Guide How to Write an Argumentative Essay: Simple Steps

Writing guide
Posted on February 7, 2019

The Definition of an Argumentative Essay

An argumentative essay is a piece of writing that aims at making a specific claim on a particular subject. The position you choose should be expressed in an understandable manner and backed up with reliable and authoritative evidence so that people will not only comprehend your point but will also change their mind in correspondence to your argument. Therefore, the primary purpose of an argumentative essay is to convince someone in something.

Types of Argumentative Essays

There are two possible approaches to making an argument: the classical strategy of argumentations and Rogerian argument. Both of these types have specific distinctive features of expression and are aimed at achieving different goals.

Classical argument: The classical approach to making an argument is the most famous and used method. This strategy implies presenting an issue, claiming a solution to it, and trying to convince the audience that this specific solution is the best one. If you are writing an essay using the classical argument, your job is to make people care about the chosen topic and agree with you.

This type of argumentation usually follows a specific outline:

  • Introduction: Attracts readers’ attention to the discussed topic, describes a problem connected with it and explains why it is important.
  • Background: Presents facts that surround the issue.
  • Thesis: Defines your position, main arguments, and possible objections.
  • Argument: Discusses motivation behind your position and available evidence that will prove its rightfulness. This section should be the largest part of your paper.
  • Refutation: Presents examples of opposing views to your position, the validity of which you have to refute.
  • Conclusion: Summarizes each of the paper’s main points and explains why the position you have chosen is the best one.

Rogerian argument: A Rogerian strategy of argumentation implies striving to persuade a reader through finding points of agreement. This method is usually used in such debates where both sides of an argument do not want to listen to one another. Your task here is to find an intermediate position so that it would be appreciated by each of the sides.

The outline for the argumentative essay should look in the following manner:

  • Introduction: Presents the issue and explains the necessity of addressing it.
  • Description of opposing views: This section is supposed to show your desire to understand both sides of the argument since here you should objectively discuss in which cases the opposing views can be valid. If you manage to prove that you are open-minded and devoid of prejudice, then you will achieve the attention of the opponents.
  • Claim: Unlike the previous type of argument, here your task is not to state why your position is correct, but instead, merely describe situations in which your point is valid.
  • Convincing: This part ought to show what the advantages of accepting your position are. It should describe benefits for the people who would change their mind.

However, a Rogerian argument is rarely used, and the preference is usually given to classical strategy due to its more practical and easier implication.

Finding Topics for Your Argumentative Essay

There is a wide variety of topics to choose from, but you should ask yourself whether your issue is controversial enough to be covered in an argumentative essay. For instance, the subject of your research must be dual, which would allow you to take a position either for or against it. Besides, you must be sure that your topic is still relative to the modern realities. If it is not accurate anymore, then there is no point in arguing.

You can search for topics online, or even listen to conversations in public places and understand which issues are critical for people. In fact, every topic that suggests both possible answers, yes and no, implies that there is a debate over it.

Here is a list of topics that always find both their supporters and opponents, and therefore are perfect for making your own argument:

  • Should Tobacco Production Be Made Illegal?
  • Should the Death Penalty be Introduced in Every Country of the World?
  • Is Artificial Intelligence a Doom for Humankind?
  • Should Euthanasia be Allowed?
  • Should Education be Free for Everyone?
  • Does the United States Need Better Gun Control?
  • Do Video Games Have an Adverse Impact on Children’s Mental Health?
  • Should Abortions be Illegal?
  • Is There Life After Death?
  • Should We Vaccinate Our Children?

Pre-writing Tips from Our Academic Writers

Determine your position: As you see, all the topics mentioned above are still open and do not advocate any specific position. Your task is to decide which side of the argument you would like to defend. For instance, are you for or against euthanasia? Besides, remember that in your argumentative essay you should consider each aspect of the argument. This means that you also have to mention several objections to your choice, and try to disprove them if it is possible. At least two objections should be refuted in order to show that only your position is correct.

Do not forget about your audience: The most significant aspect of an argumentative essay is persuasion. This means, however, that you must not only create a persuasive piece of text, but you also should know whom you want to persuade. Defining the audience is a fundamental part of writing an argumentative essay. You should consider whether your readers are already acquainted with the topic under discussion, or is it new to them? If your audience consists of specialists, then you must get straight to the point of the debate, omitting the background information. However, if your potential audience is still not familiar with the topic, then you should provide general introductory information to “plant a seed” of awareness and only after this, proceed to make an argument.

Find evidence: It is also necessary to back up the persuasiveness of your essay by incorporating certain pieces of evidence from credible sources. The argumentation should not be based purely on your own opinion, but instead, you should provide ideas of eminent researchers to support your position. In the paper, refer to different scholarly books or scientific articles since it will promote the success of your argumentative essay. You can search for sources online on such a platform as Google Scholar.

Formulate an effective title: In order to create an effective title, you should change and shape your topic into something more specific, so that it would show what side of the argument you support. The title should give a reader some hint about the content of your argumentative essay. For instance, the title “Do video games have an adverse impact on children’s mental health?” is not effective for argumentative essay since it is not a statement. In turn, your title might be like the following: “Video games have an adverse impact on children’s mental health.” In this manner, you are defined in your position and have to prove that video games have a bad influence on a child’s well-being. This title will inevitably attract both people who support this point since they would like to know more about it and those who are against a harmful effect of video games because they would want to argue with you. Nonetheless, your title did its job if it managed to attract readers, regardless of their intentions.

Create an outline: Sometimes you might feel stuck in the middle of the writing process like you are out of ideas to continue the paper. That is why it is better to have at least a simple outline of the essay. Put your thoughts into several points and try to give them a few words of description. If you do it, you will notice how easier it is to write when there is a plan of the paper in front of you. The examples of outlines of simple but effective outlines you can see in the sections above.

The Beginning of Writing – Introduction

The introductory paragraph is the first section of your argumentative essay, and just like the book’s cover, this paragraph determines the first impression that a reader will get. Here you have to provide an attention-grabbing sentence, some general information connected to your topic, and a strong thesis statement.

Hook: The first sentence of your introduction should hook readers’ attention. It may be some fact, statistical information, or quotation regarding your topic.

Background information: Introduce your topic to readers because some of them might be not familiar with it like you are. Provide general information or the history of the subject under consideration. For instance, if you are writing an argumentative essay about gun control in the United States, and advocating on the need of its enforcement, you may mention several major events of gun usage that occurred due to the inefficiency of law.

Thesis statement: The most significant part of an introduction is the thesis statement since it is the reader’s guide to the entire argumentative essay. In one or two sentences, you should manage to gather all the crucial ideas of each of the following paragraphs. Remember that a good thesis statement should consider both sides of an argument.

Here is an example of an incorrect thesis statement: “This essay will consider legal, ethical, and philosophical advantages and disadvantages of the implementation of euthanasia.” This thesis is too broad, does not indicate the structure of the paper, and does not claim anything specific.

In turn, the correct version of the thesis statement for an argumentative essay about euthanasia should look like in the following manner: “While the opinion of American Medical Association concerning the rights and obligations of doctors opposes the medical implementation of euthanasia, it is immoral to ban euthanasia since it contradicts the humanitarian grounds and undermines the fundamental human right of choice.” As you see, this thesis statement implies a definite position that will argue the importance of the introduction of euthanasia.

Body Paragraphs

The body of your essay is the most substantial part of the paper. Each body paragraph should express only one specific idea. At the beginning of such section, you must provide your claims in a topic sentence, support them with relevant evidence, and strive to make the information readable.

Topic sentence: The first sentence of each body paragraph should allow a reader to grasp the idea of the whole section. For instance, if you are advocating for possible dangers connected with the appearance of artificial intelligence, you may start your paragraph by mentioning a certain imperfection of the laws of robotics.

Supportive evidence: Always try to support your statements with credible sources or opinions of qualified researchers, since mentioning an authoritative figure will significantly contribute to the persuasiveness of your argument. However, do not forget to cite all the used sources because otherwise, it will be considered as plagiarism.

Linking structures: Use specific words that will contribute not only to the cohesion of a body paragraph but will also provide it for the whole essay. It may be hard for a reader to keep track of the flow of your argumentation, and linking words are supposed to be an insurance against being lost in new information.


In the concluding paragraph of your argumentative essay, you should summarize every important piece of knowledge that you expressed in the body section. It is a final result of your work, so ask yourself a question: “What have I achieved while writing this essay?” This will help you to formulate a perfect conclusion. Besides, remember that your readers also want to revise everything that they learned after examining the paper. Concluding paragraph is the last chance to convince your reader if you have not done it so far. Start your conclusion from restating the thesis statement, and then move to the core ideas of the body paragraphs. Do you consider your argumentative essay successful? Did you manage to present the most reasonable position of the discussed topic? Do not be afraid to compliment your paper by summarizing the achievements of the argumentation.

Post-writing Tips

Keep in mind that passing your work before the deadline is not always rational since the post-writing process is also vital for the success of your paper. Try to manage your time so that you would be able to proofread and edit your essay. You might think that the document is already perfect because you reread it multiple times during writing, but a short fresh glance on it is more likely to make you change your mind.

The most commonly made mistakes are connected with grammar and punctuation. Since a simple comma can drastically change the meaning of a whole sentence, be sure to proofread each part of your essay with proper attention.

Then, revise your citations and works cited page. Did you follow the required formatting style (MLA, APA, or any other)? Do your quotes contribute anything to the paper? Have you explained them? In order to be sure that the quotes you use are successfully incorporated into the content of the essay’s paragraphs, follow the Quote Sandwich method of “opening-evidence-explanation.”

If you give account to everything that was mentioned in this argumentative essay writing guide, then your argumentative essay ought to be successful in persuading its target audience.

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Fleming, G. (2018). These compelling argumentative topics make great school essays. Retrieved from
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Odak, S. Creating a Rogerian argument essay structure. Retrieved from

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