Argumentative Essay Outline

What Makes An Argumentative Essay Outline The Backbone Of Excellent Writing?

Writing argumentative essays is a common assignment in colleges and universities. This can be a mind boggling task if you do not have in a mind a road map to follow from the introduction to the conclusion of your essay. A good argumentative essay outline ensures that the process of writing is easier as you understand the elements to capture in your paper logically. If this sounds new, then this article is specifically for you.

By definition, an argumentative essay is a type of academic writing where you defend a claim using evidence, which come from your personal experience, historical examples, literature review and research. It requires you to use a variety of arguments to prove your point and convince the reader to accept your stance.

Important things you should know about argumentative essay outlines

While argumentative writing may be cumbersome, the good thing is that every person has used arguments in life before. Whether at home seeking permission from parents, requesting favor from a friend or justifying a case at your workplace, we have examined evidence and used the best method to present our case. Even though such arguments may have not followed a formal style, the persuasion approaches form the backbone of all argumentative essays.

Like with most academic papers, an argumentative essay outline has the following major parts:

  • The introduction
  • The body
  • The conclusion

Besides these core elements, the most important thing is the presentation of your argument and the evidence to support it.

What makes a good argument is not your experience as writer but preparation before your actual writing. Thorough preparation allows you to evaluate all the sides of the issue at hand, thus, widening your scope of coverage. Since issues have different sides and angles, examine both primary and secondary sources and anecdotal experiences to make your argument solid.

Make a decision on the side to take for your argument after you have collected all the material you need. This allows you to go for the strongest arguments with concrete evidence. Thus, research is the initial stage of writing a good argumentative essay besides having a standard outline to follow.

How then does an argumentative essay outline look like? The following sample outline will help you to understand this type of writing before we proceed to other sections. Take a look.


Sample #1: Argumentative outline


This can be 1-2 paragraphs

PURPOSE: State your claim


Make your intro captivating to win readers’ attention

Give any important background information


                For literary work, state the author and title

                For a theory, explain the concept briefly

                For film, state director, year of release and title

                Your claim should come at the end of this paragraph


1-2 paragraphs tops. Part of this information can appear in the intro

PURPOSE: Lays the foundation for proving your argument.


PURPOSE: To support your claim

Topic Sentence: Give a fact that will help readers understand your issue

Explain Topic Sentence: Include this if you need to explain your topic sentence

Introduce Evidence: Introduce your support on the issue

State Evidence: What evidence do you have to explain your topic sentence?

Explain Evidence: How do you expect the readers to understand the evidence?

Concluding Sentence: Reassert how your topic sentence helps the understanding of the paper

SUPPORTING EVIDENCE PARAGRAPH #2, 3, 4 etc. Repeat above


PURPOSE: Be reasonable and objective

How is the reader likely to challenge your argument?

End this paragraph by reasserting the general claim of your paper


PURPOSE: Revisit your claim and evidence

The above argumentative essay outline captures all the elements you should consider when working on your assignment. You can access it by clicking the following link.

Elements that make a good argumentative essay outline

When you analyze an argumentative essay, you find that it has the following four main components:

  1. Intro
  2. Developing Your Argument
  3. Refuting Opponents’ Arguments
  4. Conclusion

The main challenge as a writer is developing the four elements, which appear like a skeleton into an appealing and professional essay. In the following sections, you will learn how to come up with each of these sections.

 Argumentative Essay Outline Part 1: Introduction

The introduction of your essay gives you a chance to lay the foundation of your argument. It plays a major role as not only the face of your essay but also an appetizer for your readers. As you develop your intro, remember that no one has the time to read a flat and boring paper, including the laziest reader on earth.

The three main parts of an introduction for your argument are:

The hook-The hook of your argument should appear in your first sentence on that blank paper. Are you wondering what this is? A hook is an attention grabber. Something that no reader can afford to ignore. Pick something that is startling like a quote or scientific finding.

Background information- This section of your introduction preempts what the reader should expect in the body of your argumentative essay. Do this by giving detailed background information on your topic. As you do this, try to answer the following questions:

  • What is the issue you are defending?
  • Does it matter? Who cares?
  • How prevalent is the issue?
  • Is this issue important?

As a cardinal rule, avoid giving all the details in the introduction, as the reader will see no need of going through the rest of your paper.

Thesis statement– typically, this comes as the last sentence of your introduction. Here, you make your position on the topic clear and give a reason. By the end of your thesis statement, the reader should know your claim on the issue.

The following argumentative essay outline will help you understand the order of different elements in your essay.

Sample #2: Argument Essay Outline

Section 1: Introduction




Section 2: Developing your argument

Claim 1

Evidence 1a

Evidence 1b

Evidence 1c

Claim 2

Evidence 2a

Evidence 2b

Evidence 2c

Claim 3

Evidence 3a

Evidence 3b

Evidence 3c

Section 3: Refuting Opponent’s argument

Opposing view 1

Refutation 1

Opposing view 2

Refutation 2

Section 4: Conclusion

You can view the outline here.

Section 2: Developing a strong argument

After giving the general points about your topic and stating your position in the intro, it is the time to develop your argument and make it convincing.

While the above argumentative essay outline shows three claims it is just a suggestion as your argument could have two or even four. Unless your lecturer has specified the number of claims, what matters is how you develop them as thoroughly as possible.

Understanding your claim: It is a statement that you put forth in support of your argument. However, making a claim in argumentative writing is not enough. Who is going to believe your claim? The task here is providing indisputable evidence to win your audience.

What is evidence? It refers to factual information, which you gather from reliable sources through meticulous research. Like with claim, the number does not matter. Some claims may have two, four or whichever number of pieces of evidence. However, you need evidence to make your argument convincing.

Since you have defended your claim strongly, it is time refute your opponents’ view as we shall see in the following section.

Argumentative Essay Outline Part 3: Refuting Opponents’ Arguments

This can be a tricky section of your paper since it requires you to state your opponent’s position on the issue you are discussing before negating them.

If you can believably refute your opponents’ position about your topic, then you will be good to conclude your argumentative essay. Let us see how to wrap up everything in the following last section.

Why it is important to have a conclusion on your argumentative essay outline

This section of your essay will help you restate the significance of the issue that you have discussed.

Additionally, the conclusion should make the reader reflect hard on the effects of the issue as presented. This is likely to convince the reader that you did a thorough job and that your argument is valid. Take a look at another outline for an argumentative essay.

Sample #3

TITLE (Main Idea): _________________________________________________________________


INTRODUCTION: Give 2 sides of your argument

SIDE 1: ___________________________________________________________________________________________

SIDE 2: ___________________________________________________________________________________________

THESIS STATEMENT (What is your claim?): ____________________________________________________________


REASON #1 (why the reader should agree with you?): _______________________________________________

SOURCE: __________________________________________________________________________________________


REASON #2 (why the reader should agree with you?):________________________________________________



REASON #3 (why the reader should agree with you?):________________________________________________



CONCLUSION (Summarize your thoughts):

You can access this argumentative essay outline here.

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