Sure, you’re a lover not a fighter. I am too. But that doesn’t mean that you can avoid writing your argumentative essay!
Since you have to write an argumentative essay, you might as well learn how to write it well, right?
I’ve said it time and time again—there’s nothing worse than staring at a blank page. Putting together an argumentative essay outline is the perfect way to turn your blank document into a ready-to-use template. All you have to do is fill in the blanks!
In this blog post, I’m going to share with you how to create an argumentative essay outline. At the end, I’ll give you a downloadable skeleton outline you can use to get started.
Structure of the Argumentative Essay OutlineIf you distill your argumentative essay outline down to its basics, you’ll find that it’s made of four main sections:
- Developing Your Argument
- Refuting Opponents’ Arguments
That’s not so bad! There’s really nothing to be afraid of.
Here’s how your argumentative essay outline would look if you turned it into a pretty picture:
Each of these four sections requires some important elements. Let’s break those down now.
Argumentative Essay Outline Section 1: Your Intro
Your introduction is where you lay the foundation for your impenetrable argument. It’s made up of a hook, background information, and a thesis statement.
1. Hook. Your first sentence is comprised of a “hook.” Don’t know what a hook is? A hook is a sentence that grabs your reader’s attention just like a good Jackie Chan movie grabs the attention of a martial arts fan.
Let’s say I’m writing an argumentative essay about why American people should start eating insects.
My hook could be, “For those interested in improving their diets and the environment, say ‘goodbye’ to eating chicken, fish, and beef and ‘hello’ to eating silk worms, crickets, and caterpillars.”
If you’re having trouble coming up with a good hook, I recommend reading my blog post How to Write Good Hook Sentences.
2. Background information. The next part of your intro is dedicated to offering some detailed background information on your topic.
Try answering the following questions:
What is the issue at hand? Who cares? Where is this issue prevalent? Why is it important?
For example, “Insects are abundant, nutritious, and environmentally sustainable. Currently, people in the United States shun the idea of eating insects as part of their diets, favoring instead less nutritious and environmentally destructive food options, such as beef and pork. The UN recently issued a statement calling for more world citizens to embrace the many benefits of eating insects.”
3. Thesis. Your thesis typically makes up the last sentence of your intro paragraph. This is where you clearly state your position on the topic and give a reason for your stance.
For example, “A diet of insects can help fix problems related to starvation, obesity, and climate change, and therefore, United States citizens should learn to rely on a variety of insects over chicken, beef, and fish as their main source of protein and nutrition.”
Notice the word “should” in my thesis statement? Using this word makes it clear I’m taking a stance on the argument.
You’ll also notice that my thesis statement sets up the three claims I’m going to expand on later: a diet of insects can help fix problems related to starvation, obesity, and climate change.
Here are even more example argumentative thesis statements.
Let’s talk about adding those claims to our argumentative essay outline now.
Argumentative Essay Outline Section 2: Developing Your Argument
Now that you have filled in the general points of your topic and outlined your stance in the introduction, it’s time to develop your argument.
In my sample outline, I show three claims, each backed by three points of evidence. Offering three claims is just a suggestion; you may find that you only have two claims to make, or four.
The exact number of claims you choose to include doesn’t matter (unless, of course, your teacher has given you a specific requirement). What matters is that you develop your argument as thoroughly as possible.
1. What is a claim? A claim is a statement you make to support your argument.
For example, “Bugs are highly nutritious and eating them can fix the problem of hunger and malnutrition in the United States.”
Great! So I’ve made my claim. But who’s going to believe me? This is where evidence comes into play.
2. What is evidence? For each claim you make, you need to provide supporting evidence. Evidence is factual information from reliable sources.
It is not personal knowledge or anecdotal.
For example, “Researchers at the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United States state that ‘Termites are rich in protein, fatty acids, and other micronutrients. Fried or dried termites contain 32–38 percent proteins.’“
My outline shows three pieces of evidence to support each claim, but you may find that each claim doesn’t necessarily have three pieces of evidence to back it. Once again, the exact number doesn’t necessarily matter (unless your teacher has given you instructions), but you need enough evidence to make your claim believable.
Once you have gathered your evidence to support your claims, it’s time to add the next important element of your argumentative essay outline: refuting your opponents’ arguments.
Let’s talk about that now.
Argumentative Essay Outline Section 3: Refuting Opponents’ Arguments
In this section, you state your opponents’ views and then offer a rebuttal.
For example, “Opponents of insect eating from the Beef Council of America say that it is too difficult and time consuming to catch crickets, so it is not easy to gather enough food for a meal, whereas a cow is large and contains a lot of meat for many meals.”
Oh diss! We know the Beef Council just wants us to keep eating McD’s hamburgers and skip the cricket soup. (By the way—I just made that up. The Beef Council did not say that. In your essay, make sure to use real facts.)
Now it’s time to set the opponents straight with a refutation that is full of hard evidence and that will bring them to their knees.
For example, “According to researchers Cerritos and Cano-Santana, the best time to harvest crickets is to catch them in the hour just before sunrise when they are least active. What’s more, it is easy to develop the infrastructure to farm crickets in a way that is more sustainable than cattle farming.”
Booyah! The Beef Council has been served (crickets).
Once you have refuted your opponents’ viewpoints, it’s time to sail to the finish line with your conclusion.
Argumentative Essay Outline Section 4: Conclusion
In your conclusion, you are going to accomplish two important tasks.
1. Restate the importance of your issue. Similar to what you did in your introduction, you want to restate why this topic is critical.
For example, “Simply by incorporating insects into their diets, U.S. citizens can improve the sustainability and nutrition of the American diet.”
2. Paint a picture of the world if your argument is (or is not) implemented. In the final part of your conclusion, make your audience think about the ramifications of your argument. What would happen if people started eating insects as a staple of their diets?
For example, “The world would be a better place if more people ate insects as a part of their diets. Fewer people would go hungry, more people would get the vitamins, minerals, and micronutrients they need to live healthy lifestyles, and our planet would be relieved of the burden of an unsustainable food system.
Closing with a clear picture of the world as you would like it to be can leave your reader convinced that your argument is valid.
Download the Argumentative Essay Outline TemplateOnce you break it down, writing an argumentative essay outline isn’t that daunting.
Download this skeleton Argumentative Essay Outline to get started.
Before you go off into the sunset and use my outline template, make sure that you are following the guidelines specific to your course. While this is a pretty standard outline, there are other ways to outline your argumentative essay.
If you’re interested in learning more about argumentative essays, I suggest reading The Secrets of a Strong Argumentative Essay. Want even more knowledge? Check out this argumentative essay infographic!
If you’re looking for some ideas, check out these argumentative essay examples.
When you have your argumentative essay and outline ready to go, you can always have one of our awesome editors give it a second look.
Psst... 98% of Kibin users report better grades! Get inspiration from over 500,000 example essays.
Argumentative essay is defined as a genre of writing that requires the student to investigate the given topic, collect information, generate and evaluate evidence, in a bid to establish a position on the subject in a concise fashion. It’s the type of work where you have to develop an argument based on evidence and elaborate the stand you take. You may love or loathe writing these essays, but you can’t avoid them. There’ll come the time when you are supposed to write a high-quality argumentative essay to show your understanding of some particular essay topic, but you shouldn’t feel nervous. Successful completion of the essay depends on your ability to create the essay outline correctly. Not sure how to do it? Don’t despair; this post will show you how easy it can be!
Structuring the argumentative essay outline
Although it might seem complicated to you now, once you learn how to structure the argumentative essay outline correctly, it’ll become easier. Your work is comprised of different parts with equally important value. These parts or sections have a role in presenting the topic, developing the argument, presenting evidence, and so on. That said, main parts of the argumentative essay are:
If you think this structure is vague, don’t worry. Every section is thoroughly explained below.
Section 1: Introduction
Just like in any other form of writing, the introduction is where you create the foundation or a basis to build the rest of your work upon. If the intro isn’t structured very well, then the rest of the essay will suffer too. An argumentative essay should start with an introduction comprised of the hook, background info, and thesis.
The hook is the first sentence (or two) of your work, and its primary purpose is to catch the reader’s attention, hence the name. When a professor, client, or some other person starts reading the essay, its beginning determines whether they’ll continue reading it or not. Let’s say you’re about to read something, would you continue reading that piece if the beginning were dull and boring? The answer would be no. Hooks aren’t limited to essays only; they are present in all types of writing, which is why you’re highly likely to click on links with the catchy sentence under the headline.
Here are a few tips you can use to form the hook:
- Use a quote from famous people, scientists, writers, artists, etc.
- Anecdote can also be a good way of grabbing someone’s attention
- Pose a question
- Set a scene that reader can relate to Include an interesting fact or definition
- Reveal a common misconception
After creating the hook, you proceed to provide some useful background information about the subject. To make things easier for you, this part of the introduction should answer these questions:
- What is the issue you’re going to discuss?
- Who cares about the topic?
- Where is the subject or issue prevalent?
- Why is the subject or some issue you’re about to discuss importantly?
The thesis statement is the last sentence (or two) that contains the focus of your essay and informs the reader what the essay is going to be about. Your thesis is more than a general statement about the idea or issue that you’re going to elaborate in the essay; it has to establish a clear position you are going to take throughout your argument on a given topic.
Since this is the last part of the introduction and your opportunity to introduce the reader to the subject and your position, you have to ensure it is structured correctly. Your thesis should be:
- Clear, easily recognizable
The thesis should match the requirements and goals of the assignment, but you have to be careful and avoid making some common mistakes. For example:
- Thesis is not a title
- It is not a statement of the absolute fact
- Thesis is not an announcement of the subject
- It’s not the whole essay, but the main idea you’ll discuss
Section 2: Developing the argument
Now that your introduction is well-crafted you’re about to proceeding to the second part of the argumentative essay. In this section, you have to develop the argument using claims and evidence to support them.
When structuring the argumentative essay outline, you should pay special attention to claims. A claim is the central argument of an essay, and it poses as one of the most important parts of academic papers. In fact, the effectiveness, complexity, and the overall quality of the paper depend on the claims you make. The primary purpose of claim in essay writing is to define paper’s goals, direction, scope, and support the argument. Making claims is easy, but the question is: who’s going to believe in them? That’s why the second section of the argumentative essay is invalid without the evidence.
Every claim you make throughout the essay has to be supported by evidence. You have to prove to the reader that claims you make are valid and accurate, the only way to do so is to incorporate reliable, trustworthy evidence based on facts, studies, statistics, and so on. It’s important to bear in mind that evidence is not anecdote or personal knowledge you just happen to possess on a given subject. The evidence is the result of a thorough research on the topic. Once you create the essay outline, you’ll get the idea of claims you’re going to make, then start researching to find enough evidence to support them. Research is one of the most crucial aspects of essay writing, besides giving you material to support your claims it also aims to help you debunk opponents’ arguments.
Section 3: Debunking opponents’ arguments
What most people forget about argumentative essay writing is that you can’t spend the entire time talking about your arguments and piling on evidence one after another. The argumentative essay isn’t about proving you’re right in many different ways. Where’s the argument in that? After making your claims, elaborating them with evidence, you are ready to move on to the third section of the outline where you’ll name the opposing arguments and debunk them.
Regardless of the topic, you have (or choose) and the stand you take, there’s always the opposite side. State the opponents’ views and use the evidence, reliable sources to debunk or refute them. Just like with the previous section, for every opposing argument, you also have to elaborate why it’s wrong and support it with evidence. This way, your reader is more convinced that claims you made are, indeed, correct. The importance of this section is in the fact it shows two sides of the coin while still giving you the opportunity to elaborate why you’re right. Plus, it is considered unethical to exclude arguments that aren’t supportive of the thesis or claims you made.
Instead of using “he said, she said” writing in this section when naming opposing views, you should do it in the formal fashion, with references, reliable sources, and other relevant info, before proceeding to refute them.
Section 4: Conclusion At this point, your essay is almost over.
The introduction is well-structured, you’ve elaborated your claims with evidence as well as opponents’ arguments (with proof of course), and you’re ready to conclude the essay. Unfortunately, the power of well-written conclusion is underestimated in essay writing, but the wrong conclusion can ruin your entire work. This is something you don’t want to happen, right? Your conclusion should be comprised of three different parts:
- Restates the primary premise/argument
- Presents one or two general sentences which accurately summarize your argument or stated premise
- Provides a general warning of the consequences that could happen if the argument or premise isn’t followed or reporting potential benefits to the society or community if your argument or solution proposed is implemented
The conclusion should be about the same length of the introduction; it works best when it’s short, concise, and precise. Avoid wordiness or discussing the same issue again because the reader might assume your work is repetitive. Stick to the point, and you’ll have a strong conclusion that only adds to the overall quality of your essay.
An example of the argumentative essay:
Now that you know how to create the argumentative essay outline correctly, you’re ready to start working on your assignment. The diagram below explains all constituents of this type of work in a simple fashion.
Tips for writing argumentative essay
Here are some tips that will make the essay writing process easier:
- Make sure you understand the title before creating the outline
- Create a plan Research
- Don’t make up information, statistics or other data just to prove the point Include every source you use in the reference section
- Be concise
- Avoid writing complex sentences
- Read, edit, and submit
Argumentative essay isn’t as complicated to write as it sounds, all you have to do is to follow the simple outline provided above. The primary idea behind this kind of essay writing is presenting and developing an argument using solid evidence to back up your point of view. It’s a marvelous opportunity to show the vast knowledge about the subject and demonstrate writing skills. You don’t have to wait for the assignment, choose the topic you care about and start practicing.