How to Write a Good Argumentative Essay
Part 1: Guidelines for Structuring an Argumentative Essay
1.1 A Minimal Five-Part Structure (9:50)
1.2 Writing the Introduction (7:12)
1.3 Writing the Conclusion (2:38)
Part 2: A Sample Essay with Some Problems (and Strategies for Fixing Them)
2.1 The Essay: Should Teachers Be Allowed to Ban Laptops in Classrooms? (1:06)
2.2 Analysis: The Introduction (3:02)
2.3 Analysis: The Main Body: First Argument (4:03)
2.4 Analysis: The Main Body: Second Argument (1:46)
2.5 Analysis: The Main Body: Third Argument (4:01)
2.6 Analysis: The Main Body: Evaluation and Recommendations (11:10)
2.7 Analysis: The Conclusion (6:57)
2.8 The Essay: Improved Version (1:39)
2.9 The Essay: Improved Version with Commentary (8:33)
It’s a sad fact that fewer and fewer students are exposed to basic principles of essay composition, and even fewer are exposed to principles of argumentative (or persuasive) essay writing.
In this tutorial course I present several of the key concepts of argumentative essay writing that I teach my own philosophy students. Part 1 covers basic guidelines for how to organize an argumentative essay. In Part 2 I use these guidelines to analyze, evaluate and rewrite a sample student essay. These tutorials make use of concepts and techniques developed in my “Basic Concepts in Logic and Argumentation” course, and I recommend that they be viewed after exposure to that material, but they can also be profitably viewed on their own.
As always, this isn't intended to be a comprehensive overview of academic essay writing. It focuses on key concepts that I find myself having to repeat when I give essay assignments in my classes, but there is a lot more that can be said about strategies and conventions for argumentative essay writing.