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ENG 122: Academic Writing II (Harman): Writing the Argument Essay

Student Samples and other Handouts

Argument Essay


Any time you try to persuade someone, you are presenting an argument. This is a research paper class. For your research project, you will begin by submitting 3 possible topics that you would like to explore for this class. The topics should be in the form of a question that you can effectively argue academically.


In the next step, you will use the 3 topics that you are considering for your research paper. For each topic, you should come up with two different perspectives to academically argue.  

Here is an example:  

Research question: How does Ice cream contribute to society?  

  • Perspective 1: Ice cream is fattening and contributes to obesity. 
  • Perspective 2: Ice cream’s popularity helps keep dairy farms thriving. 


You will then be asked to draft a formal outline that includes developing a plan for writing an effective research paper, which will require you to develop your thesis statement and opening paragraph. In that, you will need to include:  

  • Clear Question that you will be asking 

  • Your purpose for writing and to what audience 

  • Your stance and your claims   

PRO TIP: Within the first paragraph, your reader should know what your paper is going to be about; the challenge is to make it interesting enough to catch your reader’s attention (the hook) and make them want to continue reading. Your opening paragraph is the first impression for the reader. 

You will be expected to use MLA format, as your grade depends on it.  You must have a 25% or lower similarity Turnitin score; if not, you will be turned in as a violation of the Honor Code of Saint Leo University for plagiarism. Please ask me for help if you have questions. 

Please refer to this LibGuide for information on Counterarguments as well as a student sample (or two) of the Proposing a Solution essay.