Controversial essays


What is a Controversial Essay?

A controversial essay provokes strong emotions among readers due to the opinion that it holds. Usually, a controversial essay makes a case against what is morally acceptable among a particular group. It is more like an argumentative essay, albeit that the writer picks a definite side.

An essay advocating pro-abortion for women is controversial among doctors and society at large. This could be even more provoking if the essay were written by a female doctor. Controversial essays are difficult to write on, particularly when the writer is passionate about the topic.

A controversial issue essay is not only about making strong points. It includes establishing good faith among readers, logical presentation of arguments, and countering opposing arguments tactically but firmly.

How to Write a Controversial Essay

Writing controversial essays involves plenty of research and thoroughness as you’re threading a tricky line.

Choose a Controversial Essay Topic

Much like every other essay type, there are controversial topics for an essay to select from when writing a controversial essay. However, your topic has to be a thought-provoking one. The essence of controversial research essay topics is that they immediately grab the attention of the reader.

This doesn’t imply that you choose topics simply because you want to be controversial. Your topic has to be relevant, coherent, and one on which you can build reasonable arguments. You may or may not identify where you stand on the topic.

Conduct Research

You are walking a tightrope when writing a controversial essay. A little mistake could see you slip. This is why you have to be thorough with your research. This is as important as your writing itself.

When researching for a controversial argument essay topic, your research has to include the following:

  1. Specific Evidence: Every argument you make for your topic must be backed up with solid, specific health evidence. Do not be tempted to write vaguely because it may seem safer. However, doing so will leave your readers confused. Include respected scientific data, which means that it is a valid and reviewed source.
  2. Statistics: Stats are necessary to establish the relevance of your controversial topic essay, including the impacts of a certain phenomenon on various people. However, note that they can be misleading, so they have to be collected from reliable sources. To tell if a stat is useful, you have to address the sample size and context.
  3. Credible Sources: Answer these questions:
    1. How recent is the source? Will many agree that an 1893 paper is still valid? Yes, it really may be but check if it has been used recently by others. Note the criticisms of the source too.
    2. Is the source scholarly? It is surely not mandatory to use only academic sources for your essay, but they greatly improve the credibility of your work. Academic papers are subjected to various screening processes, unlike magazines and blogs. Of course, the latter two are credible, but academic sources are far more credible.
    3. Is the source fair? Do not use biased sources.

Review Counter Arguments

You have to address opposing views to make a good argument for your case. Doing so will equip you with counterarguments to use and help you understand your audience better. However, this is not done by simply finding things on the other side that you can easily disapprove of. Instead, you have to make efforts to understand the basis of the opposing argument and why people are persuaded by it.

Formulate a Good Outline

Creating an outline simplifies the entire process for you when you start writing your essay. A controversial essay format typically consists of three parts: the introduction, body, and conclusion. Your outline has to list your points so that you can easily build more from them when it’s time to write.

Think about Statement

Arguable thesis means that it can be argued. It must either state or refute an argument about your topic. To be debateable, a thesis must have some possibility of being true. However, the thesis should not be universally accepted as true. Instead, it should be something that people can disagree with. A thesis can be both an observation or an opinion.

observation + opinion (the "why") = thesis

Seeing if your thesis creates a powerful antithesis is an excellent approach to determine how strong it is.

Common thesis pitfalls:

  • A thesis in the form of a fragment.
  • A thesis that is overly broad.
  • A thesis that is phrased as a question. (The thesis is usually derived from the solution to the question.)
  • Extraneous information is included in a thesis.
  • A thesis that begins with the words "I believe" or "In my opinion."


With concrete evidence sources in place, counter-arguments, and a good outline to follow, start writing. Write in a way that causes the reader to believe that you have their best interest at heart. Do not be scathing or condescending. Maintain a polite, persuasive tone throughout.

Edit & Proofread

Regardless of how meticulous you are with your essay, it is recommended that you submit it to others to help with the editing and proofreading. You can’t get it all right yourself. If you’ve read outstanding controversial essay examples, you can bet that they underwent a lot of 3rd party help.

Controversial Essay Examples

  • Discursive Essay

Discursive Essay

  • Argumentative Essay on Legalization of Marijuana

Argumentative Essay on Legalization of Marijuana

  • Why is History so controversial?

Why is History so controversial?

What Is Controversial Essay Structure?


  • Hook: The hook is a sentence or mini set of sentences that capture the reader’s attention and makes them want to continue reading. The hook should not be a showy or cheesy attempt to captivate the audience. It is instead a way to lay out the importance of your argument.
  • Cite Context: Citing the context helps to introduce unfamiliar people with the topic to know better, while it refreshes the minds of those who do. Context has to include relevant history, recent debates on the concept, and how commonly it is mentioned in the media.
  • Thesis: Your thesis is your claim or argument. It has to be arguable according to the evidence your essay will provide. Do not sound it as a fact.


  • Topic Sentence: Your first sentence has to be transitory, so it directs focus from the introduction to your next paragraph.
  • Claim: Your claim is what will link your thesis to your central sub-argument. This part helps to solidify your main message.
  • Evidence: After putting forth your claim, it is imperative to provide concrete evidence. This can include references, statistics, or logical ideas for your argument.
  • Concluding Sentence: After supporting your arguable claim with specific evidence, you have to conclude the paragraph with a summarizing sentence. This statement is meant to relate the general significance of your claim to your thesis. Simply put, why was this point so important that it deserved a paragraph?
  • Opposing Views: Dedicate a part of your essay body to opposing views. Launch counter-arguments that explain why your views are correct. Do not attack character; focus on the topic at hand and sound polite.


  • Restate Your Thesis: Your conclusion has to be started with a statement asserting the superiority of your thesis. You can go, “I have proven that GMOs...” Your confidence is sure to rub off the reader.
  • Summary of Sub-arguments: It’s possible that your reader has forgotten some of your sub-points. Quickly run through your claims again
  • Overall Concluding Statement: You should end your controversial essay with a statement that leaves a lasting impression.

Outline and Format of Controversial Essay

  • Topic: The Pros and Cons of Labeling GMO Products
  • Intro:
    • Hook: Are GMOs really harmful, or are you being paranoid?
    • Context: GMOs have been making the news every once in a while for the last few years.
    • Thesis: GMOs should no longer be labeled — they have been certified safe by the scientific community.
  • Body:
    • Topic Sentence: GMOs have long been frowned upon, but not anymore.
    • Claim: The scientific community has reached a consensus that genetically modified seeds are safe. Why then should companies continue to incur expenses labeling them, and in so doing, cause worry among consumers too?
    • Evidence: The Department of Agriculture reported that 72% of consumers are wary of brands carrying the GMO label.
    • Opposing View: There may be arguments that it is best that consumers know what they are consuming, but of what essence is this if it builds unfounded fears?
  • Conclusion:
    • Thesis restatement: From the arguments above, it is clear that brands do not need to continue labeling GMOs.
    • Sub-argument Summary: Increased cost of production; unfounded fears among consumers; boycotting of healthy GMOs.
    • Overall Concluding Statement: The absence of labels on GMOs will save you heartaches and unnecessary manufacturer expenses.

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Also, Check Out The Controversial Essay Topics

If you are required to write a controversial essay but can’t find a topic, worry not. Below is a list of current controversial essay topics. You can select one to write on or to better understand what a topic should look like.

  • Positives & Negatives of Cosmetic Surgery
  • Pro-choice Abortion — A Decision for Women to Make Themselves
  • The Plenty Benefits of Plastic Surgery
  • Pro-life Against Abortion — What’s the Use?
  • Marijuana Must Be Given Its Chance
  • Exploring Marijuana Treatment For NFL Players
  • Is the death penalty effective?
  • Is our election process fair?
  • Is torture ever acceptable?
  • Should men get paternity leave from work?
  • Are school uniforms beneficial?
  • Do we have a fair tax system?
  • Do curfews keep teens out of trouble?
  • Is cheating out of control?
  • Are we too dependent on computers?
  • Should animals be used for research?
  • Should cigarette smoking be banned?
  • Is college admission getting too challenging?
  • Are test scores the most accurate indication of individual competency?
  • What are the causes of the increased number of teenage mothers?
  • Are there effective ways to prevent teenage pregnancy?
  • Should college students be allowed to learn only those subjects they choose?
  • Do tests and exams help evaluate students' knowledge?
  • The importance of financial and sex education at school [Original source:]
  • Should animals be used in experiments/testing?
  • Is the death penalty effective?
  • Do religious movements cause war?
  • The politics of the British government
  • Celebrities tend to fail their political careers
  • Are vitamins and food supplements helping your body?
  • Is English the easiest language to study for people worldwide?
  • Is free Internet access helping students study or on the contrary?
  • Wearing a uniform is a violation of human rights.
  • Horror movies destroy your mental well-being.
  • Colleges should pay more attention to practical studies.
  • Marijuana should be a legal drug.

From this list, you should see that there are specific controversial issues essay topics. The most controversial topics for a persuasive essay are Pro-life Vs. Pro-choice Abortion, Plastic Surgery, and Marijuana Legalization.

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FAQ about Controversial essays

Why is History so controversial?
...Most of the historical texts may contain interpretations and so is its nature. Biased work may be found almost in every historical text. So one needs to find out what the truth is and what's false. This can be done by the several methods as given abo...
Teenage Love: Why it is controversial
...In conclusion, I would like everyone, adult or children, to look at love in a different way. Teenage love can cause just as much confusion as adult love. Just because someone is not an age of society acceptance, doesn't mean they do not know what the...