Are you wondering what an argumentative essay is? What is its structure, and how to write it perfectly to score an ‘A’? Argumentative essays are one of the typical essay assignments that lecturers assign you during your college studies, regardless of the courses you are enrolled in.
It’s interesting to observe that some students find it easy to write this kind of essay, while others find it difficult. So, for students who are struggling to write a decent argumentative essay, here is our easy-to-follow guide to composing a well-structured essay.
Before we delve into the ‘how-to’ steps of writing an essay, it is pivotal to know what an argumentative essay is.
What is an argumentative essay?
An argumentative essay is a typical college assignment. It is a piece of writing wherein the writer takes a stance or position on a topic and strives to persuade the reader to agree with the writer’s point of view. The essay’s sole motive is to prompt the reader to support the writer’s stand on the topic.
However, please note that the writer must present accurate reasoning and provide authentic evidence to back up their perspective. Thus, an argumentative essay must have three critical qualities – Precision, logical flow, and evidence-backed support.
You now understand what an argumentative essay is. So let us move on to how to write an argumentative essay outline.
How to outline an argumentative essay?
An argumentative essay must have a straightforward structure that the reader can easily follow. In addition, the outline of the essay must highlight the writer’s point of view, the reasoning of the writer, and evidence to support the writer’s claim.
The basic outline to follow when writing this essay type is:
1) Introductory paragraph: First, you will first have to write an introduction, which forms the first paragraph of the essay. This section must introduce the subject/topic and contain a thesis statement that states your opinion/stance on the subject.
2) Body paragraphs: Typically, an essay consists of three or more paragraphs. Each section explains your reasons for supporting the thesis. It is good to cover different evidence in each part. And have a topic sentence that explains why the reader should agree with you.
Each paragraph must be solid and back up the claims with the help of research, examples, studies, statistics, and citations. Provide credible facts and evidence in the essay and earn the trust of the reader.
3) Conclusion: This is usually the fifth paragraph, and it is used to restate the thesis statement and summarize all the body paragraphs. You must not present new ideas or arguments here. However, you can appeal to the reader.
Follow the format mentioned above to create a precise essay outline and write a well-structured essay. Once you decide on the topic and know your thesis statement, the next important step is to consider how you will present your argument.
Typically, there are five types of argument claims, which are:
- Fact: Is the statement true or false?
- Definition: The dictionary definition of your arguments in addition to your interpretation.
- Value: The importance of your argument.
- Cause and effect: What causes the problem? What are its implications?
- Policy: What the reader must do after reading the essay
Now that we know the essay structure and five types of argument claims, let us dive into the steps of creating an argumentative essay.
A step-by-step guide to writing an argumentative essay
Since you now know the essay structure. Let us use the same form and employ it to explain the steps to write the essay elaborately.
Firstly, you can write the essay in three steps:
- Topic selection and writing a thesis statement: Go with your topic of interest if given a chance to select your topic. It may be a topic you strongly feel about or which has a strong influence on you.
However, make sure that the topic is easily researchable and has enough findings for you to narrow it down further and come up with a clear and concise thesis statement.
- Researching and organizing the findings: Once you decide upon a topic, start researching it. Search all kinds of sources – books, articles, blogs, journals, documentaries, etc. And move on to the next step when you have enough information about the topic.
Writing the essay: This is the step where you draft the outline of the article and start the writing process. Since you know how to write the outline, let us go through the steps again and see how to write each section to create a maximum impact.
- Introduction: Start your essay with a strong hook that provides a hint about your argument. Provide necessary background information about your idea. Include a one-line, clear, concise, and strong thesis statement at the end of the introduction.
Tip: The thesis statement must be informative, valid, engaging, and arguable. It must lay a solid foundation for your claim.
- Body: This section must be divided into paragraphs and must include topic sentences and evidence (opposing or supporting a point of view).
Every paragraph must essentially have a topic sentence that supports and specifies one idea. Additionally, it must provide proper supporting evidence to convince the reader and finally end with a concluding remark that provides a smooth transition to the next paragraph.
It is good to have a paragraph where you provide counterarguments that the readers might have. The aim of this paragraph is to provide opposing views and prove them wrong by presenting solid evidence and facts.
Tip: State all counter-arguments one by one and respond to each of them. Refute the opposite claims with evidence and conclude the section by reasserting your primary stance.
- Conclusion: write a logical and precise conclusion, summarizing all your main points. Rewrite the thesis statement and do not introduce any new issue in this section. Get the reader to agree to your stand and conclude the essay with an excellent call to the action line.
These are the steps to writing a well-defined argumentative essay. Besides the essay writing steps, it is also beneficial to know three argumentative essay models – Classical, Toulmin, and Rogerian.
- Classical model – In this model, the writer tries to convince the reader to side with the writer’s view by discussing both sides of the argument. And then presents substantial evidence to back up the claim.
- Toulmin model – The writer presents a one-sided argument and presents irrefutable evidence, which is hard to counter.
- Rogerian model – It is also known as the common ground model. The writer acknowledges both sides of the argument and provides a middle ground.
Argumentative essay writing tips
Since you are now aware of writing an argumentative essay, we will give you some handy tips to help you write a perfect argumentative essay.
- Select a defendable and debatable essay topic.
- Choose a topic you are interested in.
- Do not display emotions in your writing.
- Try presenting opposing views first.
- Do not disrespect opposing points of view.
- Make sure the evidence is authentic and is not made up.
- Give proper citation to all the resources.
- Have strong essay introductions and thesis.
- Use perfect grammar and vocabulary.
- Get your essay reviewed by others.
These are some of the argumentative essay writing tips that can follow. In addition to the advice given here, you must also know the difference between an argumentative essay and a persuasive essay.
An argumentative essay offers credible facts and evidence to support and show the writer’s stance. The supporting evidence points that the writer has a valid point of view. Whereas in persuasive essays, the writer blends emotions with facts and attempts to convince the reader to side with the writer’s perspective. This presents one-sided arguments mostly.