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Argument and Persuasion: Websites and LibGuides from Other Campuses

This Library Guide focuses on persuasive writing, or argument. While some of the contents may pertain to spoken rhetoric (debate/speech), the emphasis is on written rhetoric such as papers frequently assigned in freshman composition classes.

Page Overview

This page contains links to information on argument from internet sites and LibGuides from other college or University campuses.  It also offers suggestions on how to write an effective argumentative paper.


Source:  Although the examples are more suited for grades 8-12, the broad framework of structuring an argumentative essay is sound and suitable for higher grades.

Source: Writing Center of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  Covers much of the same ground as "How to Write an Argument Essay," but in a more detailed, sophisticated manner suitable for University-level work.

Source: Roane State Community College OWL.  A brief page that presents some nuances of argument not deeply addressed by the other sites on this list.

Source: Mesa Community College.  Uses multiple links to cover argument in-depth from many aspects.  Includes argument essay charts, outlines, and worksheets.  A very high quality website.  

Checkpoints for an Argument Essay

Checkpoints for an Argument Essay



Outline #1: Block Pattern

Outline #2: Point Pattern

I. Introduction (1 paragraph)

II. Summary: (1 paragraph) Remember you are only summarizing (you may have fewer or more than these 4 points)

A. Main Point 1

B. Main Point 2

C. Main Point 3

D. Main Point 4

III. Response Section (3-5 paragraphs)

A. Respond to Main Point 1 by stating whether you agree or disagree and offer explanation and proof to defend your point of view.

B. Respond to Main Point 2 in same manner, providing a good transition (agree/disagree)

C. Respond to Main Point 3 in same manner (agree/disagreed)

D. Respond to Main Point 4 in same manner (agree/disagreed)

IV. Conclusion

I. Introduction

II. Main point 1

A. Summarize Point 1

B. Respond to Point 1 (agree/disagree) Support your statement with explanation

III. Main Point 2

A. Summarize Point 2  

B. Respond to Point 2 (agree/disagree) Support your statement with explanation

IV. Main Point 3

A. Summarize Point 3

 B. Respond to Point 3 (agree/disagree) Support your statement with explanation

V. Main Point 4

A. Summarize Point 4

B. Respond to Point 4 (agree/disagree) Support your statement with explanation

VI. Conclusion



     Whether you structure your argument to follow the block style or point-by-point pattern, there are a few checkpoints you should address as you go through the drafting stages of your argument.  Taking these checkpoints into consideration increases the chances of your argument successfully convincing your audience.


1.  Clearly state the argument/proposition of your essay.

2.  Analyze the proposition.  First, jot down points of conflict between your view and the opposing view.  Second, think over your jottings and try to decide which points are the issues on which your argument should hinge.  Third, arrange your jottings in order to give unity and coherence to your essay.

3.  Write a paragraph (or more if necessary) on each point of conflict.  (This step will have some variation, depending on whether you are using the block or point pattern of organization.)

4.  Analyze and evaluate what you have written to see whether (a) the evidence seems reliable and (b) the reasoning free of fallacies.

5.  Establish effective transitions between the discussions of the various points (coherence), keeping in mind that your objective is to connect each point to the main contention of your theme, the main proposition.

6.  Think of your introduction.  What makes the topic worth arguing about now (purpose)?  (NOTE:  Your topic should be broad enough to interest a large number of people, yet narrow enough that you can focus and manage the discussion.)  What kind of people are you writing for (audience)?  Can you depend on an interested and sympathetic hearing, or must you strive to gain attention and win people over?  If you have to gain attention, how will you go about it?  After you have thought about these things and written a first draft of your introduction, do you think it necessary to go back and revise the discussion in the body of your essay to make it better adapted to your audience?

7.  The conclusion is the last impression you will leave on your readers.  Do you return here to your key point (your thesis), showing how your whole argument essay bears on and supports it?  Do you leave your readers with a positive impression of your effort, even if you cannot be sure of having totally convinced them by reason? 

LibGuides from Other Campuses

Source: St. Petersburg College Libraries.  About as simple as it gets.  The "purpose" bulleted list in the top center box especially deserves a look.

Source: Valencia College Libraries.  A course-anchored LibGuide.  The two boxes in the center pane of the Home tab are worthy of attention, in that they address considerations which occur early in the topic and narrowing process of argumentative writing.