The argumentative essay is commonly assigned as a capstone or final project in first year writing or advanced composition courses and involves lengthy, detailed research.
Expository essays involve less research and are shorter in length.
However, argumentative essays should also consider and explain differing points of view regarding the topic.
Depending on the length of the assignment, students should dedicate one or two paragraphs of an argumentative essay to discussing conflicting opinions on the topic.
Argumentative assignments may also require empirical research where the student collects data through interviews, surveys, observations, or experiments.
Detailed research allows the student to learn about the topic and to understand different points of view regarding the topic so that she/he may choose a position and support it with the evidence collected during research.
Lastly, students should present the thesis statement.
It is essential that this thesis statement be appropriately narrowed to follow the guidelines set forth in the assignment.
: Some confusion may occur between the argumentative essay and the expository essay.
These two genres are similar, but the argumentative essay differs from the expository essay in the amount of pre-writing (invention) and research involved.