Breaking the blank page: How to get started with argumentative writing in college
What is an argumentative essay?
An argumentative essay is a type of paper where you try to prove a point. It's like a debate. In the essay, you explain why someone should agree with your side of the argument.
Why should I care?
Argumentative essays will help you:
- Improve your reading and listening skills
- Practice researching topics improve your thinking skills
- Learn to clearly explain your points
Roadmap to an argumentative essay
- Find a debatable topic. This means that someone could argue against you.
- Research your topic. Come up with an argument that is supported by your research. This is your claim.
- Jot down several good reasons why you support your claim. Use your research to back up those reasons.
- Look at the reasons you gave and try to argue with yourself. Ask: Why would someone disagree with your reasons? What would they say?
- Choose one of these reasons and disprove it with your research. This is your counterclaim.
- Carefully organize your paper so that it moves smoothly from defending your own points to sections where you argue against the opposition.
Essay template and examples
- Start with an opening statement that gets the reader's attention.
- Include background information on your claim.
- Introduce and state your claim.
- Make points that support your claim.
- Use facts and details to make these points - these are your evidence.
- Connect these facts and details to your claim.
- Show a point people may make to challenge your argument.
- Disprove that point.
- Restate your argument and supporting evidence.
- Tell your reader why your argument matters.