People argue all the time—over what movie to see, what to have for dinner

People argue all the time—over what movie to see, what to have for dinner, whom to vote for. Individuals generally have strong opinions, and many don’t hesitate to express them.

People argue all the time—over what movie to see, what to have for dinner

People argue all the time—over what movie to see, what to have for dinner, whom to vote for.

Individuals generally have strong opinions, and many don’t hesitate to express them.

Your friend doesn’t want to see the same movie you do because he doesn’t like gory horror.

Also, your partner wants to eat at a restaurant that serves healthy food. Your co-worker won’t vote for any candidate who doesn’t support universal healthcare.

The argument essay is an amplified version of those types of arguments you have with family, friends, and co-workers each day.

The difference is that you’ll be conducting research and using the information you find to explain a problem and then provide a solution.

The argument essay is 1,600–1,800 words and must incorporate a minimum of four secondary sources.

There’s no graded prewriting assignment for your argument essay.

Assignment Objectives

Use prewriting, drafting, revising, and editing to write a formal, college-level essay.

Distinguish among different patterns of development.

Apply an appropriate pattern of development to a specific purpose and audience.

Write an effective thesis statement.

Develop paragraphs using topic sentences, adequate detail, supporting evidence, and transitions.

Employ responsible research methods to locate appropriate secondary sources.

Quote, paraphrase, and summarize secondary source material correctly and appropriately.

Use APA (American Psychological Association) citation and documentation style to reference secondary source material correctly and appropriately.

Apply the conventions of standard written American English to produce a correct, well-written essay.


Choose one of the following topics. Each topic focuses on a current problem that many students face.

The high cost of college or student loan debt
The lack of proper nutrition
Low minimum wage
You may narrow the focus of your topic as you see fit.

Purpose and Audience

The purpose of your essay is to identify, define, and analyze the problem, and then provide a solution to address it. You’ll use the third-person point of view.

Your audience is made up of your fellow Penn Foster classmates. Many will agree with you, while others will disagree. You need to present evidence to support your analysis and solution, and convince your audience through the strength of your argument and the feasibility of your solution, to side with you.

Research Requirement

You’re required to use a minimum of four secondary sources in your essay. Use the Research Writing and Citation and Documentation webinar, Journal Entry 16, and the Argument Essay Research Worksheet to help start your research and also organize your essay.

The required secondary sources are

At least two articles from Penn Foster’s digital library database, Gale Academic OneFile Select
At least one nonprofit or government organization (online or print). Look for website domains .org, .edu, and .gov.
One source that you choose.

Remember that all sources, no matter where they come from, should be evaluated for accuracy and validity. You may use more than four sources, but you should avoid using more than six. Borrowing too much from too many sources will overwhelm your voice in your essay and negatively affect your grade. It could also lead to plagiarism.


Once you’ve chosen your topic, read through the Argument Essay slideshow and watch the Argument Essay Instructions video. You should also complete the Argument Essay Worksheet. This doesn’t need to be turned in, but you should find it helpful.
You should develop your thesis statement, choose a method of organization, create an outline or graphic organizer, and also begin drafting your essay.

As you draft your essay, ensure that you’re incorporating your sources accurately and responsibly.

Remember to include the sources you use in your essay in your list of references.

You’ll be using APA citation and documentation style to give credit to your sources.

Begin with an introduction that gives a broad overview of your topic. End this introduction with a thesis statement. Your thesis statement must make your argument and name three supporting reasons. These reasons must be named in the same order they’re discussed in the body paragraphs.

Each body paragraph must describe one reason, with the exception of the last body paragraph before the conclusion; this paragraph must consider your opposition.

Finally, end with a conclusion that reinforces your thesis statement and names your three reasons.

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