CHOOSING A TOPICTo begin an argumentative/persuasiveessay, you must first have an opinion youwant others to share.
Possible Topic IdeasShould boxing be banned? Should legal immigration be stopped?Should the driving age be raised to 18? Should dying people be kept on life support?Should semi-automatic weapons be banned? Should tobacco products beShould teens who murder be banned? executed? Should the Internet be censored?Should hunting be outlawed? Should school prayer be allowed?Should recycling be mandatory? Should music lyrics be censored?Should schools require student uniforms? Should parents of teen vandals be held responsible for their childsShould college athletes be damage? paid?Should the death penalty be Should research on cloning be abolished? discontinued?
RESEARCHTo be valid, an opinion or point of view must besupported by facts and information. Once you know what you will write about, you will need to do research on the topic. Research through interviewing people, or reading newspaper, book, journal or Internet articles.
THESIS STATEMENTThe thesis statement states your position on the topic sets up the structure for the paper.
SUPPORT THE THESIS Support your thesis with logical reasons. Write down each of the reasons that support your belief on a separate piece of paper. These are your arguments.
COUNTER- ARGUMENTS Every controversial issue has two sides. Once you can support your position with research, you need to explore what others think.
PREPARING YOUR ARGUMENTS Look at the three main reasons for your opinion. What objections would others have to each of your reasons? Write these down under each of your reasons. Now you have three arguments and three counter-arguments.
ANSWERING COUNTER- ARGUMENTSWrite your answers down under thecounter-arguments.Now you have the raw material for eachparagraph of the argumentative essay.
THE AUDIENCEWhen introducing the topic, think about theaudience first. How much does the audience know about the topic? Is the audience likely to be friendly or hostile to your position? How can you “hook” the audience’s attention?
INTRODUCTION PARGRAPH The first sentence is a general statement, designed to attract the reader’s attention. Second and perhaps third sentences narrow the idea down to your specific idea. The last sentence in the introduction must be your thesis.
INTRODUCTIONThink of the introduction as having a funnelshape: General statement (hook) Specific information Thesis
Example of Intro Paragraph More people die on driving on Greek roads in a single year than all the U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq since the fighting began. The road conditions and the mentality that leads to this unnecessary and avoidable loss of life should be changed.Fact to support position The authors position orand a good hook. Thesis Statement.
BUILDING BODY PARAGRAPHSThe first topic sentence of thefirst paragraph will be the firstreason that supports yourposition. You may even wish to begin the sentence with the word first to focus the reader’s attention on its importance.
FIRST BODYPARAGRAPH Write a topic sentence and three details that support the reason you believe what you believe.Repeat the process until youhave one paragraph for each ofyour supporting reasons with atleast three details to supportthat reason. (Remember a detail canalso be further exemplified byexamples).
Counter Arguments - RebuttalsResearch what people opposed to yourpoint of view believe. Write down threecounter- arguments to your position.Now, address those arguments in aparagraph explaining why your position is abetter one.
BUILDING PARAGRAPHS The final sentence in each paragraph should sum up and make a transition to the main idea of the next paragraph.
Concluding Paragraph• Indicate in the conclusion that you have shown the thesis statement to be true.• Has a powerful ending often relating to the introduction.• Do not include any new information in a conclusion. If you have not mentioned something yet in the paper, it is now too late.
What is not effectiveSaying the opposing viewpoint is “stupid.”Good essays are clear, calm and factual. Prove it instead.Saying negative things about groups or individuals that have different view points.This does not support your position but makes you seem petty instead.
Reflecting on Your Paper Are you happy with what you have written? Have you made a convincing case for your position? Is it clear that research supports your position? Have you shown that you understand the objections to your position?
Reflecting on Your Paper Have you shown that you understand the objections to your position? Is it clear that your position still outweighs the possible objections?