2000 word Research Essay about can money buy happiness? The instructions2000 wordsUSE 6 sourcesUSE Professional SourcesUSE Counter argumentSupport the counter argumentThese steps are available in the powerpoint that I will post Please read the Power points.Essay OrganizationSix Paragraph Essay (minimum)Introduction:A. Overview of issue. What is the debate?B. Thesis statement. What is your opinion?C. Statement of three supporting reasons.Body: Paragraphs 2, 3, & 4. Support.Paragraph 5: Counterarguments(Counter can alternatively follow the introduction, as paragraph 2).Conclusion.Thesis Is Not a question,fact or belief.Thesis Must Be Arguable, Defensible, Narrowed/Qualified,or Actionable.Supporting Counter argument Statistics•Numerical data is a great item touse in support of an argumentCould be in the form of polls, surveys, ratios, percentages•Sources for statisticscan include news organizations, government agencies, school, local governments, industries, special interest groups, etc.In conclusion try to propose a solution, or supply additional information,or encouragethe reader to take action. A strong conclusion makes the whole essay strong.



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Why do we use counterarguments?
• When you write an academic essay, you make
an argument: you propose a thesis and offer
some reasoning, using evidence, which
suggests why the thesis is true. When you
counter-argue, you consider a possible
argument against your thesis or some aspect
of your reasoning.
Why do we use counterarguments?
• This is a good way to test your ideas when
drafting, while you still have time to revise
them. And in the finished essay, it can be a
persuasive and (in both senses of the word)
disarming tactic. It allows you to anticipate
doubts and pre-empt objections that a
skeptical reader might have.
Why do we use counterarguments?
• It presents you as the kind of person who
weighs alternatives before arguing for one,
who confronts difficulties instead of sweeping
them under the rug, who is more interested in
discovering the truth than winning a point.
Do I need one?
• Not every objection is worth entertaining, of
course, and you shouldn’t include one just to
include one. But some imagining of other
views, or of resistance to one’s own, occurs in
most good essays. And instructors are glad to
encounter counterargument in student
papers, even if they haven’t specifically asked
for it.
The Turn Against
• Counterargument in an essay has two stages: you turn
against your argument to challenge it and then you
turn back to re-affirm it. You first imagine a skeptical
reader, or cite an actual source, who might resist your
argument by pointing out
– a problem with your demonstration, e.g., that a different
conclusion could be drawn from the same facts, a key
assumption is unwarranted, a key term is used unfairly,
certain evidence is ignored or played down;
– one or more disadvantages or practical drawbacks to what
you propose;
– an alternative explanation or proposal that makes more
The Turn Against
• You introduce this turn against with a phrase
like One might object here that… or It might seem
that… or It’s true that… or Admittedly,… or Of
course,… or with an anticipated challenging
question: But how…? or But why…? or But isn’t
this just…? or But if this is so, what about…? Then
you state the case against yourself as briefly but
as clearly and forcefully as you can, pointing to
evidence where possible. (An obviously feeble or
perfunctory counterargument does more harm
than good.)
The Turn Back
• Your return to your own argument—which you announce with
a but, yet, however, nevertheless or still—must likewise involve
careful reasoning, not a flippant (or nervous) dismissal. In reasoning
about the proposed counterargument, you may
– refute it, showing why it is mistaken—an apparent but not real
– acknowledge its validity or plausibility, but suggest why on balance it’s
relatively less important or less likely than what you propose, and thus
doesn’t overturn it;
– concede its force and complicate your idea accordingly—restate your
thesis in a more exact, qualified, or nuanced way that takes account of
the objection, or start a new section in which you consider your topic
in light of it. This will work if the counterargument concerns only an
aspect of your argument; if it undermines your whole case, you need a
new thesis.
Where to Put a Counterargument
• Counterargument can appear anywhere in the essay, but it
most commonly appears
– as part of your introduction—before you propose your thesis—
where the existence of a different view is the motive for your
essay, the reason it needs writing;
– as a section or paragraph just after your introduction, in which
you lay out the expected reaction or standard position before
turning away to develop your own;
– as a quick move within a paragraph, where you imagine a
counterargument not to your main idea but to the sub-idea that
the paragraph is arguing or is about to argue;
– as a section or paragraph just before the conclusion of your
essay, in which you imagine what someone might object to what
you have argued.
• But watch that you don’t overdo it. A turn into
counterargument here and there will sharpen
and energize your essay, but too many such
turns will have the reverse effect by obscuring
your main idea or suggesting that you’re
Counterargument in Pre-Writing and
• Good thinking constantly questions itself, as
Socrates observed long ago. But at some point in
the process of composing an essay, you need to
switch off the questioning in your head and make
a case. Having such an inner conversation during
the drafting stage, however, can help you settle
on a case worth making. As you consider possible
theses and begin to work on your draft, ask
yourself how an intelligent person might plausibly
disagree with you or see matters differently.
When you can imagine an intelligent
disagreement, you have an arguable idea.
Considering What Others Think
• And, of course, the disagreeing reader doesn’t need to be
in your head: if, as you’re starting work on an essay, you ask
a few people around you what they think of topic X (or of
your idea about X) and keep alert for uncongenial remarks
in class discussion and in assigned readings, you’ll
encounter a useful disagreement somewhere. Awareness
of this disagreement, however you use it in your essay, will
force you to sharpen your own thinking as you compose. If
you come to find the counterargument truer than your
thesis, consider making it your thesis and turning your
original thesis into a counterargument. If you manage to
draft an essay without imagining a counterargument, make
yourself imagine one before you revise and see if you can
integrate it.
• Copyright 1999, Gordon Harvey (adapted
from The Academic Essay: A Brief Anatomy),
for the Writing Center at Harvard University
Using information to
strengthen our
Supporting our position
• We already determined the best way
to defend an argument is to build
strong walls of defense against the
counterarguments, or just like the
Alamo, our cause will fail. But what
do we use to build these walls of
• Numerical data is a great item to use in
support of an argument
• Could be in the form of polls, surveys,
ratios, percentages
• Sources for statistics can include news
organizations, government agencies,
school, local governments, industries,
special interest groups, etc.
Statistics (cont.)
• When you use statistics, you must include:
– Source of your statistics. Not all sources are
created equally.
– Date. Keep in mind some statistics a few
years old may be the most current.
– Interpretation. Numbers do not speak for
themselves. Consider comparing with older
statistics to find trends. If you think the
statistics support your argument, say how.
• If you know of a person, or a place, or a situation that
demonstrates what you are arguing, you can give this
information as an example.
– Health care debate, Canada and Great Britain were
often given as examples of countries with government
run systems.
– Sports stadiums, examples of cities that have
benefited from supporting new stadiums (or the
opposite, depending on your argument).
– Smoking bans, examples of what other campuses
have adopted and how well it is working.
• Most of our support for argumentative essays typically
comes from experts, also called authorities. We quote
the expert’s opinion, in order to support our own.
– Education, professional positions, and publications
are good indications of a person’s expertise.
– Publications are very important, since this is how we
access most of the opinions of experts.
– If the expert contradicts your point, consider using
that expert in your counterargument.
• The last three items we use to build support for
our arguments all deal with logic. Since we are
critical thinkers, we need information that
appeals to logic.
• However, logic is also very good at dismissing
arguments. Sometimes it is good to balance the
logical support with something that appeals to
the emotions.
• By using an anecdote, or small story, we put a
face on our position.
Anecdotes (cont.)
• Anecdotes come in three varieties:
– 1st person. This is something that actually happened
to you, and can be used when appropriate.
– 3rd person. These are any stories we use that are not
ours. Can include friends and relatives, but could
also be something we overheard, or even read or
heard on the radio.
– Hypothetical. Not real, but important that it is
plausible. Best to introduce with expression like “one
can imagine a situation where…” Critical readers
should look for hypothetical anecdotes not so
Using Reasons to Support Our Positions

What topics are people debating about
Can be global, national, statewide, regional,
or local issues.
Topics are very general and lack information
about the issues that are being debated.
Topics do not state a position.

Death Penalty
Immigration (Border fence,
Dream Act)
Affordable Care Act
Stem Cell Research
Spanking Children
War in Afghanistan

Animal Testing
Red Light Cameras
Drinking Age
Marriage Equality Issues
Cost of Textbooks
Cost of Tuition
Availability of Classes
Smoking on Campus
Minimum Wage Issues
Freedom of Speech
GE Requirements
 What
are some other topics you
are considering?

Once a controversial topic has been selected,
determine what issues are being debated.
What are the controversies?
Most controversial topics have several issues
related to them.
Usually worded as a question.
Does not state a position.

Should appeals be limited for persons on
death row?
Should teenage girls notify their parents
before having abortions?
Should textbook prices be capped?
Who should pay for stem cell research?
Is animal testing ever necessary?
Is torture ever justifiable?

Select one of your topics and list the
issues associated with it.

After selecting a controversial topic and one
of the related issues, determine a position on
the issue. Take a side and state an opinion.
Answers the question raised by the issue.
Can sometimes be as simple as changing a
“should we” question to a “we should”
Also called a thesis statement.

Appeals for death row inmates should be
limited to two.
Doctors need to gain permission from a
parent before performing an abortion on a
Textbook prices should be limited to $50 per
The drinking age should be lowered to 18.

Controversial topic: Red light cameras
Issue? Should red light cameras be used to
ticket motorists?
Position: The use of red light cameras should
be restricted to only the most dangerous
From your list of related issues, select one
issue, and determine a position on this issue.
Take a side and state an opinion.
Six Paragraph Essay (minimum)
 Introduction:
◦ A. Overview of issue. What is the debate?
◦ B. Thesis statement. What is your opinion?
◦ C. Statement of three supporting reasons.

Body: Paragraphs 2, 3, & 4. Support.
Paragraph 5: Counterarguments (Counter can
alternatively follow the introduction, as paragraph 2)


As consumers of entertainment, we have all read a
book or watched a movie where everything is great
right up until the end…
A weak conclusion can quickly wipe away any
positive impressions created up to that point. We
have all experienced that “ugh” moment where
everything goes wrong with a conclusion.
Do not merely summarize the essay or restate the
thesis. Try to go a step further in the conclusion—
propose a solution, or supply additional
information, or encourage the reader to take
A strong conclusion makes the whole essay strong!

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