An argumentative essay is a written text that is used to teach students the ability to reason. The word argument, in the context of an essay, means exploring the topic after determining its key problems by developing ideas that are supported by evidence from relevant sources.
Before actually writing an argumentative essay, you should critically and selectively read the required material. Critical reading means understanding, questioning and evaluating the material read. Scientific references to other authors will only strengthen the arguments advanced by the student. The data, information and quotes collected in the reading process become significant only when they are logically and consistently integrated into the argument.
The process of developing a clear and convincing argument helps the author in their formation as a thinker and critic. This is due to the fact that written arguments contribute to the development of mental abilities: the organisation of thoughts, the structuring of the material, the evaluation of facts, the observance of logical sequence and clear self-expression.
The argumentative essay can be divided into certain constituent parts, four of which should be always present: introduction, presentation of the argument, the expectation of objections, conclusion.
In the introduction, there should be an introductory and a thesis statements. Introductory statement is a special catching phrase or question, quotation or other facts, everything that will make the reader read on. The abstract statement is the last sentence of the introductory part, which acts as the controlling force of the essay.
The presentation of the argument and the provision of evidence (statement and support) come next. The conditionalities require that at a certain stage the author acknowledges the opposite view. If the students are not able to consider the expected objections, thereby they deliberately ignore the evidence against the argument. In addition, they should know that the argument will have more confidence if they recognise the opposite side.
The practice of contradiction improves critical thinking, forcing the authors to put themselves in the context of discussions and to realise that other points of view not only exist but have their justification. When examining objections, the student should offer solutions to the problems that the opposing opinion puts for his argument, indicate the weaknesses on which the opposite opinion is based, make concessions and propose a compromise position or decision. The conclusion should include the synthesis of the argument, the re-formulation of the thesis and the final statement.
When analysing and evaluating a student’s argumentative essay, the teacher focuses on four areas of the student’s competence: compliance with a given topic; critical use of written sources; justified argument; competent presentation.