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Argumentative essay writing tips: starting out

Argumentative essays are the most common research paper assignment given in school. They are frequently used as final exam or capstone papers that are meant to gauge a student’s understanding of a topic. The structure of this type of essay is supported by the following:

A clear thesis statement that is in the first paragraph.

In the first paragraph, you need to let the reader know what you are going to focus on in the paper as well as set the context by offering a brief overview or summary of the topic. A few sentences are all you need. Next, you need to explain to your reader why they should care about the topic, why it is important, or how it impacts them. Typically, the last sentence of the first paragraph contains the thesis statement. It is essential that you have a strong and focused thesis statement because it will be the backbone for the entire paper.

Clear and logical transitions throughout the body paragraphs.

Transitions help keep the essay flowing and help the reader make the transition from one point to the next. The transitional words and phrases act as markers to let the reader know what is coming up and keeps them from getting lost or confused while reading the paper. They let the reader know what new point is coming up and when you are about to switch ideas. Without logical progression, it is difficult to write a strong argumentative paper and it is even harder for the reader to follow your paper. Transitions should wrap up the idea from the previous section and introduce the idea that is to follow in the next section.

Body paragraphs that have ample support and evidence.

Each paragraph needs to focus on one topic or aspect of your thesis statement. Typically there is one paragraph per main point. When you follow this rule, it is easier to see when you are switching points or ideas in the paper- you start a new paragraph. It is also of great importance to note that each body paragraph of the essay or paper must directly relate, in a logical manner, to your thesis statement from the first paragraph. These paragraphs also need to contain research and proof to help back up your points and support the ideas you are presenting in the paper. Research is the key factor that sets this type of essay apart from others so you must make sure you include good research and sources in your argumentative paper.

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