Definition of Argumentative Essay
An argumentative essay is a type of essay that presents arguments about both sides of an issue. It could be that both sides are presented equally balanced, or it could be that one side is presented more forcefully than the other. It all depends on the writer, and what side he supports the most. The general structure of an argumentative essay follows this format:
- Introduction: Attention Grabber/hook, Background Information, Thesis Statement
- Body: Three body paragraphs (three major arguments)
- Counterargument: An argument to refute earlier arguments and give weight to the actual position
- Conclusion: Rephrasing the thesis statement, major points, call to attention, or concluding remarks.
Models for Argumentative Essays
There are two major models besides this structure given above, which is called a classical model. Two other models are the Toulmin and Rogerian models.
Toulmin model is comprised of an introduction with a claim or thesis, followed by the presentation of data to support the claim. Warrants are then listed for the reasons to support the claim with backing and rebuttals. However, the Rogerian model asks to weigh two options, lists the strengths and weaknesses of both options, and gives a recommendation after an analysis.
Five Types of Argument Claims in Essay Writing
There are five major types of argument claims as given below.
- A claim of definition
- A claim about values
- A claim about the reason
- A claim about comparison
- A claim about policy or position
A writer makes a claim about these issues and answers the relevant questions about it with relevant data and evidence to support the claim.
Three Major Types of Argument and How to Apply Them
This model of applying argument is also called the Aristotelian model developed by Aristotle. This type of essay introduces the claim, with the opinion of the writer about the claim, its both perspectives, supported by evidence, and provides a conclusion about the better perspective. This essay includes an introduction, a body having the argument and support, a counter-argument with support, and a conclusion.
This model developed by Stephen Toulmin is based on the claim followed by grounds, warrant, backing, qualifier, and rebuttal. Its structure comprises, an introduction having the main claim, a body with facts and evidence, while its rebuttal comprises counter-arguments and a conclusion.
The third model by Carl Rogers has different perspectives having proof to support and a conclusion based on all the available perspectives. Its structure comprises an introduction with a thesis, the opposite point of view and claim, a middle-ground for both or more perspectives, and a conclusion.
Four Steps to Outline and Argumentative Essay
There are four major steps to outlining an argumentative essay.
- Introduction with background, claim, and thesis.
- Body with facts, definition, claim, cause and effect, or policy.
- The opposing point of view with pieces of evidence.
Examples of Argumentative Essay in Literature
Example #1: Put a Little Science in Your Life by Brian Greene
“When we consider the ubiquity of cellphones, iPods, personal computers and the Internet, it’s easy to see how science (and the technology to which it leads) is woven into the fabric of our day-to-day activities. When we benefit from CT scanners, M.R.I. devices, pacemakers and arterial stents, we can immediately appreciate how science affects the quality of our lives. When we assess the state of the world, and identify looming challenges like climate change, global pandemics, security threats and diminishing resources, we don’t hesitate in turning to science to gauge the problems and find solutions.
And when we look at the wealth of opportunities hovering on the horizon—stem cells, genomic sequencing, personalized medicine, longevity research, nanoscience, brain-machine interface, quantum computers, space technology—we realize how crucial it is to cultivate a general public that can engage with scientific issues; there’s simply no other way that as a society we will be prepared to make informed decisions on a range of issues that will shape the future.”
These two paragraphs present an argument about two scientific fields — digital products and biotechnology. It has also given full supporting details with names.
Example #2: Boys Here, Girls There: Sure, If Equality’s the Goal by Karen Stabiner
“The first objections last week came from the National Organization for Women and the New York Civil Liberties Union, both of which opposed the opening of TYWLS in the fall of 1996. The two groups continue to insist—as though it were 1896 and they were arguing Plessy v. Ferguson—that separate can never be equal. I appreciate NOW’s wariness of the Bush administration’s endorsement of single-sex public schools, since I am of the generation that still considers the label “feminist” to be a compliment—and many feminists still fear that any public acknowledgment of differences between the sexes will hinder their fight for equality.”
This paragraph by Karen Stabiner presents an objection to the argument of separation between public schools. It has been fully supported with evidence of the court case.
Example #3: The Flight from Conversation by Sherry Turkle
“We’ve become accustomed to a new way of being “alone together.” Technology-enabled, we are able to be with one another, and also elsewhere, connected to wherever we want to be. We want to customize our lives. We want to move in and out of where we are because the thing we value most is control over where we focus our attention. We have gotten used to the idea of being in a tribe of one, loyal to our own party.”
This is an argument by Sherry Turkle, who beautifully presented it in the first person plural dialogues. However, it is clear that this is part of a greater argument instead of the essay.
Function of Argumentative Essay
An argumentative essay presents both sides of an issue. However, it presents one side more positively or meticulously than the other one, so that readers could be swayed to the one the author intends. The major function of this type of essay is to present a case before the readers in a convincing manner, showing them the complete picture.
Synonyms of Argumentative Essay
Argumentative Essay synonyms are as follows: persuasive essays, research essays, analytical essays, or even some personal essays.