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How to Start an Argumentative Paper


An argumentative paper is an essay that presents a point of view that will be defended throughout the paper with evidence and analysis. A well-rounded argumentative essay will contain a thesis, background context, the facts or arguments in support of the topic, answers to potential counter-arguments and a summarizing conclusion. It is best to outline the essay before you begin to write it in order to ensure you know what needs to be presented at specific points during the paper.

Write a thesis statement based on the information presented in your essay outline. Create a one-sentence statement that is specific and clearly presents the argument that is the backbone of the paper. Note that you may need to come back and rework the thesis after the full paper has been written.

Create two to three introductory sentences that lead the paragraph ending in the thesis. Write these sentences in an active voice to engage the reader, but don't distract from the importance of the thesis.

Write two to three paragraphs of context for the argument. Present any background information that is required for the reader to get a full understanding of the argument. Present sociological or psychological back stories, scientific studies or any other information that will help segue into the portion of presenting evidence to back up the argument.