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The Value of an Argument in Writing

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thesis-statement-argumentative-essay-tipsDr. Stacey Little
Program Director, Transportation and Logistics Management at American Public University

After being assigned several argumentative essays, you may have determined that this type of writing is a skill that’s hard to acquire. According to the Roane State Community College online writing lab, most people forget that the goal of the argumentative essay is to “win” the argument. With that thought in mind, it is suggested to avoid writing about issues that you won’t win, regardless of how strongly the writers view is of this topic. An argumentative paper has value to the learning process. It allows the student to learn, grow, and think critically about a subject. Let’s examine the parts of an argumentative paper.

Master the Thesis Statement

The thesis is a statement of the writer’s position on the topic. Since this statement introduces the topic it should appear in the first paragraph. Narrowing down the thesis is paramount to the persuasion processes. If the topic is too broad, it will be difficult to research and therefore nearly impossible for the writer to actually present and win the argument. Each paragraph following the introductory paragraph should have some connection to the thesis. The paragraphs should be connected by transitions so that the content flows in natural support of the thesis.

Back Up Your Argument

The argument, in support of the thesis, has to be backed up with data. This requires a complete investigation of the issue or problem. It will be difficult to win an argument without sufficient and trustworthy data. The reader must be convinced that the information is valid to move them to another point of view. It is important to use non-biased support such as articles and statistical numbers; your opinion is not enough. A warrant is the evidence that you will explain in support of your thesis or claim (Purdue Online Writing Lab, 2015). Points of view that are not in support of the thesis should also be included in the report.

Find Your Conflict

At least one paragraph of the report should include a counterclaim or conflicting view of the thesis. With this, the writer can discuss how this position is not well informed to discount its merit with the reader. It is helpful to consider this just like a debate. It is obvious in a debate that a counterclaim will be brought forth. With argumentative writing, it is a good practice to foresee the counterclaim and address it. Anticipating possible counterclaims is an essential part of the process. Presenting one side is not enough to allow people to apply their judgment.

Follow-up with Your Evidence

The final or conclusion paragraph does more than restate the thesis (claim). Its purpose is to wrap-up the evidence in support of the thesis. It should leave the reader thinking and considering other points of view. The final paragraph should resonate the accuracy of the thesis statement.

Remember the purpose of the argument is to change the position of the reader. You may ask yourself why must I write an argumentative essay. Remember an argument is necessary to the formation of opinions, views, and beliefs. It is valuable to the learning process. Presenting data in itself is not sufficient. We all need the skill of argument to grow and think. I hope you can see the value in the argument.

About the Author

Dr. Little has more than 13 years of experience in teaching in business and logistics in both the online and traditional format. She has a professional designation in Logistics and Supply Chain Management and a certification in Transportation and Logistics from the American Society of Transportation and Logistics. Her research interests are in the area of cultural influences on supply-chain relationships.

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