Argumentative essays are very popular projects in universities, especially in English composition, history, political science, etc. The reason why professors like to assign them is because they want to see how well you can reason and support an argument. This article will not only show you how to choose argumentative essay topics, but it will also teach you how to write the project, as well!
Related article: 60 Narrative Essay Topics
How to Choose Argumentative Research Paper Topics
One of two things will happen in your class. You will either be assigned a topic, or your professor will let you choose your own. If the topic is chosen for you, tough luck. If you get to choose your own topic, that’s great. But, make sure that the topic you choose is appropriate for class. Don’t write an essay about differential calculus for your English class.
When choosing what to write about, make sure that it is something you know about. Preferably, it should be something that you are an expert in.
How to Prepare Your Essay
There are multiple steps you should take in order to write an excellent essay.
- Research your argumentative essay ideas
Whatever topic you choose, no matter how much you know about it, you are going to have to do some reading up on it, because chances are that you don’t know as much about the subject as you think you do. Besides, it couldn’t hurt to improve your knowledge, would it?
The best research strategy is to find five reputable sources that support your argumentative essay ideas, and read them each while taking down annotations on the sections you find relevant. For each source you use, write down the title of the book, the name of the author, and the publishing information, as well as the page numbers which you took information from. This will come in handy when you are putting together your bibliography.
In addition to reading through materials that support your arguments, you’re also going to have to read up on what those with opposing viewpoints have to say, because you are going to have to create a section in your composition where you refute the other side’s arguments.
Instead of just immediately writing about your argument essay topics, you need to first think about what you are going to put down on your paper through a process of brainstorming and pre-writing. You may have a lot of different ideas floating around inside of your mind, and they might be very brilliant, but at this point in time they are jumbled and disorganized.
In order to organize your thoughts, you should engage in a brainstorming exercise called pre-writing. Get out a piece of paper and a pen and start scribbling down every thought related to your project. Go through this list you’ve created and eliminate any idea you wrote down that you believe won’t help you, and keep those you can use. Eventually you will have a list of words and sentences that you can use to formulate the text of your essay.
The structure of your essay should be as follows:
- Main Body
The introduction will be where you introduce your topic to the reader, and here you will write a thesis statement, a one to two sentence statement that summarizes the position you will take in your essay.
In the main body you must present valid evidence to support whatever claim you made in your thesis statement. Place this information in this part of your composition in a manner that seems logical to you, and also make sure you are presenting your supporting facts in a manner that your audience can understand.
After presenting the evidence for your argumentative essay topic and backing up your claims, you must then refute the arguments of your opponent. Use evidence such as statistics and expert opinion that contradicts and disproves the position of your opponent.
Once you have presented your evidence and have refuted the positions of those holding an opposing viewpoint, it is time to write your conclusion. You can do several things with your conclusion. You can restate your argument, which is a very common practice amongst essayists. You might also consider calling on your audience to engage in a specific action or behavior - a call-to-action. Also, you can leave your audience with a warning, telling them that there might be dire consequences if they do not take your arguments seriously.
Outlining is when you organize your text before you begin writing. On a blank piece of paper, write your thesis statement down, and underneath it, write small sentences that summarize what you want to say for each paragraph in your main body. As for your conclusion, write a small sentence in plain language that restates your argument, demands a call-to-action, or leaves a warning.
When you have a completed argumentative essay outline, you will have a step-by-step guide that you can follow until you are done writing.
Once you begin writing about your argumentative research paper topic, follow the structure you wrote down as best as you can, but at the same time, don’t be a slave to it. You are the master of your work, and if you believe that you should try something different in your paper than what you have written in your outline, by all means do it.
In writing, your goal should be to be understood clearly by your audience. You can do this by avoiding the use of jargon or other vocabulary that you think your audience won’t understand.
Do not do all of your writing on the same day. Work on your project a little bit at a time so that you don’t have to cram to get everything done at the last minute. If you have to write your entire essay in one day, do your best to give yourself breaks so that you don’t burn out.
When you are done with your essay, you must not only check it for grammatical and spelling errors, but it must also be checked for logical fallacies. Below you will find several commonly used fallacies:
- Ad hominem attack: This is where someone presenting an argument refutes the other side’s point of view by resorting to name calling. “Don’t vote for him because he’s a loser” is an example of an ad hominem attack.
- Hasty Generalizations: This is when someone makes a conclusion without valid evidence. “I know the other team is better, even though I haven’t seen them, because our players are too small.” The person is making this conclusion even though he has not seen the other team. Maybe the other players are even smaller.
- Genetic Fallacy: This argument states that something is bad because of its origins. For example, “Those who fly the Confederate flag are evil because the Confederacy had slavery.” The error lies in judging people living here and now based on what another group of people did over 150 years ago.
- Circular Argument: This is when someone tries to prove his argument by restating it in different words. “Winston Churchill gave a good speech because he knew how to speak effectively.” “Winston Churchill gave a good speech” and he was a “good communicator” are the same ideas. Nothing has been proven.
List of Controversial Argumentative Essay Topics
These days there are many subjects available for those looking how to write good argumentative essays. Below you will find a list of topics, and they are not argumentative essay topics for middle school:
- Should homesexual partners be allowed to adopt children?
- It is ok for a parent to physically discipline his child?
- Should mothers stay at home and look after children, or should they work like their husbands?
- Are children better off in two parent households?
- Should someone who has been convicted of a sex crime be allowed to visit his own children?
- Should children be forcibly taken from their parents if the state feels that the parents are incompetent?
- What are the advantages and benefits of reading to children?
- Do you believe that same-sex couples make better or worse parents?
- What positive and negative long-term effects can corporal punishment have on children?
- Should families have a television in the house or not?
- Should abortion be legal or illegal?
- Do you believe that a person who is terminally ill has a right to assisted suicide?
- Should private businesses be allowed to discriminate against their clients based on race, gender, or sexual orientation?
- What should countries do to address the problem of illegal immigration?
- Should the Church play a more active role in government and society?
- Is the death penalty an effective deterrent to criminals?
- Should countries have a social safety net that protects the needy and the disadvantaged?
- Do you think that those receiving welfare payments should be required to actively seek work?
- What positive and negative effects does globalization have on societies?
- Does diversity in the workplace increase or decrease tension?
- Should Federal bureaucracies be allowed to pass regulations that have the same weight as laws passed by legislative bodies?
- Would Great Britain be better off if the House of Lords had veto power over the House of Commons?
- Should judges make their rulings based on the wording of the law, or should they make rulings that benefit society?
- Do you believe that states should be able to nullify Federal law and rulings made by the Supreme Court if they believe such laws and rulings violate their rights as sovereign republics in the Union?
- Does the Second Amendment allow for ordinary citizens to own firearms, or does it only relegate these rights to militias?
- Does the Supreme Court of the United States have too much power over the other branches of government?
- Should birth-right citizenship be abolished by Congress?
- Is it a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment for states to deny the franchise to criminals?
- Is it a violation of the Fourth Amendment for the NSA to collect meta data?
- Should prosecuting a child as an adult be considered by the Supreme Court to be a violation of the Eighth Amendment?
- Do you believe that a priest or psychologist ought to be required by law to share the contents of their conversations with parishioners and patients with the police?
- Is it ethical for a doctor to deny treatment to a patient who can not afford an operation?
- Is it right for a college to have racial quotas that benefit minorities while denying entrance to academically gifted white and asian students?
- Should someone be allowed to use a gun to defend his home from an intruder?
- Should the First Amendment protect speech that might be considered offensive by some?
- Is it ethical to require sex offenders to have their names listed on registries visible to the public?
- Is it morally acceptable to offer a white lie to someone when the truth might hurt their feelings?
- Should prostitution be a legal career?
- Do you think that drug use should be legalized?
- Should hunting be considered cruelty to animals?
- Was colonialism beneficial to the Third World, or was it harmful?
- Was Adolf Hitler right to demand that territory formerly belonging to Germany be returned to it?
- Should President Abraham Lincoln have allowed the Southern states to leave the Union peacefully?
- Do you believe that the United States was justified in expelling the Native Americans from regions inhabited by white settlers?
- Was the Soviet Union justified in occupying Eastern Europe at the end of the Second World War?
- What were the causes of the U.S.-Mexican War and what effects does it have on the world today?
- What were the primary causes of the Indo-Pak Wars following the dissolution of British India?
- Was Reconstruction of the American South following the American Civil War a success or a failure?
- Why was Prussia successful in unifying Germany into a single nation?
- What effect did the invention of the cotton gin have on American agriculture?
- Do you believe that healthcare should be free for all?
- Should prisoners in the United States have the same access to healthcare as do free persons?
- Is it ethical to perform medical experiments on animals?
- Should medical knowledge gained from experiments performed on people in Nazi concentration camps be used today?
- Is it better to have a private or public healthcare system?
- How should the United States cope with an increasingly aging population?
- Should people with sexually transmitted diseases, such as HIV/AIDs, be forcibly quarantined?
- Is drug and alcohol addiction a disease?
- Should military service members be allowed to sue military doctors for medical malpractice?
- How are 21st Century social conditions affecting people’s health?
- Should children with special needs be taught separately from normal children?
- Should standardized test scores be used to determine whether or not a student graduates?
- Do you believe that common core will benefit the American education system?
- Should the curriculum in public schools be determined by local communities or by the state?
- Which system is better: teacher centered or student centered education?
- Should schools include athletics as part of school life, or should school be solely for academic purposes?
- What are the benefits and drawbacks of a classical education?
- Compare and contrast learning methodologies of the 19th and 20th centuries.
- How can parents facilitate learning in the classroom?
- Should teachers be friends with their students?
- Should the United States engage in rapprochement with Russia?
- Do you believe that the European Union is beneficial to Europe?
- Is it a good policy for the EU and NATO to expand in Eastern Europe?
- Should the United States guarantee the security of South Korea, Japan, and Taiwan against China, Russia, and North Korea?
- Is Great Britain justified in leaving the European Union?
- What should Ukraine’s foreign policy be as a result of American and Russian interference in her domestic affairs?
- Should South and North Korea unify or should they remain separate countries?
- What foreign policy objectives should the Trump administration pursue?
- How can Russia and the United States achieve a lasting peace in Syria that is beneficial to both nations and Syria?
- How has terrorism affected the foreign policies of the United States and Russia?
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- Should developed nations adopt socialism?
- Which economic system is better for society, capitalism or socialism?
- What are some of the reasons why communism failed in the Soviet Union?
- Is buying shares speculation or is it investing?
- What are the advantages and disadvantages of an economy oriented towards exporting commodities?
- What were the causes of the recession of 2008, and how might such an economic downturn be avoided in the future?
- Did President Roosevelt’s New Deal policies help to end the Great Depression, or did they protract America’s economic woes?
- What economic policies should Third World countries adopt to improve their global status?
- Should countries adopt protectionist or free-trade policies?
- What are the advantages and disadvantages to being in a customs union?
- Can wars be won solely by strategic bombing, or are ground forces necessary to achieve victory?
- Can mechanized units be used to take urban areas, or should light infantry supported by artillery and aircraft better suited for this role?
- When waging a counter-insurgency in another country, should reprisals be taken against civilians in order to deter them from aiding the opposition force?
- Is it morally acceptable to use chemical and biological munitions as area denial weapons?
- What role did sea power play in the emergence of Great Britain as the premier superpower of the 19th Century?
- Why, despite arguably having the best army in the world, did Germany still lose the Second World War?
- In a total war, where the objective is to replace the enemy’s government and completely occupy his country, do the means justify the ends?
- Are aircraft carriers still useful on the modern battlefield, or are have they been rendered obsolete by recent developments in air and submarine warfare?
- Should the United States military seek to weaponize space?
- Can artificial intelligence and machines replace soldiers on the battlefield?
In addition to these being good topics for argumentative essay, they can also be very good argumentative speech topics, too!
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