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How to Write an Argumentative Essay on an Unfamiliar Topic

writing an argumentative essayArgumentative (also called persuasive) essays are commonly assigned as a part of advanced composition courses; which means that if you take such a course you should be ready for this ordeal. Sometimes you happen to know the subject matter of your essay fairly well, and if you are assigned with the task that you can write more or less freely you may consider yourself lucky. However, more often than not students get stuck with topics that are purposefully chosen to be unknown to them, because one of the main reasons why you write an argumentative essay in the first place is for you to learn how to collect, analyze and use relevant evidence and do research. That is why this short text will provide you with a couple of tips on how to write an argumentative essay on a topic you haven’t encountered before. Hopefully, after reading them you will be able to stand your ground in the next essay you have to write.

Writing an Example: an Essay on Deforestation

So let’s say you’ve been given a task to write about deforestation, and you neither know anything about it nor care about ecology one way or another. What should you do? First, define the topic you are going to write about, unless you were given direct instructions by your tutor. If you can adjust the topic yourself, try to make it somewhat more personal: do not talk of deforestation in general, for example, but write about deforestation in developing countries, or about the history of deforestation in North America, or something along the same lines. Make sure you express the thesis of your essay on deforestation in the first couple of sentences – don’t make it too long, as the essay in total is rarely supposed to be longer than three or four pages. Body paragraphs should contain evidence in support of the point of view you express in the introduction – and it really should be evidence, not just your feelings or emotions about the subject. Facts, statistics, examples from real life, personal experience – anything will do as long as it supports your point of view.

Other Good Argumentative Essay Topics

If you are given a free reign in choosing a topic for your argumentative essay, you are both lucky and unlucky at the same time: on the one hand, you don’t depend on anyone to choose the subject matter for you, on the other hand, it is easy to become overwhelmed by the sheer amount of possibilities. However, you may find it easier to deal with the task if you approach it logically. The common feature of all good argumentative essay topics is that they are controversial: there are two or more widespread points of view on the issue in question, and the supporters of all of them can find enough evidence to prove them. The fact that there are other opinions out there creates the basis for your work: you should make the point of view you support look more logical and trustworthy than all others.

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