An argumentative essay is usually assigned to help a student develop critical reading and thinking skills. Instructors rely on them to teach how to use evidentiary support to develop a logically sound thesis/claim.
An argumentative essay presents a balanced view of a topic. If you are assigned with a topic that is relatively controversial and incites strong levels of support or opposition, for example writing about the book “Fast Food Nation” by Eric Schlosser, you will find lots of for and against claims. It is your job to read the primary source material (in this case, the book), examine all the evidence presented, form an opinion about it, and then present it in a logically structured and coherent manner.
This handy guide will provide you with an outline and detailed instructions about the sections your instructor will expect to see in your argumentative essay. However, if your instructor has given you a specific outline, the rules of that will supersede the following outline.
An argumentative essay consists of six major sections. Each plays a role in forming the overall frame of your essay. We will examine each part separately and provide detailed instructions on how and what to write in each part.
You should state what your paper is about and then include information about the literary work, issue or theory you plan to address. Finally, state your major claim/argument/thesis in this section. Try to make it interesting and captivating.
Devote one or two paragraphs to lay the foundations for the evidence you will state in the next section. Define key terms, theories, and any other background knowledge you think is relevant.
Supporting Evidence Paragraphs
Traditionally three to five paragraphs long, this section is where you will back up your claim with evidentiary support. Write a strong topic sentence and then explain the topic sentence in detail. Next, introduce the evidence (write the source of information) and state the information. The next sentence should explain the significance of the evidence and clarify what it means. Finally, add a concluding sentence that restates your original point.
This is a paragraph where you explore the opposing parts of the claim you made. Try to imagine what arguments the reader might use against your original claim, state these, and then refute them. The ending sentence should reassert your original argument.
Restate your overall thesis and the supporting argument you presented. This basically reminds readers of your overall position on the issue. Make sure to provide a lot of evidence to strengthen your argument.
The conclusion serves as the last chance to state your argument. Use clear, direct and concrete language to make sure you leave a lasting impression on the reader. State the significance of your thesis and then restate your main argument.
Presenting things in an organized manner will help your instructor follow your line of argument with ease and see your point all the more clearly. In any form of academic writing, clarity of language comes once the student has clarity of thought. So, remember to do adequate background research and state things directly to come up with a grade A essay.