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Argumentative Essay Outline

 When writing an argumentative essay outline you should make sure that you have all of your facts straight. It is important to have solid and verifiable sources from which you can draw your information. Without verifiable sources, your argumentative essay outline will not prove to be a valid starting point for your argumentative essay.

Selecting a Topic

When drafting an argumentative essay outline you need to select a controversial topic, and pick a stance that you are confident in arguing. If you were to select the highly controversial topic of making abortion illegal in America, then you would need to be comfortable arguing either side – whether for or against. And if, by chance you were arguing to make abortion illegal in the United States then you would also need present information from the opposing side as well.

Sample Argumentative Essay Outline

When setting up your outline for your argumentative essay there are a few key elements that are necessary in order to substantiate your argument. Your outline should be made of three core sections, each having a few subsections:

  • Section One would consist of your introduction. It is where you will present substantial background information as well as your thesis statement on the proposed controversial issue.
  • Section Two would present several reasons that substantiate or support your thesis. You would have at least two supportive paragraphs that actually strongly reinforce the argument that you propose in your thesis statement. In an argumentative essay, all opinions are re-enforced by facts.

Additionally, your supportive paragraphs must have main points that help bolster your argument. You would want to organize your main points as sub-elements of your argument.

  • Section Three would be a presentation of your counter arguments and your rebuttals. There will always be a counter argument to any topic that you present, which is why you need to be prepared and factor in such counter arguments into your outline.

You should mention these counter arguments as a strategy so that you can completely refute the claims of the counter argument. Basically, it would be presented more like a strategic battle of wits. Your aim is to win the argument. So, to present viable reasons that your opposition would normally present would enable you to have the upper hand in the debate or argument. This is a crucial piece of strategy. By illustrating the other side’s argument, you will better be able to refute their argument.

The above presents a brief illustration and interpretation of a classical argumentative essay. In short, you will want to:

  • Present your argument
  • Provide the necessary background information and substantiate it with facts.
  • Draw your main supportive points from the facts. These will become your reasons for or in support of your argument. They answer the simple question “why.” You should always have at least three supportive, main fact-based reasons why your argument takes the position that it does.
  • Move on to your opposing arguments and your responses to them. This is where your counter attack will take place. This is probably the strongest part of your argument so you should put a lot of time into it. Research your opposition extremely well so that your argument will be that much more compelling.

After you have formulated the above steps, it is time to get everything down into an outline. One final tip: Before you start adding more content to your outline, have it reviewed by several people to see if they feel that you are going to be able to clearly present and adequately substantiate your position.


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