2 Sample Refutation Paragraphs
(Each these samples have 2-paragraph refutation; some essays may only have a 1 paragraph refutation while other essays, like research papers, may require a much longer refutation)
Charter Schools Vs. Public Schools (School Choice)
By Mark Liles
Thesis: School choice turns out to not only be a bad idea; it’s also a violation of our constitution.
Refutation: ...[Introduce Opposing Arguments] Considering the many challenges facing public schools, it’s understandable that many people would be eager to pursue new options. Supporters of school choice point out that under the current public school system, parents with economic means already exercise school choice by moving from areas with failing or dangerous schools to neighborhoods with better, safer schools. Their argument is that school choice would allow all parents the freedom, regardless of income level, to select the school that provides the best education (Chub and Moe). Schools would then have to compete for students by offering higher academic results and greater safety. Schools unable to measure up to the standards of successful schools would fail and possibly close. [Acknowledge Valid Parts] Activists within the school choice movement can be applauded for seeking to improve public education, but the changes they propose would in fact seriously damage public education as a whole.
[Counter Arguments] One of the biggest dangers of school choice is the power behind large corporations specializing in opening and operating charter schools. Two notable companies are Green Dot, which is the leading public school operator in Los Angeles (Green Dot), and KIPP, which operates 65 schools in 19 different states [KIPP]. These companies represent a growing trend of privatization of public schools by large corporations. It is feared that these corporations could grow to a point that public control of education would be lost. Education policy would be left in the hands of entrepreneurial think tanks, corporate boards of directors, and lobbyists who are more interested in profit than educating students [Miller and Gerson]. [Begin Concluding] Education should be left in the hands of professional educators and not business people with MBAs. To do otherwise is not only dangerous, it defies common sense.
What I liked about this refutation: The writer calmly and clearly outlines the true concerns and reasons why people oppose the opinion. He makes sure the reader knows that he is outlining opposing viewpoints because he gives hints like "Supporters of school choice point out that..." or "Their argument is that...". This is a nice way for readers to be aware of what others think.
Also, towards the end of the first paragraph, and throughout the second paragraph, the writer spends time clearly attacking these opposing views. He helps the reader feel like the opposing views might SEEM good on the surface, but they are indeed not good enough. He helps the reader see this with hints like "One of the biggest dangers of school choice is..." or "It is feared that...". This paragraph particularly draws in any hostile readers; the writer cunningly draws them in by complimenting their views when he says "Activists within the school choice movement can be applauded for seeking to improve public education," but he immediately points out the flaws, saying that " the changes they propose would in fact seriously damage public education as a whole." Complimenting the opposing argument really invites all your hesitant readers; they’re not threatened, and they’re now more willing to listen to the arguments.
Finally, at the end of the refutation, there is a clear conclusion.
Safe Traveler Cards
Taken from College Writers pg. 733-734
........[Introduce Opposing Arguments] As attractive as Safe Traveler Cards or national ID cards are, they are not without drawbacks. For one thing, as Easterbrook notes, these cards would expedite security procedures only for travelers who do not mind volunteering such information to obtain a card. Moreover they would not prevent passengers with "clean" backgrounds from bringing weapons or explosives on board, as was the case in the September 11 attacks. Perhaps the biggest drawback is that some people believe that these cards would deprive people of their privacy and that for this reason, their disadvantages outweigh their advantages (168).
........However, there are many who disagree with these contentions. [Acknowledge Valid Parts] While national ID cards could lessen a person's anonymity and privacy, [Counter Argument] this is a small loss that would be offset by a great increase in personal security. To Dershowitz--a self proclaimed civil libertarian--this tradeoff would be well worth it. According to Dershowitz, the national ID card would be only a little more intrusive than a photo ID card or social security card. Best of all, it would reduce or eliminate the need for racial profiling: "Anyone who had the [national ID] card could be allowed to pass through airports or building security more expeditiously, and anyone who opted out could be examined much more closely" (590). Such cards would enable airport security officials to do instant background checks on everyone. [Begin Concluding] The personal information in the system would stay in the system and never be made public. The only information on the card would be a person's "name, address, photo, and [finger]print" (Dershowitz 591).
Remember when you were a kid and each time you went to the store with your mom you asked her for a new toy? When she answered “no,” I’m sure you asked, “why not?”
Her reply: “Because I said so.”
This may have worked for your mom, but this obviously isn’t a good strategy for your upcoming argumentative essay.
So what makes a good argument? And what makes an argumentative essay good?
Keep reading for a breakdown of two argumentative essay examples to find out!
What Is an Argumentative Essay?
An argumentative essay attempts to convince readers. It’s that simple.
In order to write a good argumentative essay, you need four basic parts:
- An arguable topic. If you can’t take sides on a topic, it won’t work for an argumentative essay. You cannot argue whether you need a driver’s license in order to legally drive a car. It’s a fact. It’s not open to debate. You can, however, argue whether hands-free devices are distracting to drivers.
- A strong assertion or stance on a topic. Choose a topic you feel strongly about. If your friend is writing her argumentative essay about the dangers of acrylic nails and you don’t have an opinion one way or another about fake nails, it isn’t a good topic for you.
- Solid evidence to support your argument. An argumentative essay is not an opinion essay. You need solid evidence from credible sources to support your argument. Locate facts, statistics, and quotes that will support your claims and strengthen your argument.
- A counterargument.You need to acknowledge and refute the opposing viewpoint. This strategy shows readers that you’ve done your homework and that you realize there is another opinion. Presenting the other side of the argument actually makes your argument stronger and your writing more credible.
Two Argumentative Essay Examples With a Fighting Chance
Generation Bass (flickr.com)
It’s easy to say that all argumentative essays need a few key things. But it’s not always as easy to put them in your own paper or to identify them in an actual essay.
I’ve evaluated two essays below to help you identify the four key components.
Essay #1 An Argument Against the Proposition of a Later Start Time for High School
This essay is a good example of a basic argumentative essay.
It provides an arguable topic and a focused thesis statement, includes evidence to support claims, and shows a clear counterargument.
In the annotated argumentative essay example below, I’ve noted each of these sections to make it easy to spot effective writing. (You can click each page to enlarge.)
Topic, thesis statement, and counterargument:
Conclusion restates thesis statement:
Take note, though, that this argumentative essay example is missing a Works Cited. Because the essay cites sources and is cited in MLA format, it must include both in-text citations and a Works Cited.
Photographer, D. Sharon Pruitt (flickr.com)
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Essay #2 Organ Donors Should Be Financially Compensated
The second of the two argumentative essay examples, Organ Donors Should Be Financially Compensated is another example of a basic argumentative essay. It contains the key components of an argumentative essay: an arguable topic, a focused argument, evidence to support claims, and a counterargument.
I’ve added some comments to this essay too, to help you identify key sections of the paper and to highlight areas of importance.
Hook and thesis statement:
Evidence and more evidence:
Counterargument and refutation:
Final Words of Wisdom
With a better understanding of what makes an effective argument, you have more than a fighting chance of writing your own stellar argumentative essay.
What’s next? A topic—you cannot very well write an essay without a topic.
Here are 50 Argumentative Essay Topics That Will Put Up a Good Fight.
Most argumentative essays require research. If you need a little help finding sources or just getting started, take a look at How to Write a Research Paper: A Step-by-Step Guide.
A Few (More) Final Words of Wisdom
The purpose of an argumentative essay is to convince the reader. Once you’ve finished your argumentative essay, read it over once or twice (and maybe even read it out loud).
Do you believe yourself? Do you find your arguments convincing?
If you think your arguments sound pretty good, but you’re just not sure that readers will be convinced, let a Kibin editor help!
Psst... 98% of Kibin users report better grades! Get inspiration from over 500,000 example essays.