Argumentative Essay and Persuasive Essay Writing: Building a Logical Argument
The argumentative essay, also called the persuasive essay, is an essay in which you try to convince readers to accept the argument you make. Through writing facts that back up your opinion or stance, you attempt to get readers to agree with your thinking. It often involves answering a question by taking one position over another.
Writing an argumentative or persuasive essay is about selecting a topic that has two clear sides or positions. You approach the topic by investigating it and collecting, generating and evaluating supporting evidence. The actual essay lays out your position concisely.
The building blocks of a well-written argumentative essay include the following:
Well-established facts supported through research when necessary
Values that are both relevant and clarified to give your readers perspective
An argument that is sequenced by the priority of facts and the level of importance
Conclusions formed throughout the paper and stated at the end
Persuasion that establishes facts your readers agree with and values they share
Confidence to communicate effectively with persuasion
Inclusion of hot-button issues that evoke an emotional response
The structure of an argumentative or persuasive essay includes the following sections:
An introduction with a clear thesis statement
At least two body paragraphs with supporting evidence (the five-paragraph essay format is often used)
A conclusion the ties the evidence in with the thesis statement and concludes the argument
Argumentative essay structure
The structure of an argumentative essay is important because it lays out the specifics and evidence of your argument and allows you to conclude it effectively. Before writing, make sure you have a narrow and clearly defined thesis, a working outline and the facts to back up your argument.
The introduction of the argumentative essay should do several things:
Provide background information and introduce your topic
Explain your point of view to readers by highlighting the importance of the topic or the reason readers should care
Include a well-defined, concise and clear thesis that highlights at least two main points, with three preferable
Stay engaging to make readers want to continue reading your essay
Contain a transition into the body paragraphs
Create an attention-grabbing lead into the argument
The body paragraphs contain the supporting evidence that backs up your position. The opposing positions should also be clearly stated and defined. Keep the following guidelines in mind when writing your body paragraphs:
Stick to one main point per paragraph.
Make sure to establish a logical connection to the thesis statement in each paragraph.
Explain the connections to the thesis with respect to how and why.
Devote at least one paragraph to the opposing viewpoint.
Use evidence to support your points.
Keep in mind that sources provide authority to your position, and cite any sources used.
Avoid summarizing information because body paragraphs develop the ideas, not conclude them.
The evidence that supports your thesis statement might include facts, personal anecdotes, statistics or logic.
The conclusion re-introduces the thesis, but it is more than a simple rewording. Instead, it involves synthesizing the evidence from the body paragraphs with the thesis statement. Never add new information in your conclusion. Review the essay as a whole while clearly concluding the argument persuasively. This is your last chance to convince someone of your position, so make it count by using sound logic.
Including the opposing view in the argumentative or persuasive essay
Including the opposing view(s) in the body paragraphs of an argumentative essay is necessary. You want readers to draw the same conclusions you do, but you cannot in good conscience expect someone to take a position without at least some understanding of the opposing viewpoint. When including this information, shy away from simply stating that the position is wrong. Instead, explain why the position does not align with your thesis. Maybe the basis of the viewpoint is outdated. Maybe it is a viewpoint that is based on misinformation.
Whatever it is, present the opposing viewpoint fairly, objectively and accurately. Let readers draw their own conclusions; if you write a strong and convincing argument that is well-written and easy to follow logically, you can persuade your readers with open minds to see your viewpoint.