former relies on objectivity and reasoning, whereas the latter can be aggressive and emotional.
Another thing that sets argumentative essays apart from other types is that the thesis is not always undisputed. Usually, there is a lot of opposition to that stance and writers need to prove otherwise.
Hallmarks of Argumentative Writing
No matter which type of argumentation ground you are setting in your essay, it needs to develop precise and focused arguments. Readers often find it hard to read argumentative essays because of the technical jargon. If they got to deal with loose claims with ambiguous language and expression, they might abandon the essay halfway through. There are many forms of argument building on Aristotelian, Rogerian, and Toulmin.
It is not enough to provide a claim as it is no better than presenting an unproven theory or an active hypothesis. Whatever claim or argument a writer makes in the essay, should be backed by empirical evidence. The most common type is the basic mathematical or logical evidence, including induction and deduction. For more complex matters, students may have to consult other publications and read authors to ensure their arguments are backed by evidence.
Like expository essays, argumentative essays need to have a solid structure and flow of content to bind all the different parts together. If there are many loose ends and stray thoughts in an essay, readers would not find the essay readable. It has to be clear in content and format. If your essay is not quite clear yet because of poor logical flow, you should edit and strengthen the essentials before turning in your essay.
What’s An Argumentative Essay – Structural Analysis
Apart from the contents and the language of the essays, the structure is also a very good indicator of the type of essay and its quality. Since we are covering the basics for students so that they can write good argumentative essays on their own, we must take a look at the structure and format of argumentative essays. Through this, we will be able to identify and understand the functions and scope of each section.
Opening Paragraph For Context And Thesis
The opening paragraphs are for the introduction. Writers have the chance to make the readers believe that it is indeed a well-conceived essay with a lot to give. The opening lines should have a hook to grab the reader’s attention. Then, it is time to give some context regarding the problem or issue on which the argumentative essay will be written. In the closing lines of the introduction, writers can state the thesis which is the essence of the writer’s stance.
Body Paragraphs For Argumentation And Evidence
Body paragraphs are utilized by writers to provide the necessary support and evidence for the arguments. But first, they need to build one which is covered in the closing lines of the introduction. Again, no matter which methodology they follow, they must ensure that the argument is sound and backed by empirical evidence. Merely stating the point of view, no matter how forcefully or emotionally, will not yield the desired results, since it is academic writing with logic and reasoning.
Additional Paragraphs For Further Scrutiny
The body of the essay is where all the action takes place. After making and proving the argument, writers should explore the additional paragraphs for further scrutiny of their stances and validation from credible sources. In many cases, a simple logical explanation is not enough, especially when the thesis has substantial opposition in academia. The main body has three paragraphs so writers can employ the additional space to further augment their arguments.
Closing Paragraph For Summing Up The Discussion
The conclusion is another important part of the argumentative essay. It is where the whole discussion comes to an end. Writers need to reiterate the main points of the essay without adding new to them. They should be compact and memorable so that readers may remember them after signing out. The conclusion is often considered the best part because good concluding paragraphs impart basic information to the readers if they do not have the time to read the whole essay.
How To Write a Good Argumentative Essay
Since we have covered the basic elements of an argumentative essay and its distinguishing characteristics, it is time to move on to the heart and soul of this post. This section will lead novice writers and students who want to learn how to write strong argumentative essays. The headings in this section can be treated as a checklist as they will help them remember important things.
Keep in mind that the sequence of these tasks is important and should not be shuffled because it will cause writer’s block and frustration.
Brainstorming The Argument
A good argumentative essay stands on the shoulders of a good argument. Before sitting down to write the whole first draft, only to discard it later, it is best to get this step out of the way. Try to understand the topic and draw arguments from the core. Test the arguments as you go and then stick with the one that shows the most promise. Once it clears the initial crucible, it is time to find validation.
Researching Facts And Evidence
Argumentative essays require solid facts and empirical evidence to make the arguments stick. No matter how sound the arguments are, if they are not backed by evidential information from credible sources, it is good for nothing. Many students make this mistake as they think that the argument is too accurate for the reader so they do not need any evidence. This results in an argumentative essay being discarded because it is not a true one.
Composing A Solid Thesis
A thesis or a thesis statement is a summary of the main idea or theme of the essay. In the case of argumentative essays, it is the distillation of the writer’s stance usually covered in a single or a couple of bold and brief sentences. Based on the original argument and the evidence found in its favor, writers should compose a riveting thesis. The best way to do so is by coming up with and stating the thesis after finishing the essay.
Finishing The Draft
The first draft should be written quickly. Writers should cram all the information relevant to the topic and the thesis in the essay. The introduction should start with a hook and then lead to the context. In the closing lines of the introduction, present the thesis. The main body should cover the bulk of the essay, including arguments, evidence, and explanation. The conclusion should tie all the loose ends boldly and succinctly.
What are the types of argumentative essays?
Argumentative essays are defined by their reliance on empirical evidence and logical flow of the content to convince the readers. Like expository essays, there are different types of argumentative essays. Here are some of the most common types of argumentative essays:
- Persuasive essays
- Research papers
- Analysis essays
What is the main goal of an argumentative essay?
The main purpose of writing an argumentative essay is to make the readers believe in the writer’s arguments. In these essays, writers take a stance and then provide the evidence to ensure its soundness. Persuasive essays can be charged with emotional language, but argumentative essays are composed of logic and reasoning.
What are the steps involved in writing an argumentative essay?
Here are the five steps to writing an argumentative essay:
- Brainstorming the argument
- Collecting evidence to support the claim
- Composing a thesis statement
- Writing the first draft
- Proofreading and editing
How do you start an argumentative essay?
Like any other essay, an argumentative essay starts with a hook. It is a literary device that can help readers ease into the main body. Usually, it is a question or a statement about the thesis or the subject of the essay. Students should consider using different methods to ace the opening because the rest will depend on it.
What is the standard format and structure of an argumentative essay?
The format of an essay is the sequence in which different sections appear in it. In the case of argumentative essays, the format is standard as it is found in other essay types. There are three major sections.
We have gone through the nature and purpose of these sections in the blog.
How do you commence and close an argumentative essay?
To start an argumentative essay effectively, it is best to employ a hook that can grab readers’ attention. Then, it is necessary to provide some context before moving on to the main body. To conclude an argumentative essay, writers should wind up the discussion by summarizing the main arguments. They should be bold and succinct but should not add anything to the original argument.
Concluding The Discussion
So, this is the basic mechanics and chemistry of an argumentative essay. The purpose of writing an essay is as important as its more tangible assets. Argumentative essays are written to convince the readers about a certain stance or point of view. The information in the essay should be structured and easy to follow for the readers. The process is addressed in the body of this blog, which starts from coming up with an argument to writing the essay.
We hope that students will find this guide helpful as we have explained everything clearly and concisely.
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The Undue Burden the Medical School Application Process Places on Low-Income Latinos
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The demographic of physicians in the United States has failed to include a proportionate population of Latinos in the United States. In what follows, I shall argue that the medical school admission process places an undue burden on low-income Latino applicants. Hence, the underrepresentation of Latinos in medical schools is an injustice. This injustice relates to the poor community health of the Latino community. Health disparities such as diabetes, HIV infection, and cancer mortality are higher amongst the Latino community. The current representation of Latino medical students is not representative of those in the United States.
The demographic of physicians in the United States has failed to include a proportionate number of Latinos, meaning people of Latin American origin. Medical schools serve as the gatekeepers to the medical field, and they can alter the profession based on whom they admit. With over 60 million Latinos in the United States, people of Latin American origin comprise the largest minority group in the nation.  In 2020-2021, only 6.7 percent of total US medical school enrollees and only 4 percent of medical school leadership identified as Latino.  Latino physicians can connect to a historically marginalized community that faces barriers including language, customs, income, socioeconomic status, and health literacy. I argue that the medical school admissions process places an undue burden on low-income Latino applicants. This paper explores the underrepresentation of Latinos in medical schools as an injustice. A further injustice occurs as the barriers to medical education result in fewer Latino doctors to effectively deliver health care and preventive health advice to their communities in a culturally competent way.
I. Latino Community Health Data
The terms Latino and Hispanic have largely been considered interchangeable. US government departments, such as the US Census Bureau and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), define Hispanic people as those with originating familial ties to native Spanish-speaking countries, most of whom are from Latin America. The term Latino is more inclusive because it refers to all of those with strong originating ties to countries in Latin America, including those coming from countries such as Brazil and Belize who are not native Spanish speakers. Throughout this work, I refer to the term Latino because it is more inclusive, although the data retrieved from US government departments may refer to the population as Hispanic. “Low-income” refers to the qualifying economic criteria for the AAMC’s Fee Assistance Program Poverty Guidelines.  The AAMC Fee Assistance Program is designed to help individuals who do not have the financial means to pay the total costs of applying to medical school. For this paper, low-income refers to those who qualify for this program.
The US government gathers data about Latino community health and its health risks. The Latino community has a higher poverty rate than the non-Hispanic white community.  Latino community health has long trailed that of white people collectively. For example, the Latino community experiences higher levels of preventable diseases, including hypertension, diabetes, and hepatitis, than the non-Hispanic white community does. 
The CDC collects data about Latino community health and provides statistics to the public. Latinos in the United States trail only non-Hispanic blacks in prevalence of obesity. The Latino adult obesity rates are 45.7 percent for males and 43.7 percent for females.  Of the 1.2 million people infected with HIV in the United States, 294,200 are Latino.  The infection rate of chlamydia is 392.6 per 100,000 ― 1.9 times the rate in the non-Hispanic white population.  The tuberculosis incidence rate is eight times higher than that of non-Hispanic white people at 4.4 per 100,000.  Furthermore, Latinos have the third highest death rate for hepatitis C among all races and ethnic groups.  The prevalence of total diabetes, diagnosed and undiagnosed, among adults aged 18 and older also remains higher than that of non-Hispanic whites at 14.7 percent compared to 11.9 percent. 
The high disease rate evidences the poor health of the community. Furthermore, 19 percent of Latinos in the United States remain uninsured.  Almost a quarter of the Latino population in the United States lives in poverty.  The high incidence of disease, lack of insurance, and high poverty rate create a frail health status for the Latino community in the United States. The medical conditions seen are largely preventable, and the incident rates can be lowered with greater investments in Latino community health. Considering the health disparities between Latino and non-Hispanic White people, there is an ethical imperative to provide better medical care and guidance to the Latino community.
II. Ethical and Practical Importance of Increasing the Number of Latino Physicians
Minorities respond more positively to patient-physician interactions and are more willing to undergo preventative healthcare when matched with a physician of their racial or ethnic background.  Latino medical doctors may lead to an improvement in overall community health through improved communication and trusting relationships. Patient-physician racial concordance leads to greater patient satisfaction with their physicians.  Identifying with the ethnicity of a physician may lead to greater confidence in the physician-patient relationship, resulting in more engagement on the patient’s behalf. A randomized study regarding African American men and the race of their attending physician found an increase in requests for preventative care when assigned to a black doctor.  Although the subjects were African American men, the study has implications applicable to other minority racial and ethnic groups.
The application process is unjust for low-income Latinos. The low matriculation of Latinos in medical schools represents a missed opportunity to alleviate the poor community health of the Latino population in the United States. Medical school also would create an opportunity to address health issues that plague the Latino community. Becoming a physician allows low-income Latinos to climb the social ladder and enter the spaces in health care that have traditionally been closed off to them.
Nonwhite physicians significantly serve underserved communities.  Increasing the number of Latino doctors can boost their presence, potentially improving care for underserved individuals. Teaching physicians cultural competence is not enough to address the health disparities the Latino community faces. Latino physicians are best equipped to understand the healthcare needs of low-income Latinos. I contend that reforming the application process represents the most straightforward method to augment the number of Latino physicians who wish to work in predominantly Latino or diverse communities, thereby improving healthcare for the Latino community.
III. Cultural Tenets Affecting Healthcare Interactions
“Poor cultural competence can lead to decreased patient satisfaction, which may cause the patient not to attend future appointments or seek further care.”  Latino community health is negatively affected when medical professionals misinterpret cultural beliefs. Cultural tenets like a reservation towards medication, a deep sense of respect for the physician, and an obligation to support the family financially and through advocacy affect how Latinos seek and use the healthcare system. 
First, the Latino population's negative cultural beliefs about medication add a barrier to patient compliance. It is highlighted that fear of dependence upon medicine leads to trouble with medication regimens.  The fear stems from the negative perception of addiction in the Latino community. Taking as little medication as possible avoids the chance of addiction occurring, which is why many take the prescribed medicine only until they feel healthier, regardless of the prescribing regimen. Some would rather not take any medication because of the deep-rooted fear. Physicians must address this concern by communicating the importance of patient compliance to remedy the health issue. Explaining that proper use of the medication as prescribed will ensure the best route to alleviate the condition and minimize the occurrence of dependence. Extra time spent addressing concerns and checking for comprehension may combat the negative perception of medication.
Second, the theme of respeto, or respect, seems completely harmless to most people. After all, how can being respectful lead to bad health? This occurs when respect is understood as paternalism. Some patients may relinquish their decision-making to the physician. The physician might not act with beneficence, in this instance, because of the cultural dissonance in the physician-patient relationship that may lead to medical misinterpretation. A well-meaning physician might not realize that the patient is unlikely to speak up about their goals of care and will follow the physician’s recommendations without challenging them. That proves costly because a key aspect of the medical usefulness of a patient’s family history is obtaining it through dialogue. The Latino patient may refrain from relaying health concerns because of the misconceived belief that it’s the doctor’s job to know what to ask. Asking the physician questions may be considered a sign of disrespect, even if it applies to signs, symptoms, feelings, or medical procedures the patient may not understand.  Respeto is dangerous because it restricts the patients from playing an active role in their health. Physicians cannot derive what medical information may be relevant to the patient without their cooperation. And physicians without adequate cultural competency may not know they need to ask more specific questions. Cultural competency may help, but a like-minded physician raised similarly would be a more natural fit.
“A key component of physician-patient communication is the ability of patients to articulate concerns, reservations, and lack of understanding through questions.”  As a patient, engaging with a physician of one’s cultural background fortifies a strong physician-patient relationship. Latino physicians are in the position to explain to the patients that respeto is not lost during a physician-patient dialogue. In turn, the physician can express that out of their value of respeto, and the profession compels them to place the patient’s best interest above all. This entails physicians advocating on behalf of the patients to ask questions and check for comprehension, as is required to obtain informed consent. Latino physicians may not have a cultural barrier and may already organically understand this aspect of their patient’s traditional relationship with physicians. The common ground of respeto can be used to improve the health of the Latino community just as it can serve as a barrier for someone from a different background.
Third, in some Latino cultures, there is an expectation to contribute to the family financially or in other ways and, above all, advocate on the family’s behalf. Familial obligations entail more than simply translating or accompanying family members to their appointments. They include actively advocating for just treatment in terms of services. Navigating institutions, such as hospitals, in a foreign landscape proves difficult for underrepresented minorities like Latinos who are new to the United States. These difficulties can sometimes lead to them being taken advantage of, as they might not fully understand their rights, the available resources, or the standard procedures within these institutions. The language barrier and unfamiliar institutional policies may misinterpret patients’ needs or requests. Furthermore, acting outside of said institution’s policy norms may be erroneously interpreted as actions of an uncooperative patient leading to negative interactions between the medical staff and the Latino patient.
The expectation of familial contribution is later revisited as it serves as a constraint to the low-income Latino medical school applicant. Time is factored out to meet these expectations, and a moral dilemma to financially contribute to the family dynamic rather than delay the contribution to pursue medical school discourages Latinos from applying.
IV. How the Medical School Admission Process is Creating an Undue Burden for Low-Income Latino Applicants
Applying a bioethics framework to the application process highlights its flaws. Justice is a central bioethical tenet relevant to the analysis of the MD admissions process. The year-long medical school application process begins with the primary application. The student enters information about the courses taken, completes short answer questions and essays, and uploads information about recommenders. Secondary applications are awarded to some medical students depending on the institutions’ policies. Some schools ask all applicants for secondary applications, while others select which applicants to send secondary requests. Finally, interviews are conducted after a review of both primary and secondary applications. This is the last step before receiving an admissions decision.
The medical school application process creates undue restrictions against underserved communities. It is understood that matriculating into medical school and becoming a doctor should be difficult. The responsibilities of a physician are immense, and the consequences of actions or inactions may put the patients’ lives in jeopardy. Medical schools should hold high standards because of the responsibility and expertise required to provide optimal healthcare. However, I argue that the application process places an undue burden on low-income Latino applicants that is not beneficial to optimal health care. The burden placed on low-income Latino applicants through the application process is excessive and not necessary to forge qualified medical students.
The financial aspect of the medical school application has made the profession virtually inaccessible to the working class. The medical school application proves costly because of the various expenses, including primary applications, secondary applications, and interview logistics. There is financial aid for applications, but navigating some aid to undertake test prep, the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT), and the travel for interviews proves more difficult. Although not mandatory, prep courses give people a competitive edge.  The MCAT is one of the key elements of an application, and many medical schools will not consider applications that do not reach their score threshold. This practically makes the preparatory courses mandatory for a competitive score. The preparatory courses themselves cost in the thousands of dollars. There has been talk about adjusting the standardized test score requirements for applicants from medically underserved backgrounds. I believe the practice of holding strict cutoffs for MCAT scores is detrimental to low-income Latino applicants, especially considering the average MCAT scores for Latinos trail that of white people. The American Association of Medical Colleges’ recent data for the matriculating class of 2021 illustrates the wide gap in MCAT scores: Latino applicants average 500.2, and Latino matriculants average 506.6, compared to white applicants, who average 507.5 and white matriculants, who average 512.7.  This discrepancy suggests that considerations beyond scores do play some role in medical school matriculation. However, the MCAT scores remain a predominant factor, and there is room to value other factors more and limit the weight given to scores. The practice of screening out applicants based solely on MCAT scores impedes low-income Latino applicants from matriculating into medical school. Valuing the MCAT above all other admissions criteria limits the opportunities for those from underserved communities, who tend to score lower on the exam. One indicator of a potentially great physician may be overcoming obstacles or engaging in scientific or clinical experiences. There are aspects of the application where the applicant can expand on their experiences, and the personal statement allows them to showcase their passion for medicine. These should hold as much weight as the MCAT. The final indicator of a good candidate should not solely rest on standardized tests.
There is a cost per medical school that is sent to the primary application. The average medical school matriculant applies to about 16 universities, which drives up the cost of sending the applications.  According to the American Association of Medical Colleges, the application fee for the first school is $170, and each additional school is an additional $42. Sending secondary applications after the initial application is an additional cost that ranges by university. The American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS), the primary application portal for Medical Doctorate schools in the United States and Canada, offers the Fee Assistance Program (FAP) to aid low-income medical school applicants. The program reduces the cost of the MCAT from $325 to $130, includes a complimentary Medical School Admission Requirements (MSAR) subscription, and fee waivers for one AMCAS application covering up to 20 schools.  The program is an important aid for low-income Latino students who would otherwise not be able to afford to send multiple applications. Although the aid is a great resource, there are other expenses of the application process that the program cannot cover.
For a low-income applicant, the burden of the application cost is felt intensely. A study analyzing the American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS) data for applicants and matriculants from 2014 to 2019 revealed an association between income and acceptance into medical school. They state, “Combining all years, the likelihood of acceptance into an MD program increased stepwise by income. The adjusted rate of acceptance was 24.32 percent for applicants with income less than $50 000, 27.57 percent for $50 000 - $74 999, 29.90 percent for $75 000 - $124 999, 33.27 percent for $125 000 - $199 999, and 36.91 percent for $200,000 or greater.”  It becomes a discouraging factor when it is difficult to obtain the necessary funds.
The interview process for medical schools may prove costly because of travel, lodging, and time. In-person interviews may require applicants to travel from their residence to other cities or states. The applicant must find their own transportation and housing during the interview process, ranging from a single day to multiple days. Being granted multiple interviews becomes bittersweet for low-income applicants because they are morally distraught, knowing the universities are interested yet understanding the high financial cost of the interviews. The expense of multiple interviews can impede an applicant from progressing in the application process. Medical schools do not typically cover travel expenses for the interview process.
Only 4 percent of medical school faculty identify as Latino.  The medical school admission board members reviewing the application lack Latino representation.  Because of this, it is extremely difficult for a low-income Latino applicant to portray hardships that the board members would understand. Furthermore, the section to discuss any hardships only allows for 200 words. This limited space makes it extremely difficult to explain the nuances of navigating higher education as a low-income Latino. Explaining those difficulties is then restricted to the interview process. However, that comes late in the application process when most applicants have been filtered out of consideration. The lack of diversity among the board members, combined with the minimal space to explain hardships or burdens, impedes a connection to be formed between the Latino applicants and the board members. It is not equitable that this population cannot relate to their admissions reviewers because of cultural barriers.
Gatekeeping clinical experience inadvertently favors higher socioeconomic status applicants. Most medical schools require physician shadowing or clinical work, which can be difficult to obtain with no personal connections to the field. Using clinical experience on the application is another way that Latinos are disadvantaged compared to people who have more professional connections or doctors in the family and social circles. The already competitive market for clinical care opportunities is reduced by nepotism, which does not work in favor of Latino applicants. Yet some programs are designed to help low-income students find opportunities, such as Johns Hopkins’ Careers in Science and Medicine Summer Internship Program, which provides clinical experience and health professions mentoring.  Without social and professional ties to health care professionals, they are forced to enter a competitive job and volunteer market in clinical care and apply to these tailored programs not offered at all academic institutions.
While it is not unique to Latinos, the time commitment of the application process is especially harsh on low-income students because they have financial burdens that can determine their survival. Some students help their families pay for food, rent, and utilities, making devoting time to the application process more problematic.
As noted earlier, Latino applicants may also have to set aside time to advocate for their families. Because the applicants tend to be more in tune with the dominant American culture, they are often assigned the family advocate role. They must actively advocate for their family members' well-being. The role of a family advocate, with both its financial and other supportive roles ascribed to low-income Latino applicants, is an added strain that complicates the medical school application. As a member of a historically marginalized community, one must be proactive to ensure that ethical treatment is received. Ordinary tasks such as attending a doctor's appointment or meeting with a bank account manager may require diligent oversight. Applicants must ensure the standard of service is applied uniformly to their family as it is to the rest of the population. This applies to business services and healthcare.
It can be discouraging to approach a field that does not have many people from your background. The lack of representation emphasizes the applicant's isolation going through the process. There is not a large group of Latinos in medicine to look to for guidance.  The group cohesiveness that many communities experience through a rigorous process is not established among low-income Latino applicants. They may feel like outsiders to the profession. Encountering medical professionals of similar backgrounds gives people the confidence to pursue the medical profession.
V. Medical School Admission Data
This section will rely on the most recent MD medical school students, the 2020-2021 class. The data includes demographic information such as income and ethnicity. The statistics used in this section were retrieved from scholarly peer-reviewed articles and the Medical School Admission Requirement (MSAR) database. Both sources of data are discussed in more detail throughout the section. The data reveals that only 6.7 percent of medical students for the 2020-2021 school year identify as Latino. 
The number of Latino students in medical school is not proportional to the Latino community in the United States. While Latinos comprise almost 20 percent of the US population (62.1 million), they comprise only 6.7 percent of the medical student population.  Below are three case studies of medical schools in cities with a high Latino population.
VI. Medical School Application Process Case Studies
a) New York University Grossman School of Medicine is situated in Manhattan, where a diverse population of Latinos reside. The population of the borough of Manhattan is approximately 1,629,153, with 26 percent of the population identifying as Latino.  As many medical schools do, Grossman School of Medicine advertises an MD Student Diversity Recruitment program. The program, entitled Prospective MD Student Liaison Program, is aimed such that “students from backgrounds that are underrepresented in medicine are welcomed and supported throughout their academic careers.”  The program intervenes with underrepresented students during the interview process of the medical school application. All students invited to interviews can participate in the Prospective MD Student Liaison Program. They just need to ask to be part of it. That entails being matched with a current medical student in either the Black and Latinx Student Association (BALSA) or LGBTQMed who will share their experiences navigating medical school.
Apart from the liaison program, NYU participates in the Science Technology Entry Program (STEP), which provides academic guidance to middle and high school students who are underrepresented minorities.  With the set programs in place, one would expect to find a significantly larger proportion of Latino medical students in the university.
The Medical School Admission Requirement (MSAR) database compiled extensive data about participants in the medical school; the data range from tuition to student body demographics. Of the admitted medical students in 2021, only 16 out of 108 identified as Latino, despite the much larger Latino population of New York.  Furthermore, only 4 percent of the admitted students classify themselves as being from a disadvantaged status.  The current efforts to increase medical school diversity are not producing adequate results at NYU. Although the Latino representation in this medical school may be higher than that in others, it does not reflect the number of Latinos in Manhattan.
The Prospective MD Student Liaison Program intervenes at a late stage of the medical school application process. It would be more beneficial for a program to cover the entire application process. The lack of Latino medical students makes it difficult for prospective students to seek advice from Latino students. Introducing low-income Latino applicants to enrolled Latino medical students would serve as a guiding tool throughout the application process. An early introduction could encourage the applicants to apply and provide a resourceful ally in the application process when, in many circumstances, there would be none. Latino medical students can share their experiences of overcoming cultural and social barriers to enter medical school.
b) The Latino population in Philadelphia is over 250,000, constituting about 15 percent of the 1.6 million inhabitants.  According to MSAR, the cohort of students starting at Drexel University College of Medicine, located in Philadelphia, in 2021 was only 7.6 percent Latino.  18 percent of matriculated students identify as having disadvantaged status, while 21 percent identify as coming from a medically underserved community. 
Drexel University College of Medicine claims that “Students who attend racially and ethnically diverse medical schools are better prepared to care for patients in a diverse society.”  They promote diversity with various student organizations within the college, including the following: Student National Medical Association (SNMA), Latino Medical Student Association (LMSA), Drexel Black Doctors Network, LGBT Medical Student Group, and Drexel Mentoring and Pipeline Program (DMAPP).
The Student Center for Diversity and Inclusion of the College of Medicine offers support groups for underrepresented medical students. The support offered at Drexel occurs at the point of matriculation, not for prospective students. The one program that does seem to be a guide for prospective students is the Drexel Pathway to Medical School program. Drexel Pathway to Medical School is a one-year master’s program with early assurance into the College of Medicine and may serve as a gateway for prospective Latino Students.  The graduate program is tailored for students who are considered medically underserved or socioeconomically disadvantaged and have done well in the traditional pre-medical school coursework. It is a competitive program that receives between 500 and 700 applicants for the 65 available seats.
The assurance of entry into medical school makes the Drexel Pathway to Medical School a beneficial program in aiding Latino representation in medicine. Drexel sets forth minimum requirements for the program that show the school is willing to consider students without the elite scores and grades required of many schools. MCAT scores must be in the 25th percentile or higher, and the overall or science GPA must be at least 2.9.  The appealing factor of this program is its mission to attract medically underserved students. This is a tool to increase diversity in medical school. Prospective low-income Latino students can view this as a graduate program tailored to communities like theirs. However, this one-year program is not tuition-free.
It may be tempting to assume that patients prefer doctors with exceptional academic records. There's an argument against admitting individuals with lower test scores into medical schools, rooted in the belief that this approach does not necessarily serve the best interests of health care. The argument asserts that the immense responsibility of practicing medicine should be entrusted to the most qualified candidates. Programs like the Drexel Pathway to Medical School are designed to address the lower academic achievements often seen in underrepresented communities. Their purpose is not to admit underqualified individuals into medical school but to bridge the educational gap, helping these individuals take the necessary steps to become qualified physicians.
c) The University of California San Francisco School of Medicine reports that 23 percent of its first-year class identifies as Latino, while 34 percent consider themselves disadvantaged.  The Office of Diversity and Outreach is concerned with increasing the number of matriculants from underserved communities.
UCSF has instilled moral commitments and conducts pipeline and outreach programs to increase the diversity of its medical school student body. The Differences Matter Initiative that the university has undertaken is a complex years-long restructuring of the medical school aimed at making the medical system equitable, diverse, and inclusive.  The five-phase commitment includes restructuring the leadership of the medical school, establishing anti-oppression and anti-racism competencies, and critically analyzing the role race, ethnicity, gender, and sexual orientation play in medicine. UCSF offers a post-baccalaureate program specifically tailored to disadvantaged and underserved students. The program’s curriculum includes MCAT preparation, skills workshops, science courses, and medical school application workshops.  The MCAT preparation and medical school application workshops serve as a great tool for prospective Latino applicants.
UCSF seems to do better than most medical schools regarding Latino medical students. San Francisco has a population of 873,965, of which 15.2 percent are Latino.  The large population of Latino medical students indicates that the school’s efforts to increase diversity are working. The 23 percent Latino matriculating class of 2021 better represents the number of Latinos in the United States, which makes up about a fifth of the population. With this current data, it is important to closely dissect the efforts UCSF has taken to increase diversity in its medical school. Their Differences Matter initiative instills a commitment to diversifying their medical school. As mentioned, the school's leadership has been restructuring to include a diverse administrative body. This allows low-income Latino applicants to relate to the admissions committee reviewing their application. With a hopeful outlook, the high percentage of Latino applicants may reflect comprehension of the application process and the anticipated medical school atmosphere and rigor among Latino applicants and demonstrate that the admissions committee understands the applicants. However, there are still uncertainties about the demographics of the Latino student population in the medical school. Although it is a relatively high percentage, it is necessary to decipher which proportion of those students are low-income Latino Americans. UCSF School of Medicine can serve as a model to uplift the Latino community in a historically unattainable profession.
VII. Proposed Reform for Current Medical School Application
One reform would be toward the reviewing admissions committee, which has the power to change the class composition. By increasing the diversity of the admissions committee itself, schools can give minority applicants a greater opportunity to connect to someone with a similar background through their application. It would address low-income Latino applicants feeling they cannot “get personal” in their application.
These actions are necessary because it is not just to have a representative administration for only a portion of the public. Of the three medical schools examined, the University of California San Francisco has the highest percentage of Latino applicants in their entering class. They express an initiative to increase diversity within their medical school leadership via the Differences Matter initiative. This active role in increasing diversity within the medical school leadership may play a role in UCSF’s high percentage of Latino matriculants. That serves as an important step in creating an equitable application process for Latino applicants.
An important consideration is whether the medical school administration at UCSF mirrors the Latino population in the United States. The importance of whether the medical school administration at UCSF mirrors the Latino population in the United States lies in its potential to foster diversity, inclusivity, and cultural competence in medical education, as well as to positively impact the healthcare outcomes and experiences of the Latino community. A diverse administration can serve as role models for students and aspiring professionals from underrepresented backgrounds. It can inspire individuals who might otherwise feel excluded or underrepresented in their career pursuits, including aspiring Latino medical students. Furthermore, a diverse leadership can help develop curricula, policies, and practices that are culturally sensitive and relevant, which is essential for addressing health disparities and providing equitable healthcare.
It is also important to have transparency so the public knows the number of low-income Latino individuals in medical school. The Latino statistics from the medical school generally include international students. That speaks to diversity but misses the important aspect of uplifting the low-income Latino population of the United States. Passing off wealthy international students from Latin America to claim a culturally diverse class is misleading as it does not reflect income diversity. Doing so gives the incorrect perception that the medical school is accurately representing the Latino population of the United States.
There must be a change in how the application process introduces interviews. It needs to be introduced earlier so the admissions committee can form early, well-rounded inferences about an applicant. The interview allows for personal connections with committee members that otherwise would not be established through the primary application. The current framework has the interviews as one of the last aspects of the application process before admissions decisions are reached. At this point in the application process, many low-income Latinos may have been screened out.
I understand this is not an easy feat to accomplish. This will lead to an increase in interviews to be managed by the admissions committee. The burden can be strategically minimized by first conducting video interviews with applicants the admission committee is interested in moving forward and those that they are unsure about because of a weakness in a certain area of the application. The video interview provides a more formal connection between the applicants and admission committee reviewers. It allows the applicant to provide a narrative through spoken words and can come off as a more intimate window into their characteristics. It would also allow for an opportunity to explain hardships and what is unique. From this larger pool of video-interviewed applicants, the admission committee can narrow down to traditional in-person interviews. A form of these video interviews may be already in place in some medical school application process. I believe making this practice widespread throughout medical schools will provide an opportunity to increase the diversity of medical school students.
There must be an increase in the number of programs dedicated to serving as a gateway to clinical experience for low-income Latino applicants. These programs provide the necessary networking environment needed to get clinical experience. It is important to consider that networking with clinical professionals is an admissions factor that detrimentally affects the low-income Latino population.
One of the organizations that aids underserved communities, not limited to Latinos, in clinical exposure is the Summer Clinical Oncology Research Experience (SCORE) program.  The SCORE program, conducted by Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, provides its participants with mentorship opportunities in medicine and science. In doing so, strong connections are made in clinical environments. Low-income Latinos seek these opportunities as they have limited exposure to such an environment. I argue that it is in the medical school’s best interest to develop programs of this nature to construct a more diverse applicant pool.
These programs are in the best interest of medical schools because they are culturing a well-prepared applicant pool. It should not be left to the goodwill of a handful of organizations to cultivate clinically experienced individuals from minority communities. Medical schools have an ethical obligation to produce well-suited physicians from all backgrounds. Justice is not upheld when low-income Latinos are disproportionally represented in medical schools. Programs tailored for low-income Latinos supplement the networking this population lacks, which is fundamental to obtaining clinical experience. These programs help alleviate the burden of an applicant’s low socioeconomic status in attaining clinical exposure.
VIII. Additional Considerations Affecting the Medical School Application Process and Latino Community Health
A commitment to practicing medicine in low-income Latino communities can be established to improve Latino community health.  Programs, such as the National Health Service Corps, encourage clinicians to practice in underserved areas by forgiving academic loans for years of work.  Increasing the number of clinicians in underserved communities can lead to a positive correlation with better health. It would be ideal to have programs for low-income Latino medical students that incentivize practicing in areas with a high population of underserved Latinos. This would provide the Latino community with physicians of a similar cultural background to attend to them, creating a deeper physician-patient relationship that has been missing in this community.
Outreach for prospective Latino applicants by Latino medical students and physicians could encourage an increased applicant turnout. This effort can guide low-income Latinos who do not see much representation in the medical field. It would serve as a motivating factor and an opportunity to network within the medical field. Since there are few Latino physicians and medical students, a large effort must be made to make their presence known.
IX. Further Investigation Required
It is important to investigate the causes of medical school rejections of low-income Latinos. Understanding this piece of information would provide insight into the specific difficulties this population has with the medical school application. From there, the requirements can be subjected to bioethical analysis to determine whether those unfulfilled requirements serve as undue restrictions.
The aspect of legacy students, children of former alumni, proves to be a difficult subject to find data on and merits further research. Legacy students are often given preferred admission into universities.  It is necessary to understand how this affects the medical school admissions process and whether it comes at a cost to students that are not legacy. It does not seem like these preferences are something universities are willing to disclose. The aspect of legacy preferences in admissions decisions could be detrimental to low-income Latino applicants if their parents are not college-educated in the United States, which often is the case.
It would be beneficial to note how many Latinos in medical school are low-income. The MSAR report denotes the number of Latino-identified students per medical school class at an institution and the number of students who identify as coming from low resources. They do not specify which of the Latino students come from low-income families. This information would be useful to decipher how many people from the low-income Latino community are matriculating into medical schools.
It is an injustice that low-income Latinos are grossly underrepresented in medical school. It would remain an injustice even if the health of the Latino community in the United States were good. The current operation of medical school admission is based on a guild-like mentality, which perpetuates through barriers to admissions. It remains an exclusive club with processes that favor the wealthy over those who cannot devote money and time to the prerequisites such as test preparation courses and clinical internships. This has come at the expense of the Latino community in the United States in the form of both fewer Latino doctors and fewer current medical students. It is reasonable to hope that addressing the injustice of the underrepresentation of low-income Latinos in the medical field would improve Latino community health. With such a large demographic, the lack of representation in the medical field is astonishing.
The Latino population faces cultural barriers when seeking healthcare, and the best way to combat that is with a familiar face. An increase in Latino medical students would lead to more physicians that not only can culturally relate to the Latino community, but that are a part of it. This opens the door for a comprehensive understanding between the patient and physician. As described in my thesis, Latino physicians can bridge cultural gaps that have proven detrimental to that patient population. That may help patients make informed decisions, exercising their full autonomy.
The lack of representation of low-income Latinos in medicine is a long-known issue. Here, I have connected how the physician-patient relationship can be positively improved with an increase in low-income Latino physicians through various reforms in the admissions process. My hope is to have analyzed the problem of under-representation in a way that points toward further research and thoughtful reforms that can truly contribute to the process of remedying this issue.
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Jason Sanchez Alonso
MS Bioethics Columbia University, IRB Specialist Columbia Research
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License .
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Definition of process essay.
As the name suggests, this type of essay explains a process of making or breaking something. These essays are often written in chronological order, or in numerical order to show step-by-step processes. They are written in descriptive or prescriptive modes. Although it is not a technical communication, it sounds like having all the qualities of a technical document. The only difference is that it is often written in descriptive mode, while a technical document is mostly in imperative mode.
Transition in a Process Essay
As process essay provides step-by-step approach of doing something, they have typical transition words. These transition words make readers understand what has been done and what will follow next. Some of the specific transition words could be immediately, initially, in the end, in the future, in the meanwhile, later, next, soon, eventually, finally or firstly , and secondly .
Examples of Process Essay in Literature
Example #1: community re-discovered (by heidi ramirez).
“In any community , there are several and varying ways in which residents fulfill a sense of community: participating in intramural sports, attending farmers’ markets, walking with neighbors, attending political meetings, helping the elderly, visiting the library, and volunteering for youth groups. It’s knowing the people in these interchanges, not just being familiar with faces, that build strong community. Unfortunately, when this basic engagement is overlooked, communities can begin to disintegrate.”
This an excerpt from a process essay by Heidi Ramirez. It sets the tone of a process how communities integrate with each other. It clearly shows the sequence of the integration process.
Example #2: A Homemade Education (by Malcolm X)
“I was so fascinated that I went on—I copied the dictionary’s next page. And the same experience came when I studied that. With every succeeding page, I also learned of people and places and events from history. Actually, the dictionary is like a miniature encyclopedia. Finally the dictionary’s A section had filled a whole tablet—and I went on into the B’s. That was the way I started copying what eventually became the entire dictionary. It went a lot faster after so much practice helped me to pick up handwriting speed. Between what I wrote in my tablet, and writing letters, during the rest of my time in prison I would guess I wrote a million words.”
In this essay, Malcolm X has stated some of the ways through which he learned writing. He states how he “went on” copying the dictionary from one page to the next page. Some of the transition words such as “finally” and “actually” are quite obvious.
Example #3: Perspectives on “Borders” (by Luis Valdez)
“Let’s go back to the Popol Vuh. We’re talking about borders now . There is a border that defines the human being as a material and spiritual being. We have all learned that we’re Homo sapiens, wise monkeys. The monkey is a symbol of intelligence in the Popol Vuh, and in the classic Chinese novel Monkey. The wise monkey is a symbol for humanity. Now let me offer you another symbol for our human being—the feathered serpent. You are a feathered serpent that is evolving and crawling out of the seeds of your being. And once in awhile you get caught up in the dead skins of your life. You know biologically we go through a complete cellular change every seven to nine years. We’re totally renewed. So in one sense, biologically, you crawl out of a dead skin. You evolve out of yourself. The feathers are necessary because they represent our spiritual being.”
Although written in second person, this excerpt shows that the essay presents a process. It follows the same structure and same pattern of using things or doing tasks in a sequence. Specifically, the last lines show it clearly.
Function of a Process Essay
A process essay gives reader a sense of complete how-to-do process of making or creating some objects or things. Readers, after going through the essay, are able to create and make things. Although it is not like imperative instructions, it gives full details in a descriptive or prescriptive mode. It is because its major objective is not to present trite and dry instructions, but lively language to make readers read it with interest and do the act with enthusiasm.
- Elements of an Essay
- Narrative Essay
- Definition Essay
- Descriptive Essay
- Types of Essay
- Analytical Essay
- Argumentative Essay
- Cause and Effect Essay
- Critical Essay
- Expository Essay
- Persuasive Essay
- Explicatory Essay
- An Essay on Man: Epistle I
- Comparison and Contrast Essay