Nova A.
Nova A.

The Ultimate Guide to Argumentative Essay Writing

18 min read

Published on: Feb 3, 2018

Last updated on: Nov 22, 2023

argumentative essay guide

Are you struggling to write an argumentative essay? Do you want to learn the essential tips and techniques to craft a convincing argument? 

Argumentative essay writing needs more than just a personal opinion. It requires you to present evidence and facts to support a claim. But where do you begin?

Look no further! This blog post will provide an in-depth guide on how to write an effective argumentative essay. 

Read on to learn how to craft a perfect argumentative essay in this simple step-by-step guide.

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Argumentative Essay Definition

An argumentative essay is a type of essay where the writer takes a strong stance on an issue and presents arguments for it. 

These essays are built around a central argument. These arguments must be supported by logical evidence and facts. The primary purpose of an argumentative essay is to persuade readers to accept the writer's point of view on a particular topic.

It is similar to a persuasive essay. The only difference is, it is based on logic and evidence. Whereas, a persuasive essay may use emotional appeals.

Five Types of Argument Claims

There are five types of arguable claims that you can support in your essay. These include factual claims, definition claims, value claims, cause-and-effect claims, and policy claims.

Let's discuss each type in detail:

Factual Claims

These claims focus on facts and events that have occurred in the past. They can be supported with evidence such as statistics, examples, or expert opinions.

For instance, you could write an argumentative essay to support the claim that global warming is a man-made phenomenon. You would present evidence such as scientific research findings and expert opinions to back up your argument.

Definition Claims

These claims focus on the definition of something or a concept. You can use logic, historical facts, and evidence to support a definition claim.

For example, you could write an argumentative essay to define what “success” means for a person or organization. You would need to back up your definition by providing evidence from experts or historical data.

Value Claims

These claims focus on the value of something and can be supported with facts and expert opinions.

For instance, you could write an argumentative essay to argue that technology has a positive effect on our lives. You would present evidence such as surveys and studies that show how technology has made life easier and more efficient.

Cause and Effect Claims

These claims focus on how one event or action leads to another. They can be supported with evidence such as experimental data.

For example, you could write an argumentative essay to argue that poverty causes crime. You would need to present evidence from experts and other sources to back up your claim.

Policy Claims

These claims focus on specific initiatives or policies that people want to implement. They can be supported with evidence from experts and other sources.

For instance, you could write an argumentative essay with the data to support the implementation of a new government policy for healthcare reform. You would need to provide evidence such as reports and studies on the issue to back up your claim.

So, there are five types of arguable claims that you can make in your essay. Each type requires its own unique approach. 

Three Argument Structures and How To Use Them

There are three main types of argument structures that may be used in an essay. Let's see how each of them works:

Classical (Aristotelian) Argument

The classical argument structure is the oldest and most common type of argument. This model has its roots in the works of the ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle. 

It consists of five parts: 

  • Introduction
  • Your Arguments
  • Counter Arguments
  • Refutation
  • Conclusion

To construct a classical argument essay, you would need to:

  1. Present your position on an issue
  2. Provide evidence to support it
  3. Acknowledge opposing views
  4. Refute those views with evidence
  5. Conclude by summarizing the main points.

Rogerian Argument

The Rogerian model is used in essays where the main purpose is to find a common ground between opposing sides. It was developed by psychologist Carl Rogers.

It consists of four parts: 

  • Introduction
  • Both Sides Of An Issue
  • Common Ground
  • Conclusion

To construct a Rogerian argument essay, you would need:

  1. To present your side of the issue
  2. Acknowledge and present the opposing view
  3. Find a point of agreement between them
  4. Conclude by summarizing the main points.

Toulmin Argument

The Toulmin structure is less common than the other two but it has its own unique style. This model was developed by British philosopher Stephen Toulmin. It consists of six parts:

  1. Introduction
  2. Claim
  3. Grounds
  4. Backing
  5. Qualifier
  6. Rebuttal of opposing arguments
  7. Conclusion.

To construct a Toulmin model argument, you have to:

  1. Present your claim on an issue
  2. Provide evidence to back it up (grounds)
  3. Support that evidence with additional information (backing)
  4. Acknowledge any possible exceptions (qualifier)
  5. Refute the counter-arguments (rebuttal)
  6. Conclude by summarizing the main points.

It is important to choose the right structure that best fits the needs of your essay.

Watch this video that explains the three different types in detail:

How to Outline an Argumentative Essay?

When writing an argumentative essay, it is important to create an outline. An outline will help you organize your arguments and keep track of the flow of your essay.

Here is a basic structure for outlining an argumentative essay:

Argumentative Essay Outline

I. Introduction

Hook: Start with an attention-grabbing sentence or question.

Background Information: Provide context for the topic.

Thesis Statement: Clearly state your argument or position on the issue.

II. Body

Note: You can have as many body paragraphs as needed, but for this outline, let's include three body paragraphs as an example.

A. Body Paragraph 1

Topic Sentence: Introduce the first argument or point that supports your thesis.

Supporting Evidence: Present facts, statistics, examples, or expert opinions that support your argument.

Explanation: Explain how the evidence supports your point.

Counterargument: Address a potential counterargument and refute it.

B. Body Paragraph 2

Topic Sentence: Introduce the second argument or point that supports your thesis.

Supporting Evidence: Present relevant evidence, similar to the first body paragraph.

Explanation: Explain the connection between the evidence and your argument.

Counterargument: Address another potential counterargument and provide a rebuttal.

C. Body Paragraph 3

Topic Sentence: Introduce the third argument or point that supports your thesis.

Supporting Evidence: Offer evidence to strengthen this argument.

Explanation: Clarify how this evidence supports your overall argument.

Counterargument: Address a third counterargument and counter it effectively.

III. Counter Arguments

Acknowledge Counterarguments: Summarize the main counterarguments to your thesis.

Refutation: Provide strong evidence and reasoning to refute each counterargument.

IV. Conclusion

Restate Thesis: Reiterate your thesis statement in a slightly different way.

Summarize Main Points: Briefly summarize the key points from your body paragraphs.

Closing Statement: End with a memorable closing thought, call to action, or implications of your argument.

V. References or Works Cited

List all the sources you've used for research, following the appropriate citation style (e.g., APA, MLA).

Following this structure will help you organize your essay and ensure that it is easy to read and understand. 

Expert Tip

Read more about creating an argumentative essay outline and master the art of essay structure.

How To Write An Argumentative Essay?

Here are the basic components of an argumentative essay that you need to write: 

  • Argumentative Essay Introduction
  • Argumentative Essay Thesis Statement 
  • Argumentative Essay Body Paragraphs 
  • Using Counter Arguments 
  • Argumentative Essay Conclusion

Let's explore how to write each argumentative essay component in detail:

Argumentative Essay Introduction

An argumentative essay introduction clearly states the writer’s claim that he will make in the essay. The introductory paragraph should be logical and intellectual and should be written persuasively.

Here are three steps you can follow to write a very persuasive argumentative essay introduction:

  1. Start with a hook: Begin your introduction paragraph with a strong hook that gives the reader a hint about your argument.
  2. Give background information: Provide brief background information necessary to understand the argument and smoothly transition into the thesis statement.
  3. State the thesis: Lay a solid foundation for your claim by stating your thesis statement.

Argumentative Essay Thesis Statement

The thesis statement is a concise, clear, and one-sentence summary of the whole essay. It is the most important part of an argumentative essay because it establishes a foundation for your claim. It should be informative, engaging, arguable, and valid.

One of the ways of writing an argumentative thesis is to make a question out of your topic. Simply take your essay topic and turn it into a debatable question.

Here is the thesis statement example for an argumentative essay:

"Public schools should implement uniform policies because they promote a sense of community, reduce distractions in the classroom, and contribute to a more equal educational environment."

Argumentative Essay Body Paragraphs

The body paragraphs involve topic sentences and evidence, either against or supporting a certain point of view.

Here are three simple steps for crafting the body paragraphs:

  1. Topic sentence: Start each body paragraph with a topic sentence that defines only one specific idea and supports the main claim.
  2. Provide evidence: Provide as much supporting evidence as required to convince the reader. Remember! The argument has no value if it is not backed with proper and relevant evidence from credible sources.
  3. Concluding remarks: End the paragraph with a concluding remark and smoothly transition to the next body paragraph.

Using Counter Arguments

This counter-argument paragraph contains the opposing point of view that a reader may pose against your main argument. This paragraph aims to prove that the opposing side is wrong by providing facts and evidence.

Below are the four steps to craft a counter-argument paragraph:

  1. State the counter-arguments: Present all the counter-arguments one by one.
  2. State your response: Provide your response towards the counter-arguments.
  3. Refute the opposing claims: Refute the opposite claims, one by one, with facts and evidence..
  4. Conclusion: Conclude the paragraph by reasserting your main claim of the essay.

Argumentative Essay Conclusion

The conclusion needs to be logical and precise that inspire the reader to agree with your claim. It should provide the final stance about the argument, which tells that your side of the argument is right.

Here are the three steps to writing an effective argumentative essay conclusion:

  1. Summarize the argument: Sum up the entire essay and rewrite the thesis statement
  2. Stick to the plan: Don’t introduce any new argument here; just synthesize all the information presented in the body paragraph.
  3. Call to action: End your essay by providing a call to action.

Argumentative Essay Graphic Organizer

argumentative-essay-graphic-organizer

Argumentative Essay Format 

Writing a compelling argumentative essay involves more than just great content; proper formatting is equally crucial. 

Here is the argumentative essay paragraph format example. Follow these guidelines to ensure your essay is well-structured and visually appealing:

  1. Paper Size and Margins
  • Use standard letter-size paper (8.5 x 11 inches) or A4 paper.
  • Set margins to 1 inch (2.54 cm) on all sides of the page.
  1. Font and Spacing
  • Choose a legible font such as Times New Roman, Arial, or Calibri.
  • Use a 12-point font size for the main text.
  • Maintain double spacing throughout the entire essay, including the title, headings, and references.
  1. Title Page
  • Include a title page with your essay title, name, instructor's name, course name/code, and submission date (in the upper left or center).
  • Use proper formatting for the title, such as bold or italics.
  1. Header and Page Numbers
  • Insert a header at the top right corner of each page, including your last name and page number.
  • Page numbers should be in Arabic numerals (1, 2, 3...) and start on the title page if required by your instructor.
  1. Title
  • Create a centered and bolded title for your essay.
  • Capitalize the first letter of each major word in the title.
  • Avoid underlining or using quotation marks for the title.
  1. Introduction
  • Begin your essay with a clear and engaging introduction.
  • Introduce the topic, provide background information, and state your thesis statement.
  1. Headings and Subheadings
  • Use a consistent system for headings (e.g., bold, italics, or underlining).
  • Organize your essay with clear headings and subheadings to guide readers through your argument.
  1. Body Paragraphs
  • Start each body paragraph with a topic sentence that relates to your thesis.
  • Provide evidence, examples, and analysis to support your argument.
  • Use transition words to ensure a smooth flow between paragraphs.
  1. Counterarguments
  • Address counterarguments within your essay.
  • Refute opposing viewpoints logically and with evidence.
  1. Conclusion
  • Summarize your main points.
  • Reiterate your thesis statement.
  • End with a thought-provoking closing statement or call to action.
  1. Citations and References
  • Use proper citation style (e.g., APA, MLA, Chicago) as required by your instructor.
  • Include a separate page for references or works cited, listing all sources used in your essay.

By adhering to these formatting guidelines, your argumentative essay will not only convey your ideas effectively but also make a professional and organized impression on your readers.

Argumentative Essay Examples

Sample essays play a vital role in understanding the structure of an essay. So check out these examples below.

Expert Tip

Here are more argumentative essay examples to help you understand the structure of an argumentative essay.

Good Argumentative Essay Topics 

Choosing a topic for an argumentative essay is way more complicated than choosing a topic for any other essay. To get enough material to write about, your topic should be:

To get enough material to write about, here are some easy argumentative essay topics for students:

  • Coronavirus is more of a blessing for the earth than a curse.
  • Human beings are more dangerous for mother earth than any other creature
  • Most of the young people can work from home
  • Social media have caused social problems
  • Single parents can't do the same upbringing of kids as both parents do.
  • The death penalty should be abolished
  • Animals shouldn't be kept in captivity
  • Climate change is caused by human activity 
  • Schools should provide mental health education 
  • Universal basic income should be implemented

Expert Tip

If you want to get more unique argumentative essay topic ideas, have a look at our blog with 200+ argumentative essay topics!

Transition Words For Argumentative Essays

Transition words are crucial in argumentative essays to guide readers through your arguments and enhance the coherence and flow of your writing. 
Here are some essential transition words and phrases to strengthen your argumentative essays:

  • Firstly
  • Additionally
  • However
  • Similarly
  • On the contrary
  • Moreover
  • For instance
  • Consequently
  • Nonetheless
  • In conclusion

Argumentative Essay Writing Tips

Writing an argumentative essay can be a challenging task, especially if you are unsure of how to get started. Here are some tips to help you write a good and persuasive argumentative essay:

  • Choose a Debatable Topic:  
    Pick a topic that has two opposing sides and can be debated. It should also be relevant to the course or subject you are writing about.
  • Do Your Research: 
    Before you start writing, it is important to do some extensive research on the topic so that you understand both sides of the argument. This will help you make an informed decision when writing your essay.
  • Write a Clear Thesis Statement: 
    Your thesis should state the main point of your essay clearly and concisely so that readers know what to expect.
  • Develop Your Arguments: 
    Once you have chosen your topic and done your research, you can start developing the arguments that you will use in your essay. Make sure that each argument is supported with evidence from reliable sources.
  • Keep it Organized: 
    An outline will help keep your essay organized and focused on the main points that you want to make.
  • Be Unbiased: 
    When writing an argumentative essay, it is important to remain impartial and present both sides of the argument in a fair and balanced way.
  • Use Proper Formatting: 
    Different styles have different formatting requirements, such as font size and type, margins, and line spacing. Make sure to follow the guidelines for your chosen style.
  • Proofread: 
    After you have finished writing your essay, it is important to take time to proofread and make any corrections or revisions that are necessary. 

By following these tips, you can write an effective argumentative essay that will help you get the results that you want.

To finish it off,

Argumentative essay writing requires strong research and analysis skills to develop a sound argument. With the right planning and structure, anyone can write an effective argumentative essay. 

Now that you have learned about the basics of writing an argumentative essay, it is time to start putting your ideas into practice. Choose a topic that you are passionate about and start writing! 

However, we understand that students face many difficulties while writing an essay. If you are one of them, don’t worry, we’ve got a solution for you!

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Frequently Asked Questions

How do you identify an argumentative essay?

In order to identify an argumentative essay, there are three steps: 

  • First figure out the purpose of a message. Who is trying to convince you? What do they want from you? 
  • Second, determine what their conclusion might be—what will it take for them to feel that their goal has been accomplished?
  • Finally, think about reasons why someone would believe something and consider if any apply here. 

Does an argumentative essay have a title?

An argumentative essay should have a title. This should give the reader an idea of what you're writing about.

Nova A.

WRITTEN BY

Nova A. (Literature, Marketing)

Nova Allison is a Digital Content Strategist with over eight years of experience. Nova has also worked as a technical and scientific writer. She is majorly involved in developing and reviewing online content plans that engage and resonate with audiences. Nova has a passion for writing that engages and informs her readers.

Nova Allison is a Digital Content Strategist with over eight years of experience. Nova has also worked as a technical and scientific writer. She is majorly involved in developing and reviewing online content plans that engage and resonate with audiences. Nova has a passion for writing that engages and informs her readers.

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