I would like some help writing a researched argumentative paper.I need a topic, an explanation of how to write it, things that would be good to include and leave out. Any help would be appreciated.

Expert Answers
ophelious eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Writing an essay isn't as hard as you think as long as you are organized before you start.  Hopefully I can give you a few ideas on how to get started:

First, you need to think of a topic that matches the type of writing you have been assigned to do.  In this case, it would appear that you have been instructed to write an "argumentative" style paper that involves some research, so your first step would be to think of an issue or topic that you have an opinion about.  The word "argumentative," in writing, is often combine with the word "persuasive."  That sometimes helps you to think a little easier on the subject.  Your paper is going to try to persuade someone to think like you do, using evidence to back up your argument.

The trick here is that you can't choose a topic like "I'm going to try to convince you that the best kind of ice cream is Superman."  Though this would be argumentative in nature, you won't be able to find any facts that will back you up.  You will need to choose a topic that you can find information about.  Great topics are often political or social in nature because there are often facts to back up a wide range of nutty beliefs.  Start by thinking of a law that you don't agree with, or one that you think should be in place (seatbelt laws, gun control laws, speed limits...whatever.)  Or, choose an offbeat idea...Roswell aliens, faked moon-landings, JFK assassination conspiracies. All of these have "evidence" you could use to support your opinion.

Or choose your own topic.

Next, you need to come up with a thesis statement.  This is the main idea of your paper, the point you are trying to prove.  In the case of Roswell aliens, for example, it might be "Though the government denies it, in 1945 an alien spaceship crash landed in Roswell, New Mexico."  This statement tells both what you are going to be writing (Roswell aliens) and your opinion on it ("though the government denies it" shows that you think the government is lying.)  On a more serious note, a thesis (or topic sentence) could be something like "In order to save lives, our state should require motorcycle riders to wear helmets."  Again, this shows the reader what you are writing about and what your opinion is of it.

Second, you need your evidence.  You need to have at least 3 good reasons why you believe what you believe in order to write a decent paper.  If it's a topic you are familiar with, you might already have some ideas, and if it is a topic you don't understand as much, you have to do more digging.  Either way, you need to have FACTS to back up what you say and not just opinions.  It's not enough to say "forcing riders to wear helmets would save lives."  You need to back it up..."According to department of transportation studies, states that have helmet laws have cut back on cyclist death's by 45%."  See how one is an opinion, the other is a fact?  Of course, a fact is only as good as the source you get it from...

If you need more help getting started I will be happy to give it to you via email, but for now, I have to sign off.  I am reaching my character limit and won't be able to write much longer!  Click here to see a list of topics you might be interested in exploring!  Good luck!

readerofbooks eNotes educator| Certified Educator


Here is another perspective in writing an argumentative paper. I will assume that you have a strong thesis, which means you have a number of good reasons why you believe your thesis to be true. If you don’t have good reasons, I suggest you get a new topic. This is the most important part of an argumentative essay. That said, all great argumentative papers know their audience. The better you know your audience, the more persuasive your paper will be. In other words, try your best to anticipate your reader’s objections. If you cannot think of potential objections, you either have not thought about your issue well enough or you have a poor thesis.

Now the key is to let the reader understand that you know where he or she is coming from. If you do this, then you have a good rapport with the reader and are more apt to convince him or her. You can write sentences like: “I know that there will some people who object to…” or “Some might think…” Finally, after you lay out these possible objections, show why you still think your thesis is a strong one. If you do this, then the readers will know that you are a thoughtful person. This is an essential step to convincing your readers. Also you will be well on your way to writing a strong paper. Good luck!


brandih eNotes educator| Certified Educator

You might also want to check out the free guide on eNotes called, How to Write an Argumentative Essay in 9 Easy Steps.

lesee | Student

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