When you get down to writing an argumentative essay, the first thing to do is to find a decent topic, which proves to be a very difficult task. In fact, if you were assigned one, consider yourself lucky, as it will save you time that you will be able to spend on research instead of frustrating going through hundreds of topics and discarding them one by one.
Choosing an appropriate topic for an argumentative essay is an art, without exaggeration. While in a descriptive paper, you are allowed to describe mundane things like cardboard boxes or pencils with the only condition to be original, argumentative ones must have some agenda. It means that you need a topic that is urgent and worth covering. Otherwise, you will be asked the dreaded question – so what?
We recommend you to start well in advance because the process might turn out very lengthy. There are cases when a good topic suddenly dawns on you, but you can’t count on that every time.
So, when looking for a topic, try taking into account the following requirements.
1. Look for subjects that are actually arguable. You will have to provide for and against evidence, and it is easier to find this evidence if people actually have different opinions. Therefore, avoid topics like:
Drugs are bad for your health.
There is nothing to argue here.
2. Do not be tempted with topics that have been overused. Although it might seem convenient as there is plenty of information, you won’t be able to introduce anything new and thus your work will be useless. Remember – every paper is supposed to make a contribution into science. Therefore, abortions and marijuana will not do. If you do want to write about something widely discussed for years though, try to have a fresh look at it and find non-researched aspects.
3. Narrow down. If there is a general area where you’d like to work, take only a small portion of it and turn it into your topic. General statement can hardly be dealt with in short papers like essays, so you will cover a few pages in writing only to find that you haven’t come to the point yet.
In this case it would be wrong to choose a topic like:
Single sex marriages must be banned because they’re bad.
Instead, talk about its individual aspects. For instance, inability of two people of the same sex to raise their children adequately (if you do believe it though).
4. Avoid being personal. Do not start your thesis with ‘I feel’ – this is not the beginning of an argument. Also, avoid asking questions.
I feel that bicycles should be used more to protect our environment.
Do you believe that we borrowed out planet from our descendants instead of inheriting it from our ancestors?
Here are a few issues you might consider when choosing your topic (remember, you have to make an arguable statement instead of a question):
Ecology: 1. Does recycling really make a difference? Should customers be charged more for plastic bags in supermarkets in order to raise awareness?
Family relations: 1. Is staying together for the sake of kids good for the latter? Do parents that want their kids to achieve what they haven’t achieved put too much pressure on their offspring?
Technology: 1. Is technology in schools killing personal relations between students and teachers?
Social relations: 1. Should obese people be understood for their problem or shamed for their inability to resist eating temptation?
These are only a few. Try searching the Internet, and you will find hundreds of them. Don’t forget, however, that your paper and hence the topic must be relevant for you in the first place.