Many people wrongly think of an argument as a fight. It’s not—at least not when used in academic essays. A formal argument is an effort to use logic, evidence, and reasoning to support a proposition. Many academic essays revolve around developing a proposition and supporting it with convincing arguments.
However, many students including Canadian young people have difficulty creating the kind of compelling arguments that can turn an ordinary essay into an extraordinary argument. In this article, we’ll offer a step-by-step guide to developing an argumentative essay so that you can complete your next paper quickly and effectively.
As a classic Monty Python sketch reminds us, “An argument isn’t just a contradiction. […] An argument is a connected series of statements intended to establish a proposition.” Therefore, it’s important when creating an argumentative essay that you have a clear proposition. To do so, you need to start with step one of developing an argument.
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We have collected the most efficient argumentative essays tips and tricks — use them in a step-by-step manner. Don’t skip any stage, as only following all of them, you will write your argumentative essay better and faster.
- Read the assignment. The first step in writing any argumentative essay is to read the assignment. It might seem obvious, but the most important part of any paper is making sure you’ve actually addressed the requirements of the assignment. Read through the assignment carefully and make sure you understand exactly what it is asking. If there are any parts you don’t fully understand, ask for clarification from your instructor. You don’t want to lose points by leaving out an essential element of the paper.
- Read the rubric. Similarly, you should be sure to read the rubric for your assignment. The rubric is almost like a cheat-sheet showing you exactly how your instructor will grade your paper. By reviewing the rubric, you’ll know what elements to emphasize and how to develop your essay to best address the grading criteria. It will also help you to correctly weigh the various parts of the paper to correspond to the rubric’s grade weights.
- Develop your proposition. After you have read the assignment and have a good idea of the question you need to answer, it’s time to develop your proposition that your argumentative essay will defend. To that end, you will have to take a position on your topic. To do so, you will need to conduct some preliminary research and decide where you fall on the issue. Your position doesn’t necessarily have to be the one you would hold in real life, but it does need to be one that you feel that you would be able to support with facts, evidence, logic, and reasoning.
- Research your topic. Every argument is dependent on the research that undergirds it. In your argumentative essay, you will need to be able to rely on solid research to create a powerful argument. Begin your research by visiting your school’s library and using their databases to search academic literature for information about your topic. You will want to uncover both supporting and refuting evidence to create a powerful argument, both by presenting supporting evidence and explaining or rebutting refuting evidence.
- Create a powerful thesis statement. Every argumentative essay needs a strong thesis statement in order to tell the reader what the essay will demonstrate or prove. Your essay should have a single sentence that presents the main conclusion of your argument (the proposition) and the main lines of evidence you will use to support and defend your proposition.
- Outline your essay before you write. To make sure that your argument will be effective, you should be sure to create an argument before you begin writing. An outline will let you set up the framework for the essay and select and organize the facts and evidence you will use for maximum effectiveness before you begin the writing process. The more effort and detail that you put into your outline before you write, the easier the writing process becomes when you set about doing the actual writing.
- Employ logos, ethos, and pathos. As Aristotle wrote, an effective argument makes use of appeals to logic (logos), credibility (ethos), and emotion (pathos). Your argumentative essay should include all three elements of Aristotelian argumentation, though you should be sure to devote the most space and attention to logos, since logic is both the most convincing and the most academically appropriate appeal in an argumentative essay.
- Respect opposing views. That doesn’t mean you have to agree with them, but by respecting the other side and acknowledging its arguments, you can make your argument stronger. Remember, not everyone reading your paper already agrees with you. Your job is to convince them that you’re right, and it’s harder to do if you offend or put off the audience by suggesting that they are bad people or stupid for holding an opposing view. Your goal should be to identify areas of common ground and gently move them toward your position.
- Take help from professional writers. When all else fails, you can always pay someone to write papers for you. When you get help on essays you need done from professional writers at a reputable writing service like WriteMyPaperHub, you can free yourself from the burden of essay challenges by discovering the right way you approach any paper. When you have a model to work from, you can see how a professional writer would craft an argument on your topic and thus discover effective techniques for building your own argumentative essay.
We want to share two more tips that will come in handy if you really want to receive better grades for your argumentative essays. First, think about your professors as about any other target audience. What do they like, what makes their heart beat, what bores them? Analyze your lecture notes, it will really help. Write your essay based on this “marketing” research. It just works. Professors have to read hundreds of essays, and you wouldn’t like to submit another boring essay.
Second, always leave enough time for proofreading and editing. It is a valid part of the writing process, and, unfortunately, it is often skipped. Many quality essays get worse grades than they deserve because they are not edited enough. There are options — you may edit abstract by abstract or you may do the entire thing at once, but in the end, you have to read everything, proofread from the first word to the last reference. Even averagely written but 100% polished paper receives good grades.