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130 New Prompts for Argumentative Writing

Questions on everything from mental health and sports to video games and dating. Which ones inspire you to take a stand?

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By The Learning Network

Note: We have an updated version of this list, with 300 new argumentative writing prompts .

What issues do you care most about? What topics do you find yourself discussing passionately, whether online, at the dinner table, in the classroom or with your friends?

In Unit 5 of our free yearlong writing curriculum and related Student Editorial Contest , we invite students to research and write about the issues that matter to them, whether that’s Shakespeare , health care , standardized testing or being messy .

But with so many possibilities, where does one even begin? Try our student writing prompts.

In 2017, we compiled a list of 401 argumentative writing prompts , all drawn from our daily Student Opinion column . Now, we’re rounding up 130 more we’ve published since then ( available here as a PDF ). Each prompt links to a free Times article as well as additional subquestions that can help you think more deeply about it.

You might use this list to inspire your own writing and to find links to reliable resources about the issues that intrigue you. But even if you’re not participating in our contest, you can use these prompts to practice the kind of low-stakes writing that can help you hone your argumentation skills.

So scroll through the list below with questions on everything from sports and mental health to dating and video games and see which ones inspire you to take a stand.

Please note: Many of these prompts are still open to comment by students 13 and up.

Technology & Social Media

1. Do Memes Make the Internet a Better Place? 2. Does Online Public Shaming Prevent Us From Being Able to Grow and Change? 3. How Young Is Too Young to Use Social Media? 4. Should the Adults in Your Life Be Worried by How Much You Use Your Phone? 5. Is Your Phone Love Hurting Your Relationships? 6. Should Kids Be Social Media Influencers? 7. Does Grammar Still Matter in the Age of Twitter? 8. Should Texting While Driving Be Treated Like Drunken Driving? 9. How Do You Think Technology Affects Dating?

10. Are Straight A’s Always a Good Thing? 11. Should Schools Teach You How to Be Happy? 12. How Do You Think American Education Could Be Improved? 13. Should Schools Test Their Students for Nicotine and Drug Use? 14. Can Social Media Be a Tool for Learning and Growth in Schools? 15. Should Facial Recognition Technology Be Used in Schools? 16. Should Your School Day Start Later? 17. How Should Senior Year in High School Be Spent? 18. Should Teachers Be Armed With Guns? 19. Is School a Place for Self-Expression? 20. Should Students Be Punished for Not Having Lunch Money? 21. Is Live-Streaming Classrooms a Good Idea? 22. Should Gifted and Talented Education Be Eliminated? 23. What Are the Most Important Things Students Should Learn in School? 24. Should Schools Be Allowed to Censor Student Newspapers? 25. Do You Feel Your School and Teachers Welcome Both Conservative and Liberal Points of View? 26. Should Teachers and Professors Ban Student Use of Laptops in Class? 27. Should Schools Teach About Climate Change? 28. Should All Schools Offer Music Programs? 29. Does Your School Need More Money? 30. Should All Schools Teach Cursive? 31. What Role Should Textbooks Play in Education? 32. Do Kids Need Recess?

College & Career

33. What Is Your Reaction to the College Admissions Cheating Scandal? 34. Is the College Admissions Process Fair? 35. Should Everyone Go to College? 36. Should College Be Free? 37. Are Lavish Amenities on College Campuses Useful or Frivolous? 38. Should ‘Despised Dissenters’ Be Allowed to Speak on College Campuses? 39. How Should the Problem of Sexual Assault on Campuses Be Addressed? 40. Should Fraternities Be Abolished? 41. Is Student Debt Worth It?

Mental & Physical Health

42. Should Students Get Mental Health Days Off From School? 43. Is Struggle Essential to Happiness? 44. Does Every Country Need a ‘Loneliness Minister’? 45. Should Schools Teach Mindfulness? 46. Should All Children Be Vaccinated? 47. What Do You Think About Vegetarianism? 48. Do We Worry Too Much About Germs? 49. What Advice Should Parents and Counselors Give Teenagers About Sexting? 50. Do You Think Porn Influences the Way Teenagers Think About Sex?

Race & Gender

51. How Should Parents Teach Their Children About Race and Racism? 52. Is America ‘Backsliding’ on Race? 53. Should All Americans Receive Anti-Bias Education? 54. Should All Companies Require Anti-Bias Training for Employees? 55. Should Columbus Day Be Replaced With Indigenous Peoples Day? 56. Is Fear of ‘The Other’ Poisoning Public Life? 57. Should the Boy Scouts Be Coed? 58. What Is Hard About Being a Boy?

59. Can You Separate Art From the Artist? 60. Are There Subjects That Should Be Off-Limits to Artists, or to Certain Artists in Particular? 61. Should Art Come With Trigger Warnings? 62. Should Graffiti Be Protected? 63. Is the Digital Era Improving or Ruining the Experience of Art? 64. Are Museums Still Important in the Digital Age? 65. In the Age of Digital Streaming, Are Movie Theaters Still Relevant? 66. Is Hollywood Becoming More Diverse? 67. What Stereotypical Characters Make You Cringe? 68. Do We Need More Female Superheroes? 69. Do Video Games Deserve the Bad Rap They Often Get? 70. Should Musicians Be Allowed to Copy or Borrow From Other Artists? 71. Is Listening to a Book Just as Good as Reading It? 72. Is There Any Benefit to Reading Books You Hate?

73. Should Girls and Boys Sports Teams Compete in the Same League? 74. Should College Athletes Be Paid? 75. Are Youth Sports Too Competitive? 76. Is It Selfish to Pursue Risky Sports Like Extreme Mountain Climbing? 77. How Should We Punish Sports Cheaters? 78. Should Technology in Sports Be Limited? 79. Should Blowouts Be Allowed in Youth Sports? 80. Is It Offensive for Sports Teams and Their Fans to Use Native American Names, Imagery and Gestures?

81. Is It Wrong to Focus on Animal Welfare When Humans Are Suffering? 82. Should Extinct Animals Be Resurrected? If So, Which Ones? 83. Are Emotional-Support Animals a Scam? 84. Is Animal Testing Ever Justified? 85. Should We Be Concerned With Where We Get Our Pets? 86. Is This Exhibit Animal Cruelty or Art?

Parenting & Childhood

87. Who Should Decide Whether a Teenager Can Get a Tattoo or Piercing? 88. Is It Harder to Grow Up in the 21st Century Than It Was in the Past? 89. Should Parents Track Their Teenager’s Location? 90. Is Childhood Today Over-Supervised? 91. How Should Parents Talk to Their Children About Drugs? 92. What Should We Call Your Generation? 93. Do Other People Care Too Much About Your Post-High School Plans? 94. Do Parents Ever Cross a Line by Helping Too Much With Schoolwork? 95. What’s the Best Way to Discipline Children? 96. What Are Your Thoughts on ‘Snowplow Parents’? 97. Should Stay-at-Home Parents Be Paid? 98. When Do You Become an Adult?

Ethics & Morality

99. Why Do Bystanders Sometimes Fail to Help When They See Someone in Danger? 100. Is It Ethical to Create Genetically Edited Humans? 101. Should Reporters Ever Help the People They Are Covering? 102. Is It O.K. to Use Family Connections to Get a Job? 103. Is $1 Billion Too Much Money for Any One Person to Have? 104. Are We Being Bad Citizens If We Don’t Keep Up With the News? 105. Should Prisons Offer Incarcerated People Education Opportunities? 106. Should Law Enforcement Be Able to Use DNA Data From Genealogy Websites for Criminal Investigations? 107. Should We Treat Robots Like People?

Government & Politics

108. Does the United States Owe Reparations to the Descendants of Enslaved People? 109. Do You Think It Is Important for Teenagers to Participate in Political Activism? 110. Should the Voting Age Be Lowered to 16? 111. What Should Lawmakers Do About Guns and Gun Violence? 112. Should Confederate Statues Be Removed or Remain in Place? 113. Does the U.S. Constitution Need an Equal Rights Amendment? 114. Should National Monuments Be Protected by the Government? 115. Should Free Speech Protections Include Self Expression That Discriminates? 116. How Important Is Freedom of the Press? 117. Should Ex-Felons Have the Right to Vote? 118. Should Marijuana Be Legal? 119. Should the United States Abolish Daylight Saving Time? 120. Should We Abolish the Death Penalty? 121. Should the U.S. Ban Military-Style Semiautomatic Weapons? 122. Should the U.S. Get Rid of the Electoral College? 123. What Do You Think of President Trump’s Use of Twitter? 124. Should Celebrities Weigh In on Politics? 125. Why Is It Important for People With Different Political Beliefs to Talk to Each Other?

Other Questions

126. Should the Week Be Four Days Instead of Five? 127. Should Public Transit Be Free? 128. How Important Is Knowing a Foreign Language? 129. Is There a ‘Right Way’ to Be a Tourist? 130. Should Your Significant Other Be Your Best Friend?

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Sat / act prep online guides and tips, 50 great argumentative essay topics for any assignment.

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General Education

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At some point, you’re going to be asked to write an argumentative essay. An argumentative essay is exactly what it sounds like—an essay in which you’ll be making an argument, using examples and research to back up your point.

But not all argumentative essay topics are created equal. Not only do you have to structure your essay right to have a good impact on the reader, but even your choice of subject can impact how readers feel about your work.

In this article, we’ll cover the basics of writing argumentative essays, including what argumentative essays are, how to write a good one, and how to pick a topic that works for you. Then check out a list of argumentative essay ideas to help you get started.

What Is an Argumentative Essay?

An argumentative essay is one that makes an argument through research. These essays take a position and support it through evidence, but, unlike many other kinds of essays, they are interested in expressing a specific argument supported by research and evidence.

A good argumentative essay will be based on established or new research rather than only on your thoughts and feelings. Imagine that you’re trying to get your parents to raise your allowance, and you can offer one of two arguments in your favor:

You should raise my allowance because I want you to.

You should raise my allowance because I’ve been taking on more chores without complaining.

The first argument is based entirely in feelings without any factual backup, whereas the second is based on evidence that can be proven. Your parents are more likely to respond positively to the second argument because it demonstrates that you have done something to earn the increased allowance. Similarly, a well-researched and reasoned argument will show readers that your point has a basis in fact, not just feelings.

The standard five-paragraph essay is common in writing argumentative essays, but it’s not the only way to write one. An argumentative essay is typically written in one of two formats, the Toulmin model or the Rogerian model.

The Toulmin model is the most common, comprised of an introduction with a claim (otherwise known as a thesis), with data to support it. This style of essay will also include rebuttals, helping to strengthen your argument by anticipating counterarguments.

The Rogerian model analyzes two sides of an argument and reaches a conclusion after weighing the strengths and weaknesses of each.

Both essay styles rely on well-reasoned logic and supporting evidence to prove a point, just in two different ways.

The important thing to note about argumentative essays as opposed to other kinds of essays is that they aim to argue a specific point rather than to explain something or to tell a story. While they may have some things in common with analytical essays, the primary difference is in their objective—an argumentative essay aims to convince someone of something, whereas an analytical essay contextualizes a topic with research.

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What Makes a Good Argumentative Essay?

To write an effective argumentative essay, you need to know what a good one looks like. In addition to a solid structure, you’ll need an argument, a strong thesis, and solid research.

An Argument

Unlike other forms of essays, you are trying to convince your reader of something. You’re not just teaching them a concept or demonstrating an idea—you’re constructing an argument to change the readers’ thinking.

You’ll need to develop a good argument, which encompasses not just your main point, but also all the pieces that make it up.

Think beyond what you are saying and include how you’re saying it. How will you take an idea and turn it into a complex and well thought out argument that is capable of changing somebody’s mind?

A Strong Thesis

The thesis is the core of your argument. What specific message are you trying to get across? State that message in one sentence, and that will be your thesis.

This is the foundation on which your essay is built, so it needs to be strong and well-reasoned. You need to be able to expand on it with facts and sources, not just feelings.

A good argumentative essay isn’t just based on your individual thoughts, but research. That can be citing sources and other arguments or it can mean direct research in the field, depending on what your argument is and the context in which you are arguing it.

Be prepared to back your thesis up with reporting from scientific journals, newspapers, or other forms of research. Having well-researched sources will help support your argument better than hearsay or assumptions. If you can’t find enough research to back up your point, it’s worth reconsidering your thesis or conducting original research, if possible.

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How to Come Up With an Argumentative Essay Topic

Sometimes you may find yourself arguing things you don’t necessarily believe. That’s totally fine—you don’t actually have to wholeheartedly believe in what you’re arguing in order to construct a compelling argument.

However, if you have free choice of topic, it’s a good idea to pick something you feel strongly about. There are two key components to a good argumentative essay: a strong stance, and an assortment of evidence. If you’re interested and feel passionate about the topic you choose, you'll have an easier time finding evidence to support it, but it's the evidence that's most important. 

So, to choose a topic, think about things you feel strongly about, whether positively or negatively. You can make a list of ideas and narrow those down to a handful of things, then expand on those ideas with a few potential points you want to hit on.

For example, say you’re trying to decide whether you should write about how your neighborhood should ban weed killer, that your school’s lunch should be free for all students, or that the school day should be cut by one hour. To decide between these ideas, you can make a list of three to five points for each that cover the different evidence you could use to support each point.

For the weed killer ban, you could say that weed killer has been proven to have adverse impacts on bees, that there are simple, natural alternatives, and that weeds aren’t actually bad to have around. For the free lunch idea, you could suggest that some students have to go hungry because they can’t afford lunch, that funds could be diverted from other places to support free lunch, and that other items, like chips or pizza, could be sold to help make up lost revenue. And for the school day length example, you could argue that teenagers generally don’t get enough sleep, that you have too much homework and not enough time to do it, and that teenagers don’t spend enough time with their families.

You might find as you make these lists that some of them are stronger than others. The more evidence you have and the stronger you feel that that evidence is, the better the topic.  Of course, if you feel that one topic may have more evidence but you’d rather not write about it, it’s okay to pick another topic instead. When you’re making arguments, it can be much easier to find strong points and evidence if you feel passionate about our topic than if you don't.

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50 Argumentative Essay Topic Ideas

If you’re struggling to come up with topics on your own, read through this list of argumentative essay topics to help get you started!

  • Should fracking be legal?
  • Should parents be able to modify their unborn children?
  • Do GMOs help or harm people?
  • Should vaccinations be required for students to attend public school?
  • Should world governments get involved in addressing climate change?
  • Should Facebook be allowed to collect data from its users?
  • Should self-driving cars be legal?
  • Is it ethical to replace human workers with automation?
  • Should there be laws against using cell phones while driving?
  • Has the internet positively or negatively impacted human society?

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  • Should college athletes be paid for being on sports teams?
  • Should coaches and players make the same amount of money?
  • Should sports be segregated by gender?
  • Should the concept of designated hitters in baseball be abolished?
  • Should US sports take soccer more seriously?
  • Should religious organizations have to pay taxes?
  • Should religious clubs be allowed in schools?
  • Should “one nation under God” be in the pledge of allegiance?
  • Should religion be taught in schools?
  • Should clergy be allowed to marry?
  • Should minors be able to purchase birth control without parental consent?
  • Should the US switch to single-payer healthcare?
  • Should assisted suicide be legal?
  • Should dietary supplements and weight loss items like teas be allowed to advertise through influencers?
  • Should doctors be allowed to promote medicines?

Government/Politics

  • Is the electoral college an effective system for modern America?
  • Should Puerto Rico become a state?
  • Should voter registration be automatic?
  • Should people in prison be allowed to vote?
  • Should Supreme Court justices be elected?
  • Should sex work be legalized?
  • Should Columbus Day be replaced with Indigenous Peoples’ Day?
  • Should the death penalty be legal?
  • Should animal testing be allowed?
  • Should drug possession be decriminalized?

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  • Should unpaid internships be legal?
  • Should minimum wage be increased?
  • Should monopolies be allowed?
  • Is universal basic income a good idea?
  • Should corporations have a higher or lower tax rate?
  • Are school uniforms a good idea?
  • Should PE affect a student’s grades?
  • Should college be free?
  • Should Greek life in colleges be abolished?
  • Should students be taught comprehensive sex ed?

Arts/Culture

  • Should graffiti be considered art or vandalism?
  • Should books with objectionable words be banned?
  • Should content on YouTube be better regulated?
  • Is art education important?
  • Should art and music sharing online be allowed?

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How to Argue Effectively

A strong argument isn’t just about having a good point. If you can’t support that point well, your argument falls apart.

One of the most important things you can do in writing a strong argumentative essay is organizing well. Your essay should have a distinct beginning, middle, and end, better known as the introduction, body and opposition, and conclusion.

This example follows the Toulmin model—if your essay follows the Rogerian model, the same basic premise is true, but your thesis will instead propose two conflicting viewpoints that will be resolved through evidence in the body, with your conclusion choosing the stronger of the two arguments.

Introduction

Your hook should draw the reader’s interest immediately. Questions are a common way of getting interest, as well as evocative language or a strong statistic

Don’t assume that your audience is already familiar with your topic. Give them some background information, such as a brief history of the issue or some additional context.

Your thesis is the crux of your argument. In an argumentative essay, your thesis should be clearly outlined so that readers know exactly what point you’ll be making. Don’t explain all your evidence in the opening, but do take a strong stance and make it clear what you’ll be discussing.

Your claims are the ideas you’ll use to support your thesis. For example, if you’re writing about how your neighborhood shouldn’t use weed killer, your claim might be that it’s bad for the environment. But you can’t just say that on its own—you need evidence to support it.

Evidence is the backbone of your argument. This can be things you glean from scientific studies, newspaper articles, or your own research. You might cite a study that says that weed killer has an adverse effect on bees, or a newspaper article that discusses how one town eliminated weed killer and saw an increase in water quality. These kinds of hard evidence support your point with demonstrable facts, strengthening your argument.

In your essay, you want to think about how the opposition would respond to your claims and respond to them. Don’t pick the weakest arguments, either— figure out what other people are saying and respond to those arguments with clearly reasoned arguments.

Demonstrating that you not only understand the opposition’s point, but that your argument is strong enough to withstand it, is one of the key pieces to a successful argumentative essay.

Conclusions are a place to clearly restate your original point, because doing so will remind readers exactly what you’re arguing and show them how well you’ve argued that point.

Summarize your main claims by restating them, though you don’t need to bring up the evidence again. This helps remind readers of everything you’ve said throughout the essay.

End by suggesting a picture of a world in which your argument and action are ignored. This increases the impact of your argument and leaves a lasting impression on the reader.

A strong argumentative essay is one with good structure and a strong argument , but there are a few other things you can keep in mind to further strengthen your point.

When you’re crafting an argument, it can be easy to get distracted by all the information and complications in your argument. It’s important to stay focused—be clear in your thesis and home in on claims that directly support that thesis.

Be Rational

It’s important that your claims and evidence be based in facts, not just opinion. That’s why it’s important to use reliable sources based in science and reporting—otherwise, it’s easy for people to debunk your arguments.

Don’t rely solely on your feelings about the topic. If you can’t back a claim up with real evidence, it leaves room for counterarguments you may not anticipate. Make sure that you can support everything you say with clear and concrete evidence, and your claims will be a lot stronger!

What’s Next?

No matter what kind of essay you're writing, a strong plan will help you have a bigger impact. This guide to writing a college essay is a great way to get started on your essay organizing journey!

Brushing up on your essay format knowledge to prep for the SAT? Check out this list of SAT essay prompts to help you kickstart your studying!

A bunch of great essay examples can help you aspire to greatness, but bad essays can also be a warning for what not to do. This guide to bad college essays will help you better understand common mistakes to avoid in essay writing!

Need more help with this topic? Check out Tutorbase!

Our vetted tutor database includes a range of experienced educators who can help you polish an essay for English or explain how derivatives work for Calculus. You can use dozens of filters and search criteria to find the perfect person for your needs.

Connect With a Tutor Now

Melissa Brinks graduated from the University of Washington in 2014 with a Bachelor's in English with a creative writing emphasis. She has spent several years tutoring K-12 students in many subjects, including in SAT prep, to help them prepare for their college education.

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130 Argumentative Essay Topics: Tips on How Choose the Best One

thesis driven essay topics

Defining What Is an Argumentative Essay

Imagine the following scenario: You just got into an argument with your friend over climate change. You said that this is an actual issue that poses significant threats to our environment and world population. Your friend, on the other hand, argued that climate change is not real, saying that it's a natural occurrence that has happened several times during world history. You got home, had time to reflect on the debate, and came up with several good reasons for your position. Oh! The things you could have said to clearly express and defend your stance... Now you're annoyed with the constant monologue running through your mind, reflecting upon the previous debate.

What if you documented the arguments that came to you afterward? Much like jotting them down on a piece of paper and giving some direction to your ideas. We say it would have made a brilliant work with fresh ideas and fiery passion.

That's exactly why you should practice argumentative essay writing. It will enhance your reasoning skills while allowing you to become more quick-witted. By doing this, you won't have to listen to your friends defending their stance while you lack your own arguments to contribute to the debate.

To persuade the reader of their position in an argumentative essay, the author must choose a position on a certain subject or problem and provide evidence to support it. This kind of essay is frequently required in high school or college classes to sharpen students' analytical abilities and motivate them to engage in challenging discussions.

So, let's take on a mission of fully understanding how to write an argumentative essay with a clear structure and endless topic ideas. We promise that after reading this article, you'll become an unshakable debater!

Three models of argumentative writing

Three Common Argumentative Essay Models

First, let's start with the three most prevalent models of argumentative writing. Knowing this will guide you toward structuring your essay in your preferred style. The options are:

  • Toulmin model - Most commonly used model out of the three, the Toulmin model starts with an introduction, moves on to a thesis or claim, and then provides information and proof to back up that argument. This type of essay usually includes rebuttals of opposing points. This approach performs effectively when there is no undeniable truth or perfect answer to an issue.
  • Rogerian model - Created by Carl R. Rogers, the Rogerian model of argument assesses a debate and offers a compromise between opposing sides. This paradigm emphasizes cooperation and teamwork. It recognizes that an argument can be seen from a variety of angles. The Rogerian model starts with an introduction, moves to acknowledge opposing views, then states the author's main claims. Before the conclusion, it tries to provide a middle ground by carefully considering all sides of the argument.
  • Classical (Aristotelian) model- In the traditional paradigm, all sides of an argument are examined, and the side with the most convincing evidence is shown to be correct. This approach effectively convinces a listener to take a side in an argument by combining Ethos, Pathos, and Logos.

Proper Argumentative Essay Outline

This is not something new that you should be scared of - an essay outline that consists of classic five paragraphs and employs a sacred triangle of introduction, body, and conclusion. But still, in an argumentative essay outline, you should find something unique to this kind of paper. Let's examine these specifics more closely below with the help of our argumentative essay writing service :

Argumentative Essay Outline

Introduction

Your first task while writing argumentative essays is to grab the reader's attention with an eye-catching fact, story, or quotation that will work as a hook. Then continue by giving background information and outlining the problem at hand while clearly articulating your case and your point of argument.

  • Background information
  • Thesis statement

I. Introduction

The argumentative essay introduction should grab the reader's attention and provide background information. The introductory paragraph should also include a thesis statement, the main argument the essay will present, and support. For example:

  • Hook : Did you know that over 50% of Americans believe in aliens?
  • Background: UFO sightings and conspiracy theories have been around for decades.
  • Thesis: Despite the lack of concrete evidence, extraterrestrial life is a real possibility that should be explored further.

Body Paragraphs

The body section is where you confidently roll up your sleeves and give direction to your discussion. In the first paragraph, give your best argument in favor of your thesis, using examples, data, or expert opinions. Then, evaluate the data and describe how it backs up your claim. Remember to confront and disprove any potential opposing viewpoints. You might use the same strategy in the second body paragraph for a different argument supporting your thesis.

Consider the opposing position and offer arguments in the third and fourth paragraphs. Lastly, dispute the counterargument and explain why your argument is more powerful.

  • First supporting point
  • Explanation
  • Counterargument
  • Second supporting point

To wrap up, restate your major idea and summarize your supporting points. Explain why your point is important and what it means for the reader. To end on a strong note, encourage the reader to act or think more deeply about the subject.

  • Restate thesis
  • Significance
  • Call to action

Tips for Choosing Argumentative Essay Topics

Making a captivating and thought-provoking argumentative essay requires picking a strong topic. Here are six genuine suggestions to assist you through the process:

How to Choose Good Argumentative Essay Topics_ Tips

  • Keep your audience in mind - Consider the audience for your essay, and attempt to guess what they would think about the topic you wish to cover. Think about if your audience would find it fascinating.
  • Take a risk - Pick a highly debatable subject you think others would want to steer clear of. It will distinguish your topic from other ordinary argumentative essay topics. Make sure you can, however, present the reasoning for all sides of the controversy.
  • Consider your surroundings - Consider things that are either negative aspects or taboos in your environment. Dare to discuss and debate such problems.
  • Select an arguable topic - To avoid writing a dissertation; your topic should be in the middle of being both wide and narrow. Establish your paper's objectives. What point of view or hypothesis are you trying to support? Before you start writing, make an effort to clearly state your aim. If you cannot explain your goal effectively, try to free-write on your subject.
  • Provide logical and persuasive evidence - Ensure that your proof is appropriately documented. Be certain to introduce and explain the relevance of the evidence you use in an easy-to-understand way. Avoid assuming that your evidence will speak for itself and that your readers will draw the conclusions you want from it. Describe the significance of each piece of evidence, how it clarifies or supports your claim, and why it is relevant. Include evidence in your work and use it wisely to support your arguments.
  • Draft your essay - Make sure you include a lot of supporting material presented clearly and fairly, address the opposing viewpoint, and pay close attention to how your essay is organized. Ensure your argumentative essay structure is appropriate for your issue and audience, address and rectify any logical errors, and use appropriate transitions to make it easier for the reader to understand your argument.

Meanwhile, if you'd rather have a PRO craft your paper, you can always buy argumentative essay on our platform.

Examples of Argumentative Essay Topics

Choosing the proper topic for your argumentative essay might be a major difficulty. You should always ensure that your chosen topic is interesting and worthwhile. Your school may occasionally provide you with a selection of subjects, but sometimes you may struggle to choose the topic.

Consider your struggle to be over in the following sections; our persuasive essay writing service will help you find the best argument topics for your upcoming argumentative essay.

Argumentative Essay Topics for Middle Schoolers

Let's start with some easy argumentative essay topics for middle school students.

  • Explain whether or not students should have schoolwork on weekends.
  • Do you believe that the government should determine your school lunch?
  • Should students have to take gym classes?
  • Do you believe that children should have automatic screen time limits or should parents limit screen time manually?
  • Describe your position on whether or not school uniforms should be required.
  • Should violent video games be banned in the United States?
  • How unhealthy are hot dogs?
  • Why or why not should the electoral college be abolished?
  • Should the school day be prolonged to accommodate a long weekend?
  • Do you believe that prerequisite art classes should be mandatory for all college degrees?

Argumentative Essay Topics for High School Students

As you advance your education, you may also pick up more complex topics and open up a meaningful debate. So, here is a list of argumentative essay topics for students in high school.

  • Do you think the FDA is effectively policing what is put into our food?
  • What age do you consider the right age to start using social media?
  • Do you believe a civics test is required for 12th-grade students to pass to graduate?
  • Should professional athletes be permitted to use medications that improve performance?
  • Should high school students receive free breakfast?
  • At what point should children begin doing chores?
  • Do you believe using electronic voting machines makes the electoral process fair?
  • Do we have the power to affect climate change? Or is it far bigger and more powerful than we are?
  • Should the legal age to vote be reduced?
  • Should bottled water be prohibited if environmental protection is so important?

Argumentative Essay Topics for College Students

College students have more freedom when it comes to choosing a topic of choice and freely expressing their opinions. Here are some interesting topics for an essay to delve right into:

  • Should the United States continue with daylight saving time, or should it be eliminated?
  • Should superior grades guarantee scholarship eligibility?
  • Has artificial intelligence overstepped its bounds?
  • Should there be no tuition fees for a public college education?
  • Do we need additional professional sports teams in the United States?
  • Should social media companies be allowed to collect data from their users?
  • Should there be a certain number of Supreme Court justices?
  • Are actors and sportsmen in the entertainment industry paid more than they deserve?
  • Should someone deny medical care due to their religious convictions?
  • Why is the Second Amendment part of the US Constitution that causes the greatest controversy?

Controversial Argumentative Essay Topics

Touching upon controversy makes the best argumentative essay topics for writing. To add a little spice to your paper, consider the following options:

  • Diversity Promotes Tolerance in Society
  • Electronic Voting Is Ineffective Because There Is Too Much Fraud
  • There is No More Free Journalism
  • People Getting Addicted Isn't Caused by Entertainment
  • Reality television fosters unrealistic expectations.
  • Serving in the military is dangerously romanticized
  • People's tax payments do not match the benefits they receive.
  • Given the effects of COVID, further funding for mental health services is necessary.
  • American Women Have the Same Chances as Men
  • Pollution Prevention Is Not Realistic Under the Present Circumstances

Funny Argumentative Essay Topics

You may prefer to debate over funny topics. Here are some choices that will make humorous argumentative essay titles.

  • Which is preferable, the night owl or the morning person?
  • Do we have alien visitors, and if so, what do they want from us?
  • Should the employer impose strict nap requirements?
  • Is it OK to wear socks and flops together?
  • Should scooters take the place of all public transportation?
  • Can you eat pizza with a fork and knife?
  • Should we mandate dancing breaks during the working day?
  • Should we launch an initiative to promote cuddling as the new handshake?
  • Is it moral to routinely tease your loved ones?
  • Should we ban jeans and allow only pajamas to be worn in public?

If you want similar ideas for your next assignment, ask us - ' do my essay topics,' and we'll provide many more funny titles.

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Topics for Argumentative Speech

Here are some topics for argumentative speech from our speech writing service . With these options, you may as well confidently sign up for an inspirational TED talk!

  • What Opinions Do You Have About Cancel Culture?
  • Does being publicly shamed online prevent us from evolving and changing?
  • Phone etiquette: Do you ever feel awkward using your phone among other people?
  • How much, in your opinion, can we infer about our overall satisfaction from what is shared on social media?
  • Should Schools Need a Course in Media Literacy?
  • Does Teaching Happiness in Schools Make Sense?
  • Are there any books that shouldn't be found in public or school libraries?
  • What would you study if there was a unique school that taught you the things you truly wanted to learn?
  • Should Every Young Person Learn How to Trade Stocks?
  • Is Adversity a Prerequisite for Happiness?

Argument Topics on Social Media 

The most efficient argumentative essay title examples relate to social media and online trends. Try the following alternatives:

  • Describe and analyze some of the issues that social media brings to society.
  • Social media has gained increasing acceptance in classrooms over time. Discuss while pointing up positives and drawbacks.
  • Describe the role that social media has had in the radicalization of society.
  • Talk about some ethical issues that become moot when creating a social media account.
  • Discuss how employing social media may assist in increasing your brand's overall value.
  • The importance of social media in contemporary marketing and for kids and teens.
  • What does social media weaponization entail?
  • What are the psychological harms that social media causes?
  • What impact does comedy have on mental health in online forums?
  • What effects do social media have on how people communicate?

Argument Topics on Music

Maybe you'd enjoy an argumentative essay topic on music? Say no more! We have a special place for it in our hearts, and we couldn't wait to share them with you!

  • Why Should a Musician Hire Another Person to Compose Music for Them?
  • How the Making of Music Affects People's Thoughts
  • Should performers utilize their platforms to speak out on social and political issues?
  • Is live music more significant and true to its origins than recorded music?
  • Can one use music as a means of expression and free speech?
  • Is it morally required of musicians to utilize their platform to promote social and political change?
  • Why music education should be a mandatory topic in schools.
  • Why pursuing a profession in music is meaningful and beneficial.
  • Why it's important to acknowledge and encourage the achievements made by women in music.
  • Why it's important to promote and preserve vanishing musical traditions.

Health Argumentative Essay Topics

What about a health-related topic for argumentative essay? Choose one of the below and contribute to the meaningful conversation in medicine!

  • Who carries out the main work, doctors or nurses?
  • Oversleeping has no negative effects on the body.
  • There should be restrictions on human medical testing.
  • Physical and mental health demand different levels of care.
  • Should the use of antibiotics be systematically and carefully regulated?
  • Are health campaigns useful strategies for preventing and controlling disease?
  • Should only those with healthy lives be eligible for organ transplants?
  • Should the US proclaim obesity the biggest threat to the country's health?
  • Should there be any regulation of US healthcare costs to increase access?
  • Should genetic engineering be permitted as a kind of therapy for terminal illnesses?

Argument Topics on Science and Technology

For more up-to-date examples of argumentative essay topics, here are some ideas on science and technology:

  • Do children's IQs differ depending on their socioeconomic status?
  • Are humans becoming more or less lazy as a result of technology?
  • Can we ever settle on Mars?
  • Do technological advances imply a weakening of the force of nature?
  • Can physicians ever be replaced by computers or robots?
  • Should people work on AI development?
  • Is the digitization of healthcare beneficial?
  • Should people be allowed to own their own DNA?
  • Will the use of robots improve our quality of life?
  • What potential advancements in cloud storage are there?

Argument Topics on Sports

We couldn't possibly miss the argumentative essay example topics on sports. Sports are a huge part of our everyday life no matter nation or gender. Examine the topic ideas below; we're sure you'll find something inspiring:

  • Why cheerleading belongs in the Olympic Games.
  • Colleges should prioritize wellness initiatives above athletics.
  • Are amateurs the only ones who practice non-contact versions of American football?
  • What character traits are important in professional football?
  • Could there be a place for women in the NFL?
  • Is it appropriate for national teams to hire players from other nations?
  • Why is women's soccer less well-liked than that played by men?
  • Are the wages of soccer players too high?
  • Is coordination more important in soccer than stamina?
  • Is the current FIFA ranking system accurate?

Argument Topics on Government

As the government is a crucial part of our society, we believe exploring, criticizing, or favoring some political policies, figures, or systems can make the best topic for an essay:

  • How should the government oversee online safety and privacy?
  • Are protests and strikes effective ways to affect how the government works?
  • Should more be done by the government to control and combat the rising issue of wealth inequality?
  • Is choosing the president of the United States through the electoral college a successful process?
  • Should the government be able to control and restrict access to weapons?
  • Should more be done by the government to advance and defend the rights of underrepresented groups?
  • Which political party do you favor in your nation and why?
  • Offer advice on the finest and most efficient strategy to deal with corruption.
  • Which political development or circumstance in the past year most affected you?
  • Should the amount of money given to political campaigns be capped to prevent rich people from exerting too much influence?

Argument Topics on TV, Movies, Video Games

Last but not least, mainstream mediums of entertainment, TV, movies, or video games can also make some effective arguable topics:

  • Do aggressive behavior and violence in society rise due to violent video games?
  • Is it damaging when mental illness is portrayed in TV and film?
  • Is the movie business doing enough to combat whitewashing?
  • Is binge-watching television programs a safe pastime?
  • Indie films: A subgenre or a way of thinking?
  • The Ethics of Making Documentary Films
  • Documentary Films: The Potential to Influence Humanity
  • The Psychosocial Effects of Walt Disney's Heroes
  • Are augmented reality and video games getting too immersive?
  • Should parents be held accountable for watching their kids' graphic or violent media exposure?

Final Words

After researching a variety of excellent essay themes, you might wish to write a well-researched paper on your favorite. Don't forget that we are always ready to help you with all types of writing projects, from selecting an argumentative essay topic to perfecting the cause and effect essay structure . Contact us with your ' write a research paper for me ' request and let us take some of the pressure off your shoulders!

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Narrative Essay Topics: 200 Best Ideas

thesis driven essay topics

Planning Guide for the Thesis-Driven Essay

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Use this guide to sort out your thinking about your thesis-driven paper.  It will help you put together the elements of a thesis statement   and move from that thesis statement to a plan for body of the paper.  As always, Peer Writing Consultants in the Writing Center are ready to help you with any stage of your project . 

Developing A Working Thesis Statement

The content in square brackets gives you an example of the information you need for each prompt. 

  • Topic:  [Solar Energy]
  • What’s your question/intriguing problem?  [Should the government step in to support solar energy development in the United States?]
  • What’s your answer/solution?  [The government should support companies in developing solar energy]
  • What are the compelling reasons readers should embrace your answer/solution?  [Solar energy is clean and renewable; it will help us reduce greenhouse gasses; the need is too vast to be met by private industry on its own]
  • Put 4 & 5 together for your thesis statement [Although it is clean and renewable, the development of solar energy poses problems too overwhelming for industry alone to solve.  Therefore, the government’s financial and scientific power should support companies to supply the nation’s future energy needs.]

Now You: 

1. Topic: 

Enter text here...

2. What’s your question/intriguing problem? 

3. What’s your answer/solution?

4. What are the compelling reasons readers should embrace your answer/solution? 

5. Put 4 & 5 together for your thesis statement

Planning the Middle of Your Paper

The reasons that support your main point become the building blocks for the body of your paper.  While high school writing may have taught you to write one paragraph per reason, it may take more than one paragraph per reason for more complicated topics. 

Compelling Reason #1 (Topic Sentence):

Evidence (List all the facts, quotations of expert testimony, analysis about facts and testimony, related to compelling reason #1).  Consider whether you need more than one paragraph to develop your reason convincingly. 

Thinking Otherwise :   Examining compelling reason #1 and evidence for it, what doubts or counterarguments might readers raise?  (Consider where and how you can refute counterarguments and/or make concessions). 

Compelling Reason #2 (Topic Sentence):

Evidence (List all the facts, quotations of expert testimony, analysis about facts and testimony, related to compelling reason #2).  Consider whether you need more than one paragraph to develop your reason convincingly. 

And so on!  Use the content on the following page as a template to keep growing your plan for as many good reasons as you have for supporting your argument. 

Compelling Reason # __ (Topic Sentence):

Evidence (List all the facts, quotations of expert testimony, analysis about facts and testimony, related to compelling reason #__).  Consider whether you need more than one paragraph to develop your reason convincingly. 

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  • What Is a Thesis? | Ultimate Guide & Examples

What Is a Thesis? | Ultimate Guide & Examples

Published on September 14, 2022 by Tegan George . Revised on November 21, 2023.

A thesis is a type of research paper based on your original research. It is usually submitted as the final step of a master’s program or a capstone to a bachelor’s degree.

Writing a thesis can be a daunting experience. Other than a dissertation , it is one of the longest pieces of writing students typically complete. It relies on your ability to conduct research from start to finish: choosing a relevant topic , crafting a proposal , designing your research , collecting data , developing a robust analysis, drawing strong conclusions , and writing concisely .

Thesis template

You can also download our full thesis template in the format of your choice below. Our template includes a ready-made table of contents , as well as guidance for what each chapter should include. It’s easy to make it your own, and can help you get started.

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Table of contents

Thesis vs. thesis statement, how to structure a thesis, acknowledgements or preface, list of figures and tables, list of abbreviations, introduction, literature review, methodology, reference list, proofreading and editing, defending your thesis, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about theses.

You may have heard the word thesis as a standalone term or as a component of academic writing called a thesis statement . Keep in mind that these are two very different things.

  • A thesis statement is a very common component of an essay, particularly in the humanities. It usually comprises 1 or 2 sentences in the introduction of your essay , and should clearly and concisely summarize the central points of your academic essay .
  • A thesis is a long-form piece of academic writing, often taking more than a full semester to complete. It is generally a degree requirement for Master’s programs, and is also sometimes required to complete a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts colleges.
  • In the US, a dissertation is generally written as a final step toward obtaining a PhD.
  • In other countries (particularly the UK), a dissertation is generally written at the bachelor’s or master’s level.

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The final structure of your thesis depends on a variety of components, such as:

  • Your discipline
  • Your theoretical approach

Humanities theses are often structured more like a longer-form essay . Just like in an essay, you build an argument to support a central thesis.

In both hard and social sciences, theses typically include an introduction , literature review , methodology section ,  results section , discussion section , and conclusion section . These are each presented in their own dedicated section or chapter. In some cases, you might want to add an appendix .

Thesis examples

We’ve compiled a short list of thesis examples to help you get started.

  • Example thesis #1:   “Abolition, Africans, and Abstraction: the Influence of the ‘Noble Savage’ on British and French Antislavery Thought, 1787-1807” by Suchait Kahlon.
  • Example thesis #2: “’A Starving Man Helping Another Starving Man’: UNRRA, India, and the Genesis of Global Relief, 1943-1947″ by Julian Saint Reiman.

The very first page of your thesis contains all necessary identifying information, including:

  • Your full title
  • Your full name
  • Your department
  • Your institution and degree program
  • Your submission date.

Sometimes the title page also includes your student ID, the name of your supervisor, or the university’s logo. Check out your university’s guidelines if you’re not sure.

Read more about title pages

The acknowledgements section is usually optional. Its main point is to allow you to thank everyone who helped you in your thesis journey, such as supervisors, friends, or family. You can also choose to write a preface , but it’s typically one or the other, not both.

Read more about acknowledgements Read more about prefaces

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An abstract is a short summary of your thesis. Usually a maximum of 300 words long, it’s should include brief descriptions of your research objectives , methods, results, and conclusions. Though it may seem short, it introduces your work to your audience, serving as a first impression of your thesis.

Read more about abstracts

A table of contents lists all of your sections, plus their corresponding page numbers and subheadings if you have them. This helps your reader seamlessly navigate your document.

Your table of contents should include all the major parts of your thesis. In particular, don’t forget the the appendices. If you used heading styles, it’s easy to generate an automatic table Microsoft Word.

Read more about tables of contents

While not mandatory, if you used a lot of tables and/or figures, it’s nice to include a list of them to help guide your reader. It’s also easy to generate one of these in Word: just use the “Insert Caption” feature.

Read more about lists of figures and tables

If you have used a lot of industry- or field-specific abbreviations in your thesis, you should include them in an alphabetized list of abbreviations . This way, your readers can easily look up any meanings they aren’t familiar with.

Read more about lists of abbreviations

Relatedly, if you find yourself using a lot of very specialized or field-specific terms that may not be familiar to your reader, consider including a glossary . Alphabetize the terms you want to include with a brief definition.

Read more about glossaries

An introduction sets up the topic, purpose, and relevance of your thesis, as well as expectations for your reader. This should:

  • Ground your research topic , sharing any background information your reader may need
  • Define the scope of your work
  • Introduce any existing research on your topic, situating your work within a broader problem or debate
  • State your research question(s)
  • Outline (briefly) how the remainder of your work will proceed

In other words, your introduction should clearly and concisely show your reader the “what, why, and how” of your research.

Read more about introductions

A literature review helps you gain a robust understanding of any extant academic work on your topic, encompassing:

  • Selecting relevant sources
  • Determining the credibility of your sources
  • Critically evaluating each of your sources
  • Drawing connections between sources, including any themes, patterns, conflicts, or gaps

A literature review is not merely a summary of existing work. Rather, your literature review should ultimately lead to a clear justification for your own research, perhaps via:

  • Addressing a gap in the literature
  • Building on existing knowledge to draw new conclusions
  • Exploring a new theoretical or methodological approach
  • Introducing a new solution to an unresolved problem
  • Definitively advocating for one side of a theoretical debate

Read more about literature reviews

Theoretical framework

Your literature review can often form the basis for your theoretical framework, but these are not the same thing. A theoretical framework defines and analyzes the concepts and theories that your research hinges on.

Read more about theoretical frameworks

Your methodology chapter shows your reader how you conducted your research. It should be written clearly and methodically, easily allowing your reader to critically assess the credibility of your argument. Furthermore, your methods section should convince your reader that your method was the best way to answer your research question.

A methodology section should generally include:

  • Your overall approach ( quantitative vs. qualitative )
  • Your research methods (e.g., a longitudinal study )
  • Your data collection methods (e.g., interviews or a controlled experiment
  • Any tools or materials you used (e.g., computer software)
  • The data analysis methods you chose (e.g., statistical analysis , discourse analysis )
  • A strong, but not defensive justification of your methods

Read more about methodology sections

Your results section should highlight what your methodology discovered. These two sections work in tandem, but shouldn’t repeat each other. While your results section can include hypotheses or themes, don’t include any speculation or new arguments here.

Your results section should:

  • State each (relevant) result with any (relevant) descriptive statistics (e.g., mean , standard deviation ) and inferential statistics (e.g., test statistics , p values )
  • Explain how each result relates to the research question
  • Determine whether the hypothesis was supported

Additional data (like raw numbers or interview transcripts ) can be included as an appendix . You can include tables and figures, but only if they help the reader better understand your results.

Read more about results sections

Your discussion section is where you can interpret your results in detail. Did they meet your expectations? How well do they fit within the framework that you built? You can refer back to any relevant source material to situate your results within your field, but leave most of that analysis in your literature review.

For any unexpected results, offer explanations or alternative interpretations of your data.

Read more about discussion sections

Your thesis conclusion should concisely answer your main research question. It should leave your reader with an ultra-clear understanding of your central argument, and emphasize what your research specifically has contributed to your field.

Why does your research matter? What recommendations for future research do you have? Lastly, wrap up your work with any concluding remarks.

Read more about conclusions

In order to avoid plagiarism , don’t forget to include a full reference list at the end of your thesis, citing the sources that you used. Choose one citation style and follow it consistently throughout your thesis, taking note of the formatting requirements of each style.

Which style you choose is often set by your department or your field, but common styles include MLA , Chicago , and APA.

Create APA citations Create MLA citations

In order to stay clear and concise, your thesis should include the most essential information needed to answer your research question. However, chances are you have many contributing documents, like interview transcripts or survey questions . These can be added as appendices , to save space in the main body.

Read more about appendices

Once you’re done writing, the next part of your editing process begins. Leave plenty of time for proofreading and editing prior to submission. Nothing looks worse than grammar mistakes or sloppy spelling errors!

Consider using a professional thesis editing service or grammar checker to make sure your final project is perfect.

Once you’ve submitted your final product, it’s common practice to have a thesis defense, an oral component of your finished work. This is scheduled by your advisor or committee, and usually entails a presentation and Q&A session.

After your defense , your committee will meet to determine if you deserve any departmental honors or accolades. However, keep in mind that defenses are usually just a formality. If there are any serious issues with your work, these should be resolved with your advisor way before a defense.

If you want to know more about AI for academic writing, AI tools, or research bias, make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples or go directly to our tools!

Research bias

  • Survivorship bias
  • Self-serving bias
  • Availability heuristic
  • Halo effect
  • Hindsight bias
  • Deep learning
  • Generative AI
  • Machine learning
  • Reinforcement learning
  • Supervised vs. unsupervised learning

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The conclusion of your thesis or dissertation shouldn’t take up more than 5–7% of your overall word count.

If you only used a few abbreviations in your thesis or dissertation , you don’t necessarily need to include a list of abbreviations .

If your abbreviations are numerous, or if you think they won’t be known to your audience, it’s never a bad idea to add one. They can also improve readability, minimizing confusion about abbreviations unfamiliar to your reader.

When you mention different chapters within your text, it’s considered best to use Roman numerals for most citation styles. However, the most important thing here is to remain consistent whenever using numbers in your dissertation .

A thesis or dissertation outline is one of the most critical first steps in your writing process. It helps you to lay out and organize your ideas and can provide you with a roadmap for deciding what kind of research you’d like to undertake.

Generally, an outline contains information on the different sections included in your thesis or dissertation , such as:

  • Your anticipated title
  • Your abstract
  • Your chapters (sometimes subdivided into further topics like literature review , research methods , avenues for future research, etc.)

A thesis is typically written by students finishing up a bachelor’s or Master’s degree. Some educational institutions, particularly in the liberal arts, have mandatory theses, but they are often not mandatory to graduate from bachelor’s degrees. It is more common for a thesis to be a graduation requirement from a Master’s degree.

Even if not mandatory, you may want to consider writing a thesis if you:

  • Plan to attend graduate school soon
  • Have a particular topic you’d like to study more in-depth
  • Are considering a career in research
  • Would like a capstone experience to tie up your academic experience

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How to Write a Thesis-driven Research Paper

What is a thesis-driven research paper? The formal thesis-driven research paper entails significant research and the use of sources located outside the course materials. Unlike a personal essay, which doesn’t require outside research because it details your feelings and opinions on a topic, a thesis-driven research paper requires you to search out the solution to a problem that you have proposed in the paper’s thesis statement and to present what you have learned through research in a well-written, coherent paper. Following are some rules of thumb to make this possible: •    Choose a suitable design and hold on to it: Planning must be a deliberate prelude to writing. o    Generate ideas to sketch a plan: Before beginning a first draft, spend some time generating ideas. Think about your subject while relaxing. Write down inspirations. Talk to others about what you plan to write. Collect information and experiment with ways of focusing and organizing it to best reach your readers. o    Assess the situation: The key elements of the writing situation include your subject, the sources of information available to you, your purpose, your audience, and constraints such as length, document design, and deadlines. •    Make the paragraph the unit of composition: o    How to Write a Good Paragraph: •    Topic Sentence: Generally, begin each paragraph either with a sentence that suggests the topic or with a sentence that helps the transition. An opening sentence should indicate by its subject the direction the paragraph is to take. As readers move into a paragraph, they need to know where they are – in relation to the whole paper – and what to expect in the sentences to come. •    Develop the Main Point: Topic sentences are generalizations in need of support, so once you’ve written a topic sentence, ask yourself, “How do I know this is true?” Your answer will suggest how to develop the paragraph. •    Use the active voice: The active voice is usually more direct and vigorous than the passive. For example: Why was the road crossed by the chicken? Compare to: Why did the chicken cross the road? Active voice is direct, bold, clear, and concise. Passive voice occurs when you make the object of an action into the subject of a sentence. For example: The lab assistant weighed the soil samples. Compare to: The soil samples were weighed by the lab assistant, OR, worse yet, The soil samples were weighed. o    Occasionally, you should prefer passive voice over active: •    Those writing in science and technology often prefer passive voice. This is because they are more interested in what happened, or what was observed, than in who did the observation. •    Political writing sometimes prefers passive voice. In any case when the action is more important than the actor, passive voice is fine. •    Lawyers sometimes prefer passive voice when, for example, defending a criminal defendant: The car was stolen, RATHER THAN Mr. Smith is charged with stealing the car or, worse yet, Mr. Smith stole the car. Lawyers avoid putting their clients’ names in the same sentence as the crime. •    Put statements in positive form: Make definite assertions. Avoid tame, colorless, hesitating, noncommittal language. o    He was not very often on time. o    COMPARE TO: He usually arrived late. •    Use definite, specific, concrete language: o    Prefer the specific to the general, the definite to the vague, the concrete to the abstract. •    The mayor spoke about the challenges of the future problems concerning the environment and world peace. •    The mayor spoke about the challenges of the future problems of famine, pollution, dwindling resources, and arms control. •    Omit needless words: Good writing is concise. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentence. This doesn’t mean that all sentences must be short or avoid all detail. Rather, every word should have a purpose.  For example, the word “that.”  Add the word that if there is any danger of misreading without it.  Otherwise, omit it: The value of a principle is the number of things [that] it will explain. •    Use plain English: Avoid legalese or other complex and difficult to understand wording when ordinary English words will work just as well.  Use English; not Latin or Greek. Use short (not long) sentences.  Keep it simple.  Explain – don’t confuse. Long, complicated sentences do not make you appear smarter. Sometimes, in fact, they do just the opposite, demonstrating that you don’t know the topic well enough to paraphrase in simple, concise, understandable language. •    Simplify: o    Write sentences that are easy to understand and clear. o    Don’t write a sentence that needs another sentence to explain it. o    Unless a date or location is critical, leave it out. o    Use very few, if any, footnotes – they distract. o    Don’t overdo it: Sparingly use ALL CAPITALS, italics, bold, and underlining. Use either italics or underlines, but never use both. Don’t use several font types. 12 point Times New Roman font is easiest to read. o    Watch the length of your paragraphs: A paragraph should seldom exceed 2/3 of a page. Shorter paragraphs are better. A long paragraph is like a speaker that drones on and on and on and on. . .

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Developing Strong Thesis Statements

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These OWL resources will help you develop and refine the arguments in your writing.

The thesis statement or main claim must be debatable

An argumentative or persuasive piece of writing must begin with a debatable thesis or claim. In other words, the thesis must be something that people could reasonably have differing opinions on. If your thesis is something that is generally agreed upon or accepted as fact then there is no reason to try to persuade people.

Example of a non-debatable thesis statement:

This thesis statement is not debatable. First, the word pollution implies that something is bad or negative in some way. Furthermore, all studies agree that pollution is a problem; they simply disagree on the impact it will have or the scope of the problem. No one could reasonably argue that pollution is unambiguously good.

Example of a debatable thesis statement:

This is an example of a debatable thesis because reasonable people could disagree with it. Some people might think that this is how we should spend the nation's money. Others might feel that we should be spending more money on education. Still others could argue that corporations, not the government, should be paying to limit pollution.

Another example of a debatable thesis statement:

In this example there is also room for disagreement between rational individuals. Some citizens might think focusing on recycling programs rather than private automobiles is the most effective strategy.

The thesis needs to be narrow

Although the scope of your paper might seem overwhelming at the start, generally the narrower the thesis the more effective your argument will be. Your thesis or claim must be supported by evidence. The broader your claim is, the more evidence you will need to convince readers that your position is right.

Example of a thesis that is too broad:

There are several reasons this statement is too broad to argue. First, what is included in the category "drugs"? Is the author talking about illegal drug use, recreational drug use (which might include alcohol and cigarettes), or all uses of medication in general? Second, in what ways are drugs detrimental? Is drug use causing deaths (and is the author equating deaths from overdoses and deaths from drug related violence)? Is drug use changing the moral climate or causing the economy to decline? Finally, what does the author mean by "society"? Is the author referring only to America or to the global population? Does the author make any distinction between the effects on children and adults? There are just too many questions that the claim leaves open. The author could not cover all of the topics listed above, yet the generality of the claim leaves all of these possibilities open to debate.

Example of a narrow or focused thesis:

In this example the topic of drugs has been narrowed down to illegal drugs and the detriment has been narrowed down to gang violence. This is a much more manageable topic.

We could narrow each debatable thesis from the previous examples in the following way:

Narrowed debatable thesis 1:

This thesis narrows the scope of the argument by specifying not just the amount of money used but also how the money could actually help to control pollution.

Narrowed debatable thesis 2:

This thesis narrows the scope of the argument by specifying not just what the focus of a national anti-pollution campaign should be but also why this is the appropriate focus.

Qualifiers such as " typically ," " generally ," " usually ," or " on average " also help to limit the scope of your claim by allowing for the almost inevitable exception to the rule.

Types of claims

Claims typically fall into one of four categories. Thinking about how you want to approach your topic, or, in other words, what type of claim you want to make, is one way to focus your thesis on one particular aspect of your broader topic.

Claims of fact or definition: These claims argue about what the definition of something is or whether something is a settled fact. Example:

Claims of cause and effect: These claims argue that one person, thing, or event caused another thing or event to occur. Example:

Claims about value: These are claims made of what something is worth, whether we value it or not, how we would rate or categorize something. Example:

Claims about solutions or policies: These are claims that argue for or against a certain solution or policy approach to a problem. Example:

Which type of claim is right for your argument? Which type of thesis or claim you use for your argument will depend on your position and knowledge of the topic, your audience, and the context of your paper. You might want to think about where you imagine your audience to be on this topic and pinpoint where you think the biggest difference in viewpoints might be. Even if you start with one type of claim you probably will be using several within the paper. Regardless of the type of claim you choose to utilize it is key to identify the controversy or debate you are addressing and to define your position early on in the paper.

114 Good Argumentative Essay Topics for Students in 2023

April 25, 2023

argumentative essay topics

The skill of writing an excellent argumentative essay is a crucial one for every high school or college student to master. Argumentative essays teach students how to organize their thoughts logically and present them in a convincing way. This skill is helpful not only for those pursuing degrees in law , international relations , or public policy , but for any student who wishes to develop their critical thinking faculties. In this article, we’ll cover what makes a good argument essay and offer several argumentative essay topics for high school and college students. Let’s begin!

What is an Argumentative Essay

An argumentative essay is an essay that uses research to present a reasoned argument on a particular subject . As with the persuasive essay , the purpose of this essay is to sway the reader to the writer’s position. A strong persuasive essay makes its point through diligent research, evidence, and logical reasoning skills.

Argumentative Essay Format

A strong argumentative essay will be based on facts, not feelings. Each of these facts should be supported by clear evidence from credible sources . Furthermore, a good argumentative essay will have an easy-to-follow structure. When organizing your argumentative essay, use this format as a guide: introduction, supporting body paragraphs, paragraphs addressing common counterarguments, and conclusion.

In the introduction , the writer presents their position and thesis statement —a sentence that summarizes the paper’s main points. The body paragraphs then draw upon supporting evidence to back up this initial statement, with each paragraph focusing on its own point. In the counterargument paragraph , the writer acknowledges and refutes opposing viewpoints. Finally, in the conclusion , the writer restates the main argument made in the thesis statement and summarizes the points of the essay. Additionally, the conclusion may offer a final proposal to persuade the reader of the essay’s position.

For more tips and tricks on formatting an argumentative essay, check out this useful guide from Khan Academy.

How to Write an Effective Argumentative Essay, Step by Step

  • Choose your topic. Use the list below to help you pick a topic. Ideally, the topic you choose will be meaningful to you.
  • Once you’ve selected your topic, it’s time to sit down and get to work! Use the library, the web, and any other resources to gather information about your argumentative essay topic. Research widely but smartly. As you go, take organized notes, marking the source of every quote and where it may fit in the scheme of your larger essay. Remember to look for possible counterarguments.
  • Outline . Using the argumentative essay format above, create an outline for your essay. Brainstorm a thesis statement covering your argument’s main points, and begin to put together the pieces of the essay, focusing on logical flow.
  • Write . Draw on your research and outline to create a solid first draft. Remember, your first draft doesn’t need to be perfect. (As Voltaire says, “Perfect is the enemy of good.”) For now, focus on getting the words down on paper.
  • Edit . Be your own critical eye. Read what you’ve written back to yourself. Does it make sense? Where can you improve? What can you cut?

Argumentative Essay Topics for Middle School, High School, and College Students

Family argumentative essay topics.

  • Should the government provide financial incentives for families to have children to address the declining birth rate?
  • Should we require parents to provide their children with a certain level of nutrition and physical activity to prevent childhood obesity?
  • Should parents implement limits on how much time their children spend playing video games?
  • Should cellphones be banned from family/holiday gatherings?
  • Should we hold parents legally responsible for their children’s actions?
  • Should children have the right to sue their parents for neglect?
  • Should parents have the right to choose their child’s religion?
  • Are spanking and other forms of physical punishment an effective method of discipline?
  • Should courts allow children to choose where they live in cases of divorce?
  • Should parents have the right to monitor teens’ activity on social media?
  • Should parents control their child’s medical treatment, even if it goes against the child’s wishes?

Education Argument Essay Topics

  • Should schools ban the use of technology like ChatGPT?
  • Are zoos unethical, or necessary for conservation and education?
  • To what degree should we hold parents responsible in the event of a school shooting?
  • Should schools offer students a set number of mental health days?
  • Should school science curriculums offer a course on combating climate change?
  • Should public libraries be allowed to ban certain books?
  • What role, if any, should prayer play in public schools?
  • Should schools push to abolish homework?
  • Are gifted and talented programs in schools more harmful than beneficial due to their exclusionary nature?
  • Should universities do away with Greek life?
  • Should schools remove artwork, such as murals, that some perceive as offensive?
  • Should the government grant parents the right to choose alternative education options for their children and use taxpayer funds to support these options?
  • Is homeschooling better than traditional schooling for children’s academic and social development?
  • Should we require schools to teach sex education to reduce teen pregnancy rates?
  • Should we require schools to provide comprehensive sex education that includes information about both homosexual and heterosexual relationships?
  • Should colleges use affirmative action and other race-conscious policies to address diversity on campus?
  • Should the government fund public universities to make higher education more accessible to low-income students?
  • Should the government fund universal preschool to improve children’s readiness for kindergarten?

Government Argumentative Essay Topics

  • Should the U.S. decriminalize prostitution?
  • Should the U.S. issue migration visas to all eligible applicants?
  • Should the federal government cancel all student loan debt?
  • Should we lower the minimum voting age? If so, to what?
  • Should the federal government abolish all laws penalizing drug production and use?
  • Should the U.S. use its military power to deter a Chinese invasion of Taiwan?
  • Should the U.S. supply Ukraine with further military intelligence and supplies?
  • Should the North and South of the U.S. split up into two regions?
  • Should Americans hold up nationalism as a critical value?
  • Should we permit Supreme Court justices to hold their positions indefinitely?
  • Should Supreme Court justices be democratically elected?
  • Is the Electoral College still a productive approach to electing the U.S. president?
  • Should the U.S. implement a national firearm registry?
  • Is it ethical for countries like China and Israel to mandate compulsory military service for all citizens?
  • Should the U.S. government implement a ranked-choice voting system?
  • Should institutions that benefited from slavery be required to provide reparations?
  • Based on the 1619 project, should history classes change how they teach about the founding of the U.S.?

Bioethics Argumentative Essay Topics

  • Should the U.S. government offer its own healthcare plan?
  • In the case of highly infectious pandemics, should we focus on individual freedoms or public safety when implementing policies to control the spread?
  • Should we legally require parents to vaccinate their children to protect public health?
  • Is it ethical for parents to use genetic engineering to create “designer babies” with specific physical and intellectual traits?
  • Should the government fund research on embryonic stem cells for medical treatments?
  • Should the government legalize assisted suicide for terminally ill patients?

Social Media Argumentative Essay Topics

  • Should the federal government increase its efforts to minimize the negative impact of social media?
  • Do social media and smartphones strengthen one’s relationships?
  • Should antitrust regulators take action to limit the size of big tech companies?
  • Should social media platforms ban political advertisements?
  • Should the federal government hold social media companies accountable for instances of hate speech discovered on their platforms?
  • Do apps such as TikTok and Instagram ultimately worsen the mental well-being of teenagers?
  • Should governments oversee how social media platforms manage their users’ data?
  • Should social media platforms like Facebook enforce a minimum age requirement for users?
  • Should social media companies be held responsible for cases of cyberbullying?
  • Should the United States ban TikTok?

Religion Argument Essay Topics

  • Should religious institutions be tax-exempt?
  • Should religious symbols such as the hijab or crucifix be allowed in public spaces?
  • Should religious freedoms be protected, even when they conflict with secular laws?
  • Should the government regulate religious practices?
  • Should we allow churches to engage in political activities?
  • Religion: a force for good or evil in the world?
  • Should the government provide funding for religious schools?
  • Is it ethical for healthcare providers to deny abortions based on religious beliefs?
  • Should religious organizations be allowed to discriminate in their hiring practices?
  • Should we allow people to opt out of medical treatments based on their religious beliefs?
  • Should the U.S. government hold religious organizations accountable for cases of sexual abuse within their community?
  • Should religious beliefs be exempt from anti-discrimination laws?
  • Should religious individuals be allowed to refuse services to others based on their beliefs or lifestyles? (As in this famous case .)

Science Argumentative Essay Topics

  • Should the world eliminate nuclear weapons?
  • Should scientists bring back extinct animals?
  • Should we hold companies fiscally responsible for their carbon footprint?
  • Should we ban pesticides in favor of organic farming methods?
  • Is it ethical to clone animals for scientific purposes?
  • Should the federal government ban all fossil fuels, despite the potential economic impact on specific industries and communities?
  • What renewable energy source should the U.S. invest more money in?
  • Should the FDA outlaw GMOs?
  • Would the world be safe if we got rid of all nuclear weapons?
  • Should we worry about artificial intelligence surpassing human intelligence?

Sports Argument Essay Topics

  • Should colleges compensate student-athletes?
  • How should sports teams and leagues address the gender pay gap?
  • Should youth sports teams do away with scorekeeping?
  • Should we ban aggressive contact sports like boxing and MMA?
  • Should professional sports associations mandate that athletes stand during the national anthem?
  • Should high schools require their student-athletes to maintain a certain GPA?
  • Should transgender athletes compete in sports according to their gender identity?
  • Should schools ban football due to the inherent danger it poses to players?

Technology Argumentative Essay Topics

  • Should sites like DALL-E compensate the artists whose work it was trained on?
  • Is social media harmful to children?
  • Should the federal government make human exploration of space a more significant priority?
  • Is it ethical for the government to use surveillance technology to monitor citizens?
  • Should websites require proof of age from their users?
  • Should we consider A.I.-generated images and text pieces of art?
  • Does the use of facial recognition technology violate individuals’ privacy?

Business Argument Essay Topics

  • Should the U.S. government phase out the use of paper money in favor of a fully digital currency system?
  • Should the federal government abolish its patent and copyright laws?
  • Should we replace the Federal Reserve with free-market institutions?
  • Is free-market ideology responsible for the U.S. economy’s poor performance over the past decade?
  • Will cryptocurrencies overtake natural resources like gold and silver?
  • Is capitalism the best economic system? What system would be better?
  • Should the U.S. government enact a universal basic income?
  • Should we require companies to provide paid parental leave to their employees?
  • Should the government raise the minimum wage?
  • Should antitrust regulators break up large companies to promote competition?
  • Is it ethical for companies to prioritize profits over social responsibility?
  • Should gig-economy workers like Uber and Lyft drivers be considered employees or independent contractors?
  • Should the federal government regulate the gig economy to ensure fair treatment of workers?
  • Should the government require companies to disclose the environmental impact of their products?

In Conclusion – Argument Essay Topics 

Using the tips above, you can effectively structure and pen a compelling argumentative essay that will wow your instructor and classmates. Remember to craft a thesis statement that offers readers a roadmap through your essay, draw on your sources wisely to back up any claims, and read through your paper several times before it’s due to catch any last-minute proofreading errors. With time, diligence, and patience, your essay will be the most outstanding assignment you’ve ever turned in…until the next one rolls around.

Looking for more fresh and engaging topics for use in the classroom? Also check out our 85 Good Debate Topics for High School Students .

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Lauren Green

With a Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing from Columbia University and an MFA in Fiction from the Michener Center for Writers at the University of Texas at Austin, Lauren has been a professional writer for over a decade. She is the author of the chapbook  A Great Dark House  (Poetry Society of America, 2023) and a forthcoming novel (Viking/Penguin).

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UMGC Effective Writing Center Write to Synthesize: The Research Essay

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  • Writing Resources

In a synthesis, you bring things together. This combination, integration, or merging creates something new--your synthesis. The action of synthesis is basic to our world. Take, for example, what happens when a single oxygen molecule is combined with two hydrogen molecules. Water is created or synthesized. Hard to get more basic than that.

You also use synthesis to make personal decisions. If two instructors are teaching a class you must take, you may synthesize your past experiences with the teachers to choose the best class for you.

Image Still for Video: Write to Synthesize: How to Combine Sources

Research Essays:

Thesis driven.

In school, when writing a synthesis from your research, your sources may come from the school's library, a textbook, or the Internet. Here are some important points to keep in mind:

First, regardless of where your sources come from or how many you have, what you write should be driven by a thesis that you devise. After reading and studying your sources, you should form a personal point of view, a slant to connect your sources.

Here's a quick example--Let's say you've read three folktales: Goldilocks and the Three Bears, Little Red Riding Hood, and the Pied Piper--and now you must write a synthesis of them. As you study the three sources, you think about links between them and come up with this thesis: 

Folktales use fear to teach children lessons.

Then you use this thesis to synthesize your three sources as you support your point of view. You combine elements from the three sources to prove and illustrate this thesis. Your support points could focus on the lessons for children:

  • Lesson 1 : Never talk to strangers.
  • Lesson 2 : Don't wander from home.
  • Lesson 3 : Appearances can deceive us.

This step of outlining your thesis and main points is a crucial one when writing a synthesis. If your goal in writing a research essay is to provide readers a unified perspective based on sources, the unified perspective must be clear before the writing begins.

Once the writing begins, your point of view is then carried through to the paragraph and sentence levels. Let's examine some techniques for achieving the unity that a good synthesis requires. First, here’s an example of an unsuccessful attempt at synthesizing sources:

Many sources agree that capital punishment is not a crime deterrent. [This is the idea around which the sources should be unified. Now comes the sources] According to Judy Pennington in an interview with Helen Prejean, crime rates in New Orleans rise for at least eight weeks following executions (110). Jimmy Dunne notes that crime rates often go up in the first two or three months following an execution. “Death in the Americas” argues that America’s crime rate as a whole has increased drastically since the re-instatement of the death penalty in the 1960s. The article notes that 700 crimes are committed for every 100,000 Americans (2). Helen Prejean cites Ellis in her book to note that in 1980, 500,000 people were behind bars and in 1990 that figure rose to 1.1 million (112).

Sample student paragraph adapted from "Literature Review: Synthesizing Multiple Sources." Retrieved 2011 from https://scholarworks.iupui.edu/items/7dda80e7-b0b3-477c-a972-283b48cfdf5c

This paragraph certainly uses a number of sources. However, the sources are presented in a random, grocery list fashion. Besides the main point at the beginning, there is no further attempt to synthesize. The sources seem tossed in, like ingredients in a salad. Let's examine a possible revision of that paragraph and how an adequate synthesis might be achieved:

Major studies suggest that capital punishment fails to deter crime. Helen Prejean, in "Deadman Walking," reviews decades of statistics that indicate capital punishment does little to lower crime. [Key idea from  topic sentence—"capital punishment fails to deter crime"— echoed in sentence about source–"capital punishment does little to lower crime." Repetition links source to main idea.] Based on this evidence, Prejean concludes “Executions do not deter crime . . . the U.S. murder rate is no higher in states that do not have the death penalty than those who do” (110). ["Based on this evidence" forces  reader to refer back to "statistics" in previous sentence.] Prejean’s point is reiterated from a historical perspective in Dunne's article “Death in the Americas.”  [This sentence provides a thought bridge between two sources.] Dunne first points out that, despite the social and economic upheavals from 1930 to 1960, crime rates were unchanged (2). [Linking phrase:"Dunne first points out"] However, after the reinstatement of the death penalty in the 1960s, “crime rates soared” (2). [Linking phase "However, Dunne notes."]

The result is a matrix of connective devices that unifies the sources around a key idea stated at the beginning. Although this matrix seems complex, it is actually built on a simple three-point strategy.

  • Stay in charge . You the writer must control the sources, using them to serve your purpose. In good synthesis writing, sources are used to support what you, the writer, have already said in your own words.
  • Stay focused . Your main point is not merely stated once and left to wilt. Your main idea is repeated and echoed throughout as a way to link the sources, to weave them together into a strong fabric of meaning.
  • Stay strategic . Notice the "source sandwich" strategy at work. First, the author sets up the source with its background and relevance to the point. After the source comes a follows up in his/her own words as a way to bridge or link to the next part. In other words, the writer's own words are used like two slices of bread, with the source in the middle.

Follow these simple principles when using sources in your writing and you will achieve the most important goal of synthesis writing--to create a whole greater than its parts.

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IB English HLE Explained

Free introductory guide to IB English Higher Level Essay (HLE) by IB44 and IB45 graduates Lareina Shen and Saesha Grover.

In this guide, LitLearn students (and 2022 IB grads!)  Lareina Shen and Saesha Grover share their wisdom on how to conquer the IB English Higher Level Essay (HLE).

Lareina achieved an IB44, and Saesha achieved an IB45 as well as the coveted IB7 in IB English Literature HL, so you are in safe hands.

Meet your instructor Jackson Huang, Founder of LitLearn. His mission is to make IB English as pain-free as possible with fun, practical lessons. Jackson scored an IB45 and was accepted to Harvard, Amherst, Williams Colleges, and full scholarships to University of Melbourne & Queensland.

Photo of LitLearn instructor Jackson Huang

What is IB English HLE?

The HL Essay (HLE) is a 1200-1500 word essay about a text studied in the IB English course. For Lang Lit, the work you choose to analyze can be literary or non-literary, but for IB English Literature the text must be literary.

The HLE will make up  25% of your final IB English HL grade , and it is graded externally. You must choose your own line of inquiry   (i.e. a question that you will answer in your HLE–more on this later).

How do I choose my text for HLE?

Do NOT choose the “easiest” text. Life is always better when you do things you're interested in, and that advice applies to the HLE, too. Choose the literary / non-literary work that interests  you the most, so that you can (semi?)-enjoy the HLE planning and writing process.

You could start by thinking of a theme that you find particularly interesting and determining which text studied in class demonstrates this theme well.

How do I choose my line of inquiry for HLE?

The line of inquiry is the core question that you will answer in your essay. A quick example might be:

"To what extent is masculinity undermined by the characterisation of Little Thomas?"

Now, it's your job to forge your destiny and come up with your own line of inquiry. But it's not a complete free-for all! There are rules. The main rule is that your line of inquiry must fall under one of the 7 main concepts of IB English (see below for a quick summary).

This summary is vague, so let's go in-depth on a couple of these concepts to really show you what you should be doing in the HLE.

Identity is what makes you, YOU. Here are some questions the concern your own personal identity:

  • What is your favourite colour? And why is it your favourite?
  • What makes you different from others? Why do you think these qualities came to be?
  • How would someone describe you in three words?

Now apply this same logic to characters within your text.

  • How would you describe this character in three words?
  • How do their actions within a text influence your view of their identity?
  • How has the author crafted this character to make you view the character in a certain way?

Let's take a look at a concrete example of how we might choose evidence and quotes for a HLE on cultural identity. This example is based on a Vietnamese work in translation “Ru” by author Kim Thúy. For context, “Ru” is an autobiographical fictional account which explores Kim Thúy's move from Vietnam to Canada as an immigrant and her consequent struggles. The structure of her novel is largely lyrical and poetic.

Let's look at a section from her novel that may help us come up with an essay idea based on the concept of Identity. When she returns to Vietnam, she attends a restaurant, however this becomes a major awakening for her in terms of how she views her own personal identity. Kim narrates within her novel:

The first time I carried a briefcase, the first time I went to a restaurant school for young adults in Hanoi, wearing heels and a straight skirt, the waiter for my table didn't understand why I was speaking Vietnamese with him. Page 77, Rú

This is a perfect quote for the Identity concept. Can you see why? Let's think through it together…

Why would the waiter be confused if Kim, a “briefcase”-carrying individual in “heels” and a “straight skirt”, was speaking Vietnamese with him?

What does being “Vietnamese” look like to the waiter? Why does Kim not conform to his expectation? Was it perhaps due to what she was wearing?

Now, if we look at the section which follows this in the novel, we are able to see the impact this had on the character of Kim's sense of identity.

the young waiter reminded me that I couldn't have everything, that I no longer had the right to declare I was Vietnamese because I no longer had their fragility, their uncertainty, their fears. And he was right to remind me. Page 77, Rú

Here, we can clearly see that this character is now questioning her Vietnamese cultural identity. This is just one example that demonstrates the concept of Identity.

Culture seems to be this confusing thing.  Does it have to do with religion? Race? Beliefs? What does it mean? Does the monster from Frankenstein fit into a certain culture?

The easiest way to put it is this:  Culture is the way someone lives. It is their “way of life.” Think of it as an umbrella term. “Culture” can include so many different things; the list just goes on, for example religion, values, customs, beliefs, cuisine, etc.

Now think, how would I form an essay from this concept?

  • When you read a text in class, you will notice that authors let you form an opinion on the culture of certain characters or groups within a text, but how is this done?
  • How does the author represent the culture of a certain community?
  • What types of patterns in daily routines are discussed?

It seems odd writing an essay about “creativity” because… like… how can anyone definitively say what ‘counts' as being creative–or not? When I say the word creativity , I think of new inventions, or maybe those weird and wacky art installations living inside those ‘modern art' museums. But hey, what's creative to me might not be creative to you!

thesis driven essay topics

When formulating a HLE on the concept of creativity we have two main pointers for you. Look for:

  • Interesting + Unique techniques or literary devices used within a text by the author. You can learn more in the  Learn Analysis section of LitLearn.
  • Recurring stylistic choices by the author

Now, for this concept, let's look at how we might select supportive evidence and quotations for a HLE on creativity within the narrative style of author Mary Shelley in “Frankenstein”. The narrative style uses  epistolary narration . This is a narrative technique in which a story is told through letters. This was something that I found both interesting and recurring within Frankenstein, which I believe worked to create a personal touch within the novel.

Additionally, Mary Shelley allows different characters to narrate Frankenstein during different volumes. Let's investigate this! I have written out different character profiles of the narrators below:

thesis driven essay topics

These 3 characters, each relate a part of the novel Frankenstein. This is an example of a creative authorial choice that allows us, as readers to explore different points of view within the text. This is just one example of a creative aspect of a text which you can analyze for your HLE.

Representation

Representation is all about how something is  portrayed, conveyed, shown, described, illustrated, depicted . There are many different things that can be ‘represented' within a text, and it doesn't have to be tangible.

For instance, you can look at how a belief, idea or attitude is depicted within a text through different characters or devices.

Again, let's explore a concrete example to make things clear: this time the graphic novel “Persepolis”. We'll consider an HLE on how a text  represents the  impact of political turmoil on society .

Chapter 10 of “Persepolis” highlights societal changes occurring due to the Iranian Revolution. The panels below list the authorial choices relevant to the negative representation of political change in a society. When looking at the techniques highlighted in the slides below, think about how you feel when you look at the panels below. Can you sense a more positive or negative feeling?

thesis driven essay topics

Cool, but what do we do to turn all this into an actual HL essay? Here is a sample response. The introduction might begin like this:

In the captivating graphic novel “Persepolis,” the author Marjane Satrapi explores the social and political impacts of the Iranian revolution. In particular, Satrapi conveys a disapproving viewpoint on political turmoil within the text. Throughout the graphic novel, Satrapi carefully represents how social isolation, hypocrisy and confusion is experienced by a young girl living in Tehran, as a result of political turmoil.  Example HLE Introduction

Then, in a body paragraph, on one of the key ideas mentioned above, we could analyze the different literary techniques. For example, Panel 1 is a great representation of the experience of confusion in the midst of political turmoil:

Marji is the younger girl pictured in the panels above. While her parents appear quite concerned by the news on the TV, she appears to not be in full comprehension of the cause for their distress. This is demonstrated by the visual imagery and dialogue, in panel 7, for instance, if you observe the facial expressions by each of the characters. Example of analysis in body paragraph

This is just a short example from one particular text. To help you unpack any text, try look for the following when analyzing chapter to chapter:

  • What is the main idea of the chapter?
  • Why did the author write it? What purpose does it serve?
  • What do you believe is the overarching importance of the passage?

Brainstorming Tips

If you're having trouble picking your text and line of inquiry, then use this simple 20-minute process to brainstorm potential questions for your HLE:

  • For each text / non-literary work, go through each concept in the table below.
  • Write down a question for each of the two prompts for each category.
  • Repeat for all of your texts.
  • Pick the question-text combination that has the greatest potential for strong analysis.

How do I ensure my HLE question has a good scope?

Choosing a question with good scope is extremely   important, and it's one of the biggest challenges in the HLE. Here's why:

  • If your scope is too broad , you may have too much to write about in order to answer the question, and therefore you won't be able to write deep analysis (which is super important–more on this later…)
  • If your scope is too narrow , you may not have enough to write about and end up overanalyzing unnecessary and obscure details. Also something to avoid!

So, to help you get the balance just right , here are three examples of HLE questions, specifically for the concept of  Identity which we mentioned in the table above (by the way, the example is a made-up novel for illustration purposes).

  • Too broad: “How does Irene Majov in her novel  Deadly Men effectively make her narrator a powerful mouthpiece?”
  • Too narrow: “How does Irene Majov in her novel  Deadly Men effectively make her narrator a powerful mouthpiece for the concerns of Asian-Americans toward discrimination in the workforce in the 21st century?”
  • Just right: “How does Irene Majov in her novel  Deadly Men effectively make her narrator a powerful mouthpiece for the concerns of Asian-Americans in the 21st century?”

How to get a 7 on IB English HLE

There are many things that contribute to a 7 in your HLE and your IB English grade overall. But if we had to boil it down to one secret, one essential fact… then it'd have to be this: Get really good at analysis .

Analysis is the key to a 7 in IB English. It doesn't matter if it's Paper 1, Paper 2, HLE, IO… You must learn how to analyze quotes at a deep level, and structure your analysis in a way that flows and delights your teachers and examiners.

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Finding Quotes

Also, you'll need to find good quotes for your text. Some good sources where you can find relevant quotes include  Goodreads , SparkNotes ,  LitCharts , and Cliffnotes . Of course, you could just find quotes yourself directly–this will ensure your quotes are unique.

Understanding the IB English HLE rubric

An essential step to getting a high mark on the HL Essay is understanding the rubric! It is SO important that you know what IB English examiners are looking for when grading your essay, as this helps you to shape the content of your essay to match (or even exceed) their expectations.

The IB English HL Essay is graded out of 20 marks . There are 4 criteria, each worth 5 marks.

Use the checklist below to make sure you're not making simple mistakes! Note that this is not the official marking criteria, and I strongly recommend that you reading the official rubric provided by your teacher.

Criterion A: Knowledge, understanding, and interpretation

  • Accurate summary of text in introduction
  • Focused and informative thesis statement
  • Effective and relevant quotes
  • Relevant and effective summary and ending statement in conclusion

Criterion B: Analysis and evaluation

  • Relevant analysis of a variety of stylistic features 
  • Relevant analysis of tone and/or atmosphere
  • Relevant analysis of broader authorial choices i.e. characterization, point of view, syntax, irony, etc.

Criterion C: Focus, organization, and development

  • Introduction, body paragraphs, conclusion
  • Organized body paragraphs – topic sentence, evidence, concluding statement/link to question
  • Appropriate progression of ideas and arguments in which evidence (i.e. quotes) are effectively implemented

Criterion D: Language

  • Use expansions (e.g. “do not”) instead of contractions (e.g. “don't”)
  • Use of a variety of connecting phrases e.g. “furthermore”, “nonetheless”, “however”, etc.
  • Complete sentence structures and subject-verb agreement
  • Correct usage of punctuation
  • Appropriate register – no slang
  • Historic present tense : the use of present tense when recounting past events. For example, we want to write “In  The Hunger Games , Peeta and Katniss work   together to win as a district” instead of using the word “worked”.
  • Avoid flowery/dictionary language just to sound smart; it is distracting and difficult to read. As long as you concisely communicate your message using appropriate language, you will score a high mark under this criterion.

Here's everything we discussed:

  • IB English HLE is tough work! Start early.
  • Brainstorm using the table of concepts to come up with a strong HLE question. Don't give up on this!
  • Analysis is the key to a 7 in IB English HLE (and in fact all IB English assessment). Check out LitLearn's course  Learn Analysis for IB English   for immediate help on the exact steps to improve in IB English analysis.

Good luck, and may the odds be ever in your favor 💪

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Your thesis is the central claim in your essay—your main insight or idea about your source or topic. Your thesis should appear early in an academic essay, followed by a logically constructed argument that supports this central claim. A strong thesis is arguable, which means a thoughtful reader could disagree with it and therefore needs your careful analysis of the evidence to understand how you arrived at this claim. You arrive at your thesis by examining and analyzing the evidence available to you, which might be text or other types of source material.

A thesis will generally respond to an analytical question or pose a solution to a problem that you have framed for your readers (and for yourself). When you frame that question or problem for your readers, you are telling them what is at stake in your argument—why your question matters and why they should care about the answer . If you can explain to your readers why a question or problem is worth addressing, then they will understand why it’s worth reading an essay that develops your thesis—and you will understand why it’s worth writing that essay.

A strong thesis will be arguable rather than descriptive , and it will be the right scope for the essay you are writing. If your thesis is descriptive, then you will not need to convince your readers of anything—you will be naming or summarizing something your readers can already see for themselves. If your thesis is too narrow, you won’t be able to explore your topic in enough depth to say something interesting about it. If your thesis is too broad, you may not be able to support it with evidence from the available sources.

When you are writing an essay for a course assignment, you should make sure you understand what type of claim you are being asked to make. Many of your assignments will be asking you to make analytical claims , which are based on interpretation of facts, data, or sources.

Some of your assignments may ask you to make normative claims. Normative claims are claims of value or evaluation rather than fact—claims about how things should be rather than how they are. A normative claim makes the case for the importance of something, the action that should be taken, or the way the world should be. When you are asked to write a policy memo, a proposal, or an essay based on your own opinion, you will be making normative claims.

Here are some examples of possible thesis statements for a student's analysis of the article “The Case Against Perfection” by Professor Michael Sandel.  

Descriptive thesis (not arguable) 

While Sandel argues that pursuing perfection through genetic engineering would decrease our sense of humility, he claims that the sense of solidarity we would lose is also important.

This thesis summarizes several points in Sandel’s argument, but it does not make a claim about how we should understand his argument. A reader who read Sandel’s argument would not also need to read an essay based on this descriptive thesis.  

Broad thesis (arguable, but difficult to support with evidence) 

Michael Sandel’s arguments about genetic engineering do not take into consideration all the relevant issues.

This is an arguable claim because it would be possible to argue against it by saying that Michael Sandel’s arguments do take all of the relevant issues into consideration. But the claim is too broad. Because the thesis does not specify which “issues” it is focused on—or why it matters if they are considered—readers won’t know what the rest of the essay will argue, and the writer won’t know what to focus on. If there is a particular issue that Sandel does not address, then a more specific version of the thesis would include that issue—hand an explanation of why it is important.  

Arguable thesis with analytical claim 

While Sandel argues persuasively that our instinct to “remake” (54) ourselves into something ever more perfect is a problem, his belief that we can always draw a line between what is medically necessary and what makes us simply “better than well” (51) is less convincing.

This is an arguable analytical claim. To argue for this claim, the essay writer will need to show how evidence from the article itself points to this interpretation. It’s also a reasonable scope for a thesis because it can be supported with evidence available in the text and is neither too broad nor too narrow.  

Arguable thesis with normative claim 

Given Sandel’s argument against genetic enhancement, we should not allow parents to decide on using Human Growth Hormone for their children.

This thesis tells us what we should do about a particular issue discussed in Sandel’s article, but it does not tell us how we should understand Sandel’s argument.  

Questions to ask about your thesis 

  • Is the thesis truly arguable? Does it speak to a genuine dilemma in the source, or would most readers automatically agree with it?  
  • Is the thesis too obvious? Again, would most or all readers agree with it without needing to see your argument?  
  • Is the thesis complex enough to require a whole essay's worth of argument?  
  • Is the thesis supportable with evidence from the text rather than with generalizations or outside research?  
  • Would anyone want to read a paper in which this thesis was developed? That is, can you explain what this paper is adding to our understanding of a problem, question, or topic?
  • picture_as_pdf Thesis

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  1. 002 Essay Example Thesis Driven ~ Thatsnotus

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  5. 15 Thesis Statement Examples to Inspire Your Next Argumentative Essay

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  5. Thesis Statement| English Essay by Dr Arif Javid

  6. PhD Thesis Defense. Vadim Sotskov

COMMENTS

  1. PDF Thesis-Driven Essays

    Since thesis-driven essays are prevalent across disciplines, you may see them referred to by different names: an analytical paper, an expository paper, or an argumentative paper.1 The main purpose of a thesis-driven essay is to make an argument or prove a point.

  2. How to Write a Thesis Statement

    A thesis statement is a sentence that summarizes the central point of your paper or essay. It usually comes near the end of your introduction. Learn how to write a thesis statement for different types of essays, such as argumentative or expository, with four simple steps and examples.

  3. 130 New Prompts for Argumentative Writing

    1. Do Memes Make the Internet a Better Place? 2. Does Online Public Shaming Prevent Us From Being Able to Grow and Change? 3. How Young Is Too Young to Use Social Media? 4. Should the Adults in...

  4. PDF Thesis Statements and Topic Sentences

    A thesis driven essay is comprised of an initial thesis statement that establishes a claim or argument, and ensuing topic sentences that support and develop that claim.

  5. 50 Great Argumentative Essay Topics for Any Assignment

    50 Great Argumentative Essay Topics for Any Assignment Posted by Melissa Brinks General Education At some point, you're going to be asked to write an argumentative essay. An argumentative essay is exactly what it sounds like—an essay in which you'll be making an argument, using examples and research to back up your point.

  6. 130 Unique Argumentative Essay Topics: How to Pick Out One

    February 14, 2023 8 min read Share the article Defining What Is an Argumentative Essay Imagine the following scenario: You just got into an argument with your friend over climate change. You said that this is an actual issue that poses significant threats to our environment and world population.

  7. Planning Guide for the Thesis-Driven Essay

    Planning Guide for the Thesis-Driven Essay Use this guide to sort out your thinking about your thesis-driven paper. It will help you put together the elements of a thesis statement and move from that thesis statement to a plan for body of the paper.

  8. PDF Thesis

    Thesis Your thesis is the central claim in your essay—your main insight or idea about your source or topic. Your thesis should appear early in an academic essay, followed by a logically constructed argument that supports this central claim. A strong thesis is arguable, which means a thoughtful reader could disagree with it and therefore needs

  9. What Is a Thesis?

    A thesis statement is a very common component of an essay, particularly in the humanities. It usually comprises 1 or 2 sentences in the introduction of your essay, and should clearly and concisely summarize the central points of your academic essay. A thesis is a long-form piece of academic writing, often taking more than a full semester to ...

  10. Developing a Thesis Statement

    A thesis statement . . . Makes an argumentative assertion about a topic; it states the conclusions that you have reached about your topic. Makes a promise to the reader about the scope, purpose, and direction of your paper. Is focused and specific enough to be "proven" within the boundaries of your paper. Is generally located near the end ...

  11. How to Write a Thesis-driven Research Paper

    Unlike a personal essay, which doesn't require outside research because it details your feelings and opinions on a topic, a thesis-driven research paper requires you to search out the solution to a problem that you have proposed in the paper's thesis statement and to present what you have learned through research in a well-written, coherent paper.

  12. Strong Thesis Statements

    This is a much more manageable topic. We could narrow each debatable thesis from the previous examples in the following way: Narrowed debatable thesis 1: At least 25 percent of the federal budget should be spent on helping upgrade business to clean technologies, researching renewable energy sources, and planting more trees in order to control ...

  13. How to Write an A+ Thesis-Driven Paper

    Thesis-Driven Writing Writing a good paper is a process, but it doesn't have to be full of frustration. Here are a few tips that, with practice, will help you take the anxiety out of writing that dreaded paper. A good thesis has clarity, concision, significance, and modesty. 1. Find a Topic and Narrow a Thesis

  14. 30 Persuasive Thesis Statement Examples to Persuade

    1. Is a college education necessary? A college education is not the right choice for everyone, as many students graduate with a large amount of student debt and limited job opportunities. 2. Does Facebook (or other forms of social media) create isolation?

  15. PDF Introductions and Conclusions for a Thesis-Driven Essay

    1. Start with a hook, one to three sentences. This can be a question, a quote, a brief story, an interesting fact, a historical example, or anything that will capture the attention of your reader. 2. Introduce the topic or issue you will explore.

  16. 114 Good Argumentative Essay Topics for Students in 2023

    An argumentative essay is an essay that uses research to present a reasoned argument on a particular subject. As with the persuasive essay, the purpose of this essay is to sway the reader to the writer's position. A strong persuasive essay makes its point through diligent research, evidence, and logical reasoning skills. Argumentative Essay ...

  17. Write to Synthesize: The Research Essay

    Research Essays: Thesis Driven. In school, when writing a synthesis from your research, your sources may come from the school's library, a textbook, or the Internet. ... [Key idea from topic sentence—"capital punishment fails to deter crime"— echoed in sentence about source-"capital punishment does little to lower crime." Repetition links ...

  18. How to Write a Thesis Paper

    Overview of thesis paper. Any thesis-driven essay can be called a thesis paper. Mostly, the term thesis paper is used in reference to the lengthy work written at the end of a master's program. While writing a thesis paper, keeping a running list of the sources consulted, often in the form of an annotated bibliography, is very helpful.

  19. Thesis Generator

    Include an opposing viewpoint to your main idea, if applicable. A good thesis statement acknowledges that there is always another side to the argument. So, include an opposing viewpoint (a counterargument) to your opinion. Basically, write down what a person who disagrees with your position might say about your topic.

  20. IB English Higher Level Essay (HLE) Explained

    The HL Essay (HLE) is a 1200-1500 word essay about a text studied in the IB English course. For Lang Lit, the work you choose to analyze can be literary or non-literary, but for IB English Literature the text must be literary. The HLE will make up 25% of your final IB English HL grade, and it is graded externally.

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  23. Thesis

    Your thesis is the central claim in your essay—your main insight or idea about your source or topic. Your thesis should appear early in an academic essay, followed by a logically constructed argument that supports this central claim.

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