How to Write an Argumentative Essay: Best Step by Step Guide

how to write argumentative essay

A comprehensive guide to writing argumentative essays, including tips, formats, and outlines. Discover the elements of an argumentative essay, essential approaches to writing, how to start, choose a topic, conduct research, create an outline, and follow the appropriate essay format.

What is an Argumentative Essay?

In this work, you must develop an argument ─ an informed opinion ─ and support it with sound, logical assertions. The essential goal of this paper type is to deliver information to the readers rather than to persuade them. That’s why it’s critical to focus on data and facts rather than personal thoughts and preferences.

When do you write an argumentative essay? It may be a writing task for students in composition class or at the university to train their debating skills, which are the basis for developing perfect public speaking skills. To master the art of crafting compelling arguments, it can be helpful to study an argumentative essay example that demonstrates effective techniques and strategies.

Writing an argumentative essay is enjoyable because it lets you tell what you think about the issues discussed in class. If you have any issues with this paper, you can ask our argumentative essay writer to help.

Elements of an Argumentative Essay

  • Position: The first thing you should do is define which side of argument you choose. Let’s see a sample: you stick to the point that a vegetarian diet is more healthy for people. Explain the reasons for your initial position. To prove your idea, you can use arguments showing that the consumption of meat products may cause damage to people’s health. 
  • Evidence: Support your position with factual data from outside sources. You must include citations and source references to add weight to your argument. For example, you can deliver statistics to show that people who don’t eat meat live longer and have fewer diseases.
  • Counterarguments: In this section, you should show the other problem side. Deliver the opposite argument and your interpretation. Afterward, you must prove why these counterarguments are ineffective and weak by providing additional evidence. 

Essential Approaches to Argumentative Writing

There are three strategies to use in your paper if you don’t know how to write an argumentative essay. These methods are the best for completing a well-structured and coherent essay.

1. Classical Approach.

This method is the most popular and requires taking the next steps to write an argumentative essay:

  • Writing an introduction. You should present the main paper idea. For example: “Vegetarianism is becoming increasingly popular worldwide because a plant-based diet positively impacts human health. ”
  • Disclosing background information and context. Explain why the topic is important in this section and tell your readers the facts they should know to understand your position better. For example: “Many people choose a plant-based diet for different reasons. They want to lose weight, be healthier, help the planet, and save animals’ lives.”
  • Providing essential arguments to support your thoughts. You should complete your research with evidence and statistics or references to other investigations on your topic to be more convincing in your essay. For example: “According to statistics, vegetarians have lower blood pressure and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels, almost zero risks of diabetes and hypertension. Most of them usually have lower weight and fewer chronic diseases than meat-eaters.”
  • Delivering counterarguments. Here, you have to introduce the opposite side's ideas and show they’re not valid. For example: “Some people consider that vegetarians can suffer from lacking vitamins D and B12, iron, and calcium. Still, this issue is no longer relevant when food intake is planned thoroughly.”
  • Finalizing your essay. Reformulate all your arguments briefly, and make a conclusion outlining the prospects for further research.

2. Rogerian Approach.

This method is the best solution when you investigate a controversial topic with a potential for discussion. The Rogerian approach may be applied in philosophical works, essays dealing with gender identification, or global warming issues. The technique has no strict requirements for structure and doesn’t require addressing extra tips for writing an argumentative essay. The essential idea is to have a wide topic view and show your understanding of both arguments. Solving the issue is not the writer’s purpose in such papers. Instead, it’s better to find a compromise between different ideas.

3. Toulmin Approach.

This technique is effective when you need to present polemical arguments. The main method purpose is to find common ground within the essential idea and exclude minor or unnecessary arguments. Let’s look at an example. If you investigate the impact of a vegetarian diet on human health, you need to consider arguments from both sides. You may base your essay on disclosing the pros and cons of vegetarianism.

How to Start an Argumentative Essay

Getting started can be difficult because you likely have many different ideas and opinions and simply can’t express them all at once. That is not surprising since our thought processes work much faster than we can contemplate. The trick is, though, to slow down these processes and think about the following:

  • Choosing a Topic
  • Doing Careful Research
  • Prewriting
  • Outlining
  • Writing
  • Formatting

How to Choose a Topic

Two things might happen in class. Firstly, a professor may allow you to choose your topic, or he might assign you a topic from the list of argumentative essay topics. If he assigns a topic, it might be something you could care less about. However, you’ll have to grin and bear it the best you can. That’s just the way how things at a university work. Hopefully, you have a professor willing to cut you some slack by letting you write about what interests you because this will make your argumentative essay writing task more enjoyable.

When choosing a topic, make sure it is class-related by reading through your notes and textbook. You’ll never go wrong by writing about something a professor has lectured. You can base your topic choice on the following criteria:

  • connection with the subject being studied;
  • inalienable values;
  • significance;
  • perspectives for future investigations.

Conducting Research

Before starting work on an argumentative essay introduction, read up on the topic to know things to cover. Your arguments can only be properly defended by factual evidence that supports your claims, not opinions. A professor is going to expect you to use primary and secondary sources. Where can you find them? There are three essential sources to find material for your essay:

  • your textbook with lecture notes;
  • list of recommended sources from the professor;
  • references from a Wikipedia article on your topic.

The best place to find proper sources for your work is your textbook. Each textbook has a bibliography or a ‘recommended reading list’, if not both. You will find more than enough research material in these books. You can also find a lot of information in the reference section of a Wikipedia article covering the investigated subject. It is a great idea to take notes on what you read and write down the publishing information of each source used. These notes will come in handy when you make a bibliography.

Remember to Pre-Write

Before you start working on an argumentative essay outline, engage in what writers call “pre-writing.” It is a process of recording all the thoughts that come to your mind regarding your chosen topic. Sit down with a pen and paper and jot down every word or phrase that comes into mind until your brain stops talking. After finishing, you will see a lot of coherent thoughts and ideas written on the paper, which can be used in your writing.

How to Create an Argumentative Essay Outline

Before you start working, you must create an outline for your project. Think of an outline at the foundation and home frame. Without these things, the house will collapse, as will your essay. The basic layout of a five-page essay looks like the following:

1. Introduction.

Introduce your position to the reader and present a thesis statement in one to two sentences to present your opinion. This paragraph has the following elements:

  • Hook

In the beginning, the author has to attract the reader’s attention. Using the hook is the best way to capture the audience. Usually, this sentence differs from other in the text. For example, you may insert an interesting quote, a breathtaking idea, or a rhetorical question to grab your readers’ attention and encourage them to continue reading your essay. 

Example: Could you think about how different your life would be without digital technologies?

  • Background information

Here, you should concentrate on the paper’s topic and narrow the focus. Still, it’s not a great time to disclose your arguments. Think about using a transition toward the next essay element.

  • Thesis statement

It is the last sentence of your introduction paragraph, which should include the main work argument. The essential writer’s goal in this part is to support his idea and explain why it makes sense.

Example: It’s impossible to overestimate the advantages digital technologies offer us.

2. Body Paragraph.

It is where your research comes in handy. The central essay part includes the next elements:

  • Topic sentence. Begin with a phrase that changes the focus from the last sentence to the current idea. It’s time to introduce your sub-argument for this paragraph.

Example: Digital technologies have many benefits and give great opportunities for communication and learning. 

  • Claim. Briefly state the topic background and present the reader with facts that support your assertions and strengthen your message.

Example: The essential benefits of digitalization over traditional media are communication speed, data security, automation, fast access to information, and better social cooperation.

  • Evidence. After delivering a claim, it’s necessary to make it persuasive and defend it with facts. For instance, you may use references to credible external sources, statistical information, etc.

Example: 56% of CEOs mention that the progress achieved due to the digital approach has already helped them increase their profits over the last five years. 

  • Concluding statement. After presenting your arguments and supporting them with evidence, end this section with a concluding sentence. Its purpose is to make a summary and emphasize the significance of your claim to the thesis.

Example: The development of digital technologies undoubtedly positively affects people’s lives by being user-friendly, fast, and versatile humanity's achievements.

3. Conclusion.

In this paragraph, you finalize the case, and you can do this in several ways. First, summarize your previous arguments and clearly state that the opposing viewpoint is wrong for these reasons, or use this as an opportunity to call your audience to action. Let’s see which three elements the conclusion should include:

  • Restating the thesis. Emphasize your important message using assertive language (“this information is trustworthy and 100% proven”).
  • Brief summary of arguments. Reformulate your essential ideas and points to remind your readers.

Example: As we see, the development of digital technologies is one of the most significant achievements of our century.

  • Overall concluding statement. Finalize your essay with a memorable sentence concluding your ideas. It’s crucial to emphasize the topic's importance and outline perspectives for further investigations. 

Write down this argumentative essay structure on paper, and scribble down what you want to say in each part (introduction, body paragraph, and conclusion). You can borrow the material you wrote from your pre-writing to do this.

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Writing an Argumentative Essay

Composition is challenging, but if you’ve done all the above, you’ve fought half the battle. All you have to do now is drive your attack home by dedicating time throughout the day to compose a text. Our advice is not to wait until the last minute to start; doing this will make your work look hurried, making your professor think you are a low-quality writer. Instead, work a little bit every day until you are done.

Another thing to do well is learn to use transitions between all parts of an argumentative essay. Knowing which words and phrases to use to connect your paragraphs properly will significantly improve your writing.

Additionally, consider readers who may need to become more familiar with the subject as you are. Always write so that they can understand the material in your essay.

Once you are done, proofread the paper, scanning it for grammatical and spelling errors and any logical fallacies you might find. Besides, seek help from your professor during his office hours. Ask him to read your rough draft and request advice. It can improve your paper and build rapport with your professor.

What Argumentative Essay Format Should I Use?

Many citation formats, such as MLA, Harvard, and APA, can be used for citation. A professor will most likely determine the formatting style. Follow whichever citation style your professor chooses, and do not deviate from it.

Also, ensure that you properly cite any sources of information used to support your ideas by your professor’s formatting guidelines. Forgetting to do this makes it look like you are trying to pass the other author's ideas as your own. Even if you've done it unintentionally, it is still considered accidental plagiarism. 

You Still Can Use Our Argumentative Essay Writing Service!

Writing can be quite a chore, but doing it consistently well will pay dividends for you in the future. If you need extra help with your argumentative, definition essay, or any other paper, you can find it at Edubirdie.

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