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How to Write an Opposing Viewpoint Essay


An opposing viewpoint essay calls for a student to investigate a topic and evaluate the evidence supporting one side of an argument. This type of essay calls for extensive research of literature and, at times, empirical research through surveys and interviews. Opposing essays cover controversial topics, such as environmental policy, media violence, illegal immigration, genetic engineering, and globalization. The essay should leave no doubt about the writer's argument.

Introduction

Set the context by addressing the topic in a general manner. Include background information and explicate the debate. Review the topic and explain why it is important. Why should the reader care about the issue?

Present a concise thesis statement.

Transition into the body of the essay with a logical, clear progression. Summarize the ideas presented in the introductory section.

Body and Conclusion

Limit each paragraph in the body of the essay to one main idea. Connect the body of each paragraph to your thesis statement. Provide at least three detailed examples per paragraph that explain why the evidence supports the thesis.

Discuss opposing viewpoints of each paragraph's main idea. Explain how the opposing arguments do not align with your thesis (rather than dismissing them outright). Consider the other points of view when collecting anecdotal and statistical evidence.

Overcome objections by covering both sides of the issue. Consider arguments against your thesis. Signal refutations with transition words such as "but," "however," or "although."

Synthesize the information to leave a lasting impression on the reader. Link the last paragraph to the introduction and reiterate a key word or phrase used in the beginning. Conclude with a quotation from a primary reference, redefine a key term, or set your argument in a larger context by demonstrating how your paper falls within a larger area of concern or by posing further questions.

Warnings
  • Proofread carefully for grammar and spelling errors.
  • Double-check your source information and documentation.
Items you will need
Pen
Paper
About the Author

Nicole Newman is a Dartmouth College associate who works in Tiltfactor Laboratory, Dartmouth's premier game design center. Her research has included investigating the digital humanities through "Writing as a Dimensional Artifact" and "Evolution of the Ghetto: The Decline of America’s Inner Cities," a research initiative on urban design.

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