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Source: OWL Purdue Online Writing Lab http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/545/1/
An argumentative paper makes a claim about a topic and justifies this claim with specific evidence. The claim could be an opinion, a policy proposal, an evaluation, a cause-and-effect statement, or an interpretation. The goal of the argumentative paper is to convince the audience
that the claim is true based on the evidence provided.
Developing Strong Thesis Statements
Summary: These OWL resources will help you develop and refine the arguments in your writing. Contributors:Stacy Weida, Karl Stolley Last Edited: 2011-09-02 05:50:16
The thesis statement or main claim must be debatable
An argumentative or persuasive piece of writing must begin with a debatable thesis or claim. In other words, the thesis must be something that people could reasonably have differing opinions on. If your thesis is something that is generally agreed upon or accepted as fact then there is no reason to try to persuade people. Example of a non-debatable thesis statement: Pollution is bad for the environment. This thesis statement is not debatable. First, the word pollution means that something is bad or negative in some way. Further, all studies agree that pollution is a problem, they simply disagree on the impact it will have or the scope of the problem. No one could reasonably argue that pollution is good. Example of a debatable thesis statement: At least twenty-five percent of the federal budget should be spent on limiting pollution.
should be paying to limit pollution.This is an example of a debatable thesis because reasonable people could disagree with it. In this example there is also room for disagreement between rational individuals. not the government. Still others could argue that corporations. There are several reasons this statement is too broad to argue. the more evidence you will need to convince readers that your position is right. We could narrow each debatable thesis from the previous examples in the following way: Narrowed debatable thesis 1: . what does the author mean by "society"? Is the author referring only to America or to the global population? Does the author make any distinction between the effects on children and adults? There are just too many questions that the claim leaves open. The thesis needs to be narrow Although the scope of your paper might seem overwhelming at the start. In this example the topic of drugs has been narrowed down to illegal drugs and the detriment has been narrowed down to gang violence. First. Example of a narrow or focused thesis: Illegal drug use is detrimental because it encourages gang violence. The author could not cover all of the topics listed above. This is a much more manageable topic. Example of a thesis that is too broad: Drug use is detrimental to society. what is included in the category "drugs"? Is the author talking about illegal drug use. generally the narrower the thesis the more effective your argument will be. recreational drug use (which might include alcohol and cigarettes). in what ways are drugs detrimental? Is drug use causing deaths (and is the author equating deaths from overdoses and deaths from drug related violence)? Is drug use changing the moral climate or causing the economy to decline? Finally. or all uses of medication in general? Second. The broader your claim is. Others might feel that we should be spending more money on education. Some people might think that this is how we should spend the nation's money. Some citizens might think focusing on recycling programs rather than private automobiles is the most effective strategy. yet the generality of the claim leaves all of these possibilities open to debate. Your thesis or claim must be supported by evidence. Another example of a debatable thesis statement: America's anti-pollution efforts should focus on privately owned cars.
This thesis narrows the scope of the argument by specifying not just the amount of money used but also how the money could actually help to control pollution. is one way to focus your thesis on one particular aspect of you broader topic. in other words what type of claim you want to make.At least twenty-five percent of the federal budget should be spent on helping upgrade business to clean technologies. Qualifiers such as "typically. whether we value it or not. Example: What some people refer to as global warming is actually nothing more than normal. Claims of cause and effect: These claims argue that one person. Claims about solutions or policies: These are claims that argue for or against a certain solution or policy approach to a problem. Thinking about how you want to approach your topic. thing. Example: Global warming is the most pressing challenge facing the world today. such as researching renewable energy sources. Claims of fact or definition: These claims argue about what the definition of something is or whether something is a settled fact. Narrowed debatable thesis 2: America's anti-pollution efforts should focus on privately owned cars because it would allow most citizens to contribute to national efforts and care about the outcome. Types of Claims Claims typically fall into one of four categories. or event caused another thing or event to occur. . long-term cycles of climate change." "usually." or "on average" also help to limit the scope of your claim by allowing for the almost inevitable exception to the rule. Example: Instead of drilling for oil in Alaska we should be focusing on ways to reduce oil consumption." "generally. This thesis narrows the scope of the argument by specifying not just what the focus of a national anti-pollution campaign should be but also why this is the appropriate focus. and planting more trees in order to control or eliminate pollution. researching renewable energy sources. Example: The popularity of SUV's in America has caused pollution to increase. how we would rate or categorize something. Claims about value: These are claims made about what something is worth.
your audience. Regardless of the type of claim you choose to utilize it is key to identify the controversy or debate you are addressing and to define your position early on in the paper! Source: http://www. About.Which type of claim is right for your argument? Which type of thesis or claim you use for your argument will depend on your position and knowledge on the topic.com/od/essaywriting/a/argument.com Guide 2012 . Source: Homework / Study Tips http://homeworktips. express the opinion on that topic. Make sure that the statement or objective is focused.mn. The thesis statement should fulfill the following tasks: Clarify a narrow topic. and have an objective.htm How to Write an Argument Essay By Grace Fleming. Even if you start with one type of claim you probably will be using several within the paper.us/owl/Thesis%20Statements%20for%20the%2 0Argume.northland. clarify major elements. You might want to think about where you imagine your audience to be on this topic and pinpoint where you think the biggest difference in viewpoints might be. and the context of your paper. Sometimes qualify major ideas. concise. and acknowledge the readers’ knowledge of the topic.cc.about. academic tone. and well-worded.htm Thesis Statements for the Argumentative Paper The thesis statement for an argumentative paper clearly states your side of the argument and why you hold that position.
An argument essay should contain three parts: the introduction. While a strong interest in a topic is important. It's one thing to have a strong belief. Of course.Planning Stage For an argument essay to be effective. In an argument essay you will have to provide evidence without providing too much drama. you will conclude that one side (your side) is the best conclusion. Then you'll shoot them down! Gather Evidence When we think of arguments we might picture two red-faced people speaking quite loudly and making dramatic gestures. it must contain certain elements. make a mental list of points you could use as evidence for or against an issue. . you must take a few minutes to plan and prepare before you jump into writing an argument essay. You have to consider what position you can back up with reasoning and evidence. Writing Stage Once you've given yourself a solid foundation to work with. Find a Good Topic To find good topic for an argument essay you should consider several issues that will have two conflicting points of view or very different conclusions. You'll explore two sides of a topic (briefly) and provide proof as to why one side or position is the best one. Consider Both Sides of Your Topic and Take a Position Once you have selected a topic you feel strongly about. but when shaping an argument you'll have to explain why your belief is reasonable and logical. In fact. As you look over a list of topics you should find one that really sparks your interest. One of your first objectives in your essay will be to present both sides of your issue with an assessment of each. As you explore the topics. it's not enough to be interested. the act of arguing involves providing proof to support your claim. the body. In the planning stage you will need to consider strong arguments for the "other" side. But that's because face-to-face arguments often become emotional. you should make a list of points for both sides of the argument and pick a side. and the conclusion. with or without emotions. For this reason. you can begin to craft your essay.
Select your strongest evidence and present your points one by one. This new theory centers around the year 2012. life-altering catastrophe. After describing the "other" side. a date that many claim has mysterious origins in ancient manuscripts from many different cultures. In this case. and a thesis statement. the first paragraph of your argument essay should contain a brief explanation of your topic. depending on the length of your essay assignment. The year 2012 will pass without a major. Use a mix of evidence types. or at least the end of life as we know it. none of the claims surrounding a 2012 doomsday event hold up to scientific inquiry. some background information. from statistics. Introduce your topic and assert your side As in any essay. Present both sides of the controversy The body of your essay will contain the meat of your argument. The most noted characteristic of this date is that it appears to mark the end of the Mayan calendar. Example introductory paragraph with thesis statement: Since the turn of the new century.The length of these parts (number of paragraphs) will vary. Tips for Your Essay: Avoid emotional language Know the difference between a logical conclusion and an emotional point of view Don't make up evidence Cite your sources Make an outline Be prepared to defend your side by knowing the strongest arguments for the other side. Re-state your position as the most sensible one in your summary paragraphs. 2. 1. But there is no evidence to suggest that the Maya saw any great relevance to this date. You should go into more detail about the two sides of your controversy and state the strongest points of the counter-side of your issue. You might be challenged by the teacher or by another student. you will present your own viewpoint and then provide evidence to show why your position is the correct one. In fact. from two paragraphs to two hundred pages. to other studies and anecdotal stories. your thesis will be a statement of your position on a particular controversial topic. This part of your paper could be any length. a theory has emerged concerning the end of the world. .
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