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ints to Writing a Strong Argumentative Essay

Like the research paper, the first place to start when writing an argumentative essay is with choosing a topic. You can review Topic 3 in the research paper project section to help you even more.

Next, you will need a thesis statement. As you will need to conduct research in order to develop your argumentative essay, you can create a working thesis statement by following this prompt:

Graphic reads "My stance on [this issue] is BLANK, and I believe this because BLANK."

Once you complete the prompt, focus on all of the information that you've added to this prompt. What is the issue you're writing about? What is your stance? Why do you believe this? Use the answers to these three questions to develop a working thesis statement. For example, consider this sequence:

  • Prompt: My stand on whether the United States should implement its own version of the Mexican siesta is that we should do that, and I believe this because it will ensure that Americans have enough rest, it will allow employees to work promptly and efficiently, and it will decrease the amount of stress Americans face.
  • Working Thesis Statement: The United States should implement its own version of the Mexican "siesta" to ensure that Americans have enough rest, to allow employees to work promptly and efficiently, and to decrease the amount of stress Americans face.

Next, create an outline form your working thesis statement. Your essay should contain the following:

  • Background Information: What facts, studies, or observations can I provide on the topic?
  • Claim: What am I trying to prove?
  • Support: How can I prove my claim?
  • Counterarguments: What arguments will my opponents raise? How will I respond?

Using the working thesis statement developed above, we could create an outline like this:

  I. Introduction (and thesis statement)
      a. Situation about someone having a siesta during the workday
      b. Thesis Statement: The United States should implement its own version of the Mexican "siesta" to ensure that Americans have enough rest, to allow employees to work promptly and efficiently, and to decrease the amount of stress Americans face.
  II. Background Information
      a. Describe siestas
      b. When siestas occur
      c. What the purpose of siestas are
  III. My Viewpoint - Reason 1
      a. Topic Sentence: With a siesta, Americans will be able to rest.
      b. Give evidence to support this (need to research).
      c. Explain how the evidence supports my thesis statement.
  IV. My Viewpoint - Reason 2
      a. Topic Sentence: In addition, siestas provide employees an opportunity to work efficiently.
      b. Give evidence to support this (need to research).
      c. Explain how the evidence supports my thesis statement.
  V. My Viewpoint - Reason 3
      a. Topic Sentence: Lastly, implementing a siesta will decrease the amount of stress Americans face.
      b. Give evidence to support this (need to research).
      c. Explain how the evidence supports my thesis statement.
  VI. Counterargument
      a. Concede or Refute why someone wouldn't want a siesta
  VII. Conclusion
      a. Revisit thesis statement
      b. Argue why my position is correct

One technique you can use to find the counterarguments is to think about what is directly opposite of your thesis statement. In this case, we're arguing why there should be a siesta, so the counterargument is going to take the position that we shouldn't have siestas. What reasons would support this argument? Those are going to be counterarguments. Let's look at two techniques we can use to address the counterargument using the chosen topic for this example:

1) Concede: Admit this argument is valid. However, you need to prove that you can accept it without changing your original position. Consider this counterargument and concession: Including a siesta would interrupt the workday and ultimately harm the economy.

  • While a siesta is designed to provide a break during the workday, it allows employees to be rejuvenated. Rested employees will be more focused on their work, and production will increase, thus stimulating the economy.

2) Refute: Present additional evidence to deny the counterargument. Consider this same example: Including a siesta would interrupt the workday and ultimately hard the economy.

  • After a short siesta, production increases, and the risk of accidents decreases. Therefore, the economy will be stimulated, as employees are producing more goods and services to be sold and bartered. 

Now, knowing what facts are needed, the writer can begin the research process, so creating an outline is essential. You will likely be able to use many of the same headings and replace the information for your argumentative essay in each section of the outline.

Once you have an outline and you have your researched information, you can begin writing the first draft of your essay. One technique that distinguishes argumentative writing from other types of writing is the strong language that is used. Consider these two sentences:

  1. One suggestion that some offer is maybe companies could offer employees a twenty minute or so siesta.
  2. Offering a twenty-minute siesta will decrease the amount of stress Americans face while simultaneously increasing their job satisfaction. This enhancing production.

Which of these sentences are you more likely to believe? Most likely, you chose the second one for a few reasons:

  • The language is much stronger. Using the word "will" shows that changes will take place. In the first sentence, the words "suggestion" and "maybe" hint that this might now be the best solution.
  • Reasons are offered. The second sentence includes two reasons (decreasing stress of Americans and increasing job satisfaction) to explain why siestas should be included.

Including strong language and specific reasons with the ideas in your essay will ensure that your argumentative essay is a great one!

Last modified: Thursday, April 4, 2019, 2:58 PMStraighterLine Credit Transfer Guarantee 

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