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Writing an Argumentative Research Paper

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Examples of argumentative essays

Skyline College libguides: MLA Sample Argumentative Papers

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Structure & Outline

Usually written in the five-paragraph structure, the argumentative essay format consists of an introduction, 2-3 body paragraphs, and a conclusion.

A works cited page or reference page (depending on format) will be included at the end of the essay along with in-text citations within the essay.

When writing an argumentative research essay, create an outline to structure the research you find as well as help with the writing process. The outline of an argumentative essay should include an introduction with thesis statement, 3 main body paragraphs with supporting evidence and opposing viewpoints with evidence to disprove, along with an conclusion.

The example below is just a basic outline and structure

I. Introduction: tells what you are going to write about. Basic information about the issue along with your thesis statement.

 A. Basic information

B. Thesis Statement

II. Body 1 : Reason 1 write about the first reason that proves your claim on the issue and give supporting evidence

A. supporting evidence 

B. Supporting evidence 

II. Body 2 .: Reason 2 write about the third reason that proves your claim on the issue and give supporting evidence

A. supporting evidence

III. Body 3 : Reason 3 write about the fourth reason that proves your claim on the issue and give supporting evidence

IV. Counter arguments and responses. Write about opposing viewpoints and use evidence to refute their argument and persuade audience in your direction or viewpoint

A. Arguments from other side of the issue

B. Refute the arguments

V. Conclusion

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How to Write an Argumentative Research Paper

Last Updated: December 9, 2022 Fact Checked

This article was co-authored by Christopher Taylor, PhD . Christopher Taylor is an Adjunct Assistant Professor of English at Austin Community College in Texas. He received his PhD in English Literature and Medieval Studies from the University of Texas at Austin in 2014. There are 14 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 364,930 times.

An argumentative essay requires you to make an argument about something and support your point of view using evidence in the form of primary and secondary sources. The argumentative essay is a common assignment, but teachers may present it in a variety of different ways. You can learn how to write an argumentative essay by following some standard steps for writing an essay as well as by doing some things that are required for argumentative essays, such as citing your sources.

Sample Outlines

does a research paper have to be argumentative

Getting Started

Step 1 Learn the basic features of an argumentative essay.

  • a thesis statement that makes a clear argument (provided in the first paragraph)
  • claims that help prove your overall argument
  • logical transitions that connect paragraphs and sentences
  • support for your claims from your sources
  • a conclusion that considers the evidence you have presented
  • in-text citations throughout your essay to indicate where you have used sources (ask your teacher about what citation style to use)
  • a works cited page with an entry for each of your sources (ask your teacher about what citation style to use)

Step 2 Ask for clarification.

  • Make sure that you understand how to cite your sources for the paper and how to use the documentation style your teacher prefers. If you’re not sure, just ask.
  • Don’t feel bad if you have questions. It is better to ask and make sure that you understand than to do the assignment wrong and get a bad grade.

Step 3 Generate ideas for your argumentative essay.

  • Listing List all of the ideas that you have for your essay (good or bad) and then look over the list you have made and group similar ideas together. Expand those lists by adding more ideas or by using another prewriting activity. [3] X Research source
  • Freewriting Write nonstop for about 10 minutes. Write whatever comes to mind and don’t edit yourself. When you are done, review what you have written and highlight or underline the most useful information. Repeat the freewriting exercise using the passages you underlined as a starting point. You can repeat this exercise multiple times to continue to refine and develop your ideas. [4] X Research source
  • Clustering Write a brief explanation (phrase or short sentence) of the subject of your argumentative essay on the center of a piece of paper and circle it. Then draw three or more lines extending from the circle. Write a corresponding idea at the end of each of these lines. Continue developing your cluster until you have explored as many connections as you can. [5] X Research source
  • Questioning On a piece of paper, write out “Who? What? When? Where? Why? How?” Space the questions about two or three lines apart on the paper so that you can write your answers on these lines. Respond to each question in as much detail as you can. [6] X Research source

Step 4 Think about how you will incorporate ethos, pathos, and logos.

  • Ethos refers to a writer’s credibility or trustworthiness. To convince your readers that your argument is valid, you need to convince them that you are trustworthy. You can accomplish this goal by presenting yourself as confident, fair, and approachable. You can achieve these objectives by avoiding wishy-washy statements, presenting information in an unbiased manner, and identifying common ground between yourself and your readers(including the ones that may disagree with you). You can also show your authority, another aspect of ethos, by demonstrating that you’ve done thorough research on the topic.
  • Pathos refers to your use of emotional appeals. Emotional appeals have a place in argumentative writing, but overuse of them may lead a reader to reject your argument. Make sure that your use of emotional appeals is minimal and appropriate. Some ways that you can incorporate pathos into your paper without turning off your readers includes using descriptive language that evokes the desired reaction (positive or negative) to your subject, especially when you use other people’s language—such as quotes—to do so (which avoids damaging your ethos with overly emotional language). You can also invoke pathos by providing relevant examples that evoke an emotional response in your readers and using figurative language (such as metaphors) to help your readers understand and sympathize with your point of view.
  • Logos refers to your use of logic, reasoning, and sequencing. This means setting up your argument in a way that uses logic to achieve your desired endpoint or reaction, often through inductive and deductive reasoning. For example, you can appeal to your readers’ desire for logic by organizing your examples in a way that shows your argument in the best light and is easy to follow, such as chronologically, by cause and effect, or by problem and solution.

Step 5 Develop your tentative thesis.

  • Place your thesis statement at the end of your first paragraph unless your instructor tells you to place it elsewhere. The end of the first paragraph is the traditional place to provide your thesis in an academic essay.

Step 6 Make sure your thesis is arguable.

  • For example, an arguable thesis statement might be something like, “The drinking age should be reduced to 18 in the United States.” This statement is arguable because it presents a position that others might debate by saying “The drinking age should not be reduced to 18 in the US.” Or, others might argue that the drinking age should be abolished altogether or even raised. There are many possibilities for a counter argument, which makes this topic arguable.

Step 7 Make sure your thesis provides enough detail.

  • For example, a detailed thesis statement might be something like, “Because youth are more drawn to drinking as a way to rebel, lowering the drinking age to 18 in the United States would help to reduce binge drinking among teenagers and college students.” This thesis still provides a position that could be debated, but it also explains the reasoning behind the position. Providing this detail gives readers a good sense of what the rest of the paper will discuss.
  • Your thesis should tell your reader why your argument matters, and for whom.

Step 8 Develop a rough...

  • Organize your outline by essay part and then break those parts into subsections. For example, part 1 might be your introduction, which could then be broken into three sub-parts: a)Opening sentence, b)context/background information c)thesis statement.

Research Your Topic

Step 1 Generate key terms and phrases to help you with your research.

  • For example, some relevant key terms and phrases for a paper on lowering the drinking age to 18 might be: “drinking”, “underage”, “minors”, “binge”, “rebellion”, “drinking age”, “binge drinking culture”, “countries with low drinking age”, “drinking and rebellion”, etc.

Step 2 Find appropriate secondary sources for your argumentative essay.

  • Use your library’s databases rather than a general internet search. University libraries subscribe to many databases, such as EBSCO and JSTOR. These databases provide you with free access to articles and other resources that you cannot usually gain access to by using a search engine. Schedule an appointment with a librarian at your school’s library if you are not sure about how to use the library databases.
  • If your university doesn’t subscribe to any databases, use Google Scholar.

Step 3 Evaluate your sources...

  • Author's credentials Choose sources that include an author’s name and that provide credentials for that author. The credentials should indicate something about why this person is qualified to speak as an authority on the subject. For example, an article about a medical condition will be more trustworthy if the author is a medical doctor. If you find a source where no author is listed or the author does not have any credentials, then this source may not be trustworthy.
  • Citations Think about whether or not this author has adequately researched the topic. Check the author’s bibliography or works cited page. If the author has provided few or no sources, then this source may not be trustworthy.
  • Bias Think about whether or not this author has presented an objective, well-reasoned account of the topic. How often does the tone indicate a strong preference for one side of the argument? How often does the argument dismiss or disregard the opposition’s concerns or valid arguments? If these are regular occurrences in the source, then it may not be a good choice.
  • Publication date Think about whether or not this source presents the most up to date information on the subject. Noting the publication date is especially important for scientific subjects, since new technologies and techniques have made some earlier findings irrelevant.
  • Information provided in the source If you are still questioning the trustworthiness of this source, cross check some of the information provided against a trustworthy source. If the information that this author presents contradicts one of your trustworthy sources, then it might not be a good source to use in your paper.

Step 4 Read your research.

  • To be certain that you understand your sources and that you are capable of responding to each of them, try writing a paragraph summary and response after you finish each one. Some people find keeping notecards on their sources to be a helpful way of organizing their ideas about each one. [15] X Research source
  • Misunderstanding and misrepresenting your sources can damage your credibility as an author and also have a negative effect on your grade. Give yourself plenty of time to read your sources and understand what they are saying.

Step 5 Take notes while you read your sources.

  • Be careful to properly cite your sources when taking notes. Even accidental plagiarism may result in a failing grade on a paper.

Drafting Your Essay

Step 1 Begin your essay with an engaging sentence that gets right into your topic.

  • For example, an argumentative essay about lowering the drinking age might begin with something like, “Binge drinking culture is killing teens in the United States, but it hasn’t always been this way.” This sentence offers a compelling statement and it also acts as a launch pad for you to provide some background on your topic.

Step 2 Provide background information to help guide your readers.

  • For example, if you are arguing that lowering the drinking age would help to counter binge drinking among teens and young adults, your introduction should talk about the damage that is being done by binge drinking. Tell your readers about this problem in more detail so that they will begin to see why something needs to change.
  • Keep in mind that your background information in the first paragraph should lead up to your thesis statement. Explain everything the reader needs to know to understand what your topic is about, then narrow it down until you reach the topic itself.

Step 3 Provide your thesis statement at the end of your first paragraph.

  • For example, a thesis statement for a paper on lowering the drinking age might look something like, “Because the current drinking age of 21 in the United States does more harm than good by proliferating binge drinking culture among teens, the drinking age should be lowered to 18.” This thesis provides a straightforward position and reason for that position that readers can easily identify as the author’s main argument.
  • In your thesis, you should also address how you’ll support your argument and why your argument matters.

Step 4 Use your body paragraphs to discuss specific parts of your argument.

  • For example, one of your body paragraphs might begin with something like, “Teens are more likely to engage in binge drinking in the United States than in countries where the drinking age is lower or non-existent.”
  • You might then follow up this claim with evidence from your sources. For example, you could provide statistics on teen drinking in other countries where the drinking age is lower, or you could summarize an interview with an authority of the subject, or cite an article that explains the psychological basis of this phenomenon. Whatever source(s) you choose, make sure that they are relevant that they offer convincing support for your claim.

Step 5 Develop a conclusion for your essay.

  • Rephrase your thesis. It is often helpful to remind your readers of the initial argument, but don’t simply restate your thesis if you do this. Rephrase it so that it sounds different but has the same meaning. Summarize some of the most important evidence you have offered in your essay and say remind readers of how that evidence has contributed to supporting your thesis.
  • Synthesize what you have discussed. Put everything together for your readers and explain what other lessons might be gained from your argument. How might this discussion change the way others view your subject?
  • Explain why your topic matters. Help your readers to see why this topic deserve their attention. How does this topic affect your readers? What are the broader implications of this topic? Why does your topic matter?
  • Return to your opening discussion. If you offered an anecdote or a quote early in your paper, it might be helpful to revisit that opening discussion and explore how the information you have gathered implicates that discussion.

Step 6 Make sure that you have cited all of your sources.

  • Ask your teacher what documentation style he or she prefers that you use if it is not mentioned in the assignment guidelines.
  • Visit your school’s writing center for additional help with your works cited page and in-text citations.

Revising Your Essay

Step 1 Put aside your paper for a few days before revising.

  • What is your main point? How might you clarify your main point?
  • Who is your audience? Have you considered their needs and expectations?
  • What is your purpose? Have you accomplished your purpose with this paper?
  • How effective is your evidence? How might your strengthen your evidence?
  • Does every part of your paper relate back to your thesis? How might you improve these connections?
  • Is anything confusing about your language or organization? How might your clarify your language or organization?
  • Have you made any errors with grammar, punctuation, or spelling? How can you correct these errors?
  • What might someone who disagrees with you say about your paper? How can you address these opposing arguments in your paper? [25] X Research source

Step 4 Proofread a printed version of your final draft.

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does a research paper have to be argumentative

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  • ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/general_writing/academic_writing/essay_writing/argumentative_essays.html
  • ↑ http://writing.ku.edu/prewriting-strategies
  • ↑ https://stlcc.edu/student-support/academic-success-and-tutoring/writing-center/writing-resources/pathos-logos-and-ethos.aspx
  • ↑ https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/673/1/
  • ↑ http://writingcenter.unc.edu/handouts/thesis-statements/
  • ↑ https://academicguides.waldenu.edu/writingcenter/writingprocess/outlining
  • ↑ https://apus.libanswers.com/faq/2316
  • ↑ https://libguides.schoolcraft.edu/c.php?g=430555&p=3011200
  • ↑ http://guides.jwcc.edu/content.php?pid=65900&sid=538553
  • ↑ http://www.writing.utoronto.ca/advice/reading-and-researching/notes-from-research
  • ↑ https://www.grammarly.com/blog/argumentative-essay/
  • ↑ https://writing.wisc.edu/handbook/process/revisingargument/
  • ↑ https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/561/05/
  • ↑ https://writingcenter.unc.edu/tips-and-tools/editing-and-proofreading/

About This Article

Christopher Taylor, PhD

To write an argumentative research paper, choose a topic that can be argued from one or more perspectives, then pick a side. Start your paper with a thesis statement summing up your position, then support your statement with facts and arguments gathered from reputable sources. Use background information or context to help guide your readers through your essay, telling them what they need to know to understand the rest of your argument. For different approaches you can use while revising your paper, read on! Did this summary help you? Yes No

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Can Research Paper be Argumentative: How to write research arguments

Can Research Paper be Argumentative: How to write research arguments

How to Write Argumentative Research Paper

How to Write Argumentative Research Paper

Is it suitable for your research paper to be argumentative? The answer to this question depends on the paper you are writing and the thesis.

Two factors can make a research paper argumentative. These factors include the topic of your research paper and your writing style.

does a research paper have to be argumentative

If you are not familiar with being argumentative in a research paper, then this article will help guide you through the process.

Can a Research Paper be Argumentative?

A research paper can be argumentative if its thesis presents an argument that has to be proven and defended through research. To write an effective argument research paper or essay, you must research a topic and create a solid argument. Then provide concrete, convincing evidence to support your stance.

example of argumentative essay

Argumentative papers are generally persuasive, and there is a definite thesis with supporting evidence throughout the paper.

The thesis of the research paper does not have to take a position on the issue, but it has to do so in the case of an argumentative essay.

A research paper aims to find out what other people think about a particular subject and describe what they believe.

It involves looking at what people had written about it before and then writing down their results in a logical way.

The purpose of an argumentative essay, on the other hand, is not just to describe what others think but to present your own opinion about something. In this case, the thesis must take a stand on an issue.

Other Types of Research Papers

There are other types of research papers as listed below:

1) Analytical Research Paper

An analytical research paper is an academic piece of writing aimed at analyzing different points of view from multiple sources on a particular topic.

In contrast to an argumentative research paper, you do not have to persuade the reader that your point of view is correct and others are wrong. 

Instead, your goal is to provide a well-researched, balanced, and objective evaluation of the current state of knowledge and scholarly thinking related to your topic.

2) Informative/Expository Research Paper

An informative research paper informs the reader about a topic. They often have five paragraphs: an introduction, three body paragraphs, and a conclusion.

When writing an informative research paper, your goal is to inform your reader about your topic and possibly convince them that your interpretation of the subject matter is the most accurate one.

The purpose of an expository (informative) paper is to inform the reader about a topic or to offer details about a subject. An expository essay is less analytical and does not require outside research; instead, it focuses on sharing personal experiences and observations.

An informal research paper is a brief research paper that does not need a rigorous format. Everyday research papers can apply to various academic and non-academic settings.

3 ) Position Research Paper

Position papers are also kinds of reports written after studying a topic from all aspects. One has to take a position on the topic and then argue for it with the help of valid arguments and supporting facts. 

types of research papers

4) Explanatory Research Papers

An explanatory research paper “explains” something to the audience.

The paper is usually organized by describing different parts or aspects of the topic in separate paragraphs, or it might be organized by moving from general information to specific information. 

Explanatory research papers can also feature fiction texts like novels, plays, and short stories.

The purpose is not to argue a point but rather to present information about a topic and allow the reader to form his or her own opinion about that topic.

Instances when Argumentative Research Paper is good

There are several instances when an argumentative research paper applies, such as: 

1. When you want to discuss a controversial issue

Argumentative research papers are written on topics that bring about an argument. When you write an argumentative research paper, your goal is to choose a side and declare whether you agree or disagree with something.

A controversial issue has two sides that stand in opposition to each other. There are no middle grounds here. For example, abortion is a controversial issue because there are people who are pro-choice and anti-abortion.

Both have valid arguments and reasons for believing in their views, but none of the sides will ever move an inch toward the other’s beliefs because they are so different from each other.

2. When you want to be informed on the subject

If you want to be informed on the subject and you would like to learn more about a specific subject, an argumentative research paper is good. This will allow you to look at both sides of the issue and get more information.

You will see what the other side thinks and why they think it. When you have this knowledge, it can help you decide your own opinion on the topic.

3. When you are trying to prove something

If you are trying to prove something, an argumentative research paper is a great choice.

It is a type of paper that will give you all of the information you need to prove your point with facts and evidence. You will be able to show why your opinion or belief is right based on all of the information given in the paper.

4. When there is a conflict between two or more parties involved in an issue or situation 

In this type of situation, you must choose one side over another. For example, if there’s a conflict between two employees at work and both have brought their cases to management for evaluation and resolution. 

How to Write an Argumentative Research Paper

argumentative essay outline

An argumentative essay requires you to decide on a topic and take a position. You will 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 plenty of ideas are available to get you started.

Start by looking over the notes you made during the research phase and consider how you present all of your ideas and research. Since this is an argumentative essay, you want to focus on providing evidence that supports your opinion on a topic.

Start by outlining your introduction, which should include your thesis statement, as well as the general ideas and points you will be making throughout the essay.

This will help you organize your thoughts and decide what information should be featured in each paper section.

Your conclusion should briefly summarize all of the evidence you have presented and restate your thesis so that your reader leaves with a strong impression of your argument.

When planning out your arguments, make sure you have at least three main points that support your thesis; for each point, you should have 3-4 sub-points that support it. As such, this helps to back up any claims that you make in the paper and makes it more credible overall.

You can easily turn these points into questions and make a good research paper topic by observing the following:

#1. Choosing a Great Argumentative Essay Topic

Students often find that most of their work on these essays is done before writing. This means that it’s best to 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.

#2. Consider Prompts for your Argumentative Essay

Think about your life. What is it that interests you? Jot these subjects down. Finally, evaluate your options. If your goal is to educate, choose a subject you have already studied.

If your goal is to persuade, choose a subject that you are passionate about. Whatever the essay’s mission, make sure that you are interested in your topic.

Feel free to use bullet points in your research paper if need be to present your findings or summarize your findings or objectives.

Josh Jasen

When not handling complex essays and academic writing tasks, Josh is busy advising students on how to pass assignments. In spare time, he loves playing football or walking with his dog around the park.

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Research papers need argument and evidence.

Andrew Delbanco

Andrew Delbanco teaches American literature at Columbia. His new book, "College: What It Was, Is and Should Be," will be published next spring.

Updated August 29, 2011, 5:13 PM

The trouble with the question of whether research papers or essays are a better assessment of acquired knowledge is that it’s based on a false distinction. Any good research paper must have an argument, and any good essay must support its argument with evidence.

Like students, more and more professors are expected to produce work that shows off what looks like earned expertise, and to produce it too fast and too frequently.

It’s certainly true that the nature of research changed with the advent of search engines that can do the looking and sorting and even some version of thinking — all things that students were once supposed to learn how to do for themselves. It doesn’t take long to gather lots of sources, fit them to whatever claim one wants to make, and thereby produce something that looks like the result of hours in the library spent reading and deriving conclusions from what one has read. But now, as in the past, a good teacher should be able to tell the difference between a phony piece of writing and an honest one.

In this respect, teachers are under the same kind of distorting pressure as students. More and more professors are expected to produce work that shows off what looks like earned expertise, and to produce it too fast and too frequently. It’s much easier to do this by roaming the cybersphere than by reading the old, slow way, and then writing only when one actually has something to say. The second method will always yield better work, whether it’s a research paper or an essay, than the first.

Join Opinion on Facebook and follow updates on twitter.com/roomfordebate .

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Purdue Online Writing Lab Purdue OWL® College of Liberal Arts

Introductions, Body Paragraphs, and Conclusions for an Argument Paper

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Copyright ©1995-2018 by The Writing Lab & The OWL at Purdue and Purdue University. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, reproduced, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our terms and conditions of fair use.

This resource outlines the generally accepted structure for introductions, body paragraphs, and conclusions in an academic argument paper. Keep in mind that this resource contains guidelines and not strict rules about organization. Your structure needs to be flexible enough to meet the requirements of your purpose and audience.

The following sections outline the generally accepted structure for an academic argument paper. Keep in mind that these are guidelines and that your structure needs to be flexible enough to meet the requirements of your purpose and audience.

You may also use the following Purdue OWL resources to help you with your argument paper:

  • Creating a Thesis Statement
  • Organizing Your Argument
  • Organizing Your Argument Slide Presentation
  • Logic in Argumentative Writing
  • Paragraphs and Paragraphing
  • Transitions and Transitional Devices

Introduction

The introduction is the broad beginning of the paper that answers three important questions:

  • What is this?
  • Why am I reading it?
  • What do you want me to do?

You should answer these questions by doing the following:

  • Set the context –provide general information about the main idea, explaining the situation so the reader can make sense of the topic and the claims you make and support
  • State why the main idea is important –tell the reader why he or she should care and keep reading. Your goal is to create a compelling, clear, and convincing essay people will want to read and act upon
  • State your thesis / claim –compose a sentence or two stating the position you will support with logos (sound reasoning: induction, deduction), pathos (balanced emotional appeal), and ethos (author credibility).

For exploratory essays, your primary research question would replace your thesis statement so that the audience understands why you began your inquiry. An overview of the types of sources you explored might follow your research question.

If your argument paper is long, you may want to forecast how you will support your thesis by outlining the structure of your paper, the sources you will consider, and the opposition to your position. You can forecast your paper in many different ways depending on the type of paper you are writing. Your forecast could read something like this:

First, I will define key terms for my argument, and then I will provide some background of the situation. Next, I will outline the important positions of the argument and explain why I support one of these positions. Lastly, I will consider opposing positions and discuss why these positions are outdated. I will conclude with some ideas for taking action and possible directions for future research.

When writing a research paper, you may need to use a more formal, less personal tone. Your forecast might read like this:

This paper begins by providing key terms for the argument before providing background of the situation. Next, important positions are outlined and supported. To provide a more thorough explanation of these important positions, opposing positions are discussed. The paper concludes with some ideas for taking action and possible directions for future research.

Ask your instructor about what tone you should use when providing a forecast for your paper.

These are very general examples, but by adding some details on your specific topic, a forecast will effectively outline the structure of your paper so your readers can more easily follow your ideas.

Thesis checklist

Your thesis is more than a general statement about your main idea. It needs to establish a clear position you will support with balanced proofs (logos, pathos, ethos). Use the checklist below to help you create a thesis.

This section is adapted from Writing with a Thesis: A Rhetoric Reader by David Skwire and Sarah Skwire:

Make sure you avoid the following when creating your thesis:

  • A thesis is not a title: Homes and schools (title) vs. Parents ought to participate more in the education of their children (good thesis).
  • A thesis is not an announcement of the subject: My subject is the incompetence of the Supreme Court vs. The Supreme Court made a mistake when it ruled in favor of George W. Bush in the 2000 election.
  • A thesis is not a statement of absolute fact: Jane Austen is the author of Pride and Prejudice.
  • A thesis is not the whole essay: A thesis is your main idea/claim/refutation/problem-solution expressed in a single sentence or a combination of sentences.
  • Please note that according to the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, Seventh Edition, "A thesis statement is a single sentence that formulates both your topic and your point of view" (Gibaldi 42). However, if your paper is more complex and requires a thesis statement, your thesis may require a combination of sentences.

Make sure you follow these guidelines when creating your thesis:

  • NOT: Detective stories are not a high form of literature, but people have always been fascinated by them, and many fine writers have experimented with them

(floppy). vs.

  • BETTER: Detective stories appeal to the basic human desire for thrills (concise).
  • NOT: James Joyce’s Ulysses is very good. vs.
  • BETTER: James Joyce’s Ulysses helped create a new way for writers to deal with the unconscious.
  • NOT: James Joyce’s Ulysses helped create a new way for writers to deal with the unconscious. vs.
  • BETTER: James Joyce’s Ulysses helped create a new way for writers to deal with the unconscious by utilizing the findings of Freudian psychology and introducing the techniques of literary stream-of-consciousness.

Quick Checklist:

_____ The thesis/claim follows the guidelines outlined above

_____ The thesis/claim matches the requirements and goals of the assignment

_____ The thesis/claim is clear and easily recognizable

_____ The thesis/claim seems supportable by good reasoning/data, emotional appeal

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Research Writing and Argument: All Writing is Argument

Pavel Zemilansky

Learning Objectives

  • Define rhetoric and explain the term’s historical context related to persuasive writing
  • Demonstrate the importance of research writing as a rhetorical, persuasive activity

This chapter is about rhetoric—the art of persuasion. Every time we write, we engage in argument. Through writing, we try to persuade and influence our readers, either directly or indirectly. We work to get them to change their minds, to do something, or to begin thinking in new ways. Therefore, every writer needs to know and be able to use principles of rhetoric. The first step towards such knowledge is learning to see the argumentative nature of all writing.

I have two goals in this chapter: to explain the term rhetoric and to give you some historical perspective on its origins and development; and to demonstrate the importance of seeing research writing as a rhetorical, persuasive activity.

As consumers of written texts, we are often tempted to divide writing into two categories: argumentative and non-argumentative. According to this view, in order to be argumentative, writing must have the following qualities. It has to defend a position in a debate between two or more opposing sides; it must be on a controversial topic; and the goal of such writing must be to prove the correctness of one point of view over another.

On the other hand, this view goes, non-argumentative texts include narratives, descriptions, technical reports, news stories, and so on. When deciding to which category a given piece of writing belongs, we sometimes look for familiar traits of argument, such as the presence of a thesis statement, of “factual” evidence, and so on.

Research writing is often categorized as “non-argumentative.” This happens because of the way in which we learn about research writing. Most of us do that through the traditional research report, the kind which focuses too much on information-gathering and note cards and not enough on constructing engaging and interesting points of view for real audiences. It is the gathering and compiling of information, and not doing something productive and interesting with this information, that become the primary goals of this writing exercise. Generic research papers are also often evaluated on the quantity and accuracy of external information that they gather, rather on the persuasive impact they make and the interest they generate among readers.

Having written countless research reports, we begin to suspect that all research-based writing is non-argumentative. Even when explicitly asked to construct a thesis statement and support it through researched evidence, beginning writers are likely to pay more attention to such mechanics of research as finding the assigned number and kind of sources and documenting them correctly, than to constructing an argument capable of making an impact on the reader.

ARGUMENTS AREN’T VERBAL FIGHTS

We often have narrow concept of the word “argument.” In everyday life, argument often implies a confrontation, a clash of opinions and personalities, or just a plain verbal fight. It implies a winner and a loser, a right side and a wrong one. Because of this understanding of the word “argument,” the only kind of writing seen as argumentative is the debate-like “position” paper, in which the author defends his or her point of view against other, usually opposing points of view.

Such an understanding of argument is narrow because arguments come in all shapes and sizes. I invite you to look at the term “argument” in a new way. What if we think of “argument” as an opportunity for conversation, for sharing with others our point of view on something, for showing others our perspective of the world? What if we see it as the opportunity to tell our stories, including our life stories? What if we think of “argument” as an opportunity to connect with the points of view of others rather than defeating those points of view?

Some years ago, I heard a conference speaker define argument as the opposite of “beating your audience into rhetorical submission.” I still like that definition because it implies gradual and even gentle explanation and persuasion instead of coercion. It implies effective use of details, and stories, including emotional ones. It implies the understanding of argument as an explanation of one’s world view.

Arguments then, can be explicit and implicit, or implied. Explicit arguments contain noticeable and definable thesis statements and lots of specific proofs. Implicit arguments, on the other hand, work by weaving together facts and narratives, logic and emotion, personal experiences and statistics. Unlike explicit arguments, implicit ones do not have a one-sentence thesis statement. Instead, authors of implicit arguments use evidence of many different kinds in effective and creative ways to build and convey their point of view to their audience. Research is essential for creative effective arguments of both kinds.

To consider the many types and facets of written argumentation, consider the following exploration activity.

WRITING ACTIVITY: ANALYZING WRITING SITUATIONS

Working individually or in small groups, consider the following writing situations. Are these situations opportunities for argumentative writing? If so, what elements of argument do you see? Use your experience as a reader and imagine the kinds of published texts that might result from these writing situations. Apply the ideas about argument mentioned so far in this chapter, including the “explicit” and “implicit” arguments

• A group of scientists develops a hypothesis and conducts a series of experiments to test it. After obtaining the results from those experiments, they decide to publish their findings in a scientific journal. However, the data can be interpreted in two ways. The authors can use a long-standing theory with which most of his colleagues agree. But they can also use a newer and more ambitious theory on which there is no consensus in the field, but which our authors believe to be more comprehensive and up-to-date. Using different theories will produce different interpretations of the data and different pieces of writing. Are both resulting texts arguments? Why or why not?

• An author wants to write a memoir. She is particularly interested in her relationship with her parents as a teenager. In order to focus on that period of her life, she decides to omit other events and time periods from the memoir. The finished text is a combination of stories, reflections, and facts. This text does not have a clear thesis statement or proofs. Could this “selective” memory” writing be called an argument? What are the reasons for your decision?

• A travel writer who is worried about global warming goes to Antarctica and observes the melting of the ice there. Using her observations, interviews with scientists, and secondary research, she then prepares an article about her trip for The National Geographic magazine or a similar publication. Her piece does not contain a one-sentence thesis statement or a direct call to fight global warming. At the same time, her evidence suggests that ice in the Arctic melts faster than it used to. Does this writer engage in argument? Why or why not? What factors influenced your decision?

• A novelist writes a book based on the events of the American Civil War. He recreates historical characters from archival research, but adds details, descriptions, and other characters to his book that are not necessarily historic. The resulting novel is in the genre known as “historical fiction.” Like all works of fiction, the book does not have a thesis statement or explicit proofs. It does, however, promote a certain view of history, some of which is based on the author’s research and some—on his imagination and creative license. Is this a representation of history, an argument, or a combination of both? Why or why not?

You can probably think of many more examples when argument in writing is expressed through means other than the traditional thesis statement and proofs. As you work through this book, continue to think about the nature of argument in writing and discuss it with your classmates and your instructor.

DEFINITIONS OF RHETORIC AND THE RHETORICAL SITUATION

The art of creating effective arguments is explained and systematized by a discipline called rhetoric. Writing is about making choices, and knowing the principles of rhetoric allows a writer to make informed choices about various aspects of the writing process. Every act of writing takes places in a specific rhetorical situation. The three most basic and important components of a rhetorical situations are:

  • Purpose of writing
  • Intended audience,
  • Occasion, or context in which the text will be written and read

These factors help writers select their topics, arrange their material, and make other important decisions about their work.

Before looking closely at different definitions and components of rhetoric, let us try to understand what rhetoric is not. In recent years, the word “rhetoric” has developed a bad reputation in American popular culture. In the popular mind, the term “rhetoric” has come to mean something negative and deceptive. Open a newspaper or turn on the television, and you are likely to hear politicians accusing each other of “too much rhetoric and not enough substance.” According to this distorted view, rhetoric is verbal fluff, used to disguise empty or even deceitful arguments.

Examples of this misuse abound. Here are some examples.

A 2003 CNN news article “North Korea Talks On Despite Rhetoric” describes the decision by the international community to continue the talks with North Korea about its nuclear arms program despite what the author sees as North Koreans’ “rhetorical blast” at a US official taking part in the talks. The implication here is that that, by verbally attacking the US official, the North Koreans attempted to hide the lack of substance in their argument. The word “rhetoric” in this context implies a strategy to deceive or distract.

Another example is the title of the now-defunct political website “Spinsanity: Countering Rhetoric with Reason.” The website’s authors state that “engaged citizenry, active press and strong network of fact-checking websites and blogs can help turn the tide of deception that we now see.” ( http://www.spinsanity.org ). What this statement implies, of course, is that rhetoric is “spin” and that it is the opposite of truth.

Rhetoric is not a dirty trick used by politicians to conceal and obscure, but an art, which, for many centuries, has had many definitions. Perhaps the most popular and overreaching definition comes to us from the Ancient Greek thinker Aristotle. Aristotle defined rhetoric as “the faculty of observing in any given case the available means of persuasion” (Ch.2). Aristotle saw primarily as a practical tool, indispensable for civic discourse.

ELEMENTS OF THE RHETORICAL SITUATION

When composing, every writer must take into account the conditions under which the writing is produced and will be read. It is customary to represent the three key elements of the rhetorical situation as a triangle of writer, reader, and text, or, as “communicator,” “audience,” and “message.”

The three elements of the rhetorical situation are in a constant and dynamic interrelation. All three are also necessary for communication through writing to take place. For example, if the writer is taken out of this equation, the text will not be created. Similarly, eliminating the text itself will leave us with the reader and writer, but without any means of conveying ideas between them, and so on.

Moreover, changing on or more characteristics of any of the elements depicted in the figure above will change the other elements as well. For example, with the change in the beliefs and values of the audience, the message will also likely change to accommodate those new beliefs, and so on.

In his discussion of rhetoric, Aristotle states that writing’s primary purpose is persuasion. Other ancient rhetoricians’ theories expand the scope of rhetoric by adding new definitions, purposes, and methods. For example, another Greek philosopher and rhetorician Plato saw rhetoric as a means of discovering the truth, including personal truth, through dialog and discussion. According to Plato, rhetoric can be directed outward (at readers or listeners), or inward (at the writer him or herself). In the latter case, the purpose of rhetoric is to help the author discover something important about his or her own experience and life.

The third major rhetorical school of Ancient Greece whose views have profoundly influenced our understanding of rhetoric were the Sophists. The Sophists were teachers of rhetoric for hire. The primary goal of their activities was to teach skills and strategies for effective speaking and writing. Many Sophists claimed that they could make anyone into an effective rhetorician. In their most extreme variety, Sophistic rhetoric claims that virtually anything could be proven if the rhetorician has the right skills. The legacy of Sophistic rhetoric is controversial. Some scholars, including Plato himself, have accused the Sophists of bending ethical standards in order to achieve their goals, while others have praised them for promoting democracy and civic participation through argumentative discourse.

What do these various definitions of rhetoric have to do with research writing? Everything! If you have ever had trouble with a writing assignment, chances are it was because you could not figure out the assignment’s purpose. Or, perhaps you did not understand very well whom your writing was supposed to appeal to. It is hard to commit to purposeless writing done for no one in particular.

Research is not a very useful activity if it is done for its own sake. If you think of a situation in your own life where you had to do any kind of research, you probably had a purpose that the research helped you to accomplish. You could, for example, have been considering buying a car and wanted to know which make and model would suite you best. Or, you could have been looking for an apartment to rent and wanted to get the best deal for your money. Or, perhaps your family was planning a vacation and researched the best deals on hotels, airfares, and rental cars. Even in these simple examples of research that are far simpler than research most writers conduct, you as a researcher were guided by some overriding purpose. You researched because you had a purpose to accomplish.

HOW TO APPROACH WRITING TASKS RHETORICALLY

The three main elements of rhetorical theory are purpose, audience, and occasion. We will look at these elements primarily through the lens of Classical Rhetoric, the rhetoric of Ancient Greece and Rome. Principles of classical rhetoric (albeit some of them modified) are widely accepted across the modern Western civilization. Classical rhetoric provides a solid framework for analysis and production of effective texts in a variety of situations.

Good writing always serves a purpose. Texts are created to persuade, entertain, inform, instruct, and so on. In a real writing situation, these discrete purposes are often combined.

Writing Activity: Analyzing Purpose

Recall any text you wrote, in or outside of school. Think not only of school papers, but also of letters to relatives and friends, e-mails, shopping lists, online postings, and so on. Consider the following questions.

  • Was the purpose of the writing well defined for you in the assignment, or did you have to define it yourself?
  • What did you have to do in order to understand or create your purpose?
  • Did you have trouble articulating and fulfilling your writing purpose?

Be sure to record your answers and share them with your classmates and/or instructor.

The second key element of the rhetorical approach to writing is audience-awareness. As you saw from the rhetorical triangle earlier in this chapter, readers are an indispensable part of the rhetorical equation, and it is essential for every writer to understand their audience and tailor his or her message to the audience’s needs.

The key principles that every writer needs to follow in order to reach and affect his or her audience are as follows:

  • Have a clear idea about who your readers will be.
  • Understand your readers’ previous experiences, knowledge, biases, and expectations and how these factors can influence their reception of your argument.
  • When writing, keep in mind not only those readers who are physically present or whom you know (your classmates and instructor), but all readers who would benefit from or be influenced by your argument.
  • Choose a style, tone, and medium of presentation appropriate for your intended audience.

Writing Activity: Analyzing Audience

Every writer needs to consider his or her audience carefully when writing. Otherwise, you writing will be directed at no one in particular. As a result, your purpose will become unclear and your work will lose its effectiveness.

Consider any recent writing task that you faced.  As with all the exploration activities included in this chapter, do not limit yourself to school writing assignments. Include letters, e-mails, notes, and any other kinds of writing you may do.

  • Did you have a clearly defined audience?
  • If not, what measures did you take to define and understand your audience?
  • How did you know who your readers were?
  • Did your writing purpose fit what your intended audience needed or wanted to hear?
  • What were the best ways to appeal to your audience (both logical and emotional)?
  • How did your decision to use or not to use external research influence the reception of your argument by your audience?

Occasion is an important part of the rhetorical situation. It is a part of the writing context that was mentioned earlier in the chapter. Writers do not work in a vacuum. Instead, the content, form and reception of their work by readers are heavily influenced by the conditions in society as well as by personal situations of their readers. These conditions in which texts are created and read affect every aspect of writing and every stage of the writing process, from topic selection, to decisions about what kinds of arguments used and their arrangement, to the writing style, voice, and persona which the writer wishes to project in his or her writing. All elements of the rhetorical situation work together in a dynamic relationship. Therefore, awareness of rhetorical occasion and other elements of the context of your writing will also help you refine your purpose and understand your audience better. Similarly having a clear purpose in mind when writing and knowing your audience will help you understand the context in which you are writing and in which your work will be read better.

One aspect of writing where you can immediately benefit from understanding occasion and using it to your rhetorical advantage is the selection of topics for your compositions. Any topic can be good or bad, and a key factor in deciding on whether it fits the occasion. In order to understand whether a particular topic is suitable for a composition, it is useful to analyze whether the composition would address an issue, or a rhetorical exigency when created. The writing activity below can help you select topics and issues for written arguments.

Writing Activity: Analyzing Rhetorical Exigency

  • If you are considering a topic for a paper, think whether the paper would address a specific problem or issue. In other words, will it address a real exigency, something that needs to be solved or discussed?
  • Who are the people with interests and stakes in the problem?
  • What are your limitations? Can you hope to solve the problem once and for all, or should your goals be more modest? Why or why not?

Share your results with your classmates and instructor.

To understand how writers can study and use occasion in order to make effective arguments, let us examine another ancient rhetorical concept. Kairos is one of the most fascinating terms from Classical rhetoric. It signifies the right, or opportune moment for an argument to be made. It is such a moment or time when the subject of the argument is particularly urgent or important and when audiences are more likely to be persuaded by it. Ancient rhetoricians believed that if the moment for the argument is right, for instance if there are conditions in society which would make the audience more receptive to the argument, the rhetorician would have more success persuading such an audience.

For example, as I write this text, a heated debate about the war on terrorism and about the goals and methods of this war is going on in the US. It is also the year of the Presidential Election, and political candidates try to use the war on terrorism to their advantage when they debate each other. These are topics of high public interested, with print media, television, radio, and the Internet constantly discussing them. Because there is an enormous public interest in the topic of terrorism, well-written articles and reports on the subject will not fall on deaf ears. Simply put, the moment, or occasion, for the debate is right, and it will continue until public interest in the subject weakens or disappears.

RHETORICAL APPEALS

In order to persuade their readers, writers must use three types of proofs or rhetorical appeals. They are logos, or logical appeal; pathos, or emotional appeal; and ethos, or ethical appeal, or appeal based on the character and credibility of the author. It is easy to notice that modern words “logical,” “pathetic,” and “ethical” are derived from those Greek words. In his work Rhetoric, Aristotle writes that the three appeals must be used together in every piece of persuasive discourse. An argument based on the appeal to logic, or emotions alone will not be an effective one.

Understanding how logos, pathos, and ethos should work together is very important for writers wh use research. Often, research writing assignment are written in a way that seems to emphasize logical proofs over emotional or ethical ones. Such logical proofs in research papers typically consist of factual information, statistics, examples, and other similar evidence. According to this view, writers of academic papers need to be unbiased and objective, and using logical proofs will help them to be that way.

Because of this emphasis on logical proofs, you may be less familiar with the kinds of pathetic and ethical proofs available to you. Pathetic appeals, or appeals to emotions of the audience were considered by ancient rhetoricians as important as logical proofs. Yet, writers are sometimes not easily convinced to use pathetic appeals in their writing. As modern rhetoricians and authors of the influential book Classical Rhetoric for the Modern Student (1998), Edward P.J. Corbett and Robert Connors said, “People are rather sheepish about acknowledging that their opinions can be affected by their emotions” (86). According to Corbett, many of us think that there may be something wrong about using emotions in argument. But, I agree with Corbett and Connors, pathetic proofs are not only admissible in argument, but necessary (86-89). The most basic way of evoking appropriate emotional responses in your audience, according to Corbett, is the use of vivid descriptions (94).

Using ethical appeals, or appeals based on the character of the writer, involves establishing and maintaining your credibility in the eyes of your readers. In other words, when writing, think about how you are presenting yourself to your audience. Do you give your readers enough reasons to trust you and your argument, or do you give them reasons to doubt your authority and your credibility? Consider all the times when your decision about the merits of a given argument was affected by the person or people making the argument. For example, when watching television news, are you predisposed against certain cable networks and more inclined towards others because you trust them more?

So, how can a writer establish a credible persona for his or her audience? One way to do that is through external research. Conducting research and using it well in your writing help with you with the factual proofs (logos), but it also shows your readers that you, as the author, have done your homework and know what you are talking about. This knowledge, the sense of your authority that this creates among your readers, will help you be a more effective writer.

The logical, pathetic, and ethical appeals work in a dynamic combination with one another. It is sometimes hard to separate one kind of proof from another and the methods by which the writer achieved the desired rhetorical effect. If your research contains data which is likely to cause your readers to be emotional, it data can enhance the pathetic aspect of your argument. The key to using the three appeals, is to use them in combination with each other, and in moderation. It is impossible to construct a successful argument by relying too much on one or two appeals while neglecting the others.

RESEARCH WRITING AS CONVERSATION

Writing is a social process. Texts are created to be read by others, and in creating those texts, writers should be aware of not only their personal assumptions, biases, and tastes, but also those of their readers. Writing, therefore, is an interactive process. It is a conversation, a meeting of minds, during which ideas are exchanged, debates and discussions take place and, sometimes, but not always, consensus is reached. You may be familiar with the famous quote by the 20th century rhetorician Kenneth Burke who compared writing to a conversation at a social event. In his 1974 book The Philosophy of Literary Form Burke writes,

Imagine that you enter a parlor. You come late. When you arrive, others have long preceded you, and they are engaged in a heated discussion, a discussion too heated for them to pause and tell you exactly what it is about. In fact, the discussion had already begun long before any of them got there, so that no one present is qualified to retrace for you all the steps that had gone before. You listen for a while, until you decide that you have caught the tenor of the argument; then you put in your oar. Someone answers; you answer him, another comes to your defense; another aligns himself against you, to either the embarrassment of gratification of your opponent, depending upon the quality of your ally’s assistance. However, the discussion is interminable. The hour grows late, you must depart. And you do depart, with the discussion still vigorously in progress (110-111).

This passage by Burke is extremely popular among writers because it captures the interactive nature of writing so precisely. Reading Burke’s words carefully, we will notice that the interaction between readers and writers is continuous. A writer always enters a conversation in progress. In order to participate in the discussion, just like in real life, you need to know what your interlocutors have been talking about. So you listen (read). Once you feel you have got the drift of the conversation, you say (write) something. Your text is read by others who respond to your ideas, stories, and arguments with their own. This interaction never ends!

To write well, it is important to listen carefully and understand the conversations that are going on around you. Writers who are able to listen to these conversations and pick up important topics, themes, and arguments are generally more effective at reaching and impressing their audiences. It is also important to treat research, writing, and every occasion for these activities as opportunities to participate in the on-going conversation of people interested in the same topics and questions which interest you.

Our knowledge about our world is shaped by the best and most up-to-date theories available to them. Sometimes these theories can be experimentally tested and proven, and sometimes, when obtaining such proof is impossible, they are based on consensus reached as a result of conversation and debate. Even the theories and knowledge that can be experimentally tested (for example in sciences) do not become accepted knowledge until most members of the scientific community accept them. Other members of this community will help them test their theories and hypotheses, give them feedback on their writing, and keep them searching for the best answers to their questions. As Burke says in his famous passage, the interaction between the members of intellectual communities never ends. No piece of writing, no argument, no theory or discover is ever final. Instead, they all are subject to discussion, questioning, and improvement.

A simple but useful example of this process is the evolution of humankind’s understanding of their planet Earth and its place in the Universe. As you know, in Medieval Europe, the prevailing theory was that the Earth was the center of the Universe and that all other planets and the Sun rotated around it. This theory was the result of the church’s teachings, and thinkers who disagreed with it were pronounced heretics and often burned. In 1543, astronomer Nikolaus Kopernikus argued that the Sun was at the center of the solar system and that all planets of the system rotate around the Sun. Later, Galieo experimentally proved Kopernikus’ theory with the help of a telescope. Of course, the Earch did not begin to rotate around the Sun with this discovery. Yet, Kopernikus’ and Galileo’s theories of the Universe went against the Catholic Church’s teachings which dominated the social discourse of Medieval Europe. The Inquisition did not engage in debate with the two scientists. Instead, Kopernikus was executed for his views and Galileo was sentenced to house arrest for his views.

Although in the modern world, dissenting thinkers are unlikely to suffer such harsh punishment, the examples of Kopernikus and Galileo teach us two valuable lessons about the social nature of knowledge. Firstly, Both Kopernikus and Galileo tried to improve on an existing theory of the Universe that placed our planet at the center. They did not work from nothing but used beliefs that already existed in their society and tried to modify and disprove those beliefs. Time and later scientific research proved that they were right. Secondly, even after Galileo was able to prove the structure of the Solar system experimentally, his theory did not become widely accepted until the majority of people in society assimilated it. Therefore, new findings do not become accepted knowledge until they penetrate the fabric of social discourse and until enough people accept them as true.

Writing Activity: Finding the Origins of Knowledge

  • Seeing writing as an exchange of ideas means seeing all new theories, ideas, and beliefs as grounded in pre-existing knowledge. Therefore, when beginning a new writing project, writers never work “from scratch.” Instead, they tap into the resources of their community for ideas, inspiration, and research leads. Keeping these statements in mind, answer the following questions. Apply your answers to one of the research projects described in this book. Be sure to record your answers.
  • Consider a possible research project topic. What do you know about your topic before you begin to write?
  • Where did this knowledge come from? Be sure to include both secondary sources (books, websites, etc.) and primary ones (people, events, personal memories). Is this knowledge socially created? What communities or groups or people created it, how, and why?
  • What parts of your current knowledge about your subject could be called “fact” and what parts could be called “opinion?”
  • How can your current knowledge about the topic help you in planning and conducting the research for the project?

Share your thoughts with your classmates and instructor.

  CONCLUSIONS

In this chapter, we have learned the definition of rhetoric and the basic differences between several important rhetorical schools. We have also discussed how to key elements of the rhetorical situation: purpose, audience, and context. As you work on the research writing projects presented throughout this book, be sure to revisit this chapter often. Everything that you have read about here and every activity you have completed as you worked through this chapter is applicable to all research writing projects in this book and beyond. Most school writing assignments give you direct instructions about your purpose, intended audience, and rhetorical occasion. Truly proficient and independent writers, however, learn to define their purpose, audiences, and contexts of their writing, on their own. The material in this chapter is designed to enable to become better at those tasks.

When you receive a writing assignment, it is very tempting to see it as just another hoop to jump through and not as a genuine rhetorical situation, an opportunity to influence others with your writing. It is certainly tempting to see yourself writing only for the teacher, without a real purpose and oblivious of the context of your writing.

The material of this chapter as well as the writing projects presented throughout this book are designed to help you think of writing as a persuasive, rhetorical activity. Conducting research and incorporating its results into your paper is a part of this rhetorical process.

Aristotle. “Rhetoric.” Aristotle’s Rhetoric. June 21, 2004.  http://www.public.iastate.edu/~honeyl/Rhetoric/ . April 21, 2008.

Burke, Kenneth. The Philosophy of Literary Form. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1941.

CNN. “N. Korea Talks On Despite Rhetoric.” CNN.com. August 3, 2003.  http://www.cnn.com/2003/WORLD/asiapcf/east/08/03/nkorea.talks/index.html …. April 21, 2008.

Corbett, Edward, P.J and Connors, Robert. Classical Rhetoric for the Modern Student. Oxford University Press, USA; 4 edition, 1998.

Fritz, Ben et al. “About Spinsanity.” Spinsanity. 2001-2005.  http://www.spinsanity.org . April 21, 2008.

Papakyriakou/Anagnostou, Ellen. Kairos. Ancient Greek Cities. 1998.  http://www.sikyon.com/sicyon/Lysippos/lysip_kairos.jpg . April 21, 2008.

Rouzie, Albert. “The Rhetorical Triangle.” Rhetoric Resources. 1998.  http://www-as.phy.ohiou.edu/~rouzie/fall151/rhetriang.gif . April 21, 2008.

Research Writing and Argument: All Writing is Argument Copyright © 2016 by Pavel Zemilansky is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

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How to Write an Argumentative Essay – Guide & Examples

Published by Carmen Troy at August 16th, 2021 , Revised On July 26, 2023

“An argument essay  presents an original argument for a given  thesis statement . In an argumentative essay, the author takes a clear stand on the topic and justifies their position with supporting evidence material.”

While there are many  types of essays , an argumentative essay is hands down the most popular type of essay at the college and university level.

When Should you Write an Argumentative Essay

You could be asked to produce an argumentative essay in a composition class or as a course assignment. In most cases, the essay brief will prompt you to argue for one of two positions.

An argumentative essay title includes keywords such as “argument”, “assert”, “claim”, and usually takes the form of a question.

The title of an argumentative essay can be either open or two-sided. Here are examples of argumentative titles so you know when to write an argumentative essay.

Open Argumentative Essay Title

What was the most outstanding achievement of Manchester United FC under Sir Alexander Chapman Ferguson CBE?

Two-sided Argumentative Essay Title

Has distance learning had a positive or negative impact on education?

Writing an Argumentative Essay for College or University Assignment

Most  essay assignments  at the college and university level involve some sort of argumentation. For example, literary analysis and rhetorical analysis also build up arguments about the text.

Even when the essay prompt does not tell you to write an argumentative essay, you should remember that the goal of academic writing in most cases is to express an argument and back it with evidence. This means that your default approach to essay writing should be to make evidence-based arguments unless you are told otherwise.

Examples of Argumentative Essay Titles

The following essay titles suggest that the essays in response should be argumentative in nature.

You will be able to develop an exact position as you dig deep to  collect data  and improve your knowledge. Once you have taken a defined stance, you will need to express the essay’s main argument and convince the reader to agree to your position by presenting analysis, evidence, and evaluation.

Discuss  the effects of climate change on the human population.

  • The above title does not merely ask you to state all the effects of climate change you can think of.
  • It would be best if you instead built a focused argument about the overall effects of climate change on the human population, stated the significance of your argument, and backed it up by providing evidence from authentic academic sources.

Evaluate  the efficacy of anti-racism measures put in place at workplaces in the UK.

  • Just providing a selection of statistics about anti-racism measures will not be sufficient.
  • Present your argument about what measures have proved to be the most effective or least effective.

Assess  the impact of the conquest of Constantinople in the 15 th  century on world history.

  • Don’t just assess a few random details of the battle of Constantinople.
  • Present your argument about the specific impact of the conquest of Constantinople on the power dynamics of the world.

How to Approach an Argumentative Essay

An argumentative essay should be based on rational thinking. The approach of the author should be objective in nature. Rather than basing your argument on emotions, you should rely on logic and evidence.

While there are many approaches to writing an argumentative essay, the two most common methods that would enable you to write a first-class piece are: The  Rogerian  method and the  Toulmin  method.

Toulmin Argument Building Model

The  Toulmin   method involves four key steps to build an argument. The same strategy can be applied throughout the essay where necessary.

  • Make a  claim
  • Present your evidence to support the claim
  • Provide the warrant which explains the evidence to support the claim
  • State the potential refutation to  the claim, which involves establishing the limits of the argument to demonstrate that you took into consideration the alternates.

The Toulmin model is a popular argument-building strategy in academic essays. While using specific terms (refutations, warrants, claim) is not necessary, you should show a clear link between your claim and the grounds of your claim in an argumentative essay.

For example , if you are making an argument about the efficacy of anti-racism measures put in place at workplaces in the UK, then you should follow these four steps:

  • Enlighten that anti-racism training programs are not bringing about the desired results, and it would be better to invest the resources in other approaches.
  • Back your claim with evidence from authentic academic sources. The evidence could take the form of numbers, statistics, and quotations.
  • Explain how the data shows the inefficacy of the current training and educational programs.
  • Expect objections to your argument based on counter data that might indicate why your argument is unsound, and so provide justifications accordingly.

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Rogerian Argument Building Model

The  Rogerian  model of building an argument also involves four steps:

  • Start by indicating what the counter-argument gets right and why people might agree to this argument.
  • State the problems with the counter-argument.
  • Present your argument and demonstrate how it solves the problem—showing why your position is stronger than the opposition will enable you to convince the reader.
  • Suggest a possible middle-ground – what components of your argument would advocates of the opposing claim can adopt?

The Rogerian model is an interesting way to reach a compromise between two sides of an argument. It is advised to approach an argumentative essay with this method when people strongly disagree on the issue under discussion.

Also read: How to write a summative essay

For example , if you had to make an argument about the positive effects of distance learning on the quality of education, then you might:

  • Recognize that distance learning has helped mature students upgrade their qualifications.
  • Claim that many critics view distance learning as more unreliable than it really is.
  • Argue that distance learning programs can enable many students worldwide to upgrade their skills without leaving the comfort of their homes.
  • Suggest critical engagement with distance education providers as a possible task for opponents who doubt its effectiveness.

When writing an argumentative essay, you can use elements of both models. It is not necessary to stick to one of these two methods, but it would be helpful to do so to  structure  your argument appropriately.

However, regardless of the argument-building model you choose, your essay structure will include an introduction, a body, and a conclusion.

How to Introduce an Argument in an Essay?

Like other essay types, an argumentative essay also begins with an introduction. This section includes a hook to grab the reader’s attention, background information to set up the main argument, a thesis statement, and a summary of the essay structure (for more extended essays).

Here is a how an  introduction paragraph  of an argumentative essay arguing for the positive effects of distance learning may look like:

Argumentative Essay Introduction Example

Example: For many people looking to change or advance their professional careers, choosing if distance learning is the right choice is a question of critical importance. Distance education programs rely on information technology and online teaching tools to provide education to students who are not present in the classroom setting due to their personal commitments and limitations. Over the last several years, distance learning has emerged as one of the most popular education trends. It has provided opportunities to many non-traditional students to receive a high-quality education.

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The Body of your Argumentative Essay

This is where you present the details to support your arguments. The  main body  of your argumentative essay should present analysis, evidence, and interpretation to persuade readers to agree with your viewpoint.

For a high school essay that typically follows the standard five-paragraph format, the body comprises three to four paragraphs. However, there will be many more paragraphs in a university-level longer essay, and so the body can be divided into dedicated sections with headings.

Each paragraph starts with a  topic  sentence that must support the central argument. Avoid presenting any irrelevant information here.

Here is an example of a paragraph taken from the main body of an argumentative essay on the positive effects of distance learning on education.

Argumentative Essay Main Body Paragraph Example

Example: Distance learning is one of the most economical and viable forms of education available to adult students who are juggling many responsibilities due to financial and time constraints in their life. The burden of responsibilities prevents adult students from studying in a foreign country or another city. Distance learning enables them to overcome these challenges and complete their education. Learning in a distant mode, they can also mitigate the economic, social, psychological, and cultural difficulties. Distance learning students often achieve better results when compared with on-campus students because the pursuit of knowledge is undertaken for its own sake rather than as an obligation.

How to Conclude your Argument?

Your argumentative essay should end with a conclusion that provides a summary of the points discussed in the main body.

Refrain from presenting any new information here. The conclusion of an argumentative essay is made up of a concise summary or synthesis of the arguments made in the main body, the significance and relevance of your argument, and the strengths and weaknesses of your argument.

Argumentative Essay Conclusion Example

Example: The distance learning programs offered by various universities worldwide have had a very positive effect on the world of education. Occasional pitfalls aside, this teaching method has enabled underprivileged students and those with personal limitations to receive a high-quality education. Its value is evident in numerous applications. Digital education offers accessibility and flexibility to students, so the popularity of distance education has been rising in recent years. Educators should take advantage of this. The limitations of distance education such as lack of motivation for students, absence of physical interaction, and employers’ reluctance to embrace distance learning has been documented extensively by opponents. Still, this new method of teaching is here to say.

Note: Along with expert guides, Research Prospect also provides top-notch writing services , which means provides essay writing help , research paper writing help , and other professional services.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between an argumentative essay and an expository essay.

An argumentative essay is arguably the most popular type of essay in academic writing. It involves independent research and presenting an original argument about the topic in discussion in the form of a thesis statement . The claim made in the thesis statement must be supported by evidence and analysis.

An expository essay aims to explain an idea, topic, or process clearly and concisely. It does not express an original argument but is somewhat objective in nature. Expository essays are almost always less extensive as compared to argumentative essays.

Do I need to cite sources in an argumentative essay?

All essays written for college and university-level assignments should include in-text citations and a list of references . You should use citations in an appropriate referencing style whenever you quote or paraphrase any information from another academic source. The in-text citations must match the items in the list of references or bibliography at the end of your essay.

It would be best to use the referencing style or citation style according to your institution’s instructions. Harvard referencing is the most popular style of academic referencing in the UK.

When should I write an argumentative essay?

Most essays at university are argumentative. Unless told otherwise, you should aim to build an argument in an essay you have been assigned.

Argumentative essays include keywords like ‘discuss’, ‘claim’, ‘evaluate’, ‘argue’, so look out for these keywords and instructions in the essay title.

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While there are many types of essays, they can be broadly categorized into the following four main types – argumentative, expository, descriptive, and narrative.

The following article will discuss the five elements that are essential to report writing. These components should be considered when beginning any report.

Narrative essays let the authors provide an account of their personal experience in the form of a story. In a narrative essay, you can let your creativity and ideas flow freely.

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  • How to Write a Thesis Statement | 4 Steps & Examples

How to Write a Thesis Statement | 4 Steps & Examples

Published on January 11, 2019 by Shona McCombes . Revised on August 15, 2023 by Eoghan Ryan.

A thesis statement is a sentence that sums up the central point of your paper or essay . It usually comes near the end of your introduction .

Your thesis will look a bit different depending on the type of essay you’re writing. But the thesis statement should always clearly state the main idea you want to get across. Everything else in your essay should relate back to this idea.

You can write your thesis statement by following four simple steps:

  • Start with a question
  • Write your initial answer
  • Develop your answer
  • Refine your thesis statement

Table of contents

What is a thesis statement, placement of the thesis statement, step 1: start with a question, step 2: write your initial answer, step 3: develop your answer, step 4: refine your thesis statement, types of thesis statements, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about thesis statements.

A thesis statement summarizes the central points of your essay. It is a signpost telling the reader what the essay will argue and why.

The best thesis statements are:

  • Concise: A good thesis statement is short and sweet—don’t use more words than necessary. State your point clearly and directly in one or two sentences.
  • Contentious: Your thesis shouldn’t be a simple statement of fact that everyone already knows. A good thesis statement is a claim that requires further evidence or analysis to back it up.
  • Coherent: Everything mentioned in your thesis statement must be supported and explained in the rest of your paper.

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The thesis statement generally appears at the end of your essay introduction or research paper introduction .

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 and among young people more generally is hotly debated. For many 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 many benefits for education: the internet facilitates easier access to information, exposure to different perspectives, and a flexible learning environment for both students and teachers.

You should come up with an initial thesis, sometimes called a working thesis , early in the writing process . As soon as you’ve decided on your essay topic , you need to work out what you want to say about it—a clear thesis will give your essay direction and structure.

You might already have a question in your assignment, but if not, try to come up with your own. What would you like to find out or decide about your topic?

For example, you might ask:

After some initial research, you can formulate a tentative answer to this question. At this stage it can be simple, and it should guide the research process and writing process .

Now you need to consider why this is your answer and how you will convince your reader to agree with you. As you read more about your topic and begin writing, your answer should get more detailed.

In your essay about the internet and education, the thesis states your position and sketches out the key arguments you’ll use to support it.

The negatives of internet use are outweighed by its many benefits for education because it facilitates easier access to information.

In your essay about braille, the thesis statement summarizes the key historical development that you’ll explain.

The invention of braille in the 19th century transformed the lives of blind people, allowing them to participate more actively in public life.

A strong thesis statement should tell the reader:

  • Why you hold this position
  • What they’ll learn from your essay
  • The key points of your argument or narrative

The final thesis statement doesn’t just state your position, but summarizes your overall argument or the entire topic you’re going to explain. To strengthen a weak thesis statement, it can help to consider the broader context of your topic.

These examples are more specific and show that you’ll explore your topic in depth.

Your thesis statement should match the goals of your essay, which vary depending on the type of essay you’re writing:

  • In an argumentative essay , your thesis statement should take a strong position. Your aim in the essay is to convince your reader of this thesis based on evidence and logical reasoning.
  • In an expository essay , you’ll aim to explain the facts of a topic or process. Your thesis statement doesn’t have to include a strong opinion in this case, but it should clearly state the central point you want to make, and mention the key elements you’ll explain.

If you want to know more about AI tools , college essays , or fallacies make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples or go directly to our tools!

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A thesis statement is a sentence that sums up the central point of your paper or essay . Everything else you write should relate to this key idea.

The thesis statement is essential in any academic essay or research paper for two main reasons:

  • It gives your writing direction and focus.
  • It gives the reader a concise summary of your main point.

Without a clear thesis statement, an essay can end up rambling and unfocused, leaving your reader unsure of exactly what you want to say.

Follow these four steps to come up with a thesis statement :

  • Ask a question about your topic .
  • Write your initial answer.
  • Develop your answer by including reasons.
  • Refine your answer, adding more detail and nuance.

The thesis statement should be placed at the end of your essay introduction .

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Essay vs Research Paper: Key Disparities

Table of contents

  • 1.1 What Is an Essay?
  • 1.2 What Is a Research Paper?
  • 2.1 Purpose and Objective
  • 2.2 Structure and Organization
  • 2.3 Length and Depth
  • 2.4 Sources and Evidence
  • 2.5 Voice and Style
  • 2.6 Audience and Presentation
  • 3 Essay vs Research Paper: 10 Points of Difference
  • 4 What Is the Difference Between Research Paper and Different Types of Papers
  • 5 Let’s Sum Up

Every student needs to write some academic papers for the university. However, even young people with experience can't determine the difference between an essay and a research paper. Although these two areas of academic writing have many similarities, the requirements are still significantly different.

  • In this article, you will get a clear definition of an essay and research paper.
  • We will outline the key differences between these two types of academic writing.
  • You will learn more about the organization, structure, essay and research paper requirements.
  • Finally, you will be able to tell the difference between a research paper and an essay.

To get to the heart of the matter of these two academic assignments, we should start by getting an essay vs research paper definition.

Definition and Overview

What is an essay.

An essay is a short piece of work, the purpose of which is to present individual thoughts regarding a chosen topic. Often, essays do not pretend to be scientific but require a defined structure. The basic requirements for an essay suggest writing a five-paragraph piece that contains an introduction, a body, and a conclusion.

What makes your essay unique is your creativity and the novelty of your ideas. To easily structure your thoughts and present them clearly to the reader, you should devote time to drafting an essay . Before you start writing your essay, brainstorm the freshest ideas. Thus, even though all your classmates will use the same five-paragraph structure as you, your ideas will impress the teacher. Experiment with meaning, not form.

What Is a Research Paper?

The difference between an essay and a research paper revolves around the academic approaches. Research work is the depth of study of a selected scientific topic, which should bring scientific novelty by drawing conclusions based on existing research and experiments conducted. For students, it’s not enough to state the facts or express their point of view regarding the topic. Your task is to comprehensively study the subject of research, familiarize yourself with existing opinions, and outline the direction of the upcoming study.

Your teacher will expect you to demonstrate analytical skills, the ability to select reliable sources, and a broad theoretical base on your research topic. Research papers require creativity, erudition, and orientation in the topic.

Key Differences Between Essay and Research Paper

The central difference is the goal of these academic assignments. The essay aims to express an individual point of view and find a creative, fresh approach to an existing topic. A good research paper seeks to introduce scientific novelty by examining existing data and conducting new experiments to analyze the information obtained.

Purpose and Objective

The first and main difference between an essay and a research paper is the purpose of writing . An essay as an academic task has the goal of developing students' creative thinking. It also teaches us a structured presentation of thoughts regarding a certain topic. The student is required to have a non-standard approach, fresh thoughts, and reasoned conclusions on the given topic.

The purpose of the research work is to study a scientific topic in detail. This academic assignment is aimed at assessing the student’s analytical abilities and competence to determine cause-and-effect relationships, filter sources, and formulate logical conclusions. Such work requires theoretical knowledge, preliminary study of existing scientific works, and the ability to formulate goals and research methods.

Moreover, a student is supposed to show the capacity to draw comprehensive conclusions based on available data and information obtained during independent research. This task may seem complicated to students, so they opt for resorting to the help of PapersOwl writing service to save time.

Structure and Organization

To start with, the basic structure of any college essay involves a text consisting of five paragraphs, divided into three main factions: introduction, body part, and conclusion. When students lack time to compose a nicely structured academic essay, they can always pay to write a research paper and have their tasks done by a professional. The introduction presents the topic, sets the main direction for further text, and also works as a bait to motivate the reader to study further work. The introduction is followed by three body paragraphs. Each of the three body paragraphs presents a separate idea.

The last paragraph of any essay is a conclusion. In this paragraph, the college or university student must resume the arguments and ideas presented in the text, summarizing them into the main message of the essay. Often, the idea that you present in your conclusions will be most memorable to the reader.

Consequently, let’s overview the structure of a research paper. Compared to the structure of an essay, the organization of a research paper is much more ornate. This type of work requires a title page and abstract that go before the main body of text. On the title page, the student describes his topic of work, as well as gives contact details. An abstract is a short description of the main ideas and research methods of your work. The research work itself consists of an introduction, background, main part, and conclusions. Also, at the very end, they often add acknowledgments and a list of references, which must be formatted following the required international format.

Length and Depth

The length and depth of analysis between these two academic assignments also differ significantly. As for the essay, it is often a short prose piece whose length does not exceed 1000 words. You are faced with the task of fitting a large array of ideas into a small amount of text. The essay format itself rarely requires rigorous and thorough research of the topic, but you should work on creativity and the presence of a message in your essay. Most academic papers fall in the 300 to 600-word range.

On the other hand, a research paper is a scientific project that includes many theoretical aspects that require analysis and clarification. Thus, the volume is significantly bigger. Basic research paper lengths range from 4,000 to 6,000 words. In this case, you will no doubt have to conduct a comprehensive analysis of the selected sources, formulate a research vector, and spend time conducting your experiments, or ask PapersOwl to do a research paper for you . A research paper is a scientific project that includes many theoretical aspects that require analysis and clarification.

Sources and Evidence

The presence of theoretical sources and references is not a mandatory requirement for an essay. You can state your own thoughts on a given topic without resorting to the help of existing sources. Present your ideas on the topic, giving arguments that seem logical to you. If you do decide to base your paper on existing works, you must be sure to indicate where the information was taken from. And yet, the teacher needs to see your own thoughts rather than a dry listing of existing ideas.

Unlike an essay, a quality research paper must include primary and secondary sources, as well as a specific citation format. Surely, you are not the first person to study this scientific topic. In order not to repeat existing thoughts, you need to conduct a search to form a reliable basis for your study. If you skip this step, you risk basing your paper on misleading scientific findings.

Voice and Style

The very specificity of the essay as an academic paper is the subjective presentation of information. A large percentage of your essay should consist of your perspective and vision of the chosen topic. For this reason, essays often use a less formal and more subjective tone. However, you can still use a large amount of colloquial vocabulary, completely disregarding the norms of formal style. Students often have trouble figuring out the right style for their university assignments. In such cases, a reasonable solution is to seek help from a specialist. When you buy custom-written essays from PapersOwl, you’ll always get a perfectly balanced academic paper.

On the other hand, a research paper is a serious scientific work. The student must maintain a formal tone while complying with all structural requirements. Also, in investigative work, there is little room for subjectivity and a personal approach since an objective style is required. At the same time, do not oversaturate your research work with formalism and standard clichés.

Audience and Presentation

The essay format can be used both in the educational process and in an independent literary style. Therefore, the audience for such a written assignment can be wide and varied. When you’re writing an essay, make sure it’s understandable in academia and for a wide audience.

Research work, on the contrary, is aimed at a range of professionals in the chosen field. Written in scientific language, the goal of this work is to attract the attention of scientists and students of certain majors. Your scientific work should be rich in theory and related terms.

Essay vs Research Paper: 10 Points of Difference

As you may have noticed, research papers and essays have many differences, both global and specific. These two types of academic assignments differ in the purpose of writing, have different structures and formats, and are aimed at testing different skills. And yet, every day, students face difficulties in understanding the basic requirements, which leads to incorrect execution of the task. To summarize the main differences, let's look at the table below.

research paper vs essay

What Is the Difference Between Research Paper and Different Types of Papers

There are many types of papers, each focusing on different topics, serving different purposes, and requiring a specific structure. Those are different types of essays that share a common ground but differ in the way they present information and arguments.

Analytical paper. The purpose of such an essay is an in-depth analysis of the chosen topic, studying different approaches and points of view, and formulating one’s own conclusions based on the information studied and scientific evidence.

Argumentative paper. This type of essay takes as a basis an ambiguous topic; the author must take a certain position and provide a number of arguments.

Informative paper. It has an informative purpose — a presentation of information to the reader, preceded by careful analysis and selection of data.

Persuasive paper . The purpose of this paper is to present convincing arguments, using chosen writing techniques, confirming the author’s position regarding the selected scientific topic.

To get a high grade, you need to understand the requirements of academic requirements. No matter how informatively rich your work is, if it does not meet the requirements, it cannot be highly appreciated. Each type of academic assignment has its own clearly defined, unique format. It’s necessary to know the difference between a research paper vs argumentative essay so as not to get confused while completing a college assignment. So before you start writing an assignment, make sure you understand the type of academic writing required of you.

Let’s Sum Up

Research papers and essays are aimed at testing various skills of the student, following different structures, and having several requirements. An essay is a more creative writing task, which involves showing originality and expressing a personal opinion on a certain topic. At the same time, a research paper is a type of scientific writing that adheres to a strict structure and uses a formal tone. Understanding the main differences will make your writing process easier, saving you time researching the requirements. Remember that knowing the essence of the assignment is a key factor in writing a decent paper.

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does a research paper have to be argumentative

Home / Guides / Writing Guides / Paper Types / How to Write an Argumentative Essay

How to Write an Argumentative Essay

Are you writing an argumentative essay for school and just don’t feel that it’s as good as it could be? This type of writing can be challenging, since it requires plenty of research, but it can also be quite rewarding.

Argumentative writing tends to be balanced in that it acknowledges all sides of the issue. Rather than only discuss your own point of view, you will be conducting research on all views of the subject, then presenting them in a way that will allow the reader to make their decision.

Guide Overview

  • Choose a topic
  • Draft an outline
  • Include quotes
  • Look at both sides of the issue

Choose a Topic

It’s far easier to write on a topic that interests you and that you feel passionate about. Selecting a topic with strong opposing views can be a great way to get your grades up, provided you do a good job of proving your point.

Great topics may include legal topics, moral topics and social topics, among others. Here are a few to get you started:

  • Should businesses be permitted to advertise in schools?
  • Should circumcision for infants be banned?
  • Is the death penalty the best option for murderers?
  • Should employers be permitted to refuse to hire pregnant women
  • Should tobacco products be banned?
  • Should firearms be restricted?Is abortion a legal right?

These topics have very strong views on either side and it is up to you to select which one to represent first in your essay. While both (or more, if you find others) perspectives should be represented, one will feature more strongly as your preferred opinion.

Hints for a Better Essay

Still need some extra tricks to make sure your essay is amazing? Here are a few ways you can boost the value of your writing.

Draft an Outline

Before you get too far into creating your essay, you’ll want an essay to keep things nice and neat. It’s easy to ramble if you don’t have a specific direction to follow. As you do your research, write the information you find on sticky notes. Then arrange these into a simple outline that flows. Work without a solid outline at your own risk. Consider using an argumentative essay template to understand key elements of the essay.

Include Quotes

Using quotes from experts on the topic will appeal to logic and help the reader understand why your thesis statement hold true. You can find these online, from reputable sources, or you can actually talk to some experts to get the quotes. Be sure to cite these sources to demonstrate credibility and allow the reader to see where the quotes came from. It doesn’t matter if it is in MLA format ( examples ), APA format ( examples ), or another style—be sure to include citations.

Look at Both Sides of the Issue

Balance is the key to argumentative writing. Ideally, you will present both the pros and cons of the various arguments, with a strong slant toward your preferred view. With the right research and arranging of facts, you should be able to present your perspective in a very persuasive way.

While your essay should be written to encourage people to see things from your point of view, it should also present all sides of issue. This will come across as balanced and fair and you allow the reader to ultimately choose which option they prefer.

Finally, if you’re ever facing writer’s block for your college paper, consider WriteWell Essay Templates  to help you get started.

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271 Strong Argumentative Research Paper Topics You Must Know

argumentative research paper topics

Writing good argumentative research paper topics can always place you in a rock and a hard place. Writing from scratch can be daunting, but writing to a deadline is worse. Creating a terrific academic argumentative research paper takes a few tweaks. Through them, you will eventually craft a standardized paper that would earn you all points and, if not all, perhaps better grades.

This article will discuss the various angles you could take flawlessly to finish an argumentative research paper. Consequently, do not let terror take over you when writing a research paper.

Instead, it will be your forte after reading through this article’s steps.

What Is An Argumentative Research Paper?

An argumentative research paper is a paper that is structured in a way that allows you to present and defend your ideas about the topic, and that’s what definitional argument paper topics involve. The main purpose of an argumentative research paper is to make it possible for you to demonstrate your arguments. They may be based on either scientific knowledge or personal experience.

College argumentative research paper topics can be a single paper or a collection of several papers that you have written. Alternatively, it can be a series of papers in which you have analyzed different aspects of the topic. It will take you a while of introspection to understand this.

An award-winning research paper or one that could earn you better grades must be deeply rooted in facts. Generally, you must employ extensive evidence to defend your opinion or point.

What Are The Different Types Of Argumentative Research Paper Topics?

The are many different types of argumentative research paper topics. Here we explore the classic classification of the topics and their characteristics

  • Classical Western Argument These types of classical argument paper topics have always been footed on two bases: to convince the audience that they are right and give well-reasoned answers to questionsThey are easy argument paper topics. Topics for argumentative research paper tasks do not necessarily have to be complicated. An introduction is imperative for a classical western argument since it welcomes the audience and builds goodwill and a connection with the readers. It also announces the overall theme or thesis of the argument.It must have a narration that portrays necessary background facts. It is intended to inform the listener about the setting and occurrences that produced the argument.A classic western argument must have confirmation, refutation, and summation. Remember, the summary must be concrete, echoing the gravity of the argument and equally reflecting the best solution to the readers.
  • Toulon Argument The primary goal of a Toulmin argument is frequently to gather the most compelling proof in favor of the presented statements. For example, if you take “Philosophy argument paper topics”, you have to work through this topic well and understand it.The goal of a Toulmin argument is precise, unlike the previous types. It is made up of six parts, namely: introduction, data, warrants, qualifiers, rebuttal, and backing. It has a conclusion intended to trigger evocative thought among the readers.
  • Rogerian Argument The Rogerian argument seeks the greatest plausible solution based on the wants and preferences of everyone concerned, or, in other words, some form of unanimity. The essay structure of this type of argument does not bear innate disparities to the different types. It has a structure that aims at reaching a consensus amidst the contest.The Rogerian argument topics for a paper focus on expanding comprehension between conflicting viewpoints by noting that an issue can be viewed from various perspectives. Its building blocks are; an introduction, an acknowledgement of the opposition, a thesis statement, support for the thesis, and a conclusion.Notably, the summary has to highlight the imperatives of a classical argument paper topic, even if it cannot resolve the problem wholly. Also, it has to acknowledge that more work needs to be done in the future to find lasting remedies.

How To Write A Strong Thesis Statement

A thesis statement outlines the topic of your assignments, that is, argumentative research essay topics, and provides a summary of the article’s content, particularly your position on the subject. It is helpful to pose a concern before making your assertion in a thesis, so that your thesis can provide a resolution.

This is a powerful strategy for getting the reader interested in your subject and the viewpoint you advocate. The basic custom of any argument should be briefly covered in a thesis. By accomplishing this-getting thesis writing help, you can assist the reader in becoming ready for the essay’s main body.

When writing a thesis statement, you must include: A question A provocative statement A well-laid description An anecdote that compels the readers to find out more about the essay

Whenever you start writing, make an effort to define your aim explicitly. This is what argumentative research paper topics college institutions demand. Constantly write on your subject if you cannot express your purpose effectively.

How To Select A Topic For An Argumentative Essay

You might occasionally find yourself debating points you do not particularly agree with. That is just good – making a convincing argument does not need you to believe what you are saying fervently.

However, picking a subject you are passionate about is a fantastic option when you have complete freedom over it. A strong perspective and various supporting arguments are the two essential elements of a high quality successful argumentative essay.

It will be simpler for a student to obtain proof to back up an argument if they are fascinated and enthusiastic about the issue that they chose. The evidence itself is what matters most.

Decide on a topic by considering issues that are important to you, irrespective of whether they are good or bad. Create a list of concepts, and then pick a couple to focus on. You will then elaborate upon such concepts by addressing a few compensatory picks.

Making these lists may lead you to discover that a few are more powerful than others. The greater the issue, the more proof you have and the more compelling you believe that proved to be.

Again, choosing a different argument research topic is acceptable if you think one issue would have more verifiable data, but you would prefer not to pen about it. If you are enthusiastic about our topic, it might be much simpler to uncover solid arguments and evidence to support your claims than if you are not.

Well, here is a list of sample argumentative research paper topics you could decide to choose from and develop a terrific essay.

Good Argument Paper Topics On Education

Here are some ingenious argumentative essay sample topics touching on matters of education:

  • Can parents be able to alter their unborn children’s characteristics?
  • Should pupils need to be immunized to attend a public school?
  • Should global governments take action to combat climate change?
  • Should physical education classes have an impact on a student’s grades?
  • Is free college a good idea?
  • Should Greek life be banned from academic institutions?
  • Should comprehensive sex education be given to scholars?
  • It should be possible for pupils to choose the high school curriculum.
  • The importance of physical education in education.
  • Schools should not permit the use of cell phones.
  • Like scholars, teachers need to pass a professional exam.
  • Less work should be assigned to pupils in schools.
  • High schools should be required to include sex education.
  • The Best Alternative to Regular School is Home Schooling
  • Scholars should only spend three months studying and nine months vacationing.
  • Sporting Activities Can Help You Change Your Life.
  • Lies Are a Vital Component of a Healthy Relationship
  • There Are Aliens
  • Keeping a Journal Is a Fun Stress Reduction Technique
  • Colleges need medical facilities to aid scholars in overcoming stress and depression.
  • You Can Learn Important Life Skills from Video Games
  • Having a pet is a way to improve your happiness.
  • Better Off Renting Than Buying a Home
  • Is the American educational system ideal for the modern world?

Interesting Argument Paper Topics On Ethics

When faced with an argumentative essay touching on ethics, here are samples to jog your mind:

  • Do GMOs benefit or hurt humans?
  • Should Facebook be permitted to gather user data?
  • Should autonomous vehicles be made legal?
  • Is it moral to use automation to replace human labor?
  • Should use a cell phone while driving is prohibited by law?
  • Has the Internet had a good or bad impact on society?
  • Should college athletes receive compensation for playing on teams?
  • Must fracking be permitted?
  • Same-sex couples ought to be permitted to wed.
  • Death Penalties: Are They Still Valid in the Twenty-First Century?
  • Benefits of Medical Marijuana Legalization
  • Without organized religion, the world might be a better place.
  • More harm than good is caused by technology.
  • What would life be like if animals ruled the world?
  • What if scholars and teachers switched places?
  • How will having flying automobiles affect our daily lives?
  • The most prosperous people are school dropouts.
  • Why drinking is advisable before a test
  • What if humans were to view the world as dogs do?
  • The causes behind Starbucks’ delicious flavor
  • How defying your parents can help you succeed?
  • Why passing the driving test is crucial
  • The top pupils are those who do not attend class.
  • The best visitors are those who arrived already stuffed.
  • Why I enjoy junk mail
  • Why setting your school on fire is not an option
  • Clowns are not as terrifying as you would imagine.
  • The reason why your washing won’t do itself
  • Why you should continue to wear a mask even after COVID-19
  • Which film has ever been the worst?
  • How playing video games can benefit your career search
  • Why I don’t like country music
  • Why films are superior to books
  • Is it wrong to show sex scenes on television?
  • Should learning institutions condone cheating?
  • Should young people have access to birth control?
  • Is religion a valid justification for terrorism?
  • Does bullying make one stronger?
  • Do you think young kids should have access to cell phones and tablets?
  • Should minors be allowed to obtain contraception without their parent’s permission?
  • Is it time for single-payer healthcare in the US?
  • Should assisted suicide be allowed to exist?
  • Should nutritional supplements and products for weight loss, such as teas, be allowed to use influencer marketing?
  • Should physicians be permitted to promote medications?
  • Is the electoral college still a useful mechanism in contemporary America?
  • Should Puerto Rico gain statehood?
  • Is automatic voter registration a good idea?
  • Should prisoners have the right to vote?
  • Should justices of the Supreme Court be voted into power?
  • Children should not be served soda at restaurants.
  • Should sexual labor be made legal?
  • Should Indigenous Peoples’ Day take the place of Columbus Day?
  • Should executions be permitted?
  • Are uniforms for schools a good idea?
  • Should using animals for clinical tests be permitted?
  • Should the crime of drug possession be dropped?
  • Must unpaid internships be permitted?
  • Must abortion be outlawed?
  • Do individuals misuse their freedom to carry weapons?
  • Is there a racial component to police violence?
  • It is time to raise the legal drinking age.
  • A child’s sexual orientation is established when they are young.
  • All around the world, same-sex unions should be permitted.
  • Inmates should not be kept as illegal immigrants.
  • Should all women have access to reproductive health care and birth control?
  • Would anyone benefit equally from our tax system?
  • Is vaping just as dangerous as cigarette smoking?
  • Is global consumption a serious problem?
  • Is social media a privacy infringement?
  • Does everyone need to get vaccinated?
  • Do food firms have a say in what we eat?
  • Does our system of education fit our culture?
  • Why should certain languages be recognized as official in the US?
  • Is the death penalty ever justified?
  • Victims of rape ought to abort their unborn children.
  • Equal paternity leave should be granted to fathers.
  • Do trouble-making behaviors among teenagers stem from boredom?
  • Parents who have failed their children should be disciplined.
  • Animal testing ought to be prohibited.
  • Gaming that is violent needs to be prohibited.
  • Adopting parents with mental impairments should not be permitted.
  • Islamist nations should allow alcohol usage.
  • Everyone should receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
  • School dress codes ought to be abolished
  • Assignments should not be required
  • Pets ought to be allowed in learning institutions
  • Cellphone use should be permitted in class for scholars.
  • The daily schooling hours ought to be cut shorter
  • Why longer school breaks are necessary
  • Every classroom needs a TV.
  • We must extend our summer vacation.
  • Schools ought to have recess in between class sessions.
  • A pet belongs in every classroom.
  • Is a College Education Still Required?
  • Should High School Graduates Have a Gap Year?
  • Cyberbullying in High School Is a Serious Problem
  • Scholars ought to be permitted to dress however they like.
  • The Existing Grading System Does Not Reflect Scholars’ Knowledge in the Contemporary World
  • Is a Lower Voting Age Needed?
  • The Benefits of Offering Free Condoms to Scholars
  • Partners expecting a child ought to take parenting classes
  • Sex education ought to be taught in schools.
  • Should the legal drinking age be lowered?
  • Standardized Tests Need to Be Banned
  • Scholar loans: Are They Favorable or Bad?
  • Is drug use on campuses a test or a genuine issue?
  • Do College Relationships Last a Long Time?
  • Children should not be permitted to attend college classes by scholars.
  • Fraternities’ detrimental effects on scholars’ behavior and performance
  • When Is a Gap Year a Welcomed Idea?
  • There should be more benefits for college athletes when schooling.
  • Most college units are already obsolete and unfit for the contemporary world.
  • The cost of lodging in universities ought to be zero.
  • Celebs ought not to serve as teenage girls’ role models.
  • Diet obsession can result in a variety of eating conditions and health complications.
  • School uniforms ought to be required.
  • Males and females can have friendships that are limited to just that.
  • The vegetarian lifestyle is not practical
  • Democracy is currently the sanest form of government.
  • GMO diets aren’t as risky as we once thought
  • Horror films may harm one’s mental health.
  • Junk food ought not to be offered in school lunches.

Easy Argument Paper Topics On Sports

Sports argumentative essay topics can prove hard to formulate. Here are samples:

  • Should there be a gender divide in sports?
  • Should baseball’s designated hitter system be eliminated?
  • Should American sports treat soccer with more respect?
  • Should players and coaches receive the same compensation?
  • Girls should be urged to participate in sports and put just as much effort into their studies as boys do.
  • College Sports Players Must Be Paid
  • Sports should allow women to compete against men.
  • Countries benefit economically and socially by hosting the Olympic Games.
  • Media coverage of female athletes is still sexist.
  • Certain sports can encourage violent behavior.
  • Injury Has a Significant Impact on an Athlete’s Mental Health
  • Among Athletes, Eating Disorders Are a Common Issue
  • Schools and Colleges should emphasize physical education more
  • Taking part in sports can have calming, resonant effects on the body and mind.
  • Motivating girls to participate in sports is important.

Argument Paper Topics On Religion

Argumentative essay topics on religion could prove contentious. Below are samples:

  • Should religious institutions be subject to taxation?
  • Should schools allow religious clubs?
  • Should the pledge of allegiance include “one nation under God”?
  • Should religion be covered in the classroom?
  • Should clerics be permitted to wed?

Professional Argument  Paper Topics On Economics

Argumentative topics in economics essays are easy. Here are some examples:

  • Is raising the minimum wage necessary?
  • Do monopolies deserve to exist?
  • Is the concept of universal basic income wisely?
  • Should the tax rate on companies be higher or cheap?

Argument Paper Topics On Society And Culture

Formulating argumentative essay topics on culture and society, in general, should not bother you that much. Here are samples. But if you have problems with your writing you can order a dissertation online .

  • Is graffiti considered destruction or art?
  • Should books with offensive language be prohibited?
  • Should YouTube content be more strictly regulated?
  • Is the study of art important?
  • Should people be able to share their art and music online?
  • Current assessments do not match the scholar’s ability.
  • Breastfeeding in public should be permitted for women.
  • To bring about change, the Internet was developed.
  • When it comes to giving their kids a nutritious diet, parents should be accountable.
  • Churches ought to be taxed as well.
  • The Contribution of Art to the Evolution of Our World
  • Using Art Therapy to Treat Mental Illness
  • Scholars that participate in the arts excel academically.
  • Unlike traditional art, digital art lacks soul.
  • Everybody ought to enrol in art classes in school
  • Is Art Actually Required?
  • What Inner Fears Do Children Express in Their Art?
  • What Is Art For?
  • How Has the Representation of Women in Art Changed Over the Centuries?
  • Most art forms were created in ancient Greece, which is where they originated.
  • A potent treatment for psychological issues is music.
  • Hard Rock Harmfully influences teenage Behavior
  • If You Pay Attention, You Can Hear Music in the Natural World
  • Billie Eilish Is Not Your Average Teen Pop Star-Star
  • The Human Brain is Positively affected by Music
  • The Calming Power of Celtic Music
  • Modern music is largely commercial rather than artistic.
  • Rap music encourages aggression.
  • A better pregnancy can be ensured by classical music.
  • College scholars’ academic performance is improved through music

Technology Argument Paper Topics

Many learners avoid technology-related argumentative topics due to their technicality. Below are samples:

  • Owners of social media platforms should keep an eye on and delete comments that use offensive language.
  • Does technology contribute to individuals feeling more alone?
  • Will there ever be a moment when no new technological developments take place?
  • Vlogging is not a legitimate career.
  • Is LinkedIn useful in terms of job search?
  • The number of business opportunities has significantly increased thanks to social media.
  • Is Java going out of style?
  • Are social media profiles of candidates something employers should look through?
  • Social media cause teenage despair.

Science Argument Paper Topics

Below are argumentative topics touching on the science field:

  • The Morality of Cloning the Benefits of Genetic Engineering and How They Can Change the World the Potential Benefits of Investing in Space Exploration
  • Universities should spend more money on scientific programs.
  • How Do New Scientific Discoveries Affect Our Everyday Lives?
  • Do New Technologies Pose Health Risks?
  • The use of animals in scientific research should be prohibited
  • The Science of Medical Marijuana’s Healing Effect
  • Food that has been genetically modified: Is it healthy for us or not?
  • Why Science Should Be Taught to Everyone.

Argument Paper Topics On The Environment

Argumentative topics on the environment tend to be broad. Here are useful samples:

  • Existing environmental statutes do not avert human encroachment and habitat obliteration
  • Human encroachment endangers the lives of plants and animals
  • Climate change is real
  • Developed nations primarily cause global warming
  • A change in farming practices is required to cease environmental obliteration.
  • Environment-friendly effects of vegetarianism
  • The worst polluters of air and water are industrial by-products and farming additives
  • Overpopulation is the root cause of city pollution
  • We must protect the world’s resources.
  • Hunting is a sinful activity.
  • Is using animals in a circus acceptable?
  • Evil dogs ought to be put to sleep.
  • Recycling ought to be required.
  • Should recycling be made required?
  • Is competition advantageous?
  • Does blogging as a profession have a future?
  • Is it possible for people to ever exist without the Internet?
  • Should everyone volunteer and donate to charities?
  • Does the media infringe on famous people’s privacy?

Argument Paper Topics On Government

Politics is not everyone. Below are argumentative topics on governance you could exploit:

  • In wealthy nations, unlawful immigration is a serious problem.
  • Citizenship should always be granted to persons sired within a particular country’s borders. Stricter immigration laws should be enforced against illegal immigration
  • Border restrictions should be tightened to stop illegal immigration.
  • The main driver of unlawful immigration is poverty.
  • Deporting illegal immigrants to their nations of origin is usually pointless.
  • High Illegal Immigration Rates May Encourage Prostitution
  • High levels of unlawful immigration are one of the main causes of terrorism.
  • Lowering immigration costs may help avert illegal immigration
  • Refugee applicants ought not to be viewed as unauthorized immigrants.
  • Is Racial Profiling Still Appropriate in Today’s World?
  • Euthanasia for terminally ill patients should be made legal.
  • All should have access to free higher education.
  • Is Donald Trump’s presidency detrimental to the US and the rest of the world, or beneficial?
  • In colleges and schools, energy drinks have to be prohibited.
  • In the US, gambling ought to be outlawed.
  • Should abortion be outlawed globally?
  • Should the death penalty be carried out universally?
  • Certain kinds of animal experimentation and other forms of study ought to be prohibited.
  • Should the government take additional steps to provide accessibility for the physically challenged?
  • Are people born with the skill to be a politician, or do they learn it?

High Quality Argument Paper Topics On Health

There are numerous argumentative topics on health to choose from. Below are samples:

  • Everyone should have access to free health care.
  • It is possible to discover a working cure for AIDs
  • Art therapy can be effective for a wide range of health issues
  • Healthy alternatives: benefits and drawbacks
  • The negative consequences of a head injury
  • Does the media accurately represent the risk of coronavirus?
  • Are electronic cigarettes more harmless than smoke?
  • Could 3D printing help the medical field?
  • Nanotechnology can aid in cancer treatment
  • How would stem cells reduce cardiac arrest patients’ mortality rates?
  • Pro-life vs. Pro-choice views on abortion
  • Alcoholism harms all aspects of life, not just health
  • The production and sale of tobacco should be prohibited
  • Vaping is safer than cigarette smoking.
  • The risks of the COVID-19 vaccine outweigh the benefits.

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Working students can consider our consulting and thesis writing services when faced with tough argumentative research paper assignments. Our writers are some of the best experts and can provide a fast turnaround with your argumentative research essays to help you beat the deadlines. Even so, writing essays and coming up with good argument paper topics can be strenuous. Our team of writers can help you get the best argumentative research paper topics that will earn you grades generously.

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How to Write an Argumentative Essay

  • November 27, 2022

Table of Contents

What is an argumentative essay, introduction, thesis statement, body paragraphs, outline and research, wrapping up.

We’ve all dreaded writing an intimidating essay at some point or other. Argumentative essays are extra intimidating as you’ll have to do justice to the topic and make a strong argument in its favor.

Read on if you want to master writing clear and concise argumentative essays and have common questions answered, such as:

  • How to write an argumentative essay
  • What are the types of arguments
  • How to write a thesis statement for an argumentative essay and others

An argumentative essay is designed to convince the reader why your stance is correct by expanding on the topic and offering fact-based evidence against counter-claims. It requires thorough research of the topic, a clear thesis statement, and follow sound reasoning.

An exceptionally written argumentative essay will:

  • Engage the reader with a compelling and exciting topic.
  • Give a fair explanation of all points of view.
  • Address the potential counter-claims.
  • Make the reader ponder and convince them to adopt and consider a new perspective.

Structure of an Argumentative Essay

When writing an argumentative essay, you’ll want to present your stance in the best way possible, which is where a structure is essential. A strong structure consists of:

  • A clear and defined thesis statement
  • Organic transitions between paragraphs
  • Evidential support (factual, logical, or statistical)

Because argumentative essays usually follow a five-paragraph structure, your structure should be as follows:

  • First paragraph: introduction and thesis statement.
  • Second to the fourth paragraph: body paragraphs , each one detailing your claims.
  • Fifth paragraph: conclusion.

However, depending on the complexity of the topic, argumentative essays can be longer than five paragraphs. So, keep in mind to follow the assignment specifications when outlining your essay.

You’ll want to grab the reader’s attention and retain it until the last sentence, which is why the introduction paragraph should be entertaining while still following academic writing rules. For example, you can open up an interesting statistic not well-known in the field.

Your introduction paragraph should serve to outline the topic and the evidence you will present, provide background information, and your statement thesis.

The thesis statement should be the last sentence of the introduction paragraph, and while it’s only a sentence long, it’s the most important part of your essay. A well-constructed thesis will summarize what your argumentative essay is about and what the reader can expect. You can write a thesis statement by following these three steps:

  • Turning the topic into a question and then answering it: ask a big question in the title or the first few sentences and then answer it in your thesis statement.
  • Stating an argument and then refuting it: introduce an idea you don’t align with and then explain why you disagree with it.
  • Briefly outlining your points: introduce your main point and explain how you’ll back it with evidence.

In the body paragraphs, you should include evidential support to your statement thesis. When writing them, keep the following in mind:

  • Explain how the evidence supports the thesis statement,
  • Present differing points of view on the topic and why these points don’t support the thesis,
  • Connect logically to the thesis statement,
  • Try to limit a paragraph to one point.

Lastly, in the conclusion paragraph, you restate the thesis statement, but in the light of the evidence you provided. You can use the conclusion to showcase why the topic is important and what future research should focus on. Note that you should refrain from introducing new information in this section.

Types of Arguments

An argumentative essay can use one of the three arguments to approach a topic. Following an approach or combining them can help you structure your essay more easily and be more evident in your claims.

The classical or Aristotelian argument is a classic for a reason, as it is the most common strategy for making a straightforward argument. It relies on five parts:

  • Introduction: it introduces the topic and how you’re going to prove your stance.
  • Thesis: it explains your point of view.
  • Refutation: it includes counter-arguments and refutes them.
  • Confirmation: it presents your evidence.
  • Conclusion: it summarizes your argument powerfully with evidential support.

The Toulmin argument approach is better used for complex topics or when refuting an opposing point of view. This method is founded on logic and deep analysis, and it relies on six areas:

  • Claim: stating the argument clearly.
  • Reasons: presenting the evidence.
  • Warrant: connecting the argument with evidence.
  • Backing: providing additional evidence.
  • Qualifier: explaining the limits of the argument.
  • Rebuttal: finding opposing views and refuting them.

The Rogerian argument is best used in essays where you have to show the validity of both sides of an argument. When using this approach, you should take a wider-scope view of the topic. While it is more structure-free than the other approaches, you can still follow a structure by:

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  • introducing the argument,
  • explaining and validating the opposite point of view,
  • explaining your point of view and why you hold that stance,
  • finding the middle ground between the opposing points of view, and
  • concluding the argument and recognizing where there’s still work to be done.

Steps in the Writing Process

Although the writing process is unique to each person, following some steps can help you be more productive.

If your argument or point of view isn’t provided as an assignment, you can try brainstorming to come up with the perfect topic for your project. When looking for topics or arguments, you should:

  • be coherent and relevant to the course,
  • pick an important topic, and
  • pick a topic with potential for further research.

Outlining and researching are crucial, as they set the foundation for an excellent argumentative essay.

When outlining, you should decide whether to follow the five-paragraph outline or the longer essay outline, depending on the complexity of your topic.

On the other hand, when researching, you’ll have to follow a few steps:

  • Picking a point of view and argument,
  • researching who else supports your argument,
  • exploring the potential counter-arguments, and
  • organizing your evidence.

You should also keep in mind to check the validity of your evidence.

After outlining your essay and gathering all the material you need, you can start writing. It’s important to write a rough draft with all your ideas and opinions. You should also remember that in this step, it is more important to write and fill in the gaps than to have a perfect version immediately.

Following the rough draft is the revision part, in which you polish it and transform it into the perfect version. When revising, you should ensure your language is clear, optimize word choice, and strengthen any weak argument. This step will help you retain your essay’s credibility and intellectual integrity.

Naturally, when writing, we can all make grammatical and technical mistakes, which is why you should always proofread your essay before submitting it. While you can proofread it yourself, you can also use online resources such as Grammarly to ease the proofreading process. A handy trick is to proofread your essay after taking a break, as it will help you find tiny mistakes you might otherwise have overlooked.

Writing can be a challenging process, especially when you have to prove your point clearly and concisely. However, by sticking to a bulletproof structure and utilizing our tips for writing a stellar argumentative essay, we’re sure you can take on any topic without any difficulty.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

What's Next?

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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130 Argumentative Research Paper Topics for You

argumentative research topics

The spark of truth is struck on the anvil of discussion and the most passionate conversations are almost always debated. We all like to dispute over something, and if you believe arguing isn’t for you, you just haven’t found an interesting topic to argue about. Usually, teachers give you a topic to write about. But when you are asked to choose your topic, it might give you some serious headaches. And this is where we come in.  

In this article we’ll give you a list of captivating topics to write an argumentative research paper on. You’ll be able to choose any topic you like based on many different niches of a research paper, from cryptocurrencies to mental health. But first, let’s go into the basics of what an argumentative research paper topic is all about.  

What Are Argumentative Research Papers?

The main objective of an argumentative research paper is to convince the reader about a certain point of view and make them agree with it. It can also present counter-arguments so that the reader can see all sides of an argument, and then make up their mind about it. These are done by presenting facts, statistics, or any other type of information that supports the main thesis.

A good way to find these types of topics is to look for problems that are occurring in society or the world around you. For example, if you live near a beach and you see trash on the shoreline, this may be an argumentative research paper idea for you. You might take this idea and make a claim about why people should not litter their trash on the beach.

Another example would be if you read an article that said that smoking cigarettes were bad for your health, but then another article came out saying it wasn’t as bad as everyone thought. This would also be a good topic for an argumentative research paper because there is no definitive answer either way and both sides have valid points.

Argumentative research papers can be challenging to write, but they can also be a lot of fun. The key is to make sure you’re choosing a topic that you’re interested in. If you’re not into the subject, it’s going to be hard to convince other people to care about it! If you’re looking for some great topics for an argumentative research paper, here are some suggestions for high school, college, and different niches.  

Argumentative Research Paper Topics College

Every student has to be able to write an argumentative essay, especially when you’re in college. If you have problems with finding argumentative research topics for your college essay, we’ve got you covered! Here are some topics you can choose from!

  • Students should be required to take a course in politics/law/justice studies.
  • Should colleges offer free tuition for students who graduate high school with excellent grades?
  • Should colleges be allowed to have fraternities and sororities?
  • The impact of technology on college education
  • Should students be allowed to use laptops in class?
  • The importance of environmentalism
  • Should student loans exist?
  • Is it ethical to eat animals?

Good Argumentative Research Paper Topics

Many students find it difficult to come up with a decent arguing topic, especially if they are unfamiliar with how to do so. If you’re having trouble coming up with a solid topic for your argumentative college essay, here are some good topics for an argumentative research paper.  

  • Can online education be as effective as a traditional education?
  • Should universities have the right to decide what their students wear on campus?
  • Do you think that men and women should be treated equally in the workplace?
  • Should students who have already graduated high school be able to take college courses for free?
  • Rigorous testing is the best way to prepare students for college and career choices
  • The necessity of standardized tests as a measure of accountability
  • Should you take a nap after lunch?
  • Should we have a national health care system?
  • Is there such a thing as a perfect parent?

Easiest Argumentative Research Paper Topics

The easiest argumentative research paper ideas aren’t always easy to come up with. If you need easy topics to work on, here are some straightforward argumentative research topics.

  • Can you trust your dentist?
  • Is America racist?
  • Are you a good person?
  • Should you be allowed to say whatever you want on social media?
  • Should you be allowed to smoke weed?
  • The importance of sleeping well
  • What is the best way to handle the global warming problem?
  • Should there be harsher punishments for criminals who commit crimes against children?

Best Argumentative Research Paper Topics

Sometimes, it takes a lot of effort to come up with the best topics for an argumentative research paper. Here are some argumentative research paper topics that are sure to blow your mind.

  • Whether or not the United States should be involved in foreign wars, and if so, when it should become involved.
  • If a woman has the right to choose what happens with her body when it comes to abortion or birth control.
  • Whether or not there should be a law that requires all Americans to be vaccinated against measles before they turn 18 years old.
  • How to make America’s healthcare system better.
  • Should we allow people who have been convicted of sex crimes against children to be able to work as teachers?
  • The effectiveness of stricter gun control laws in preventing violent crime in the United States.
  • Who should be responsible for student discipline: the teacher or the principal?
  • How schools can better address students’ mental health needs without infringing on their privacy rights.

Argumentative Research Paper Topics High School

Are you looking for a list of high school argumentative research paper topics? We’ve put together a list of some high school argumentative research paper topics.

  • Should students be allowed to bring their dogs to school?
  • The benefits of working with a team
  • The benefits of taking online courses
  • The benefits of getting a college degree
  • The benefits of a vegan diet
  • Are cellphones a distraction in the classroom?
  • Is it possible to teach students how to be good citizens in school?
  • How can teachers use technology in the classroom more effectively?

Topics for Argumentative Research Paper

Sometimes, it can be really stressful to come up with topics for argumentative research papers. But no worries! Here are some argumentative topics for research paper you can choose from!

  • The evolution of social media and its impact on society.
  • The role of the media in influencing public opinion.
  • The best way to teach children about their gender identity and sexual orientation.
  • What are the pros and cons of standardized testing in schools?
  • Should people with disabilities be able to drive?
  • Is it better to be alone or in a relationship?
  • The environmental impact of using plastic straws
  • Do you prefer one-night stands or relationships?
  • The psychological impact of social media on mental health

Mental Health Argumentative Research Paper Topics

Finding an appropriate argumentation topic for mental health can be difficult. But if you’re seeking argumentative ideas about mental health for your research paper, this list of topics can help you!

  • Mental health can be improved with self-care activities and exercise, but not with medication
  • The effects of sleep deprivation on mental health
  • How technology is helping to treat mental health disorders
  • What’s the difference between a mental illness and an emotional disorder?
  • How do we know that mental health is just as important as physical health?
  • People with mental illnesses are more likely to commit crimes than those without mental illnesses
  • Mental health issues should be treated by medication, not by talking about them (or “counseling,” which is just another form of talking).
  • There’s no such thing as “mental illness” because it’s not an illness—it’s just a part of being human!
  • To be considered mentally healthy, one must be able to perform well at work, school, or in other areas of their life
  • Mental illness is a myth

Psychology Argumentative Research Paper Topics

Looking for debatable topics to write about for your upcoming psychology debate? We’ve got your back! The following is a list of ten good psychology research paper argument topics:

  • The relationship between creativity and mental illness
  • The effect of social media on the development of personalities in children
  • The role of stress in the development of mental illness
  • The impact of social media on the development of personalities in children
  • The connection between creativity and mental illness
  • The effect of sleep deprivation on thoughts and memory
  • How women and men perceive each other’s sexuality
  • The effects of music on early childhood development
  • The impact of social media on the self-esteem of young people
  • The effects of pornography on society (and vice versa)

Controversial Topics for Argumentative Research Paper

Finding a controversial topic for a debate is not easy, and many students struggle to come up with a topic worth discussing. That is why we have compiled a list of 10 controversial ideas for argumentative research papers from which you can choose.

  • Should the death penalty be abolished?
  • Should we allow same-sex marriage?
  • The legalization of marijuana
  • The use of genetically modified crops
  • Should we be allowed to eat genetically modified foods?
  • Is there such a thing as a war on women?
  • Publicly funded sports stadiums
  • The use of animals in scientific research
  • Gender equality: a fad?
  • The legalization of abortion

Argumentative Research Paper Topics on Social Media

The use of social media has risen dramatically in recent years, raising a slew of questions about how it influences the world. Are you seeking a good argumentative research paper topic to write on social media? You can choose from this list of topics.

  • Social media is destroying our ability to communicate with each other in the real world.
  • Social media is making us less human than we were before its invention.
  • The value of social media in healthcare
  • The usefulness of social media in law enforcement
  • What are the pros and cons of using social media?
  • Social media has created a society where we only care about ourselves and our feelings while ignoring the feelings of others.
  • Social media in education
  • Is social media addictive?
  • Social media is making people more depressed
  • What’s the most popular social media platform?

Sports Argumentative Research Paper Topics

Sports has evolved into a fascinating and engaging activity; virtually everyone has a favorite sport. Although sport is intriguing, coming up with topics to write about might be difficult! Here are ten sports-related argumentative research paper ideas to consider.

  • Is it fair to penalize an athlete’s entire team when one player violates a rule?
  • Should there be a cap on how much money professional athletes can make off their labor, or are they entitled to all that they earn?
  • The effect of steroids on professional sports
  • Is it right to give children sports scholarships?
  • Should sports be considered a professional career?
  • Why do people watch sports?
  • Who is the best athlete in the world today?
  • The role of sports in our society
  • What is the best way to contractually bind athletes and teams?
  • Is college athletics good for the academic experience of students?

Fun Argumentative Research Paper Topics

Sometimes, all you need is a fun argumentative topic to grab your audience’s attention and keep the debate exciting, But coming up with a fun topic to argue about isn’t easy because you’ll need to rack your brains for some ideas. That’s why we have compiled a list of some entertaining argumentative research paper topics!

  • Is it better to have a dog or cat as a pet?
  • Are you more likely to be the victim of a crime if you live in a big city or a small town?
  • Should we allow people to bring their dogs on planes with them?
  • Why people should not be forced to have fun
  • Why you shouldn’t drink and drive
  • Should we ban people from wearing flip-flops in public after Labor Day?
  • Are we all sociopaths?
  • What makes a great leader?
  • Is it ever okay to use a selfie stick?
  • Can you be gay and christian?

Cryptocurrency Argumentative Research Paper Topics

Cryptocurrency is a big thing right now. It’s been gaining popularity and attention from investors, governments, and other stakeholders for years. Writing or reading a cryptocurrency argumentative research paper is a great way to get started in the world of cryptocurrency. The topic area has a lot of potential for research, as there are many different viewpoints on cryptocurrencies and their place in our society today.

This list will give you some ideas for topics that would make great argumentative research papers about cryptocurrencies.

  • Should the government regulate cryptocurrencies?
  • Is cryptocurrency better than fiat money?
  • How do cryptocurrencies affect global economics?
  • What are the benefits of using cryptocurrency in our society?
  • Is cryptocurrency a bubble? Discuss
  • Is Bitcoin anonymous? How do governments regulate cryptocurrencies?
  • Should we use cryptocurrencies to buy goods and services?
  • What are the risks of investing in cryptocurrencies?
  • Is it possible to create a cryptocurrency that is not volatile?
  • Why are cryptocurrencies good for the world?

Historical Argumentative Research Paper Topics

When it comes to picking historical debate topics, who hasn’t been stumped? It’s difficult to retain all of the material presented in a classroom setting. Thankfully, any historical issue can be turned into a fantastic history argumentative research paper topic. To make it easier for you, we have compiled a list of unique world history argumentative research paper topics below.

  • What role did women play in WWII?
  • How did the Great Depression impact American society?
  • Was the Holocaust necessary to stop Adolf Hitler’s rise to power?
  • Did the Russians have a right to invade Afghanistan in 1979?
  • Did the world need a new religion?
  • Should the United States have invaded Iraq in 2003?
  • What is the cause of the current gun violence epidemic?
  • The causes of World War II in Europe
  • The effects of the Great Recession on the US economy. Discuss  
  • Was it right to execute Mary, Queen of Scots?

Conclusion  

So here we are! 130 argumentative research paper topics to write your research paper on! We hope that you’ve been able to choose the topic you’ll like to work on for your argumentative research paper. Don’t forget to choose a topic that you’re comfortable and excited about writing about. And if you need some help with writing your research paper, we can help you!

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  1. How To Write A Argumentative Research Essay

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  2. Persuasive Essay: Argumentative essay samples

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  3. How to Write a Research Paper in English

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  4. What Is an Argumentative Essay? Simple Examples To Guide You

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  2. Analytical Vs Argumentative Research Papers: An Introduction

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COMMENTS

  1. Structure & Outline

    Usually written in the five-paragraph structure, the argumentative essay format consists of an introduction, 2-3 body paragraphs, and a conclusion. A works cited page or reference page (depending on format) will be included at the end of the essay along with in-text citations within the essay.

  2. How to Write an Argumentative Essay

    Revised on July 23, 2023. 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. Argumentative essays are by far the most common type of essay to write at university. Table of contents

  3. How to Write a Research Paper

    A research paper is a piece of academic writing that provides analysis, interpretation, and argument based on in-depth independent research. Research papers are similar to academic essays, but they are usually longer and more detailed assignments, designed to assess not only your writing skills but also your skills in scholarly research ...

  4. Genre and the Research Paper

    The argumentative research paper consists of an introduction in which the writer clearly introduces the topic and informs his audience exactly which stance he intends to take; this stance is often identified as the thesis statement.

  5. How to Write an Argumentative Research Paper (with Pictures)

    Sample Argumentative Research Paper Outline Sample Argumentative Essay Outline Part 1 Getting Started Download Article 1 Learn the basic features of an argumentative essay. Argumentative essays have some basic features that you should include in your essay.

  6. Can Research Paper be Argumentative: How to write research arguments

    A research paper can be argumentative if its thesis presents an argument that has to be proven and defended through research. To write an effective argument research paper or essay, you must research a topic and create a solid argument. Then provide concrete, convincing evidence to support your stance.

  7. Writing a Research Paper Introduction

    An argumentative paper presents a thesis statement, while an empirical paper generally poses a research question (sometimes with a hypothesis as to the answer). Argumentative paper: Thesis statement The thesis statement expresses the position that the rest of the paper will present evidence and arguments for.

  8. Argumentative Essays

    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.

  9. Research Papers Need Argument and Evidence

    Any good research paper must have an argument, and any good essay must support its argument with evidence. Like students, more and more professors are expected to produce work that...

  10. Argument Papers

    General Writing Common Writing Assignments Argument Papers Introductions, Body Paragraphs, and Conclusions for an Argument Paper Introductions, Body Paragraphs, and Conclusions for an Argument Paper The following sections outline the generally accepted structure for an academic argument paper.

  11. Research Writing and Argument: All Writing is Argument

    Because of this understanding of the word "argument," the only kind of writing seen as argumentative is the debate-like "position" paper, in which the author defends his or her point of view against other, usually opposing points of view. Such an understanding of argument is narrow because arguments come in all shapes and sizes.

  12. How to Write an Argumentative Essay

    In most cases, the essay brief will prompt you to argue for one of two positions. An argumentative essay title includes keywords such as "argument", "assert", "claim", and usually takes the form of a question. The title of an argumentative essay can be either open or two-sided. Here are examples of argumentative titles so you know ...

  13. PDF ACADEMIC WRITING

    build ideas and write papers. - The Writing Process: These features show all the steps taken to write a paper, allowing you to follow it from initial idea to published article. - Into the Essay: Excerpts from actual papers show the ideas from the chapters in action because you learn to write best by getting

  14. How to Create a Structured Research Paper Outline

    A research paper outline is a useful tool to aid in the writing process, providing a structure to follow with all information to be included in the paper clearly organized. A quality outline can make writing your research paper more efficient by helping to: Organize your thoughts; Understand the flow of information and how ideas are related

  15. Arguments

    There are two main parts to an argument: premises and conclusions. A premise is a statement of evidence or support that justifies or leads to a conclusion. A conclusion is any statement for which evidence or support has been offered. In the following example, two premises are offered as support for the conclusion.

  16. How to Write a Thesis Statement

    Placement of the thesis statement. Step 1: Start with a question. Step 2: Write your initial answer. Step 3: Develop your answer. Step 4: Refine your thesis statement. Types of thesis statements. Other interesting articles. Frequently asked questions about thesis statements.

  17. Difference Between an Essay and Research Paper

    As you may have noticed, research papers and essays have many differences, both global and specific. These two types of academic assignments differ in the purpose of writing, have different structures and formats, and are aimed at testing different skills. ... Argumentative paper. This type of essay takes as a basis an ambiguous topic; the ...

  18. How to Write an Argumentative Essay

    Balance is the key to argumentative writing. Ideally, you will present both the pros and cons of the various arguments, with a strong slant toward your preferred view. With the right research and arranging of facts, you should be able to present your perspective in a very persuasive way. While your essay should be written to encourage people to ...

  19. How to Write an A+ Argumentative Essay

    A great argumentative essay always combines the same basic elements: approaching an argument from a rational perspective, researching sources, supporting your claims using facts rather than opinion, and articulating your reasoning into the most cogent and reasoned points.

  20. 271 Strong Argumentative Research Paper Topics

    College argumentative research paper topics can be a single paper or a collection of several papers that you have written. Alternatively, it can be a series of papers in which you have analyzed different aspects of the topic. It will take you a while of introspection to understand this.

  21. How to Write an Argumentative Essay

    It requires thorough research of the topic, a clear thesis statement, and follow sound reasoning. An exceptionally written argumentative essay will: Engage the reader with a compelling and exciting topic. Give a fair explanation of all points of view. Address the potential counter-claims.

  22. 3 Strong Argumentative Essay Examples, Analyzed

    General Education 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.

  23. 130 Argumentative Research Paper Topics for You

    The following is a list of ten good psychology research paper argument topics: The relationship between creativity and mental illness. The effect of social media on the development of personalities in children. The role of stress in the development of mental illness. The impact of social media on the development of personalities in children.

  24. Is the President an "Officer of the United States"? Originalism vs

    Abstract. Following the Colorado District Court's ruling on Trump's presidential eligibility under Section Three, the arguments that the president is neither an "officer of the United States", nor the presidency an "office under the United States", now warrant closer examination.