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2.5. Argumentative Essay
The specificity of argumentative essays is that a writer has to persuade a reader that his point of view is correct. To make people support his point of view, it is necessary for the writer to back his ideas with evidence, and that is why an argumentative essay must include counter-arguments outweighed by the writer's argumentation. The danger of an argumentative essay lays in inclination of many writers for absolutization of their opinion, negation of other opinions and inability to analyze their own ideas objectively. Such an essay shows the writer's ability to respect the opinion of other researchers and exposes the writer's intellectual level. An argumentative essay requires from the writer to possess comprehensive knowledge on the problem or topic under discussion, so it usually proves necessary for him to orientate easily in both sides of the argumentation so that to be able to refute counter-arguments. To this reason, it is necessary for the writer to consider his own powers carefully while choosing the topic for argumentative essay, as there are topics that could not be won, no matter how strong the writer could feel about them.
Perhaps, the most widespread topics of our times are drinking age, capital punishment, abortion, gun control, and drugs legalization. Selection of one of these topics may become disadvantageous as many instructors have read hundreds of essays on such topics, and it will be next to impossible to grab their attention and make favorable impression. It is also unavailing to take up the topics that prejudice against certain generally accepted human beliefs, which can sometimes be quite steadfast.
Below is the possible structure of the argumentative essay:
Paragraph 1. Introduction. General discussion of a problem. Expression of the writer's opinion in a thesis statement.
Paragraph 2-4. Arguments that support the writer's opinion. Clear discussion of the arguments supported by the sources.
Paragraph 5. Transitional paragraph. Includes a summary of paragraphs 2,3,4 and introduces the counter-argument.
Paragraph 6. Rebuttal of the counter-argument stated in paragraph 5. Rebuttal should be supported by the sources. The basic structure of rebuttal is as follows: 1 - start with rebuttal sentence (However,…); 2 - support your opinion by source (quote, paraphrase or summarize); 3 - Explain source.
Paragraph 7-8. Introduction and rebuttal of other counter-arguments (similarly to paragraph 5 and 6).
Paragraph 9. Summary of the primary points and restatement of thesis. May also include recommendations for further actions in this area.
- Continue by reviewing some general topics for argumentative essays. We have systemized
those into the topic guide, which includes:
> brief description of the suggested argumentative essay topic;
> possible thesis statements for the essay;
> primary issues that can be discussed in the essay;
> some readings and sources suggested by our writers for the topic.
Selected topics for argumentative essay were split into four categories:
Intellectual Property vs. Piracy
Privacy in the Cyberspace
The Capital Punishment
The Electoral College System
Social Security Reform
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