Professional writer and researcher in the SSH with many years of experience in academic writing, editing and publishing. PhD in English.
Writing is a not a gift but a skill that should be developed with patience and continuous practice. Of course, we might not be able to write like James Joyce or William Faulkner, but we will be able to write and impress our target audience if we are able to fathom the logic of writing. The most serious challenge is not the grammatical mistakes we may make in case we are not native speakers of the used language, but the inability to build a semantic structure that makes sense to as many readers as possible. Coherence, persuasiveness and proper semantic structure seem to be amongst the essential requirements that should not be ignored in drafting our essays. This is especially so for writing an argumentative essay.
An argumentative essay takes a stance for a given question or issue. When writing an argumentative essay, we embrace a point of view in explicit manner and support it with logic and evidence. In this sense, the author of the argumentative essay must make his voice visible when defending his own position and defend his views with research and ‘true’ facts. The selected topic must be debatable and controversial, otherwise there would be nothing to argue for. To wit, an established fact doesn’t lend itself easily to an argumentative analysis.
There are indeed a number of models that can be used to facilitate our writing. The Rogerian and Toulmin models are amongst the well-known approaches to writing. While the former focuses on how to make the connection between the “claim” and the evidence that supports it, the latter sheds light on the compromise that may come from different views.
How to Get Started with Writing
The best way to write an essay, regardless of its genre, is to divide it into five distinct sections: introduction, the main text with at least three different parts, depending on the length of the paper, and finally the conclusion. Ostensibly, the five-paragraph structure provides balance to the essay and makes it easy to get a smooth reading experience. The problem should be exposed at the level of the introduction in the form of a short question that follows the topic sentence. The first section of the main text could provide the reader with background/ contextual information. The second and third parts exhibit an evaluation of the arguments. The compromise, if any, comes at the level of the conclusion where the author displays his final say about the question and the proposed solution. It is worthy to note that the conclusion is more or less similar to the introduction in length.
Step by Step Writing
As it has been mentioned above, there is no single way in writing argumentative essays. There are many styles and approaches that could be coherent and highly persuasive. As we don’t encourage improvisation in academic writing, we suggest the following steps that enable you draft a high-quality essay.
- Select a debatable and preferably new topic for your essay. Set the background and demarcate the boundaries for the topic i.e., you need always to consider the limits of discussion and how far you can go in analysis. Again, economy and precision in writing determine the overall quality of your essay.
- Think about a possible outline and write it down in a draft paper. The five-paragraph model is fine for short essays.
- Formulate a question around the topic which stimulates the curiosity of the reader. This could be one sentence only.
- At this level you should bring your main claim/ opinion. What is your solution to the problem you have just raised? This is the backbone of your essay that should be highlighted and reworked thoroughly.
- Organize your arguments and evidence from the most convenient to the least. Strong arguments should always be placed at the beginning of the essay.
- Consider also other possible theses that are similar to yours and show how they are less convincing. Showing the weaknesses of other solutions to the question, makes yours more convincing.
- As mentioned in the previous article, it is important to cite the references you are using which must be reliable and trustworthy.
- Re-write and correct any possible mistakes or weak language structures.
To put it in a nutshell, writing argumentative essays requires high persuasive skills and good mastery of language in the first place. Outlining and structuring the ideas within the text is a cognitive-based strategy that positions the writer as a reader.