Incorporating opposing views in Essay 3

The key takeaway: When you consider and counter opposing arguments, you strengthen your own argument.

As we’ve discussed, you need to take a clear position on the topic (thesis).

But many writers forget about the next step, which is just as important: including and discussing opposing viewpoints and providing counterarguments.

You need to anticipate what objections your readers might have to your argument, and try to understand why they might object.

• Research Opposing Viewpoints

In the research phase, gathering evidence against your position will help you acknowledge or accommodate or refute counterarguments.

When you do research for Essay 3, don’t limit yourself to those articles that are sympathetic to your position; find sources that disagree with you.

Go into a database such as ProQuest and put in search terms as if you were arguing for the opposing point of view.
Take note of how the make their argument and their use of evidence.

When you find an article against your position, try to figure why they hold the positions they do. What evidence do they present? How do they interpret that evidence? Why might they disagree with your position?

• Incorporating Opposing Views into Essay 3

If the opposing view comes from another author, be sure to introduce the author and the point of view in a neutral way (meaning your language is not charged or biased).

Use words such as “argues,” or “suggests” or “claims” or “believes.”

You can quote directly from this counterargument or paraphrase the argument or point.

Remember, you can write concede a point when engaging with an opposing view.

“Of course, there is a point to be made that ___________.”

This is called a concession – you are conceding that the opposing view has some merit – but you can then go on to explain how the point still doesn’t change your position.

Present counterarguments to your thesis in ways that respect those who disagree. That will make your own argument stronger and more persuasive.

• You can also refute an opposing view, if you think that position is flawed or weak.

To refute a position, make sure that you first:

Introduce the view: Present the view accurately and fairly and maybe even concede that the view has some merit.

Object: Here you state why you object to this view (“However” or “Is this really true?”

Support for why you object: Here you support your objection with reasons or facts or stats or expert opinion from one of your sources.

• Where to address counterarguments in Essay 3?

There are several choices:

You could present your own argument first, and then present and counter an opposing view.

Intro + Thesis
First Body Paragraph
Second Body Paragraph
Third Body Paragraph
Opposing Argument

You could present the opposing view first, and then prove your argument is the more persuasive.

Or, you could alternate between your position and the opposing view.

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