Argumentative Essay Writing Tips: Secrets to a Strong Paper

When writing an argumentative essay, you must form a strong voice and a sound argument. The key to this is passion and research. Next time you write, do so with these argumentative essay tips in mind.

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Pick a Topic You’re Passionate About

Before you begin writing your argumentative essay, take time to brainstorm a few ideas. You should choose a topic that interests you and you genuinely want to learn more about. Just because something is a potentially hot-button topic doesn’t mean you should write about it. Making sure it’s a topic you actually care about will make all the ensuing research far more enjoyable for you and the reader. If you are at a loss for ideas, browse over 120 argumentative essay topics to get you started.

​​Find a Good Argument

Once you decide on a topic you feel strongly about, start putting your thoughts down on paper and building an outline. As you formulate your ideas into a cohesive presentation, you will need to:

  • Do extensive research of existing literature and/or peer-reviewed articles.

  • Look at what has already been written on this topic.

  • Identify what you can say that has not already been said and if you can say it in a unique way.

  • Find a concrete and, better yet, original argument to use as your base. This is the best way to keep your reader hooked.

  • Determine if there is a stance you can take that contrasts with the “typical” worldview on the topic.

  • Look at what people are talking about on social media or your favorite news outlets and see if you can take an interesting approach to the subject.

Research as Much as Possible

As you conduct your research, be sure to read about your own topic as well as opposing viewpoints. You can’t make a good argument if you don’t understand where the other side is coming from. You have to not only back up your own opinion with solid data but also point out the weaknesses of the opposing argument and why it ultimately does not work. The more you can flesh out a good argument and back it up with research, the stronger your essay will be.

Look at Multiple Sources

Of all the facets of an argumentative essay, research is the most important. However, it is not just the quantity of sources that matters, the quality of the sources is essential. You will need to look at multiple sources to verify that the information is correct and supports your argument. The argumentative essay should have a section dedicated to addressing the counterargument and rebutting it.

Verify Sources

You need facts to support your opinion on a controversial topic. These are known as supporting details. This includes reviewing the authors of your sources. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What are the author’s credentials? What makes them an expert in their field?

  • Are the source and author credible? Is the article or paper published in a verified publication or peer-reviewed academic journal?

  • Does the author state facts or their opinion?

  • What is the general consensus on this topic? Why is this the leading opinion?

  • What do the sources have to say about this topic and what types of evidence are provided?

  • What do the different sources have in common and what are the commonly held assertions?

  • What, if anything, is different about the various sources? Why do they differ?

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Strengthen Your Argument

You are likely to encounter many disputes during the course of your research process, so you will need to back up your argument with:

  • strong sources and statistics

  • verifiable facts that will substantiate your argument

  • statements made by leaders or other respected authorities in the relevant field

  • statistics and figures that relate to your topic

  • a small narrative that illustrates how your topic has evolved over time

Formulate an Outline

As you research, it can be difficult to verify your findings and determine what is and is not worthy of inclusion. An argumentative essay outline will help you lay out your facts, format your essay well, choose the strongest elements, and map them out effectively.

Introduction, Body and Conclusion

Establish the three core sections of your essay — introduction, body and conclusion — and then lay out subsections with bullet points. Once you see your ideas gathered and mapped out like this, you will be able to move forward with writing your essay. An essay has three broad sections:

  1. Introduction - A typical essay will have an introductory paragraph or two that contains your thesis statement and teases what the main argument is and why the reader should continue reading.

  2. Body - The body of your essay will contain the meat of your argument. This is where you will include relevant facts, statistics, narratives, testimonials, and more. The body is your chance to leverage various modes of persuasion too, like appeal to emotion or logic. Depending on the paper, the body can be as short as three paragraphs or as long as it needs to be.

  3. Conclusion - Finally, your conclusion will offer a brief summary of what has been written. It will reiterate how the body of your essay ties back into your thesis statement and why your stance is correct. You might consider ending with a rhetorical question or some other striking comment.

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Let Your Passion Shine Through

Although research is paramount, passion is also fundamental. This must be the case with your next argumentative essay. Get behind your stance, back it up with credible sources and seek to change the world, one mind at a time.