Academics Admission News Going to College Student Success

How to Write a Systematic Argumentative Essay

college student writes on notebook and use laptop vintage tone.

There are cases when a student is confronted by the need to take a stance on a specific issue and develop a firm ground for why they believe in what they do. Now declaring what you believe about something is easy, however, developing the justification for your position can be the tricky part. If you start to feel stuck with your essay, keep in mind, many students will seek out essay help online, to help them with some of the finer points of writing. If this is you, don’t ever feel ashamed to get help.

The argumentative essay’s sole purpose is to present the facts that support your position, stance, or point of view. For example, when you say that the American citizens should not be disarmed, the next thing you are expected is to provide evidence to support all your claims. In this case, evidence can be statistical figures or real cases of when armed civilians saved lives. A claim in writing refers to an assertion that is the case while still withholding the evidence. This article will take you through the steps of writing the best argumentative essay.

Although argumentative essays need to be primarily persuasive, it is the responsibility of the student to see that it is informative enough to support his or her stance. Interestingly, one can use different types of arguments claims in the body paragraphs. The most commonly used argument claims are;

  1. Facts: Is this case so or not?
  2. Value: How valuable is it relative to the ultimate objective?
  3. Policy: Will things get better if we do something about it?
  4. Cause and Effect: How is the entire system holistic?

For example, let’s think about the topic of disarming American citizens. One can argue in a paragraph that armed people are likely to stop crimes. To support this particular claim, one has to investigate if, in fact, armed civilians do stop crimes. Alternatively, a student can develop a claim arguing that being armed is important (valuable). In this particular paragraph, one should be investigating the importance of being armed relative to something else, let’s say, for self-defense. Whichever type one chooses, the baseline is that one should be completely persuasive. Now, let us dive into the process of writing essays.

Step 1- Choose a topic

Usually, the professor will give the topics. If the topic is not given, you can go ahead and pick one. When picking a topic, observe the following;

  • The topic can be argued for or against. Look at the following examples
    • For: American citizens should be disarmed
    • Against: American citizens should not be disarmed
  • Let the topic be about the most recent issues in the mainstream media.
  • Let the topic be about something you already know and can easily pick aside.

Step 2- Research

Research your topic using class text, articles, journals, documentaries, and websites. Make sure to prioritize those materials and content from credible sources, experts in the field, and case studies. As you research, make sure to make notes in a way you can tell points for and against the issue.

Step 3- Select an approach and develop an outline

Most students find it challenging when it comes to picking the right approach for their argumentative essay. By approach, we mean the arguments that should be organized for effective discussion.

Typically, there are three types of approaches available for use:

  • Classical approach
  • Rogerian Approach
  • Toulmin approach.

Classical approach

The classical approach is the students’ favorite, probably due to it is easy to follow the layer out. It has an introduction, supporting arguments, refutation, and conclusion.

  • The introduction, as we will see here below, introduces the issue, provides relevant background information, declares a stand, and then closes with a thesis statement.
  • The supporting arguments are usually at least two, each in its own paragraph. However, the number of arguments depends on the size of the paper as one can have more paragraphs in long essays. In each paragraph, you should state your claim, elaborate it, and then give it support using available evidence.
  • Refutation refers to arguments that are against your stand or point of view, and that have significant weight to overturn your position if not well developed. It also helps one eliminate personal bias that may cloud one’s judgment regarding the issue.
  • Finally, the conclusion, which has the purpose of emphasizing your thesis statement and summarizing the key points in the least number of words.

Rogerian approach

Unlike the classical approach that has a firm structure to follow, a Rogerian approach only allows a student to remain neutral within the paragraphs while still favoring one side. You are expected to recognize two sides of the arguments and be equally sympathetic to each. For example:

Although there are cases when civilians with guns have stood up attackers and consequently saved lives, there are cases where attacks on civilians have escalated due to interventions by armed civilians with crossfire leading to loss of more lives and injuries.

One benefit of using this approach is that it allows a wider scope of the subject, including peripherals and causes.

The Toulmin approach

Toulmin approach is critical when one needs to identify common ground within an argument and consequently eliminate identified errors in thinking or fallacies. In addition, it focuses on one particular argument and advances it throughout the paper to come up with the most practical solution effectively. Let us go back to our argument on disarming citizens. Using the Toulmin approach, you should have the pro side favoring disarmament and the other side against it. At the end of the paper, one will have investigated the validity of each side and found the most effective point of view. Whichever approach you pick, develop an outline that adequately directs your essay.

Step 4- Write your content

Once you have researched, selected an approach, and developed an outline, the next thing is to write up your essay. For example, is you chose the classical approach, you can write an introduction, supporting arguments each in its own paragraph, refuting argument (also counter-arguments), and conclusion in that order. Make sure each argument is elaborated, evidenced using facts, illustrations, statistics, or quotes, and then well analyzed to align the claim and the evidence.

Step 5- Edit, proofread, and format

Once you have completed writing, go through your essay to ensure that:

  • It has a hook and thesis statement in the introductions paragraph
  • All arguments are well placed and worded,
  • The examples and other supporting elements are adequate,
  • The counter-argument is developed well.
  • That all grammar, sentence structure, and formatting mechanics are fulfilled.

In conclusion, an argumentative essay is an interesting way to write. Students can utilize available approaches and observe various do and don’ts, but the most important thing to do is to make sure you are persuasive.

For more great college tips, check out the other blogs on College Basics.