Answered By: James Whitmer
Last Updated: Jun 25, 2020     Views: 133

Please Note: These are only common assumptions and suggestions about writing an argumentative essay. The requirements of such assignments often vary, so please follow your instructor's guidelines. 

There are many important considerations to most argumentative essays:

  1. Topic: For an argument essay, ensure you do not pick a topic that most reasonable people would say has an obviously right or wrong answer. Rather, the most useful arguments are about topics over which most reasonable people could be persuaded to choose either side. For that reason, preliminary research on multiple topics can prove very helpful.
  2. Research: Once you have chosen a topic, it is important that you thoroughly research all sides of the issue so you are fully informed enough to make a strong argument. Not every argument essay will require you to cover opposing ideas, but most will. If you do have to cover other sides, you also need to do a lot of research so you can be fair to those who disagree with you and represent what they actually believe.
  3. Thesis: Ensure your thesis is narrow and specific enough that you are not tackling too broad an issue. At the same time, you also want to ensure your topic has enough material to meet the length and time requirements of the essay. One of the links below can help with this.
  4. Structure: Since there are multiple ways to structure the elements of an argument, always follow your teacher's instructions on how to do so. If you are able to choose, we recommend considering the Classical structure that our linked handout details below, describing five parts: introduction, background, argument, counterargument, and conclusion. Finally, it is generally good practice in arguments to always follow your opponents' opinions with your own responses.
  5. Background: Somewhere near the beginning of the essay, usually in the introduction and/or immediately after, you will need to provide important context for the argument. Carefully consider what knowledge your reader needs for your argument to make sense and place it here.
  6. Argument: For your own argument, use your opponents' opinions to help you fill out your main points. What responses can you give to their main ideas? Then, take your main ideas and arrange them so your argument builds to a climax of your strongest point.
  7. Opposition: Always be respectful to those who disagree with you, and ensure you give them a fair amount of time to speak. Moreover, always ensure you represent their ideas truthfully. One of the links below gives more specific guidance on this.
  8. Conclusion: An argument essay can only be effective if you leave your audience with an idea of what comes next. As you work on your essay, think about what you want your readers to do or think about in order to address the problem your argument covers.

For more helpful and specific information, please see the following links: