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Effective Strategies for Writing a Strong Argumentative Essay

15 April 2023

What Are Argumentative Essays?

If you’ve been assigned an argumentative essay, you might be wondering what exactly that is. Argumentative essays use three main things:

  • Factual evidence;
  • Logical support;
  • Convincing language.

The purpose of this type of writing is already in its name: the writer is trying to CONVINCE you of a particular argument or stance. Therefore, the essay relies on ‘hard evidence’, or factual proof because those are the most effective ways to persuade a reader. If the essay is successful, the reader should have no choice but to accept the validity of the writer’s thesis statement.

Writing in this direct, but complex style is hard. It takes an eloquent style and a formulated structure. It also takes a lot of intensive research. If this type of essay is new to you, fear not! There are some techniques you can use to help create a strong and compelling argumentative essay, and we’ll discuss them all in this article. So read on to learn more about this exciting and persuasive style of writing. We hope that our argumentative essay help will be useful to you.

What Argumentative Essays ARE NOT

Okay, truth be told, all essays are meant to persuade the reader, to some degree. However, argumentative essays differ from other types of essays because they use UNQUESTIONABLE LOGIC AND FACTS. Let’s take a look at some other common types of essays and how they differ from argumentative ones.

Type of essay Has a thesis statement Illicit emotional response Uses facts to convince
Argumentative Yes – but not always stated No Yes
Persuasive Yes Yes Not usually
Expository Yes Sometimes No: presents facts without trying to convince

From this simple chart you can clearly see that while these three types of essays share some commonalities, the main difference is in HOW the argument is presented. In an argumentative essay, the reader is led through a series of factual evidence and indisputable proof. The argument is, of course, an opinion but the supports for the argument are not. Therefore, argumentative essays rely on empirical evidence in a way that other types of essays don’t.

Empirical evidence can include, but is not limited to:

  • Data;
  • Scientific facts;
  • Experiment results.

These facts make up the research component of the essay and, when used effectively, CONVINCE the reader that the thesis MUST BE true. All these sources also need to be cited properly. If you are unsure how to cite sources in an essay, we at Mrs. Writer can edit your essay for proper source citation.

How to Write an Argumentative Essay: The Structure

Essay structure is very crucial in argumentative essays. The structure ranges from simple to advanced. For beginners, the best place to start is with the tried, tested, and true 5 paragraph argumentative essay structure.

Paragraph #1: The Introduction

  • Present the thesis in a clear way;
  • Try to hook the reader;
  • Give a sample of what the essay will be about.

Paragraph #2, #3, and #4: Body Paragraphs

  • Present your evidence for your arguments and explain;
  • Dispute counter arguments;
  • Keep paragraphs focused around one central piece of evidence or counter-argument.

Paragraph #5: The Conclusion

  • Restate your thesis;
  • Wrap up your main argument.

This is the structure that most students are familiar with. Students in Canada are usually introduced to this structure in senior high school and most intro college level courses utilize the 5 paragraph format. However, there are some classic structures that are more advanced. These structures would be studied at a higher level and expected of students taking more intensive writing or English literature courses.

Aristotelian

This classic structure involves:

  • Introducing the problem;
  • Explaining your perspective;
  • Delving into your opponent’s perspective to refute it;
  • Presenting evidence along the way;
  • Concluding the argument.

This structure is highly effective for arguments that are very straightforward. In fact, the Aristotelian structure is an expansion of the 5 paragraph structure. The argument follows a direct path and ethos (credibility), pathos (emotion), and logos (reasoning) can all be used to convince the reader.

Toulmin

This is a very complex argument structure, as it was created to actually ‘analyze arguments themselves’. This structure is not for a novice writer and works best for complicated arguments. This structure is comprised of:

  • A claim: a clearly stated thesis statement;
  • Reasons for the argument: facts, data, evidence, examples;
  • Warrant: this is the connection between the reasons and the claim, and must be explicitly stated;
  • Backing: evidence, evidence, and more evidence;
  • Qualifier: this points out any limits to your argument and acknowledges them;
  • Rebuttal: opposing viewpoints are addressed, as well as criticisms.

Clearly, this is a complex way to present an argument and would only be expected at higher level courses.

Rogerian

Think of the Rogerian structure as the friendliest because it’s the least belligerent. This structure kind of sits in the middle of an argument, acknowledging both sides equally. It takes no issue with the other side. By being less aggressive, the theory is that the reader will naturally side with the writer because the writer is not trying TOO HARD to prove their point.

The structure is a state of five steps:

  • The problem is introduced;
  • The opponent’s perspective is explained and validated;
  • Your perspective is explained;
  • A middle ground is presented;
  • The argument is concluded.

This structure is not overly complex and can work well for beginner writers, so long as they are able to weigh both sides of the argument equally. It also works well for writers who are a little less confident in their arguments because they can present both viewpoints. Contact us at Mrs. Writer if you need more argumentative essay help.

Getting Down to It: The Writing Process for Argumentative Essays

There are steps you should follow when learning how to write an argumentative essay. Here is an example of the steps:

  • Brainstorming: Topic and Thesis Creation;
  • Collecting Evidence;
  • Drafting and Outlining;
  • Revising;
  • Editing/Proofreading.

During the brainstorming step, simply come up with as many ideas as you can. There are no bad ideas during this time. You do not need to take a position yet. The goal is to give yourself options. This is also the time you should start creating your thesis statement. What do you want to argue? Since the thesis is the heart of the essay, choose it carefully. If you’re not passionate about your thesis, you will have a hard time writing about it for five or six pages.

Collecting evidence is pretty straightforward. Look for concrete facts that can support your argument. Remember, the evidence should be indisputable, so only use reliable sources.

Drafting and outlining is where the bulk of the work occurs. There are many online resources for outlines, or you can create your own. Alternatively, some people skip this altogether and just jump right into a draft. Either is fine, so long as you create the framework for you essay. Revising is the step where you rewrite things that aren’t making sense. This is also where you add in additional information and remove anything irrelevant. Check to ensure that your argument flows logically and that you have enough factual evidence to back it up.

Editing and proofreading is the final step and it should go without staying that you cannot forego this process. Check for all errors, both grammatical and spelling. Make sure your citations are properly formatted and there are no punctuation errors. If this is not your area of expertise, then hire a professional editor, like the ones we have at Mrs. Writer. We know everything about how to format an essay. In any case, though, give your paper a final polish before you hand it in.

FAQ

Q: Do I need to include research in my argumentative essay?

A: Yes. Your essay should have research to validate your argument. Find facts and concrete evidence to support your claims. And don’t forget to cite them!

Q: Which style guide should I use for my argumentative essay?

A: MLA is the most commonly used style guide for this type of essay, although Chicago Manual and APA are also both sometimes used. Not sure? Check with your professor. Remember: you can always ask your writing center questions on how to write an essay in APA format – or any other format, for this matter.

Debbie Kaur
Author:

I have always had a diverse range of interests and a passion for knowledge. As a child, I was fascinated by encyclopedia and loved discovering new information about the world. When it came time to choose a career, I faced a difficult decisions because I wanted to explore and learn about so many different subjects.

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