Smart Tips for Writing an Argumentative Essay
If the words research project or term paper make you wince in agony, here’s how to take the smart approach to writing your argumentative essay.
Choose Your TopicYour passion about an overarching topic is a great start but when you have just a few pages to work with, you need to narrow your focus to fit the real estate you have to work with. For example, if you’re talking about religion you’re going to need to drill down a few levels to maybe how a particular religion affects the culture or politics of a particular country. Focused topics mean cogency.
Build Your OutlineOnce you’ve come up with a thesis you can live with, start gathering your evidence and build your outline. As you do your research, you’ll have a better idea of how to sequence your essay by laying out your introduction thesis, a breakdown of your paragraphs into topic sentences and supporting paragraphs, and finally draw your conclusion.
As you prepare, analyze your audience. Understanding who is going to read your essay will help you determine the style of writing to employ. If you’re writing for your teacher, you’ll need a formal tone with lots of supporting evidence. If you’re writing something for friends or peers, you are more likely to used personal pronouns, such as “I” or “we” to garner or express sympathy. When you understand your audience, you’ll find effective ways to structure your essay.
Truth in Stats
“There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.”
Benjamin Disraeli, the 19th century British Prime Minister
There is nothing that will deflate an argument faster than inaccuracy. The whole point of conducting research is to build credibility from reliable sources. Wikipedia is a great site but many people can edit the wikis. You’ll want to use more scholarly sources.
Remember the ConsThe whole point of an argumentative essay is to for and against, not just give your opinion. Your audience isn’t interested in hearing your opinion. You can weave in your personal experiences as supporting evidence of your thesis you are expected to develop your ideas with facts.
Proofread, Revise, and RepeatAfter you’ve finished the first draft, let it rest by staying away from it. The distance will help you to proofread with fresh eyes and you may realize some new ideas you may not have considered before. Once you’ve come up with a second draft, share it with someone to get a different perspective and integrate the feedback for a third draft. While everyone has a different style, you will want to limit the number of revisions to avoid over-editing.
When you’re writing and forming ideas, you’ll want to make sure that your topic is truly arguable and not just an editorial. Remember to keep your topic and points contemporary and relevant. Lastly, make sure you see the value in the topic. With the number of hours you’ll dedicate to your topic, that’s the only way you’ll be able to bring it to life.
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