What is an argumentative essay?


An argumentative essay also known as a discussion presents both sides of the argument on a specific topic so as the audience can form their own opinion.

The first task in writing a good argumentative essay is finding a suitable topic that has strong and valid opinions for both sides of the argument.  

You can find numerous topics on the web, but here are some to get you started...

  • All Zoo's should be shut down and the animals should be returned to the wild. - Discuss
  • Mobile phones should be embraced as learning tools in the classroom.  - Discuss
  • Parents have different expectaitons for their sons and daughters.  - Discuss
  • Do we give children too many trophies?  - Discuss
  • Is it ethical to eat meat? - Discuss
  • School canteen's promote poor diets. - Discuss
  • Can money buy happiness? - Discuss
  • Is animal testing a justified? - Discuss
  • Are we too dependent on computers?  Discuss
  • Do violent video games and films create social problems? - Discuss

An argumentative essay allows the author to share their opinion briefly in the conclusion.

Argumentative essays and discussion texts are a great starting point for debating.  

Argumentative essays and discussion texts are a great starting point for debating.  

The challenge in writing a good discussion or argumentative essay is to be open minded even if you know which side you want to support.

Factual research and evidence is your number one tool.  It gives you credibility by sourcing knowledge from experts but more importantly it gives your own opinions and ideas greater weight as you have demonstrated a broad and accurate understanding of the topic you are writing about.

be sure to spend some time researching your topic before writing about it and make sure you reference where you have sourced this knowedge from.

Most students will head straight for the internet to find their evidence so make sure you have a clear understanding of how to use it correctly.  This poster demonstrates how to get the most out of the three major search platforms on the web.  You can download the free poster version of it here.

Argumentative Essay Graphic Organizer

The argumentative graphic organizer is a strategic teaching tool that better equips students to develop this type of writing.  This graphic organizer is designed to anticipate the needs of the readers, as well as have the author utilize a variety of detail types to develop their opinion with more than just fluffy, eloquent language.  



Tips for writing a great argumentative essay

  • Make sure you clearly explain the topic to the audience before you get into taking sides.
  • When you have selected a topic ensure that you research both sides of the argument thoroughly before writing.
  • In your conclusion make it clear which side of the argument you side, even make a recommendation but allow the reader to keep an open mind.
  • Keep everything in order.
  • List all the items that will be required to complete the task.
  • Use paragraphs effectively.  Each new argument should start with a new paragraph.
  • Keep your arguments short, sharp and to the point.
  • Use the correct language and terms.

Text organizer for a Discussion / Argumentative essay.

Check out these short video tutorials on how to write an argumentative essay

How to write an argument or Discussion essay