Writing An Effective Outline For An Argumentative Essay: Tips & Tricks


Brainstorm before you write.

  • With any essay or project it is always a good idea to start by brainstorming. Use sources of inspiration that relate to your argument and to your theme, ideally find a quote that may be an appropriate starting point.
  • Seek out something quirky that holds the readers interest, a tag that will invoke a response, that way you have the reader’s attention from the start to sit up and take notice of your work.

Group ideas together.

  • Look at the ideas that you have amassed through your brainstorming and start organising the ideas into sections. Make sure that you have not digressed too far from your original argument.
  • Once you have put the ideas into sections, start to look at the way they will flow from one or two main points that support your argument. Once you have identified this it makes it easier to order the points in a logical progression.

Always start with the central argument of your essay.

  • Everything else will follow on from this first sentence. What you don’t want is you reader to get to the last sentence of your first paragraph not care what else you are going to write.
  • An argumentative essay is a more formal version of a persuasive essay. It need to follow a logical train of thought in which the reader can make a decision based on the information that you have given them.

Directing the reader.

  • What are the main points of the argument and what are the subsidiary points that you need to include as supporting evidence. You may find this easier by numbering the points.
  • As you continue with your argument, you need to refer to any text that you have used as a background to your work whether it is a primary or secondary source, it should all be cited.

The standard 5 paragraph essay.

  • One paragraph for the introduction, one for the conclusion and three for the body. Each of the three body paragraphs must contain a separate idea that supports your argument, and includes evidence.
  • If you are producing a longer and more involved piece of work then you should include counter arguments in order to give your reader the full picture, but be persuasive enough to influence them that your view is the correct view.

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