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15.8: Tips for Writing the Argument Essay

Just as in causal analysis, students often attempt to address issues that are more suited to a 10-page research paper. Think about setting boundaries on your argument. For example, most people when they here the term “gun control,” begin an argument about the meaning of the Second Amendment and whether or not guns should be banned. This happens before the term “gun control” is even defined. Instead of writing about the larger topic, focus on the specific topic under the larger umbrella of the issue, e.g. smart guns, universal background checks, gun licenses, and disqualifying factors in ownership (mental illness, suspected terrorist ties, and felony convictions).

Topic Ideas

  • Self-driving cars and legal implications
  • Legalizing prostitution
  • Marijuana and federal vs local laws
  • Concealed weapons and permitting
  • Guns on college campuses
  • Homeschooling

Chapter Questions for Comprehension

Answer the following questions regarding developing the argument.

  1. Describe in one or two sentences the types of evidence you need for a convincing argument essay.
  2. Describe the three types of appeals: rational, emotional and ethical. Why does a good argument use all three?
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