Essay structure: 6 main points that should be included in the argumentative essay:
Quite often, students who fail with an essay start to think that they do not have a gift for writing. Nevertheless, an academic essay is a genre with specific rules, and therefore, writing a good essay involves more of a discipline of mind than a gift. If you are familiar with the proper structure of essays, you will quickly learn how to write them without outside help in a short period of time. Practice is the best tool to improve your writing skills, and a clear understanding of the main rules and principles will help you achieve the desired results in no time. With the help of experts from the essay writing service WritingCheap, we have prepared a detailed article for you. We will review the structure of an argumentative essay and the intricacies of working on this type of paper.
What is an argumentative essay?
An argumentative essay is a text in which you justify a thesis, usually of a controversial nature, by researching and studying the topic in detail, gathering and analyzing available materials on the topic, generating and evaluating evidence.
Your task is to prove a claim from some perspective, convince the reader of something, or show that you have a command of the methods of proof and persuasion accepted in your field of knowledge (and you need to know at least the basic literature for that).
Your primary audience is the professor or reviewer, and you should choose your arguments keeping this in mind. Don’t pretend that you are writing for “a wide range of interested readers.” Remember that an argumentative essay, like any academic text, is always a dialogue with your colleagues or with those researchers who have dealt with the issue before you. If you have no idea of the academic field at all, you probably won’t be able to write an essay.
Nevertheless, you demonstrate in the essay not your readability but your ability to make independent judgments. You have a thought or an idea for which you can give sufficient reason to be regarded by any rational reader. An argumentative essay differs from other types of academic work because it requires more careful preparation, collection, and analysis of materials. It is also longer. Students often need to conduct various empirical research (interviews, experiments, surveys, observations) to have enough material to support their ideas.
Structure of argumentative essays
In a small essay, the introduction is usually the first paragraph (5-7 sentences, necessarily capturing the thesis of your work). If required, the introduction can be longer, but not more than 1/5 of your work. The easiest way to arrange the introduction is according to the funnel principle. You begin with a description of the general problem of the essay, outline its importance, clarify the subject area, and, finally, come to the specifics of your own thesis. You can also use hooks in the introduction, which are various interesting things that you think will make the reader continue reading. It can be a story related to a problem, an unexpected fact, or a joke. However, you should keep in mind that this is not a stand-up comedy. Everything must be in moderation and justified.
Formulating a thesis statement
Your introduction is dedicated to formulating a thesis statement consisting of two elements: the topic (what you are talking about) and the defining thought (what you are saying about it). Both should be quite specific.
- It is not necessary to announce the thesis. If you have chosen a good thesis statement and formulated it persuasively, it is clear to the reader what it is;
- Don’t replace the thesis with a fact. A fact is what it is. A thesis is some judgment, the truth of which must be proven;
- Don’t appeal to popular or general opinion. That’s just not interesting.
Other elements of an introduction
If the volume of the essay allows it, the introduction can include:
- key terms and concepts in case you use specific terminology different from the typical meta-language for your disciplinary field;
- methodology, if it is important for your research;
- the state of the research field, but you do not need to describe all the relevant research. You can identify two or three points of view that are clearly in conflict with each other and outline your position in that conflict;
- plan — of course, if you have a two-page essay, an outline is unnecessary. But if you’re writing a large paper, you can record for the reader how you’re going to move forward.
The main body is your reasoning, designed to support the thesis expressed in the introduction. Each paragraph has a role that the reader can understand.
Try to write with strong paragraphs. Of course, there are times when avoiding strong paragraphs is justified logically or rhetorically. But while you’re learning, it’s best to make it a rule to write exclusively in strong paragraphs.
- The topic sentence is the micro thesis of the paragraph. It necessarily presents the topic and the defining thought: that is, it is an auxiliary thesis that maintains a connection with the thesis of the entire essay;
- Justification is always an argumentation in support of the topic sentence, not free reasoning on the topic of the essay;
- Details (e.g., a quote) and examples are always subordinate to the thesis and justification;
- The conclusion not only summarizes the paragraph (in this sense, it should be obviously linked to the topic sentence), but also allows you to prepare the transition to the next paragraph as a unit of meaning (for example, through keywords).
- Watch for logical transitions and overall coherence of the text. But don’t try to replace transitions with useless facts. Remember that in a good essay, there are no unnecessary paragraphs, but also no unnecessary sentences or even words;
- Don’t lose the thesis of your essay;
- Use linking words. They are important markers of the course of your reasoning.
- Restate the main thesis of your essay. If you haven’t lost it (consciously or not) throughout the text, that’s good!
- Summarize your main arguments. This is an argumentative essay; your reasoning is your main contribution;
- Don’t offer new information in conclusion. If a new idea or a new argument comes to your mind during the conclusion writing stage, it deserves a place in the essay’s body. In that case, you need to review the structure and find a place for it there. The conclusion is not for the new, but for the conclusion;
- Be concise. Your reader has come to an end with you. There is no need to test them;
- Your conclusion lets your reader know that the essay is finished. A good conclusion speaks for itself.