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How to Write an Argumentative Essay: Definition, Examples, and Tips

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Dr. Alex Freedman
  • Icon Calendar 15 May 2024
  • Icon Page 2998 words
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Writing a good argumentative essay is one of the activities that students in high schools and higher learning institutions undertake as a test of their knowledge acquisition. Basically, this is a paper where writers focus on persuading readers to agree with the central argument (thesis). However, to make their argument legitimate, students highlight views from opposing points of view (counterarguments). In this case, there are three main types of argumentative essays: classical, Rogerian, and Toulmin. While these types of essays can follow a similar outline, each has a unique structure that distinguishes it from others. The primary features of an argumentative essay that a writer should capture in writing are a thesis, body paragraphs that support the thesis, a counterargument, a response to the counterargument (refutation), and concluding remarks.

General Aspects of How to Write an Outstanding Argumentative Essay

Academic writing is a broad discipline that covers different styles and types of writing. Among different types of essays, there is argumentative or persuasive writing. Basically, it is a writing genre where a writer investigates a topic by collecting and evaluating evidence to strengthen a claim concerning specific topics, including an argumentative essay outline. In other words, an argumentative paper focuses on supporting the writer’s stance on an issue. Also, the content aims at persuading readers to understand and support that stance point. To achieve this goal, writers state the reasoning behind their stance and provide evidence that backs it up.

How to Write an Argumentative Essay: Definition, Examples, and Tips

Definition of What Is an Argumentive Essay and Its Meaning

An argumentative essay is a common form of writing. Basically, all students encounter argumentative papers at some point in their academic studies. This type of essay is tailored for the presentation of an argument due to its unique format. An argumentative essay is founded on a claim that is supported by evidence and rebuttals, which lack logical fallacies to facilitate a scientific critique. Basically, at the core of an argumentative essay is the initial claim that the author intends to defend when considering some argumentative essay topics. For example, a thesis statement in an argumentative essay establishes a clear position. In this case, the author’s collection of evidence supports it. Moreover, the author needs to have an opinion on the issue at hand and systematically explain the underlying logic to justify that position. Essentially, the thesis statement of an argumentative essay ties together the individual pieces of evidence provided by the author to develop a compelling explanation for the audience.

Body Section in Argumentative Papers

The body of an argumentative essay consists of two distinct sections: supporting evidence and rebuttals. Firstly, supporting evidence may be presented in either a deductive or inductive form. It is dependent on the nature of the initial claim. In an argumentative essay, the evidence provided to the audience must build a convincing argument where the link between the evidence and the main claim is apparent. Then, people need to provide rebuttals to the main competing ideas to demonstrate the flaws in those lines of thought. Basically, writers must provide unbiased reasoning where they must address alternative positions for a dispute. There is no preferred order for presenting these sections. However, the audience should be able to follow the essay’s arguments easily.

Challenges in Writing an Argumentative Essay

The main challenge that authors face when writing an argumentative essay is avoiding logical fallacies. For instance, fallacies are defects in one’s reasoning, which undermine the argument’s logic. In this case, fallacies can easily creep into one’s essay if authors do not carefully assess the supporting evidence. Moreover, logical errors may manifest in various forms, for example, slippery slope and hasty generalization. Hence, argumentative essays allow researchers to improve their awareness of weak arguments through critical analysis of their claims. In turn, logical fallacies weaken any argument because they create platforms for a critic.

Importance of Writing Argumentative Essays

Argumentative essays are important because they provide the framework for a scientific critic. In particular, scientific disagreement may arise because of issues such as the generality of an argument, questionable methodology, and the presence of alternative interpretations of findings. On the other hand, argumentative essays ensure that researchers can adequately defend their reasoning when disagreeing with the conclusions of other studies. As a result, the demand for objectivity and logic in an argument ensures that disagreement in the scientific community is handled in a civilized manner.

Types of Argumentative Essay Formats

The basis of argumentative papers is the aim of authors to affect the mind of readers. In this case, three conventional approaches to an argument are classical, Rogerian, and Toulmin, with different types of argumentative essay structures. Firstly, the classical argument emphasizes evidence and refutation to convince an opponent and dates back to Socrates’ and Aristotle’s 400 BC ancient Greece. Basically, refutation means disapproving of the argument that is likely to challenge the writer’s claim. Secondly, a Rogerian argument aims for a “win-win” negotiation, where neither a writer nor the opposing viewpoint is wrong. In essence, this type of argument emphasizes the areas where the writer and the opposing argument have in common, such as values and beliefs. Finally, a Toulmin argument underscores the author’s evidence and its strength in proving his or her claim.

Types of Structures in Writing Argumentative Essays

1. 2-Point Argument Essay Outline


Here, the writer introduces his or her topic and a thesis statement, which is the central claim.

Body Paragraph 1

Here, the writer presents the first point and supporting evidence.

Body Paragraph 2

Here, the writer presents the second point and supporting evidence.

Body Paragraph 3

Here, the writer refutes the first argument (counterargument 1) from an opposing viewpoint.

Body Paragraph 4

Here, the writer refutes the second argument (counterargument 2) from an opposing viewpoint.


Here, the writer concludes an argumentative by restating the thesis.

2. 2-Point Refutation Structure for Writing an Argumentative Essay


Here, the author introduces the topic and the thesis statement, which is the central claim.

Body Paragraph 1

Here, the author refutes the first argument (counterargument 1) from an opposing viewpoint.

Body Paragraph 2

Here, the author refutes the second argument (counterargument 2) from an opposing viewpoint.

Body Paragraph 3

Here, the author presents the first point and supporting evidence.

Body Paragraph 4

Here, the author presents the second point and supporting evidence


Here, the author concludes an argumentative essay by restating the thesis.

3. A Combination of Arguments With Refutations for Writing a Paper


Here, the writer introduces the topic and the thesis statement, which is the central claim.

Body Paragraph 1

Here, the writer presents the first point and the supporting evidence, which also refutes the first counterargument.

Body Paragraph 2

Here, the writer presents the second point and the supporting evidence, refuting the second counterargument.

Body Paragraph 3

Here, the writer presents the third point and the supporting evidence, which also refutes the third counterargument.


Here, the writer concludes an argumentative essay by restating the thesis.

Structure of Different Argumentative Paper Formats

1. Classical Argumentative Essay Outline Template


Here, the writer focuses on capturing the readers’ attention by using a hook to introduce the topic with the thesis claim.

Statement of Background

Here, the writer provides readers with an explanation of the context of the theme, an aspect that fosters the readers’ understanding of the topic.


In this section, the writer states the claim (thesis) based on the information presented and presents the key points that will be used for supporting the central claim.


In this section, the writer presents key reasons, sub-claims, and evidence.


Here, the writer anticipates and refutes counterarguments, which indicates that the issue is considered thoroughly, while the conclusion part is the most reasonable.


Here, the writer summarizes the key points and makes a final appeal to values, motivations, and feelings to persuade readers to identify themselves with the paper’s argument(s).

2. Rogerian Argumentative Essay Outline Example

Introduction of Problem

Here, the author presents the topic as a problem and raises suggestions for influencing positive change by using the thesis statement.

Summary of Opposing Views

In this section, the author embraces an accurate and neutral stance in stating views that disagree with the thesis.

Statement of Understanding

Here, the author shows readers that they understand that there are situations in which opposing views are valid and lets readers understand under which conditions.

Position Statement

Here, the author states the own position after persuading readers that they have given full consideration to opposing views.

Statement of Contexts

Here, the author describes situations that can persuade readers to agree with the author’s position by outlining the merits of the argument in specific contexts.

Statement of Benefits

In this section, the author appeals to the opposing viewpoint by showing how it would benefit from accepting the author’s position.

3. Toulmin Argument Essay Structure Sample


Here, the writer presents facts or evidence to prove the main argument.


Here, the writer presents the statement that captures the argumentative thesis.


This section indicates the writer’s general, hypothetical logical statements that link the claim and the data.


This section presents the writer’s statements that propose conditions that justify the argument.


Here, the writer highlights counterarguments.


Here, the writer challenges rebuttals by presenting statements that support warrants. In turn, these statements do not necessarily prove the thesis when concluding an argumentative essay, but they prove the validity of warrants.

Examples of Good Topics for Writing an Argumentative Essay

1. Writing High School Level Argumentative Essays

Classical Essay

  1. Is the wage gap a reality or an illusion?
  2. Is gun control possible in the US?
  3. Does owning a gun constitute a right or a privilege?

Rogerian Essay

  1. Does marijuana legalization make a medical or economic sense?
  2. Should there be a separation of religion and government?
  3. Is single-sex education necessary?

Toulmin Essay

  1. Is technology useful or harmful to young children’s development?
  2. Do social movements such as Black Lives Matter and #MeToo promote inclusiveness or division?
  3. What is the greatest threat to the integrity of the natural environment?

2. Writing College Level Argumentative Papers

Classical Essay

  1. Is technology is a distraction?
  2. Is Facebook still relevant, or has it lost its edge?
  3. Should companies surveil employees’ use of social media?

Rogerian Essay

  1. Should companies fire employees for what they post on social media platforms?
  2. Is there a moral justification for obscuring one’s identity online?
  3. What are the dangers of cyberbullying for both victims and perpetrators?

Toulmin Essay

  1. Which is more useful to student academic success between virtual and classroom learning?
  2. Does digitization of class content encourage or discourage reading among college students?
  3. Should colleges allow instructors to provide course content to students via cellphones and tablets?

3. Writing University Level Argumentative Essays

Classical Essay

  1. Should higher learning institutions screen students for substance use?
  2. Are standardized tests necessary or outdated?
  3. Do standardized tests give an accurate assessment of one’s abilities?

Rogerian Essay

  1. Should schools be allowed to offer students cash bonuses for good test scores?
  2. Do school holidays impact students’ academic performance?
  3. Does the school environment foster or hamper young people’s creativity?

Toulmin Essay

  1. Is Arts Education beneficial?
  2. Is the teacher-student relationship a predictor of students’ academic success?
  3. Should parents contribute to curriculum development?

4. Writing Master’s Level Argumentative Papers

Classical Essay

  1. Does inclusiveness in schools benefit “general education” students?
  2. Do standardized tests determine a student’s level of knowledge?
  3. Does higher education promote or kill innovation in an individual?

Rogerian Essay

  1. Do gender stereotypes exist in education?
  2. How does parental poverty affect a child’s education?
  3. Should one refuse medical treatment because of religious beliefs?

Toulmin Essay

  1. Is parental consent necessary in teenagers’ decision to have a tattoo?
  2. Is ‘mercy killing’ moral?
  3. Who is to blame for childhood obesity in America between the government and parents?

5. Writing Ph.D. Level Argumentative Essays

A Classical Essay

  1. Did Mormons have an impact on America as a society?
  2. Was war necessary in the separation of the Southern States from the Union?
  3. What was slavery’s contribution to the American economy?

Rogerian Essay

  1. Was the Federal Reserve to blame for the Great Depression?
  2. What is the most controversial amendment of the US Constitution?
  3. Does immigration promote or undermine the national economy?

Toulmin Essay

  1. Is there a connection between the concepts of illegal immigration and runaway crime in the US?
  2. Should children of illegal immigrants benefit from the public education system?
  3. What is the real impact of immigration between fostering diversity and threatening indigenous culture?

Writing Examples of Argumentative Essay Outlines

Sample Structure for Writing a Classical Argumentative Essay

Introduction: The importance of vocational training for inmates.

Background: Most inmates lack personal development skills, which explains the high number of inmates serving time for drug-related charges.

Proposition: Exposing inmates to vocational training reduces chances of reoffending (recidivism).

Proof: Research shows that ex-offenders who get employed or those who engage in economic activities rarely get arrested for criminal involvement.

Refutation: There is no evidence that individuals with vocational training do not engage in criminal activities.

Conclusion: Exposing inmates to vocational training is the best approach when it comes to reducing chances of reoffending (recidivism) after release from prison.

Sample Structure for Writing a Rogerian Argumentative Paper

The Problem: The growing number of fast-food joints is to blame for increasing rates of teenage obesity in the US.

Summary of opposing views: American teens eat more from home than at fast-food joints.

Statement of understanding: There is a high probability that fast-food joints contribute to a culture of unhealthy eating in the US.

Statement of the writer’s position: The growing number of fast-food restaurants is to blame for the rising rates of obesity among American teenagers.

Statement of contexts: Evidence shows that American teens see fast-food joints as places for social connection, an aspect that increases their exposure to unhealthy foods.

Statement of benefits: By regulating the number of fast-food restaurants in a city, the authorities can reduce teenage exposure to unhealthy foods.

Sample Structure for Writing a Toulmin Argumentative Essay

Data: The excellent weather in Miami has seen the number of foreign tourists this year doubled from last year’s.

Claim: Weather is a significant factor in holiday-goers’ destination choice.

Warrants: There is a higher likelihood that a family would choose a place with warm weather as a holiday destination.

Qualifiers: The primary reason for holidaymaking is to enjoy oneself, which includes engaging in outdoor activities. Good weather makes this happen.

Rebuttals: Weather is a natural phenomenon that is sometimes unpredictable.

Backing: Despite the possibility that the weather can change abruptly, considering it is an essential activity for anyone planning on going for a holiday or even out of town.

Sample Paper Following a Toulmin Format

There is emerging evidence that cruelty against animals is an accepted fact in the pursuit of specimens for use in animal research (data). In this case, the thought that the scientific community is indifferent to the cruelty involved in the search for specimens for use in experiments is enough to compel the US Congress to ban animal research (claim). Also, morality demands that society should place a higher premium on animals’ well-being than profits or scientific advancement (warrant). As things stand, it is only Congress that can bring about change through legislation (warrant). Then, the reason as to why Congress should intervene in this matter is because it is the only institution that corporations cannot influence through lobbying (backing). Moreover, the fact that there has been a public uproar makes it difficult for congressional members to be swayed by corporate lobbyists from enacting the law (backing). For clarity purposes, this ban should not apply to medical research (qualifier). In turn, a law that bans all research would be counterproductive since human civilization has relied on science to advance in many areas (rebuttal). As such, it would be incumbent upon congressional members to craft a law that specifies what kinds of research are illegalized (backing).

Summing Up on How to Write a Perfect Argumentative Essay With Key Tips

People must cover the presentation of an argument in a convincing manner by considering certain aspects. Firstly, the position or main claim of the author has to be stated at the beginning of the essay. Secondly, people must provide evidence that supports the position and necessary rebuttals. Finally, the author ensures that there are no logical fallacies. Unfortunately, they may undermine the underlying logic of the argument. Thus, mastering the skill of writing an argumentative essay ensures that researchers can actively engage in scientific criticism. Hence, some tips include:

  • Pick an interesting topic for writing an argumentative essay.
  • Research the topic widely.
  • Record all the facts.
  • Decide which type of argumentative essay to write.
  • Craft an argument.
  • Formulate a structure.
  • Start writing an argumentative essay.