How To Write A Debate Essay Paper

The outline for the Debate paper—the organization of the paper—is really quite simple. Here’s what it would look like.

This is a template. It tells you the format, but does not tell you the content. That depends on your research. Don’t just copy this. Instead, fill in the information on your research question and your sources.

(By the way, I don’t care so much about whether you follow the rules for a formal outline. This template uses a mix of formal and informal styles. If you’re curious about rules for formal outlines, see Developing an Outline at the Purdue University Online Writing Lab.)

  1. Introduction
    • State what the research question is.
    • Give an overview of what the different sources say about the question.
  2. First source
    • Give a quick summary of the source (a sentence or a few at most)
    • State how it answers the question
      • If it does not answer the question directly, explain what ideas or information it provides that contributes to an answer.
    • Critique the source:
      • Evidence: Is it sufficient, relevant and representative?
      • Reasoning: Are the assumptions valid? Do the conclusions add up?
      This should be very brief—you only have room for a couple of sentences on each point.

    You don’t have to do it in this order. For example, you might start with the summary, do the critique and then say how it relates to your question.

  3. Second Source—same as the first

(Continue until you have 5 - 7 sources.)

  1. Conclusion
    • Sum up again how the different sources answer the research question.
    • State your answer to the research question.
      • This will be the thesis of your final research paper. Think of this part of the conclusion as a summary of your research paper, like the summaries of all your sources.

That’s it. A bunch of sources, each one summarized and critiqued, with an explanation of how it answers the research question (or, if it doesn’t exactly answer it, how does it relate), and a brief statement of how you expect your final research paper to answer the research question.

Things to Watch Out For

  1. The single most common mistake people make in this assignment is that they write a draft of their research paper, not focused on the sources but focused on their own thesis. Don’t do that. See Organization: Debate vs. Research for a comparison of the two papers.
  2. In your outline, list as much of this material as you can, based on the reading you have done so far. For example, under one source you might write:
    • “Evidence—sufficient, relevant, maybe not all representative.”
    • “One major invalid assumption.”
    • “Argues that global warming is most important effect.”

    The more of this kind of detail you can get into your outline, the easier it will be to write your paper.

  3. After you have the outline and have drafted the basic content of each paragraph., work on making it more than just a list. Don’t start every paragraph with "In my next source..." Instead, use the opening of the paragraph tie each one back to the research question, or introduce the source’s focus, or show the contrast between this source and the previous one—something to give it variety while still focusing on the essential elements of the assignment.

In an argumentative essay, you want to convince someone to agree with your idea or opinion, using research-based evidence.

Writing an argumentative essay is a skill that anyone in school needs to know, though it can be useful outside of the classroom, as well. With today's Common Core standards, learning to write an essay that intelligently proves your point is an essential part of your education.

You will need to select solid argumentative essay topics that you can work with, create an argumentative essay outline and write, revise, and polish before you turn the argumentative essay in. It’s worth checking out an argumentative essay sample or two, just so you have a good idea of how the whole thing works. You can learn a lot from what other people have already done.

Choosing Argumentative Essay Ideas

As you look at argumentative essay examples, you’ll notice that there is a specific argumentative essay structure that is followed. It’s easiest to work with this structure if you choose easy argumentative essay topics.

Good argumentative essay topics are interesting and relatively easy to defend. They should fit into your argumentative essay outline fairly easily and will be something you can write on without doing ridiculous amounts of research. You don’t necessarily need to know everything about the topic, but having some base knowledge will help you as you do your research and write the essay.

Ideally, you’ll select interesting argumentative essay topics to work with, which will keep your writing fresh and on point. It’s difficult to write on a topic you don’t enjoy, so selecting one that you can really get into will show in your work.

How to Write an Argumentative Essay

It’s helpful to look at a good argumentative essay example to get some ideas before you begin. This section will show you how to write an argumentative essay that will wow your teachers.

Before you even get started on the actual essay, take some time to create an argumentative essay outline. This will help you follow proper argumentative essay structure and can be useful for ensuring that your work stays on track and makes sense. An outline is an essential part of any essay writing process.

If you find it difficult to create your own outline, an argumentative essay template may come in handy for structuring the essay. A template will include everything you need to get started, including the format, so you just need to fill in the blanks with your own information.

How to Start an Argumentative Essay

The argumentative essay introduction is where you present your topic and your thesis. It should include a hook in the first few sentences. A hook will grab the reader's attention and keep them reading.

Once you've laid the basis of the argumentative essay topic out for the reader, give them a bit of background information to clarify things.

What is the issue you're addressing? Why should anyone care? Where is the issue prevalent? What is your opinion on the topic and why do you feel that way? The answer to this final question will be your thesis, or what you will try to convince the reader of throughout your essay.

Your topic should be something you know is debatable and this can be mentioned in the intro. The first paragraph, according to good argumentative essay format, should include your main point or thesis statement.

As you state your thesis, make sure it is concise and use confident language to write it out. You should summarize your rational, ethical and emotional supporting arguments here. Keep in mind that the opening paragraph should only be a few sentences long in most cases, so keep it concise.

Develop Your Argument

By this point in the argumentative essay example, it's obvious what the point of the essay is, but you have not yet convinced the reader. You need to develop your argument. Each body paragraph should contain a topic sentence introducing a claim, which should support your thesis statement. You may have as few as one claim, but it's a good idea to aim for at least three or four supporting arguments.

Argumentative essay prompts are handy for helping you think more deeply about your chosen topic and will allow you to work on creating

Just stating something doesn't make it fact, so you also need to present evidence in favour of your opinion. Your own personal experience does not stand as a reputable source, so look for scientific studies and government resources to help back up your claims. Statistics and specific data can also be helpful as you argue your main point.

Look at the Opposing Viewpoint

In order to truly convince readers of your point of view, the argumentative essay must also look at the opposing views. What do those on the other side of the issue have to say? Acknowledge these views and refute them with facts, quotes, statistics or logic. The more evidence you have, the better your essay will be.

It's not enough to simply disagree with another point of view or opinion. If you really want to get people to see things your way, you need to convince them with evidence and facts. This requires some research and possibly a little creative thinking. If you’ve chosen a good topic, however, it will be obvious what the opposite view is.

Most argumentative essay prompts will have you cover opposing views in the second or third body paragraph, but it can be used as the intro to the body, as well, with your point at the end. Include every source in your reference section so the reader can double check the evidence for themselves.

Create a Conclusion

Finally, every argumentative essay example finishes with a conclusion. Yours will do the same. Restate your main points and cover the basics of the supporting evidence once more. This is essentially a summary of your entire argument. How has the argument evolved throughout the paper? Give the reader a brief look back over everything.

Before you sign off on your essay, restate your topic and stress the importance of your opinion. Keep this part to one or two paragraphs at the most, since it is simply a recap of the previous points.

If you have done your job and written a convincing argumentative essay, your reader will now either be completely on your side or thinking seriously about their views on your topic. This is the end goal, to shake up those beliefs and help others see your point of view. Doing this in a calm, professional manner will work far better than being too passionate. Use lots of examples and reputable sources to give solid evidence for your side of things and you’ll see good results.

Polish and Revise

Once your essay has been written, it's time to polish it. Go back over the whole essay and look for any spelling or grammatical errors. You should also keep an eye out for pieces that can be better written or tightened up to make better sense.

Now, it's up to the reader to make up their mind. If you've done a good job, they will see things your way and your essay will be a success.

Using a template for your argumentative essay can also help you work through the essay faster and ensures you'll meet common core standards and improve your essay writing skills. Choose a great topic, use prompts and a template and you’ll have a winning argumentative essay by the end.

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