The Structure of an Argumentative Essay

Sep 09, 2021

The Structure of an Argumentative Essay

In academics, an argument is not a fight, but a battle of minds.

When writing an argumentative essay, a writer takes a stand and advances arguments supporting it. The writer persuades readers to understand a given point of view by offering the perspective and backing it up with evidence.

Argumentative essay writers conduct sufficient research on the topic, generate and evaluate available evidence before taking a concise stand on the subject. Argumentative essays are common forms of writing in college coursework and TOEFL, IELTS, ACT, and SATs. Most argumentative essay topics revolve around healthcare, technology, politics, climate change, and ethics, among others.


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What is the Structure of an Argumentative Essay? (Classical Approach)

Are you struggling with writing an argumentative essay? Here is the structure that an argumentative essay should follow using the classical approach.

The classical approach is the most commonly used structure when writing an argumentative essay because it follows a simple line of thinking. It’s highly effective when the readers do not have a strong opinion or have little information about the topic. The approach outline facts clearly and concisely.

  • Introduction Paragraph – Your essay's introduction paragraph plays a critical role in informing the reader about the topic. Include the necessary topic background information that readers need to get insights into your arguments, including outline the evidence. You can begin your introduction with a relevant famous quote to attract the reader’s attention. End the paragraph with a clear thesis statement. The thesis statement should be one sentence providing a terse summary of your point of view and claim.
  • Body Paragraphs – a typical argumentative essay’s body should contain at least three paragraphs elaborating your thesis statement and why you take the given stand.

Main argument: Each paragraph should begin with a topic sentence containing the central idea about the topic. Back each paragraph with evidence to make your reader see the reasons to side with your stand.

Refutation: The most effective way to achieve it is by addressing the opposing point of view and refuting them using evidence. Support your claims with facts, text citations, examples, researches, and statistics.

 Your arguments will be more credible if you present facts and consider the subject matter from multiple angles. Remember, the readers decide whether to agree or disagree with you depending on the strength of your arguments.

  • Conclusion – It's the last paragraph of your argumentative essay. Use this paragraph to restate your thesis using different words besides summarizing your main points. Avoid introducing more arguments or new facts in the concluding paragraph. Focus on appealing to your reader's emotions through using a personal anecdote to connect the topic to your life experience.

Other Approaches

  • Rogerian Approach – This structure begins with presenting the problem. The writer then acknowledges the opposing argument before stating a personal point of view and explaining why it's the most beneficial to the reader. The approach is ideal when writing about polarizing topics, which requires acknowledging both sides before presenting a neutral ground.
  • Tomlin – In this structure, you’ll present your claim and grounds backing it up and justifying the connection between the ground and the claim. The strategy is similar to the Rogerian approach, but the writer hinges on a position with more facts.

Elements of an Argumentative Essay Element

An argumentative essay differs from expository, narrative, and descriptive essays. It contains the following elements;

Position – The position determines which side of the argument the writer is taking. For instance, your argumentative essay may be arguing that Cannabis products shouldn’t be legalized. Your essay should provide evidence-backed reasons why you take such a stand.

Evidence – The credibility of your arguments depends on the facts that you provide. Use outside multiple literature sources to strengthen your arguments. For example, proponents of cannabis legalization reading your paper should find it convincing to agree with you.  Effective evidence should be accompanied by proof, such as citing related scientific papers discussing the impacts of cannabis on people's health.

Counter-arguments – An excellent argumentative essay acknowledges the opposing arguments from the writer's point of view. State the counter-arguments and explain why they are ineffective or weak using evidence and facts. Counter-arguments show the reader that you considered the two sides of the coin and chose the most potent.

Sample of an argumentative essay paragraph from a student’s paper

Vaccination is essential in the initial development stages of a child. Studies show that most mothers embrace vaccination of their children and advocate for others not to immunize children. Vaccines have helped eliminate diseases such as smallpox and polio in the world. However, with the Covid-19 pandemic, it is evident that not all people are ready to be vaccinated against diseases. The public is divided between getting the vaccine against Corona Virus and not. Despite the debate surrounding the subject, vaccination is essential to prevent the spread of diseases and other viruses such as smallpox from coming back. According to one author, a mother said that her child's vaccination is a priority, and she is constantly up to date. She is quoted saying, "vaccination is not an individual responsibility, but a shared one." Every parent is responsible for her child's vaccination schedule (Chamcha et al., 2019). Vaccination of children in the development stages helps make them disease resistant and helps them to live healthy lives.

Ensure that you conduct sufficient research when writing an argumentative essay. Your argument should include the opposing side's arguments and points against it. Whatever structure you use, the strength of your ideas determines the effectiveness of your essay. 

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