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If your assignment is to write a college argument paper taking one side on the topic of "arranged marriages", the first step will be to choose a side to argue.
- Do you feel that the benefits of arranged marriage outweigh the costs/downsides of arranged marriage?
- Do you feel that arranged marriage is out of step with contemporary life?
- Do you believe that people should choose spouses and not have spouses chosen for them?
The answer to these questions will help you decide which side of the argument to take.
First, you need to decide which side of the argument you agree with.
After you have figured this out (or as part of the process of figuring it out), write down all of the reasons that you can think of for and against arranged marriages. When your write your paper, put the reasons that are against your side first. In other words, if you are for arranged marriages, put the reasons against it first. Then what you should do is defeat those reasons by presenting the reasons for arranged marriage and your rationale for believing those arguments.
I agree that the key to any argument is to choose a side. You might say you do not really know which side is better, but you have to choose one nonetheless. Sometimes the best thing to do is research first, and see which side you can get better and stronger arguments for. Then you can choose to write about that side.
Do not assume the negative side will be easier. For instance, this USA article on arranged marriage makes some interesting points.
The hook-up, fall-head-over-heels route to the altar clearly isn't working, the church argues, if nearly half of American marriages end in divorce. (USAtoday.com)
There are benefits to arranged marriage, according to this article.
I agree with everything that has previously been written. There is definitely a pattern to follow when writing an argumentative essay:
- The first step is choosing the side of the question that you will support.
Let's use the argument that you are against the arranged marriages.
You have to make a claim or argumenative statement or thesis that will be the controlling idea in your paper.
For example, you might use one of these claims:
Arrange marriages have no place in the modern world.
Arranged marriages do not account for the most important parts of marriage which are attraction and love.
2. The next step is to select the reasons that you will support to prove that your claim is correct.
These are some possible reasons against arranged marriages:
They do not allow for freedon of choice.
There may be no physical attraction between the two partners.
The couple is emotionally incompatiable.
Love may never blossom between the couple.
However, in the case where love does not blossom, help can be sought- and if nothing can be done, then the marriage was not right somehow.
After deciding on your reasons against the arranged marriages, it is time for research. Each reason should have at least three types of evidence to prove that this reason makes sense and can be supported. These are the types of evidence that are usually used to back the reasons: facts, statistics, anecdotes from reliable sources, authorities, and testimony.
The evidence may come from the internet, library, magazines, or several people who have had negative arranged marriages. To reinforce each of your reasons, there should be at least three types of evidence. For example, to support the lack of individual choice, the writer might use the constitution on freedom of choice; the Bible with regard to marriage; testimony of someone who has had an unhappy marriage.
After the research has been completed, it is time to write the body of the paper. Arrange the reasons that support your claim from least to most important and begin to write.
The introduction and conclusion are written after the body of the paper has been written.
An argument paper is a particular type of paper that isn't complete unless you also present the counter argument to whichever side you advocate. In other words, along with presenting the argument that supports "XX," you must present the argument that counters it. Another particular point of an argument paper is that evidence proving your position on the argument must be presented as objectively as possible. One of the most critical points of an argument paper is your analysis of both sides of the argument. In other words, it is not enough to present arguments for and against a position (usually one against, maybe two), you must effectively analyze the arguments as well. For example, if you were to use the study by psychologist Pamela Regan (reported in Chicago Tribune), your analysis of the study might indicate a weakness in the study group since the Indian-Americans were newly immigrated and therefore still heavily under the influence of their culture. You might suggest that a study population comprised of US Unification Church members and Indian-Americans might yield a more trustworthy result.
As the previous posts mentioned, you will need to pick a side on the subject. I think it is obvious that defending arranged marriages will be a more difficult and challenging choice, but you should be able to name some positive aspects. England and the U.S. maintained a form of arranged marriage (usually within families) for centuries, so this is not totally new Western culture. Marrying cousins and such was a benefit in part to keep the money in the family and partly to control the resulting bloodlines.
Although I would probably do it wrong (based on personal bias) I agree with #6; an argument paper needs to present both sides clearly, logically, and -- this is vital -- without obvious bias. Although your conclusion should fall on the side with the best evidence (probably the side with which you agree), you are free to argue both sides as strongly as the evidence allows. This might cause you to change your preconceived notion. The most important thing, in my mind, is not to fall prey to emotional arguments such as ad hominem attacks; if you disagree with arranged marriage, you shouldn't call it stupid or backwards. Instead, use the best evidence available to support both sides; prove one way or the other using facts and logic, not emotion.
I also strongly urge you to not use the first sources you find; dig deeper and find out if the sources have a personal agenda. Remember, the truth has no agenda, but an argument on what is essentially opinion -- as in arranged marriage for cultural purposes -- is likely to be swayed either way.
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