Argumentative Essay in APA format


  1. Argue for or against whatever interests you.
  2. There are some clichéd, stale topics about which you may not write: abortion, marijuana, drinking age, same-sex marriage, the death penalty, and vaccines.
  3. Think of something specific and meaningful, whether serious or light-hearted, that you like to debate or about which you are conflicted.
  4. Don’t be afraid to tackle a controversial topic. Just handle the subject matter respectfully.
  5. You’re going to compose an Argumentative Essay in APA format. You must argue for a particular side.
  6. Double-spaced, Times New Roman, size 12.
  7. Running head: page numbers are inserted in the upper right corner; the title of your essay appears in the upper left corner (not your name–that is MLA style, this is APA style).
  8. You must use the Coastline Online Library for at least 3 of the sources. See guidance below
  9. At the start of an APA-style essay you’ll have a title page. At the end of your APA-style essay you’ll have a section titled References.
  10. Please cite your sources in APA style. Remember APA citations require (author, year, p. #). Note the commas in APA style to separate this info.
  11. As this essay is short-ish, there is no need to include an abstract. (The abstract is a summary preview of the essay.
  12. Total length will be around five pages
    • Title page (one page)
    • One intro paragraph + five argumentative body paragraphs + one conclusion paragraph = seven paragraphs total
    • References page (one page)
  • There should be no quotations in the introductory paragraph. Those too often congest the intro. Instead, save them for the body paragraphs. Your intro should provide the big picture, an overview with the background of the subject you’re arguing for/against.
  • Body paragraphs must be organized per the usual pattern: transition phrase, topic sentence arguing a specific aspect of your thesis, major and minor supporting details such as one or two well-chosen quotations with citations, your analysis and commentary, and a conclusion sentence wrapping up the paragraph.
    • Paragraphs should always be six to ten sentences long in this class.
  • This must be an argumentative essay, meaning you are advocating for a specific side. This is not an expository or exploratory essay. Again, your thesis sentence and each topic sentence must argue for a particular side, not just explore the topic.
  • Quotations should be brief (one sentence long), forceful, and well-chosen. Do not drop giant quotation chunks into your paragraphs. Also, we do not need to use block quotations when writing such short essays.
    • To avoid congestion, no more than two quotations should appear in each body paragraph.
  • A signal phrase must lead into each quotation. After the quotation, you must provide an APA citation: (author, year, page #). Ex:
    • Psychology Today relays that intelligence is not specific to math or English, but is more general: “We find that G, or general intelligence, crosses all skills and competencies” (Lindenburger, 2012, p. 3).
    • Note that the citation includes author, year, and page number. Always include this info whenever you use APA format.
    • Note that the period always goes after the citation.
    • Note that the title of the journal goes in italics.
      • Names of articles, on the other hand, go in ” “s.
  • Ellipses (. . .) go in the middle of a quotation when you remove unnecessary text. You do not need ellipses at the start or end of a quotation.
  • Grammar and punctuation are always in vogue and should improve with each essay.
  • Keep in mind that this is a research-based argumentative essay rather than a personal essay. Even if you feel passionately about a topic, aim for an objective tone.
  • You are encouraged to acknowledge the merits of the “other side,” even if you then refute the other side’s points.
    • This acknowledgement (think of it as “showing respect”) is known as concession and is a powerful persuasive tool showcasing your fairness and trustworthy ethos.
    • Still, from the introduction onward, you must advocate and argue for one side over the other.
    • You’ll of course include evidence (research, stats, data) to substantiate your claim.

    Researching sources in Coastline’s Online Library

    Using Coastline’s Online LibraryLearning to distinguish credible from unreliable sources is called information literacy. Your sources should have been published within the past ten years. a. For your essay this week, at least three sources must be from the Online Library.

    • First, go to (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.
    • Second, scroll down and click on “General / Multidisciplinary / Academic Journal Databases.”
    • You now have links to three major databases:
      • Academic Search Complete (also known as EBSCOhost)
      • ProQuest Research Library
      • JSTOR
      • You may also use any other research databases available in the Online Library.
    • After you click on the link to one of the databases, you’ll then be asked to enter your MyCCC or District user name and password. ( I will provide the username and password when a tutor is assigned)
    • If you get stumped, try as many different databases and variations on search terms as you can. Get creative.
    • After you’ve found at least three sources from the Coastline Online Library, you may then use Google or another search engine to locate additional reliable sources.