An argumentative essay is a type of academic essay, where the main thought or the so-called thesis statement is supported by argument or multiple arguments. In a general sense, all essays are argumentative, as students are always expected to back up their points with arguments and information. Nevertheless, an argumentative essay is a unique type in the way that it deliberately pays close attention to the quantity and quality of the arguments used.
In high schools and universities, students begin their acquaintance with the art of essay writing by studying how to build and present arguments. The current article is a great induction into the argumentative essay writing for beginners.
The Six Mandatory Components of a Good Argumentative Essay
The structure of an argumentative essay stipulates the presence of a solid thesis statement, which is then proved with arguments in the form of data, logical statements, quotations, or a listing of relevant facts. Every argumentative essay must consist of the following elements:
- Title. A title for an argumentative essay has to accurately reflect the essence of the whole text. Students must spend enough time creating a good title for an argumentative essay, as a catchy title is half of the overall success.
- Introduction. It is the first part of every argumentative essay, where a writer has to introduce the topic and present a thesis statement. The latter is an assumption that will be confirmed or refuted. If you present the opinion of a certain scientist or group of people with whom you disagree, such a statement must be refuted. Likewise, as the author, you can show that your old opinion was wrong.
- The Main Body. Usually, small high school argumentative essays contain only one body paragraph. However, large college texts should be divided into parts by subtitles highlighted in bold. The composition of the main body mimics the structure of a pyramid. A thesis is put forward first, and then several arguments are provided to support it.
In a big argumentative essay, the number of arguments should not be less than 2-3. A large quantity overloads the research, while a smaller one may look frivolous for a graduate-level paper.
Support your arguments with the following:
- Personal beliefs and experiences, stories from the lives of other people.
- Phenomena that everyone can observe.
- Facts conveyed without distortion or manipulation.
- Quotes from famous scientists, politicians, writers, and artists.
- Historical events that complement the analysis, causes, and consequences.
- Excerpts from laws or normative acts.
All the arguments gradually lead the reader to prove or disprove the hypothesis (thesis statement). Therefore, it is important to build the structure of a good argumentative essay in the correct logical order.
- Conclusion. The final step in creating an argumentative essay is writing a solid conclusion. It is permissible to draw a conclusion on a separate page if it is a large text. Otherwise, just start it with a new paragraph.
- List of sources. A solid argumentative essay contains links to quotes from books and data from external sources. They must be organized as a reference page. All borrowed data or citations must be properly quoted. Usually, sources are presented by the order they appear in text or in alphabetical order.
- Appendixes. All data and information that help to better understand the essence of the presented arguments are moved to appendixes.
Classification of Arguments in Argumentative Essay
There are various classes of arguments. The main classification is the one in which all arguments are divided into:
- Logical (affecting the human mind)
- Psychological (affecting the human feelings)
Logical arguments are those addressed to the minds of the readers. Each logical argument must be carefully framed, while insufficiently strong, dubious arguments are excluded as unnecessary and destructive evidence.
Logical arguments include the following judgments:
- obvious provisions that do not require proof: axioms and postulates;
- theoretical or empirical generalizations and conclusions;
- previously proven laws of sciences;
- definitions of the basic concepts of a particular field of knowledge;
- statements of fact: factual material in which approximate information is unacceptable.
In the process of logical argumentation, it is necessary to separate the concepts of “fact” and “opinion”.
A fact is an undoubted, real phenomenon, something that actually happened. Facts exist on their own regardless of our desire, how we use them, and relate to them.
An opinion is something that expresses an assessment, one’s own or someone else’s view of an event or phenomenon. Opinions are influenced by various subjective factors, and they can also be biased and erroneous. And that is why facts are more reliable arguments that should be trusted and believed.
Psychological arguments also play an important role in argumentative essays. If a writer skillfully influences the feelings of readers, he makes the entire argumentative essay more colorful and better remembered.
With the help of psychological arguments, most feelings can be touched, which helps to achieve the desired result.
When using psychological arguments, an author should not forget that rhetorical ethics prohibits the writer to appeal to the inner feelings of the audience, which may give rise to a conflict. It should be noted that psychological arguments can also be successfully used as attention grabbers.