A good argumentative essay makes a clear and compelling claim that supports your position on an issue. This type of essay often focuses on a specific question, such as “Should completing a certain number of volunteer hours be a requirement to graduate from high school?” or “Can libraries be replaced with tablets?” The key difference between an argumentative and other types of essays is that you must use data and other evidence to support your position.
You will also need to anticipate arguments against your stance and provide counterarguments that show how your position is the more well-thought-out and supported one. This is a critical part of argumentative writing and shows that you have given careful consideration to the other side’s point of view before choosing your own.
There are several different argumentative essay formats, and you may use some of them or combine them to create your own approach to the topic at hand. The Toulmin and Rogerian argumentative essay structure are two popular options that include an introductory paragraph that announces your stance, body paragraphs that unfold your argument point by point, and a conclusion paragraph that summarizes your thesis statement and arguments with powerful evidence.
Toulmin’s approach to argumentative writing is the more formal of the two. It uses the ground, warrant, and rebuttal structure, in which you establish a clear connection between your claims and the evidence that supports them. This method is especially effective for demonstrating that your argument is stronger than any opposing points of view.
The Rogerian argumentative essay format is more informal, but it still emphasizes clear connections between your claims and evidence. This model is useful for addressing issues that are highly polarized and unable to find common ground, as it allows you to acknowledge counterarguments and then demonstrate how your position addresses them.
Your body paragraphs should present both factual evidence and value-based reasoning to convince your readers of your stance on the issue at hand. Factual evidence can include statistics, facts, and data, while value-based reasoning draws on your personal beliefs or societal values to make your argument. This type of essay is effective for establishing credibility and making your arguments more persuasive.
A strong conclusion paragraph restates your stance on the issue and provides a final thought-provoking statement to leave the reader with. The concluding paragraph should not introduce any new information, but rather reiterate the argument you’ve already presented in your body paragraphs.
Meticulous proofreading and editing is the final step to ensuring that your argumentative essay has the strongest impact possible. Proofreading ensures that your writing is free of errors, and it also gives you an opportunity to fine-tune your argument by rewording and clarifying any points that might be unclear or could benefit from more explanation. It is important to remember that this process should be done with the specific audience in mind, as you may need to alter your argument for a more general audience or a more specialized one.