Nova A.
Nova A.

Argumentative Essay Outline: How to Structure Your Argumentative Essay

11 min read

Published on: Feb 11, 2018

Last updated on: Nov 22, 2023

argumentative essay outline

Preparing to write an argumentative essay but don’t know where to start?

Making an outline is an important step in prewriting. Having a defined outline makes the essay writing process much simpler. It helps you logically present your ideas and saves you from getting stuck with writer’s block. 

In this blog, we are going to teach you about how to write an outline for your essay. You’ll also get examples and templates to help you out.

So continue reading!

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How To Write An Argumentative Essay Outline?

A simple argumentative essay outline follows the same structure as any other type of essay. The difference lies in the content of the body paragraphs. Unlike a persuasive essay, where the focus is on convincing the reader through emotional appeals, the argumentative essay presents the argument.

Some paragraphs introduce your own argument, while others state the opposing arguments and their refutations. 

Here is an argumentative essay outline template you could follow for writing your essay:


  • Introduction (Write Your Thesis Statement)


  • Body Paragraph 1 (Support Main Argument)

·         (Topic Sentence)


·         (Evidence / Sources)

  • Body Paragraph 2 (Support Main Argument)

·         (Topic Sentence)


·         (Evidence / Sources)

  • Body Paragraph 3 (Addressing Counter Argument)

·         (Topic Sentence)


·         (Evidence / Sources)

  • Conclusion (Sum Up Your Arguments)


The most common structure to craft an argumentative essay is as follows:

1. Argumentative Essay Introduction 

The introductory paragraph introduces the main argument and provides a brief background of the argumentative essay topic you chose. Essay introductions act as a roadmap for the entire essay. For an argumentative essay, this is where you lay the foundation for your argument. 
An introduction comprises the following essential components: 

  • Hook Statement

A hook statement is written to grab the attention of your reader immediately. It should intrigue the reader and make them read the complete essay.
For example, if you are writing an argumentative essay on animal testing, your hook statement could be: 

“Medical research that involves animals for testing drugs has significantly improved human health.”  
  • Background Information 

Provide brief background information about your argument and the main claim of your essay. It will make it easier for the reader to understand the argument you will make in your essay. 
For example:

“Without animal testing, we haven’t been able to find a cure for polio. And, the diabetes patients would have died from the disease.”
  • Thesis Statement

An argumentative essay thesis statement should highlight your perspective, stance, and reason for your position. A thesis statement must be clearly defined, arguable, and defendable. It should express the importance of your argument and a reason why the reader should read your essay.
For Example:

“Animal testing should continue to benefit medical research as it helps in the improvement of insulins, antibiotics, and other medicines.”

Expert Tip

In case you're looking for some inspiration for your topic, check out our argumentative essay topics blog!

2. Argumentative Essay Supporting Paragraphs 

In the body paragraph, you present your point of view and provide evidence that supports your argument. The goal here is to explain how valid your claim is by providing evidence that strengthens your argument. 

For Example:

“Animal testing allows scientists to test and create new drugs.”

Here are four basic things that a body paragraph should state.

a. The purpose: Why are you making an argument about a particular issue? 

For example: “Animal testing should be allowed in medical research because...”

b. Topic sentence: This is a fact or an example that helps the reader better understand your argument. The topic sentence of a paragraph should focus on just one point.

For Example: “Animal testing allows the scientist to test the effects of certain drugs.”

c. Provide evidence: State facts with examples and statistics that support your thesis statement and the topic sentence. Make sure that you have collected authentic evidence from credible sources. 

For Example: “According to [source], Scientists found out that most animals have the same physical processes as humans, i.e. monkeys or rabbits.”

d. Concluding sentence: The concluding sentence should reassert how the topic sentence helps the reader better understand the claim. 

Such as: “Therefore, if a drug has a bad effect on animals, it is also not suitable for human use.”

3. Argumentative Essay Counter Arguments Paragraph 

The counter-argument is the other side of the issue that you will prove wrong by stating the specific reasons. In this paragraph, you mention the opposing views that the reader might pose against your argument and refute them. 
Conclude this paragraph by reasserting the thought provoking central idea of your essay.

For Example:

Counter argument: “Many people believe that animal testing is cruel. They argue that medical techniques and drugs should not be tested on animals.“

Refuting reason: “However, it is much crueler to test new drugs on humans. And, let people die because of not having appropriate information about the drug.” 

Concluding remarks: “Furthermore, many countries have legislation that sets animal treatment standards, and laboratories follow guidelines to prevent cruelty.”

4. Argumentative Essay Conclusion

A good argumentative essay conclusion summarizes the entire discussion of the essay and provides a call to action. It holds the same significance as the introduction paragraph. Here, you restate your thesis statement to remind the reader of your essay’s overall argument.

Tell the reader that you have critically analyzed both sides of the argument. And based on the evidence, you have proved your side of the argument right. Explain the importance of your argument and bring your discussion to a logical end.

You can propose a solution if your claim has specified a problem or make future predictions about the claim. Tell your reader the consequences if your argument is not believed and what good will happen if it's believed.

Here is an example:

“Animal testing is the need of the hour. However, we need to manage animals with care and try to balance the suffering and the good that comes from them.”

Use the following argumentative essay outline graphic organizer to structure your essay efficiently.

Here’s a video demonstrating how you can prepare an argumentative essay outline:

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Types of Arguments and Argumentative Essay Outlines

Your argumentative essay structure is affected by the type of argument you are using. There are three argumentative writing models: Classical, Rogerian, and Toulmin. 

Let's take a look at each one:

Classical Argument

The classical argument is the oldest and most used argument model. It is based on the principles of rhetoric, which is the art of persuasion. This type of argument has a clear structure with distinct steps, making it an ideal choice for an essay or paper.

Here is the classical argumentative writing structure.

Classical Argumentative Essay Outline Template

I. Introduction
A. Attention-grabbing statement
B. Definition of the issue (background information)
C. Thesis statement

II. Supporting Paragraph 1
A. Evidence to support thesis
B. Evidence to support thesis

III. Supporting Paragraph 2
A. Evidence to support thesis
B. Evidence to support thesis

IV. Refutation of Opponent’s Counterargument
A. Opposing argument 1
B. Rebuttal of opposing argument 1
C. Opposing argument 2
D. Rebuttal of opposing argument 2 

V. Conclusion
A. Summary of main points
B. Call to action or call for further research

Rogerian Argument

The Rogerian model allows both sides of an issue to be discussed to reach a common ground.

Unlike the classical approach, the Rogerian argument seeks to understand both sides of an issue before moving forward. This style of argumentation does not look for a single ‘right’ answer but seeks to create a dialogue between all parties.

Rhetorical Rogerian Argumentative Essay Outline Template

I. Introduction (Definition of the issue/background information)
II. Explain and Support Your Side
III. Acknowledge the Opposing Argument
IV.  Find a Common Ground
V. Conclusion

Toulmin Argument

The Toulmin argument is a model that breaks down an issue into its component parts to analyze it more thoroughly. The Toulmin argument is composed of six parts: a claim, grounds, warrant, backing, qualifier, and rebuttal.

The first part lays out the main point being argued (the “claim”). This is followed by the evidence that supports it (the “grounds”). It is then connected to an underlying assumption or principle (the “warrant”)

The warrant is then supported by additional evidence (the “backing”), which may be followed by qualifications (the “qualifier”). Finally, the argument may anticipate and address possible counterarguments (the “rebuttal”).

Toulmin Argumentative Essay Outline Template

I. Introduction
A. Attention-grabbing statement
B. Definition of the issue (background information)
C. Thesis statement

II. Claim
A. Main point being argued
B. Evidence to support claim

III. Grounds
A. Explanation of evidence
B. Further explanation or evidence

IV. Warrant
A. Principle underlying the argument or assumption being made
B. Additional evidence to support the warrant 

V. Backing
A. Additional evidence for the warrant and claim 

VI. Qualifier
A. Limitations to the argument
B. Exception to the rule

VII. Rebuttal
A. Anticipation and addressing of counterarguments 

VIII. Conclusion
A. Summary of main points
B. Call to action or call for further research

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Argumentative Essay Outline Examples

Here are some sample argumentative essay outline formats you can follow to compose an argumentative essay:

Expert Tip

Need more sample essays to get a better idea? Give our argumentative essay examples a read!

The Bottom Line!
We've covered all the essential elements of structuring your argumentative essay. With this guide, you're now well-prepared to craft a compelling essay that effectively presents your viewpoint and supports your argument with evidence. 

Remember the key components: the introduction that hooks your reader, a clear thesis statement, well-organized body paragraphs, counterarguments, and a strong conclusion. Don't forget to cite your sources properly to give credibility to your work. 

If you are unable to craft a perfect outline, you can always seek the help of an expert and professional essay writer at

Our affordable argumentative essay writing service can help you write a top-notch argumentative paper. Our expert writers conduct research to find facts and evidence to support your claim and write an original essay according to your needs.

So reach out to our custom essay writing service today! 

Nova A.


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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