Writing Argumentative Essays

Writing your own argumentative essay

You should now be ready to write your own argumentative essay. This page sets out a procedure for preparing and writing your essay. There are 13 steps in this procedure. If you follow all the steps closely you should be able to complete your essay.

This procedure assumes that you already have an issue which you were given by your teacher, tutor or lecturer to write about and that you have completed reading all the articles and books that you need to read about your issue.

1. Go over all the reading material again.

2. Identify the main topics covered by the arguments that you have read about your issue when preparing for your essay. This is so that you have a list of different topics for your paragarphs such as the topics in the essays on marine parks and childcare . You might also want to go back and look at the page on sorting arguments into topics and paragraphs.

3. Now use the topics that you have identified in step 2 as your group headings for organising your research notes (the notes from your reading):
a. Go over the reading material again and look for the main arguments that concern each of these topics
b. Divide these arguments into those that are for your issue and those that are against your issue in a table like the one below. Remember to:
i keep your notes brief
ii do not write the argument down word for word. Paraphrase it or use note form. This way you will avoid plagiarism when you come to write the actual essay.

Example table for your notes:

Topic: health arguments about <your issue >
Arguments for <your issue > Arguments against <your issue >

4. Make a decision about what your main premise will be.

5. Look back at the paragraph structure for the model essays on marine parks (here and here) and childcare .

6. Now draft a detailed plan for your essay. In this plan note down the information that you will put in each paragraph. Remember, just use note form - not complete sentences (Otherwise your plan will be nearly as big as your essay!)

7. Begin writing a draft of the body of the body of your essay. Before you start this step you should:
a. Look again at the model essays about marine parks and childcare.
b. Go back and look at the work we did earlier in this unit on showing both sides of the issue.
c.Look again at the work we studied on using problematising phrases for opposing arguments and the language summary for problematising phrases.
d.Go back and look at the work we did on using contrasting connectives to shift from opposing arguments to supporting arguments.
e. Look again at the work we did earlier in this unit on connectives for listing supporting arguments.
e. Go back and look at the work we did earlier in this unit on using "In fact" and "Indeed". to link general and specific sentences that deal with the same argument.
f. Print out a copy of the language summary for paragraph structures in the body of an essay and use it to help you write your pargarphs.

You might also wish to go back and look at some of the complete paragraphs we have studied earlier in this unit:
a. Childcare
b. The republic
c. Another paragraph on the republic
d. University fees
e. Guns

8. When you have written a draft of the body of your text check the following things:
a. do your paragraphs present arguments which oppose your main premise as debatable and possibly not true?
b. do your paragraphs present arguments which support your main premise as non-debatable or as facts?
c. have you clearly marked the place where you shift from the opposing arguments to the supporting arguments with a contrasting connective (such as "however")?
d. Have you used connectives, pronouns and referencing words (such as "this" or "these" to make your paragraph cohesive?

9. Draft your introduction. You might want to go back and look carefully at the introduction to the essay on marine parks and the model introduction about republicanism.

10. Draft your conclusion. You might want to go back and look carefully at the conclusion to the essay on marine parks and the model conclusion about childcare.

11. Check your draft introduction and conclusion against the models. Redraft if necessary.

12. Now that you have a complete draft of your essay check it again for the following things:
a. Does it conform with the model texts?
b. Does it provide strong support for your main premise?
c. Can you make the text more cohesive?
d. Are your verbs correct?
e. Is every sentence a complete sentence - does it have a subject and a verb?
f. Is your spelling correct? (Use the spelling checker on your word processing programme and also read for spelling errors that the spelling checker doesn't pick up)
g. Is your punctuation correct?
h. Have you plagiarised? If you have plagiarised, rewrite that part of your text or indicate that you have copied from another text by using quotation marks and citing the source of the text eg. (Mansell, 1993)

13. Check the final draft and write a cover sheet.

Congratulations .....now you've finished your argumentative essay!

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