San Francisco Argumentative Essays
An argumentative essay is a type of essay that is designed to take a side on a controversial issue and support that position with research, expert opinion, and persuasive reasoning. Unlike a research paper, an argumentative essay is not a neutral examination of facts but rather an advocacy paper intended to prove one side of a controversial topic. An argumentative essay includes the writer's own opinion, but that opinion must be supported by solid research, persuasive reasoning, and a respect for facts.
Argumentative essays are intended to give the student the chance to take a position on an issue and to demonstrate the student's ability to reason persuasively. Such essays do not examine both sides of an issue in an equal, fair, and balanced way. Instead, an argumentative essay attempts to convince the reader that one side of an issue is the correct position to take. To do so, the essay typically relies on logos, ethos, and pathos. Logos involves the logic and reasoning needed to support the writer's position. This includes the facts, evidence, and research that show why the writer's view is the best position on the issue. Ethos involves the reasons why the writer should be trusted as an honest and reliable source of information on the topic. Pathos involves emotional appeals that help the reader to feel emotionally why the writer's position is right. This can include such things as emotional anecdotes or especially dramatic incidents.
When writing an argumentative essay, it's important to balance the three aspects. Primacy should be given to logos, since it is the most important of the three. Pathos should be used sparingly since many people feel that an argument that relies too heavily on emotional appeals is deceptive or manipulative, and those who feel this way tend to reject the argument.