How to Write an Argumentative Essay: Structure and Outline
What’s an Argumentative Essay?
An argumentative essay is a type of essay where an author presents a well-structured argument to support a claim. The essay formulates a stance on a specific topic or issue and supports it with facts and evidence. The primary purpose of an argumentative essay is to show the strengths as well as weaknesses of a particular topic. The essay should have a proper structure that ensures the reader is convinced.
Argumentative essays are one of the most common in essay writing, and students will encounter them all through their academic life in different fields. A step by step guide is important in writing; the first step in creating an argumentative essay is investigating an issue, picking a side, and finding strong evidence to prove the claim logically. The argument presented in the study ought to be specific, reasonable, containing detailed and sound evidence that convinces the reader to agree with the author’s perspective.
How To Structure an Argumentative Essay?
There are three main approaches to writing an argumentative essay. To create the proper style for an argumentative essay, a writer should evaluate the three below, which can be used separately or combined to present your argument.
- Classical or Aristotelian Model
This style of argument has the author’s goal being to convince the reader to accept your side of the issue. The author uses various persuasive ways to show that the proposed solution is the right one since the reader is uninformed or might not have a strong opinion. The approach follows a direct and logical path that includes;
- The introduction aims at getting the attention of the reader, a statement of the problem and why they need to care.
- The background presents the context along with the main facts around the problem.
- The thesis provides the author’s claim and an outline of critical arguments.
- The argument is the most significant part of the paper and discusses the reasons for the author’s position and backs it up with enough evidence.
- The refutation aims at convincing the reader how differing arguments are valid or not authentic.
- Conclusion provides a recap of the key points, explains the consequences, and presents why the author’s side is the best.
- Toulmin Model
The strategy was established by Stephen Toulmin and aimed to find a mutual ground in an argument and remove unnecessary arguments. Instead of having both sides of the argument, the model only presents one. The format for the model includes;
- Claim: State the argument clearly
- Evidence: Provides reasons, data, and largely accepted facts
- Warrant: Presents the connection that exists between the argument and reasons
- Backing: Here, you provide more facts that back up the argument
- Qualifier: A short phrase that presents the scope of the claims you have submitted. These include; usually, typically, and generally….etc.
- Exceptions: You address opposing opinions by setting some exclusions.
- Rogerian Model
This strategy recognizes the two sides of the argument and presents a middle ground. Issues such as global warming and gender topics best work if the Rogerian model is used since the author concedes that the opposite side could also be valid. Below is a basic outline of the Rogerian model argument;
- Provide the issue and present the reason why it ought to be addressed.
- Next, provide a summary of the opposing claims. Here, indicate the points of the arguments and explain situations where they could be valid. Through this, the author shows that they understand the two sides of the claim.
- State your point in a manner that shows why they are valid.
- Lastly, indicate the advantages of adopting your claim for the argument. Appeal to the opposing reader by convincing them that adopting your claim benefits them.
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How to Write an Argumentative Essay?
An argumentative essay needs not to be a big headache or a project that is so overwhelming that you don’t have a clue of where to start writing. Similar to other projects, an argumentative essay needs to be broken down into small chunks. Below are some steps that you could use as a guide:
- Explore Different Argumentative Essay Topics
A critical part of an argumentative essay is having a persuasive topic for the reader. Persuasive topics are readily available in newspapers, radios, or even on TV. You could even have listened to two people arguing in the class, where each of them had solid conflicting viewpoints.
When deciding which topics you will pick, ask yourself these four questions
- What led to a particular thing happening?
- What caused it?
- Is there any importance?
- How do we react to it?
Here are some good argumentative essay topics:
- Is it a conflict of interest for a professor to request student to buy a book they have published?
- From a financial perception, should one invest in cryptocurrencies?
- Has society become too dependent on technology?
- Can we constitute Russia as a superpower alongside the USA and China?
- Are standardized exams a fair reflection of a student’s skills?
- Choose the Types of Argument Claims
After picking the topic, it is important that you give considerable thought to establishing your claim. Three types of claims are listed below, and you could consider them while writing the argumentative essay.
Is your claim a fact or not? Is there a likelihood of occurring or not? Is it true?
How can we define it? In what ways can it be classified and interpreted?
How important is the issue? Is there a need to address it?
- Cause and Effect
What is the possible cause and effects?
Are there some laws that can be enforced to handle the issue?
The argumentative claims above play a massive part in determining the arguments, either opposing or supporting.
- Determine Your Stance
Once you have decided on the argumentative topic you are most passionate about, evaluate the two sides of the argument.
Secondly, pick the side you are more comfortable about and search for enough evidence to back up your claim.
- Collect Evidence and Supporting Examples
It is important that you collect strong evidence and proof from authentic sources that will help in supporting your points. The evidence collected should aim at convincing the reader that your side is the correct one.
- Create Argumentative Essay Outline
High school and college students often indicate that argumentative essays are one of the hardest they tackle in their assignments. Drafting a well-structured essay requires incredible writing skills as well as research expertise. To make things easier, come up with an outline draft. So, here is a sample of how to structure your argumentative essay;
Introduction of Argumentative Essay
The introduction of an argumentative essay needs to present the author’s argument that they will present all through the essay. This part ought to be intellectual, rational, and be written convincingly. Below is a sample outline to use when writing the introduction of an argumentative essay for your assignment:
Hook Statement: – The essay introduction should be aimed at capturing the mind of the reader from the onset. You could consider a meaningful quote or even a rhetorical question.
Background Information: – Provide an intriguing context that narrows down the aim of the discussion and create a basis for thesis statement introduction.
Thesis Statement: – This is the last statement of the introduction and aims at providing the central argument of the whole paper. In an argumentative essay, remember the goal is to defend your idea hence the need to go direct to your idea and why it is correct.
Argumentative Essay Body Paragraphs
Topic Sentence: – A sentence that acts as a transition from the thesis statement and introduces the main sub-argument.
Claim: – Now link your sub-argument to the thesis statement while explaining how the central message of the essay is validated.
Evidence: – Now that the claim is provided, defend it with factual support. This kind of evidence could be references, data, or even logical ideas that are in line with the claim. Having credible external sources for the essays adds more validity to your claim.
Concluding Statement: – This is essential as it summarizes the overall importance of the claim to the thesis.
Rebuttal Paragraph in an Argumentative Essay
A rebuttal paragraph is essential since it proves that the author considered both sides of the argument. It demonstrates that you examined the opposing side of the claim, researched it, and found a technique to argue against it.
It is a very critical section of the essay since you use it to overrule other individuals’ objections. In essence, you acknowledge the opposing views but still argue why your points are still valid.
You can set the rebuttal paragraph to have three parts:
- Counterargument: – A counterargument presents an objection to your argument. This is developed by assessing all the things the people opposed to your opinion.
- Refuting the counterargument: – An explanation and evidence of why the counterarguments are wrong are presented here.
- Concluding sentence: – A summary of the rebuttal paragraph is provided here.
Argumentative Essay Conclusion
This part of the essay essentially requires you to be direct and logical so as to motivate the reader to agree with your argument. The final stance of your claim that tells your side is correct should be provided here. When writing the conclusion, here are some essential steps to consider:
Restate the Thesis: – In the conclusion of an argumentative essay, the author should start with a statement like “I have 100% proven this point beyond reasonable doubt”. The first sentence is always a restatement of the thesis statement.
Brief Summarization of Sub-Arguments: – Go back and present your points once more to ensure that the audience remembers your earlier points at the same time providing closure for your argument.
Overall Concluding Statement: – Provide a catchy concluding statement that leaves the reader with an urge to carry on with more research on the topic.
Importantly, an argumentative essay planning sheet generally consists of 5 sections.
- Introductory paragraph
- Body Paragraphs I
- Body Paragraphs II
- Body Paragraphs III
The body paragraphs could either be higher or lower based on the word limit and the essay topic. Complex topics as well as thorough research need detailed essays. Essays that discuss several research resources or even empirical research will undoubtedly be longer than five paragraphs. In this case, the author will need to debate the context around the topic, sources of data plus their reliability, and several differing opinions on the issue prior to providing a conclusion for the essay.
Argumentative Essay Samples
A Sample of Good Argumentative Essay Topics
- Do you consider climate change as the biggest threat to the universe?
- Is it okay for the drinking age to be lowered?
- United States is falling behind other countries with regards to education. Is this true?
- Do you think that the minimum wage should be raised?
- Thomas Jefferson made substantial contributions to the founding of America, both as a writer and a politician. Nevertheless, he didn’t live a perfect life. Was he a hero?
- Many states have begun to permit the possession of certain drugs like marijuana; is this a great idea?
- Are manufacturers responsible for the impacts of the chemicals utilized in creating their products?
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Frequently Asked Questions
Which question can help a writer analyze a prompt and develop a claim for an argumentative essay?
Examples of good questions include;
- “Why will I be writing?”
- “Why will I be writing this essay?”
- “What is the main purpose of the essay?”
Which is a step in writing an argumentative speech?
A critical step in the writing of the speech is utilizing reasoning so as to clarify and present support evidence that backs your claim.
What is the difference between argumentative and persuasive writing?
Argumentative writing presents the reader with facts on both sides of the argument and has the support of research and evidence, while persuasive is based more on emotions and opinions.
What are the parts of an argumentative essay?
The main parts include;
What is the last step in creating an argumentative essay?
After writing down the conclusion of your essay, the next part is editing or revising the draft. While revising an argumentative essay, a writer should;
- Take some time away from the draft before perusing it
- Check on the grammar as well as punctuation while revising
- Counter check the evidence utilized in the arguments
- If you have a colleague to check it, this would be a bonus
- Run the final paper in a grammar checker