By choosing good topics for an argumentative essay, at first you should find out what an argumentative essay is and what writing tips are necessary to follow. This essay presents the arguments with their supporting and opposing ideas. The writer should persuade the reader to adopt his or her point of view and behavior rules.
The distinctive characteristic of this type of essay is that the author needs to rebut the arguments of the opposite stance. What this means is that you need to elaborate what evidence the opposition has and find facts to refute it. Some students even think that this type of paper is the most difficult.
However, you shouldn’t panic, because each task that is given to you in college or high school can be completed successfully if you have a good strategy. One thing you need to remember is that planning can ease this process a lot. The first step of writing the paper is selecting the topic. Sometimes this step can take even twenty percent of the entire work time. We decided to make this easier for you and have gathered issues in one list which you will see below. Hopefully, our topic ideas inspire you to write an A-level paper. Before moving to the list, we recommend that you get acquainted with these quick and useful tips.
How to Choose an Argumentative Essay Topic
Make sure that the topic is not too broad. Otherwise, you won’t be able to reveal it properly. Try to be specific by focusing on a certain aspect of a general issue.
Take into consideration that good argumentative essay topics should concern a conflict that urges many discussions in society. It should be an important and arguable topic.
When opting for an argumentative essay topic, find out whether you will be able to find proper factual information to support your arguments.
Under the conditions of tight deadlines, you need to make quick, yet well-thought decisions. All essay topics have their advantages and disadvantages. If you can’t select the topic among several choices, compare them by defining the pros and cons of each.
Before presenting a certain argument, make sure it is strong enough to convince the reader. Each argument should be supported with evidence consisting of facts, stats, and so on.
Ask yourself the question: “Do I care about this issue?” That way, you’ll understand whether the subject is truly interesting for you. If it is, you are likely to perform better with your task.
The List of Good Topics for an Argumentative Essay
- Can the death penalty be effective?
- Is buying a lottery ticket a good idea?
- Is competition really good?
- Is religion the cause of war?
- Is fashion really important?
- Are girls too “mean” in their friendship?
- Are feminist women being too harsh on other women who don’t support the movement?
- Can smoking be prevented by making tobacco illegal?
- Is a highly competitive environment good or bad for studying or working?
- Is it true that life 100 years ago was easier?
- What are the drawbacks of a democratic political system?
- What is cultural shock and how does it impact our perception of other people’s cultures?
- Should working moms be given special privileges?
- Should there still be any quotas for accepting people from minorities?
- Is being fired a suitable punishment for cyberbullying?
- Are we too dependent on computers?
- Are cell phones really dangerous?
- Does social media fame impact one’s life?
- Will we ever be able to stop using social media from our own free will?
- Can humanity get rid of the Internet and continue developing?
- Are reading ebooks worse than reading paper books?
- What are the drawbacks of online dating apps such as Tinder?
- Should content on the Internet be more restricted?
- Will paper money be substituted by electronic money?
- Does a constant social media connection make people feel more lonely and stressed?
- Do technologies that ease housekeeping, such as a robotic vacuum cleaner, make people too idle?
- Who is responsible for the excessive amount of abusive language in comments (under blogs and social media posts, videos, etc.) on the Web?
- What is the impact of technology on people’s ability to create?
- What is considered as superfluous usage of the Internet, and can it be counted as a form of addiction?
- Will the creation of artificial intelligence which can regulate itself lead to human extinction?
- Should torture be acceptable?
- Is it ethical to tell someone else’s secret to a person involved in that secret (for example, if you discover that your friend has been cheated on)?
- Do paparazzi violate the private lives of celebrities?
- Is it fair that people with no special skills get famous and rich from social media?
- Is it a good idea to start a diary?
- Is it fair to control the time a teenager dedicates to playing computer games or using the Internet?
- Should people help the poor?
- Can a person whose spouse is in a coma demand a divorce?
- Do beauty pageants influence the moral values of society in the wrong way?
- Do cameras placed in public places infringe on people’s privacy?
- Should women who don’t have enough money for living opt for an abortion?
- Does a person with a physically or mentally disabled significant other have a moral right to cheat?
- Is killing a murderer immoral?
- Should people use animal tested cosmetics and drugs to protect themselves from dangerous consequences?
- Is it moral to refuse to save someone’s life if there’s any risk for your own?
- Is homework helpful?
- At what age should sex education be introduced at schools?
- Does the amount of information we have to learn in school get bigger? Is this good or bad?
- Does home schooling undermine a child’s ability to learn how to socialize?
- If college education is made free, will it be more or less qualitative?
- If compulsory homework is canceled, would children stop learning at all?
- Should children be taught at school about gender nonconformity and various types of sexual orientation?
- Should the grades or attendance for gym impact the GPA of a student?
- Should school teachers and staff members be allowed to socialize with students after school?
- Are standardized tests a good way to evaluate someone’s knowledge?
- Should children be occasionally tested for drugs at school?
- If a child doesn’t like the subject, can a school administration absolve him or her from studying the subject on the parents’ demand?
- Should all subjects be optional?
- Do prof-orientation tests really help students to decide on a profession?
- Should children be taught housekeeping at school?
- Is it useful or harmful to give treats to a child when he or she does well in school?
- If your child doesn’t like studying, is it acceptable to force him or her?
- Should people undergo testing to become parents?
- Is it irresponsible to have many children? (five or more)
- Is it fair to control the time a teenager dedicates to playing computer games or using the Internet?
- At what age should parents allow teenagers to try alcohol?
- Should children be asked by the court who they want to stay with after their parents’ divorce?
- Should siblings of different gender be treated the same way by parents?
- Should adults be responsible for their elderly parents? Should they be obliged to help them financially?
- Do parents have the right to read their children’s personal diaries?
- At what age should gadgets be introduced to children?
- If parents find out their teenage child takes drugs, do they need to apply to specific institutions or settle the problem on their own?
- Should parents allow teenagers to have plastic surgery if they don’t have obvious defects?
- Do parents need to invade their teenage children’s personal relationships?
- Should women and men have different rights and responsibilities in spousal relationships?
- Should healthcare systems be free or paid?
- Is breakfast really the most important meal of the day? Why or why not?
- Should fast food come with a warning, like cigarettes and alcohol?
- Would it be better if the world had a universal healthcare system?
- Should people who suffer from incurable diseases be euthanized if it is their wish?
- Is human cloning acceptable?
- Does the time when people go to bed affect their health?
- Should shopping addiction be considered as a real disease on a governmental level?
- Are causes of obesity more physical or mental?
- Should office workers be obliged to follow certain rules, such as washing hands, to reduce the frequency of spreading viruses and infections?
- Should the working day be shortened to six hours for the sake of health?
- Do children of school age need to be provided with free mental therapy?
- Does the lifespan depend on genetics more than on other factors?
- Can people live without meat at all?
- Do all kinds of sports bring benefits to people’s health?
Art, Movie, Literature
- Should bookstores establish age limitations for certain books?
- Are movies of the 21st century much crueler than movies filmed in the 20th century?
- To what extent should movies that depict historical events be accurate?
- Should schools use electronic textbooks to save paper?
- Should paintings that contain nudity be censored?
- Is it acceptable to bring children to exhibitions of a photographer who performs in nude style?
- Do actors take mental risks when playing different characters, including psychopaths and murderers?
- Should people read more books or articles to develop their mental horizons?
- Is watching television series a waste of time?
- Do famous artists have an innate talent, or do they put in great effort to learn how to draw?
Where to Get More Argumentative Essay Topics?
Every now and then finding topics for argumentative essays can be challenging for students. There are many ways to get a topic, such as looking for it on educational websites, asking your teacher for tips, exploring the textbook, looking through argumentative essay examples or reading newspapers to understand which issues are important and controversial nowadays. Also, you should know that EssayShark.com is always ready to provide you with essay help. If you have run out of ideas, just contact us and we’ll do our best to help you. We wish you good luck with your studying and to achieve all your academic goals!
War Correspondent Alan Wood Typing Dispatch Outside Arnhem, Netherlands, 1944
You must complete an argumentative essay to pass the course. The essay will be at least five paragraphs and will probably come in around 3-4 pages double-spaced with 12-pt., New York Times font (often listed as Times, New Roman). It will address a question that informed people disagree on and you’ll show what light history sheds on the topic. We will discuss the papers more in class, but I encourage everyone to come and discuss their research with me during office hours if you are having any problems getting started. It must concern American history, from 1492-1877 or thereabouts for 1301 and 1877 to the present for 1302. Check the Course Syllabus: Calendar for due dates. I use hard deadlines because they are more similar to what many of you will encounter in the workplace. If you feel hard deadlines are unfair, finish the paper a week ahead of time just in case.
Submission & Grade
The essay is graded on a 60-point scale based on the quality of the argument, research, historical content, writing, and grammatical cleanliness (40 for argument/research/content & 20 for writing/grammar). Submit your essay as an attachment in Blackboard; it will run through SafeAssign to check for originality. Plagiarism of any sort will result in an F for the course. Submit the paper on the due date, by 11:59 pm in Blackboard. The Essay Submission tab is in Blackboard in the upper-left hand corner, along with the other tabs. Don’t try to paste the whole essay into the little box; just submit the WORD attachment. If you see the Goldish-Yellow ! in your Gradebook, you’ll know that it’s submitted.
It’s a classic 5-paragraph persuasive or analytical essay that builds on the paragraph-writing skills you’ve been developing all semester, and what you’ve likely done (or are doing) in English Composition. The opening paragraph should introduce a question you’re addressing and include a response to that question that is as succinct as possible (one or two sentences). The question should be straightforward enough that you can use it as the title of your paper (embolden and capitalize the title). Using the question as a title will help ensure that you’re asking a straightforward question. The opening paragraph will start off fairly general as you frame the question by introducing some context then gradually narrow down to your thesis (response) toward the end of the opening paragraph. Ninety percent of the time I could accurately guess an essay’s grade by the time I’m through with the opening paragraph because that’s where you “get your ducks in a row.” Then follow through on your outline and you’re on your way toward a well-organized, coherent essay.
The next paragraphs will be the three main points of your argument, and the last paragraph will be your conclusion. Each of the three (or more) argument paragraphs in the body of the essay will have an opening sentence or two that provides some transition from the previous paragraph while introducing a new idea. Transition sentences should move along your discussion and crystallize main points. Your paper should be ordered in a logical manner and not jump around all over the place. Some well-placed direct quotes from primary sources are good but don’t waste a lot of space on direct quotes from secondary sources. Here’s another good source with guides on effective paragraph writing and thesis statements.
Here are four important things to consider as you research your topic:
- How does history shed light on the topic in ways that people might not otherwise consider?
- What do partisans on either side of the issue most tend to include/emphasize or leave out of their arguments? In other words, what are they “cherry-picking” or choosing to flush down the Memory Hole? How are people marshaling evidence and formulating arguments concerning the question you’re writing on? What are the strengths and weaknesses of various arguments and interpretations concerning the issue?
- Before you hand in your essay, ask yourself: would your argument hold up in court? Consider me a skeptical jurist or, better yet, an opposing attorney who is going to cross-examine. Your thesis should be focused, substantive and coherent, and be followed by well-chosen points that back up your argument. You don’t need to anticipate the other attorney’s weakest arguments; you need to anticipate that the opposition will be explaining the best counter-arguments to the same jury when you’re done speaking. What are they? A good place to address this is in the opening paragraph where you’re introducing the reader to the topic and why it’s controversial. (A few of the pre-authorized topics won’t deal as much in counter-arguments because they ask “to what extent….” is something true.)
- Take advantage of the links and asterisks I provide in Memory Hole, where appropriate. They can help launch your research and, in some cases, give you multiple points of view to take into account.
You’ll need to start brainstorming early in the semester for a good topic. The topic doesn’t have to be controversial, but it should be an interpretation historians might disagree on — not just descriptive. You have a topic, now ask: what about it? Clear the topic with me in office hours or via email, and I can help you formulate a question. Make sure to consider topics from further along in the course, not just chapters you’ve already read. The essay can be over anything historical, including social, political, economic, military, religious or cultural history, and isn’t limited to subjects covered in our textbook. Twenty-first-century topics are acceptable (especially for 1302) if the focus is on their historical roots.
For ideas on controversial questions, you can check out the Memory Hole Link and pick a topic that’s still contested today. Another source for ideas is Intelligence² Debates. These hour-and-half public forums cover modern debates, which you could weigh in on by researching their historical background. Start with their library of articles. Three other good sites for ideas are: Origins, Real Clear History & Digital History (Controversies, Decision Making, Historiography). You can also examine Texas Textbook Controversies. Another source of ideas are the links at the bottom of most chapters. Finally, another angle to consider is take something that’s going on currently and investigate the debate over its origins.
Familiarize yourself with the terminology surrounding the topic and think long and hard about the issue you’re writing on. Don’t be afraid to ask yourself the more counter-intuitive question, that runs against the grain of normal interpretation (e.g. what worked about Prohibition? rather than what didn’t, since every 8th-grader already knows that). See the Memory Hole links for more on how partisans emphasize or omit various points and arguments. The History Hub Library has various left- and right-leaning textbooks and magazine/periodicals. Use their search functions to get a feel for how historians argue the issue. Also, consult the History Hub Library’s Topical Links to see if your topic has other sites related to it.
Jonathan Buckstead, ACC-Cypress Creek Librarian Specializing In U.S History
Sources & Research
This argumentative/analytical essay will have elements of a research paper insofar as you’ll consult and cite reference materials. It’s really a hybrid of the classic argumentative/analytical essay and research paper models. It’s built around a question and thesis, but it includes research. Tap into 2-3 books (without reading the entire book), scholarly articles, and websites as secondary sources. At the very minimum (for an average grade) use at least one book for research (online, Kindle or hard copy), even if you don’t read the whole thing — that’s where the hard-core scholarship can usually be found. Exclude our own textbook from your sources; focus on sources written especially about your topic instead. Generally use websites ending in .org, .gov, .net or .edu, not .com. Your first line of attack should be to tap into our own extensive ACC Library, followed by our online History Hub Library or UT, then general Google searches. Here’s the ACC Library’s U.S. History Page. ACC’s Cypress Creek Campus library staff includes Jonathan Buckstead, the system’s specialist in U.S. History. Talk to him; he’s there to help you.
The UT PCL library is open to the public before 10 PM or you can check out books by getting a Tex-share card from the Public Library. The History Hub Library can be a bit overwhelming, but if you dive into it with an idea of what you’re looking for, it’s a good tool. Real college-level research goes past Schmoop, History.org, History Channel, Sparknotes, etc. Do not use online encyclopedias such as Wikipedia except for initial studies and peripheral fact-checking (not as a main source, in other words, but only as a jumping off point). Wikipedia is a good source for bibliographies, toward the end of entries, but use real sources for the heart of your research, including scholarly books and articles, and primary sources. Just as there is a lot of fake news out there on the Internet, also be wary of fake history (e.g. fake Jefferson quotes). You’ll be graded on whether you spend a month rolling up your sleeves and doing some actual research or whether you just hit some cheesy websites quickly at the end. Historian Kevin Levin suggests the following guidelines to steer students away from fake history, misinformation and distortion:
- Is the site associated with a reputable institution like a museum, historical society or university?
- Can you identify the individual or organization responsible for the site and are the proper credentials displayed?
- Then, finally, you have to examine the material itself. Is the information provided on the Website, including text and images, properly cited? What can you discern from both the incoming and outgoing links to the site? Only then can you approach it with the same level of trust that you would a scholarly journal or piece of archival material.
Include at least one primary source (original source) — a document, letter, diary, newspaper, telegram, speech, transcript, key photo, tape recording, film, manuscript, cartoon, etc. from the time period in question that provides evidence or firsthand testimony. In this case, primary doesn’t mean main; it means original. The best way to approach the primary source requirement isn’t to just go find one for its own sake, but rather to think about the question you’re addressing for your essay and how to approach it? Where would you start if you couldn’t rely on the secondary sources of authors, journalists, etc. who have attempted to explain things for your benefit (as a reader)? What sort of evidence would you want to have in a courtroom? The point isn’t just to find a primary source but to use it well. How might this firsthand testimony be biased? How does the interpretation of this primary source impinge on your argument? For instance, if you were investigating the atomic attacks on Japan at the end of WWII, you might look at President Truman’s diary. What might be unreliable about Truman’s diary? What sort of evidence are the authors writing and arguing about? An obvious place to look for primary sources is in the discussion or notes of the main secondary sources you use. A student asked if this source was primary or secondary. The source is a secondary article, but footnote #1 within the article is primary (it’s a document from 1957). Do you see the difference? The History Hub Library is another good place to mine for primary sources, as are ACC Library’s American Decades/Gale Library and Milestone Documents pages. Failure to utilize a primary source will result in a 5-point penalty. For more on Primary Sources, see the video at the bottom of the page. The Declaration of Independence and Constitution are both primary sources, and you should feel to use them, but neither count as your one required primary source.
For tips on analyzing a document, letter, photograph, cartoon, video, or sound recording, use this Document Analysis Worksheet tutorial from the National Archives (use the secondary student column).
This video was originally aimed mostly at teachers, but it’s worth watching to better understand primary sources and the type of questions historians (and students) must ask when analyzing primary source evidence. These include considering issues like multiple claims, sourcing, context and evidence-based claims:
You should ask yourself where the primary sources (evidence) come from in your secondary source article, who generated them, and why. How might they differ from other perspectives?
Here’s a SAMPLE by a former student. She didn’t pick a particularly controversial issue, but I use this example because she lays out a clear question and formulates an answer toward the end of the first paragraph. Then the body of the essay supports her thesis, and she wraps up with a conclusion that does more than just regurgitate what she’s already said — it elaborates on and refines the original thesis by explaining what we’ve learned in the preceding paragraphs. You’ll be posing a more controversial question. Remember to include both sides by including what proponents of either side emphasize or leave out of their arguments.
For Citations, you can use either the MLA or University of Chicago (Turabian) style. For the MLA version, include a brief WORKS CITED page at the end. The Chicago Method doesn’t need a WORKS CITED or BIBLIOGRAPHY page since the footnotes include full references. Anyone planning to take upper-division history courses later on should use the Chicago Method. For help formatting in the Chicago style, see eTurabian. You can consult the ACC History Department’s Guide, or an excellent online guide, NoodleTools.
Online Writing Guide: Purdue Owl
Recipe for Success
1. Give Yourself Time To Consider A Topic. Use Your Imagination. Take An Hour Staring Into Space Thinking About It.
2. Do Real Research in Libraries/Books/Articles, Not Cheap Quick-Stop Shopping @ Encyclopedias.
3. Pick A Question You Can Sink Your Teeth Into — Something There’s Some Interpretive Disagreement About Among Reasonable People.
4. Consider Whether Your Thesis Really Matches Your Evidence and Conclusion. Would Your Argument Hold Up In Court?
5. Take Time To Proof Your Paper. Use Grammar-Check and ACC’s Learning Lab.
6. Organize Your Time Well. Follow the Suggested Work Schedule. Don’t Be Fooled By The Relatively Short Length Of Essay.
7. Have Some Fun. This Isn’t Torture. Take The Time To Find A Subject That Interests You, Start Early, Get The Draft Up And Running And Take Your Time Proofing And Refining.
8. Read About Common Fallacies Of Historical Thinking In The Rear Defogger (top bar). When I Grade Your Paper I May Write Something Like “RD-4” In The Textual Comments. That Means Look At Item #4 In The Rear Defogger.
Suggested Work Schedule:
Weeks 1-2: Pick Your Topic
After 1st Exam: You’ll Write On Your Topic For 6-pt. CAP
Weeks 3-6: Research; Dig Hard in the History Hub Library
After 2nd Exam: You’ll Write On A Primary Source & How It Impacts Argument For 6-pt. CAP
Weeks 7-8: Write Essay; Learn to Cite Sources & Format
Week 9: Revise, Proof (Grammar-Check & Learning Lab), Squeeze the Fat (Lean & Clean); Your Prose Should Be Clear & Concise. Read Over Grammar Tips in History Hub Menu (Under Syllabi)
Week 10: More Proofing & Ask Yourself: Does the Thesis Line Up With the Argument & Conclusion?
Week 10: Paper Due
Rubric for Grading That You’ll See In Blackboard (60 Pts.):
Content: X/40 –
— Strength of Main Argument: X/25
— Use of Good Sources: X/10
— Discussion of Strongest Counter-Argument: X/5
Writing: X/20 –
Late Papers, Backing Up & Grammar-Check
Each successive weekday the essay is late counts as another five points off the score, regardless of your excuse, up to 15 points off max. The smartest thing is to finish it before the deadline and work on polishing it – after all, you have plenty of time (2+ months), so what’s the use in finishing right at the deadline? Or, worse yet, starting around the deadline? Cover (or title) pages are unnecessary, but have a title that you embolden and capitalize that describes what your paper is about. You should use the question you’re addressing as your title or some variation on it. If you do not submit the paper by the last day of class, you will flunk rather than receive an incomplete. Back Up! Keep an electronic version of your paper; always save or email it to yourself, or keep a copy “in the clouds.” For comments, don’t just look at the comment box, but also the text itself for inline commentary. We can go over grammar in person with a hard copy if you have questions on that portion of the grade. Go under WORD > PREFERENCES to set Grammar & Spell-checking at Standard. Then after you’ve written the paper, go under TOOLS and run it through Grammar & Spelling check. It’s an imperfect program, but it helps. There’s no excuse that I can see for failing to use it (since the technology is free) other than simple laziness. Also, check out the Grammar Tips in History Hub in the drop-down menu under Syllabi.
Some Helpful Websites on Writing Papers & Essays
Strunk & White’s Elements of Style
Univ. of Toronto Essay Writing Guide
Univ. of North Carolina Guide
ACC Writing Guide
ACC Library Study Skills Workshops (Including Effective Paragraph Writing & Effective Thesis Statements)