How To Write An Argumentative Thesis For A College Paper

An argument is defined as a lively discussion of two parties that disagree. In the college setting, this resultsin a debate. Ideally, an argumentative thesis will provide a position and try to support it with facts and reason, thereby convincing the reader of the validity of the claim that the thesis sets forth. Those who don't accept the proposition would then offer their own facts and reasoning. In reality, the most likely outcome of an argumentative thesis is heated and thinly veiled personal attacks. Avoiding this approach is advisable as assertiveness trumps aggression any day.

The topic in question form

To avoid this outcome, the thesis itself needs to pose a question that can be answered both for and against the proposition in a reasonable way. An example of a bad argumentative thesis topic is: "Oxygen is good for the health of humans". Since there are no rational arguments against the benefits of oxygen, nobody is going to accept a debate that cannot be won, making the whole process a futile endeavor from the start. On the other hand, a good topic invites discussion, for example: "Globalization is a positive process that encourages economic growth". Some would disagree with this notion, which makes it a viable topic for debate.

Narrow your topic

After the thesis topic has been chosen, it's time to narrow the scope of it. In general, there is no such thing as a ‘too specific’ argumentative thesis. Too broad a thesis makes collecting evidence, both for and against it, very hard. Since there are exceptions to everything, make sure you account for them in your thesis. A good argumentative thesis should be inclusive of all arguments.

The angle of your argument

Next, determine the points where the thesis can be argued. A good thesis will have several ways to disagree or agree. For example, the previously mentioned globalization thesis can be argued on the basis of what globalization is—whether it is a positive process or not, and whether it encourages growth and economic growth. The exact approach to any thesis depends on the knowledge the writer has on the topic.

Remember that the goal of an argumentative thesis written for a college paper is always to create such environment that promotes and encourages critical thinking. There are no wrong or right answers to this type of thesis. The only relevant element is the ability to expound and support one's argument with reason, data, facts and logic. Whoever can do that is the actual winner in any argument, whether verbal or written.