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 ideal way to turn your blank document into a ready-to-use template. All you have to do is pack 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 commenced.
Structure of the Argumentative Essay Outline
Stuck on Your Argumentative Essay?
Check Out These Example Arguments
If 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 indeed 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 significant 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 very 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 embark 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 .
Two. Background information. The next part of your intro is dedicated to suggesting some detailed background information on your topic.
Attempt answering the following questions:
What is the issue at palm? Who cares? Where is this issue prevalent? Why is it significant?
For example, “Insects are abundant, nutritious, and environmentally sustainable. Presently, people in the United States shun the idea of eating insects as part of their diets, favoring instead less nutritious and environmentally disruptive 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.”
Trio. 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 switch, and therefore, United States citizens should learn to rely on a diversity 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 switch.
Let’s talk about adding those claims to our argumentative essay outline now.
Argumentative Essay Outline Section Two: Developing Your Argument
Now that you have packed 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 display three claims, each backed by three points of evidence. Suggesting 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 meticulously as possible.
1. What is a claim? A claim is a statement you make to support your argument.
For example, “Bugs are very nutritious and eating them can fix the problem of thirst and malnutrition in the United States.”
Excellent! So I’ve made my claim. But who’s going to believe me? This is where evidence comes into play.
Two. What is evidence? For each claim you make, you need to provide supporting evidence. Evidence is factual information from reliable sources.
It is not private skill 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 lumps of evidence to support each claim, but you may find that each claim doesn’t necessarily have three chunks 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 significant element of your argumentative essay outline: refuting your opponents’ arguments.
Let’s talk about that now.
Argumentative Essay Outline Section Three: Refuting Opponents’ Arguments
In this section, you state your opponents’ views and then suggest 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 effortless 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 total 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 effortless 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 Four: Conclusion
In your conclusion, you are going to accomplish two significant 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.”
Two. 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 began 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 greedy, more people would get the vitamins, minerals, and micronutrients they need to live healthy lifestyles, and our planet would be loosened of the cargo of an unsustainable food system.
Closing with a clear picture of the world as you would like it to be can leave your reader persuaded that your argument is valid.
Download the Argumentative Essay Outline Template
Hi I have a 20 minute presentation to do on the history of cognitive-behaviour therapy. Don’t know where to begin. Is this the same as doing an argument
This sounds more like an expository essay. An expository essay (or presentation in your case) has the objective of informing the audience on a specific topic. Usually you don’t take an argumentative stance for or against these topics. For more information on expository writing visit: https://www.kibin.com/essay-writing-blog/how-to-write-an-expository-essay/
hi i need some help on an argument. The topic is internet a guide or a distraction.
i hope u can help
Do you think the internet is a guide or a distraction? I would suggest writing a thesis statement like this:
You could concentrate on arguing for the internet:
«The internet is a useful guide as shown by evidence 1, evidence Two, and evidence Trio.»
OR you could concentrate on arguing against the internet:
«The internet is an annoying distraction as shown by evidence 1, evidence Two, and evidence Three.»
OR, and this is the best option, you could concentrate on arguing how to best use the internet:
«The internet can be both a useful guide as shown by evidence 1 and evidence Two, but it can also be an annoying distraction as shown by evidence Three and evidence Four. It is significant to set private boundaries on web use including solution 1, solution Two, and solution Three.»
Private thresholds could include things such as limiting yourself to viewing only specific websites during work/probe hours, limiting overall time online, and other things like that!
Hi Liz, well very first you need to pick a side. What do you think? Should they have their licenses revoked? Then you need to come up with a few reasons for why you think this. Can you find any examples of how this tactic has worked (or hasn’t worked). What about people who lose their licenses for other (criminal) reasons, is this type of penalty effective? Why or why not?
Pick a side.
Come up with approx three claims to support your side.
Find some evidence to support your claims.
Lay out how each of the two authors treatment the topic of the Crusades. What do they have in common? What is different?
Hi, I am writing an argumentative essay on freedom of speech rights and the 1st amendment and I have two sides of the argument. I am for freedom of speech if it doesn’t harm other people and I have some cases where the supreme court are avoiding the laws stated in the amendment but I’m on the court’s side of restricting inappropriate speech in a school environment. How should I embark out my argument?
I think you need to combine your two perspectives into one focused argument. Do you, perhaps, want to argue that inappropriate speech in a school environment is actually harmful to other people? That way, it falls into your very first argument (pro-free speech as long as it’s not harmful) fairly nicely. Good luck!
it has helped a lot …… superb work
Hi. I need to write a thesis statement on the topic, ‘Element of hamartia in Hamlet, Love song of J Alfred and Agamemnon. I need a thesis statement on this. I have written – Incapable to take the correct decision at the right time can lead to a tragic end. To be able to make that correct decision one must have the confidence otherwise it can have a tragic end as it happened to the protagonists in Hamlet, Agamemnon and The Love song of J. Alfred.
Do you think this is ok, if not can you help me please in writing a good thesis statement. Thank you.
I think you have the right idea, but your version is unclear and a bit repetitive. How about this edit?
Being incapable to make the right decision at the right time can lead to a tragic end, which is exactly what happened to the protagonists in Hamlet, Agamemnon, and The Love song of J. Alfred.
I’m going to assume that you are taking a stance in favor of smoking confinement.
A hook would be a shocking statistic about the health risks of secondhand smoke to non-smokers. Here is a good source to get you embarked: http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/secondhand_smoke/general_facts/
A thesis statement framework might look like this: Smoking limitations are critical to public health due to reason 1, reason Two, and reason Trio. You might also attempt our thesis statement builder: https://www.kibin.com/thesis-builder
Naomi! youre amazing! this has truly clarified this topic for me. thank you!
Well, thank you, Neil! This comment was a good way to begin my Friday. ??
Cleverblonde Donna G
Wow, this is indeed good. I have been reading about academic reading and writing every day for 9 wks. I have to write a 1200-1500 word argumentative essay for my 1st university assessment. This is by far the most helpful article I have read. Well done and thanks. Heaps.
Fantastic! Glad to help.
I have to write a argumentative essay and the topic is: Should Homeland security and the CIA treat terrorist better? Aren’t they people too? I’m not sure what exactly im suppose to do or how to embark it.
Sure, you’re a paramour 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?