What You Need to Know about Claims in Essays
A pleasant day to you all! It’s time to take charge of your life with a smile!
How’s your week so far? Is everything well on your part?
I hope the week has been pleasant for you. What am I doing right now? I’m just claiming my luggage. You might think that today’s topic is about traveling, but nope!
Today’s topic is about claims in an essay! Do you see what I did there just now? Maybe, maybe not. I would be defining what a claim is, and I would also teach you how to write one by yourself.
Are you ready to enter the realm of knowledge? I shall now unlock the door to understanding. This will be the flow of my guide:
What Is a Claim In an Essay?
A claim is defined as the main argument of your essay. It is also the most important part of your essay. A claim is significant because you are trying to assert your own interpretation and understanding of your topic. Hence, a claim has to be arguable. A claim is a unifying theme of an essay.
What makes it different from opinion is claims are supported by evidence. Do take note that your readers can challenge your claim.
What Are the Types of Claims?
There are three kinds of claims:
- Claim of fact.
- Claim of policy.
- Claim of value.
- Claim of cause and effect.
We will discuss them one by one.
1 — Claim of fact
- A claim of fact is defined as “… a statement about how things were in the past, how they are in the present, or how they will be in the future”.
- According to Dr. Lee McGaan, there are types of factual claims. These are (1) factual/historical, (2) Relational-causal connections, and (3) predictive.
- Why do you think the claim is probably true?
2 — Claim of value/value claims
- Lee McGaan states that the claim of value is about tastes and morals.
- Value claims are comparative.
- Why is Subject A better compared to Subject B? Evaluate and justify your claim with evidence.
3 — Claim of policy/policy claim
- According to Jon LeBaugh, claims of policy are used for essay topics that involve a course of action or formulating solutions to a problem.
- As said by Dr. Lee McGaan, a claim of policy must consist of a clear action- its needs and advantages- and possible counterarguments.
- Why should this course of action be followed? What are its merits and/or demerits?
4 — Claim of cause and effect
- Simple- Event A cause or influenced Event B to occur.
Which type of claim should I use for my argument/s?
According to the Purdue OWL, it depends on your audience, context, stance, and knowledge of your topic. What matters is you have to be “stable” in your paper. If you choose a certain position in your topic, then you have to commit to it.
How to Structure a Claim in an Essay?
The following consists of basic templates for various types of claims. Please note that these may subject to change depending on your needs, preferences, and style.
This is a general outline for your claim. You can also use it to write your claim of fact.
I. The point you would like to assert (Ex: Video games are good or bad)
II. Why is that so?
Claim of Fact Template
I. State your “fact” (Ex: the media is biased in portraying minorities)
II. Why is that so?
Claim of Value Template
I. State your topic (Object A is better than Object B)
II. Your evaluation
Claim of Policy Template
I. Your topic of choice (Death abolishment should be abolished) II. The rationale behind your proposed action/what is the issue that prompted you to take this action?
I. Your topic of choice (Death abolishment should be abolished)
II. The rationale behind your proposed action/what is the issue that prompted you to take this action?
Claim of Cause and Effect Template
I. Your topic of choice
II. The outcome/What led it to occur? (the effect)
How to Write a Claim for your Essay?
Now that you have your template, I will now teach you how to write your claim. Bear in mind that this is a general guide on how to write a claim.
1Search for a topic and research!
- Choose a topic you would like to tackle.
- I suggest you look for an interesting topic, or a topic you are passionate about. It will make you more motivated to work.
- You have to do research on the possible arguments (or counter-arguments) on your stance.
2Ask a question and answer with your claim!
- This is a useful tip from Wikihow’s article. Ask yourself a question related to the topic.
- You may opt to use the template to guide you.
- Use your answer for your thesis. But wait! We’re not done yet.
- Revise your claim if you find it too broad.
- If your claim is too broad, chances are, you might end up narrating your ideas instead of arguing.
- In your essay, you have to support your claim with evidence.
Examples of Claims
I will give you examples for each type of claims I discussed earlier.
1. Negotiating is a soft skill asset for professionals at every stage of their career.
Why do you think it’s an asset for professionals?
2. Beauty pageants empower women instead of objectifying them.
Some people may think that beauty pageants objectify women because certain beauty standards are reinforced.
3. Students are not taught essential life skills in school.
Do you agree or disagree? Regardless of your answer, you have to provide evidence.
Claim of Value Examples
1. Playing Facility A is a better destination for children ages 4 to 10-years-old than Playing Facility B, as the former’s facilities allow the children to experience a fun and educational simulation of adulthood.
Believe me, there is actually a facility that simulates adulthood. This is my basis for my example. My evaluation of Playing facility A can be contested by other people.
2. Person A is an amazing artist, as he subtly presents human suffering through the subjects of his paintings.
This can be contested by other people. He or she may argue that Person B is an even more amazing artist.
3. Climate change is the most pressing issue the world is facing today because the rise in temperature creates a dire impact on living things.
What is the most pressing issue the world is facing today? Why? How is it a pressing issue compared to other world issues? Although it can be rephrased differently, this is a question I commonly encounter when writing essays. Other people can say that terrorism or the refugee crisis is the most pressing issue.
Claim of Policy Examples
1. 18-year-old citizens of Country A should be conscripted into the military to address the prevailing youth unemployment in the country.
Well, what if there are other ways to address youth unemployment other than military conscription? How about letting these citizens learn how to start a business?
2. Capital punishment or the death penalty should be abolished because it does not effectively deter crime.
Abolishing capital punishment is commonly a subject of controversy.
Claim of Cause and Effect
1. Playing video games cause aggression/violence among teenagers.
It’s up to you if you want to tackle either aggression or violence and its influence on teenagers.
2. Social media causes teenagers to feel inferior about themselves.
If you want, you can tackle other aspects of teenagers’ mental health issues such as depression or suicide.
What a day!
I hope you learned something new today. For me, it takes practice to write a strong and effective claim. You also have to be knowledgeable about your topic. Also, you may check my guide on twenty the most common errors in English that are often made by both international students and native speakers.
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If you are writing a claim right now for practice or for your requirements, I wish you good luck with that. Don’t forget to reward yourself with a short break, or your favorite snack. It’s your call.
It’s time for me to leave, for my role here is done.
See you next time, dear readers!