Steps to Writing an Argument
Determine Your Organization
Classic and Rogerian arguments have organizational structures, frameworks that support their discursive aims. They are presented here.
Suggested Organization for a Classic Argument
the context and background of your issue. Establish style, tone, and
significance of your issue.
State your Case: Clarify
your issue here. Give any necessary background for understanding the
issues. Define any important terms or conditions here.
your central proposition. Be sure that your hook presents an issue that
is open to debate. Present the subtopics or supportive points to forecast
your argument for your reader.
the opposition's argument and summarize it; refute or address the points;
point out faulty reasoning and inappropriate appeals.
Proof: Present and develop your own case. Carefully plan your disclosure;
avoid logical fallacies. Rely primarily on reasoning for your appeal
and use emotional appeals carefully; use examples, facts, experts, and
statistics. Develop your argument using the appropriate prose strategy,
e.g., causal analysis, comparison, analogies, definitions.
Conclusion: Conclude with conviction. Review your main points and state your claims strongly. Make a strong plea for action, or invite your readers to refute your argument.
Suggested Organization for a Rogerian Argument
Write a brief objective
statement to define the issue.
Analyze and state the
other's position in a neutral, objective way. Demonstrate that you understand
the other's position and their reasons for holding it. Avoid moralizing
or judging the other's position or reasons.
Analyze and state your
own position in a neutral, objective way. Avoid moralizing about your
own position or reasons.
Analyze what the two positions
have in common; find commonly shared goals and values.
Propose a resolution to the issue that recognizes and incorporates the interests of both positions.
The order of your strongest and weakest pointscalled the order of disclosureis important to think about as well. How do we know which order will work? One effective way to order your points is this: start with the second most important point, go to the next points of lesser importance, and then conclude with your strongest point. When you place your two strongest points first and last, you give your important points the two most memorable and emphatic positions, at the beginning and the end of your discussion. When you wrap up your discussion with the strongest point coming last, you emphasize the strength of your argument and give it punch. This pattern is considered powerful for overcoming the initial resistance of the reader/audience. However, many arguments use the order of the weakest points to the strongest points.