How to Write a Convincing Argumentative Essay

Last Updated: 24 August 2023

Persuasive essay writing

Being a student and not knowing how to write an argumentative essay is a death wish. Mostly, by the in-depth and comprehensive research, argumentative essays are usually assigned to students as final projects, short-assessment essays, and capstones in their first years in college. We need you to understand the entire process of persuasive essay writing.

At the end of this article, you will know how to ace an argumentative essay by making your readers adopt your side of the argument. You will also understand how to write a persuasive essay, including starting and how to end it. In short, we present the ideas and top secrets for making your opponent believe in you and win an argument. We have all these tactics, hints, and tips in this guide.

What is an argumentative essay?

An argumentative essay is a piece of academic writing whose purpose is to emphatically declare a position on a given cause or issue and then provide firm reasons, accompanied by evidence and facts, convincing the reader to change their stance or way of thinking and adopt the point of view of the author. Argumentative essays are also called persuasive essays.

An argumentative or persuasive essay can be a polemic essay. In this sense, you will write an essay arguing about a controversial topic. The steps of writing polemic essays are the same as an argumentative essay. So, if you are there wondering how to write a polemic essay, argumentative essay writing is the same as polemical writing. In this case, you will take a strong stance for or against something from the onset.

Polemical topics are controversial, including abortion, plastic surgery, human trafficking, ethnic adoption, genetic cloning, genetic engineering, animal testing, corporal punishment, right to die or euthanasia/doctor or physician-assisted suicide, and immigration.

In short, an argumentative essay presents facts and evidence to support an idea. For instance, you can be asked to write a persuasive essay about smoking.

You should learn the difference between a discursive essay and an argumentative essay.

Related Article: Argumentative essay topics.

Approaches to Argumentative Essay Writing: Types of Arguments

Three types of arguments conventionally guide the argumentative essay writing process.

1. The classical argument strategy

This is the oldest and most popular approach. It is also called the Aristotelian approach and entails presenting the problem, stating your solution, and trying to convince your reader to adopt it given facts and shreds of evidence.

Its layout includes an introduction, thesis statement, arguments, refutation, and conclusion in that order.

Introduction: The introduction presents a thesis statement and a hook to grab the readers' attention. It entails the problem statement and explaining why the argumentative/persuasive topic is relevant. In the thesis, you state the claim or position and then outline the major arguments.

Background of the issue: in this section of a classical argument essay, you should state the facts and the context of the problem.

Major arguments: your focus should be on the reasons for your chosen position. Also, you must use evidence and facts that are usually well-cited in-text. It is the most extended section of a persuasive essay.

Refutation: your aim here is to present arguments from the opposing side and reasons they are not valid/accurate. Example: Some authors have stressed the importance of health promotion among indigenous tribes to reduce healthcare access disparity. Nevertheless, it is only easier said than done. Despite their cultural irrelevance, overwhelming evidence indicates that such interventions come with challenges.

Conclusion: any conclusion to an essay summarizes the major points, discusses the implications, and stresses why the position chosen by the author is the best.

2. Toulmin Argumentative Approach

The Toulmin model of argument is mostly used in polemic topics or highly charged debates. It focuses on carefully using logic and qualifiers to limit arguments to nice things. It is used primarily in polemic essays to avoid unfounded or baseless statements.  

For instance, should marijuana be legalized? Or should guns be concealed? The two are some argumentative topics that can be argued through the Toulmin approach.

Here is the format of Toulmin's argumentative essays:

Claim: your claim is the thesis statement. Example: The government should rethink the policies of gun ownership and use.

Evidence: The evidence refers to well-backed statistics, facts, or statements from credible scholarly sources.

Warrant: presenting the stance of different authors on the given issues. Example: According to different authors, stricter gun laws have only worked partially in the recent past.

Backing: Here, you add reasoning and logic to support the warrant. Example: We have continuously experienced a rising spate of gun attacks with the perpetrators having big assault rifles.

Rebuttal: presenting any claim that is against your principal argument.

Qualifier: short and worthy phrases that define the scope of your claims. Some qualifiers include typically, holistically, and usually, etc.

Exceptions: you set some exclusions to your claims given the available evidence.

3. Rogerian Argument Strategy

The Rogerian argument approach persuades the readers by finding the best points of agreement. Like the Toulmin argument method, the Rogerian approach is used in polemic writing where highly polarized topics or debates ensue. The strategy involves presenting ideas from both sides and giving an ear to the opposing side validity. It helps find a stock or middle ground to an issue.

The format of a Rogerian essay is discussed elsewhere. However, here is a brief outline of a Rogerian argumentative essay:

  1. Presenting the issue: you holistically state your problem and why it is relevant to address.
  2. Summary of the opposing arguments: you will state the significant points and discuss situations when the contradictory positions are correct. It helps expose your understanding of the conflicting points of view and your open-mindedness. With this, the opposing side might give you an ear.
  3. Stating your stance or points: present situations when your arguments might be correct.
  4. Stating the benefits of adopting your stance: convince the opposing side to jump ship and come to your side of arguments or debate.

In the Rogerian approach: the author is aware of both sides of the argument but ultimately favors one.

When writing a persuasive essay through a Rogerian approach, conceding that the opposing side might be correct is allowed.

It takes the Rogerian approach to get to the core of a debate. For instance, if it is an argumentative essay on climate change and global warming, you can explore either side of the problem.

Here is a sample Rogerian essay from our expert writers. 

This infographic also shows the Rogerian essay writing process. 

Our Rogerian essay expert writers can also come through in a great way. 

Outline or Organization of Argumentative Essays

When writing argumentative essays, you should follow this outline:

  1. The Introduction: reflect on the title in the introduction so that it becomes your thesis statement or the key issue of argument in the essay. Your introduction should be clear and concise. There is no need to debate the topic. Use words that appeal to your readers/audience because only when they empathize can you persuade them. Also, present the facts from scholarly sources to build trust and develop sound and solid arguments. Finally, make sure your thesis answers the major question in the issue and state your position. The thesis statement is usually one or two last sentences of the intro.
  2. The Body: the body paragraphs of an argumentative essay should explain why the reader should adopt your point of view and find relevance in your thesis. The body should refute any objection, given evidence and facts.  The body should give three reasons readers or the audience should accept your position. The reason and support should form your topic statements. The supporting facts should be statistics, examples, authorities, and logic. You should also anticipate the opposing arguments and positions by presenting the readers' objections and using evidence for their rebuttal. Also, highlight your reasons for rejecting the positions.
  3. The Conclusion: Your conclusion should be a reflection of the introduction. It should comprise a restated thesis statement and highlight the major argument. Give your strong stance and convince your readers to come to your side. We have some argumentative essay conclusion ideas. First, think about how to appeal to your readers' morals, character, logic, and emotions. So, use logos, ethos, and pathos as your persuasive approaches. Secondly, the present hypothesis of the potentialities in case your readers do not adopt your argument. Also, present a call to action where you make recommendations on the issue. Finally, consider the big picture, including what can be done at the regulation or policy level and give relevant facts.

How to Write Argumentative Essay: Steps

First Step: Choosing Topics and Stance

The above steps form the preparation stage, without which you will not write a persuasive essay. If you want a laser-focused argumentative paper, you must adhere to the tactics and tips we share here.  After the preparation, you have to structure your essay, which is how to make an argumentative essay very convincing.

Second Step: Research for the Persuasive Essay

Regardless of your chosen argumentative method, you have to get your facts right from the beginning. Ensure you get scholarly sources within a 5-year window-period for relevance and credibility.

Research helps you shape your arguments and write convincing statements and paragraphs. It also helps your teachers assess the depth of your essay.

Third Step: Develop the Structure of your Essay

A short persuasive essay aligns with the five-paragraph format. However, your body paragraphs will be many if it is a long argumentative research paper, say 10 pages or more.

So, an argumentative essay outline has an introduction (with an essay hook and a thesis), body paragraphs, and a conclusion. The body paragraphs will have supporting facts each, and then the counterargument paragraph is the second last to the conclusion.

One thing to note, though, is always to be privy to your opponents' arguments as you are to yours. When you use concession- noting the opposing views, you gracefully win your argument and find commonality with the opponents.

To effectively do that, your choice of facts, evidence, qualifiers, and information should be professional. Refute the ideas held by the opponents cleverly and offer counterarguments.

Step 4: Write your introduction

Of most importance is how you start your argumentative essay. So, make it memorable and stunning when thinking of how to write an argumentative essay introduction. Always strive to start your opening paragraph with an essay hook to grab your reader's attention. For this, you can use a statistic, a quote, or paint a picture of what is on the ground concerning the issue at hand.

Sample Essay Hook Ideas for Persuasive Essays

You can attract and keep your reader with a hook in the first sentence. For instance, when writing a polemic essay on bariatric surgery. Feel free to state, "In the era of fast food, almost everyone has BMI approaching 35-39 and a hoard of other health issues such as type 2 diabetes, apnea, and high blood pressure, which qualifies most to bariatric surgery."Suppose it is a persuasive essay on the importance of a college education. In that case, you can start your essay this way: "Statistically, credible evidence suggests that several people who have never been to college are doing better without a college degree." Even though the two examples of how to start an argumentative essay are simple, they give the readers a sneak pick and appetite.

If developing an essay hook is challenging in the early stages, you can always head to the following parts of the essay and deal with it later.  The beauty of this approach is that you find inspiration and discover useful facts from research when writing.

Now, your intro should also have a thesis statement.

Crafting a Thesis Statement for an Argumentative Essay

So what is a thesis statement? It is a one or two-sentence statement in the introductory paragraph that summarizes the main points, gist, claims, and stance of a topic in an essay. It can be written in question-answer format, refuting objections, or by giving the essay a roadmap.

Q/A format: "What is domestic violence?" the answer to the question becomes the first line of your intro.

Refuting objections: "There is never a way to prevent death when it is bound to occur. Here, you take an opposing view to an issue.

Roadmap: "While most people think there is no way to stop homegrown terrorism, studies have shown that there are policies and initiatives that have worked elsewhere; by taking a racially-unbiased approach; by engaging the citizens in community policing, and by having strict gun laws."

The above statement is an example of a strong thesis statement that states the claim and stance and offers major points.

The thesis statement should always be:

For instance, if it is a persuasive essay on the importance of wearing school uniforms, ensure the thesis gives a natural and clear transition to the body. For example: "Wearing school uniforms creates a sense of unity and belonging and helps remove the notion of inequality." So automatically, the following paragraph should explore how school uniforms create equality. For instance, it eliminates bullying, as all have the same identity.

If you are writing an argumentative essay on the topic "Fracking should be banned," an example of a strong thesis statement should be "evidence strongly suggest that fracking is a dangerous process that exposes the interior of the earth and the environment to hazards despite its efficiency in extracting natural gas."

Step 5: Fill in the blanks to write the body

With a great introduction and conclusion, writing the body of an argumentative essay becomes easy. So, you will research more on the supporting facts, develop strong topic sentences, knit together facts using available evidence, and write concluding sentences for a paragraph.

We insist that you stick to the one-ides-one-paragraph rule to avoid mixing ideas. Then every claim should be backed with proper evidence. The evidence should convince your readers.

The same approach you use when writing strong paragraphs in research papers, term papers, speeches, thesis, and dissertations applies to persuasive essay writing. If you must be confrontational, as with polemic topics, let it be subtle but always see that the audience can re-evaluate their stance and develop a new point of view aligning with yours.

Example: "Everyone wishes to have a quality life, safe neighborhoods, and benefits of low crime rates. Nevertheless, taking a backseat on matters of importance to national security could escalate insecurity and deny us our wish."

By default, three body paragraphs are enough unless it is a long-form argumentative research paper or term paper. Also, do not force the points to fit; let the argumentative essay points flow.

Step 6: Carefully Craft the Conclusion

How to end an argumentative or persuasive essay is an issue that disturbs most people. However, it is like eating an entire goat only to be defeated by the tail. With the knowledge on how to write a persuasive essay introduction and how to develop the body paragraphs, the final step is ending an argumentative essay.

Your conclusion is the last paragraph of the essay. In essence, it should summarize the major points. You should have a closing statement, restate the thesis statement, and appeal emotionally, logically, and reasonably to the readers.

You can achieve this by:

We have a post on how to write an argumentative essay conclusion; kindly read it as well. 

Step 7: Polish up the Essay

The conclusion only gives you room to rest. However, polishing your persuasive or argumentative essay helps you improve its grade.

After writing your argumentative essay, it is good to take a break. When you return, you should ensure it is coherent, cogent, correct, and grammatically sound. Also, ensure the punctuation marks are used per the rules of academic writing. For instance, use the Oxford comma before 'but,' 'and,' and 'or.'

If you are working on a controversial polemic topic, strive to connect with your readers. If you are unsure if you have nailed it, seek a second opinion. Having someone proofread and edit your essays makes them more objective. This should be standard in all your assignments.

Here are some steps to polish your essay:

Parting Shot

Achieving a great argumentative essay is not hard when you are loaded with tactics and tips. Conduct your research, choose a good topic, have an outline, develop good and convincing arguments, and use strong evidence. That is simply it!

We believe this guide on the essential steps of writing an argumentative essay and the tips herein will help you craft an unimaginable piece of an essay. The ball is now on your court. If you need help writing a persuasive essay, we have expert essay writers who can help.

Controversial Polemic Topics for an Argumentative Essay

  1. Should cleaning toilets be a part of the school curriculum?
  2. There has been a rising voice for Nobel committees to consider gender diversity and work quality when nominating scientists. To what extent do you agree with this opinion?
  3. Should the death penalty be banned as a form of punishment?
  4. What Causes Child Obesity?
  5. Are you, as a parent, Responsible if Your Child is Fat?
  6. What is the Best Diet?
  7. Should Sugar Be Banned in Schools?
  8. Children Need To Spend More Time Outside
  9. When is Too Young to Go on a Diet?

We have a more comprehensive list of argumentative essays, be sure to check it out. Also, here is a sample argumentative essay

Watch this video illustration on how to write an argumentative essay.