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Task 2 Essay Type: Discuss Both Sides

In this lesson, we’re going to look at the Task 2 Essay Type. Where you’re suppose to discuss two sides of an issue and then sometimes you’re suppose to give your opinion about that issue. This is one of the more difficult and complicated essay types you might find in task two. So let’s really focus on how to organize this essay and how to approach it.

Let’s begin by looking at some sample questions. So example number one, when making hiring decisions, which quality should employers value more in an applicant, graduation from a prestigious school, or experience that’s directly related to the position? We’re going to look in detail at how to outline an answer to this question in a few minutes.

But, just for now, notice how we have two sides to an issue. In this case, we have the question of whether going to a prestigious school is something employers should really look for and value very highly. Or whether it’s more important or more highly valuable that a person applying to a job has a lot of experience. These two things aren’t exclusive in the real world.

You could have somebody who has a lot of experience and who went to a very prestigious school, but this essay wants you to imagine that you have to choose between two people, I suppose, one who went to a great prestigious school and the other whose got a lot of experience, which one should be valued more highly. So that’s the exercise you have to do to answer this question, we’ll look at it more in depth in just a few minutes.

Let’s look at the second sample question. Some people believe that companies should be allowed to collect data about customers freely, while others believe this practice should be restricted. Discuss both sides of this issue. Now, a big difference between example number one and example number two, is that in example number one, you are supposed to give your opinion on this question.

In other words, you are supposed to provide some idea about whether you think experience or a prestigious school is in fact most important when making hiring decisions. Question number two, you do not need to take a side. You don’t need to have an opinion between the two sides that are presented. You simply need to discuss them both in your essay.

So these are the two main types of questions you’ll see here in this in this question type. One where you need to give an opinion, and the other where you don’t. Let’s talk about strategy for this essay type. One of the most important things to keep in mind for this essay is that you truly do need to discuss both sides of an issue and it is best to discuss them equally.

So you need to spend a similar amount of time or use a similar amount of words to explain both sides of the issue. You can’t focus all of your attention on side one and then just a little attention on side two, but you also should be fair between the two. These questions usually present something, two things together, that will have good arguments for both sides.

And so you should do that. That’s the best way to approach this question is to try to present the positive arguments for both sides of the issue. Imagine you’re trying to summarize the arguments from two people. One person believes one side of the issue, and the other person believes the other side of the issue.

You’re trying to present them fairly, and kinda summarize those two sides together. And remember, read the directions. Very often, you only need to present this information. If the essay question does not ask you to provide an opinion, then all you need to do is write an introduction. You need to present side one, the positive arguments for that side, present side two, the positive arguments for that side, and then write your conclusion and you’re done.

If you’re supposed to provide an opinion, then you should include your opinion in the thesis statement. Make sure that the reader knows which side you think is best in your thesis statement. And then, my advice is to write a third body paragraph. And in that third body paragraph, you present your opinion on the topic.

In other words you spend some time in body paragraph one discussing the positive points for side one. The positive points for side two, in the second body paragraph. And then in the third body paragraph, you present your side of the issue. What you think is best, whatever the issue is that you’re discussing. Since you’re writing three body paragraphs for this essay, you may need to have shorter paragraphs.

Don’t get stuck writing a really long first body paragraph, and then not have time to write the other two. Keep in mind, you may need to write shorter body paragraphs for this essay type if you’re supposed to provide your opinion. Now some further advice about paragraph three. If you’re suppose to provide an opinion, what should you do?

Well, one strategy is to simple choose one side over the other and that’s probably the easiest way to go. You have already described in the first two body paragraphs the positive points in both sides. And then in the third body paragraph you can provide some reasons why actually you think one side is in fact better than the other.

That would be an easy way to go. Another strategy for presenting your viewpoint in paragraph three is to point out a weakness to one of the sides. So instead of saying why one of the two sides is best, you can say why one of the two sides is weaker than the other one, and that would be a good way to present your opinion in paragraph three.

So these are the two simplest ways to present your argument and I recommend choosing one of these two approaches if you’re supposed to present your opinion in paragraph three. Let’s look at an outline for our first sample question that we saw at the beginning of the lesson. To remind you, it says, when making hiring decisions, which quality should employers value more in an applicant, graduation from a prestigious school, or experience that’s directly related to the position?

Discuss both sides and give your opinion. Now let’s just take a very broad view of how to outline for this essay question and we’ll, at the end, look at a good thesis statement that you could use for this type of essay. So for Body Paragraph 1, what you need to do is to provide reasons to prefer candidates who attend a prestigious school.

So what reasons can you think of why a person might be more desirable if they’ve attended a prestigious school? Well, certainly a good reason would be that since they got into the school and maybe they got really good grades at this school, it might say that they are a really smart person. It might say that they have aptitude, ability to learn things quickly and easily, and process really complex ideas.

Perhaps that’s something the company would value, and even though they don’t have experience, they would like to train a person like that to learn the job and maybe that person will really succeed in that job, because they have so much potential. That could be a really good argument for Side 1 in this case. Let’s look at Side 2.

Now remember, we’re supposed to treat the two sides equally. So we’re supposed to say, reasons to prefer candidates with a lot of experience. At this point we’re not supposed to say which one is better than the other. So what are some good reasons that a person with experience might be really valuable?

Well, an obvious thing here is that a person with a lot of experience has already done the kind of work the company is hiring for. So they have already seen things that could cause problems. That could cause delays in the work or cause failure in a certain way. Because of the experience, they know how to hopefully manage the work in a way that somebody who is brand new, might not know how to do.

So the person with experience would need less training and they might be good people to train others at the company because they have so much experience in what they do. That would be another good argument. There are lots of arguments you could make on both sides of this issue. What’s important to note now is that we’re treating both sides equally and fairly at this point.

It’s not until paragraph three where we want to choose a side in the question. So we have here it says, it’s best to choose candidates that show the greatest potential to thrive in a position. Prior success in a very similar position is a better indicator of future success. So in this essay, the person is taking the opinion that success or prior success in the similar kind of work is the most valuable thing a company could want.

I’m sure it would be easy to provide examples of how successful experience would be a good indicator of future success while you could probably also come up with some easy examples of how simply somebody who has a good college degree on their resume, maybe was not successful and did not succeed in the job that somebody hired them to do. It would be simple to provide that kind of argument.

Just because somebody gets good grades or graduates from a great school does not necessarily mean they’re going to be great at a particular job that a company would want to hire them for. So remember, we can say the positive things about people with experience, we can also present a weakness to the other side, which in this case is people who simply have a prestigious college degree in some way.

So in paragraph three, this is the place where you can present that opinion and present which side you think is best in this case. So that’s a basic outline. Now, this Body Paragraph 3 remember needs to be reflected in your thesis statement. So let’s take a look at that now, we’re kinda going backwards through this. A good thesis for this essay would look something like this.

While both qualifications could lead to a successful hire, a history of success performing similar functions as the target position is the most valuable quality a candidate can possess. So notice how we’re presenting in this thesis, that there are positive sides to both arguments, that’s the first thing we mention in the thesis. Where it says, well, both qualifications could lead to a successful hire.

Presenting that we’re gonna discuss good parts of both sides of the argument, but then we conclude with the opinion element, where we say a history of success. That part indicates the opinion of the author that we’re going to find in paragraph three of this essay. Now, this is just an outline. Let’s take a look at one where we have a full sample essay.

And this is for the example number two essay. This one, to remind you, says, some people believe that companies should be allowed to collect data about customers freely, while others believe this practice should be restricted discuss both sides of the issue. Now, in this one we don’t need to present a positive, we don’t need to take a side, we don’t need to say which one is best.

We simply need to discuss the positive points of both sides. So this essay can have two body paragraphs. Let’s look at how to approach it. First of all, a good thesis for this essay. While allowing companies to collect customer data can help them create products that meet consumer demands, regulating this practice maybe necessary because costumer information is often stolen and/or used dishonestly.

Notice how representing the positive view of both sides of this opinion, and this is what we present in the thesis statement. So the outline for this one would look something like this. Body Paragraph 1, we would discuss all about how allowing data collection can help companies create and market products that meet consumer needs. These are the positive arguments for side one.

So in Body Paragraph 2, we could write about how restricting consumer data collection seems desirable when consumer data is stolen and/or used dishonestly. So the good argument for side number two there. You can see how the details of these arguments are presented in the sample essay. That you find below this video.

It’s written down fully for you there. So take a look at that as a good model for how to approach this particular question. Okay, now to review. So for this essay type, it’s very important, number one, to present both sides of the issue. Make sure you treat them equally to the best of their ability.

So each side then must have its own paragraph, make sure you present side one in body paragraph one, and side two in body paragraph two. And then you pay close attention to the directions. If you need to then you should in paragraph three say which side you agree with more. Remember, when you choose a side you can say, why one side is best or you can say, why one one side is weaker than the other one, and that’s a good way to present your opinion in paragraph three.

Whatever you say, you need to present that opinion in your thesis statement at the beginning of the essay to let the reader know what argument, or which side you think is going to be better, way at the beginning of the essay. The paragraph you write about that will come at the end in paragraph three just before your conclusion. Okay, a complicated essay type but hopefully this overview provides you a good sense of how to approach these questions and organize your thoughts when you find an essay type for task two that requires you to discuss both sides and possibly present your opinion.

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