Technique De Lessai Argumentative Essay

Being able to write well is not only fundamental to passing your exams, it’s a vital life skill. Using good grammar and correct spelling are essential, so if you’re weak on these, try and brush up a little more! Make sure you understand how to use paragraphs correctly. No one wants to read one long stream of consciousness. So take a look at these essay writing technique tips.

General technique

Essays need to have a beginning, a middle and an end. The introduction should outline the problem, explain why it’s important, and briefly outline the main arguments. Don’t start with a dictionary definition – this is clichéd and boring. It should sum up the main arguments in the middle and finish with a conclusions that finally answers the essay question.

Good essay writing technique means having a well-ordered essay. Make sure you plan your essay. Make a bullet point list, table, or spider diagram with the main components of your answer and clearly order them. Poor structure is one of the main reasons students get marked down in essays. Order your thoughts logically and stick to your essay plan. You may want to use subtitles to help you organise your essay.

The main thing that the examiners are looking for is to see that you’ve understood the question. Demonstrate your keen conceptual awareness and understanding of the key issues. Do not be vague. Be specific and illustrate your work with appropriately referenced examples. Use figures or pictures or maps to illustrate your point. Demonstrate that you’ve done the wider reading.

Make sure you answer the question. If it’s a ‘compare and contrast’ kind of question, you’ll need to demonstrate both sides of the argument. If it’s a ‘define and explain’ kind of question, you’ll need to show that you have a deep understanding of the topic. If it has two parts, divide your essay into two parts to answer the question. Read widely around the topic before you even start and you’re halfway there.

In the conclusions, you need to sum up your arguments. Do not introduce anything new at this stage. Highlight the most important points and provide a final conclusion.

Remember to proof read your work! Critically read it through with a red pen. Have you repeated yourself? Be your worst critic and CUT savagely. Use everyone one of your alloted words to good effect. Cut the waffle and stick to justified (and referenced) statements. Keep your writing clear and simple.

Correct spelling and grammar is a must. Some general language tips:

  • Avoid semicolons as they are difficult to use correctly and effectively.
  • Paragraphs should follow a ‘theme’. They generally consist of more than one sentence.
  • It comprises, but is composed of (it never comprises of).
  • Avoid using the same word too frequently or twice in quick succession.
  • Do not use clichés, metaphores or similes.
  • Do not use abbreviations. Stick to formal English (don’t use don’t).
  • Try to avoid using the first person. (“I”).
  • Try to use the active voice rather than the passive voice where possible – it makes for more direct and interesting reading.

If you don’t understand English grammar, read Eats, shoots and leaves by Lynne Truss.

Finally, make sure you read carefully any feedback you are given on your essays. Your tutors will be keen to help you learn and progress.

Referencing and citations

At undergraduate level, more so than at A-Level, you will need to demonstrate evidence of further reading. Lectures are supposed to be a pointer and guide for your further reading. By reading, we mean published, peer-reviewed literature; Wikipedia does not count! Other websites (including this one) should not be cited in essays, but you can use them to further your understanding and get lists of peer-reviewed literature to read.

Make sure you understand the referencing style (copy the syle used in Elsevier journals as a good guide), and if you don’t understand, ask your lecturer and teacher. See the example paragraph below.

Example referencing style

Despite substantial evidence for multiple glaciations in Britain and Scandinavia during the Quaternary, the interaction between these ice masses in eastern England and in the North Sea remains unclear. There is extensive evidence of large Scandinavian and British ice sheets in the North Sea during each of the main glacial stages (Ehlers et al. 1984; Sejrup et al. 2005; Davies et al. 2011). Coalescence of the British-Irish Ice Sheet (BIIS) and Fennoscandian Ice Sheet (FIS) have been suggested during MIS 12, MIS 6 and the Devensian (MIS 5d-2) (Catt and Penny 1966; Catt and Digby 1988; Bowen 1999; Carr et al. 2006; Catt 2007; Davies et al. 2009; 2012), with Scandinavian ice reaching the coast of eastern England during MIS 6 and MIS 12. However, recent research in north Norfolk has challenged this argument, suggesting that the North Sea Drift tills, which were traditionally thought to comprise Scandinavian and Scottish tills, have purely a Scottish provenance, and may in fact be older than MIS 12 (Lee et al. 2002; 2004; 2012).

Bowen, D.Q., 1999. On the correlation and classification of Quaternary deposits and land-sea correlations, A Revised Correlation of Quaternary Deposits in the British Isles. Geological Society Special Report, Special Report 23. Geological Society of London, London, pp. 1-10.

Carr, S.J., Holmes, R., van der Meer, J.J.M. and Rose, J., 2006. The Last Glacial Maximum in the North Sea: Micromorphological evidence of extensive glaciation. Journal of Quaternary Science, 21(2): 131-153.

Catt, J.A., 2007. The Pleistocene glaciations of eastern Yorkshire: a review. Proceedings of the Yorkshire Geological Society, 56(3): 177-207.

Catt, J.A. and Digby, P.G.N., 1988. Boreholes in the Wolstonian Basement Till at Easington, Holderness, July 1985. Proceedings of the Yorkshire Geological Society, 47(1): 21-27.

Catt, J.A. and Penny, L.F., 1966. The Pleistocene deposits of Holderness, East Yorkshire. Proceedings of the Yorkshire Geological Society, 35: 375-420.

Davies, B.J., Roberts, D.H., Bridgland, D.R., Ó Cofaigh, C. and Riding, J.B., 2011. Provenance and depositional environments of Quaternary sedimentary formations of the western North Sea Basin. Journal of Quaternary Science, 26(1): 59-75.

Davies, B.J., Roberts, D.H., Bridgland, D.R., Ó Cofaigh, C., Riding, J.B., Demarchi, B., Penkman, K. and Pawley, S.M., 2012. Timing and depositional environments of a Middle Pleistocene glaciation of northeast England: New evidence from Warren House Gill, County Durham. Quaternary Science Reviews, 44: 180-212.

Davies, B.J., Roberts, D.H., Bridgland, D.R., Ó Cofaigh, C., Riding, J.B., Phillips, E.R. and Teasdale, D.A., 2009. Interlobate ice sheet dynamics during the Last Glacial Maximum at Whitburn Bay, County Durham, England. Boreas, 38: 555-575.

Ehlers, J., Meyer, K.-D. and Stephan, H.-J., 1984. The Pre-Weichselian glaciations of North-West Europe. Quaternary Science Reviews, 3(1): 1-40.

Lee, J.R., Busschers, F.S. and Sejrup, H.P., 2012. Pre-Weichselian Quaternary glaciations of the British Isles, The Netherlands, Norway and adjacent marine areas south of 68°N: implications for long-term ice sheet development in northern Europe. Quaternary Science Reviews, 44: 213-228.

Lee, J.R., Rose, J., Hamblin, R.J.O. and Moorlock, B.S.P., 2004. Dating the earliest lowland glaciation of eastern England: a pre-MIS 12 early Middle Pleistocene Happisburgh glaciation. Quaternary Science Reviews, 23(14-15): 1551-1566.

Lee, J.R., Rose, J., Riding, J.B., Moorlock, B.S.P. and Hamblin, R.J.O., 2002. Testing the case for a Middle Pleistocene Scandinavian glaciation in Eastern England: evidence for a Scottish ice source for tills within the Corton Formation of East Anglia, UK. Boreas, 31(4): 345-355.

Sejrup, H.P., Hjelstuen, B.O., Torbjorn Dahlgren, K.I., Haflidason, H., Kuijpers, A., Nygard, A., Praeg, D., Stoker, M.S. and Vorren, T.O., 2005. Pleistocene glacial history of the NW European continental margin. Marine and Petroleum Geology, 22(9-10): 1111-1129.

Four types of essay: expository, persuasive, analytical, argumentative

For our academic writing purposes we will focus on four types of essay. 

1) The expository essay

 

What is it?
This is a writer’s explanation of a short theme, idea or issue.

The key here is that you are explaining an issue, theme or idea to your intended audience. Your reaction to a work of literature could be in the form of an expository essay, for example if you decide to simply explain your personal response to a work. The expository essay can also be used to give a personal response to a world event, political debate, football game, work of art and so on.

What are its most important qualities?
You want to get and, of course, keep your reader’s attention. So, you should:

  • Have a well defined thesis. Start with a thesis statement/research question/statement of intent. Make sure you answer your question or do what you say you set out to do. Do not wander from your topic. 
  • Provide evidence to back up what you are saying. Support your arguments with facts and reasoning. Do not simply list facts, incorporate these as examples supporting your position, but at the same time make your point as succinctly as possible. 
  • The essay should be concise. Make your point and conclude your essay. Don’t make the mistake of believing that repetition and over-stating your case will score points with your readers.

 

2) The persuasive essay


What is it?
This is the type of essay where you try to convince the reader to adopt your position on an issue or point of view.

Here your rationale, your argument, is most important. You are presenting an opinion and trying to persuade readers, you want to win readers over to your point of view.

What are its most important qualities?

  • Have a definite point of view. 
  • Maintain the reader’s interest. 
  • Use sound reasoning. 
  • Use solid evidence. 
  • Be aware of your intended audience. How can you win them over? 
  • Research your topic so your evidence is convincing. 
  • Don’t get so sentimental or so passionate that you lose the reader, as Irish poet W. B. Yeats put it: 
    The best lack all conviction, while the worst
    Are full of passionate intensity
  • Your purpose is to convince someone else so don’t overdo your language and don’t bore the reader. And don’t keep repeating your points! 

  • Remember the rules of the good paragraph. One single topic per paragraph, and natural progression from one to the next. 
  • End with a strong conclusion. 

 

3) The analytical essay


What is it?
In this type of essay you analyze, examine and interpret such things as an event, book, poem, play or other work of art. 

What are its most important qualities?
Your analytical essay should have an:

  • Introduction and presentation of argument 
    The introductory paragraph is used to tell the reader what text or texts you will be discussing. Every literary work raises at least one major issue. In your introduction you will also define the idea or issue of the text that you wish to examine in your analysis. This is sometimes called the thesis or research question. It is important that you narrow the focus of your essay.
  • Analysis of the text (the longest part of the essay) 
    The issue you have chosen to analyze is connected to your argument. After stating the problem, present your argument. When you start analyzing the text, pay attention to the stylistic devices (the “hows” of the text) the author uses to convey some specific meaning. You must decide if the author accomplishes his goal of conveying his ideas to the reader. Do not forget to support your assumptions with examples and reasonable judgment.
  • Personal response
    Your personal response will show a deeper understanding of the text and by forming a personal meaning about the text you will get more out of it. Do not make the mistake of thinking that you only have to have a positive response to a text. If a writer is trying to convince you of something but fails to do so, in your opinion, your critical personal response can be very enlightening. The key word here is critical. Base any objections on the text and use evidence from the text. Personal response should be in evidence throughout the essay, not tacked on at the end. 
  • Conclusion (related to the analysis and the argument)
    Your conclusion should explain the relation between the analyzed text and the presented argument.

Tips for writing analytical essays:

  • Be well organized. Plan what you want to write before you start. It is a good idea to know exactly what your conclusion is going to be before you start to write. When you know where you are going, you tend to get there in a well organized way with logical progression.
  • Analytical essays normally use the present tense. When talking about a text, write about it in the present tense. 
  • Be “objective”: avoid using the first person too much. For example, instead of saying “I think Louisa is imaginative because…”, try: “It appears that Louisa has a vivid imagination, because…”. 
  • Do not use slang or colloquial language (the language of informal speech). 
  • Do not use contractions. 
  • Avoid using “etc.” This is an expression that is generally used by writers who have nothing more to say. 
  • Create an original title, do not use the title of the text. 
  • Analysis does not mean retelling the story. Many students fall into the trap of telling the reader what is happening in the text instead of analyzing it. Analysis aims to explain how the writer makes us see what he or she wants us to see, the effect of the writing techniques, the text’s themes and your personal response to these.

 

4) The argumentative essay


What is it?
This is the type of essay where you prove that your opinion, theory or hypothesis about an issue is correct or more truthful than those of others. In short, it is very similar to the persuasive essay (see above), but the difference is that you are arguing for your opinion as opposed to others, rather than directly trying to persuade someone to adopt your point of view.


What are its most important qualities?

  • The argument should be focused
  • The argument should be a clear statement (a question cannot be an argument)
  • It should be a topic that you can support with solid evidence
  • The argumentative essay should be based on pros and cons (see below)
  • Structure your approach well (see below)
  • Use good transition words/phrases (see below)
  • Be aware of your intended audience. How can you win them over?
  • Research your topic so your evidence is convincing.
  • Don’t overdo your language and don’t bore the reader. And don’t keep repeating your points!
  • Remember the rules of the good paragraph. One single topic per paragraph, and natural progression from one to the next.
  • End with a strong conclusion.

 

Tips for writing argumentative essays:
1) Make a list of the pros and cons in your plan before you start writing. Choose the most important that support your argument (the pros) and the most important to refute (the cons) and focus on them.

2) The argumentative essay has three approaches. Choose the one that you find most effective for your argument. Do you find it better to “sell” your argument first and then present the counter arguments and refute them? Or do you prefer to save the best for last?

  • Approach 1:
    Thesis statement (main argument):
    Pro idea 1
    Pro idea 2
    Con(s) + Refutation(s): these are the opinions of others that you disagree with. You must clearly specify these opinions if you are to refute them convincingly.
    Conclusion
  • Approach 2:
    Thesis statement:
    Con(s) + Refutation(s)
    Pro idea 1
    Pro idea 2
    Conclusion
  • Approach 3
    Thesis statement:
    Con idea 1 and the your refutation
    Con idea 2 and the your refutation
    Con idea 3 and the your refutation
    Conclusion

3) Use good transition words when moving between arguments and most importantly when moving from pros to cons and vice versa. For example:

  • While I have shown that.... other may say
  • Opponents of this idea claim / maintain that …            
  • Those who disagree claim that …
  • While some people may disagree with this idea...

When you want to refute or counter the cons you may start with:

  • However,
  • Nonetheless,
  • but
  • On the other hand,
  • This claim notwithstanding

If you want to mark your total disagreement:

  • After seeing this evidence, it is impossible to agree with what they say
  • Their argument is irrelevant
  • Contrary to what they might think ...

These are just a few suggestions. You can, of course, come up with many good transitions of your own.

4) Use facts, statistics, quotes and examples to convince your readers of your argument
 

 

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