STEPS to a SUCCESSFUL ARGUMENT
An Argumentative essay takes a position on a debatable issue, such as abortion rights, same-sex marriage, gun control, tax increases, and so forth.
In writing your argumentative essay, you think out the issues and take a position, which is called your thesis. You use the body of your essay to defend and explore your position. The goal is to persuade the reader to agree with your side of the issue.
- Create a Strategy by exploring both sides of the argument and considering who will be your audience. To do this you will LIST the arguments on both sides of the issue and take notes on whom your readers will be.
- Consider the Merits and Weaknesses of Both Sides by looking over the lists of arguments and weighing them against how you previously felt about the issue. You also reconsider the audience as you do this.
- Take a Position by writing out your thesis. This is your firm stance on the issue.
- Create an Outline by using the items in your list that support your side of the issue.
- Draft an Introduction that clearly states your thesis, your position, and invites the reader into your argument.
- Use the Body of the Essay to Support Each Point in Your Argument with specific evidence. You may want to use statistics, evidence, examples from real life, expert opinions, and other reasonable sources of evidence.
- Present and Refute Opposing Arguments by drawing from you original lists. Show the weaknesses and problems in the other side’s position. This will bolster your case.
- Build a Link to Your Readers by finding some common ground between the two sides. This is often done by sharing the common values underlying a position on an issue, such as a sense of justice or fairness.
- Be Sure to Avoid Common Mistakes in Reasoning by carefully using inductive and deductive reasoning. Inductive reasoning means: you arrive at a conclusion based on several facts. Deductive reasoning means you reach a conclusion based on premises, which may or may not be proven true. Also be sure to avoid logical fallacies, such as making hasty generalizations, using circular language, or employing biased language.
- Always provide a thorough bibliography for your well-researched argument essay.
(taken from Rules for Writers, by D. Hacker [pp. 348-361])
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