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How to Write an Argumentative Essay and Remain Unbiased

argumentative-essay-writing

Maintaining an objective voice is crucial to writing a credible and effective argumentative essay, but it’s often easier said than done. Although the whole point of an argumentative essay is to sway the reader’s opinion on a topic, any conclusion the reader forms on the topic should be driven by evidence that you present in your argument. Bias sometimes slips through in the form of your word selection, tone, and source material. Failing to maintain a detached tone weakens your position, and by association, your essay, leaving the reader thinking that the whole argument is based on your personal bias. How can you avoid this common mistake?

Start at the Source

The sources you choose for your piece reflect the overall feel of the essay, so it’s important to select sources that are unbiased toward the topic. As a general rule, stick with peer-reviewed journal articles, scholarly publications, and information gleaned from websites with domain extensions “.gov”, “.org” and “.edu” for the most reliable and unbiased information. When you use sources that are trustworthy, you borrow that credibility in your quest to get the reader to see your point of view.

Be Objective

Write from an impartial viewpoint, leaving opinions on the sideline and away from your essay. To write objectively, you must present the information in your essay in a fair and credible manner, allowing the reader to draw his own conclusions. Steer clear of emotional phrasing and exaggerative adverbs, including “really” or “very”.

Rely on Logic

An evidence-driven argument is the hardest to refute. Develop the points you make logically, and then organize them into easy-to-digest factoids and information. A well-reasoned argument that includes clinical studies, statistics, and other types of empirical evidence obtained through reliable resources is one that is not easily assuaged.

Choose Your Words Wisely

Use language that is respectful, clear, reasonable, calm and honest to get your point across without showing bias or causing bias. Write with clarity. The sentence “Many elderly people live on this street” is not as effective as “Many people between ages 75 and 90 live on this street”. The former leaves room for the reader to assume the age of the street’s occupants, whereas the latter gives the reader an exact age for reference. In the same vein, avoid labeling people, such as “autistic child” or “diabetic” adult instead of a “child with autism” or an “adult with diabetes”.

Avoid Sweeping Generalizations

It is all too easy to alienate a large chunk of your audience with a sweeping generalization or two. Avoid generalizations and all-or-never assertions. The sentence “Teachers fail to consider individual students’ learning styles when they develop their lesson plans” makes a sweeping assertion that all teachers fail to make an important consideration. A better way to phrase that sentence may be “Some teachers fail to consider individual learning styles when they develop their lesson plans.” In this revised sentence, the writer acknowledges that not all teachers make this same mistake.

Maintain Third-Person Voice

Writing from a third-person perspective is the easiest way to keep bias out of your essay. A third-person narrative reads like an overview of the issue discussed, making it easier to keep personal opinions and accusatory language out of your piece.

Avoid Emotional Pleas

While some readers may be swayed by emotions, a more effective approach utilizes sound reasoning. Instead of opining that “The death penalty is cruel and unusual punishment, subjecting the condemned to horrific pain”, you might instead opt for “DNA evidence has proven hundreds of people innocent after their executions”. Some readers may not care that the death penalty causes horrific pain for the offender, but they may reflect on the possibility of innocence among the wrongfully condemned.

With these tips, you should be able to strike a balance between swaying your audience to your side and appearing to force your viewpoints on them.

Karen Palmer

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How to Avoid Biased Language in Academic Writing

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  • 13th August 2019

There’s an old phrase that says, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” And this might be true in physical terms, but it ignores the power of biased language. The words we use matter.

We’ve written before about gendered pronouns in academic writing, but bias can also occur in relation to race, age, sexuality, class, and disability. And while we can’t cover all of these topics in one go, we can offer some guidelines on avoiding biased language in your written work .

1. Insensitive Language

If you’re writing about an individual or group of people, consider their point of view. A big part of this is using the correct terminology, which means:

  • Using the language people use to describe themselves.
  • Avoiding words that could be insulting to the people you’re writing about.

In most cases this will be obvious. However, some older books will use old-fashioned terms that are now offensive. It is no longer acceptable, for instance, to refer to a Native American as a “red Indian.”

Should you need to quote a passage with an old-fashioned term that is now considered offensive, check online for guidance. You can always edit the quotation to use a more sensitive term if required.

2. Recognizing Individuality

Not being reductive is key for avoiding biased language. This means recognizing people as complete beings rather than reducing them to a single quality, such as their skin color or sexuality.

The following, for example, could be seen as reductive:

Historically, albinos have often been persecuted.

In this case, the word “albinos” reduces a large group of human beings to a medical condition . A more sensitive way to phrase this sentence would be:

Historically, people with albinism have often been persecuted.

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Here, we’re still talking about a large group of people with a shared quality. But by phrasing it as “people with albinism,” we acknowledge their personhood rather than simply reducing them to a genetic disorder.

This person-first language is therefore a good default, especially if referring to groups in the abstract. However, if referring to a specific person who does not like the “person with” phrasing, use their preferred terminology.

For instance, while you might say “people with disabilities” when referring to an abstract group, if a specific person refers to themselves as a “disabled person,” or they say they prefer this term, you should follow their example.

3. Avoiding Generalizations

Try to avoid generalizations when discussing groups of people. This applies even when the generalization could seem “positive.” For example:

Germans are always efficient, so they make good managers.

Being efficient is usually a good thing, so could be seen as positive. But, at the same time, unless you have surveyed everybody from Germany, you can’t know that every German person is “efficient.”

Rather, the idea of Teutonic efficiency is a stereotype. And even positive stereotypes are problematic. This is partly because they draw on other negative stereotypes. But it’s also because they make sweeping generalizations, which are reductive and inaccurate. Thus, it is better to avoid generalizations like this altogether, especially in academic work.

4. Have Your Writing Proofread

As a final bonus tip, may we suggest having your work proofread ?

A professional check will help you express your ideas clearly, as well as picking up on old-fashioned or inappropriate vocabulary. And as such, it should help you avoid using biased language in your writing.

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Addressing Opposing Point of Views in an Argumentative Essay

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by  Antony W

January 16, 2023

opposing point of views in argumentative essay

Argumentative essay writing is about persuading your readers to accept your stand on an issue or subject as being right regardless of their opinion on the topic.

Unlike a college reflection essay and an expository essay , argumentative writing allows you to remain biased and provide your point of view to your audience, provided your arguments are convincingly logical, reasoned, informed, ethical, and ultimately right and persuasive.

However, argumentative essays need more than your ability to present your stance, or claim, and use relevant, objective evidence to defend your position.

You also need to address the opposing point of views in your argument and there are reasons why.

Why Is It Important to Address Opposing Point of Views in an Argumentative Essay?

As you write your argumentative essays, you’ll come across sensible arguments that challenge your very own.

We call these counterclaims , and they’re significant in persuasive essay writing. Remember, you’ve taken a stand on one position, but your readers know that the other position exists.

In some cases, your audience may even prefer the opposing view to yours until you convince them that your point of view is better or more truthful than the position they currently hold.

So it’s important to address the opposing point of view in your argument as a balancing act. It’s understandable that you don’t want to undermine your argument. But you can’t as easily dismiss the validity of the opposing views or ignore them straight outright.

Again, essays that don’t include counterclaims are generally weak and less persuasive.

When reading such an essay, it’s acceptable to make the assumption that you considered only one side of the subject or issue, even if you looked into both areas in the real sense. 

You end up undermining your very own argument, eventually making the essay less effective in communicating your message.

Also by including counterclaims, or the opposing point of views in your argumentative essay, you show your target audience that you invested your time in researching the two sides of an issue.

By doing so, you’re not only able to match your argument to the corresponding counterclaim. You are also able to strengthen your own argument.

When Should Address Opposing Point of Views in an Argumentative Essay?

First address your position on an issue, making sure you provide sufficient objective and reasonable evidence to support your claim. Then, you can work on the counterclaim thereafter.

Of course, you don’t want to go into great details when it comes to addressing the opposing point of views in your essay.

What you have to do instead is to state that you recognize the counterclaim to be accurate, but only to some degree.

Then, you’ll point out what’s wrong with it, using the strongest points or evidence possible so that you don’t weaken your argument.

The Right Way to Address the Opposing Views

When it comes to addressing the opposing point of views in your argumentative essay, you have to do so carefully so that your essay doesn’t end up weak.

The rule of thumb is to be objective and respectful . Also, be distinctive, making sure you make your audience know that this is clearly not your argument. It makes sense to be fair and making sure you address the issue accurately.

Recognizing the opposing point of view isn’t enough. You also have to refute them by showing that your logic clearly supersedes or negates the opposition.

In this case, start with the opposing view, follow that up with a refutation relevant to your argument, and then give concrete evidence to support your refutation.

How to Address Opposing Point of Views in Your Argumentative Essay

Like in a criminal trial, there’s far less conviction and satisfaction if you don’t consider the opposing claims in your argumentative essay.

In other words, you can’t leave objections unanswered and evidence from counterclaims swept under a rag and expect to make your stance convincing.

You have to look into the other side of the issue carefully to convince and satisfy your audience.

1. Research Both Sides of the Argument

We insist on looking at both sides of an argument because your audience may initially not accept your point of view on an issue.

So you need to research both sides before you start to write an argumentative essay .  It’s important that you don’t limit yourself to sympathetic sources.

Instead, find sources that both agree and disagree with your argument. Check the authors’ rationale and implementation of evidence so that you can easily understand the opposing view.

2. Understand the Opposing Point of View

Now that you have a clue on what the opposing point of views look like, you should find out why people would hold those positions in the first place.

Are there evidences they look at to arrive to their conclusions? How exactly do they interpret the evidence?

To put this in another way, understanding the opposing point of views will make it easy for you to figure out why your audience may likely disagree with your argument in the first place.

3. Prove Your Position to Be True

When it comes to dealing with counterarguments in argumentative essay,  the burden of proof is wholly on you. So don’t just state the opposing view, refute them.

Tell your audience that as much as you recognize the counterclaims as true, they have shortcomings that make them generally weak. Use your strongest points to refute those positions.

Include evidence such as quotes from experts, research studies, statistics, and literary materials to back your argument. Don’t leave readers’ excuse to chance.

Final Thoughts

Arguments that look into both sides of an issue are often stronger and convincing.

Balanced and properly articulated, such essays give your argument more strength and draw in the attention of your readers easily.

Even your readers are more than likely to show respect for the efforts you put in place to give your most reasonable views on the issue. And if you can persuade them well, they’ll be more than willing to consider your position on an issue, even if they didn’t agree with you initially. 

About the author 

Antony W is a professional writer and coach at Help for Assessment. He spends countless hours every day researching and writing great content filled with expert advice on how to write engaging essays, research papers, and assignments.

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30 Refutation Examples

30 Refutation Examples

Chris Drew (PhD)

Dr. Chris Drew is the founder of the Helpful Professor. He holds a PhD in education and has published over 20 articles in scholarly journals. He is the former editor of the Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education. [Image Descriptor: Photo of Chris]

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refutation examples and definition, explained below

Refutation refers to the act of proving a statement or theory wrong through the use of logical reasoning and evidence.

Some strategies for refutation, which we may use in an argumentative essay, speech, or debate, include:

  • Reductio ad Absurdum : Taking an argument to its logical conclusion to demonstrate its absurdity.
  • Counterexamples : Presenting counterexamples , which are practical and real-life examples that contradict the opponent’s claims.
  • Identifying Logical Fallacies : Highlighting instances in which the opponent’s claims don’t follow logical reasoning.
  • Highlighting Omissions: Demonstrating that the opponent failed to discuss or consider facts that dispute their claims.

I recommend to all my students that they refute possible counterclaims and contradicting perspectives in their argumentative essays in order to establish an authoritative position, demonstrate awareness of a broad range of perspectives, and add depth to your arguments.

Below is a range of methods of refutation.

Refutation Examples

1. analogical disproof.

This method involves refuting an argument by drawing a parallel to a situation that’s logically similar but absurd or clearly incorrect. Used properly, it can effectively puncture an opponent’s argument, showing that the same logic could lead to preposterous conclusions.

Example: “All birds fly. Penguins are birds, so they should fly.” The analogical disproof might be: “Not all office workers use computers. You’re an office worker, so should you not use a computer?”

2. Test of Consistency

This refutation method tests whether an argument stands consistent under different circumstances or scenarios. If an argument contains contradictions or doesn’t hold true in various contexts, it falls under inconsistency.

Example: Someone posits, “A person should always lend money to friends.” A consistency test might involve asking, “Should a person still lend money if they know their friend will spend it irresponsibly?”

See More: Consistency Examples

3. Rebuttal by Cause and Effect

This approach involves contesting an argument by disputing the assumed relationship between cause and effect. Here, you challenge the validity of the cause, the effect, or the linkage between the two.

Example: To refute, “Violent video games cause aggressive behavior in players,” you might present studies showing no significant increase in aggression among players of violent video games. This disrupts the asserted cause-effect relationship.

See More: Cause and Effect Examples

4. Prioritization of Evidence

This method questions the quality, reliability, or relevance of the evidence presented in an argument. You might challenge evidence’s weight, context, source, or legitimacy to weaken the opponent’s stance.

Example: Against the claim, “Spicy food aids in weight loss because it boosts metabolism,” you could highlight that the studies underpinning that claim are less reliable than studies demonstrating that exercise boosts weight loss.

5. Challenge the Relevance

Challenging the relevance involves disputing how pertinent or directly related the opponent’s points are to the argument at hand. Irrelevant points detract from the main argument and don’t strengthen the position they are intended to support.

Example: If someone argues, “Technology improves quality of life because smartphones have advanced cameras,” you might challenge the relevance by questioning how advanced cameras light to better quality of life.

See More: Relevance Examples

6. Statistical Refutation

Statistical refutation seeks to invalidate an argument by questioning the statistical evidence used. This might involve critiquing how data were collected, interpreted, or applied.

Example: If a study claims, “80% of people feel healthier when they eat chocolate daily,” you could challenge the data by asking who was surveyed and how the question was asked.

7. Appeal to Common Sense

An appeal to common sense challenges a claim by invoking widely accepted truths or knowledge. This strategy can debunk arguments that defy everyday observations or popular wisdom.

Example: If someone says, “to prevent climate change we need to shut down all coal-fired powerplants immediately,” you could refute it by appealing to the common sense notion that shutting them all down right now would cause the entire economy to collapse overnight.

See More: Examples of Common Sense

8. Pointing Out Oversimplification

This method involves highlighting how an opponent’s argument oversimplifies a complex issue. It exposes a lack of depth or nuance in their argument, undermining its credibility.

Example: A statement like “More jobs equals less poverty” could be refuted by pointing out the oversimplification in neglecting factors like cost of living and wage levels.

See More: Oversimplification Examples

9. Dismantling a False Dilemma

A false dilemma presents a situation as having only two possible outcomes or solutions. Dismantling a false dilemma involves introducing alternatives or proving that the two proposed options aren’t the only ones.

Example: Against the assertion, “Either we preserve our traditions, or we embrace progress,” you could challenge that we can preserve traditions and also move forward.

See More: False Dilemma Examples

10. Rebuttal through Definition

Rebuttal through definition involves challenging an argument by critiquing the definitions of the concepts, phenomena, or terms used. Here, you question the way an opponent has defined key elements of their argument.

Example: If an argument purports, “Happiness is having a lot of money,” you might dispute that definition by referencing different measures of happiness that don’t involve wealth, such as relationships or personal growth.

See More: Rebuttal Examples

11. Rebuttal by Precedence

This method employs historical or present precedents to debunk an argument. By illustrating similar situations where the opponent’s proposition didn’t hold true or feasible decisions were made contrary to the claim, the argument can be refuted.

Example: If faced with the claim, “No democracy can survive without a two-party system,” you could counter by citing examples of thriving democracies around the world with more than two significant parties.

12. Challenge the Representativeness

Challenging the representativeness entails scrutinizing whether an argument’s supporting evidence adequately represents the whole. It rejects sweeping generalizations or conclusions based on limited data.

Example: Should someone argue, “Most students dislike school, as proven by a survey from my class,” you could counter by questioning whether your class is representative of all students around the country.

13. Rebuttal through Syllogism

Rebuttal through syllogism uses the opponent’s premises to arrive at a different conclusion. If, through logical reasoning, the proposed conclusion does not necessarily follow the premises given, the argument can be effectively refuted.

Example: To the statement, “All apples are fruit. All fruit grow on trees. Therefore, all trees grow apples,” a syllogistic rebuttal might state, “While all apples grow on trees, not all trees grow apples.”

14. Pointing Out Non-Sequitur

Pointing out non-sequitur involves highlighting that an argument’s conclusion does not logically follow from its premises. Non-sequiturs often involve leaps in logic or unwarranted assumptions.

Example: In response to the claim, “He’s a great musician, so he’ll be a fantastic concert organizer,” one might point out the non-sequitur by reminding that a musical talent does not equate managerial skills.

15. Rebuttal by Exception

Rebuttal by exception operates by finding exceptions to the generalization made in an argument. By highlighting exceptions that contradict the claim, the argument’s validity is diminished.

Example: If someone argues, “All politicians are corrupt,” you could refute it by highlighting politicians known for their integrity and conviction.

16. Evidence-Based Counterargument

An evidence-based counterargument refutes a claim by presenting strong, credible, and relevant evidence that contradicts the original argument. This method is most effective when the counter-evidence directly disputes the original claim or its supporting facts.

Example: If a person claims, “Milk should be avoided because it’s unhealthy,” an evidence-based counterargument might bring up numerous scientific studies that indicate the nutritional benefits of milk.

See More: Counterargument Examples

17. Logical Analysis

A logical analysis focuses on the internal coherence and logical validity of an argument. By identifying logical fallacies or missteps in reasoning, you can refute a claim by showing how it fails to adhere to the principles of logic.

Example: A statement like “Every time I eat pizza, it rains, so pizza causes rain” can be refuted through logical analysis by highlighting the improper correlation being made.

18. Reductio ad Absurdum

The Reductio ad Absurdum technique demonstrates the absurdity of an argument by pushing it to its logical extreme, where it produces an absurd or preposterous conclusion. This method effectively challenges the premises or logic of the original claim.

Example: If someone argues, “We should never take any risks,” a Reductio ad Absurdum response might be: “By that logic, no one should ever leave their house because stepping outside is inherently risky.”

19. Counterexamples

Counterexamples are specific instances or examples that contradict a general claim or principle. By showing that the contrary is possible or proven, counterexamples can significantly weaken an argument.

Example: If someone claims, “All athletes are team players,” a compelling counterexample might highlight known instances of successful athletes who are infamous for their individualistic nature.

20. Question the Source

Questioning the source involves casting doubt on the credibility, relevance, or authority of the source supporting an argument. If the source is untrustworthy, the claim it supports is also brought into question.

Example: If the argument is “Vitamin C prevents cold because a juice-ad claims so,” you may question the objectivity of a source that may profit from selling more juice.

See More: Best Sources to Cite in Essays

21. Alternative Explanation

Providing an alternative explanation challenges an argument by proposing a different interpretation or understanding of the topic. This method allows you to dispute a claim by suggesting that another explanation is more plausible, relevant, or comprehensive.

Example: An argument might be, “Increased police presence reduces crime.” An alternative explanation could suggest that a more likely cause of reduced crime is improved social support systems and opportunities.

22. Challenge Assumptions

Challenging assumptions requires questioning the premise or basis of an argument. If the argument is built on flawed or questionable assumptions, exposing these can undermine the argument.

Example: When confronted with the argument “Marriage is essential for happiness,” one might challenge the underlying assumption that happiness necessarily requires marriage, citing examples of fulfilled single individuals.

See More: Assumptions Examples

23. Ethical or Moral Challenge

This type of refutation questions an argument on ethical or moral grounds. If the suggested actions or results of an argument lead to morally questionable outcomes, it can be a valid point of refutation.

Example: If someone says, “We should eliminate all pests for a more comfortable life,” you might counter it by pointing out the ethical concerns regarding biodiversity and the broader ecosystem’s health.

24. Using Comparison to Demonstrate Flawed Arguments

Comparisons involve using parallel scenarios, situations, or cases to refute an argument. By emphasizing the similarities or differences, you can question the validity of the argument.

Example: If the claim is “More expensive colleges provide a better education,” you could compare specific high-quality, affordable colleges with premium, yet underperforming ones to refute this argument.

25. Highlight Omissions

Highlighting omissions refers to pointing out relevant facts, information, or arguments that the opponent has left out of their claim. By illuminating these gaps, you can challenge the reliability or completeness of their argument.

Example: If someone argues, “He must be unsuccessful, he never went to college,” you can point out the omission of successful individuals who did not follow the traditional academic path.

26. Reframe the Debate

Reframing the debate involves changing the perspective or the center of the argument. It allows you to shift focus to a different, often overlooked aspect of the discussion, thus challenging the premises or relevance of the original argument.

Example: When faced with the claim, “Academic achievements determine success in life,” you can reframe the debate by suggesting that emotional intelligence, resilience, or interpersonal skills could be more significant indicators of life success.

27. Historical or Precedent-Based Refutation

This method utilizes historical events or established precedents to refute a claim. By referencing cases that contradict the opponent’s assertion, you can question its validity or applicability.

Example: In response to the claim, “Communism leads to societal chaos,” you could point out Cuba, who maintains law and order, to contradict the argument.

28. Practical Implications

Refuting via practical implications involves evaluating the real-world implications or consequences of an argument. This can be used to highlight unforeseen or negative implications that counter the argument’s intent.

Example: If someone suggests, “Cutting all funding for arts can help resolve government budget issues,” you could mention the practical implication that this could result in lost cultural heritage and inspire public backlash.

See Also: Implications Examples

29. Question Motives or Bias

This method of refutation questions whether the argument might be influenced by the speaker’s motives or biases. If the speaker seems to benefit from their claim or appears biased, their argument can be viewed suspiciously.

Example: If a smartphone developer declares, “My company’s phones are unbeatable,” question their bias as they stand to gain from promoting their company’s products.

See Also: Types of Bias

30. Seek Expert Testimony

Seeking expert testimony involves drawing on the knowledge or expertise of recognized authorities on the topic at hand. If expert opinion conflicts with the original statement, the credibility of the argument is undermined.

Example: In an argument about climate change, expert testimony from credible climate scientists refuting a claim of disbelievers can strengthen your refutation.

Understanding refutation will aid in developing stronger arguments and more impactful communication. I recommend to my students that they always refute the strongest claims of their opposition in order to more authoritatively prosecute their own perspective. But remember, in refuting opposing views, you need to be very careful not to fall into poor quality arguments, logical fallacies, or arguments that might otherwise damage your own legitimacy and reputation. Refutation must be clear, systematic, and well-thought-out in order for it to be effective.

Chris

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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

Download 10 great 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.

Preparing to cook a dish in an organized way, just like we prepare to write an essay

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 ?

Hamster, which could potentially be used for animal 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.

Support all your points with evidence

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.

Example of a search on JSTOR

Everyone can use Google Scholar to search for articles. This is a powerful tool and highly recommended!

Google scholar search

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:

Bibliographic details– Specific evidence that the source uses
– Ideas and themes in the source that seem useful
Figure out the main arguments in the source
– Figure out the supporting arguments in the source
– How does this source relate to the other sources that you’re using? Does it agree/disagree? Does it use the same or different evidence and reasoning?
–  What kind of bias does the author have?
– Any other thoughts or observations

Download a template for these research notes here .

Petri dish in laboratory research

For our topic of animal research, our notes might look something like this:

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.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” (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” (2).

Companies can also hire outside firms to test products and ingredients on animals (3).
→ 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.
Andrew Knight. “Critically Evaluating Animal Research.” In . Brill 2019.Knight cites “significant methodological flaws” in “most published animal experiments” (326). For example, “randomized allocation of animals to test groups was reported in only 12%” of a set of 271 studies—in the rest of the studies, researchers could select (whether consciously or not) weaker animals to serve as the control group, for example (326). Similarly, only 14% of papers in a different survey reported the use of blinding in making qualitative assessments of outcomes (327). 

The ARRIVE guidelines have been widely endorsed by leading research journals (including Nature, PLoS, and BioMed Central) and major UK funding agencies, and they’re part of the US National Research Council Institute for Laboratory Animal Research guidelines (330).

But…compliance with the guidelines “remains poor” (330).
→ Many people championing or opposing animal testing have their careers at stake. They’re either researchers who use animals as a fundamental part of their research, or they are working on alternatives to animal testing (like Harding). This seems like a potential problem with the debate.

→ So one way to improve the methodological quality of studies would be to encourage (or regulate) randomization and blinded assessment of outcomes.
(continued) Andrew Knight. “Critically Evaluating Animal Research.” In . Brill 2019.Knight advocates that compliance with the ARRIVE guidelines and other standards “must become mandatory,” and that “compliance with such standards should be a necessary condition for security research funding and ethical approval; licensing of researchers, facilities, and experimental protocols; and publication of subsequent results” (331).

Knight also argues that “prior to designing any new animal study, researchers should conduct a systematic review to collate, appraise, and synthesize all existing, good-quality evidence relating to their research questions,” and that this step should also be required by grant agencies, licensing bodies, and journals (332). He notes that systematic reviews are really helpful and should be funded more frequently (332).

The article then covers impacts on laboratory animals—invasive procedures, stress, pain, and death (333). These aren’t very widely or clearly reported (333).
→ This seems like a reasonable position. What would there be to lose from requiring compliance with these guidelines? I suppose it could make research more difficult or expensive to conduct—but probably it would weed out some bad research. 

→ Good to remember that research requires money and is shaped by market forces—it’s not some neutral thing happening in an ivory tower.

Grab our download to read the rest of the notes and see more examples of how to do thoughtful research!

Student taking notes on research project

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? 

Cancer research

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.

Laboratory setup

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. 

Laboratory mouse

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 .

Research at the National Cancer Institute

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 .

Research at the National Cancer Institute

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 .

Cancer research

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.

Essay intro funnel

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.

Sharpening a pencil, just like you should sharpen your argument.

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’re done!

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 !

should you be biased in an argumentative essay

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 problem with argumentative writing

The argumentative essay – the gold standard of persuasive writing – may be a better measure of good rationalization than good critical thinking.

When I was a student studying philosophy, the topics I chose to write about – from the ethics of food to the nature of consciousness – were often dictated by my strong convictions. With my position already confirmed, my research process was but a means to an end. When it came time to write, I would marshal my arguments as clearly as I could to help the reader see what I had long known to be true. I’d of course include counterarguments. After all, my professors wanted to know that I was measured and thoughtful; they wanted to know that I was open-minded.

Prominent researchers within the field of critical thinking, including Robert Ennis and Richard Paul, agree that open-mindedness is an important component of critical thinking. Without the ability to be receptive to alternative perspectives, analytical reasoning skills have little to evaluate. In this way, it is difficult to imagine a good critical thinker who is closed-minded. Meanwhile, many faculty across the disciplines regard the argumentative essay, particularly the persuasive essay, as the gold standard of assessments. It’s widely thought that students who write an effective persuasive essay demonstrate a full range of critical thinking skills, including open-mindedness. Students develop this skill by conducting a balanced literature search and interpreting the work of others in a fair-minded manner. But can a fair inquiry take place when students are saddled with prior beliefs on a topic?

In a recently published article entitled “ How argumentative writing stifles open-mindedness ” in the journal Arts and Humanities in Higher Education , I argue that argumentative writing genres do not challenge students to confront key cognitive biases when engaging in moral, political and social topics. Rather than motivating students to inquire into the truth of a topic, these genres unwittingly serve to preserve students’ prior beliefs. Challenging and overturning one’s beliefs can be a psychologically difficult experience that can disturb one’s way of being in the world. With no mechanism to confront cognitive biases, including confirmation bias (i.e., the biased seeking of evidence) and motivated reasoning (i.e., the biased interpretation of evidence), argumentative writing genres enable students to take the path of least resistance.

The wealth of empirical research that has demonstrated confirmation bias, motivated reasoning and a cluster of associated biases pose a serious challenge to argumentative writing. The persuasive essay, for example, may be a better measure of good rationalization than good critical thinking – that is, we may be assessing students’ abilities to defend a view to which they were already predisposed to believe. While rationalization requires cleverness, it does not require learning. There’s no growth, no challenging of one’s ideas. When I think back to my time as a student, I may have been getting good marks on my persuasive essays – checking all the boxes on the rubric – but I was anything but open-minded. In fact, writing persuasive essays may have added fuel to the fire, not simply perpetuating my prior beliefs but strengthening them.

If argumentative writing genres aid to prevent open-mindedness in students and result in even  more polarizing beliefs, then we need a new kind of writing genre that targets this foundational skill. To address this need, I propose a genre called the complexity paper. The writer of a complexity paper is not trying to convince the reader of a particular position. Rather, the writer is trying to convince the reader that the particular issue under investigation is complex and difficult to resolve. One of the main goals of a complexity paper is to put opposing views on a topic in their best possible lights. To accomplish this task, it is necessary to research advocates of each position by conducting a full literature search. Moreover, to articulate different viewpoints in their best lights, it is necessary to interpret evidence carefully and without bias.

Since the goal is to illustrate that an issue is complicated, the reader should not be able to determine the writer’s position on the issue. Given this structure, even students who have strong prior beliefs on the topic will be motivated to understand opposing perspectives. Ideally, the inquiry would plant a seed of doubt in students’ minds. This is ideal because doubt keeps biases at bay.

Whether or not the complexity paper is the solution, argumentative writing has a problem. It stifles open-mindedness. In a time when moral, political and social topics are becoming increasingly polarized, developing students’ open-mindedness ought to be a top priority for educators.

James Southworth is a writing consultant at Wilfrid Laurier University.

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Thanks for this interesting idea, James. I have long complained about academic philosophy’s enthusiastic attachment to argumentative essays, and so agree with most of what you say. But I think you are pitting argument and complexity against each other when they don’t have to be so antithetical. We can take our readers through the muck of complex ideas and still come to a conclusion about what we think of the mess (and therefore, engage in persuasion, even if more subtly). I’m not sure why you think in order to be upfront about complexities the writer’s position needs to be hidden. The problem with the argumentative essay is not that the author’s position is known, but that it isn’t thoughtful or nuanced enough–as you say, it is only a reinforcement of something already known. But I absolutely agree with your wish to emphasize complexity, which seems to have gone out the window along with reading difficult texts. Have I persuaded you?

Hi Diane, I agree that complexity and persuasion can occur in the same paper, but I think it takes a superb critical thinker not to fall into the traps of confirmation bias and motivated reasoning. One option is to scaffold writing assignments. First, students write a complexity paper with the goal of convincing the reader that the particular topic is complicated and difficult to resolve. This paper specifically targets the development of open-mindedness. Then students can write an argumentative paper with the goal of persuading a reader of a particular claim. This scaffolding approach doesn’t dispense with the persuasive essay, but it still addresses the challenge of confirmation bias and motivated reasoning.

There is a fallacy of ambiguity pervading this opinion article that turns its thesis into a self-referential paradox: If it’s true then it must fall under its own critique and be rejected as false. The only way out of this paradox is to recognize that “argumentative writing” and critical thinking are not at all the same thing. Just having a thesis to argue makes such writing a piece of advocacy, and advocacy is in many ways just the opposite of critical thinking. This opinion article writer must ask the elementary question of meaning, “What do you mean by that?” before arguing that “that,” namely the “argumentative writing” he claims he was taught as a philosophy student trying to master the art of critical thinking wrongfully stifles open mindedness. He seems to have confused the lawyer with the philosopher, and advocacy with critical thought. If open-mindedness isn’t part of the “argumentative writing” process then it’s not critical thinking. Critical thinking is not close-minded, only advocacy is. That the one now passes for the other is a blight on the intellectual culture of post-secondary education.

The complexity paper is a challenge, and I like it. It not only forces the writer to think, but the reader as well. It’s highly educational.Thank you.

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How to write an argumentative essay

How to write an argumentative essay

The argumentative essay is a staple in university courses, and writing this style of essay is a key skill for students across multiple disciplines. Here’s what you need to know to write an effective and compelling argumentative essay.

What is an argumentative essay?

An argumentative essay takes a stance on an issue and presents an argument to defend that stance with the intent of persuading the reader to agree. It generally requires extensive research into a topic so that you have a deep grasp of its subtleties and nuances, are able to take a position on the issue, and can make a detailed and logical case for one side or the other.

It’s not enough to merely have an opinion on an issue—you have to present points to justify your opinion, often using data and other supporting evidence.

When you are assigned an argumentative essay, you will typically be asked to take a position, usually in response to a question, and mount an argument for it. The question can be two-sided or open-ended, as in the examples provided below.

Examples of argumentative essay prompts:

Two-sided Question

Should completing a certain number of volunteer hours be a requirement to graduate from high school? Support your argument with evidence.

Open-ended Question

What is the most significant impact that social media has had on this generation of young people?

Once again, it’s important to remember that you’re not just conveying facts or information in an argumentative essay. In the course of researching your topic, you should develop a stance on the issue. Your essay will then express that stance and attempt to persuade the reader of its legitimacy and correctness through discussion, assessment, and evaluation.

The main types of argumentative essays

Although you are advancing a particular viewpoint, your argumentative essay must flow from a position of objectivity. Your argument should evolve thoughtfully and rationally from evidence and logic rather than emotion.

There are two main models that provide a good starting point for crafting your essay: the Toulmin model and the Rogerian model.

The Toulmin Model

This model is commonly used in academic essays. It mounts an argument through the following four steps:

  • Make a claim.
  • Present the evidence, or grounds, for the claim.
  • Explain how the grounds support the claim.
  • Address potential objections to the claim, demonstrating that you’ve given thought to the opposing side and identified its limitations and deficiencies.

As an example of how to put the Toulmin model into practice, here’s how you might structure an argument about the impact of devoting public funding to building low-income housing.

  • Make your claim that low-income housing effectively solves several social issues that drain a city’s resources, providing a significant return on investment.
  • Cite data that shows how an increase in low-income housing is related to a reduction in crime rates, homelessness, etc.
  • Explain how this data proves the beneficial impact of funding low-income housing.
  • Preemptively counter objections to your claim and use data to demonstrate whether these objections are valid or not.

The Rogerian Model

This model is also frequently used within academia, and it also builds an argument using four steps, although in a slightly different fashion:

  • Acknowledge the merits of the opposing position and what might compel people to agree with it.
  • Draw attention to the problems with this position.
  • Lay out your own position and identify how it resolves those problems.
  • Proffer some middle ground between the two viewpoints and make the case that proponents of the opposing position might benefit from adopting at least some elements of your view.

The persuasiveness of this model owes to the fact that it offers a balanced view of the issue and attempts to find a compromise. For this reason, it works especially well for topics that are polarizing and where it’s important to demonstrate that you’re arguing in good faith.

To illustrate, here’s how you could argue that smartphones should be permitted in classrooms.

  • Concede that smartphones can be a distraction for students.
  • Argue that what teachers view as disruptions are actually opportunities for learning.
  • Offer the view that smartphones, and students’ interest in them, can be harnessed as teaching tools.
  • Suggest teaching activities that involve smartphones as a potential resource for teachers who are not convinced of their value.

It’s not essential to adhere strictly to one model or the other—you can borrow elements from both models to structure your essay. However, no matter which model of argumentation you choose, your essay will need to have an outline that effectively presents and develops your position.

How to outline and write an argumentative essay

A clear and straightforward structure works best for argumentative essays since you want to make it easy for your reader to understand your position and follow your arguments. The traditional essay outline comprises an introductory paragraph that announces your thesis statement, body paragraphs that unfold your argument point by point, and a concluding paragraph that summarizes your thesis and supporting points.

Introductory paragraph

This paragraph provides an overview of your topic and any background information that your readers will need in order to understand the context and your position. It generally concludes with an explicit statement of your position on the topic, which is known as your thesis statement.

Over the last decade, smartphones have transformed nearly every aspect of our lives, socially, culturally, and personally. They are now incorporated into almost every facet of daily life, and this includes making their way into classrooms. There are many educators who view smartphones with suspicion and see them as a threat to the sanctity of the classroom. Although there are reasons to regard smartphones with caution, there are ways to use them responsibly to teach and educate the next generation of young minds. Indeed, the value they hold as teaching tools is nearly unlimited: as a way to teach digital literacy, to reach students through a medium that is familiar and fun for them, and to provide a nimble and adaptable learning environment.

Body paragraphs

Most argumentative essays have at least three body paragraphs that lay out the supporting points in favor of your argument. Each paragraph should open with a topic sentence that presents a separate point that is then fleshed out and backed up by research, facts, figures, data, and other evidence. Remember that your aim in writing an argumentative essay is to convince or persuade your reader, and your body paragraphs are where you present your most compelling pieces of information in order to do just that.

The body of your essay is also where you should address any opposing arguments and make your case against them, either disproving them or stating the reasons why you disagree. Responding to potential rebuttals strengthens your argument and builds your credibility with your readers.

A frequent objection that teachers have to smartphones in the classroom is that students use them to socialize when they should be learning. This view overlooks the fact that students are using smartphones to connect with each other and this is a valuable skill that should be encouraged, not discouraged, in the classroom. A 2014 study demonstrated the benefits of providing students with individual smartphones. Sanctioned smartphone use in the classroom proved to be of particular importance in improving educational outcomes for low-income and at-risk students. What’s more, learning apps have been developed specifically to take advantage of the potential of smartphones to reach learners of various levels and backgrounds, and many offer the ability to customize the method and delivery of lessons to individual learner preferences. This shows that the untapped potential of smartphones is huge, and many teachers would do well to consider incorporating them into their classrooms.

Your concluding paragraph wraps up your essay by restating your thesis and recapping the arguments you presented in your body paragraphs. No new information should be introduced in your conclusion, however, you may consider shifting the lens of your argument to make a comment on how this issue affects the world at large or you personally, always keeping in mind that objectivity and relevance are your guiding principles.

Smartphones have a growing place in the world of education, and despite the presence of legitimate concerns about their use, their value as teaching tools has been clearly established. With more and more of our lives going digital and with the growing emphasis on offering distance learning as an option, educators with an eye to the future won't wait to embrace smartphones and find ways to use them to their fullest effect. As much time and space as we could devote to weighing the pros and cons of smartphones, the fact is that they are not going to disappear from our lives, and our best bet is to develop their, and our students', potential.

Frequently Asked Questions about argumentative essays

Your argumentative essay starts with an introductory paragraph. This paragraph provides an overview of your topic and any background information that your readers will need in order to understand the context and your position.

Like any traditional essay, the argumentative essay consists of three parts:

  • Introduction

There are do's and don'ts in argumentative writing. This article summarizes some of them well - you should, for example, avoid coming to an argument based on feelings, without any evidence. Everything you say needs to be backed up by evidence, unless you are the renowned expert in the field.

Yes, you can start your argumentative essay with a question or with a thesis statement. Or you can do both - ask a question and then immediately answer it with a statement.

There are contrasting views on that. In some situations it can make sense to end your argumentative essay with a question - for example, when you want to create room for further discussions or want the reader to leave thinking about the question.

How to write a college essay outline

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Argumentative Essay Guide

Nova A.

The Ultimate Guide to Argumentative Essay Writing

19 min read

argumentative essay guide

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Good Argumentative Essay Topics For Beginners - 270+ Ideas

Argumentative Essay Outline | Structure Your Essay In 5 Steps

Argumentative Essay Examples - Samples & Tips

Learn Different Types of Arguments and Argument Claims

Are you struggling to write an argumentative essay? Do you want to learn the essential tips and techniques to craft a convincing argument? 

Argumentative essay writing needs more than just a personal opinion. It requires you to present evidence and facts to support a claim. But where do you begin?

Look no further! This blog post will provide an in-depth guide on how to write an effective argumentative essay. 

Read on to learn how to craft a perfect argumentative essay in this simple step-by-step guide.

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  • 1. What is an Argumentative Essay?
  • 2. How To Write An Argumentative Essay? 
  • 3. Argumentative Essay Format 
  • 4. Five Types of Argument Claims
  • 5. Three Argument Structures and How To Use Them
  • 6. Argumentative Essay Examples with Analysis
  • 7. Good Argumentative Essay Topics for Students

What is an Argumentative Essay?

An argumentative essay is a type of essay where the writer takes a strong stance on an issue and presents arguments for it. 

These essays are built around a central argument. The arguments must be supported by logical evidence and facts. The primary purpose of an argumentative essay is to persuade readers to accept the writer's point of view on a particular topic.

Students often mix up argumentative essays and persuasive essays . The big difference is that an argumentative essay uses strong evidence and facts to prove a point, while a persuasive essay tries to convince readers by appealing to their emotions and beliefs. 

How To Write An Argumentative Essay? 

Argumentative essays are the most common type of essays for High School and College students. These essays require strong critical thinking skills and the ability to analyze a topic at a deeper level.

Here are the steps involved in argumentative essay writing: 

  • Choose a Topic
  • Research Thoroughly
  • Create an Outline
  • Write an  Introduction
  • Develop Body Paragraphs 
  • Use Counter Arguments 
  • Conclude Your Argumentative Essay
  • Argumentative Essay Graphic Organizer

Here is a step-by-step descriptive guide on how to start an argumentative essay:

Step 1. Choose a Topic 

Pick a debatable topic that interests you and has ample research material. A debatable topic is one that has multiple perspectives and can be argued for or against. It should also be a topic with ample research material available, so you can find enough evidence to support your arguments.

Your essay title should reflect the central theme and stance of your argument, such as "Should school uniforms be mandatory in public schools?"

Step 2. Research Thoroughly

Once you have chosen your topic, the next step is to gather information. Thorough research is the foundation of a strong argumentative essay. Here's how to approach it:

  • Identify Sources (articles, books, credible websites)
  • Collect Data (facts, statistics, quotes, and examples)
  • Evaluate Sources (Peer-reviewed articles, books, reports) 
  • Record Citations

For Example:

"A study by the National Association of Elementary School Principals found that schools with uniforms reported 30% fewer incidents of bullying."

"Opponents argue that uniforms suppress individuality and creativity, which are important aspects of personal development."

Step 3. Create an Outline

An outline helps organize your thoughts and structure your essay. For argumentative essays, consider using a basic essay outline structure like the five-paragraph essay format for shorter essays. 

However, for longer argumentative essays , where complex issues and detailed research are involved, you may need a more intricate and detailed outline to address all aspects of the topic comprehensively. 

Here's a basic outline template, for more detailed structure read our argumentative essay outline blog:

Start with an attention-grabbing sentence or question. Provide context for the topic. Clearly state your argument or position on the issue.

Introduce the first argument or point that supports your thesis. Present facts, statistics, examples, or expert opinions that support your argument. Explain how the evidence supports your point. Address a potential counterargument and refute it.

(Follow the same format as Paragraph 1)

(Follow the same format as Paragraph 1)

Summarize the main counterarguments to your thesis. Provide strong evidence and reasoning to refute each counterargument.

List all the sources you've used for research, following the appropriate citation style (e.g., APA, MLA).

Step 4. Write the Introduction

An argumentative essay introduction clearly states the writer’s claim that he will make in the essay. The introductory paragraph should be logical and intellectual and should be written persuasively.

Here are three steps you can follow to write a very persuasive argumentative essay introduction:

  • Start with a hook: Begin your introduction paragraph with a strong hook that gives the reader a hint about your argument.
  • Give background information: Provide brief background information necessary to understand the argument.
  • State the thesis: Lay a solid foundation for your claim by stating your thesis statement . The thesis statement is a concise, clear, and one-sentence summary of the whole essay. It should be informative, engaging, arguable, and valid.

Here is the thesis statement example for an argumentative essay:

"Public schools should implement uniform policies because they promote a sense of community, reduce distractions in the classroom, and contribute to a more equal educational environment."

Step 5. Develop Body Paragraphs

The body paragraphs involve topic sentences and evidence, either against or supporting a certain point of view. 

Here are three simple steps for crafting the body paragraphs:

  • Topic sentence: Start each body paragraph with a topic sentence that defines only one specific idea and supports the main claim.
  • Provide evidence: Provide as much supporting evidence as required to convince the reader. Remember! The argument has no value if it is not backed with proper and relevant evidence from credible sources.
  • Concluding remarks: End the paragraph with a concluding remark and smoothly transition to the next body paragraph.

Smoothly transition between paragraphs in your argumentative essay using transition words like "however," "therefore," "moreover," and "nevertheless." These words help maintain the flow of your ideas, ensuring your essay is easy to follow and logically structured.

Step 6. Use Counter Arguments

This counter-argument paragraph contains the opposing point of view that a reader may pose against your main argument. This paragraph aims to prove that the opposing side is wrong by providing facts and evidence.

Below are the four steps to write a counter-argument paragraph:

  • State the counter-arguments: Present all the counter-arguments one by one.  
  • State your response: Provide your response towards the counter-arguments.
  • Refute the opposing claims: Refute the opposite claims, one by one, with facts and evidence.
  • Conclusion: Conclude the paragraph by reasserting your main claim of the essay.

Step 7. Conclude Your Argumentative Essay

The conclusion needs to be logical and precise and inspire the reader to agree with your claim. It should provide the final stance about the argument, which tells that your side of the argument is right.

Here are the three steps to writing an effective argumentative essay conclusion:

  • Summarize the argument: Sum up the entire essay and rewrite the thesis statement.
  • Stick to the plan: Don’t introduce any new argument here; just synthesize all the information presented in the body paragraph.
  • Call to action: End your essay by providing a call to action.

Step 8. Argumentative Essay Graphic Organizer

Before wrapping up your essay, review the graphic organizer provided below. This will help ensure your essay is well-structured and each part, from introduction to conclusion, is properly developed and supported. 

This final check makes sure your essay is cohesive, persuasive, and thoroughly addresses your chosen topic.

argumentative-essay-graphic-organizer

Argumentative Essay Format 

For writing a good argumentative essay formatting is equally important. Here are some formatting guidelines for composing a well-written and visually appealing argumentative essay:

  • Paper Size: Standard (8.5 x 11 inches) or A4 with 1-inch margins.
  • Font: Times New Roman, Arial, or Calibri, size 12, double-spaced.
  • Title Page: Essay title, name, instructor, course, submission date.
  • Header: Last name, page number (Arabic numerals).
  • Title: Centered, bolded, capitalize major words.
  • Citations: Use proper citation style ( APA , MLA , Chicago ).
  • References: Include a separate page for sources.

These formatting guidelines are general standards. Always follow the specific instructions provided by your institute or professor for any additional requirements.

Five Types of Argument Claims

There are five types of arguable claims that you can support in your essay. These include factual claims, definition claims, value claims, cause-and-effect claims, and policy claims.

Let's discuss each type in detail:

Factual Claims

These claims focus on facts and events that have occurred in the past. They can be supported with evidence such as statistics, examples, or expert opinions.

For instance, you could write an argumentative essay to support the claim that global warming is a man-made phenomenon. You would present evidence such as scientific research findings and expert opinions to back up your argument.

Definition Claims

These claims focus on the definition of something or a concept. You can use logic, historical facts, and evidence to support a definition claim.

For example, you could write an argumentative essay to define what “success” means for a person or organization. You would need to back up your definition by providing evidence from experts or historical data.

Value Claims

These claims focus on the value of something and can be supported with facts and expert opinions.

For instance, you could write an argumentative essay to argue that technology has a positive effect on our lives. You would present evidence such as surveys and studies that show how technology has made life easier and more efficient.

Cause and Effect Claims

These claims focus on how one event or action leads to another. They can be supported with evidence such as experimental data.

For example, you could write an argumentative essay to argue that poverty causes crime. You would need to present evidence from experts and other sources to back up your claim.

Policy Claims

These claims focus on specific initiatives or policies that people want to implement. They can be supported with evidence from experts and other sources.

For instance, you could write an argumentative essay with the data to support the implementation of a new government policy for healthcare reform. You would need to provide evidence such as reports and studies on the issue to back up your claim.

So, there are five types of arguable claims that you can make in your essay. Each type requires its own unique approach. 

Three Argument Structures and How To Use Them

There are three main types of argument structures that may be used in an essay. Let's see how each of them works:

Classical (Aristotelian) Argument

The classical argument structure is the oldest and most common type of argument. This model has its roots in the works of the ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle. 

It consists of five parts: 

  • Introduction
  • Your Arguments
  • Counter Arguments

To construct a classical argument essay, you would need to:

  • Present your position on an issue
  • Provide evidence to support it
  • Acknowledge opposing views
  • Refute those views with evidence
  • Conclude by summarizing the main points.

Rogerian Argument

The Rogerian model is used in essays where the main purpose is to find a common ground between opposing sides. It was developed by psychologist Carl Rogers.

It consists of four parts: 

  • Both Sides Of An Issue
  • Common Ground

To construct a Rogerian argument essay, you would need:

  • To present your side of the issue
  • Acknowledge and present the opposing view
  • Find a point of agreement between them

Toulmin Argument

The Toulmin structure is less common than the other two but it has its own unique style. This model was developed by British philosopher Stephen Toulmin. It consists of six parts:

  • Rebuttal of opposing arguments
  • Conclusion.

To construct a Toulmin model argument, you have to:

  • Present your claim on an issue
  • Provide evidence to back it up (grounds)
  • Support that evidence with additional information (backing)
  • Acknowledge any possible exceptions (qualifier)
  • Refute the counter-arguments (rebuttal)

Watch this video that explains the three different types in detail:

Argumentative Essay Examples with Analysis

Sample essays play a vital role in understanding the structure of an essay. So check out the examples with the analysis below and do not forget to read our argumentative essay examples blog for more sample essays.

Short Argumentative Essay Example

As online learning gains traction, a debate ensues: should public libraries be replaced by tablets? Proponents argue that this move would save costs and enhance access to reading materials. However, such a transition would be shortsighted and detrimental for several reasons.

Firstly, while digital resources offer convenience, studies show they hinder learning compared to print. Research reveals that tablet readers are slower, retain less information, and comprehend less than print readers. Additionally, prolonged screen exposure leads to various health issues, including eye strain and musculoskeletal problems.

Secondly, libraries offer diverse services beyond book lending, fostering community cohesion and knowledge exchange. Community events and study spaces provided by libraries create invaluable connections that tablets cannot replicate.

While the notion of replacing libraries with tablets may seem pragmatic, it risks exacerbating screen dependency and depriving communities of essential services.

  • The essay strategically introduces the counter-argument, positioning the thesis later, allowing the focus to remain on supporting the author's perspective.
  • It incorporates factual data to substantiate claims, bolstering the argument's credibility.
  • Each counter-argument is effectively rebutted, reinforcing the author's stance.

Improvements:

  • To enhance depth, the essay could include more detailed examples illustrating the benefits of libraries to communities.
  • Personal experiences should be omitted in favor of additional data on screen-related health issues.
  • Accuracy of points, such as the cost comparison between digital and physical books, should be ensured through thorough research.

Argumentative Essay Example 

With the growing concern over climate change, the debate between renewable energy and fossil fuels has intensified. While some advocate for a swift transition to renewable sources, others argue for the continued use of fossil fuels. However, a closer examination reveals that renewable energy is the more viable and sustainable option for our future.

Renewable energy, such as solar and wind power, offers numerous environmental benefits. Unlike fossil fuels, which release harmful greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, renewable sources produce clean energy with minimal environmental impact. Additionally, renewable energy technologies are becoming increasingly efficient and cost-effective, making them competitive alternatives to fossil fuels.

Furthermore, reliance on fossil fuels poses significant risks to both the environment and public health. From oil spills to air pollution, the extraction, transportation, and combustion of fossil fuels contribute to environmental degradation and respiratory diseases. Transitioning to renewable energy would mitigate these risks and promote a healthier, more sustainable future for all.

While opponents argue that renewable energy is intermittent and unreliable, technological advancements have addressed these concerns. Battery storage and smart grid technologies enable the efficient storage and distribution of renewable energy, ensuring reliability and stability in the power grid.

In conclusion, the benefits of renewable energy far outweigh those of fossil fuels. Not only does renewable energy offer cleaner and safer alternatives, but it also fosters economic growth and job creation in the renewable energy sector. By embracing renewable energy, we can mitigate climate change, protect our environment, and ensure a brighter future for generations to come.

  • The essay effectively presents the counter-argument before asserting the thesis, allowing for a clear focus on supporting renewable energy.
  • It utilizes factual evidence to substantiate claims, enhancing the argument's credibility and persuasiveness.
  • Counter-arguments are systematically addressed and refuted, reinforcing the superiority of renewable energy.
  • To deepen the analysis, the essay could provide additional examples of the environmental and health impacts of fossil fuels.
  • Incorporating data on the economic benefits of renewable energy would further strengthen the argument.
  • Ensuring accuracy in all points and evidence presented is essential to maintain credibility and persuasiveness.

Also, check out the following free argumentative essay examples provided in PDF format: 

Good Argumentative Essay Topics for Students

Choosing a topic for an argumentative essay is way more complicated than choosing a topic for any other essay. To get enough material to write about, we have compiled some easy argumentative essay topics for students. 

Check out these topics and visit our argumentative essay topics blog for more ideas:

Science: 

  • The ethical implications of genetic engineering in humans.
  • The effectiveness of vaccination in preventing the spread of diseases.
  • The impact of climate change on biodiversity and ecosystems.
  • The ethics of animal testing in scientific research.
  • The role of artificial intelligence in shaping the future of scientific discovery.

Technology: 

  • The influence of social media on mental health and well-being.
  • The pros and cons of implementing facial recognition technology in public spaces.
  • The impact of automation on employment opportunities and the workforce.
  • The ethical considerations of data privacy in the digital age.
  • The role of technology in addressing climate change and environmental sustainability.
  • The benefits and drawbacks of a plant-based diet for overall health.
  • The legalization of marijuana for medicinal purposes.
  • The impact of fast food on obesity rates and public health.
  • The accessibility of mental health services for underserved communities.
  • The effectiveness of school-based nutrition programs in combating childhood obesity.

Government: 

  • The necessity of implementing stricter gun control laws to reduce gun violence.
  • The role of government in regulating social media platforms to combat misinformation.
  • The impact of immigration policies on national security and economic growth.
  • The effectiveness of affirmative action policies in promoting diversity and equality.
  • The pros and cons of implementing universal basic income to address poverty and inequality.

Education: 

  • The effectiveness of standardized testing in evaluating student performance.
  • The importance of incorporating financial literacy education into school curricula.
  • The impact of technology on traditional classroom learning.
  • The benefits of bilingual education in promoting cultural diversity and language acquisition.
  • The role of arts education in fostering creativity and critical thinking skills.

To finish it off,

Argumentative essay writing requires strong research and analysis skills to develop a sound argument. With the right planning and structure, anyone can write an effective argumentative essay. 

Now that you have learned about the basics of writing an argumentative essay, it is time to start putting your ideas into practice. Choose a topic that you are passionate about and start writing! 

However, we understand that students face many difficulties while writing an essay. If you are one of them, don’t worry, we’ve got a solution for you!

Our argumentative essay writing service is here to help you out. We've got qualified and professional writers who provide excellent writing assistance at affordable prices. We write all the papers from scratch to meet your custom requirements and ensure zero plagiarism.

So place your order at our essay writing service online today!

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the 5 main parts of an argumentative essay.

FAQ Icon

The five main parts of an argumentative essay are:

  • Counter-claim

What Are Some Transition Words For Argumentative Essays?

Here are some essential transition words and phrases to strengthen your argumentative essays:

  • Additionally
  • On the contrary
  • For instance
  • Consequently
  • Nonetheless
  • In conclusion

Argumentative Essay Vs Expository Essay, What's The Difference?

In an argumentative essay, the writer presents a claim or argument and supports it with evidence, aiming to persuade the reader to adopt their viewpoint. In contrast, an expository essay aims to inform or explain a topic, presenting facts, analysis, and evidence without necessarily taking a stance or trying to persuade the reader.

What Are 3 Best Tips For Writing A Good Argumentative Essay?

The 3 best tips for writing a good argumentative essay are: 

  • Support arguments with credible evidence like statistics or expert opinions to bolster validity.
  • Enhance clarity by using analogies and metaphors for vivid illustration.
  • Make arguments more engaging and persuasive by infusing your unique perspective and voice.

When Is An Argumentative Essay Written?

An argumentative essay is written in various contexts, including:

  • Academic assignments
  • Debates and discussions
  • Opinion pieces
  • Policy proposals
  • Persuasive speeches

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Nova A.

Nova Allison is a Digital Content Strategist with over eight years of experience. Nova has also worked as a technical and scientific writer. She is majorly involved in developing and reviewing online content plans that engage and resonate with audiences. Nova has a passion for writing that engages and informs her readers.

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Sat / act prep online guides and tips, bad college essays: 10 mistakes you must avoid.

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College Essays

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Just as there are noteworthy examples of excellent college essays that admissions offices like to publish, so are there cringe-worthy examples of terrible college essays that end up being described by anonymous admissions officers on Reddit discussion boards.

While I won't guarantee that your essay will end up in the first category, I will say that you follow my advice in this article, your essay most assuredly won't end up in the second. How do you avoid writing a bad admissions essay? Read on to find out what makes an essay bad and to learn which college essay topics to avoid. I'll also explain how to recognize bad college essays—and what to do to if you end up creating one by accident.

What Makes Bad College Essays Bad

What exactly happens to turn a college essay terrible? Just as great personal statements combine an unexpected topic with superb execution, flawed personal statements compound problematic subject matter with poor execution.

Problems With the Topic

The primary way to screw up a college essay is to flub what the essay is about or how you've decided to discuss a particular experience. Badly chosen essay content can easily create an essay that is off-putting in one of a number of ways I'll discuss in the next section.

The essay is the place to let the admissions office of your target college get to know your personality, character, and the talents and skills that aren't on your transcript. So if you start with a terrible topic, not only will you end up with a bad essay, but you risk ruining the good impression that the rest of your application makes.

Some bad topics show admissions officers that you don't have a good sense of judgment or maturity , which is a problem since they are building a class of college students who have to be able to handle independent life on campus.

Other bad topics suggest that you are a boring person , or someone who doesn't process your experience in a colorful or lively way, which is a problem since colleges want to create a dynamic and engaged cohort of students.

Still other bad topics indicate that you're unaware of or disconnected from the outside world and focused only on yourself , which is a problem since part of the point of college is to engage with new people and new ideas, and admissions officers are looking for people who can do that.

Problems With the Execution

Sometimes, even if the experiences you discuss could be the foundation of a great personal statement, the way you've structured and put together your essay sends up warning flags. This is because the admissions essay is also a place to show the admissions team the maturity and clarity of your writing style.

One way to get this part wrong is to exhibit very faulty writing mechanics , like unclear syntax or incorrectly used punctuation. This is a problem since college-ready writing is one of the things that's expected from a high school graduate.

Another way to mess this up is to ignore prompt instructions either for creative or careless reasons. This can show admissions officers that you're either someone who simply blows off directions and instructions or someone who can't understand how to follow them . Neither is a good thing, since they are looking for people who are open to receiving new information from professors and not just deciding they know everything already.

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College Essay Topics To Avoid

Want to know why you're often advised to write about something mundane and everyday for your college essay? That's because the more out-there your topic, the more likely it is to stumble into one of these trouble categories.

Too Personal

The problem with the overly personal essay topic is that revealing something very private can show that you don't really understand boundaries . And knowing where appropriate boundaries are will be key for living on your own with a bunch of people not related to you.

Unfortunately, stumbling into the TMI zone of essay topics is more common than you think. One quick test for checking your privacy-breaking level: if it's not something you'd tell a friendly stranger sitting next to you on the plane, maybe don't tell it to the admissions office.

  • Describing losing your virginity, or anything about your sex life really. This doesn't mean you can't write about your sexual orientation—just leave out the actual physical act.
  • Writing in too much detail about your illness, disability, any other bodily functions. Detailed meaningful discussion of what this physical condition has meant to you and your life is a great thing to write about. But stay away from body horror and graphic descriptions that are simply there for gratuitous shock value.
  • Waxing poetic about your love for your significant other. Your relationship is adorable to the people currently involved in it, but those who don't know you aren't invested in this aspect of your life.
  • Confessing to odd and unusual desires of the sexual or illegal variety. Your obsession with cultivating cacti is wonderful topic, while your obsession with researching explosives is a terrible one.

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Too Revealing of Bad Judgment

Generally speaking, leave past illegal or immoral actions out of your essay . It's simply a bad idea to give admissions officers ammunition to dislike you.

Some exceptions might be if you did something in a very, very different mindset from the one you're in now (in the midst of escaping from danger, under severe coercion, or when you were very young, for example). Or if your essay is about explaining how you've turned over a new leaf and you have the transcript to back you up.

  • Writing about committing crime as something fun or exciting. Unless it's on your permanent record, and you'd like a chance to explain how you've learned your lesson and changed, don't put this in your essay.
  • Describing drug use or the experience of being drunk or high. Even if you're in a state where some recreational drugs are legal, you're a high school student. Your only exposure to mind-altering substances should be caffeine.
  • Making up fictional stories about yourself as though they are true. You're unlikely to be a good enough fantasist to pull this off, and there's no reason to roll the dice on being discovered to be a liar.
  • Detailing your personality flaws. Unless you have a great story of coping with one of these, leave deal-breakers like pathological narcissism out of your personal statement.

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Too Overconfident

While it's great to have faith in your abilities, no one likes a relentless show-off. No matter how magnificent your accomplishments, if you decide to focus your essay on them, it's better to describe a setback or a moment of doubt rather that simply praising yourself to the skies.

  • Bragging and making yourself the flawless hero of your essay. This goes double if you're writing about not particularly exciting achievements like scoring the winning goal or getting the lead in the play.
  • Having no awareness of the actual scope of your accomplishments. It's lovely that you take time to help others, but volunteer-tutoring a couple of hours a week doesn't make you a saintly figure.

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Too Clichéd or Boring

Remember your reader. In this case, you're trying to make yourself memorable to an admissions officer who has been reading thousands of other essays . If your essay makes the mistake of being boring or trite, it just won't register in that person's mind as anything worth paying attention to.

  • Transcribing your resume into sentence form or writing about the main activity on your transcript. The application already includes your resume, or a detailed list of your various activities. Unless the prompt specifically asks you to write about your main activity, the essay needs to be about a facet of your interests and personality that doesn't come through the other parts of the application.
  • Writing about sports. Every athlete tries to write this essay. Unless you have a completely off-the-wall story or unusual achievement, leave this overdone topic be.
  • Being moved by your community service trip to a third-world country. Were you were impressed at how happy the people seemed despite being poor? Did you learn a valuable lesson about how privileged you are? Unfortunately, so has every other teenager who traveled on one of these trips. Writing about this tends to simultaneously make you sound unempathetic, clueless about the world, way over-privileged, and condescending. Unless you have a highly specific, totally unusual story to tell, don't do it.
  • Reacting with sadness to a sad, but very common experience. Unfortunately, many of the hard, formative events in your life are fairly universal. So, if you're going to write about death or divorce, make sure to focus on how you dealt with this event, so the essay is something only you could possibly have written. Only detailed, idiosyncratic description can save this topic.
  • Going meta. Don't write about the fact that you're writing the essay as we speak, and now the reader is reading it, and look, the essay is right here in the reader's hand. It's a technique that seems clever, but has already been done many times in many different ways.
  • Offering your ideas on how to fix the world. This is especially true if your solution is an easy fix, if only everyone would just listen to you. Trust me, there's just no way you are being realistically appreciative of the level of complexity inherent in the problem you're describing.
  • Starting with a famous quotation. There usually is no need to shore up your own words by bringing in someone else's. Of course, if you are writing about a particular phrase that you've adopted as a life motto, feel free to include it. But even then, having it be the first line in your essay feels like you're handing the keys over to that author and asking them to drive.
  • Using an everyday object as a metaphor for your life/personality. "Shoes. They are like this, and like that, and people love them for all of these reasons. And guess what? They are just like me."

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Too Off-Topic

Unlike the essays you've been writing in school where the idea is to analyze something outside of yourself, the main subject of your college essay should be you, your background, your makeup, and your future . Writing about someone or something else might well make a great essay, but not for this context.

  • Paying tribute to someone very important to you. Everyone would love to meet your grandma, but this isn't the time to focus on her amazing coming of age story. If you do want to talk about a person who is important to your life, dwell on the ways you've been impacted by them, and how you will incorporate this impact into your future.
  • Documenting how well other people do things, say things, are active, while you remain passive and inactive in the essay. Being in the orbit of someone else's important lab work, or complex stage production, or meaningful political activism is a fantastic learning moment. But if you decide to write about, your essay should be about your learning and how you've been influenced, not about the other person's achievements.
  • Concentrating on a work of art that deeply moved you. Watch out for the pitfall of writing an analytical essay about that work, and not at all about your reaction to it or how you've been affected since. Check out our explanation of how to answer Topic D of the ApplyTexas application to get some advice on writing about someone else's work while making sure your essay still points back at you.

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(Image: Pieter Christoffel Wonder [Public domain] , via Wikimedia Commons)

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Too Offensive

With this potential mistake, you run the risk of showing a lack of self-awareness or the ability to be open to new ideas . Remember, no reader wants to be lectured at. If that's what your essay does, you are demonstrating an inability to communicate successfully with others.

Also, remember that no college is eager to admit someone who is too close-minded to benefit from being taught by others. A long, one-sided essay about a hot-button issue will suggest that you are exactly that.

  • Ranting at length about political, religious, or other contentious topics. You simply don't know where the admissions officer who reads your essay stands on any of these issues. It's better to avoid upsetting or angering that person.
  • Writing a one-sided diatribe about guns, abortion, the death penalty, immigration, or anything else in the news. Even if you can marshal facts in your argument, this essay is simply the wrong place to take a narrow, unempathetic side in an ongoing debate.
  • Mentioning anything negative about the school you're applying to. Again, your reader is someone who works there and presumably is proud of the place. This is not the time to question the admissions officer's opinions or life choices.

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College Essay Execution Problems To Avoid

Bad college essays aren't only caused by bad topics. Sometimes, even if you're writing about an interesting, relevant topic, you can still seem immature or unready for college life because of the way you present that topic—the way you actually write your personal statement. Check to make sure you haven't made any of the common mistakes on this list.

Tone-Deafness

Admissions officers are looking for resourcefulness, the ability to be resilient, and an active and optimistic approach to life —these are all qualities that create a thriving college student. Essays that don't show these qualities are usually suffering from tone-deafness.

  • Being whiny or complaining about problems in your life. Is the essay about everyone doing things to/against you? About things happening to you, rather than you doing anything about them? That perspective is a definite turn-off.
  • Trying and failing to use humor. You may be very funny in real life, but it's hard to be successfully funny in this context, especially when writing for a reader who doesn't know you. If you do want to use humor, I'd recommend the simplest and most straightforward version: being self-deprecating and low-key.
  • Talking down to the reader, or alternately being self-aggrandizing. No one enjoys being condescended to. In this case, much of the function of your essay is to charm and make yourself likable, which is unlikely to happen if you adopt this tone.
  • Being pessimistic, cynical, and generally depressive. You are applying to college because you are looking forward to a future of learning, achievement, and self-actualization. This is not the time to bust out your existential ennui and your jaded, been-there-done-that attitude toward life.

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(Image: Eduard Munch [Public Domain] , via Wikimedia Commons)

Lack of Personality

One good question to ask yourself is: could anyone else have written this essay ? If the answer is yes, then you aren't doing a good job of representing your unique perspective on the world. It's very important to demonstrate your ability to be a detailed observer of the world, since that will be one of your main jobs as a college student.

  • Avoiding any emotions, and appearing robot-like and cold in the essay. Unlike essays that you've been writing for class, this essay is meant to be a showcase of your authorial voice and personality. It may seem strange to shift gears after learning how to take yourself out of your writing, but this is the place where you have to put as much as yourself in as possible.
  • Skipping over description and specific details in favor of writing only in vague generalities. Does your narrative feel like a newspaper horoscope, which could apply to every other person who was there that day? Then you're doing it wrong and need to refocus on your reaction, feelings, understanding, and transformation.

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Off-Kilter Style

There's some room for creativity here, yes, but a college essay isn't a free-for-all postmodern art class . True, there are prompts that specifically call for your most out-of-left-field submission, or allow you to submit a portfolio or some other work sample instead of a traditional essay. But on a standard application, it's better to stick to traditional prose, split into paragraphs, further split into sentences.

  • Submitting anything other than just the materials asked for on your application. Don't send food to the admissions office, don't write your essay on clothing or shoes, don't create a YouTube channel about your undying commitment to the school. I know there are a lot of urban legends about "that one time this crazy thing worked," but they are either not true or about something that will not work a second time.
  • Writing your essay in verse, in the form of a play, in bullet points, as an acrostic, or any other non-prose form. Unless you really have a way with poetry or playwriting, and you are very confident that you can meet the demands of the prompt and explain yourself well in this form, don't discard prose simply for the sake of being different.
  • Using as many "fancy" words as possible and getting very far away from sounding like yourself. Admissions officers are unanimous in wanting to hear your not fully formed teenage voice in your essay. This means that you should write at the top of your vocabulary range and syntax complexity, but don't trade every word up for a thesaurus synonym. Your essay will suffer for it.

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Failure to Proofread

Most people have a hard time checking over their own work. This is why you have to make sure that someone else proofreads your writing . This is the one place where you can, should—and really must—get someone who knows all about grammar, punctuation and has a good eye for detail to take a red pencil to your final draft.

Otherwise, you look like you either don't know the basic rules or writing (in which case, are you really ready for college work?) or don't care enough to present yourself well (in which case, why would the admissions people care about admitting you?).

  • Typos, grammatical mistakes, punctuation flubs, weird font/paragraph spacing issues. It's true that these are often unintentional mistakes. But caring about getting it right is a way to demonstrate your work ethic and dedication to the task at hand.
  • Going over the word limit. Part of showing your brilliance is being able to work within arbitrary rules and limitations. Going over the word count points to a lack of self-control, which is not a very attractive feature in a college applicant.
  • Repeating the same word(s) or sentence structure over and over again. This makes your prose monotonous and hard to read.

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Bad College Essay Examples—And How to Fix Them

The beauty of writing is that you get to rewrite. So if you think of your essay as a draft waiting to be revised into a better version rather than as a precious jewel that can't bear being touched, you'll be in far better shape to correct the issues that always crop up!

Now let's take a look at some actual college essay drafts to see where the writer is going wrong and how the issue could be fixed.

Essay #1: The "I Am Writing This Essay as We Speak" Meta-Narrative

Was your childhood home destroyed by a landspout tornado? Yeah, neither was mine. I know that intro might have given the impression that this college essay will be about withstanding disasters, but the truth is that it isn't about that at all.

In my junior year, I always had in mind an image of myself finishing the college essay months before the deadline. But as the weeks dragged on and the deadline drew near, it soon became clear that at the rate things are going I would probably have to make new plans for my October, November and December.

Falling into my personal wormhole, I sat down with my mom to talk about colleges. "Maybe you should write about Star Trek ," she suggested, "you know how you've always been obsessed with Captain Picard, calling him your dream mentor. Unique hobbies make good topics, right? You'll sound creative!" I played with the thought in my mind, tapping my imaginary communicator pin and whispering "Computer. Tea. Earl Grey. Hot. And then an Essay." Nothing happened. Instead, I sat quietly in my room wrote the old-fashioned way. Days later I emerged from my room disheveled, but to my dismay, this college essay made me sound like just a guy who can't get over the fact that he'll never take the Starfleet Academy entrance exam. So, I tossed my essay away without even getting to disintegrate it with a phaser set on stun.

I fell into a state of panic. My college essay. My image of myself in senior year. Almost out of nowhere, Robert Jameson Smith offered his words of advice. Perfect! He suggested students begin their college essay by listing their achievements and letting their essay materialize from there. My heart lifted, I took his advice and listed three of my greatest achievements - mastering my backgammon strategy, being a part of TREE in my sophomore year, and performing "I Am the Very Model of a Modern Major-General" from The Pirates of Penzance in public. And sure enough, I felt inspiration hit me and began to type away furiously into the keyboard about my experience in TREE, or Trees Require Engaged Environmentalists. I reflected on the current state of deforestation, and described the dichotomy of it being both understandable why farmers cut down forests for farmland, and how dangerous this is to our planet. Finally, I added my personal epiphany to the end of my college essay as the cherry on the vanilla sundae, as the overused saying goes.

After 3 weeks of figuring myself out, I have converted myself into a piece of writing. As far as achievements go, this was definitely an amazing one. The ability to transform a human being into 603 words surely deserves a gold medal. Yet in this essay, I was still being nagged by a voice that couldn't be ignored. Eventually, I submitted to that yelling inner voice and decided that this was not the right essay either.

In the middle of a hike through Philadelphia's Fairmount Park, I realized that the college essay was nothing more than an embodiment of my character. The two essays I have written were not right because they have failed to become more than just words on recycled paper. The subject failed to come alive. Certainly my keen interest in Star Trek and my enthusiasm for TREE are a great part of who I am, but there were other qualities essential in my character that did not come across in the essays.

With this realization, I turned around as quickly as I could without crashing into a tree.

What Essay #1 Does Well

Here are all things that are working on all cylinders for this personal statement as is.

Killer First Sentence

Was your childhood home destroyed by a landspout tornado? Yeah, neither was mine.

  • A strange fact. There are different kinds of tornadoes? What is a "landspout tornado" anyway?
  • A late-night-deep-thoughts hypothetical. What would it be like to be a kid whose house was destroyed in this unusual way?
  • Direct engagement with the reader. Instead of asking "what would it be like to have a tornado destroy a house" it asks "was your house ever destroyed."

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Gentle, Self-Deprecating Humor That Lands Well

I played with the thought in my mind, tapping my imaginary communicator pin and whispering "Computer. Tea. Earl Grey. Hot. And then an Essay." Nothing happened. Instead, I sat quietly in my room wrote the old-fashioned way. Days later I emerged from my room disheveled, but to my dismay, this college essay made me sound like just a guy who can't get over the fact that he'll never take the Starfleet Academy entrance exam. So, I tossed my essay away without even getting to disintegrate it with a phaser set on stun.

The author has his cake and eats it too here: both making fun of himself for being super into the Star Trek mythos, but also showing himself being committed enough to try whispering a command to the Enterprise computer alone in his room. You know, just in case.

A Solid Point That Is Made Paragraph by Paragraph

The meat of the essay is that the two versions of himself that the author thought about portraying each fails in some way to describe the real him. Neither an essay focusing on his off-beat interests, nor an essay devoted to his serious activism could capture everything about a well-rounded person in 600 words.

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(Image: fir0002 via Wikimedia Commons .)

Where Essay #1 Needs Revision

Rewriting these flawed parts will make the essay shine.

Spending Way Too Long on the Metanarrative

I know that intro might have given the impression that this college essay will be about withstanding disasters, but the truth is that it isn't about that at all.

After 3 weeks of figuring myself out, I have converted myself into a piece of writing. As far as achievements go, this was definitely an amazing one. The ability to transform a human being into 603 words surely deserves a gold medal.

Look at how long and draggy these paragraphs are, especially after that zippy opening. Is it at all interesting to read about how someone else found the process of writing hard? Not really, because this is a very common experience.

In the rewrite, I'd advise condensing all of this to maybe a sentence to get to the meat of the actual essay .

Letting Other People Do All the Doing

I sat down with my mom to talk about colleges. "Maybe you should write about Star Trek ," she suggested, "you know how you've always been obsessed with Captain Picard, calling him your dream mentor. Unique hobbies make good topics, right? You'll sound creative!"

Almost out of nowhere, Robert Jameson Smith offered his words of advice. Perfect! He suggested students begin their college essay by listing their achievements and letting their essay materialize from there.

Twice in the essay, the author lets someone else tell him what to do. Not only that, but it sounds like both of the "incomplete" essays were dictated by the thoughts of other people and had little to do with his own ideas, experiences, or initiative.

In the rewrite, it would be better to recast both the Star Trek and the TREE versions of the essay as the author's own thoughts rather than someone else's suggestions . This way, the point of the essay—taking apart the idea that a college essay could summarize life experience—is earned by the author's two failed attempts to write that other kind of essay.

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Leaving the Insight and Meaning Out of His Experiences

Both the Star Trek fandom and the TREE activism were obviously important life experiences for this author—important enough to be potential college essay topic candidates. But there is no description of what the author did with either one, nor any explanation of why these were so meaningful to his life.

It's fine to say that none of your achievements individually define you, but in order for that to work, you have to really sell the achievements themselves.

In the rewrite, it would be good to explore what he learned about himself and the world by pursuing these interests . How did they change him or seen him into the person he is today?

Not Adding New Shades and Facets of Himself Into the Mix

So, I tossed my essay away without even getting to disintegrate it with a phaser set on stun.

Yet in this essay, I was still being nagged by a voice that couldn't be ignored. Eventually, I submitted to that yelling inner voice and decided that this was not the right essay either.

In both of these passages, there is the perfect opportunity to point out what exactly these failed versions of the essay didn't capture about the author . In the next essay draft, I would suggest subtly making a point about his other qualities.

For example, after the Star Trek paragraph, he could talk about other culture he likes to consume, especially if he can discuss art forms he is interested in that would not be expected from someone who loves Star Trek .

Or, after the TREE paragraph, the author could explain why this second essay was no better at capturing him than the first. What was missing? Why is the self in the essay shouting—is it because this version paints him as an overly aggressive activist?

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Essay #2: The "I Once Saw Poor People" Service Trip Essay

Unlike other teenagers, I'm not concerned about money, or partying, or what others think of me. Unlike other eighteen year-olds, I think about my future, and haven't become totally materialistic and acquisitive. My whole outlook on life changed after I realized that my life was just being handed to me on a silver spoon, and yet there were those in the world who didn't have enough food to eat or place to live. I realized that the one thing that this world needed more than anything was compassion; compassion for those less fortunate than us.

During the summer of 2006, I went on a community service trip to rural Peru to help build an elementary school for kids there. I expected harsh conditions, but what I encountered was far worse. It was one thing to watch commercials asking for donations to help the unfortunate people in less developed countries, yet it was a whole different story to actually live it. Even after all this time, I can still hear babies crying from hunger; I can still see the filthy rags that they wore; I can still smell the stench of misery and hopelessness. But my most vivid memory was the moment I first got to the farming town. The conditions of it hit me by surprise; it looked much worse in real life than compared to the what our group leader had told us. Poverty to me and everyone else I knew was a foreign concept that people hear about on the news or see in documentaries. But this abject poverty was their life, their reality. And for the brief ten days I was there, it would be mine too. As all of this realization came at once, I felt overwhelmed by the weight of what was to come. Would I be able to live in the same conditions as these people? Would I catch a disease that no longer existed in the first world, or maybe die from drinking contaminated water? As these questions rolled around my already dazed mind, I heard a soft voice asking me in Spanish, "Are you okay? Is there anything I can do to make you feel better?" I looked down to see a small boy, around nine years of age, who looked starved, and cold, wearing tattered clothing, comforting me. These people who have so little were able to forget their own needs, and put those much more fortunate ahead of themselves. It was at that moment that I saw how selfish I had been. How many people suffered like this in the world, while I went about life concerned about nothing at all?

Thinking back on the trip, maybe I made a difference, maybe not. But I gained something much more important. I gained the desire to make the world a better place for others. It was in a small, poverty-stricken village in Peru that I finally realized that there was more to life than just being alive.

What Essay #2 Does Well

Let's first point out what this draft has going for it.

Clear Chronology

This is an essay that tries to explain a shift in perspective. There are different ways to structure this overarching idea, but a chronological approach that starts with an earlier opinion, describes a mind changing event, and ends with the transformed point of view is an easy and clear way to lay this potentially complex subject out.

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(Image: User:Lite via Wikimedia Commons)

Where Essay #2 Needs Revision

Now let's see what needs to be changed in order for this essay to pass muster.

Condescending, Obnoxious Tone

Unlike other teenagers, I'm not concerned about money, or partying, or what others think of me. Unlike other eighteen year-olds, I think about my future, and haven't become totally materialistic and acquisitive.

This is a very broad generalization, which doesn't tend to be the best way to formulate an argument—or to start an essay. It just makes this author sound dismissive of a huge swath of the population.

In the rewrite, this author would be way better off just concentrate on what she want to say about herself, not pass judgment on "other teenagers," most of whom she doesn't know and will never meet.

I realized that the one thing that this world needed more than anything was compassion; compassion for those less fortunate than us.

Coming from someone who hasn't earned her place in the world through anything but the luck of being born, the word "compassion" sounds really condescending. Calling others "less fortunate" when you're a senior in high school has a dehumanizing quality to it.

These people who have so little were able to forget their own needs, and put those much more fortunate in front of themselves.

Again, this comes across as very patronizing. Not only that, but to this little boy the author was clearly not looking all that "fortunate"—instead, she looked pathetic enough to need comforting.

In the next draft, a better hook could be making the essay about the many different kinds of shifting perspectives the author encountered on that trip . A more meaningful essay would compare and contrast the points of view of the TV commercials, to what the group leader said, to the author's own expectations, and finally to this child's point of view.

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Vague, Unobservant Description

During the summer of 2006, I went on a community service trip to rural Peru to help build an elementary school for kids there. I expected harsh conditions, but what I encountered was far worse. It was one thing to watch commercials asking for donations to help the unfortunate people in less developed countries, yet it was a whole different story to actually live it. Even after all this time, I can still hear babies crying from hunger; I can still see the filthy rags that they wore; I can still smell the stench of misery and hopelessness.

Phrases like "cries of the small children from not having enough to eat" and "dirt stained rags" seem like descriptions, but they're really closer to incurious and completely hackneyed generalizations. Why were the kids were crying? How many kids? All the kids? One specific really loud kid?

The same goes for "filthy rags," which is both an incredibly insensitive way to talk about the clothing of these villagers, and again shows a total lack of interest in their life. Why were their clothes dirty? Were they workers or farmers so their clothes showing marks of labor? Did they have Sunday clothes? Traditional clothes they would put on for special occasions? Did they make their own clothes? That would be a good reason to keep wearing clothing even if it had "stains" on it.

The rewrite should either make this section more specific and less reliant on cliches, or should discard it altogether .

The conditions of it hit me by surprise; it looked much worse in real life than compared to the what our group leader had told us. Poverty to me and everyone else I knew was a foreign concept that people hear about on the news or see in documentaries. But this abject poverty was their life, their reality.

If this is the "most vivid memory," then I would expect to read all the details that have been seared into the author's brain. What did their leader tell them? What was different in real life? What was the light like? What did the houses/roads/grass/fields/trees/animals/cars look like? What time of day was it? Did they get there by bus, train, or plane? Was there an airport/train station/bus terminal? A city center? Shops? A marketplace?

There are any number of details to include here when doing another drafting pass.

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Lack of Insight or Maturity

But this abject poverty was their life, their reality. And for the brief ten days I was there, it would be mine too. As all of this realization came at once, I felt overwhelmed by the weight of what was to come. Would I be able to live in the same conditions as these people? Would I catch a disease that no longer existed in the first world, or maybe die from drinking contaminated water?

Without a framing device explaining that this initial panic was an overreaction, this section just makes the author sound whiny, entitled, melodramatic, and immature . After all, this isn't a a solo wilderness trek—the author is there with a paid guided program. Just how much mortality is typically associated with these very standard college-application-boosting service trips?

In a rewrite, I would suggest including more perspective on the author's outsized and overprivileged response here. This would fit well with a new focus on the different points of view on this village the author encountered.

Unearned, Clichéd "Deep Thoughts"

But I gained something much more important. I gained the desire to make the world a better place for others. It was in a small, poverty-stricken village in Peru that I finally realized that there was more to life than just being alive.

Is it really believable that this is what the author learned? There is maybe some evidence to suggest that the author was shaken somewhat out of a comfortable, materialistic existence. But what does "there is more to life than just being alive" even really mean? This conclusion is rather vague, and seems mostly a non sequitur.

In a rewrite, the essay should be completely reoriented to discuss how differently others see us than we see ourselves, pivoting on the experience of being pitied by someone who you thought was pitiable. Then, the new version can end by on a note of being better able to understand different points of view and other people's perspectives .

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The Bottom Line

  • Bad college essays have problems either with their topics or their execution.
  • The essay is how admissions officers learn about your personality, point of view, and maturity level, so getting the topic right is a key factor in letting them see you as an aware, self-directed, open-minded applicant who is going to thrive in an environment of independence.
  • The essay is also how admissions officers learn that you are writing at a ready-for-college level, so screwing up the execution shows that you either don't know how to write, or don't care enough to do it well.
  • The main ways college essay topics go wrong is bad taste, bad judgment, and lack of self-awareness.
  • The main ways college essays fail in their execution have to do with ignoring format, syntax, and genre expectations.

What's Next?

Want to read some excellent college essays now that you've seen some examples of flawed one? Take a look through our roundup of college essay examples published by colleges and then get help with brainstorming your perfect college essay topic .

Need some guidance on other parts of the application process? Check out our detailed, step-by-step guide to college applications for advice.

Are you considering taking the SAT or ACT again before you submit your application? Read about our famous test prep guides for hints and strategies for a better score.

Want to improve your SAT score by 160 points or your ACT score by 4 points?   We've written a guide for each test about the top 5 strategies you must be using to have a shot at improving your score. Download them for free now:

Anna scored in the 99th percentile on her SATs in high school, and went on to major in English at Princeton and to get her doctorate in English Literature at Columbia. She is passionate about improving student access to higher education.

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How To Write An Argumentative Essay

  • Essay Writing Guides

How To Write An Argumentative Essay: Step By Step Guide

With argumentative essays, the student must explore his stance on an issue and think about possible rebuttals to this claim. Otherwise, the argumentative essay is incomplete.

However, all forms of essay writing follow a specified format, and they all need an outline. So, let’s examine how to write an argumentative essay . This guide will also cover essay examples and useful writing tips to present a convincing argument.

What is an Argumentative Essay?

An argumentative essay is a form of writing that explores the writer’s viewpoint on any topic. The writer must outline their opinion in the opening paragraphs to give the reader a better understanding of their stance on the issue.

Despite similarities with other forms of writing like persuasive essays, argumentative essays go beyond convincing the reader that your point is superior. You also need to explore different existing viewpoints on the issue and refute them. Besides, you must support all your claims with irrefutable evidence based on fact.

For example, if the argumentative essay topic focuses on police brutality, your paper should support and refute these claims simultaneously.

In academia, argumentative essay writing is one of the most common assignments for students in the arts and humanities. Besides, the standard structure of argumentative essays is the bedrock of the famous 5-paragraph writing style.

5 Types of Argument Claims 

The argument claim describes the prevailing viewpoint in your argument — the theory you support. Before outlining your view, you need to select presentation criteria to dictate the paper’s tone and direction. Here are the five types of argument claims:

The fact claim focuses on answering a ‘yes or no’ question. This claim uses concrete evidence to determine the veracity of the paper’s central claim. Often, the fact claim is used when the argumentative essay topic is a question . 

When using the definition claim, you should only focus on the standard definition of the word or expression. All forms of personal and contextual interpretation should not appear in the paper. 

The value claim stresses the importance of the topic of discussion. What is the relevance to society? This type of claim is often used for existential problems affecting humans in general or a specific group.

  • Cause and effect 

As the name suggests, the cause and effect claim focuses on an issue and the reasons it occurred. In essence, the essay establishes a connection between an event and an outcome.

This claim assertion technique is used in politics. For argumentative essay writing, the policy claim should address the relevance of the discussion, the affected parties, and the best policy moving forward.

Argument Strategies 

Making a convincing argument relies on your ability to strategize. You need to acquaint yourself with the facts of the matter and choose a winning strategy to express your ideas. 

Think of lawyers in the courtroom; they spend hours preparing their arguments and studying the adversary. And in the end, they come up with a strategy to counter the opponent’s most vital points. Politicians also use this technique.

So, let’s go through the three main argument strategies to use in your argumentative essay.

The Classical Approach (Aristotelian)

The classical approach is named after the great philosopher Aristotle. This argumentative strategy involves a straight-line expression of your argument. 

First, you start with your main claim and convince the reader that your stance is the only valid one. Then, you have to offer context and provide evidence-backed data to counter any rebuttals from your opponent. This strategy is the most straightforward since it follows a linear chain of action.

Also, the classical approach appeals to the credibility (ethos) of the claim and the logic (logos) of thinking. At the same time, you can appeal to the reader’s emotions (pathos) with vivid imagery. And most importantly, you can make a time-sensitive appeal (kairos) by calling the reader to immediate action.

 The Rogerian Strategy

This argumentative strategy was developed by Carl Rogers and became popular through the works of Young and Pike. This strategy’s central ideology focuses on compromise — the ability to reach a middle ground and avoid further conflict with your adversary. 

In life, the Rogerian strategy is often applied when negotiating with family and friends. For example, if you want to visit Paris and your partner wants to see Venice, the Rogerian method will help you plan a trip that covers both destinations.

Therefore, this Rogerian strategy is not the best approach in an academic setting. Even if you are ready to reach a compromise, your opponent may not have the same motivations. Besides, you have to yield some ground to come to a sensible resolution, which contrasts the entire essence of argumentation.

 The Toulmin Style

This argumentative approach was developed by Stephen Toulmin. The central theme involves coming up with a claim and backing it up. So, we can divide this strategy into three components: claim, grounds, and backing. 

The claim is your main opinion, usually an event that occurred somewhere. The grounds of the argument refer to a collection of facts and evidence supporting the original claim. Finally, the backing refers to additional data that corroborates the main claim without conceding to the opposition.

Choose one of these three approaches to present an opinion relevant to the argumentative essay topic. And if you are unsure about the best approach, use the classic method.

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How to choose a topic for an argumentative essay.

Most teachers hand out argumentative essay topics to students. Sometimes, they provide an array of topics from which students can choose. However, some teachers allow students to flex their creative muscles and choose topics on their own. If you are left with the herculean task of selecting a fascinating essay topic, here are some tricks to help you come out unscathed.

Choose a topic that interests you

Regardless of the essay writing genre, always choose a topic that interests you. If you are into sports, look for sports-related argumentative essay topics . Selecting a topic that you don’t care about will always reflect in the paper’s quality. The entire argument will lack inspiration and passion. 

Besides, writing on a topic that you find interesting helps you to explore the topic even more. It also reduces the amount of work needed to complete the argumentative essay assignment . So, always outline your interests when choosing a topic, and tailor your research to them.

Research hot-button issues

Another easy way to come up with a relevant topic is by addressing hot-button issues. For example, topics related to animal rights and climate change are the subject of debates in politics and even at dinner parties. As a result, you can find enough material to structure your argumentative essay.

Besides, controversy sells. Readers want a topic that will strike all the emotional chords for them. So, choosing a controversial topic piques the reader’s interest and earns you maximum points in your essay. Most importantly, focus on hot-button issues related to your field of study.

Search for trending topics 

Trending topics are always a reliable go-to when you are struggling with creative ideas for your argumentative paper. By focusing on trending topics, you will come up with relevant issues for arguments. At the same time, you will fulfill the emotional aspect of argumentation since most trending issues are controversial.

Besides, writing about popular issues gives you access to enough materials. You can also select your topic from any form of media. 

Here are some reliable sources for argumentative essay topics:

  • Internet forums (Medium, Quora, Twitter, etc.)

A common theme for argumentative essays is the current COVID pandemic and its effects on social interactions.

Find topics with arguable sides

When choosing essay topics, students often forget that they need to argue both sides. Therefore, the topic you choose must be arguable . In simpler terms, people should be able to look at it and agree or disagree instantly. Hence, the need to choose controversial topics for your argumentative essay.

For example: 

“The earth is flat.”

No one (in their right mind) will argue with this assertion. And even if they do, no evidence can support this stance.

“Climate change will lead to armageddon.”

Now, this topic is debatable since scientists are conflicted about the long-term impacts of climate change.

Avoid broad topics

You might think that choosing broad topics provides you with more content for your argumentative essay. But the reverse is the case: broad topics extend the area you need to cover in your paper. And since you have a word count restriction, you can’t express your ideas to the best of your ability.

Therefore, choose a topic that provides you with enough material. Some topics make you think, “How am I supposed to find evidence to support that?”  

Stay away from these ‘unresearchable’ argumentative topics.

Argumentative Essay Outline

With a clear understanding of the topic, you can now focus your efforts on brainstorming. Conduct extensive research on the issue to gather enough information for all sides of the argument. After collecting the data and supporting evidence, you need to create a plan for your paper. This plan is called an argumentative essay outlin e .

The outline provides structure to your paper. It also saves you time when working on time-sensitive assignments. And most importantly, an essay outline provides you with an arrangement framework for your points.

For argumentative essays, the outline contains at least five paragraphs — the basis of the standard essay structure.

Let’s take a look at the standard argumentative essay structure .

The introductory paragraph

Every essay starts with the introduction, making it the most crucial part of the argumentative essay format . This section previews the paper by providing background information on the topic. Besides, the argumentative essay introduction eliminates all elements of neutrality, stating the writer’s intentions to support a specific side of the argument. 

As a result, you need a well-crafted thesis statement that captures the central theme covered in the paper. The thesis statement is often concise, with a maximum of two sentences. You can also place it at the end of the introduction.

The body section

This is the paper’s main section because it contains the source of information and the main arguments. Also, the body paragraphs examine two sides of the writer’s viewpoint. In essence, you have at least three sections or paragraphs dedicated to each point.

Here are the main paragraphs that make up the body.

This paragraph expresses the author’s main argument in detail. Depending on the paper’s size, this section can contain two or more paragraphs linked by transitional phrases.

  • The rebuttal

This section presents opposing viewpoints to the main claim. In essence, the rebuttal counters the thesis presented in the introduction.

  • The counterclaim

This section reaffirms the thesis and counters the rebuttal.

All three sections must appear in the body of a full-fledged argumentative essay. Also, you must start every paragraph with a topic sentence. Don’t forget to use linking verbs to establish a relationship between paragraphs. And most importantly, provide supporting evidence and citations for your points.

The conclusion 

In this section, the student should restate the central ideas presented in the paper. A standard argumentative essay conclusion always starts by rehashing the thesis statement. However, you cannot introduce new ideas in the conclusion.

Argumentative Essay Examples

You can choose a myriad of topics for your essay based on the specific subject. But if you’ve hit a brick wall in your selection, here are some excellent examples to choose from based on earlier recommendations:

Controversial argumentative essay examples

  • Gender-based discrimination is prevalent in Silicon Valley.
  • Is the COVID-19 vaccine harmful to society?
  • CTE is a significant problem in all contact sports
  • Is police brutality warranted or an appropriate response to high crime rates?
  • Should all states legalize late-term abortion?

Trending argumentative essay topics

  • Is homeschooling better than traditional schools?
  • Will artificial intelligence replace humans in the workplace?
  • Should exotic pets be domesticated?
  • Are zoos a violation of animal rights?
  • War as a tool for world peace.

Fact-based argumentative essay topics

  • Racial discrimination is responsible for police brutality.
  • The racial quota is a slap in the face of meritocracy.
  • Fast food is responsible for obesity.
  • The criminalization of Cannabis is responsible for all drug wars.
  • High taxation is harmful to the local economy.

Useful Tips for Argumentative Essay Writing 

Every outstanding argumentative essay relies on persuasion. You need to convince the reader that your opinion is the ultimate truth. However, false evidence and poor grammar affect the credibility of your claims. So, let’s consider some essential tips when writing a convincing argumentative paper.

  • Choose an arguable topic 

If the teacher allows you to select your preferred topic, make sure you choose an issue with arguable sides. After all, an argumentative essay’s entire essence is to explore all the sides of the problem and confirm your viewpoint. So, look for topics that interest you and are relevant to your field of study.

  • Focus on controversial issues

Nobody wants to spend time reading a bland, uninspired essay. So, while searching for topics, focus on hot-button issues. But don’t choose controversial topics for kicks. Ensure that the topic is related to your field. Moreover, pay more attention to issues that ignite your passion. This emotional connection improves your argument and makes the paper more engaging.

  • Take a stance you can support

When choosing an emotionally-charged topic, avoid those that are limited in scope. You don’t have to select the ‘progressive’ side of every argument. Identify your interests and beliefs and focus your opinions on them. By doing so, you will give yourself more wiggle room to express your ideas better.

  • Consider your audience

Writing an argumentative essay for your peers is different because you can use an informal and conversational style. But since your audience is the teacher, you can only use formal language. Therefore, adapt your writing style to your audience to earn higher marks. And as a rule, stay away from informal expressions in academic writing at all costs.

  • Gather convincing evidence

Personal experience and opinions have no place in argumentative writing, no matter how painful and convincing. Only evidence from authoritative sources is acceptable when supporting your claim. Therefore, your research should focus on academic material and resources from acclaimed authors. You can also rely on the works of recognized experts in the field to back your claims. Stay away from Wikipedia, Quora, and other open-source platforms.

  • Outline your essay

As you gather your points, arrange them into a framework for your essay. This technique helps you to develop a relevant outline for your paper without much stress. Besides, the outline forms the basis of your argumentative essay and saves you tons of hours spent on arranging your ideas. Eventually, this outline will help you come up with a preliminary draft.

  • Write a captivating title and intro

Why is a title essential when writing an argumentative essay? First of all, using a question title allows the reader to take a stance right away. And if the topic is emotionally-charged, you have your reader by the hook. And as far as hooks are concerned, use them in your essay. Add essay hooks in the introduction alongside a well-written thesis statement.

  • Mind the formatting

Every academic writing assignment follows a specified format. The only exception is narrative essays that feature personal accounts. When writing your argumentative essay, use the formatting style specified by the teacher. Remember that APA writing style needs an abstract, while the MLA doesn’t need one. If you don’t know the differences between writing formats, consult the official style guides for more clarity.

  • Conclude by restating the thesis

The conclusion paragraph should always restate the thesis. For a more comprehensive conclusion, summarize every paragraph in the essay. Always be careful not to introduce any new ideas in the conclusion paragraph. And most importantly, keep it short and straight to the point.

  • End with a call to action

The last point in the conclusion should always call the reader to act on something. Since the point of an argument is to convince others that your opinion is the most logical, you should sign off by calling them over to your side. At the same time, you can highlight a moral lesson from the text.

  • Edit the final draft

Editing is the final frontier in any writing task. This stage of writing allows you to analyze your ideas and grammar. At the same time, you can adjust the writing structure or use a more impactful tone. When you are satisfied with the final draft, you can now submit your paper.

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Home — Essay Samples — Psychology — Bias — Understanding Cognitive Bias: Impact and Debiasing Strategies

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Understanding Cognitive Bias: Impact and Debiasing Strategies

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Words: 807 |

Published: Sep 25, 2018

Words: 807 | Pages: 2 | 5 min read

References:

Should follow an “upside down” triangle format, meaning, the writer should start off broad and introduce the text and author or topic being discussed, and then get more specific to the thesis statement.

Provides a foundational overview, outlining the historical context and introducing key information that will be further explored in the essay, setting the stage for the argument to follow.

Cornerstone of the essay, presenting the central argument that will be elaborated upon and supported with evidence and analysis throughout the rest of the paper.

The topic sentence serves as the main point or focus of a paragraph in an essay, summarizing the key idea that will be discussed in that paragraph.

The body of each paragraph builds an argument in support of the topic sentence, citing information from sources as evidence.

After each piece of evidence is provided, the author should explain HOW and WHY the evidence supports the claim.

Should follow a right side up triangle format, meaning, specifics should be mentioned first such as restating the thesis, and then get more broad about the topic at hand. Lastly, leave the reader with something to think about and ponder once they are done reading.

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should you be biased in an argumentative essay

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Don’t forget to use 2-3 short quotations in your essay. you should only make use of assigned readings. you need an intro paragraph and a thesis statement. you are required to make an argument in these papers so your thesis statement

Don’t forget to use 2-3 short quotations in your essay. you should only make use of assigned readings. you need an intro paragraph and a thesis statement. you are required to make an argument in these papers so your thesis statement. In “On the Moral and Legal Status of Abortion,” Mary Ann Warren argues that abortion is morally permissible since the fetus is not a member of the moral community. Provide a detailed explanation of why being a member of the moral community is what matters. You should also explain why a fetus is not a member of the moral community. In “Why Abortion is Immoral,” Donald Marquis claims that the way to resolve the abortion controversy is to ask what is wrong with killing an adult. Provide a brief explanation of his argument and how it resolves the debate over abortion. Finally, discuss which argument(s) you find most convincing and why.

please read these two web, i also down loaded both of them

1. On the Moral and Legal Status of Abortion Mary Anne Warren

https://rintintin.colorado.edu/~vancecd/phil215/Warren.pdf

2. Why Abortion is Immoral by Don Marquis (1989)

https://rintintin.colorado.edu/~vancecd/phil215/Marquis.pdf

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To Serve His Country, President Biden Should Leave the Race

President Biden standing behind a lectern with CNN’s name appearing repeatedly beyond him.

By The Editorial Board

The editorial board is a group of opinion journalists whose views are informed by expertise, research, debate and certain longstanding values . It is separate from the newsroom.

President Biden has repeatedly and rightfully described the stakes in this November’s presidential election as nothing less than the future of American democracy.

Donald Trump has proved himself to be a significant jeopardy to that democracy — an erratic and self-interested figure unworthy of the public trust. He systematically attempted to undermine the integrity of elections. His supporters have described, publicly, a 2025 agenda that would give him the power to carry out the most extreme of his promises and threats. If he is returned to office, he has vowed to be a different kind of president, unrestrained by the checks on power built into the American political system.

Mr. Biden has said that he is the candidate with the best chance of taking on this threat of tyranny and defeating it. His argument rests largely on the fact that he beat Mr. Trump in 2020. That is no longer a sufficient rationale for why Mr. Biden should be the Democratic nominee this year.

At Thursday’s debate, the president needed to convince the American public that he was equal to the formidable demands of the office he is seeking to hold for another term. Voters, however, cannot be expected to ignore what was instead plain to see: Mr. Biden is not the man he was four years ago.

The president appeared on Thursday night as the shadow of a great public servant. He struggled to explain what he would accomplish in a second term. He struggled to respond to Mr. Trump’s provocations. He struggled to hold Mr. Trump accountable for his lies, his failures and his chilling plans. More than once, he struggled to make it to the end of a sentence.

Mr. Biden has been an admirable president. Under his leadership, the nation has prospered and begun to address a range of long-term challenges, and the wounds ripped open by Mr. Trump have begun to heal. But the greatest public service Mr. Biden can now perform is to announce that he will not continue to run for re-election.

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What is a good topic for an argument essay? I don't know what to write about. BTW not looking for you to write an essay just a argument topic

Answer: 4 Big Guys

Explanation: You should write about 4 big guys and ramble on about how they busted on ur eyes.

Related Questions

2. What does indentation mean? O a raised area a O a lowered area O a bush

With which answer choice would President Volodymyr Zelenskyy MOST LIKELY agree? Which sentence from the article supports your answer? A Russian-speaking Ukrainians have been targeted in Donetsk and Luhansk; "Putin claims the objective of the attack is to defend the Russian speakers in Ukraine, especially those in Donetsk and Luhansk, two self-declared republics that left Ukrainian control in 2014." B After some consideration, it appears that membership in NATO is not in Ukraine's best interest; "Putin said he sees Ukraine's interest in joining NATO as a direct threat to Russia, but in the past has rejected Ukraine's right to exist." C Ukraine's democratic government has angered Putin for many years; "Putin directly threatened pro-democracy activists and government officials who had led the pro-democracy push in the country after the 2014 revolution ousting a pro-Russian government." D Because NATO has an obligation to defend member nations, it will come to the aid of Ukraine; "Some of NATO's member countries are supplying arms, ammunition and other equipment to Ukraine."

Based on recent events, It can be inferred that President Volodymyr Zelenskyy will MOST LIKELY agree to (Option A)

When a person arrives at a conclusion by adding one or more logical facts together, they are said to have made an inference .

Inferences are useful because they help to uncover hidden messages in a text or literature. This is why it is called "reading between the lines".

Learn more about Inference at:

https://brainly.com/question/26269789

According to World Bank data, the highest levels of income inequality are found in countries such as __________. a. Sweden and Germany b. Norway and Finland c. Haiti and Namibia d. Afghanistan and Ethiopia

The highest levels of income inequality are found in countries such a Haiti and Namibia.

An income inequality refers to a situation of significant disparity in the distribution of income between an individuals, groups, populations etc.

In other word, its means the significant gap between the rich and poor of a country which get larger and larger.

Therefore, the Option C is correct.

Read more about income inequality

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Which statement best evaluates the effectiveness of this conclusion paragraph? Thesis: By mixing their friendship, a little help from the French, and a World's Fair, Morrison and Wharton created the recipe that would give rise to cotton candy Main Points: 1. The unusual friendship between Morrison and Wharton 2. The cotton candy recipe 3. Successful debut at World's Fair Conclusion: By mixing their friendship, a little help from the French and a World's Fair, they created the recipe that would give rise to cotton candy. Even though the dentist and candymaker had little in common, the two friends were united by cotton candy. Even more unusual is that their World's Fair debut led to millions of happy children a hundred years later. Their invention proves that some of the best combinations come from the most unlikely friendships A. The conclusion is effective because it adds new information not addressed in the main points B. The conclusion is ineffective because it does not summarize the main points of the essay C. The conclusion is ineffective because it fails to restate the thesis statement in a new way. D. The conclusion is effective because it uses a satisfying closing statement​

The statement restates the effectiveness of the paragraph's conclusion by saying:

The conclusion is ineffective because it fails to restate the thesis statement in a new way.

The conclusion is used to finalize all that was written in a speech, an essay or an academic writing.

The conclusion of the writing in this excerpt did not have any way of writing on the thesis statement that was raised in the beginning.

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b  The conclusion is ineffective because it does not summarize the main points of the essay

Explanation:

Think about the last item you purchased 1. Did you look at the product carefully, or consider other options before purchasing it? 2. Did you buy the first thing you saw? Based on size? Colour? Price?

is there a picture?

Let's Create Goal: To write about a popular festival in the Philippines.​

The essay you have been asked to write is a descriptive essay . The first step to writing a descriptive essay is to carry out thorough research about your topic.

To write a descriptive essay , you must ensure that you first research the topic you have been given properly. Bear in mind that your objective is to educate or inform the reader.

A) Proceed with clarity to introduce the topic in a manner that follows logically from the task and purpose you have been given. It must be clear that you have a good command of the topic. This must be done in the first paragraph .

B) In the body of your essay (which should follow after your introduction on other paragraphs), you make use of related and relevant facts to drive home your points.

It is advisable to spend one paragraph on each point and always start with the key point for each paragraph. Please note that it also helps to ensure that your paragraphs are approximately the same number of words.

Finally, always recap your main points and summarize your findings in the conclusion and ensure that you look out for and remove grammatical errors.

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Guys Help me pls i have like 20 min left

Q80 complaining

Q71 traveling

Q72 wont let (?)

Q73-74 controlled, preventing

Q67 creative

Q68 fame (?)

Q70 departure

Q65 comfortable

Q75 looking

Q76-77 arrived, destroyed

hello guys Directions: rewrite the following sentences observing parallelism. 1.) every morning, we make our bed, eating breakfast and feed the dog. 2.) either she likes to see him or doesn't like seeing him. 3.) Lucia likes to ski, to swim and jump ropes. 4.) my parents saids to get a good education and not settle for less. 5.) She writes a letter and mailed it to the school. Thank you guys ​

1) Every morning, we make our bed, eat breakfast and feed the dog.

2) Either she likes to see him or she doesn't like to see him.

3) Lucia likes to ski, to swim and to jump rope.

4) My parents said get a good education and do not settle for less.

5) She wrote a letter and mailed it to the school.

Give your personal response with justification about the poem. The poem is about friendship

friendship is an important thing

Help, importance, love, support

Friendship is a relationship of mutual affection between people. It is a stronger form of interpersonal bond than an "acquaintance" or an "association", such as a classmate, neighbor, coworker, or colleague.

brainliest appreciated! But not required! :)

Have a good day/afternoon/night

hope this helped! :P

Make a title for this paragraph

The Birth of St. Croix

Because the paragraph is giving brief history of St. Croix

read the implied thesis statement: listening to music while studying can increase focus and productivity. which of the following could be a topic sentence for a paragraph in this essay? in my opinion, listening to anything while i'm working is a distraction. listening to music releases dopamine in your brain. when you listen to soft instrumental music, distracting sounds are minimized, allowing for greater focus. turning off your email and other electronic notifications can help increase productivity while you are studying.

when you listen to soft instrumental music, distracting sounds are minimized, allowing for greater focus.

This is descriptive and specific

Juanita typed a long message to her professor asking for an extension on her paper's due date, but before she could hit send the battery on her laptop died and she lost the message. This is an example of a(n):__________.

This is an example of unforeseen . For it is an adverse situation that had not been foreseen.

Juanita was ready to email her teacher. However, an unexpected situation prevented her from being able to send this email. This situation had a negative outcome and delayed Juanita's goals . This is an example of unforeseen.

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Answer: Medium

Explanation: It is a medium barrier as the communication channel is blocked.

Sc. 3, Lines 48–70: Explain why the friar tells Romeo to speak more plainly. Why is this language particularly confusing to the friar?

The Friar tells Romeo to be more explicit in his communication because the Friar does not understand or comprehend how it is possible for Romeo to quickly forget about Rosaline given that he was recently head over heels with her.

In the play " Romeo and Juliet",  Friar Laurence is the character (who is neither a protagonist nor an antagonist) whose role is the part of a wise adviser to Romeo and Juliet.

The author uses his character to foreshadow the tragic events of the play using his soliloquy .

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My mother says that abuela celia’s had plenty of chances to leave cuba but that she’s stubborn and got her head turned around by el líder. mom says "communist" the way some people says "cancer," low and fierce. which element from this excerpt best characterizes garcia’s story as one of magic realism? linking the words "communist" and "cancer" presenting the idea of leaving cuba as an extraordinary event using el líder as an additional narrator from cuba connecting celia with latin american history

The  element  from the excerpt that best characterizes  Garcia’s story as one of  magical realism is "connecting Celia with Latin American history ".

Magical realism is a genre of literature that involves the use of fantasy and magic stories in the real fiction . It portrays the fantastical events in the realistic tone .

In this given passage , the  Magical  is the connection of Celia with Latin American History. Therefore , Option D is correct .

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D. connecting Celia with Latin American history

During your last school holiday you did 4 weeks of paid work experience write an email to your friend about your work experience in your email you should :1.tell your friend about where you worked 2.explain how you work experience help you to improve your english 3.say what you enjoyed about a job you did ​

Dear William,

  I had fun working at Mc Donalds over the break. This helped me with my english as I got to interact with customers, and they sometimes corrected me to help me out! I enjoyed the experience getting to meet all kinds of people, and seeing what meals people like best.

         Sincerely,

                   Me

Write a story on a hurricane you have experienced

I was in the park with my friends and it starts a storm I was worried hopefully I made it to home but, light was gone I was so angry but after some time light come and all became good

children play a ball ...into yes / no question ​

i didnt get ur question

Can children play with a ball?

How are compound sentences different from simple sentences? A. Compound sentences are longer. B. Compound sentences begin with a transitional tag like however. C. Compound sentences have two subjects and two verbs. D. None of the above

Answer: C: compound sentences have two subjects and two verbs

Explanation: good luck

taking movies to the x-dimension

The X dimension is used to determine a barcode's density , which is the amount of information that can be captured in a barcode within a specific amount of space .

Hence, taking movies to the x-dimension will be conversion or compression of a movie into a space .

Elements of a bar code are expressed as multiples of the X dimension . For instance, to ensure accurate scanning, most bar codes have a quiet zone whose width is 10X , or ten times the bar code's X dimension . In general, the greater the X dimension , the easier it is to scan a bar code.

Therefore, taking movies to the x-dimension is it's codification into a space .

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Please answer, thanks!​

i think about the structure the time and how it works how it works together and how it takes time and patience

Why might several authors have used "Shakespeare" as a pseudonym?

Answer: His surname was spelled inconsistently in both literary and non-literary documents, with the most variation observed in those that were written by hand. This is taken as evidence that he was not the same person who wrote the works, and that the name was used as a pseudonym for the true author.

Name as a pseudonym

His surname was spelled inconsistently in both literary and non-literary documents, with the most variation observed in those that were written by hand. This is taken as evidence that he was not the same person who wrote the works, and that the name was used as a pseudonym for the true author.

Which excerpt from Anthem best supports the theme that man’s spirit is unconquerable? I lift my head and I spread my arms. This, my body and spirit, this is the end of the quest. Through all the darkness, through all the shame of which men are capable, the spirit of man will remain alive on this earth. It was a long story, and the spirit which moved it was the spirit of man’s freedom. The fortune of my spirit is not to be blown into coins of brass and flung to the winds as alms for the poor of the spirit.

C. Through all the darkness, through all the shame of which men are capable, the spirit of man will remain alive on this earth.

Explanation: Edg

Can someone please help me? :(

Select all the correct answers. In which two ways can a wiki benefit the employees of a business? It allows them to have live interactions with each other. It helps them solve internal problems collectively. It helps them evaluate each other’s performance. It provides them with a space to store process and project information. It provides a platform where they can upload entertaining videos

Regularly scheduled meetings are always necessary. Please select the best answer from the choices provided T F.

The statement that suggests that " Regularly scheduled meetings are always necessary " is correct and TRUE .

When a group of people assemble for a formal or official discussions at a predetermined place then such an assembly is called a meeting. Meetings can be attended physically or through a proxy .

In earlier days the meetings were attended by the members physically but with the advancement of technology the people started meeting virtually for discussing the official matters .

Meetings must be scheduled regularly so that proper supervision of the project can be done and if there are variations in the planned and actual output then, corrective actions could be taken.

Therefore, the statement that suggests that " Regularly scheduled meetings are always necessary " is correct and TRUE .

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He was a car speeding through the street " is an example of............. * 1 point Hyperbole simile personification metaphor

D. Metaphor

You are comparing two things together and your not using “like or as” so it should be a metaphor.

I hope it helps! Have a great day!

After Sarah's family moved to Ireland, she and Tara were separated by the Atlantic a prolific written correspondence sustained their friendship. Ocean but Ocean; but Ocean, but

Ocean , but

..........................

giving 50 brainlist 1) Which best describes how the author of this passage develops its central idea or theme? A) by giving an extensive list of Hedy Lamarr's family members B) by listing all the different films that Hedy Lamarr starred in C) by providing direct quotations from interviews with Hedy Lamarr D) by showing how Hedy Lamarr helped improve technological advances

The answer is A

because the excerpt states:

"All their lives my parents, along with a nation of Dominicans, had learned the habits of repression, censorship, terror. Those habits would not disappear with a few bullets and a national liberation proclamation. They would not disappear on a plane ride north that put hundreds of miles distance between the Island and our apartment in New York."

im 99% sure

Find someone, your relative, friend, or acquaintance who has been to a second hand shop. Ask him/her about the experience of visiting the second hand shop and prepare a report in about one hundred words​

Essay writing is given to students in order to test their writing and reading skills.

Based on the information given, the way to write the essay will be given. Firstly, it's important to decide on your topic. In this case, it is to ask the person about the experience of visiting the second hand shop.

Research should be done on the topic and create an essay outline. Set your argument in the introduction and develop it with evidence.

Finally, check the content , grammar, formatting, spelling , of your essay .

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i want your opinion Subconscious Means of or concerning the part of the mind of which one is not fully aware but which influences one's actions and feelings Like a dream. What is something that you do or did in your subconscious, that you would not normally do in your conscious mind?

Most people feel braver, or sometimes they have no logic to their actions.

For example, sometimes if im ever half awake, or between slepping and awake, my mind starts to just have weird thoughts, like stuff I wouldnt do, like fight someone, or just randomly ask someone out.

IMAGES

  1. How to write an Argumentative Essay?

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  2. Argumentative Essay: Definition, Outline & Examples of Argumentative

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  3. How To Write a Compelling Argumentative Essay: Expert Tips & Guide

    should you be biased in an argumentative essay

  4. Bias Essay

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  6. FREE 19+ Argumentative Essay Samples & Templates in PDF, MS Word

    should you be biased in an argumentative essay

VIDEO

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  2. Success in Planning I Arguments & Counterarguments

  3. Religion & Bias

  4. The Best Argument Against AI

  5. How to use Ai to write essays (no cheating) #texteroai

  6. Education should be free |Argumentative essay

COMMENTS

  1. Errors in argumentation: bias and poor reasoning

    Biases are perceptions and judgements made by the human mind, and can often be the basis for errors in our reasoning. They can be based on sex, race, gender, age, beliefs or politics, and can impact how the information is gathered or judgements are made. Recognising bias will help you evaluate the motives of the person who created the argument.

  2. How to Write an Argumentative Essay and Remain Unbiased

    Although the whole point of an argumentative essay is to sway the reader's opinion on a topic, any conclusion the reader forms on the topic should be driven by evidence that you present in your argument. Bias sometimes slips through in the form of your word selection, tone, and source material. Failing to maintain a detached tone weakens your ...

  3. How to Avoid Biased Language in Academic Writing

    You can always edit the quotation to use a more sensitive term if required. 2. Recognizing Individuality. Not being reductive is key for avoiding biased language. This means recognizing people as complete beings rather than reducing them to a single quality, such as their skin color or sexuality.

  4. Addressing Opposing Point of Views in an Argumentative Essay

    The Right Way to Address the Opposing Views. When it comes to addressing the opposing point of views in your argumentative essay, you have to do so carefully so that your essay doesn't end up weak. The rule of thumb is to be objective and respectful. Also, be distinctive, making sure you make your audience know that this is clearly not your ...

  5. The Best Controversial Topics for Debates and Essays

    Tip #4: Avoid Hyperbole, Stereotypes, and Clichés. These are common issues that crop up in argumentative writing that ultimately weaken your position. Hyperbole happens when you exaggerate. When you use hyperbole, you risk misrepresenting the issue at hand—which is an argument killer.

  6. 30 Refutation Examples (2024)

    Refutation Examples. 1. Analogical Disproof. This method involves refuting an argument by drawing a parallel to a situation that's logically similar but absurd or clearly incorrect. Used properly, it can effectively puncture an opponent's argument, showing that the same logic could lead to preposterous conclusions.

  7. 12 Essential Steps for Writing an Argumentative Essay (with 10 example

    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.

  8. The problem with argumentative writing

    This is ideal because doubt keeps biases at bay. Whether or not the complexity paper is the solution, argumentative writing has a problem. It stifles open-mindedness. In a time when moral, political and social topics are becoming increasingly polarized, developing students' open-mindedness ought to be a top priority for educators. James ...

  9. How to write an argumentative essay

    When you are assigned an argumentative essay, you will typically be asked to take a position, usually in response to a question, and mount an argument for it. The question can be two-sided or open-ended, as in the examples provided below. Examples of argumentative essay prompts: Two-sided Question. Should completing a certain number of ...

  10. How to Write an Argumentative Essay

    Summarize the argument: Sum up the entire essay and rewrite the thesis statement. Stick to the plan: Don't introduce any new argument here; just synthesize all the information presented in the body paragraph. Call to action: End your essay by providing a call to action. Step 8. Argumentative Essay Graphic Organizer.

  11. Bad College Essays: 10 Mistakes You Must Avoid

    Tone-Deafness. Admissions officers are looking for resourcefulness, the ability to be resilient, and an active and optimistic approach to life —these are all qualities that create a thriving college student. Essays that don't show these qualities are usually suffering from tone-deafness.

  12. How To Write An Argumentative Essay: Step By Step Guide

    In this section, the student should restate the central ideas presented in the paper. A standard argumentative essay conclusion always starts by rehashing the thesis statement. However, you cannot introduce new ideas in the conclusion. Argumentative Essay Examples. You can choose a myriad of topics for your essay based on the specific subject.

  13. Understanding Cognitive Bias: Impact and Debiasing Strategies: [Essay

    Cornerstone of the essay, presenting the central argument that will be elaborated upon and supported with evidence and analysis throughout the rest of the paper. ... The Result Of Bias Essay. Of course, that is oversimplified do people believe in that the past is real, arguments can inform whether the history existed but will leave that ...

  14. 70 Argumentative Essay Topics That Will Put Up a Good Fight

    Click To Tweet. I've listed 70 argumentative essay topics below, phrased as questions, to help get you started. I've separated the topics into five categories—legal, moral, social, media, and family. And I've even included a helpful link for each topic. Feel free to use the topics for your own essay or as inspiration to create your own ...

  15. Writers should avoid bias in an argumentative essay because

    Expert Solutions. Question. Writers should avoid bias in an argumentative essay because bias is: A. an umbrella statement for all parts of an argument. B. an unfair opinion about something or someone. C. a statement that logically supports reasoning. D. a claim that supports an opposing argument. Solution. Verified.

  16. Business English: Writing an Argument about how to define ...

    38 Multiple choice questions. Term. When you are in a conflict that you are not passionate about, it is seen as a gracious to sometimes. Step aside and let the other person prevail. Engage aggressively and dominate the conversation. Ignore the conflict and walk away. Interrupt and assert your viewpoint forcefully.

  17. Argumentative Essay On Bias

    Argumentative Essay On Bias. 982 Words4 Pages. Bias is prejudice about someone or something which has been created based on incomplete information. More often bias has a negative effect as it affects other people, our way of thinking that could be driven into stereotypes frame. Every day we face with a huge number of biases and some of us even ...

  18. Top 9+ Controversial Argumentative Essay Topics In 2023

    To write a controversial argumentative essay, you should follow these steps: 1. Choose a controversial topic ... and reputable news sources to ensure that you can find enough evidence to support your argument. 6. Check For Bias. Ensure that the topic is not biased towards one particular viewpoint. The controversial argumentative essay topics ...

  19. Don't forget to use 2-3 short quotations in your essay. you should only

    Don't forget to use 2-3 short quotations in your essay. you should only make use of assigned readings. you need an intro paragraph and a thesis statement. you

  20. Should You Avoid The Use Of Parenthesis "( )" In An Argumentive Essay

    We are supposed to use the word in parentheses to form a new word and fill in the blank.We can do it as follows: 1. On our arrival, we were greeted by the head of the department.. The word in parentheses, "arrive", is a verb.However, what the sentence needs is not a verb, but a noun.. The noun we must come up with needs to be derived from the verb "arrive".

  21. Dunning-Kruger effect

    An indirect argument for the metacognitive model is based on the observation that training people in logical reasoning helps them make more accurate self-assessments. ... This type of explanation is sometimes called "noise plus bias". According to the better-than-average effect, people generally tend to rate their abilities, attributes, and ...

  22. READ: Biden-Trump debate transcript

    After a jury convicted you of 34 felonies last month, you said if re-elected you would, quote, "have every right to go after," unquote, your political opponents.

  23. To Serve His Country, President Biden Should Leave the Race

    His argument rests largely on the fact that he beat Mr. Trump in 2020. That is no longer a sufficient rationale for why Mr. Biden should be the Democratic nominee this year.

  24. What Is A Good Topic For An Argument Essay?I Don't Know What To Write

    The essay you have been asked to write is a descriptive essay. The first step to writing a descriptive essay is to carry out thorough research about your topic. What are the Steps to Writing an Informational Essay? To write a descriptive essay, you must ensure that you first research the topic you have been given

  25. Colorado Springs city councilman facing possible censure ...

    Colorado Springs City Council is holding a special meeting Tuesday to vote on whether or not Dave Donelson will be censured. MORE INFO:...