The importance of argumentative writing is further stressed given the recent surge of English as Foreign Language (EFL) learners, including Iranian EFL learners, applying for graduate studies in English-medium universities. Their English argumentative writing abilities are often tested through some internationally recognized tests such as TOEFL, IELTS, and GRE (Educational Testing Service 2009). In the same vein, graduate student writers are highly expected to produce research papers in which they critically engage with the literature and evaluate the status quo on their topic of interest. Poor argumentative skills have been attributed to learners’ unpreparedness, unawareness, and limited skills. Unfamiliarity with the typical structure of English argumentative writing may result in developing inadequate and poorly reasoned papers in English (Lunsford ; Varghese and Abraham ; Wingate ).
The first argumentative writing profile (cluster 1) showed structurally well-designed essays which were significantly low in terms of argumentation quality. All these scripts were described as one-sided argument, containing claim(s) and one or more reasons. The arguers here tended to support their claim(s) and maintain their position with some reasons (ranging from one to multiple pieces of evidence (Sampson and Clark ). However, claim-data argument is the least sophisticated form of an argument (Rusfandi ). Despite well-designed surface structure, most of the arguers failed to provide relevant and acceptable reasons for the corresponding claim(s) proving that student-generated arguments often lack substance, including components that are inaccurate and/or irrelevant in terms of quality (Rapanta et al. ; Schwarz et al. ; Simon ; Sampson and Clark ).
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