How to Write an Argumentative Essay

Updated: Nov 1, 2016

Writing an argumentative essay is one of the most interesting tasks one can set to accomplish. This article will take an argumentative essay topic, run brief background research on that topic and come up with a brief argumentative essay in the end. This article can be used as a guide and a sample of an argumentative essay. This article will be different from other articles by showing the writing process from beginning to end. You will get to know how the process is organized, how valid arguments are made and how they can be built into a proper argumentative essay. Let’s begin, shall we?

An argumentative essay begins with topic selection. A good topic should be preferably controversial so that it evokes a reaction in your opposition. As an example topic for our essay, let’s select the following topic: “Is dieting and exercising helping people to stay healthy?” Once the topic is chosen, we then proceed to analysis. First off, let’s try to voice our own view of the problem. Do you personally agree or disagree with this statement? What is your general knowledge about the problem? What does your personal experience (your friends’ experience) show? How can this experience be used as an example? Has there been any research conducted? What are the results of the research? Who are the most reputable sources of information in this field? By answering these questions you will be getting up to 50% of your background research done! Now, let’s get back to the practical part.

While physical activity is almost unanimously considered as strengthening one’s health, the question of dieting and whether diets are useful remains unanswered. The paradigm of thought seems to be shifting from the point where it was once considered useful to a totally opposite claim stating that conventional dieting increases the adverse effects of the weight loss process (e.g. slows down metabolism). If you have seen this approach in action, you are ready to voice this viewpoint and stand up for it. Therefore, our essay will support the claim that while physical activity is undoubtedly healthful, dieting should be exercised with caution.

Let’s see how we can support this claim. To make a claim valid, there is nothing better than results of a scholarly investigation. So the next logical step would be to look for reputable sources of information.  If you are given a task to write an argumentative essay, most likely you will know who the most reputable sources of information are. They can include state agencies, research facilities, individual scholars, periodicals etc. Normally the best way to find them is to use Google, Google Scholar or any alternative search engine.

For example, one of my search queries “is dieting healthy” has led me to a book by Gary Taubes called, “Good Calories, Bad Calories: Challenging the Conventional Wisdom on Diet, Weight Control, and Disease”. In it, the author argues that conventional dieting is nearly all wrong; he further ascertains that fats can be healthy! Our main enemy, he says, is not the number of calories, rather than the kind of calories we consume. In this regard he defines good calories as those that are not easily digestible carbohydrates and sugars; the bad calories are defined as those substances that can be rapidly digested – here belong refined foods that lead to excessive insulin secretion and increase the risks of diabetes or chronic diseases. Now, why is this book a trustworthy source of information? Well, because it is based on seven years of research. Alright, so we have now found a supporting argument for our essay. If you find this book on Amazon.com, you will also see over a dozen books on similar topics and if you are required to use more references in your argumentative essay, you can also run through the similar books you see there.

Now, the book we found supports the idea of not just dieting, but proper dieting. Let’s try to locate some more materials on the benefits of physical exercises. Again, a good old search engine will help. A brief search query “is exercising healthy” has directed me to a NY Times article titled “Does Exercise Really Keep Us Healthy?” by Gina Kolata. This article is an excellent piece of writing on how useful exercise can be.

Once the background research has been completed, we are ready to start the actual writing. It is important to remember that an argumentative essay should take the regular essay structure and should contain a thesis, a few body paragraphs, and a conclusion. So let’s just go ahead and say that both exercise and dieting are important, but one has to know how to do it properly. With such a preliminary thesis in mind, let’s recall the original topic: “Is dieting and exercising helping people to stay healthy?” It might appear that the chosen topic is not controversial at all or inadequately controversial; as a result, it may look as if we are writing on a topic that can have no opposition. Well, it is only partly so. As we can see, there are certain nuances to dieting and exercising, and this is exactly what we are going to focus on in our argumentative essay sample.

Let us start with an opening statement:

Dieting and exercising have proven to have a beneficial effect on one’s health, – yet sticking to a diet and just getting physically more active will not give you the kind of results one might expect.

Further, we can place our body paragraphs in the following order:

Paragraph 1:
Results of scientific investigations are increasingly questioning the efficiency of conventional dieting. The same appears to hold true for exercising too: its effects are maximized if nutrition and exercising are combined together; in contrast, either of these activities does not show significant improvements in health levels.

Paragraph 2:
There appears to be a shift in the dieting paradigm.Previously it was considered  that fat in any form is the key contributor to heart disease. A recent study by Taubes (2007) shows that dietary fat is not causing heart disease, it’s the refined carbohydrates that do. Being easily digestible, refined carbohydrates raise blood sugar, spiking insulin production. The latter has a far more important effect on the overall health and well-being.

Paragraph 3:
Physical activity also has to be exercised with caution. In a recent NY Times article Gina Kolata, a reporter specializing in science and medicine has conducted a brief review of recent research done by scientists and doctors. She has discovered that physical activity has a dozen of nuances to it. For example, physical activity without weight loss efforts does not lower blood pressure; nor has exercise alone lead to sustained weight loss (Kolata, 2008).

Summary:

Summing up, there is no doubt that dieting – in the sense of proper nutrition – as well as physical activity are important. However, dieting and physical activity need to be exercised with proper knowledge. Either of them is not enough for a sustained result.

In this demonstration of a sample argumentative essay piece, we have tried to show the entire essay writing process. With a little bit of practice and persistence, you will master the art of argumentative essay writing very quickly. Should you need any help with your argumentative essays, feel free to contract any of our professional writers who are willing to help 24/7!

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