Academic Writing AdviceAcademic, Writing, Advice
ServiceScape Incorporated
ServiceScape Incorporated
2017

60 Compelling Argumentative Essay Topics


Everyone likes to argue—whether they like to admit it or not. But when it comes to the time when it's actually appropriate to take a side and passionately defend it (an argumentative essay in your writing class), you might be finding it difficult to think of what to argue. An effective argumentative essay will have the reader questioning what they think about a topic and maybe even potentially change their minds. A really effective argumentative essay might also make the reader angry because they're broaching topics that can be deeply personal to many.

Whatever kind of argument you choose to write about, always be sure to back up your claims with good research and facts. Though you can definitely have an opinion in this essay, your argument will always be more credible with facts than just by going on how you feel. Facts, in the end, will always win out against how people are feeling at a particular moment.

When you find yourself getting stuck on what to write, take a look at these ideas for argumentative essays for some inspiration for your paper, or to expand on these ideas and create your own topic.

What makes a good essay topic?

Though you may know what format, style guide, and whether or not the essay should be double spaced, you may be confused on what actually makes a good essay topic. While it may be easier to write an essay on something that is easy to agree on (like the fact that George Clooney is a very handsome man), there's just really not a lot of interest in the topic because this is something everyone already knows to be true. What we're looking for in an argumentative essay topic is something that might expand people's minds and allow them to look at a topic in a new light. The idea isn't necessarily to convince them of your side (though of course that would be ideal!), but is really just to get them to expand their mind just enough that they're starting to think about things from another perspective.

You'd be surprised at what years of social and cultural influences, education, and just plain stubbornness can do to make a person adamant that their side and opinion is right. Argumentative essay topics are so important because they are debatable—and it's crucial to always be critically thinking about the world around us. Why do we do things a certain way? Is it because it's right or is it because this is what we've always known? To constantly be questioning and arguing and thinking is really the true sign of learning. As we start to think about that idea, here are a few ideas to get you started on your own essay.

Education essay topics

Education is a topic that definitely affects each and every one of us. Education scholars are constantly evolving the way they think about how we learn and what is taught. So while these ten ideas are enough to get you started thinking about education and its role in society, the essay topics are really endless.

  1. How do you feel about the Common Core State Standards? Do you feel it hurts or helps K-12 students?
  2. Should we ban vending machines in schools?
  3. Should charter schools replace the public school system that we know now?
  4. Do you believe that the decades since Brown v. Board of education have actually brought equality in education?
  5. How does the poverty of a child's parents affect their education?
  6. Many policy makers are pushing STEM education. Why is this?
  7. How does gender affect education?
  8. Do traditional discipline methods really work on students?
  9. Why do other countries measure ahead of the U.S. in education?
  10. Does homeschooling disadvantage students?

Parenting essay topics

How we are raised and who raises us can really have a huge effect on the culture and society as a whole. Nearly everyone has an opinion on how children should be raised, but which one is right? Is there a right answer? How do politics affect how we raise our children? These are the kinds of things you will be exploring when you write a parenting argumentative essay.

  1. Should men receive paternity leave?
  2. Why do we have obstacles in the United States for women to receive paid maternity leave?
  3. How can we get childcare costs down in the United States?
  4. What is the best kind of parenting style?
  5. What are some parenting lessons that American parents can learn from other cultures?
  6. How does successful parenting affect literacy skills?
  7. How do overprotective parents affect children's lives?
  8. Should parents be allowed to spank their children?
  9. Is breastfeeding in public acceptable?
  10. How can children get additional support in a single parent household?

Women's issues topics

Women have only had the right to vote in the United States since 1920. With less than 100 years of suffrage, women have certainly accomplished a lot when it comes to equality. However, according to many scholars and activists there is still a long way to go. With a subject that's sure to ignite some passion, there are endless topics to write about, but here are a few that we suggest.

  1. Should abortion be legal?
  2. Should religious institutions have to provide birth control methods for their female employees, even if it goes against their religion?
  3. Should the morning after pill be legal?
  4. Women statistically do not make as much money doing the same work as their male counterpart. How do you feel about this?
  5. Many say that legal prostitution is a women's rights issue. How do you feel about this?
  6. Should women have to sign up for the draft?
  7. What are the biggest challenges for women in the workplace?
  8. How long should women have for maternity leave?
  9. What are some of the biggest challenges for female politicians?
  10. Why do you think Equal Rights Amendments for women failed? Do you think one such law could ever pass in your lifetime?

Legal essay topics

There are many things to argue when it comes to the law. Law is constantly evolving with the ever-changing culture at large. Because of this, many disagree on how the laws should change (if they should change at all) and there are many topics to choose from. Here are a few of our picks.

  1. Should there be a federal law that allows marijuana to be legal?
  2. Should a person have the right to choose when they die?
  3. At what age should you legally be allowed to drink?
  4. Would you support harsher punishments for athletes who use performance-enhancing drugs?
  5. Is it an infringement on religious rights to have business owners provide services for LGBTQ weddings if they don't agree with the marriage?
  6. Should religious institutions be allowed tax exemptions?
  7. Do you believe the death penalty is justified?
  8. Should a prisoner be granted the right to vote after they have served their sentence?
  9. How do you feel about more federally restrictive gun laws and universal background checks?
  10. Should citizens who entered the country illegally be forced to leave? What about their children who were brought here?

Technology essay topics

Our country and our world is extremely dependent on advanced technology. It's completely changed the way we work, think, and communicate with each other. Many people are huge fans of new gadgets and rapidly advancing technology, but others are ore wary of it. There are always a wide range of opinions on the subject of technology, and here are our favorite things to think about on the topic.

  1. Is an increased dependence on technology making us dumber?
  2. Should students be allowed to use smart phones in school?
  3. How do smart phones and tablets affect growth and development in children?
  4. Do you think technology has decreased or increased our communication with each other?
  5. Is print media dead?
  6. Do comment sections on social media and news sites actually promote good discourse?
  7. Technology has made a lot of manual labor obsolete. How do you feel about this?
  8. What should blue collar workers do when their job has replaced them with better technology? How should policy makers respond?
  9. Has online dating killed traditional ideas about romance and marriage?
  10. Do you believe that the government should enforce net neutrality principles on internet service providers?

Society and culture essay topics

There are always things we wish would change about the society that we live in. Nothing is ever perfect, but we all still strive to make where we live to be the best it can be. The problem is that everyone's interpretation of what makes a good society is different. Some people live their lives according to their religion while others don't think you should factor that into decision making when it comes to determining rules for everyone.

  1. Should sex education be required for all public schools?
  2. How do you feel about the Black Lives Matter movement?
  3. Do you think that affirmative action is still necessary?
  4. Should you be forced to say the pledge of allegiance at school?
  5. Should it be illegal to burn the American flag?
  6. How do you feel about groups like Westboro Baptist Church who are known to say hate speech being able to protest?
  7. Do you think collegiate athletes should be paid?
  8. Can committers of sex crimes be rehabilitated?
  9. Do you think the Electoral College should go away?
  10. Should the United States have one official language?

Write about what you are passionate

When it comes to writing an argumentative essay, the most important thing to do is to choose a topic and an argument that you can really get behind. Not only will this make the writing a whole lot better, but it will also keep you more focused when you are researching and writing. Though it's unlikely you're going to have fiery passion about every subject you write on, pick the topic and side that most suits you. No reader wants to read a lukewarm argumentative piece. The reader wants to be persuaded and provoked. This won't happen if it appears you are disinterested in what you're writing about.

If you've read through this list and you're still not finding a topic that fits what you are interested in, be sure to ask your instructor or a librarian for help with researching and writing an argumentative essay. Of course, if you have written an essay and you're not sure that it's going in the right direction, seek out the guidance of classmates or other writers or get professional help from an editor.

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