Argumentative Essay

What is an argumentative essay?
Is like a persuasive essay
Should present pros and cons of the issue
Should contain an argument
Should contain evidence or support for the
issue (facts, statistics, anecdotal evidence)
Should concern a manageable topic
Derived from the Bogazici University Writing Lab
Examples of Argumentative Topics
Selling marijuana in public places should be illegal *
Polygamy is a natural state, and should be legal *
Assisted suicide should be legal ¤
Animal testing should be illegal ¤
Graphic video games make kids aggressive and/or
Vistas is a better operating system than XP
* From Bogazici University Writing Lab
¤ From Glendale Community College English Department
Getting Started
Picking a topic
Something controversial
Something argumentative
Getting organized
Outlining your paper
Creating a keyword list
Getting research
General Outline of a Paper
Introduction | Thesis statement
Argument-evidence paragraph #1
Argument-evidence paragraph #2
Argument-evidence paragraph #3
Summary of Argument | Conclusion
Example Outline
Thesis: Beans are a more healthy source of protein than
Beans are fat-free.
(Or, you can point out that beef is not fat-free)
Beans are low-sodium.
(Or, you can point out that beef is not low-sodium)
Beans are cholesterol-free.
(Or, you can point out that beef is not cholesterol-free)
Conclusion: Based on the facts that they are fat-free, lowsodium, and cholesterol free, beans are definitely a more
healthy source of protein than beef.
Evidence for argumentative essays
can be objective – like facts, statistics,
and case studies – or anecdotal – your
personal experiences
Objective evidence will require
research – you can use sources like
books, articles, websites, and even
Books can be found
using the Library’s
online catalog.
Good websites can be
found using engines
like Google and Ask
Articles in magazines,
newspapers, and
journals can be found
using the Library’s
Regardless of where you seek resources –
books, articles, or websites – the best way
to search for resources is keyword
Keywords represent the most important
parts of your thesis statement or argument
Before you start searching, develop a list of
keywords from your argument
Keywords: Example
Thesis: Beans are a more healthy source
of protein than beef.
Remember: you aren’t
Beans  legumes
limited to the actual words
 Source
from the thesis – use
related words or alternate
 Healthy – health
ideas! Also, look to your
arguments for keywords,
 Protein
too – those are key ideas!
 Beef = red meat
 Cholesterol
You will combine them together using AND!
Quotations & Citations
Quotations: when you use text from a
resource in your own writing
Citations: how you acknowledge resources
you’ve used in your paper
Indirect Quotation: Some researchers note that "children are totally
insensitive to their parent's shyness" (Zimbardo 62).
Direct Quotation: Zimbardo notes that "children are totally
insensitive to their parent's shyness" (62).
Paraphrase: While not all children are, research has shown that
some children are insensible to the introversion or timidity of their
parent or parents (Zimbardo 62).
Langland, William. Piers the Ploughman.
Baltimore: Penguin Books, Ltd., 1974.
Journal article
Thibodeau, P.L., and S.J. Melamut.
"Ergonomics in the Electronic Library."
Bulletin of the Medical Library Association
83.3 (July 1995): 322-329.
Journal article from a database
Becker, Karen. "The Characteristics of Bibliographic
Instruction in Relation to the Causes and Symptoms of
Burnout." RQ 32.3 (Spring 1993): 346-357. EBSCO ERIC.
ULM University Library, Monroe, LA. 19 May 2009.
Lowe, Megan. “Citations Guide: MLA Style.” Megan Lowe @ ULM. 8 June
2006. University of Louisiana at Monroe. 12 June 2007
Remember: citations are important for two reasons
They allow you to give credit where credit is due, which
keeps you from plagiarism and cheating charges
Allows readers to retrace your research steps and look
at the actual resources you used