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Write Argumentative Essay: A Complete Guide for Any Student

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by John Milovich

As an ex-student, I remember the joys and frustrations of crafting an argumentative essay! As someone who has been through the trenches, I can assure you that understanding the argumentative paper structure can make all the difference. Think of it like constructing a building. You need a strong foundation, compelling arguments, and an eye-catching facade. Stick with me, and you'll get some insider tips on how to ace this assignment!

What Is an Argumentative Essay?

So, you're probably wondering, "What is the main purpose of an argumentative essay?" It's simple. An argumentative essay aims to persuade your reader to see things from your point of view. It's like a formal debate in written form. You present your argument, back it up with evidence, and drive your point home. It's not about ranting or merely stating opinions; it's an organized, well-researched form of persuasion. Get this right, and you're well on your way to mastering this skill.

Elements of an Argumentative Essay

The anatomy of an excellent argumentative essay consists of several essential elements. These are your building blocks: an introduction, a problem statement, a literature review, body paragraphs, counterarguments, and a conclusion. Let's dissect these one by one to get a more precise understanding.

Problem Statement

From the get-go, you'll need to present a compelling problem statement. This statement is the cornerstone of the structure of an argumentative essay. Think of it as your thesis, the claim you're arguing for. It should be precise, relevant, and debatable. A fuzzy problem statement can confuse your reader, derailing your essay before it begins.

Literature Review

Next up the literature review comes. This part gives your essay the academic weight it needs. In this section, you'll discuss existing research and viewpoints related to your topic. The keywords to remember here are review and essay. Examine what other scholars have said, identify gaps in current knowledge, and explain how your argument fills those gaps. By doing so, you're providing the context and setting the stage for your argument.

The Research Focus

Now, let's talk about the research focus. It is where you delve into the specifics of your argument. Knowing how to structure an argumentative essay is vital; your research focus is no exception. This section is where you present the scope of your research, the questions you aim to answer, and the evidence you'll use. Your focus should align tightly with your problem statement, enhancing the coherence and depth of your essay.

Method and Methodology

For your essay to shine, you must be meticulous about your method and methodology. First, clarify how you'll find your data. Will you conduct surveys, use statistical analysis, or rely on existing literature?

  • Surveys;
  • interviews;
  • case studies;
  • statistical analysis;
  • existing literature.

Then, describe how you'll present this data. It can include the layout of your arguments, the evidence you'll use, and how you'll cite your sources. Remember, the keywords here are find and present. Your method and methodology provide the roadmap for your essay journey.


After conducting your research, it's time to present your findings. The crux of your argumentative topic comes alive in this section. Here, you display the paper's evidence supporting your claims. Ensure each piece of evidence is compelling and directly tied to your problem statement. Relevance is key. Each fact, statistic, or quote should serve to bolster your argument.

Discussion and Conclusion

Finally, the discussion and conclusion wrap up your essay. In this part, you revisit your key arguments and reflect on their meaning in the larger context. It's also where you re-emphasize the structure of argumentative essay papers. Summarize the journey from your problem statement through the evidence leading to your conclusions. Answer any lingering questions and provide a compelling endpoint to your persuasive endeavor.

How to Write an Argumentative Essay with Steps

Let's get practical. Knowing the elements is one thing, but writing the essay is another ball game. I'll walk you through a step-by-step guide to ensure you're well-equipped to write a top-notch argumentative essay.

Choose Your Research Sources

First off, it's all about the research. But not just any research will do. For tips on writing an argumentative essay, focus on reputable sources like academic papers, credible news outlets, and expert opinions. Remember, the quality of your sources can make or break your argument. Be discerning and aim for depth, not just breadth.

Create an Outline

Before diving into the writing, take a moment to create an outline. It helps in organizing your thoughts and ensuring a coherent flow. The outline is like a blueprint for your essay, detailing how each section will unfold. Keep your format and audience in mind. An outline can also help you gauge the logical sequence of your arguments and counterarguments.

Write Your Paragraphs

Now, let's talk about the meat of the essay: the paragraphs. Here's a quick breakdown:

  1. Introduction: Grab attention and introduce the topic.
  2. Problem Statement: Lay out your main argument.
  3. Body: Present evidence and counterarguments.
  4. Conclusion: Summarize and restate your argument.

After that, you'll want to wrap things up effectively. Knowing how to end argumentative essay papers is crucial. Reiterate your main points, perhaps offer some broader implications, and leave your reader convinced – or at least considering – your viewpoint.

Edit & Revise

So, you've written your essay. Congrats! But hold on, you're not quite finished. In the editing and revising stage, your essay goes from good to great. Use this time to hone your arguments, tighten your prose, and eliminate errors or inconsistencies.

This guide is incomplete without emphasizing the importance of this step. It's not just about fixing typos but refining your argument to its most effective and compelling form. Look at sentence structures, check for clarity, and ensure each paragraph supports your point. In short, make every word earn its place in your essay.

3 Ways to Approach Argumentative Writing

Classical Approach

The Classical Approach is often considered the most straightforward method of argumentative writing. Here, you start with a strong point that immediately engages your reader. You then present your idea clearly and offer evidence to support it. The focus is on persuading readers by appealing to their logic and emotions.

The goal is to present your points in a linear, easily digestible format that leads the reader from your opening statement to your conclusion without any detours. It's like a well-planned road trip; you know your destination, and you've mapped out the best route to get your reader there. This approach can be particularly effective when you have a skeptical or undecided audience.

Rogerian Approach

The Rogerian Approach aims for understanding and consensus rather than outright persuasion. It's ideal for topics where emotions run high, or your audience holds differing viewpoints. Here, you start by presenting your perspective and acknowledging the opposing side's valid points.

This structure for argumentative essay papers aims to find common ground rather than eradicate the opposition. It builds rapport with the audience, creating a reasoned discussion environment. This approach is often the most constructive choice when a win-win solution seems possible.

Toulmin Approach

The Toulmin Approach takes a bit of a different tack. In this method, you dissect each element of your argument in a highly analytical and organized way. When writing your essay, you start with your claim, present evidence, and then offer warrants to link the evidence to your claim.

You also consider potential rebuttals and offer counterarguments. This approach allows you to examine different facets of your view, making your write-up more robust and nuanced. It's particularly effective when dealing with complex issues that require a deep understanding of the topic.


An argumentative essay persuades the reader to adopt a particular viewpoint using evidence and reasoning. Unlike other essay types, its primary focus is establishing and defending a specific stance.

An argumentative essay typically consists of an introduction, problem statement, literature review, research focus, method and methodology, results/evidence, discussion, and conclusion.

To strengthen your arguments, use credible sources, present well-structured evidence, consider counterarguments, and maintain a logical flow throughout the essay.