How to Write a Dialectic Essay With Explanations and Examples

Dialectic essays enable students to participate in meaningful discourse on controversial topics in their respective disciplines. Basically, this manual discusses the procedure for creating an excellent dialectic essay. Moreover, the guide commences with an exhaustive definition of a dialectic essay and highlights its distinct characteristics. After the detailed introduction into dialectic essay writing, the manual provides sample topics and explains their distinguishable traits. Next, the guide of how to write a dialectic expounds on its structure. In turn, the manual concludes with a sample outline and a sample dialectic essay.

Definition of a Dialectic Essay

A dialectic essay is a type of essay that requires authors to test a thesis statement exhaustively and reach an objective conclusion. Basically, the process of testing a thesis statement has three main stages: identifying the core argument supporting a thesis statement, provision of a viable counterargument, and an evaluation of a counterargument. As a result, authors conduct a comprehensive exploration of the topic of interest to yield a conclusion that they validate. The testing process does not necessarily provide a correct position on the debatable topic. Instead, it identifies the most reasonable view within the context of the evidence and arguments that are present in the body of the essay. In most cases, the conclusion of the discourse supports the essay’s thesis statement.

how to write a dialectic essay

Uniqueness of a Dialectic Essay

The critique of both the main argument and counterarguments is a distinct characteristic of a dialectic essay. In particular, a standard essay simply presents minor arguments in body paragraphs that support the central claim that writers provide in a thesis statement. However, a dialectic essay goes beyond the presentation of minor arguments. Firstly, a dialectic essay discusses counterarguments to the minor arguments to establish the main opposing views. Then, such a paper evaluates the validity and relative weight of a counterargument in a discussion.

Sample Topics for a Dialectic Essay

1. Sample Topics in Various Disciplines:

Engineering and technology:

  • The impact of social media on relationship formation.
  • Quality of education in the technological age.

Medicine and health:

  • The cause of the painkiller ‘pandemic.’
  • Modern-day suicide: Do not resuscitate order.

Political science:

  • The effects of stringent immigration law.
  • The dominant political ideology in America.

Sociology:

  • Welcoming transgenderism into society.
  • Children’s experience in dual-career families.

Psychology:

  • Parental pressure and body image in teens.
  • Trading drug addictions and non-drug addictions.

2. Identifying a Dialectic Essay Topic

Students can readily recognize a dialectic essay topic because of its controversial nature. At first sight, learners may categorize a topic as a dialectic essay topic if they realize that there are no less than two reasonable perspectives, which authors can use to create a convincing argument. Upon close examination of the existing body of knowledge on a topic, a student can ascertain that a theme is a dialectic essay topic if he or she finds viable rebuttals to counterarguments, which offer more clarity on contested issues and lead to a logical conclusion.

Structure of a Dialectic Essay

I. Introduction

The introductory paragraph consists of a hook, adequate background information, and a thesis statement. Basically, the role of a hook in the opening paragraph is to capture the attention of a reader and trigger interest to read the entire essay. Then, the background information lays the groundwork for authors to announce the central claim of a dialectic essay. In turn, a strong thesis statement for a dialectic essay should be debatable. Notably, the length of the introduction varies with the essay’s word count because a good introduction does not take up more than 10% of a dialectic essay.

II. Body Paragraphs

Organization. The complexity of a dialectic essay requires students to use a point by point organization structure. Basically, this organization style necessitates the clustering of paragraphs that contain the minor argument, counterargument, and critique of a counterargument under a shared heading to ensure that readers distinguish between independent instances of dialectics. Specifically, this arrangement prevents the audience from losing track of the logical link that exists between three paragraphs that form a dialectic instance. In turn, the arrangement of clusters has an impact on the efficacy of a dialectic essay.

Paragraph structure. All body paragraphs adhere to the ‘sandwich’ rule. Basically, this rule defines a fixed arrangement of components of a paragraph. For example, a topic sentence is the first element of a body paragraph, and it contains the minor argument that writers discuss within a paragraph. After a topic sentence, students introduce a specific piece of evidence, which supports the minor argument. Then, learners provide an interpretation of the evidence and point out the significance of the evidence to the minor argument. Lastly, authors write a concluding sentence that links the minor argument, evidence, interpretation, cluster theme, and thesis statement.

III. Conclusion

The opening sentence of the conclusion should be an iteration of the central claim, but students must use different words and sentence structure. Next, learners must write a concise summary of the argument that supports the thesis statement, counterargument, and argument that critics this counterargument. Finally, authors reveal the ‘true’ position on a controversial topic by providing a justification that reflects on the argument, counterargument, and critique in an objective fashion.

Sample Outline Template for a Dialectic Essay

I. Introduction

A. Hook.
B. Background information.
C. A debatable thesis statement.

II. Body

A. First paragraph

  • The minor argument that supports a thesis statement.
  • Evidence supporting this paragraph’s claim.
  • Interpretation and analysis of the evidence.
  • A concluding statement that shows the relationship between the first paragraph’s claim and thesis statement.

B. Second body paragraph

  • A counterargument to the minor argument of the first paragraph.
  • Evidence supporting this paragraph’s claim.
  • Interpretation and analysis of the evidence.
  • A concluding statement that shows the relationship between the second paragraph’s counterargument and thesis statement.

C. Third body paragraph

  • An idea that provides a critique of a counterargument.
  • Evidence supporting this paragraph’s claim.
  • Interpretation and analysis of the evidence.
  • A concluding statement that shows the relationship between the third paragraph’s claim and the counterargument of the second paragraph.

III. Conclusion

A. Restatement of the thesis statement.
B. Summary of the main supporting argument, counterargument, and critique of this counterargument.
C. Closing remarks emphasizing the dominance of the central claim over counterargument.

Sample Dialectic Essay

Topic: Divorce and Its Effects on the Family

I. Introduction Sample of a Dialectic Essay

Marriages in the 21st century are disintegrating at an early stage. Basically, children are bystanders in divorce, but the breaking of the family affects them to a large extent. In turn, divorce improves the quality of parenting and sustains a healthy home environment.

II. Examples of Body Paragraphs in a Dialectic Essay

A. The Main Argument

There is no significant difference in the children’s level of happiness. According to the American Family Organization (2020), the disparity in the happiness index of children from a nuclear family and children of divorced parents is decreasing steadily with an all-time low of 0.001 in the 2019 national family survey. Moreover, the children of divorced families feel loved and safe despite living in a home with only one parent at a time. Hence, divorce is not a determining factor in creating an ideal home environment.

B. Counterargument

Divorce affects the ability of parents to play their roles in childrearing effectively. For example, Jones (2020) found that the probability of divorced parents to fulfill traditional parenting roles is 0.65. Based on this finding, it is apparent that divorced parents cannot engage in effective parenting at all times when compared to the parents in a traditional nuclear family setup. Accordingly, divorce places additional strain on parenting and the home environment.

C. Critique of a Counterargument

The maintenance of a broken marriage shows no inherent value to parenting. For instance, Potter’s (2020) study provides evidence that resentment build-up in unhappy marriages and the transference of these feelings to children impairs parenting. Moreover, resentment hurts both parents and children. In turn, the opportunity cost associated with the protection of the nuclear family structure is too high.

III. Conclusion Sample of a Dialectic Essay

The nuclear family structure cannot survive the stress caused by unhappy partners. Moreover, there is no need for parents to force a marriage if the marriage is unsalvageable. Thus, divorce is the right choice because it offers the most protection to the children’s interests.

Final Provisions on How to Write a Good Dialectic Essay

  • Students should select a topic that is debatable to create a persuasive dialectic essay.
  • Authors must locate evidence from reliable sources and offer appropriate documentation.
  • Proper organization of a dialectic essay is critical to the clarity of such a paper.