Getting to write an argumentative essay is a common experience for students. Teachers use argumentative essay assignments to test their students critical, analytical, and persuasive skills all at once.
However, compared to expository essays, they are far more difficult to write.
Fortunately for you, there is a great way to ease the process: make an outline before you start writing.
Making an outline will help you organize your evidence and structure your essay in a logical flow. It will make your argument stronger and more effective.
Learn how to make an effective outline for your argumentative essay topics. This will help you write essays that are convincing and will persuade even the harshest opponents.
So let’s get into it!
Common Argumentative Essay Structures
Arguments are not won based on who is right and who is wrong. Arguments win or lose depending on how well they are structured and how effectively they are presented.
Unlike persuasive essays, argumentative essays mostly rely on logos or logical arguments.
The harsh truth is that being right won win you an argument. So it is important that you learn the most common structures that make an argument effective and make an outline accordingly.
The three best ways to structure an argumentative essay include Classical (Aristotelian), Rogerian, and Toulmin structures.
All three structures contain an introduction, body, and conclusion. However, the structure of the body differs between the three.
Classical (Aristotelian) Argumentative Structure
The Classical or Aristotelian structure is the most straightforward and effective way to organize an argumentative essay.
This structure consists of three parts: claim, counterclaim, and rebuttal. In this type of argument, you take a position on an issue and then present the opposing side’s argument. After that, you refute the counterclaim and reaffirm your position.
Here is what this structure would look like:
|Classical Argumentative Structure|
II. BodyA. ClaimB. CounterclaimC. Rebuttal
Rogerian Argumentative Structure
The Rogerian structure is a bit more complicated but can be very effective for certain topics.
In this structure, you first present the common ground between you and your opponent. After that, you present your side of the argument and then concede a point to the opposing side. Finally, you reaffirm your position and offer a compromise solution.
This structure is useful when you are trying to build bridges and find common ground with your opponents. It can be difficult to use, but it can be very effective.
This is an example of how this structure could look:
A. Present Your Opponent’s ArgumentsB. Present Your ArgumentC. Support Your Position Through Evidence
III. Present a Compromise Solution
Toulmin Argumentative Structure
The Toulmin structure is the most complicated but also the most effective way to argue.
In this structure, you first present your claim. After that, you present the data that supports your claim. Finally, you refute the counterclaims and present your conclusion.
This structure is difficult to use but can be very effective. It requires a lot of research and preparation, but it will make your argument much stronger.
Here is an example of how this structure could look like:
II. BodyA. ClaimB. Evidence/ ReasonsC. WarrantD. BackingE. QualifierF. Counterclaims and Rebuttal
Let’s take a deeper look at how these structures can help you make an effective outline.
How To Make An Argumentative Essay Outline
Now that you know the three most common structures for an argumentative essay, it’s time to learn how to make an outline for your argumentative essay.
Outline For Classical Argumentative Essay
- The Introduction:
The introductory paragraph should begin with a hook statement that grabs your readers’ attention.
After the hook statement, provide context and background information about the topic you have chosen.
Finally, end the introductory paragraph with a thesis statement. A thesis statement is a sentence that states your position on the issue you are discussing.
- The Body:
Each body paragraph should contain a topic sentence that presents the main claim of the paragraph.
After presenting your claim, you need to provide supporting evidence. The supporting evidence comprises the reasons why you are making that claim. All claims must be supported by evidence, such as data, statistics, expert opinion, or observation.
Finally, discuss opposing arguments and address them adequately to strengthen your position. Moreover, end each paragraph with a transition that connects it with the next paragraph.
- The Conclusion:
The conclusion restates your position and summarizes your argument. The conclusion should leave your readers convinced that your view on the issue is a strong one.
Outline For Rogerian Argumentative Essay
Firstly, hook your readers with an interesting fact, question, or statement. Secondly, provide information about the topic. Finally, present your position in the thesis statement.
- Present The Opposing View:
Begin by stating the opposing view. Present and discuss their views fairly and completely.
- Validate The Opposing Side:
Validate the opposing view by showing that you understand the reasoning behind it.
- Present Your Argument:
Present your main claim. Afterward, provide evidence to support your claim. Finally, discuss how your argument refutes the opposing view.
- Present A Compromise (Conclusion):
A Rogerian argument concludes with a common ground or compromise between the two positions.
Outline For Toulmin Argumentative Essay
Introduce your topic and present some context to the issue you will be arguing about.
- State Your Claim:
You need to define your position clearly.
- Present Reasons:
Provide evidence for why you support your chosen position.
- Provide Warrant:
Establish the connection between your claim and the evidence. Explain how the evidence supports the claim.
Provide further evidence to bolster the warrant and the main claim.
State the limitations of your position. Provide concessions to the opposing view.
Address and refute opposing points of view.
Finally, conclude your argument by emphasizing your evidence and summarizing your argument.
Argumentative Essay Outline Examples
Check out the following pdf samples of argumentative essay outlines. Reading these outlines will give you a good idea about how your outline should look like.
Argumentative Essay Outline About Abortion [Insert pdf]
Argumentative Essay Outline About Foreign Policy [Insert pdf]
Argumentative Essay Outline About Gun Control [Insert pdf]
Start Making Your Argumentative Essay Outline
Start making your essay outline by following these tips. Doing the following steps will make it easier for you to craft a great argumentative essay.
Jot Down All The Points You Want To Make
You should make a list of points that you want to make. These should be the key points that you will use to support your thesis statement or counter the opposing arguments.
Note Down The Supporting Evidence
Search for reliable and authoritative sources to find evidence for your argument. Make sure that you support your argument through strong evidence and logical reasoning.
Organize It In an Outline
Now, organize your claims and supporting evidence by writing an outline. Make sure that the points are joined in a logical flow and that the evidence used is credible.
So there you have it! You are now ready to start making your very own argumentative essay outline. Just remember to keep it clear, concise, and consistent, and you will be on your way to writing the best argumentative essay that you can write!
An experienced author and writing instructor. Has been teaching composition and creative writing at the college level since 2015.