This is a guide on how to write an argumentative essay and shows you what elements you will need in your essay and also how to craft your essay.
An argumentative essay is an essay that talks about a topic and subject and provides two different sides (or point of view) of the topic. The topic is usually in a question form, like 'is exposure to media violence good for young children?' and does not present a particular side in the question itself. For the example that is given on top (Is exposure to media violence good for young children?) there is no specific stand stated in the question, unlike some questions like 'Exposure to media violence is bad for young children. Discuss'. These questions that already present a stand in the question does not allow you to write an argumentative essay. The purpose of an argumentative essay is to allow viewers to see more than one point of view of a particular topic. You also need to state which stand is the most important/most efficient, etc, in comparison using your criteria. (You state the criteria)
1. You should have thought about what is the two sides/points of view that you are going to present
2. The introduction paragraph should contain the key definitions of the topic/question (e.g. in the question of 'is exposure to media violence good for young children', there should be key definitions to terms like 'exposure', 'media violence' and perhaps, 'young children'. These terms should present your definition or the global definition of the term'), present the topic/question, state the two stands/point of views that you are going to present in your argumentative essay and a short introduction to the topic (like, 'media violence is protrayed in different forms...')
3. You should have 2 or 3 points supporting your final stand (the final stand is the stand that you will take on for the conclusion. You will have to support a stand and state how the stand dominates over the other, by comparing the stands using the criteria that you have thought of). You should write 2 or 3 paragraphs on the 2 or 3 points, one point for each paragraph.
4. In every paragraph that presents a new point, you should state the point, explain the point, give examples and also link back to your point and topic (PEEL technique).
5. Apart from the 2 or 3 paragrpahs presenting your points supporting your final stand, you will also need to write 2 paragraphs (2 points, 1 point for each paragraph), disagreeing on your final stand (which is the other stand that you are going to give). You should also use the PEEL technique for the paragraphs.
6. You can write the paragraphs supporting your final stand first or the paragraphs not supporting your final stand first but you should write those paragraphs together and then, between the paragraphs supporting and not supporting your stand, you should have a bridging paragraph. The bridging paragraph is for bringing in the other stand and talking about how the other stand also relates to the topic.
7. After all your paragraphs, you will need a conclusion. Your conclusion will need to state the points (all the points that you have presented) and talk about how your final stand (the stand that you are supporting) is more important, more relevant, etc, using the criteria you have stated. For example, one of your points supporting your stand states that media violence is bad because it makes children violent, would be more important (with importance as the criteria) than media violence giving them entertainment. In brief, your conclusion will require you to write about the points, the criteria, and how your stand beats the other stand and also to link back to the topic and give a final statement.
Below is a brief map of your essay backbone
1st paragraph - introduction
2nd paragraph - point supporting your stand
3rd paragraph - point supporting your stand
4th paragraph(optional) - point supporting your stand
5th paragraph - Bridging Paragraph
6th paragraph - point disagreeing on your stand
7th paragraph - point disagreeing on your stand
8th paragraph - Conclusion
Hence, your essay should have 7 or 8 paragraphs.
That's all you need to know for writing an argumentative essay! Happy writing!