Secrets to Choosing Good Argumentative Essay Topics

With so many essay types to write in college, an argumentative one remains #1 for students to master. They know how to do research, plan, outline, and write it, but one tiny detail is still challenging:

Students wonder how to choose topics for argumentative essays.

argumentative-essay-topics

Been there, done that? Okay. That being the case, it’s apparent why you’re reading this article right here and how: as well as most of your peers, you aren’t sure if your argumentative essay topics are… well, argumentative enough.

No worries. This article will reveal (in plain English) all the secrets of choosing good topics for argumentative essays and provide you with the list of essay topics to choose for your next college paper.

Go for it!

Table of Contents:

  1. What is an argumentative essay?
    1. Three models for argumentative essays
    2. Why you need to choose essay topics
    3. How to write an argumentative essay
  2. What are good argumentative essay topics?
    1. What makes a good topic for your essay
    2. Tips for choosing A-worthy college essay topics
  3. List of topics for argumentative essays
    1. 12 most controversial topics
    2. Argumentative essay topics by school subjects
  4. Argumentative essay examples
  5. Bonus!

What is an Argumentative Essay?

As being said, argumentative essays require you to investigate a given topic, collect and evaluate all the evidence, and present them to a reader, briefly and clearly.

The problem is that students sometimes don’t see a difference between argumentative, persuasive, and expository essays. These genres are almost similar, but, as we know, the devil is always in the details.

  • Persuasive essays: you choose a position/side on the topic and represent all the evidence and arguments only about this side to convince readers. And if you decide to write about counterarguments, you still explain why they are wrong.
  • Expository essays: you don’t choose any side here; just tell about the topic and share the facts and evidence about it. Here you objectively explore the topic.
  • Argumentative essays: you can choose a side, but you need to show both sides of the coin to readers and let them decide which one is better.

In their turn, students can choose between three approaches to writing argumentative essays.

Three Models for Argumentative Essays

As well as any other type of essays, an argumentative one consists of the elements such as:

  • a clear thesis statement in the first paragraph
  • body paragraphs that include evidence (factual, statistical, logical, etc.)
  • clear transitions between all paragraphs
  • a conclusion that restates the thesis in light of the provided evidence

However, there are three models for representing the information in your essay. And it’s up to you which one to choose:

Classical

This one is a standard structure of your essay: you start with an introduction and a thesis statement, then write arguments, and finish with a conclusion.

Rogerian

This model involves the fact you write about a highly polemical topic where you understand and accept both sides of the argument. Here you introduce all positions, list their strengths and weaknesses, admit that the opposite side can take place too, and give recommendations after analyzing all the evidence.

Toulmin

This model of an argumentative essay is about choosing a side in a polemical topic. Here you introduce a central claim and explore the most essential arguments of both sides. However, counterarguments here work for eliminating all superfluous arguments to prove your chosen side is true.

Why You Need to Choose Essay Topics

Yes, sometimes it’s a teacher who assigns topics for argumentative essays. Otherwise, he or she wants you to do that. Why?

  • They want to see your critical thinking skills.
  • They give you a chance to write about something interesting to you.
  • They want to see if you understand the nature of an argumentative essay and can distinguish controversial argumentative essay topics.

It allows seeing if you can discuss issues and prove your point of view and helps teachers check your research, reading/writing, and analyzing skills. That’s why a student needs to know how to choose argumentative essay topics: your final grade depends on it, as well.

How to Write an Argumentative Essay

Your argumentative essay topic needs to be debatable so you could find both arguments and counterarguments for it. For example, there’s nothing debatable about “People needs air to breathe;” but “Students don’t need homework to succeed” might work well.

Also, your essay topics should be compelling, with strong evidence and at least two conflicting points of view, and written with persuasive language, so readers could see both sides of a problem and choose one they favor most.

Do your best to take a topic that’s interesting to you. Shape your argument and list the points you’ll use as evidence for it. Also, you’ll need to make a list of points against your argument and gather evidence for them too. In your essay, describe both sides but try to prove why your argument is correct.

Long story short:

You choose a topic, do research, outline your argumentative essay with both arguments and counterarguments to support the thesis, write an essay, and edit it. Here’s your outline to consider:

And here’s your video tutorial from British Council to understand how to analyze arguments and counterarguments in your essay, as well as how to write each paragraph for your argumentative essay to succeed.

What are Good Argumentative Essay Topics?

Rumors have it, you need to choose the most controversial topics for your essay if you want to get a high grade for it. There is a grain of truth in this statement. But the top argumentative essay examples prove that it’s enough for a topic to be debatable and have at least two points of view for you to use it successfully.

Today you can find tons of websites and blogs that share long lists of argumentative essay topics to choose from. Feel free to use them if you find those topics interesting to cover. And yet, make sure you understand what makes a good topic for your essay and why you need to take this or that particular topic for your next argumentative paper.

What makes a good topic for your essay

The only word for you to remember when choosing a topic for argumentative essays:

Debatable.

Your task is to not only give general information about something but motivate readers to continue the discussion on it. You need a topic that would expand people’s minds and allow them to see it in a new light.

The idea is to give readers both arguments and counterarguments for them to see the issue from another perspective. Argumentative essays are about covering two sides of the coin (topic). It encourages the audience to read your essay and participate in further discussion.

Example:

Bad:

  • George Clooney is the most handsome actor. (Though someone would disagree, you’ll hardly find enough credible evidence to prove or disapprove this fact.)
  • Rare animals are in danger today. (It’s a fact, nothing to debate here.)

Good:

  • People need marijuana for better health. (You can find both arguments and counterarguments to cover this topic in your essay.)
  • Positive features of communism.
  • Why Equal Rights Amendments for women failed.

The idea is not to convince readers of your side (though it would be great!) but to show that the topic is open to discussion.

Tips for Choosing A-worthy College Essay Topics

First and foremost, try to choose an argumentative essay topic that inspires you and can give you enough materials to research. Remember that you’ll need to analyze arguments and evidence for your essay to look good. If your chosen topic is interesting but hard to support with credible resources, your argumentative essay will hardly perform well.

So, do research and check if you can find enough information for your essay in the following resources:

  • Books and journals
  • Academic research and published studies
  • Credible online resources on the topic
  • Video materials
  • Legislative acts

Keep in mind that you’ll need to add quotations and use references in your essay. Choose argumentative essay topics that would provide you with such an opportunity.

It’s okay if you are not fiery passionate about a topic. Just choose the one that suits you most: you won’t get readers interested in your argumentative essay if you don’t believe in what you write.

Here go the tips for choosing debatable topics for your essay:

  1. Choose something you know and can express your opinion on.
  2. Avoid topics that are difficult to debate.
  3. Think of the audience. Who could read your essay? What might they think of the topic? Would it be interesting for them to discuss it?
  4. Make sure you have enough facts and evidence to support both your arguments and counterarguments on the topic.
  5. Avoid emotionally-charged topics. It can be difficult to discuss them with clear mind.
  6. Take some risk. Try controversial topics others would avoid.
  7. Brainstorm your environment. Any topics that were a taboo to discuss? Did you argue with anyone on anything controversial? Why not cover those topics in your argumentative essays?

List of Topics for Argumentative Essays

For your argumentative essay to succeed, its topic needs to be polemical rather than expository. It means you shouldn’t choose anything that is of common knowledge or too general to argue. Consider spheres like politics, gender issues, climate changes, debates in education, culture, animal rights, or religion.

12 Most Controversial Topics

Feel free to use any of these topics for argumentative essays. They have tons of debates in literature and online, so you’ll find enough arguments and counterarguments with credible evidence to cover in your work.

Topics to Choose for Your Next Argumentative Essay

EvolutionPrivacy rightsGun controlVaccines
Animal rightsReligious freedomAbortionCannabis legalization
Global climate changesMarriage rightsPunishmentFree market capitalism

 

Argumentative Essay Topics by School Subjects

Here goes the list of argumentative essay topics for you to consider, by subjects you might have in your educational institution.

Education

  1. What educational system is better: teacher- or student-centered one?
  2. Pros and cons of classical education in schools
  3. Do we need sports activities in college or let it be for academic purposes only?
  4. How does gender affect education?
  1. Does homeschooling make children less educative than their peers from traditional schools?
  2. Why U.S. education is weaker than in other countries’
  3. Should students be friends with their professors?
  4. Why students with special needs shouldn’t be taught separately

Technology

  1. Why we still need paper books in the Internet era
  2. How online money change the way people do business worldwide
  3. The influence of artificial intelligence creation on evolution
  4. Do technologies destroy our language and physical communication?
  1. Can we live without smartphones today?
  2. How social media networks become news makers and what the consequences might be
  3. Should parents control their kids’ use of the Internet?
  4. Is there a risk that robots at work will lead to the enormous jobless rate

Sports

  1. Do elite sportsmen deserve their enormous income?
  2. Why colleges spend so much money on sports programs
  3. Do sports have any effect on students’ academic level?
  4. Why we continue shaming cheerleaders for what they do
  1. Should sports bets be banned from the industry?
  2. What to do with a salary gap in male and female sports
  3. Chess is a real sport to train the most important muscle in the human body
  4. Why we need to stop using animals in sports

Gender Issues

  1. The biggest challenges for women in the workplace
  2. Why should men suffer from others’ prejudices about masculinity
  3. Is legal prostitution a woman’s rights issue?
  4. Why religious institutions believe they have a right for birth control
  1. What is the biggest challenge for female politicians?
  2. Should abortion be legal?
  3. Why we still consider it’s not okay for men to take maternity leave
  4. Who said that “a real man” and “a real woman” look like this?

Psychology

  1. How emotional state depends on our past memories
  2. Should we believe in precognitive dreams?
  3. Is mid-life crisis real?
  4. Why “just do it” mantra doesn’t work
  1. How culturally diverse classrooms help broaden our minds
  2. Why music can be the best medicine from stresses
  3. That’s how optimism can prevent us from self-growth
  4. Chocolate as a cure from depression: true or false?

Animals

  1. Why stop dressing your pets like humans
  2. Is it ethical to keep exotic animals at home?
  3. Should we prohibit using animals for entertainment?
  4. Why keeping animals in zoos is inhumane
  1. What can be an alternative to using animals for medical studies?
  2. What’s so special about pandas, so people consider them #1 species to protect?
  3. Should be people who leave their pets outside or in shelters punished?
  4. Why some fashion brands continue using fur and see nothing wrong with that

Health

  1. What’s wrong with the idea of free healthcare for everyone
  2. When it’s okay to perform medical experiments on people
  3. What can we do to cope with constantly increasing aging population
  4. Should the whole healthcare system become private?
  1. Is it ethical to forcibly quarantine people who have terminal illnesses?
  2. How the social and economic environment affect people’s health in the 21st century
  3. Can we call coffee or chocolate addictions a disease?
  4. Is it okay to use medical knowledge that was gained from unethical experiments?

Moral issues (ethics)

  1. Should we legalize prostitution/drug use?
  2. Is it okay to lie to someone to not hurt their feelings?
  3. Is it right for a college to have racial quotas that benefit minorities?
  4. Why far from all people agree to recognize homosexuality a norm
  1. Can we make reference to religion when speaking about women’s rights and freedoms?
  2. Should a person be allowed a gun for defending his home from robbers?
  3. Why it’s okay to eat cows while it’s wrong to eat cats
  4. Is it ethical for a doctor to say no to a patient unable to pay for surgery?

Moral issues (ethics)

  1. When fast food can be considered healthy
  2. What was first, a chicken or an egg?
  3. Do we live better than our grandparents?
  4. Why nothing can substitute money as a way to control exchange relations
  1. Should we say no to fixed schedules in school and at work?
  2. Is legalization of weed really beneficial to the economy?
  3. Why emotional intelligence is more important today to have
  4. Should a person know the exact date of his depart?

Argumentative Essay Examples

Tutorials and guides are many, but who can tell about argumentative essay writing better than a teacher?

Check the video with a complete argumentative essay example, where a teacher reveals all the details. Her speaks about choosing a topic, outlining, writing each paragraph of your essay, and combining its all elements into an A-worthy college paper.

Bonus!

And last but not least, here you can find alternative college essay topics for your essay, think about the most controversial topics, and understand the process of argumentative essay writing inside out. After all, essay topics are never enough, right?

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