Template of an Argumentative Paper

As I previously wrote, an argumentative or persuasive paper combines researched factual data and the writer's personal opinion; the argumentative essay is usually framed around a thesis statement that reflects the writer's personal opinion, which then persuades the reader to accept his/her reasoning by backing the statement with research facts.

Title page

See example layout of a title page.

Abstract

Maximum 150 words, written in single line format without indentations, summarizing the thesis and main points of the paper.

Introductory paragraph

This paragraph sets the scene for the remainder of the paper. Using Clare's thesis statement the following is a suggested introductory paragraph:

"While Truman Capote was one of the more flamboyant fictional authors of the twentieth century his book In Cold Blood has been touted as the only one of his works that could be considered completely factual. Based on a horrific murder, Capote compiled his story from a wealth of primary and secondary sources including substantial interview material that he gleaned from a number of personal visits to the prison where the two central characters of the book were held. Given Capote's own sexual orientation, and strong interest in one of the male characters of his tale in particular it is this author's contention that Truman Capote's factual book In Cold Blood could actually be considered a fictional work because the reporting in the book was biased by Capote's fascination with one of the central characters."

Main body of the paper

The next and largest part of the paper is where Clare will outline her different reasons to support her thesis statement. For example her main body could be written over six paragraphs. Each paragraph will start with a topic sentence, which introduces the salient point to the reader and finish with a transition sentence that allows the story to flow from one key point to another. Clare's six paragraphs could include four supporting statements and two dissenting statements so that the argument is presented as a fair and well researched paper. The following is six suggested topic sentences for Clare's thesis.

  1. Truman Capote is primarily known as a fictional writer although many critics of his work suggests that many of his shorter stories at least were based on autobiographical information…
  2. Capote's flamboyant lifestyle has also raised criticisms about his work, and it is a rare theorist who can provide commentary about any of his stories without mentioning the lifestyle of the author himself…
  3. Capote's use of descriptive language throughout the book gives a further indication on how he felt about the story's main players…
  4. The fact that Capote is also the author of many newspaper articles lends to the idea that the writer considered himself filled with journalistic integrity and it is on this basis that he promoted the book In Cold Blood…
  5. [Researcher] who considered Capote's book a triumph of modern reporting attested to the fact that Capote spent so much time with the killers before writing his book…
  6. Another researcher who also considered the book a factual account was [name of researcher]…

As you can see from the topic sentences each new paragraph introduces a key point in the argument Clare is defending. The number of points introduced into a paper will depend in part on the required word count of the assignment, but basically this template can be used for a variety of argumentative essay topics provided you remember that it is important to introduce at least one detracting researcher to your paper. It is important in a persuasive essay to acknowledge researchers who have a differing view to your own, as your analysis of these dissenting comments will strengthen your own argument and show the reader that you have considered your thesis statement very carefully.

Conclusive paragraph

The final part of the argumentative essay is the conclusive paragraph that ties in the key points of the paper and shows the validity of the thesis first proposed at the beginning of the paper. A suggested final paragraph of Clare's paper could be as follows:

"While [researcher] and [researcher] attest to Capote's journalistic integrity the way in which Capote went about gathering material for his book, and the way in which he wrote about the two main characters indicates that there is a strong possibility that capote's factual reporting could have been influenced by personal bias."

Over the next pages you will find explanatory notes and a template for another six different paper types. Where possible the example of Clare's thesis is used to show how the same information can be tailored to different paper types. The templates provided are for Analytical papers, Definition papers, Compare and contrast papers, Cause and effect papers, Reports, and Interpretive papers.

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