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Students should avoid the overuse of sources that have a clear bias because these sources may not be seen as credible by the audience, and they may not present well-balanced or accurate information.In addition, students should beware of using Internet sources that are not from credible sources, such as wikis and blogs that are authored by non-experts on the topic.The one exception to the use of strong topic sentences is the introduction, which may begin with a quote or another rhetorical strategy to catch the audience's interest.
Each paragraph should begin with a strong topic sentence that identifies the main idea.
These sentences cue the reader as to what he or she can expect as they read the paragraph and helps them follow the main thread of the argument.
This section is known as the "counterargument" and its role is to address and then lay to rest any lingering doubts or "what ifs" that the audience still has in mind after reading the author's argument.
For example, in an argumentative essay that attempts to persuade the audience that gun control is a good idea, the counterargument might present the popular anti-gun control argument that gun control only serves to disarm law abiding citizens, while leaving guns in the hands of the criminals.
For example, essay exam questions in college courses or on standardized tests are expository essays.
Because the student has limited time to take the test, the expository essay is often based on personal experience and evidence that the student can remember offhand versus an organized research effort. The introduction provides an overview of the controversial topic about which the author is about to make an argument.For example, cue words such as "first," "next," and "last" tell the reader that they are moving on to a different point.Using words like "in conclusion" tell the reader that the author is going to wrap up the essay.Many introductory university-level composition classes use a five paragraph structure for the argumentative essay.The five paragraphs include an introduction, three main points, and a conclusion.The author would present this point, but then refute it, perhaps citing evidence from countries with strict gun control laws but a low incidence of crimes involving the use of guns.The argumentative essay should end with a strong conclusion that wraps up the essay and reiterates the main points in the author's argument, using the evidence the author found.These transitions may be more subtle, especially in argumentative essays written for upper level university classes.After the author has presented his or her points, it is important to make sure that nothing has been omitted.The conclusion should not simply restate the thesis; it should be an expanded summary that reinforces the main ideas and key pieces of evidence that the author has presented.The introduction, main points, and conclusion should also have clear and effective transitions between them.