Writing an argumentative essay about an ethical issue – How to!
An ethical issue is a moral dilemma, and there are many different types. Some examples are abortion, euthanasia, animal testing, pornography, and racism.
An ethical argument is a strong persuasive essay that seeks to prove something. It has two sides usually called the pro side (those who want it legalized) and the con side (those who don’t).
Choosing an Ethical Issue for Your Argumentative Essay
Writing an argumentative essay requires you to choose an ethical issue that you care about or one in which you can reasonably argue both sides. This will make your writing easier because you don’t have to research every aspect of both opinions; plus it makes your arguments more credible when you’re able to present evidence for them.
1. Choose a topic you’re familiar with
You should choose an ethical issue that’s easy for you to research and one in which you have enough knowledge about both sides to write them persuasively. If you simply can’t find what you’re looking and then end up taking a side, it will probably cause your essay to lack key facts or other information on the opposing argument. For example, if you’ve only got some background information about animal testing, it would be difficult to write an effective paper arguing for or against it (more on this below).
2. Choose something current
Ethical issues tend to be widely debated — especially when they concern public policy — so if the subject is current, there are more sources of information available. Even though there are a lot of ethical issues that people have never heard about, they’re hard to argue for or against because it’s difficult to find enough information on them.
3. Avoid controversial topics
Ethical issues that stir up strong emotions such as abortion and sexual orientation are difficult to write about because you’ll need more time to analyze both sides and their evidence than if you picked something neutral. In addition, your audience may be less receptive to your argument if they disagree with your point of view or think poorly of you because of it; plus, it will be easier for the opposing team in the debate round (if you choose this route) to tear apart your argument since these types of arguments don’t show any sort of neutrality.
4. Don’t choose an ethical issue that’s too simple
Ethical issues that are too simple to write about make poor topics because they’re not controversial or interesting enough to attract the audience you’ll need to read your argument. They will also be boring and dull for them which isn’t good since it means they won’t understand why you’re arguing for one side over another, thus making it a lot easier for them to just dismiss what you have written as uninteresting or useless information.
5. Choose a topic you care about
If you don’t really care either way about any given ethical issue, it will be hard for you to write an effective essay defending it; plus, if there’s nothing at stake, it will be a lot less motivating for you to read up on that particular issue. This means that you’ll have to spend more time researching than if you’d chosen an ethical issue with which you already had some background knowledge of the pros and cons (see above).
Writing an Argumentative Essay
After choosing your essay topic, it’s important to know and understand how to write an effective argumentative essay. It’s not easy since persuasive writing is different from other types of writing — plus, it requires research on both sides of the debate in addition to critical thinking skills.
1. Do enough research
It’s necessary to do a considerable amount of research for each side of the ethical debate because it supports your arguments well when you can back up your points with compelling evidence from reputable sources. If you don’t have enough information on both sides of an ethical issue, it is likely that you will lose credibility in the eyes of your readers when you only touch on important matters.
2. Take a side
In argumentative essays, there is usually one “right” answer to the question posed at the beginning; therefore, you must decide which side holds more merit and write your essay to convince others to agree with you. This means that when doing research for both sides, it’s best to discover what arguments are strong and which ones are weak before writing anything down — this way, you’ll know whether or not to include specific facts or evidence that may help support one side or another, and you won’t have to spend time on information that isn’t beneficial.
3. Be persuasive (but not manipulative)
If readers don’t agree with your perspective before reading a word of what you wrote, it will be hard for them to change their minds if they still disagree at the end of the essay. Therefore, you must use facts and logic as well as emotional appeal in order to convince people to think like you do about an ethical issue. This means it’s important to know how logical fallacies work so that you can avoid using them when making your own arguments; a fallacious argument is one that uses poor reasoning such as ad hominem attacks which are attacks against the person instead of their argument or faulty generalizations which are too broad since they don’t take into account all the variables.
4. Don’t let your emotions get in the way
It’s a good idea to think about an ethical issue before making your decision on how you feel or what you believe it means for you, your family, and society as a whole; however, once you’ve come up with your own opinion, it can be hard to see past that and try to see things from another person’s perspective. Remember that there are always multiple sides to every story so if you can appreciate this fact then it’ll be easier for you to write an argumentative essay without letting your personal feelings cloud your judgment.
5. Organize ideas logically
It’s important to write an argumentative essay in a logical way so that readers can follow along with your points — this means that you should have an introduction which states the thesis of your essay, a body section where you present evidence for and against each side of the ethical issue, and a conclusion summarizing why you think one side is more valid than the other.
6. Edit properly
Drafting is necessary when writing an argumentative essay because it gives writers time to organize their thoughts before presenting them to others; however, sometimes people find themselves stuck in drafting mode too long and end up spending hours (or even days!) rewriting sentences or rewording paragraphs without ever getting into the final version. Therefore, it’s important not only to plan out the order in which you’re going to present your information but also to write an outline of what each paragraph will say before writing anything down (this is where the research comes into play). Once you have all your ideas on paper, then it’s time to do the final draft!
7. Be careful not to plagiarize
It’s unlikely that someone would plagiarize an argumentative essay about a relatively straightforward issue such as whether or not schools should institute uniforms so the chances are slim; however, if you plan on taking this topic and looking at different points of view, there might be some overlap between what one author states and what another says. Even though many ethical issues are similar — for example, they usually involve making judgments regarding who gets what and why — it is still important to avoid plagiarism, not only because it’s dishonest but also because the Internet makes it easier than ever for teachers to find out if students haven’t done their own work (and don’t forget — there are some pages that can help teachers identify plagiarized essays). So remember: be ethical!
8. Consider opposing points of view
When writing an argumentative essay, you should always consider both sides of a controversial issue; however, sometimes writers tend to think about one point of view more often than another which means they’re not open-minded enough during the drafting process. Writing an argumentative essay isn’t easy since there will always be two or more perspectives on any given topic so as long as you keep that in mind, you’ll have an easier time not only coming up with your own ideas but also defending them as well.
9. Think about how you want to organize information
When writing an argumentative essay, it’s important to think about how you want to present your material; for example, if you believe one perspective is valid and another isn’t, then you might choose to write your opening paragraph using the Socratic method of debate which leads readers through the evidence step-by-step so they can come to their own conclusions regarding who is right or wrong. On the other hand, if there are several perspectives on a single issue (for example, whether or not school uniforms should be required) then it may be best to use the Aristotelian method of debate and present both sides before coming to your own conclusions.
Remember that there are many types of argumentative essays — for example, some deal with a controversial issue (as explained above) while others simply compare and contrast two things or ideas. No matter which type you’re dealing with, if you follow through on the steps listed above then you’ll be well on your way to writing an exceptional argumentative essay.
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