Aerial view of campus with Williamsport, the Susquehanna River and Bald Eagle Mountain as a backdrop

Steps for Writing an Argumentation Essay

  1. Review all the reading material on the subject — notes, highlighting, etc.
  2. Divide the main points into those for your issue and those against your issue.
  3. Write a thesis statement identifying the issue and your position.
  4. Construct an outline which has the primary main ideas supporting your position and one or two opposing arguments for refutation. Choose a pattern of organization which is logical and convincing.
  5. Outline secondary supports for each of your major points, including evidence, examples, explanations, testimony, cause/effect, etc. and, of course, include your reference material.
  6. Begin your draft. Write the body of the essay based on your outline, using your major supports as topic sentences. Make sure that you use transitions between and within paragraphs. Make sure that opposition arguments are stated briefly and refuted at length, so that your reader knows you do not support the opposition's points.
  7. Write your introduction. Include briefly some background information so you set the stage for your argument. State that there is an opposition view and the main points you plan to dispute. Give your thesis and an essay map outlining the main points in support of your thesis.
  8. Write your conclusion. Make sure you restate the main premise, present one or two arguments which summarize your main points. Provide a general warning of the consequences of not following your premise and/or a general statement of how the community will benefit from following your premise.
  9. Check your draft for the following:
    • Do your paragraphs present arguments which support your main points as non-debatable or as facts? Do you have adequate and convincing support?
    • Do one or two of your paragraphs present arguments which oppose your main premise as debatable and possibly untrue? Do you begin those parts with phrases such as "opponents believe" or "some people argue," etc.?
    • Have you clearly marked the place where you shift from the opposing to the supporting points with such words as "however"?
    • Do you have an introduction that draws your reader into your argument? Do you have a conclusion which leaves the reader feeling the strength and logic of your position?
  10. Revise, revise, and proofread. Take your paper to the writing center, please.