Exemplification Essay Topics Conclusion

Argumentative Essays

Summary:

The Modes of Discourse—Exposition, Description, Narration, Argumentation (EDNA)—are common paper assignments you may encounter in your writing classes. Although these genres have been criticized by some composition scholars, the Purdue OWL recognizes the wide spread use of these approaches and students’ need to understand and produce them.

Contributors: Jack Baker, Allen Brizee, Elizabeth Angeli
Last Edited: 2013-03-10 11:46:44

What is an argumentative essay?

The argumentative essay is a genre of writing that requires the student to investigate a topic; collect, generate, and evaluate evidence; and establish a position on the topic in a concise manner.

Please note: Some confusion may occur between the argumentative essay and the expository essay. These two genres are similar, but the argumentative essay differs from the expository essay in the amount of pre-writing (invention) and research involved. The argumentative essay is commonly assigned as a capstone or final project in first year writing or advanced composition courses and involves lengthy, detailed research. Expository essays involve less research and are shorter in length. Expository essays are often used for in-class writing exercises or tests, such as the GED or GRE.

Argumentative essay assignments generally call for extensive research of literature or previously published material. Argumentative assignments may also require empirical research where the student collects data through interviews, surveys, observations, or experiments. Detailed research allows the student to learn about the topic and to understand different points of view regarding the topic so that she/he may choose a position and support it with the evidence collected during research. Regardless of the amount or type of research involved, argumentative essays must establish a clear thesis and follow sound reasoning.

The structure of the argumentative essay is held together by the following.

  • A clear, concise, and defined thesis statement that occurs in the first paragraph of the essay.

In the first paragraph of an argument essay, students should set the context by reviewing the topic in a general way. Next the author should explain why the topic is important (exigence) or why readers should care about the issue. Lastly, students should present the thesis statement. It is essential that this thesis statement be appropriately narrowed to follow the guidelines set forth in the assignment. If the student does not master this portion of the essay, it will be quite difficult to compose an effective or persuasive essay.

  • Clear and logical transitions between the introduction, body, and conclusion.

Transitions are the mortar that holds the foundation of the essay together. Without logical progression of thought, the reader is unable to follow the essay’s argument, and the structure will collapse. Transitions should wrap up the idea from the previous section and introduce the idea that is to follow in the next section.

  • Body paragraphs that include evidential support.

Each paragraph should be limited to the discussion of one general idea. This will allow for clarity and direction throughout the essay. In addition, such conciseness creates an ease of readability for one’s audience. It is important to note that each paragraph in the body of the essay must have some logical connection to the thesis statement in the opening paragraph. Some paragraphs will directly support the thesis statement with evidence collected during research. It is also important to explain how and why the evidence supports the thesis (warrant).

However, argumentative essays should also consider and explain differing points of view regarding the topic. Depending on the length of the assignment, students should dedicate one or two paragraphs of an argumentative essay to discussing conflicting opinions on the topic. Rather than explaining how these differing opinions are wrong outright, students should note how opinions that do not align with their thesis might not be well informed or how they might be out of date.

  • Evidential support (whether factual, logical, statistical, or anecdotal).

The argumentative essay requires well-researched, accurate, detailed, and current information to support the thesis statement and consider other points of view. Some factual, logical, statistical, or anecdotal evidence should support the thesis. However, students must consider multiple points of view when collecting evidence. As noted in the paragraph above, a successful and well-rounded argumentative essay will also discuss opinions not aligning with the thesis. It is unethical to exclude evidence that may not support the thesis. It is not the student’s job to point out how other positions are wrong outright, but rather to explain how other positions may not be well informed or up to date on the topic.

  • A conclusion that does not simply restate the thesis, but readdresses it in light of the evidence provided.

It is at this point of the essay that students may begin to struggle. This is the portion of the essay that will leave the most immediate impression on the mind of the reader. Therefore, it must be effective and logical. Do not introduce any new information into the conclusion; rather, synthesize the information presented in the body of the essay. Restate why the topic is important, review the main points, and review your thesis. You may also want to include a short discussion of more research that should be completed in light of your work.

A complete argument

Perhaps it is helpful to think of an essay in terms of a conversation or debate with a classmate. If I were to discuss the cause of World War II and its current effect on those who lived through the tumultuous time, there would be a beginning, middle, and end to the conversation. In fact, if I were to end the argument in the middle of my second point, questions would arise concerning the current effects on those who lived through the conflict. Therefore, the argumentative essay must be complete, and logically so, leaving no doubt as to its intent or argument.

The five-paragraph essay

A common method for writing an argumentative essay is the five-paragraph approach. This is, however, by no means the only formula for writing such essays. If it sounds straightforward, that is because it is; in fact, the method consists of (a) an introductory paragraph (b) three evidentiary body paragraphs that may include discussion of opposing views and (c) a conclusion.

Longer argumentative essays

Complex issues and detailed research call for complex and detailed essays. Argumentative essays discussing a number of research sources or empirical research will most certainly be longer than five paragraphs. Authors may have to discuss the context surrounding the topic, sources of information and their credibility, as well as a number of different opinions on the issue before concluding the essay. Many of these factors will be determined by the assignment.

In its essence, an exemplification essay is an essay in which the writer proves its thesis with the help of various examples. An exemplification essay is also sometimes referred to as an illustrative essay. No matter how it is called though, here are some useful tips on how to write an exemplification essay.

Essence of exemplification essay

First, you need to choose a topic, although very often it is given explicitly. The most important thing in writing an exemplification essay is to find the right examples which will clarify, enhance and intensify the topic and the content of the whole essay. Once the topic and its supportive examples are clarified and carefully chosen, you have to actually start writing the essay.

Opening of exemplification essay

It is a principal rule in all types of essay writing, including the exemplification or illustrative one, that the beginning of the essay should be strong; it has to state the defended thesis and direct the reader to what is following. A good way to start an exemplification essay is with a famous quote, an anecdote, a question or by stating a common fact or statistics. For example, let’s say you have decided to write an exemplification essay on genetic engineering; you may start with the question: What comes first, the chicken or the egg? After that, you can use and state different statistics results and researches which will help you reveal the benefits or disadvantages of using genetic engineering depending on whether you are writing about pros or cons of genetic engineering. A good opening of any essay, including the exemplification one, guarantees that the readers will focus, examine and reflect on it.

Body of exemplification essay

After you have finished writing the opening of the exemplification essay, you need to move forward to its body. Again, the body of the essay must include strong and clear ideas, arguments and points, details and brief examples, and of course information to support the topic. It is very important to use arguments and information that will make the thesis of the exemplification essay sound valid. In order to do that, you must consider its audience. The facts and research that you will have to do in case you decide to write an exemplification essay on genetic engineering or on the effect of fashion in our daily life will be completely different. So, in order to write a good and influential essay you must first think about your audience.

Once you have already decided on the thesis, identified your audience and conducted proper research of examples, facts, arguments and points, you have to categorize them by importance and influence in relation with the thesis. The strongest and the most influential example should be stated and examined in the first paragraph of the body of the essay. After that, you must continue stating its examples and evidence which support your thesis depending on how they are categorized. Sometimes, instead of presenting facts you can use a story to prove your point in one of the paragraphs. It is very important to use transitional sentences between the paragraphs of the exemplification or illustrative essay.

Conclusion of exemplification essay

The last but not least important part in writing an exemplification essay is the conclusion. In general, the conclusion summarizes the opening or the introduction of the essay, its thesis and body, adds a final touch and convinces the audience to accept the thesis. In other words, in the conclusion you restate your thesis and pinpoint the main arguments proving it. Statistics and facts should be kept out. The information in the conclusion has to be served in a reflective or philosophical manner. The conclusion is the place of the essay where you create and shape the final conclusion of the work. Apart from restating the thesis of the exemplification essay and its strongest arguments, that part of the essay must establish a sense of closure and completeness of the whole work. It’s recommended to link the first paragraph with the last one by repeating certain words or phrases. Simple grammar structure and sentences are preferable in that part of the exemplification or illustrative essay. Restating what you have proven in the essay with simple and strong sentences can only further the audience’s feeling of closure and completeness of the subject. For additional cogency you can use a reference or quotation. Also, it is important to note that you should not simply summarize the essay but should try to strengthen its thesis for one last time.

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