How to Write an Opinion Essay
An opinion essay is an opportunity to express your feelings on an issue or topic you feel passionately about. You can make your argument even stronger by substantiating your opinions with logical arguments and credible evidence.
Conduct Research on a Controversial Topic
Choose a subject you feel strongly about that's debatable or controversial. Social, school or local issues are ideal topic choices. Read a variety of credible perspectives to expand your understanding of the debate. Avoid simply reading sources that support your own opinions. If your position changes in light of your research, that's OK. Take notes on ideas, facts and statistics that you can use to support your argument. Also take notes on others' perspectives to include in your essay to provide contrast.
Write the Introduction to Your Opinion Essay
Write an introduction that asserts a serious and logical stance on your topic and explains why it's important. The introduction should end with a thesis statement that clearly states your opinion and why you feel the way you do. For example, if you are arguing against animal testing, you could reason that it is inhumane, that other research methods are available and that animals are too physiologically different from humans to yield relevant results.
Write Body Paragraphs to Develop Your Opinion
In the body of your essay, write one paragraph about each reason for your opinion. Begin each paragraph with a topic sentence that states the point you will discuss. Include quotes, examples, anecdotes or lines of argument from your research to support each point, and explain how each piece of evidence contributes to your position. Then write at least two paragraphs in which you respond to views that differ from your own. Summarize each opposing view and provide reasoning or evidence that shows why it is untrue, problematic or contrary to your perspective. For example, if an opponent states that animal research is regulated to protect animals, explain why the regulations are insufficient and illustrate how they continue to suffer.
Write a Strong Conclusion and Bibliography
By the time you get to your conclusion, your argument is complete. Summarize by restating the importance of the topic, reviewing the essence of your argument and leaving your reader with a final thought or question. Include a bibliography in the appropriate format for your assignment.
- The Allyn and Bacon Guide to Writing, Brief 6th Edition: John D. Ramage, John C. Bean, and June Johnson
- Purdue University Online Writing Lab: Argumentative Essays
- Pasadena City College: Steps for Writing an Argument Essay
Megan Martin has more than 10 years of experience writing for trade publications and corporate newsletters as well as literary journals. She holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Iowa and a Master of Fine Arts in writing from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago.