It goes on many names—the scientific study, the persuasive essay, the definition of paper—but all mean the same: you’re writing an argument.

It goes on many names—the scientific study, the persuasive essay, the definition of paper—but all mean the same: you’re writing an argument.

Before you decide to wrench in agony, know that a smart approach and planning phase (such as the one you’re in at this time) could make the process of writing a quarrel approachable, even enjoyable.

Choose your topic—carefully. Check your ideas from the following three criteria before finalizing your topic:

•Your topic should be arguable. The phrase “everything’s a disagreement” just isn’t quite true—most things are, but not everything. Take the common high school editorial topic of “cliques are bad”: it’s a typical opinion, sure, but who really disagrees? Your topic should be debatable; there must be an obvious argument that is opposing others support. Ask yourself: who would oppose me? Why? •Your topic needs to be contemporary and relevant. Arguments try not to exist in a vacuum; they arise because people of varied beliefs interact with one another each and every day (or just bump heads). Your essay, no matter if it really is about the past, should connect with values and ideas of the present. Turn to current events or issues for inspiration—what’s going on in the field that’s inspiring discussion and/or disagreement? Ask yourself: does my topic matter to people right now?

Continue Reading