An argumentative essay can be defined as that particular writing genre that requires students to investigate a certain given topic, gather information, generate and analyze the evidence, in order to establish, in concise fashion, the position towards a subject. It implies a type of work where one can develop an argument evidence-based, as well as to elaborate the stand taken towards the adopted position. People may loathe or love writing this type of essays, but bottom line there is no avoiding them. Sooner or later, the time will come for you to be required to come up with an argumentative high-quality essay which will have to reflect your full understanding of the essay’s particular topic, without leaving any sign of uncertainty or being nervous. The successful completion of such an essay will mostly depend on the ability to create the outline of the essay in a correct manner. Unsure of how to achieve this? Rest assured, this article will show just how easy this actually is!
The Structure of an Argumentative Essay Outline
While at this point it might seem complicated, as soon as you will have learned how to properly structure the outline of the argumentative essay, everything will appear much easier. Basically, your work should include different sections of equally important values. These sections, or parts, will play an important part in presenting the topics, developing the arguments, presenting the evidence and so forth. With all this being said, the main sections of an argumentative essay are:
- The Introduction
- The Development of the Argument
- The Debunking of the Opponents’ Arguments
- The Conclusion
Although this structure might seem a bit vague, there is no need to worry. Each of these sections can be found thoroughly explained, as follows:
- Introduction: Hook; Background; Thesis
- Developing the Argument: Claim 1 – Evidence; Claim 2 – Evidence; Claim 3 – Evidence
- Debunking the Opponents’ Arguments: Opposing View 1 > Refutation 1; Opposing View 2 – Refutation 2Conclusion
Much like in all other forms of writing, the introduction is the part where the basis or the foundation for building up the rest of the work is created. In case the intro is not structured extremely well, this will impact the rest of the essay in a negative manner. Thus, a solid argumentative essay needs to start off with an intro that is comprised of the hook, the background info and the thesis.
- Hook: The hook is comprised by the first one or two sentences of the essay, and its main goal is to attract the attention of readers right of the bat. This is very important as whenever clients, professors or any interested persons will start reading the essay, its beginning will actually determine if they will continue reading it or leave it. Let’s pretend you are about to start reading something, yet the beginning is boring and dull. You will most likely not go forth, and this is why the hooks are of extreme importance. They can be found in all types of writings, making it much more likely for you to access those links with catchy sentences beneath the headline. As for a few tips on forming the hook, using famous quotes or anecdotes, posing an interesting question, setting a familiar scene for the reader or revealing a common misconception will always do the trick.
- Background Information: After having created an attractive hook, you must proceed in providing useful background information for the subject of the essay. In order to make everything easier, this part of the essay should basically answer the following questions: “What will the issues to be debated be?”, “Which will be the target interested in your topic?”, “Where will the issue or subject be prevalent?” and “Why is the issue or the subject to be debated important?”.
- Thesis: The thesis will be represented by the last one or two sentences that will summarize the main focus of the essay, and that will inform the readers what this will actually be about. The thesis should be more than a general statement on the ideas or issues that will be elaborated in the essay. It will have to establish a definitive and clear position that you will take during the argumentation process on a particular topic. The thesis will represent the last chapter of the introduction, you need to make sure to structure it correctly, in a unified, concise, specific and easily recognizable or clear manner. Common mistakes such as comprising the thesis as a title, a statement of an absolute fact, an announcement of your subject or as a unique essay of its own, should be avoided at all costs.
2. Development of the Argument:
As soon as you will have crafted a satisfactory and attractive introduction, you can proceed to the second part of your argumentative essay. Throughout this section, you will need to develop your arguments by using evidence and claims that support it.
- Claim: When you will structure the outline of the argumentative essay, you will need to pay extra attention to claims. These are the central arguments of any essay and can be considered among the most important sections of academic papers. The complexity, effectiveness and overall quality of the academic paper will mostly depend on the particular claims you will be making. The main purpose of the claim will be to define the paper’s goal, scope, direction and also to support the particular argument. Naturally it’s quite easy making claims, but bare in mind that they will have to be believable to readers and here, evidence plays an extremely important part in any argumentative essay.
- Evidence: Basically, each claim that you will be making throughout the argumentative essay will have to be supported by strong evidence. Thus, you will have to convince your readers of the validity and accuracy of your claims, and the best way to do so is by incorporating trustworthy and reliable evidence. This evidence needs to be based on actual facts, statistics or studies, never on personal knowledge or common anecdotes you just happen to possess. As soon as you have determined the outline of your essay, you will gain a pretty accurate idea on the nature of the claims you will be making and thus, you will be able to start researching reliable evidence to sustain them. The evidence should be the direct product of a thorough research process, which will prove crucial for so many aspects of essay writing. Besides providing you with solid material for supporting your claims, research will also play a substantial part in debunking your opponents’ arguments.
3. Debunking the Opponents’ Arguments:
When it comes to argumentative essay writing, most people tend to forget that authors simply cannot use all the entire space of the paper addressing their own arguments and piling up evidence after evidence. An argumentative essay shouldn’t be about proving in several different ways that you are right, as there is no major argument in that. Thus, after you have properly made your claims known to your readers, the best way to proceed would be to start elaborating these claims through pertinent evidence. Only after this will you be truly able to advance to the third part of the outline, the one where you will present the opposing arguments and where you will debunk them.
Regardless of your chosen topic, as well as of the stand you will be taking, there will always be an opposing side. You should first state and detail the opponents’ views, before presenting and using solid evidence driven from credible sources in order to debunk them. Much like in the precedent section, with each opposing argument you must also elaborate the nature of its inaccuracy, backing this up with evidence. This is how your readers will get more convinced on the correctitude of your claims. The ultimate importance of this section comes from the equal presentation of two opposing sides of the same’s coin, while at the same time underlining the reasons for which your argumentation is the correct one and providing you the opportunity of detailing this. At the same time, it would prove actually unethical for you to exclude from your argumentative essay those claims that oppose yours or are not that supportive in regard to your thesis.
Another extremely important aspect that should be taken into consideration whenever referring to opposing views and arguments, would be not to address their sources in an individual manner, of the “she said, he said” sort. Instead, you should go for the most formal manner possible, making valid references and bringing up reliable sources as well as any other relevant info, all of these, right before proceeding in refuting them.
As soon as you will have reached a well-structured introduction and you will have elaborating the claims of your argumentative essay with sustainable evidence and having debunked the opponents’ arguments via reliable proof, you will be ready to draft the final conclusion of the paper. You need to proceed with maximum attention to this final step of the writing process, as a wrong or inappropriate conclusion has the potential of ruining your entire work. It is also commonly known that the power and impact of a well-formed conclusion is usually undermined when it comes to essay writing. And this is the last thing that you as a writer would want to happen! Thus, a perfectly balanced conclusion should be comprised of three essential parts:
- Restating the primary argument or premise;
- Presenting one or maximum two general sentences that allow an accurate summary of your argument or of your initially stated premise;
- Providing a general warning in regard to the possible consequences that can occur whilst the argument or initial premise is not followed or reporting the potential benefits that the implementation of your proposed solution might actually bring to society or the targeted community.
In matters of size, a proper conclusion should match or approach the same size of the introduction, while in matters of delivery, it will best work when complied in a short, precise and concise manner. You should always try to avoid addressing the same issue twice, as this usually leaves readers under the impression that your style and work are repetitive. Sticking to the actual point will deliver a strong and significative conclusion, that in the end will only add to the overall quality and value of your essay.
To sum it all up, writing a qualitative argumentative essay is not as complicated as it may sound and as long as the outline detailed above is followed accordingly, the final result should come under a pertinent, well organized and meaningful form. You should remember at all times the main idea behind this type of essay, which is that of presenting, developing and delivering your argument through solid, compelling evidence that will at all times back up your perspective. And to get things started, you do not necessarily have to wait for an assignment, as you can always choose an interesting topic, one that you care about in particular, and start practicing.