Glossary - Argumentative essay

is a paper that presents the arguments from different sides of a single issue. As such, a student is often given or asked to choose contradictory topics and discuss all sides of the same issue. The student can choose to either balance both sides equally, or favor one side and put the bigger accent to it. Regardless, an argumentative essay isn’t a persuasive essay, which means that no argument is a complete argument if the other side isn’t mentioned and explained, too.

Structure of the Argumentative Essay

At its core, an argumentative essay is also a five-paragraph essay. What differentiates this essay type from others is the purpose and the approach. That being said, the structure of every argumentative essay will be as follows:

  • Introduction

In the introduction, the author must explain the subject, present the controversy and share the thesis statement. This part of the essay must present the author’s point of view, set a research question, and appeal to the emotions of the readers. An introduction should be concise and only present, not debate or elaborate. To entice the readers from the start, the audience must present facts, build trust, and set a clear research question that the rest of the essay will answer.

  • Body

The introduction has presented the controversy, but the body paragraphs should go deeper with this matter – present the argument and counter arguments. The minimal number of body paragraphs is three and each of these should support the thesis statement and be relevant to the selected topic.

For the purpose of this big part of the essay, an argumentative paper demands a carefully created outline. An outline will help the author organize the arguments and counterarguments, and find the perfect place for the reasons why the readers should share his opinion.

  • Conclusion

The conclusion contains a lot of the information presented in the introduction, but it shouldn’t be a repetition of the same. A conclusion should summarize the paper, the thesis statement, as well as the arguments you used in your writing. It’s what ties all the paragraphs and sections together, without presenting any new information or arguments.

Finally, a conclusion may include a call to action that inspires the readers to, once again, agree with your selected argument.

Finding the Best Argumentative Essays Topics

The world is filled with arguments and controversies, so topics for this paper shouldn’t be hard to find. And yet, most students struggle with this matter. A topic for an argumentative essay needs to develop one of the following argument claims:

  1. Fact: is the argument true or not?
  2. Value: What is the importance of the argument?
  3. Definition: What does the argument and the topic mean?
  4. Policy: What should be done about the topic?
  5. Cause and effect: What has caused the argument and what are its effects?

The process can be lengthy and to avoid many edits, you have to approach it step by step. In addition to selecting the argumentative topic and creating the outline for the structure, you must also choose one or more of the three argument types to use in the writing.

The three main argument model types are the Aristotelian or classical, Rogerian, and Toulmin argument.

Classical Argument Model

A classical argument strategy presents a chosen problem, states the author’s solution, and works toward convincing the readers of that solution. The outline of this style is as follows:


Rogerian Argument Model

The Rogerian argument is more debatable and argues the middle ground in debates that are highly polarized. This is its outline:

Issue-opposing arguments-author’s points-benefits from adopting the author’s points

Toulmin Argument Model

The Toulmin model doesn’t appeal to the commonalities but uses qualifiers and logic to put a limit to the argument and leave only the things that can be agreed on. Here is the outline:


As you can see, an argumentative essay is much more than just a piece of paper where you present a topic and list the different sides of it.