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What Is the Criteria for Writing an Argument & Persuasion Essay?


In an argument essay you will try to persuade your reader not only to understand the points you make, but also to come to the same conclusion on the issue you're debating. This type of writing does not always come easily since you need to make a strong case for your point of view. However, if you know the main components involved with this type of writing you can strengthen your essay and your argument.

Topic

Before you can begin writing an argumentative essay, you need to make sure you have a debatable topic. Think of this type of paper as you would any disagreement you've had in the past. Perhaps you and a friend debated the reasons you should or shouldn't go to a particular restaurant or why one of you should not date a particular person. You need more than one side to an issue to form an argument. To check if you have the right topic for this type of essay, consider the subject matter and write down other points of view. What do other people see? Can you identify two sides to the argument? If so, you have met the main criteria for your essay.

Thesis

The introductory paragraph needs to do more than simply introduce the topic. You need to include a strong thesis statement, typically one sentence that states your point of view on the topic and why you have this opinion. For example, if your topic relates to the lunch options available in schools, your thesis statement should inform the reader where you stand and why. You might have a thesis statement like this: “Schools should provide low-fat options and fresh vegetables for lunch to help promote good eating habits in young children which may reduce the risk of childhood obesity and accompanying diseases.” The reader knows your stand and also what you will need to prove in your essay.

Research

Your research makes up a solid foundation for an argumentative essay. Giving your reader data and other well-researched facts will help her understand your position and should draw her toward your perspective on the issue. Make sure you use credible resources when you research since this will strengthen your argument. For example, do not use research from a biased source or from an online website that shares only user-generated information. Use research from experts in the field. You can find this information in journals, books and scholarly websites.

Opposing Viewpoint

When writing a persuasive essay you should acknowledge valid points made from the opposing view on the issue. This does more than show you recognize the validity of that particular point. In addition to giving the reader a better understanding of the issue, sharing a good point strengthens your own argument by showing you do not have bias, building the trust between you and your reader.

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