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- How to write an argumentative essay | Examples & tips
How to Write an Argumentative Essay | Examples & Tips
Published on July 24, 2020 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on December 6, 2021.
An argumentative essay expresses an extended argument for a particular thesis statement . The author takes a clearly defined stance on their subject and builds up an evidence-based case for it.
Table of contents
When do you write an argumentative essay, approaches to argumentative essays, introducing your argument, the body: developing your argument, concluding your argument, frequently asked questions about argumentative essays.
You might be assigned an argumentative essay as a writing exercise in high school or in a composition class. The prompt will often ask you to argue for one of two positions, and may include terms like “argue” or “argument.” It will frequently take the form of a question.
The prompt may also be more open-ended in terms of the possible arguments you could make.
Argumentative writing at college level
At university, the vast majority of essays or papers you write will involve some form of argumentation. For example, both rhetorical analysis and literary analysis essays involve making arguments about texts.
In this context, you won’t necessarily be told to write an argumentative essay—but making an evidence-based argument is an essential goal of most academic writing, and this should be your default approach unless you’re told otherwise.
Examples of argumentative essay prompts
At a university level, all the prompts below imply an argumentative essay as the appropriate response.
Your research should lead you to develop a specific position on the topic. The essay then argues for that position and aims to convince the reader by presenting your evidence, evaluation and analysis.
- Don’t just list all the effects you can think of.
- Do develop a focused argument about the overall effect and why it matters, backed up by evidence from sources.
- Don’t just provide a selection of data on the measures’ effectiveness.
- Do build up your own argument about which kinds of measures have been most or least effective, and why.
- Don’t just analyze a random selection of doppelgänger characters.
- Do form an argument about specific texts, comparing and contrasting how they express their thematic concerns through doppelgänger characters.
An argumentative essay should be objective in its approach; your arguments should rely on logic and evidence, not on exaggeration or appeals to emotion.
There are many possible approaches to argumentative essays, but there are two common models that can help you start outlining your arguments: The Toulmin model and the Rogerian model.
The Toulmin model consists of four steps, which may be repeated as many times as necessary for the argument:
- Make a claim
- Provide the grounds (evidence) for the claim
- Explain the warrant (how the grounds support the claim)
- Discuss possible rebuttals to the claim, identifying the limits of the argument and showing that you have considered alternative perspectives
The Toulmin model is a common approach in academic essays. You don’t have to use these specific terms (grounds, warrants, rebuttals), but establishing a clear connection between your claims and the evidence supporting them is crucial in an argumentative essay.
Say you’re making an argument about the effectiveness of workplace anti-discrimination measures. You might:
- Claim that unconscious bias training does not have the desired results, and resources would be better spent on other approaches
- Cite data to support your claim
- Explain how the data indicates that the method is ineffective
- Anticipate objections to your claim based on other data, indicating whether these objections are valid, and if not, why not.
The Rogerian model also consists of four steps you might repeat throughout your essay:
- Discuss what the opposing position gets right and why people might hold this position
- Highlight the problems with this position
- Present your own position , showing how it addresses these problems
- Suggest a possible compromise —what elements of your position would proponents of the opposing position benefit from adopting?
This model builds up a clear picture of both sides of an argument and seeks a compromise. It is particularly useful when people tend to disagree strongly on the issue discussed, allowing you to approach opposing arguments in good faith.
Say you want to argue that the internet has had a positive impact on education. You might:
- Acknowledge that students rely too much on websites like Wikipedia
- Argue that teachers view Wikipedia as more unreliable than it really is
- Suggest that Wikipedia’s system of citations can actually teach students about referencing
- Suggest critical engagement with Wikipedia as a possible assignment for teachers who are skeptical of its usefulness.
You don’t necessarily have to pick one of these models—you may even use elements of both in different parts of your essay—but it’s worth considering them if you struggle to structure your arguments.
Regardless of which approach you take, your essay should always be structured using an introduction , a body , and a conclusion .
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Like other academic essays, an argumentative essay begins with an introduction . The introduction serves to capture the reader’s interest, provide background information, present your thesis statement , and (in longer essays) to summarize the structure of the body.
Hover over different parts of the example below to see how a typical introduction works.
The spread of the internet has had a world-changing effect, not least on the world of education. The use of the internet in academic contexts is on the rise, and its role in learning is hotly debated. For many teachers who did not grow up with this technology, its effects seem alarming and potentially harmful. This concern, while understandable, is misguided. The negatives of internet use are outweighed by its critical benefits for students and educators—as a uniquely comprehensive and accessible information source; a means of exposure to and engagement with different perspectives; and a highly flexible learning environment.
The body of an argumentative essay is where you develop your arguments in detail. Here you’ll present evidence, analysis, and reasoning to convince the reader that your thesis statement is true.
In the standard five-paragraph format for short essays, the body takes up three of your five paragraphs. In longer essays, it will be more paragraphs, and might be divided into sections with headings.
Each paragraph covers its own topic, introduced with a topic sentence . Each of these topics must contribute to your overall argument; don’t include irrelevant information.
This example paragraph takes a Rogerian approach: It first acknowledges the merits of the opposing position and then highlights problems with that position.
Hover over different parts of the example to see how a body paragraph is constructed.
A common frustration for teachers is students’ use of Wikipedia as a source in their writing. Its prevalence among students is not exaggerated; a survey found that the vast majority of the students surveyed used Wikipedia (Head & Eisenberg, 2010). An article in The Guardian stresses a common objection to its use: “a reliance on Wikipedia can discourage students from engaging with genuine academic writing” (Coomer, 2013). Teachers are clearly not mistaken in viewing Wikipedia usage as ubiquitous among their students; but the claim that it discourages engagement with academic sources requires further investigation. This point is treated as self-evident by many teachers, but Wikipedia itself explicitly encourages students to look into other sources. Its articles often provide references to academic publications and include warning notes where citations are missing; the site’s own guidelines for research make clear that it should be used as a starting point, emphasizing that users should always “read the references and check whether they really do support what the article says” (“Wikipedia:Researching with Wikipedia,” 2020). Indeed, for many students, Wikipedia is their first encounter with the concepts of citation and referencing. The use of Wikipedia therefore has a positive side that merits deeper consideration than it often receives.
An argumentative essay ends with a conclusion that summarizes and reflects on the arguments made in the body.
No new arguments or evidence appear here, but in longer essays you may discuss the strengths and weaknesses of your argument and suggest topics for future research. In all conclusions, you should stress the relevance and importance of your argument.
Hover over the following example to see the typical elements of a conclusion.
The internet has had a major positive impact on the world of education; occasional pitfalls aside, its value is evident in numerous applications. The future of teaching lies in the possibilities the internet opens up for communication, research, and interactivity. As the popularity of distance learning shows, students value the flexibility and accessibility offered by digital education, and educators should fully embrace these advantages. The internet’s dangers, real and imaginary, have been documented exhaustively by skeptics, but the internet is here to stay; it is time to focus seriously on its potential for good.
An argumentative essay tends to be a longer essay involving independent research, and aims to make an original argument about a topic. Its thesis statement makes a contentious claim that must be supported in an objective, evidence-based way.
An expository essay also aims to be objective, but it doesn’t have to make an original argument. Rather, it aims to explain something (e.g., a process or idea) in a clear, concise way. Expository essays are often shorter assignments and rely less on research.
At college level, you must properly cite your sources in all essays , research papers , and other academic texts (except exams and in-class exercises).
Add a citation whenever you quote , paraphrase , or summarize information or ideas from a source. You should also give full source details in a bibliography or reference list at the end of your text.
The exact format of your citations depends on which citation style you are instructed to use. The most common styles are APA , MLA , and Chicago .
The majority of the essays written at university are some sort of argumentative essay . Unless otherwise specified, you can assume that the goal of any essay you’re asked to write is argumentative: To convince the reader of your position using evidence and reasoning.
In composition classes you might be given assignments that specifically test your ability to write an argumentative essay. Look out for prompts including instructions like “argue,” “assess,” or “discuss” to see if this is the goal.
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The Modes of Discourse—Exposition, Description, Narration, Argumentation (EDNA)—are common paper assignments you may encounter in your writing classes. Although these genres have been criticized by some composition scholars, the Purdue OWL recognizes the wide spread use of these approaches and students’ need to understand and produce them.
What is an argumentative essay?
The argumentative essay is a genre of writing that requires the student to investigate a topic; collect, generate, and evaluate evidence; and establish a position on the topic in a concise manner.
Please note : Some confusion may occur between the argumentative essay and the expository essay. These two genres are similar, but the argumentative essay differs from the expository essay in the amount of pre-writing (invention) and research involved. The argumentative essay is commonly assigned as a capstone or final project in first year writing or advanced composition courses and involves lengthy, detailed research. Expository essays involve less research and are shorter in length. Expository essays are often used for in-class writing exercises or tests, such as the GED or GRE.
Argumentative essay assignments generally call for extensive research of literature or previously published material. Argumentative assignments may also require empirical research where the student collects data through interviews, surveys, observations, or experiments. Detailed research allows the student to learn about the topic and to understand different points of view regarding the topic so that she/he may choose a position and support it with the evidence collected during research. Regardless of the amount or type of research involved, argumentative essays must establish a clear thesis and follow sound reasoning.
The structure of the argumentative essay is held together by the following.
- A clear, concise, and defined thesis statement that occurs in the first paragraph of the essay.
In the first paragraph of an argument essay, students should set the context by reviewing the topic in a general way. Next the author should explain why the topic is important ( exigence ) or why readers should care about the issue. Lastly, students should present the thesis statement. It is essential that this thesis statement be appropriately narrowed to follow the guidelines set forth in the assignment. If the student does not master this portion of the essay, it will be quite difficult to compose an effective or persuasive essay.
- Clear and logical transitions between the introduction, body, and conclusion.
Transitions are the mortar that holds the foundation of the essay together. Without logical progression of thought, the reader is unable to follow the essay’s argument, and the structure will collapse. Transitions should wrap up the idea from the previous section and introduce the idea that is to follow in the next section.
- Body paragraphs that include evidential support.
Each paragraph should be limited to the discussion of one general idea. This will allow for clarity and direction throughout the essay. In addition, such conciseness creates an ease of readability for one’s audience. It is important to note that each paragraph in the body of the essay must have some logical connection to the thesis statement in the opening paragraph. Some paragraphs will directly support the thesis statement with evidence collected during research. It is also important to explain how and why the evidence supports the thesis ( warrant ).
However, argumentative essays should also consider and explain differing points of view regarding the topic. Depending on the length of the assignment, students should dedicate one or two paragraphs of an argumentative essay to discussing conflicting opinions on the topic. Rather than explaining how these differing opinions are wrong outright, students should note how opinions that do not align with their thesis might not be well informed or how they might be out of date.
- Evidential support (whether factual, logical, statistical, or anecdotal).
The argumentative essay requires well-researched, accurate, detailed, and current information to support the thesis statement and consider other points of view. Some factual, logical, statistical, or anecdotal evidence should support the thesis. However, students must consider multiple points of view when collecting evidence. As noted in the paragraph above, a successful and well-rounded argumentative essay will also discuss opinions not aligning with the thesis. It is unethical to exclude evidence that may not support the thesis. It is not the student’s job to point out how other positions are wrong outright, but rather to explain how other positions may not be well informed or up to date on the topic.
- A conclusion that does not simply restate the thesis, but readdresses it in light of the evidence provided.
It is at this point of the essay that students may begin to struggle. This is the portion of the essay that will leave the most immediate impression on the mind of the reader. Therefore, it must be effective and logical. Do not introduce any new information into the conclusion; rather, synthesize the information presented in the body of the essay. Restate why the topic is important, review the main points, and review your thesis. You may also want to include a short discussion of more research that should be completed in light of your work.
A complete argument
Perhaps it is helpful to think of an essay in terms of a conversation or debate with a classmate. If I were to discuss the cause of World War II and its current effect on those who lived through the tumultuous time, there would be a beginning, middle, and end to the conversation. In fact, if I were to end the argument in the middle of my second point, questions would arise concerning the current effects on those who lived through the conflict. Therefore, the argumentative essay must be complete, and logically so, leaving no doubt as to its intent or argument.
The five-paragraph essay
A common method for writing an argumentative essay is the five-paragraph approach. This is, however, by no means the only formula for writing such essays. If it sounds straightforward, that is because it is; in fact, the method consists of (a) an introductory paragraph (b) three evidentiary body paragraphs that may include discussion of opposing views and (c) a conclusion.
Longer argumentative essays
Complex issues and detailed research call for complex and detailed essays. Argumentative essays discussing a number of research sources or empirical research will most certainly be longer than five paragraphs. Authors may have to discuss the context surrounding the topic, sources of information and their credibility, as well as a number of different opinions on the issue before concluding the essay. Many of these factors will be determined by the assignment.
How to Write an Argumentative Essay Outline
An argumentative essay is a piece of writing that uses logical evidence and empirical data to convince readers of a particular position on a topic. Because of its reliance on structure and planning, the first step in writing one is often drafting a solid argumentative essay outline.
Of course, drafting an argumentative essay outline can be just as daunting as actually writing one. Choosing topics is one thing, but organizing your thesis , research, reasoning, and conclusion is a whole other endeavor—and that’s all before beginning the first draft!
So in this quick guide, we explain how to make an effective argumentative essay outline, covering all three major formats: Classical (Aristotelian), Rogerian, and Toulmin. We’ll also include argumentative essay outline examples and templates to help you understand what works.
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How is an argumentative essay structured?
An argumentative essay uses facts, data, and logical reasoning to substantiate a specific stance on any given topic. They are typically structured to “build an argument,” with a clear thesis statement , unambiguous conclusion, and as much evidential support as needed.
While all seven types of essays follow the same introduction-body-conclusion structure, argumentative essays tend to be more complex to fit all the necessary components of a convincing argument. For example, you may want to dissect opposing points of view to strengthen your own argument, but where would you put that section? Before your argument? After? Intermingled throughout the essay with each new piece of evidence?
There’s no one right way to structure an argumentative essay; it depends on your topic, opposing viewpoints, and the readers, among other things. In fact, to accommodate different types of argumentative essay styles, three methods have emerged as the go-to formats: Classical (Aristotelian), Rogerian, and Toulmin, explained below.
No matter the format or topic, a strong argumentative essay outline makes it easier to organize your thoughts and present your case in the best possible way. So before you get down to the actual essay writing , take a little time to prepare what you want to say in an outline.
How to create an argumentative essay outline
Knowing how to write an outline is just half the battle. Because an argumentative essay outline requires extra structure and organization, it often requires more extensive planning than the standard essay outline . After all, the goal is to present the best argument for your topic, so you need to make sure each section is in the optimal place.
As mentioned, there are three main options for how to structure an argumentative essay. Before we dive into the details, let’s look at an overview of each so you can decide which one best fits your essay.
When to use it: straightforward and direct arguments
The most forthright approach, the Classical or Aristotelian format is closest to traditional essay structures. It follows a simple layout: explain your argument, explain your opposition’s argument, and then present your evidence, all the while relying on credibility ( ethos ), emotion ( pathos ), and reasoning ( logos ) to influence the reader.
When to use it: both sides make valid arguments; your readers are sympathetic to the opposing position
The Rogerian format gives ample respect to opposing stances, making it a great “middle-ground” approach for representing both sides. This method is ideal if your thesis is a compromise between conflicting positions or an attempt to unify them.
Likewise, this format is best if you’re writing for readers who are already biased toward an opposing position, such as if you’re arguing against societal norms.
When to use it: complicated arguments with multiple facets; rebuttals and counterarguments
The Toulmin method is a deep analysis of a single argument. Given its methodical and detailed nature, it works best for breaking down a complicated thesis into digestible portions.
The Toulmin method is rather nitpicky in a very systematic way. That makes it an ideal format if your essay is a rebuttal or counterargument to another essay—you’re able to dissect and disprove your opposition point by point while offering a more reasonable alternative.
Classical argumentative essay outline template
Aristotle had a gift for explaining things clearly and logically, and the Aristotelian argumentative essay structure leans into that. Also known as Classical or Classic, the Aristotelian format is the most straightforward: the writer presents their argument first and then refutes the opposing argument.
Let’s look at the details in this argumentative essay outline example for the Classical or Aristotelian format.
A. Open with a hook, something to keep the reader interested enough to read until the conclusion (known as exordium ) B. Give any background information or context necessary to understand the topic (known as narratio ) C. Provide a thesis statement explaining your stance and why you feel that way (known as proposito and partitio )
II. First reason
A. Start with the least controversial reason to support your argument, explaining your point clearly as an overview 1. First evidential support of your reason (known as confirmatio )
2. Second evidential support of your reason, then third, and so on
B. Summarize your first reason again and tie it together with evidential support
III. Second reason, etc.
A. Continue to list your reasons in the same format as the first. List your reasons from least to most controversial
IV. First opposing point of view
A. Explain the reasoning of the opposing side. Point out their defenses and evidence—what would they say if they were writing the essay? 1. Point out weaknesses and inconsistencies in their argument
2. Refute their points with evidential support (known as refutatio )
3. Reinforce your position as the more reasonable position
V. Second opposing point of view, etc.
A. Continue to present and refute opposing points of view in the same format as the first
A. Reiterate your position and thesis statement, drawing on your strongest evidential support and rebuttals of opposing points (known as peroratio ) B. Wrap everything up with a thought-provoking ending or call to action (a suggestion you want the reader to take)
Rogerian argumentative essay outline template
Of all formats, Rogerian gives the most attention to opposing arguments. Its goal is to create a middle ground between two arguments, pointing out the validity of each and finding a way to unify them as one. If positions on a particular topic are too polarized or unable to coexist, this format won’t work.
Let’s take a closer look at the Rogerian argumentative essay outline example below and notice the concessions for opposing points of view.
A. State the problem that needs to be solved and any context necessary for understanding it B. Explain the ideal solutions from your position as well as the ideal solutions from opposing positions (and point out any overlap) C. Make your thesis statement
II. Summarize the opposing position
A. Summarize the opposition’s point of view respectfully; consider their defense and reasoning 1. Present evidential support for the opposing position
2. Comment on or refute their support
B. Follow the same format for additional opposing points of view
III. Validate the opposing position
A. Show that you understand and/or sympathize with the opposing position 1. Explain the context and reasoning behind your opposition’s perspective
2. Elaborate on the evidence and data from opposing positions
B. Affirm the areas in which you agree with the opposition
IV. Present your position
A. Summarize your first reason for holding your position 1. Present your first piece of evidential support
2. Present your second piece of evidential support, and so on
B. Summarize your second reason for holding your position, and so on
V. Bring both sides together (compromise)
A. Consider which aspects from each argument are most reasonable B. Propose a compromise that combines the best elements from each position
A. Reaffirm your respect for the opposing point of view B. Reiterate the areas in which the opposition can benefit from your argument and vice versa C. Summarize the earlier compromise and, if possible, end on a positive note
Toulmin argumentative essay outline template
Stephen Toulmin’s original purpose was to analyze the nature of arguments, but the application of his teachings has evolved into an argumentative essay format, especially for challenging existing arguments. It focuses on the six elements that make up a good argument: claim (thesis), grounds (data and reasons), warrants, backings, qualifiers, and rebuttals.
The argumentative essay outline example below shows the recommended order in which to put these elements:
A. Open with a hook, if you can, to garner interest B. Explain the topic and its necessary context C. Make your thesis statement
II. Present the grounds (hard evidence) to validate your thesis
A. Present your first evidential support of data or logical reasons B. Present your second evidential support of data or logical reasons, and so on
III. Explain your first warrant (justification for your thesis)
A. Explain how the warrant relates back to your thesis B. Provide backing to support your warrant (could be more evidence or data or just logical reasoning) C. List any qualifiers that undermine or limit your warrant—the idea is to acknowledge any weaknesses in your own argument
IV. Explain your second warrant, and so on
A. Continue to explain your individual warrants as above
V. Discuss opposition
A. Explain the first opposing point of view 1. Discuss the opposition fairly and transparently
2. Explain your rebuttal to defend your thesis
B. Explain the second opposing point of view, and so on
A. Connect all your warrants and data together B. Reiterate the opposing position and your rebuttals C. Draw a conclusion to make your final claim and reaffirm your thesis
Argumentative essay FAQs
What is an argumentative essay?
An argumentative essay is a short, nonfiction piece of writing that uses logical evidence and empirical data to convince the reader of a certain point of view.
Argumentative essays typically include an explanation of the writer’s position (thesis), evidence supporting that thesis, opposing points of view, and rebuttals against that opposition. The order in which these sections are presented, however, depends on the format.
What are some common ways to organize an argumentative essay outline?
The most straightforward approach to an argumentative essay outline is to first present your position, including the evidence and reasoning to back it up, and then address the opposing points of view. However, the more complex the topic, the more layers must be added to the outline.
85 Unique Argumentative Essay Topics and How to Choose One
Argumentative essays are a means of proving an argument valid, hence turning theory into fact. It is often visible if the writer has spent time developing their argument. Experienced writers build their own set of principles to maximize clear delivery. The validity of any argument relies on its source material. Simple issues may need a more straightforward approach. When you're tackling controversial matters, it's best to use plenty of sources for backup.
What Is an Argumentative Essay?
An argumentative essay is a type of academic paper that introduces arguments (claims) about both sides of a particular topic. Both teams could be balanced, or one may be dominating. The tone of the paper depends on the writer’s position on the observed issue.
The primary function of an argumentative paper is to introduce a case to the readers in a convincing manner trying to change their opinions if they have a position different from the writer’s. The idea is to show the full picture.
Experts tend to highlight three models of argumentative writing:
- Toulmin model
This paper will need an intro with a thesis statement followed by background information supported by the evidence collected from sources. A writer will have to list the reasons to support the central argument & rebuttals.
- Rogerian model
Unlike the previous one, this model of argumentative paper requires weighing both alternatives, listing the pros & cons of each, and providing a piece of advice after in-depth evaluation.
- Classical model
The writer has to introduce the issue, offer a personal solution, and make an attempt to persuade the audience that this particular solution is the correct one. The idea is to make the readers care about the suggested topic.
If you are having difficulty writing an essay, you can ask us ' do my essay ' and we will fulfill all your requirements. Also, to broaden your horizons, we recommend reading the article about cause and effect essay structure , perhaps it will be useful to you.
How to Pick Out the Good Argumentative Essay Topics
Finding good topics for an argumentative essay isn’t finding a needle in a haystack - as long as you take care to follow a few core principles.
Many controversial argumentative essay topics are prone to prejudice. They often have an unconscious aim to prove already assumed facts. When writing an essay, it is always crucial to understand both sides. Try picking a neutral topic to which you are mostly indifferent.
The basic tips to follow while selecting the ideas to discuss in your work are:
- Think about issues of your interest . Make sure that you possess in-depth knowledge of the chosen theme. Can you express the opinion about it?
- Follow the recent trends . Type some keywords in the search field of Google Trends to find out what issues related to your subject are actively discussed.
- Check access to primary & secondary sources . Surf the web to decide whether you can obtain enough credible sources to use in your piece.
- Avoid themes with a broad/general focus . The number of words or pages limits the research paper, so make the topic narrow & specific.
- Stay away from the emotionally-charged subjects . Argumentative writing is about staying calm and sober with judgments.
- Consider the target audience . Think about people that you plan to reach. Would they accept your point of view or would it result in a debate?
- Brainstorm the final list of ideas . Discuss the final list of the possible topics. Pick the idea the majority will vote for.
- Take a risk . Selecting a debatable issue has certain risks, but if a writer proves a personal position, it will result in the highest grade!
- Take your experience into account . How well do you know the topic? Did you have a relevant experience to share?
Tip from EssayPro Expert: “It is recommended that a writer should possess an interest in the subject they cover, but the argument should not be one that they accept as the truth.”
Be sure to read the article on argumentative essay structure .
Easy Argumentative Essay Topics
There are topics that are discussed and debated daily. It is not uncommon that most of them are banned from classrooms being cliche. If you believe you have some fresh insights on the matter, try to convince your teacher into letting you do it.
- Should students be given time off for mental health purposes?
- Should Vaccination be Mandatory for All Children?
- What are the best ways for parents to teach their kids about race and racism?
- Should Gay Marriage Be Legal?
- Should Boys and Girls Athletic Teams Play in the Same Tournament?
Teachers engage middle-schoolers in the debate to give them an insight into high-school level writing. These middle school argumentative essay topics often discuss the fairness of school rules and alternative curriculums.
- Should Schools Have Dress Codes?
- Should Teachers Assign Less Homework?
- Is Music Class Necessary?
- Real School vs. Homeschool.
- How Important Is Arts Education?
Argumentative essays are most rewarding in high school and are a lesson in seeing all sides of the spectrum. Here are some common argumentative essay topics for high school.
- Are High School Students Over-Supervised?
- Banning Classical Literature Containing Offensive Language in School.
- What Is The Greatest Invention of All Time?
- Should Clothes Define Who You Are?
- Should Teachers Observe Students While They Take Online Tests?
Argumentative Essay Topics for College
Did you know that Barack Obama only finished paying his student loans in the second year of his presidency? The value of college degrees is being questioned now more than ever. Argumentative essay topics for college require attention to details of contemporary life.
- When Do Halloween Costumes Become Over-The-Top?
- Should Companies Collect Personal Data of Users?
- When Does Comedy Become Over-The-Top or Offensive?
- What Does the College Admissions Scandal Reveal About Society?
- How Close Are We to the ‘Black Mirror’?
- Are Schools Doing a Good Job at Addressing Cyberbullying?
- Should School Newspapers Get Reviewed Before Publishing?
- Do Schools Help College Students Explore Their Creativity?
- Is Taking Adderall to Study Unfair?
- Has the Internet Made College Education Unnecessary?
- Is It Fair to Judge a Student's Potential by Their SAT Score?
- Are Certain Colleges Overrated Because of Their Historical Significance?
- Should the Cost of College Depend on the Degree?
- Should Admissions Officers Read College Applicants’ Social Media Pages?
Argumentative Essay Topics by Category
We have listed some topics from popular fields of study. Feel free to tackle any subject on the list - or even better - use this list as inspiration and find your topic of interest. If you need more guidance, we have hundreds of essay writers online and ready to help you out.
Need an Argumentative Essay Written?
If you want to ask us ' write a research paper for me ', just pick a topic, give us your requirements and get a plagiarism-free paper fast.
While some may find social media a necessary component of daily life, others struggle with procrastination as a direct result. It has arguably influenced critical political decisions and has made social media a significant and relevant field of study.
- Does Instagram Make People More Narcissistic?
- Why Are Women's Nipples Banned in Social Media?
- Is Fake News Dangerous?
- Must Social Media Play a Role in Education?
- How Should Social Media Networks Tackle Online Bullying?
- Is Anonymous Social Media Dangerous?
- Is Proper Punctuation Important on Social Media?
- Should Social Media Pay Users in Exchange for Their Privacy?
- Should Companies Fire Clients Over Inappropriate Social Media Behavior?
- Should There Be a ‘Dislike’ Button on Facebook?
TV, Movies, Video Games
Hollywood produces heaps of content. It is no surprise that lots of it don’t undergo extensive evaluation before release. This results in students questioning the industry’s promotion of harmful stereotypes. Here you can find plenty of unique essay topics.
- Does American TV Capture the Country's Diversity?
- Should Cybersports Be Considered Sports?
- Is the Gaming World Sexist?
- What Makes a Good Children’s Cartoon?
- Do Hollywood FIlms Promote a Certain Set of Values?
- Can Good Commercials Be Considered Works of Art?
- Why Are There So Few Female Film-Makers?
Music, Literature, Art
Has digitization degraded music into a mere form of entertainment? Music argumentative essay topics have plenty of room for discussion. They touch on issues of authenticity which can also be relevant in the fields of literature and art.
- Modern Pop Music Is Recyclable — Does That Make It Good or Bad?
- In Music — When Does ‘Borrowing’ Become ‘Stealing’?
- Should Explicit Language in Classic Literature Be Filtered Like Explicit Language in Pop Song Lyrics?
- Should We Consider Banksy as an Artist?
- Are Libraries Still Necessary?
- Does Rap Count as Music?
- Is Graffiti An Art?
- Is It Right to Display Art in Public Places?
- Should Society Support Aspiring Artists?
- Is Modern Art Timeless?
- Are Mark Rothko Paintings Worth Their Cost?
Health Argumentative Essay Topics
Abstaining from eating sugar or drinking alcohol can feel like a significant accomplishment. Some people find great pride in living a healthy lifestyle. Online health blogs and web stores take advantage of this trend, so let's check out health care argumentative essay topics.
- Can too much sleep be harmful to the body?
- Is a treatment for diabetes on the horizon?
- Should the Government Review Nutritional Guidelines and Menu Compositions for School Feeding Programs?
- Are Models Abnormally Skinny?
- Should the Government Regulate Sugar in Sugary Products?
Science and Technology
Space exploration has historically led to significant developments in technology. Did you know that velcro and microwaves were invented during the Moon Landing programs? Here are some science and technology argumentative essay topics relevant to daily life.
- Is Human Chipping an Absurd Concept?
- How Concerned Should We Be About Climate Change?
- Should the Development of Nuclear Weapons Be Outlawed Internationally?
- Is It Ethical to Slow Aging with Science?
- Manipulating the Human Body With Technology — When Is It Okay?
Animal testing has led to many developments in fields such as medicine and cosmetics. However, this method is often questioned from a moral standpoint. Argumentative essays about animals and their rights touch on various ethical issues.
- Ethical Questions Concerning Genetically Engineered Animals.
- Should Animal Rights Issues Apply to Insects?
- Should Animal Zoos Be Upgraded or Outlawed?
- Argue for or Against Banning Animals in Circuses.
- Are Safari Parks Better Than Zoos?
- Ethical Questions Concerning Altering Animals or Bugs with Technology.
Sports are crucial to adult development. Young people need to be inspired to exercise and maintain their health. Here are some interesting sports argumentative essay topics for inspiration:
- Why are college players stereotyped as being illiterate?
- Should high school students earn rewards for engaging in sports?
- Are video games considered sports?
- Do you believe that only Americans can play authentic American football?
Argumentative writing and speech are crucial skills to develop if you’re determined to keep the balance in this tumultuous world. Issues of poverty, democracy, infrastructure, foreign policy are among the most discussed in the field. In our times, it would be especially relevant to delve into argumentative essay topics on immigration.
- What Do Countries Owe Their Veterans?
- What Are the Moral Obligations of Political Leaders?
- Does the American Voting System Need to Be Altered?
- Should Rich People Pay More Taxes?
- Should Prostitution Be Legal?
- What Are the Responsibilities of Global Leaders When It Comes To the Refugee Crisis?
Funny Argumentative Essay Topics
The point of the exercise is to practice persuasive writing — therefore it is not necessary to write about something fun. However, let’s face it — some of these topics can be pretty dull to research. A solution would be picking a borderline humorous topic to light up the mood of your readers or audience. Here are some funny argumentative essay topics from our admission essay writing service that will get your audience hooked merely out of curiosity.
- How The Simpsons Illustrate a Typical American Family.
- Does the World Need Superheroes?
- Why Are People Obsessed with Funny Cats Videos?
- Who Would Win In a Fight — Batman or Iron Man?
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Sat / act prep online guides and tips, 3 strong argumentative essay examples, analyzed.
Need to defend your opinion on an issue? Argumentative essays are one of the most popular types of essays you’ll write in school. They combine persuasive arguments with fact-based research, and, when done well, can be powerful tools for making someone agree with your point of view. If you’re struggling to write an argumentative essay or just want to learn more about them, seeing examples can be a big help.
After giving an overview of this type of essay, we provide three argumentative essay examples. After each essay, we explain in-depth how the essay was structured, what worked, and where the essay could be improved. We end with tips for making your own argumentative essay as strong as possible.
What Is an Argumentative Essay?
An argumentative essay is an essay that uses evidence and facts to support the claim it’s making. Its purpose is to persuade the reader to agree with the argument being made.
A good argumentative essay will use facts and evidence to support the argument, rather than just the author’s thoughts and opinions. For example, say you wanted to write an argumentative essay stating that Charleston, SC is a great destination for families. You couldn’t just say that it’s a great place because you took your family there and enjoyed it. For it to be an argumentative essay, you need to have facts and data to support your argument, such as the number of child-friendly attractions in Charleston, special deals you can get with kids, and surveys of people who visited Charleston as a family and enjoyed it. The first argument is based entirely on feelings, whereas the second is based on evidence that can be proven.
The standard five paragraph format is common, but not required, for argumentative essays. These essays typically follow one of two formats: the Toulmin model or the Rogerian model.
- The Toulmin model is the most common. It begins with an introduction, follows with a thesis/claim, and gives data and evidence to support that claim. This style of essay also includes rebuttals of counterarguments.
- The Rogerian model analyzes two sides of an argument and reaches a conclusion after weighing the strengths and weaknesses of each.
3 Good Argumentative Essay Examples + Analysis
Below are three examples of argumentative essays, written by yours truly in my school days, as well as analysis of what each did well and where it could be improved.
Argumentative Essay Example 1
Proponents of this idea state that it will save local cities and towns money because libraries are expensive to maintain. They also believe it will encourage more people to read because they won’t have to travel to a library to get a book; they can simply click on what they want to read and read it from wherever they are. They could also access more materials because libraries won’t have to buy physical copies of books; they can simply rent out as many digital copies as they need.
However, it would be a serious mistake to replace libraries with tablets. First, digital books and resources are associated with less learning and more problems than print resources. A study done on tablet vs book reading found that people read 20-30% slower on tablets, retain 20% less information, and understand 10% less of what they read compared to people who read the same information in print. Additionally, staring too long at a screen has been shown to cause numerous health problems, including blurred vision, dizziness, dry eyes, headaches, and eye strain, at much higher instances than reading print does. People who use tablets and mobile devices excessively also have a higher incidence of more serious health issues such as fibromyalgia, shoulder and back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, and muscle strain. I know that whenever I read from my e-reader for too long, my eyes begin to feel tired and my neck hurts. We should not add to these problems by giving people, especially young people, more reasons to look at screens.
Second, it is incredibly narrow-minded to assume that the only service libraries offer is book lending. Libraries have a multitude of benefits, and many are only available if the library has a physical location. Some of these benefits include acting as a quiet study space, giving people a way to converse with their neighbors, holding classes on a variety of topics, providing jobs, answering patron questions, and keeping the community connected. One neighborhood found that, after a local library instituted community events such as play times for toddlers and parents, job fairs for teenagers, and meeting spaces for senior citizens, over a third of residents reported feeling more connected to their community. Similarly, a Pew survey conducted in 2015 found that nearly two-thirds of American adults feel that closing their local library would have a major impact on their community. People see libraries as a way to connect with others and get their questions answered, benefits tablets can’t offer nearly as well or as easily.
While replacing libraries with tablets may seem like a simple solution, it would encourage people to spend even more time looking at digital screens, despite the myriad issues surrounding them. It would also end access to many of the benefits of libraries that people have come to rely on. In many areas, libraries are such an important part of the community network that they could never be replaced by a simple object.
The author begins by giving an overview of the counter-argument, then the thesis appears as the first sentence in the third paragraph. The essay then spends the rest of the paper dismantling the counter argument and showing why readers should believe the other side.
What this essay does well:
- Although it’s a bit unusual to have the thesis appear fairly far into the essay, it works because, once the thesis is stated, the rest of the essay focuses on supporting it since the counter-argument has already been discussed earlier in the paper.
- This essay includes numerous facts and cites studies to support its case. By having specific data to rely on, the author’s argument is stronger and readers will be more inclined to agree with it.
- For every argument the other side makes, the author makes sure to refute it and follow up with why her opinion is the stronger one. In order to make a strong argument, it’s important to dismantle the other side, which this essay does this by making the author's view appear stronger.
- This is a shorter paper, and if it needed to be expanded to meet length requirements, it could include more examples and go more into depth with them, such as by explaining specific cases where people benefited from local libraries.
- Additionally, while the paper uses lots of data, the author also mentions their own experience with using tablets. This should be removed since argumentative essays focus on facts and data to support an argument, not the author’s own opinion or experiences. Replacing that with more data on health issues associated with screen time would strengthen the essay.
- Some of the points made aren't completely accurate , particularly the one about digital books being cheaper. It actually often costs a library more money to rent out numerous digital copies of a book compared to buying a single physical copy. Make sure in your own essay you thoroughly research each of the points and rebuttals you make, otherwise you'll look like you don't know the issue that well.
Argumentative Essay Example 2
There are multiple drugs available to treat malaria, and many of them work well and save lives, but malaria eradication programs that focus too much on them and not enough on prevention haven’t seen long-term success in Sub-Saharan Africa. A major program to combat malaria was WHO’s Global Malaria Eradication Programme. Started in 1955, it had a goal of eliminating malaria in Africa within the next ten years. Based upon previously successful programs in Brazil and the United States, the program focused mainly on vector control. This included widely distributing chloroquine and spraying large amounts of DDT. More than one billion dollars was spent trying to abolish malaria. However, the program suffered from many problems and in 1969, WHO was forced to admit that the program had not succeeded in eradicating malaria. The number of people in Sub-Saharan Africa who contracted malaria as well as the number of malaria deaths had actually increased over 10% during the time the program was active.
One of the major reasons for the failure of the project was that it set uniform strategies and policies. By failing to consider variations between governments, geography, and infrastructure, the program was not nearly as successful as it could have been. Sub-Saharan Africa has neither the money nor the infrastructure to support such an elaborate program, and it couldn’t be run the way it was meant to. Most African countries don't have the resources to send all their people to doctors and get shots, nor can they afford to clear wetlands or other malaria prone areas. The continent’s spending per person for eradicating malaria was just a quarter of what Brazil spent. Sub-Saharan Africa simply can’t rely on a plan that requires more money, infrastructure, and expertise than they have to spare.
Additionally, the widespread use of chloroquine has created drug resistant parasites which are now plaguing Sub-Saharan Africa. Because chloroquine was used widely but inconsistently, mosquitoes developed resistance, and chloroquine is now nearly completely ineffective in Sub-Saharan Africa, with over 95% of mosquitoes resistant to it. As a result, newer, more expensive drugs need to be used to prevent and treat malaria, which further drives up the cost of malaria treatment for a region that can ill afford it.
Instead of developing plans to treat malaria after the infection has incurred, programs should focus on preventing infection from occurring in the first place. Not only is this plan cheaper and more effective, reducing the number of people who contract malaria also reduces loss of work/school days which can further bring down the productivity of the region.
One of the cheapest and most effective ways of preventing malaria is to implement insecticide-treated bed nets (ITNs). These nets provide a protective barrier around the person or people using them. While untreated bed nets are still helpful, those treated with insecticides are much more useful because they stop mosquitoes from biting people through the nets, and they help reduce mosquito populations in a community, thus helping people who don’t even own bed nets. Bed nets are also very effective because most mosquito bites occur while the person is sleeping, so bed nets would be able to drastically reduce the number of transmissions during the night. In fact, transmission of malaria can be reduced by as much as 90% in areas where the use of ITNs is widespread. Because money is so scarce in Sub-Saharan Africa, the low cost is a great benefit and a major reason why the program is so successful. Bed nets cost roughly 2 USD to make, last several years, and can protect two adults. Studies have shown that, for every 100-1000 more nets are being used, one less child dies of malaria. With an estimated 300 million people in Africa not being protected by mosquito nets, there’s the potential to save three million lives by spending just a few dollars per person.
Reducing the number of people who contract malaria would also reduce poverty levels in Africa significantly, thus improving other aspects of society like education levels and the economy. Vector control is more effective than treatment strategies because it means fewer people are getting sick. When fewer people get sick, the working population is stronger as a whole because people are not put out of work from malaria, nor are they caring for sick relatives. Malaria-afflicted families can typically only harvest 40% of the crops that healthy families can harvest. Additionally, a family with members who have malaria spends roughly a quarter of its income treatment, not including the loss of work they also must deal with due to the illness. It’s estimated that malaria costs Africa 12 billion USD in lost income every year. A strong working population creates a stronger economy, which Sub-Saharan Africa is in desperate need of.
This essay begins with an introduction, which ends with the thesis (that malaria eradication plans in Sub-Saharan Africa should focus on prevention rather than treatment). The first part of the essay lays out why the counter argument (treatment rather than prevention) is not as effective, and the second part of the essay focuses on why prevention of malaria is the better path to take.
- The thesis appears early, is stated clearly, and is supported throughout the rest of the essay. This makes the argument clear for readers to understand and follow throughout the essay.
- There’s lots of solid research in this essay, including specific programs that were conducted and how successful they were, as well as specific data mentioned throughout. This evidence helps strengthen the author’s argument.
- The author makes a case for using expanding bed net use over waiting until malaria occurs and beginning treatment, but not much of a plan is given for how the bed nets would be distributed or how to ensure they’re being used properly. By going more into detail of what she believes should be done, the author would be making a stronger argument.
- The introduction of the essay does a good job of laying out the seriousness of the problem, but the conclusion is short and abrupt. Expanding it into its own paragraph would give the author a final way to convince readers of her side of the argument.
Argumentative Essay Example 3
There are many ways payments could work. They could be in the form of a free-market approach, where athletes are able to earn whatever the market is willing to pay them, it could be a set amount of money per athlete, or student athletes could earn income from endorsements, autographs, and control of their likeness, similar to the way top Olympians earn money.
Proponents of the idea believe that, because college athletes are the ones who are training, participating in games, and bringing in audiences, they should receive some sort of compensation for their work. If there were no college athletes, the NCAA wouldn’t exist, college coaches wouldn’t receive there (sometimes very high) salaries, and brands like Nike couldn’t profit from college sports. In fact, the NCAA brings in roughly $1 billion in revenue a year, but college athletes don’t receive any of that money in the form of a paycheck. Additionally, people who believe college athletes should be paid state that paying college athletes will actually encourage them to remain in college longer and not turn pro as quickly, either by giving them a way to begin earning money in college or requiring them to sign a contract stating they’ll stay at the university for a certain number of years while making an agreed-upon salary.
Supporters of this idea point to Zion Williamson, the Duke basketball superstar, who, during his freshman year, sustained a serious knee injury. Many argued that, even if he enjoyed playing for Duke, it wasn’t worth risking another injury and ending his professional career before it even began for a program that wasn’t paying him. Williamson seems to have agreed with them and declared his eligibility for the NCAA draft later that year. If he was being paid, he may have stayed at Duke longer. In fact, roughly a third of student athletes surveyed stated that receiving a salary while in college would make them “strongly consider” remaining collegiate athletes longer before turning pro.
Paying athletes could also stop the recruitment scandals that have plagued the NCAA. In 2018, the NCAA stripped the University of Louisville's men's basketball team of its 2013 national championship title because it was discovered coaches were using sex workers to entice recruits to join the team. There have been dozens of other recruitment scandals where college athletes and recruits have been bribed with anything from having their grades changed, to getting free cars, to being straight out bribed. By paying college athletes and putting their salaries out in the open, the NCAA could end the illegal and underhanded ways some schools and coaches try to entice athletes to join.
People who argue against the idea of paying college athletes believe the practice could be disastrous for college sports. By paying athletes, they argue, they’d turn college sports into a bidding war, where only the richest schools could afford top athletes, and the majority of schools would be shut out from developing a talented team (though some argue this already happens because the best players often go to the most established college sports programs, who typically pay their coaches millions of dollars per year). It could also ruin the tight camaraderie of many college teams if players become jealous that certain teammates are making more money than they are.
They also argue that paying college athletes actually means only a small fraction would make significant money. Out of the 350 Division I athletic departments, fewer than a dozen earn any money. Nearly all the money the NCAA makes comes from men’s football and basketball, so paying college athletes would make a small group of men--who likely will be signed to pro teams and begin making millions immediately out of college--rich at the expense of other players.
Those against paying college athletes also believe that the athletes are receiving enough benefits already. The top athletes already receive scholarships that are worth tens of thousands per year, they receive free food/housing/textbooks, have access to top medical care if they are injured, receive top coaching, get travel perks and free gear, and can use their time in college as a way to capture the attention of professional recruiters. No other college students receive anywhere near as much from their schools.
People on this side also point out that, while the NCAA brings in a massive amount of money each year, it is still a non-profit organization. How? Because over 95% of those profits are redistributed to its members’ institutions in the form of scholarships, grants, conferences, support for Division II and Division III teams, and educational programs. Taking away a significant part of that revenue would hurt smaller programs that rely on that money to keep running.
While both sides have good points, it’s clear that the negatives of paying college athletes far outweigh the positives. College athletes spend a significant amount of time and energy playing for their school, but they are compensated for it by the scholarships and perks they receive. Adding a salary to that would result in a college athletic system where only a small handful of athletes (those likely to become millionaires in the professional leagues) are paid by a handful of schools who enter bidding wars to recruit them, while the majority of student athletics and college athletic programs suffer or even shut down for lack of money. Continuing to offer the current level of benefits to student athletes makes it possible for as many people to benefit from and enjoy college sports as possible.
This argumentative essay follows the Rogerian model. It discusses each side, first laying out multiple reasons people believe student athletes should be paid, then discussing reasons why the athletes shouldn’t be paid. It ends by stating that college athletes shouldn’t be paid by arguing that paying them would destroy college athletics programs and cause them to have many of the issues professional sports leagues have.
- Both sides of the argument are well developed, with multiple reasons why people agree with each side. It allows readers to get a full view of the argument and its nuances.
- Certain statements on both sides are directly rebuffed in order to show where the strengths and weaknesses of each side lie and give a more complete and sophisticated look at the argument.
- Using the Rogerian model can be tricky because oftentimes you don’t explicitly state your argument until the end of the paper. Here, the thesis doesn’t appear until the first sentence of the final paragraph. That doesn’t give readers a lot of time to be convinced that your argument is the right one, compared to a paper where the thesis is stated in the beginning and then supported throughout the paper. This paper could be strengthened if the final paragraph was expanded to more fully explain why the author supports the view, or if the paper had made it clearer that paying athletes was the weaker argument throughout.
3 Tips for Writing a Good Argumentative Essay
Now that you’ve seen examples of what good argumentative essay samples look like, follow these three tips when crafting your own essay.
#1: Make Your Thesis Crystal Clear
The thesis is the key to your argumentative essay; if it isn’t clear or readers can’t find it easily, your entire essay will be weak as a result. Always make sure that your thesis statement is easy to find. The typical spot for it is the final sentence of the introduction paragraph, but if it doesn’t fit in that spot for your essay, try to at least put it as the first or last sentence of a different paragraph so it stands out more.
Also make sure that your thesis makes clear what side of the argument you’re on. After you’ve written it, it’s a great idea to show your thesis to a couple different people--classmates are great for this. Just by reading your thesis they should be able to understand what point you’ll be trying to make with the rest of your essay.
#2: Show Why the Other Side Is Weak
When writing your essay, you may be tempted to ignore the other side of the argument and just focus on your side, but don’t do this. The best argumentative essays really tear apart the other side to show why readers shouldn’t believe it. Before you begin writing your essay, research what the other side believes, and what their strongest points are. Then, in your essay, be sure to mention each of these and use evidence to explain why they’re incorrect/weak arguments. That’ll make your essay much more effective than if you only focused on your side of the argument.
#3: Use Evidence to Support Your Side
Remember, an essay can’t be an argumentative essay if it doesn’t support its argument with evidence. For every point you make, make sure you have facts to back it up. Some examples are previous studies done on the topic, surveys of large groups of people, data points, etc. There should be lots of numbers in your argumentative essay that support your side of the argument. This will make your essay much stronger compared to only relying on your own opinions to support your argument.
Summary: Argumentative Essay Sample
Argumentative essays are persuasive essays that use facts and evidence to support their side of the argument. Most argumentative essays follow either the Toulmin model or the Rogerian model. By reading good argumentative essay examples, you can learn how to develop your essay and provide enough support to make readers agree with your opinion. When writing your essay, remember to always make your thesis clear, show where the other side is weak, and back up your opinion with data and evidence.
Do you need to write an argumentative essay as well? Check out our guide on the best argumentative essay topics for ideas!
You'll probably also need to write research papers for school. We've got you covered with 113 potential topics for research papers.
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Christine graduated from Michigan State University with degrees in Environmental Biology and Geography and received her Master's from Duke University. In high school she scored in the 99th percentile on the SAT and was named a National Merit Finalist. She has taught English and biology in several countries.
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50 Argumentative Essay Topics
Illustration by Catherine Song. ThoughtCo.
- M.Ed., Education Administration, University of Georgia
- B.A., History, Armstrong State University
An argumentative essay requires you to decide on a topic and take a position on it. You'll need to back up your viewpoint with well-researched facts and information as well. One of the hardest parts is deciding which topic to write about, but there are plenty of ideas available to get you started.
Choosing a Great Argumentative Essay Topic
Students often find that most of their work on these essays is done before they even start writing. This means that it's best if you have a general interest in your subject, otherwise you might get bored or frustrated while trying to gather information. (You don't need to know everything, though.) Part of what makes this experience rewarding is learning something new.
It's best if you have a general interest in your subject, but the argument you choose doesn't have to be one that you agree with.
The subject you choose may not necessarily be one that you are in full agreement with, either. You may even be asked to write a paper from the opposing point of view. Researching a different viewpoint helps students broaden their perspectives.
Ideas for Argument Essays
Sometimes, the best ideas are sparked by looking at many different options. Explore this list of possible topics and see if a few pique your interest. Write those down as you come across them, then think about each for a few minutes.
Which would you enjoy researching? Do you have a firm position on a particular subject? Is there a point you would like to make sure to get across? Did the topic give you something new to think about? Can you see why someone else may feel differently?
50 Possible Topics
A number of these topics are rather controversial—that's the point. In an argumentative essay, opinions matter and controversy is based on opinions, which are, hopefully, backed up by facts. If these topics are a little too controversial or you don't find the right one for you, try browsing through persuasive essay and speech topics as well.
- Is global climate change caused by humans?
- Is the death penalty effective?
- Is our election process fair?
- Is torture ever acceptable?
- Should men get paternity leave from work?
- Are school uniforms beneficial?
- Do we have a fair tax system?
- Do curfews keep teens out of trouble?
- Is cheating out of control?
- Are we too dependent on computers?
- Should animals be used for research?
- Should cigarette smoking be banned?
- Are cell phones dangerous?
- Are law enforcement cameras an invasion of privacy?
- Do we have a throwaway society?
- Is child behavior better or worse than it was years ago?
- Should companies market to children?
- Should the government have a say in our diets?
- Does access to condoms prevent teen pregnancy?
- Should members of Congress have term limits?
- Are actors and professional athletes paid too much?
- Are CEOs paid too much?
- Should athletes be held to high moral standards?
- Do violent video games cause behavior problems?
- Should creationism be taught in public schools?
- Are beauty pageants exploitative ?
- Should English be the official language of the United States?
- Should the racing industry be forced to use biofuels?
- Should the alcohol drinking age be increased or decreased?
- Should everyone be required to recycle?
- Is it okay for prisoners to vote (as they are in some states)?
- Is it good that same-sex couples are able to marry?
- Are there benefits to attending a single-sex school ?
- Does boredom lead to trouble?
- Should schools be in session year-round ?
- Does religion cause war?
- Should the government provide health care?
- Should abortion be illegal?
- Are girls too mean to each other?
- Is homework harmful or helpful?
- Is the cost of college too high?
- Is college admission too competitive?
- Should euthanasia be illegal?
- Should the federal government legalize marijuana use nationally ?
- Should rich people be required to pay more taxes?
- Should schools require foreign language or physical education?
- Is affirmative action fair?
- Is public prayer okay in schools?
- Are schools and teachers responsible for low test scores?
- Is greater gun control a good idea?
Watch Now: How to Choose a Position for an Argument Essay
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An argumentative essay should be objective in its approach; your arguments should rely on logic and evidence, not on exaggeration or appeals to emotion. There are many possible approaches to argumentative essays, but there are two common models that can help you start outlining your arguments: The Toulmin model and the Rogerian model.
As noted in the paragraph above, a successful and well-rounded argumentative essay will also discuss opinions not aligning with the thesis. It is unethical to exclude evidence that may not support the thesis.
A good argumentative essay isn’t just based on your individual thoughts, but research. That can be citing sources and other arguments or it can mean direct research in the field, depending on what your argument is and the context in which you are arguing it.
There are three key elements of a good argumentative essay: a strong argument, thesis and comprehensive research. Strong argument To write a compelling essay that persuades your reader, start with a strong argument. Start with a topic that you feel strongly about and construct an argument with reasons and proof.
There’s no one right way to structure an argumentative essay; it depends on your topic, opposing viewpoints, and the readers, among other things. In fact, to accommodate different types of argumentative essay styles, three methods have emerged as the go-to formats: Classical (Aristotelian), Rogerian, and Toulmin, explained below.
Many controversial argumentative essay topics are prone to prejudice. They often have an unconscious aim to prove already assumed facts. When writing an essay, it is always crucial to understand both sides. Try picking a neutral topic to which you are mostly indifferent. Argumentative Essay Topics
What Is an Argumentative Essay? An argumentative essay is an essay that uses evidence and facts to support the claim it’s making. Its purpose is to persuade the reader to agree with the argument being made. A good argumentative essay will use facts and evidence to support the argument, rather than just the author’s thoughts and opinions.
It's best if you have a general interest in your subject, but the argument you choose doesn't have to be one that you agree with. The subject you choose may not necessarily be one that you are in full agreement with, either. You may even be asked to write a paper from the opposing point of view.