English Language
The Argument

The Argument

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Why Crafting a Convincing Argument is Key in Academic Writing

Every academic essay hinges on one crucial element - the argument. Being able to form a persuasive argument is a vital skill for any writer, especially when writing persuasive or argumentative essays. While there isn't a one-size-fits-all approach to creating an argument, there are important strategies to effectively present a logical perspective and potentially sway opinions along the way.

Understanding the Meaning of an Argument

What exactly is an argument and why does it matter? An argument is a justification for either supporting or disputing a topic being discussed. With the exception of expository essays that simply explain a subject, every type of essay is built upon an argument. Without an argument, one is merely stating facts. No matter how much research is conducted on a topic, without taking a stance, the essay's purpose is lost.

The Significance of an Effective Argument

An effective argument is crucial not only in conveying a point of view, but also in convincing the audience that the writer's perspective is the most valid or accurate.

How to Start Your Argument

If a thesis statement has already been drafted, that can serve as a great starting point. The thesis statement acts as a roadmap for the essay, providing guidance for the reader. Therefore, it should be included in the introduction. The thesis statement not only introduces the topic, but also the main point the writer aims to convey. This main point should be a claim about the topic - the foundation of the argument.

For example, a strong thesis statement could be:

Social media is an essential invention of the twenty-first century, connecting the world by fostering new and old friendships, quickly sharing news, and popularizing technological trends.

The argument is clearly stated in the thesis - that social media is one of the most significant inventions of this century. This claim can be developed and supported throughout the essay, with evidence from within the thesis (such as fostering friendships).

Elements of a Compelling Argument

Before constructing your own argument, it's important to know what makes a successful one. A solid argument typically includes the following elements:

  • Evidence-based
  • Containing a counterargument
  • Free from bias

The Role of Evidence in an Argument

An argument without evidence carries little weight. It's just an opinion without any supporting facts or authority. Evidence is crucial in persuading the audience of the argument's validity, as it demonstrates that the writer thoroughly researched the topic and isn't solely speaking from personal beliefs or opinions. This often entails conducting in-depth research and utilizing credible sources.

When searching for evidence to support your argument, it's crucial to consult reliable sources. These sources are written by experts in the field or are primary sources (firsthand accounts or knowledge). When under time constraints, such as during an exam, the prompt and given materials can serve as valuable sources. Always refer back to relevant information in the prompt or materials to support your argument.

Examples of a Strong Argument:

Weak Example: Seatbelts are actually very dangerous.Strong Example: Based on statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), seatbelts may cause injury during impact, but ultimately save thousands of lives each year.In the first example, the statement is simply an opinion and cannot be considered an argument. In the second example, the claim has been rephrased to align with the evidence, which is that despite the potential for harm, seatbelts ultimately save lives.

The Importance of a Counterargument

An argument without a counterargument is incomplete. Presenting an opposing view not only engages the audience, but also challenges the writer to consider different perspectives.With these tips in mind, writers can confidently construct a persuasive argument in their academic essays. Remember to thoroughly research and gather evidence, and always consider alternative viewpoints to create a well-rounded and effective argument.

Mastering the Art of Creating a Compelling Argument

Crafting a well-crafted argument that ignites a debate is essential, as opposed to stating a stance that most people would either agree or disagree with. For instance, discussing personal opinions of famous individuals and entertainers in the United States can spark opposing viewpoints, making it a valuable use of their platform.

While the first scenario may seem obvious and lack a valid counterargument, the second example allows room for dispute. This showcases the importance of making your argument debatable. A successful argument should strive to be as unbiased as possible. Although it may be challenging to eliminate all bias from writing, it is crucial to remove as much subjectivity from the topic as possible. To do so, avoid making generalizations, focus on presenting facts objectively, and rely on supporting evidence whenever possible.

For instance, instead of saying, "Teachers are the hardest working people in the United States of America," which shows a bias towards teachers, a better approach would be to state, "Teachers wear many hats and work long hours, making them some of the hardest working people in the United States of America." This statement is more accurate and acknowledges the existence of differing perspectives.

Each of the examples mentioned above can be further expanded to strengthen the argument. Let's delve into the construction of an argument in more detail.

Understanding the Components of a Persuasive Argument

A well-crafted argument typically consists of five main components, each playing a significant role in presenting a compelling case.

  • Introduction: This sets the stage for the argument, introducing the topic and providing context.
  • Narration: This explains the issue in detail and provides relevant background information.
  • Confirmation: This offers evidence to support the stance or solution proposed.
  • Refutation/Concession: This addresses and refutes opposing viewpoints one by one.
  • Summation: This concludes the argument with a call to action or further discussion on the implications.

Here is an example of an argument structure using a real topic:


Statement on the importance of individualism
Introduce the topic of school uniforms in relation to individualism
Thesis: School uniforms are a better option because they simplify students' clothing choices, encourage responsible behavior, and promote equality.


Background information on the school uniform debate
Explanation of why uniforms became popularly used


Uniforms reduce students' clothing options, making their lives simpler
Uniforms influence students to act responsibly
Uniforms create a sense of equality among students


Rebut the argument that uniforms eliminate individualism


Schools should enforce uniforms as it creates a healthier environment for students, setting them up for success in the future.

Understanding Different Types of Arguments

However, not all topics can be debated using the same format, and this structure may not be the most effective for convincing your audience.

There are three fundamental types of arguments, each approaching the claim differently. Familiarizing yourself with these types of arguments can help you determine the most suitable approach to persuade your audience.

  • Classic or Aristotelian Method: This is the most common method that follows the general argument structure mentioned earlier. It is also known as the Aristotelian method because the philosopher, Aristotle, proposed three ways to present an argument - ethical, emotional, and logical (also known as ethos, pathos, and logos, respectively).

Aristotle, pixabay.

Ethical Argument (ethos)

To establish credibility with the audience, a writer may rely on perceived trustworthiness, credibility, knowledge, and fairness. This creates a sense of obligation for the audience to agree with the writer. Disagreeing would be seen as unethical or morally wrong.

Emotional Argument (pathos)

An emotional argument appeals to the audience's emotions on the topic. The writer aims to connect with the reader's feelings to persuade them to consider their argument.

While this method is effective, it should always be used with sensitivity.

Using Logical Argument (logos)

This method appeals to the audience's logical reasoning and relies on evidence and well-defined claims. It is especially useful when trying to convince a skeptical audience with opposing views.

Based on the audience and the writer's connection to the subject, they can choose between an emotional, ethical, or logical approach.

The Toulmin Method

Developed by philosopher Stephen Toulmin, this method emphasizes gathering strong evidence to support the claim. It is made up of three elements: the claim, the grounds, and the warrant.

  • The claim: the main argument or thesis
  • The grounds: the evidence and data that support the claim
  • The warrant: the connection between the claim and the grounds

This method focuses on stating factual information and using it to support the claim.

It is particularly useful when discussing complex topics where there may not be much common ground.

The Rogerian Method

Psychologist Carl Rogers introduced this method, which aims to find a middle ground between the writer and the audience. It is especially useful when opposing viewpoints are extreme and unlikely to change.

The structure of the Rogerian method is similar to the classic method, but it emphasizes acknowledging and accepting opposing arguments, rather than refuting them.

This method is beneficial when the goal is to reach a consensus, rather than simply persuading the opposition to agree with the writer's point of view.

The Power of a Well-Crafted Argument

The purpose of writing an argument is to persuade the audience to agree with the writer's viewpoint or at least consider its validity. A well-written argument prompts the reader to reflect on their own perspective in comparison to the one presented.

A strong argument is characterized by using credible evidence from reliable sources, avoiding bias, discussing opposing viewpoints, and adapting the style to suit the audience and topic.

Key Takeaways on Arguments

  • Arguments are an essential element of persuasive and argumentative essays.
  • A well-structured argument should recognize opposing views, be supported by evidence, and be free of bias.
  • The thesis statement is the foundation of the argument.
  • An argument typically consists of five parts: introduction, narration, confirmation, refutation, and summation.
  • The three types of arguments are classic (Aristotelian), Toulmin, and Rogerian.

Understanding Arguments

What exactly is an argument?

An argument is a reasoning or justification for supporting or challenging a topic that is being discussed.

The Significance of Arguments in Writing

Why are arguments important in writing?

In writing, an argument involves presenting a claim to the audience and using various persuasive techniques to convince them. It plays a critical role in persuading the reader to agree with the writer's stance.

Types of Arguments

What are the different types of arguments?

  • Classic (or Aristotelian) - appeals to ethos, logos, and/or pathos.
  • Toulmin - focuses on assembling a claim, grounds, and warrant, with an emphasis on factual evidence.
  • Rogerian - seeks a middle ground between the writer and the audience, with a focus on acknowledging opposing views.

Creating a Strong Argument: 5 Key Steps

In order to craft a strong argument, it is important to have a well-defined structure in place. Follow these five key steps to create a compelling argument:

  • Introduction: Start by introducing the topic and stating your main claim or thesis.
  • Narration: Provide background information and context to help the reader understand the issue being discussed.
  • Confirmation: Present your main arguments and back them up with evidence to support your thesis.
  • Refutation: Address any potential counterarguments and provide evidence to counter them.
  • Summation: Summarize your main points and restate your thesis, leaving a lasting impression on the reader.

Tips for Crafting a Persuasive Argument

Now that you have a structure in place, it's time to actually write your argument.

Tips for Writing a Strong Argument

When writing an argument, there are certain things to keep in mind that can help you effectively convey your point of view. Follow these tips to create a compelling and well-supported argument:

  • Choose a specific stance: It's important to have a clear and specific stance on the subject before you begin writing. This will help you stay focused and make a strong argument.
  • Consider your audience: Different argument styles work better for different audiences. Take into account the needs and values of your audience and choose an appropriate style.
  • Use evidence to support your argument: Facts, statistics, and expert opinions can add credibility to your argument and make it more convincing.
  • Avoid personal bias: While it's natural to have your own opinion, presenting a balanced argument is crucial. Be aware of any personal biases and strive to acknowledge and address counterarguments.

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