Work Cited Argumentative Essay

Are you writing an argumentative essay for school and just don’t feel that it’s as good as it could be? This type of writing can be challenging, since it requires plenty of research, but it can also be quite rewarding.

Argumentative writing tends to be balanced in that it acknowledges all sides of the issue. Rather than only discuss your own point of view, you will be conducting research on all views of the subject, then presenting them in a way that will allow the reader to make their decision.

Choose a Topic

It’s far easier to write on a topic that interests you and that you feel passionate about. Selecting a topic with strong opposing views can be a great way to get your grades up, provided you do a good job of proving your point.

Great topics may include legal topics, moral topics and social topics, among others. Here are a few to get you started:

  • Should businesses be permitted to advertise in schools?
  • Should circumcision for infants be banned?
  • Is the death penalty the best option for murderers?
  • Should employers be permitted to refuse to hire pregnant women
  • Should tobacco products be banned?
  • Should firearms be restricted?Is abortion a legal right?

These topics have very strong views on either side and it is up to you to select which one to represent first in your essay. While both (or more, if you find others) perspectives should be represented, one will feature more strongly as your preferred opinion.

Hints for a Better Essay

Still need some extra tricks to make sure your essay is amazing? Here are a few ways you can boost the value of your writing.

Draft an Outline

Before you get too far into creating your essay, you’ll want an essay to keep things nice and neat. It’s easy to ramble if you don’t have a specific direction to follow. As you do your research, write the information you find on sticky notes. Then arrange these into a simple outline that flows. Work without a solid outline at your own risk. Consider using an argumentative essay template to understand key elements of the essay.

Include Quotes

Using quotes from experts on the topic will appeal to logic and help the reader understand why your thesis statement hold true. You can find these online, from reputable sources, or you can actually talk to some experts to get the quotes. Be sure to cite these sources to demonstrate credibility and allow the reader to see where the quotes came from. It doesn’t matter if it is in MLA format (examples), APA format (examples), or another style—be sure to include citations.

Look at Both Sides of the Issue

Balance is the key to argumentative writing. Ideally, you will present both the pros and cons of the various arguments, with a strong slant toward your preferred view. With the right research and arranging of facts, you should be able to present your perspective in a very persuasive way.

While your essay should be written to encourage people to see things from your point of view, it should also present all sides of issue. This will come across as balanced and fair and you allow the reader to ultimately choose which option they prefer.

Finally, if you’re ever facing writer’s block for your college paper, consider WriteWell Essay Templates to help you get started.


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The following two sample research papers are typical of the papers that might be submitted in different kinds of courses.

Reading these papers will help you learn about organizing an argument and working with sources. The papers also demonstrate the use of MLA style to document sources and the formatting of the margins, line spacing, and other physical attributes of a printed paper. The MLA’s guidelines on formatting papers appear elsewhere on this site.

The sample papers were written by MLA staff members who are experienced college teachers. You may find that the writing and documentation seem polished. Because the sample papers serve as models, we aimed to make them free of errors in grammar and documentation. Nevertheless, we hope that the papers usefully represent good student work.

 

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This paper, on Jacob Lawrence’s Migration series, shows you how to incorporate figures into your text, style a block quotation, and cite a variety of sources. Read about block quotations in the MLA Handbook (1.3.2–3, 1.3.7).

PDF

This paper, on Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park and the courtship novel, features examples of how to use notes in MLA style, cite a dictionary definition, and more.

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