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Templates for structuring argumentative essays with practice exercises and solutions

On this page, thesis statement, referring to others’ work.

  • Using impersonal language

Agreeing with what you’ve reviewed in the “They say” section

Disagreeing with what you’ve reviewed in the “they say” section.

  • Agreeing and disagreeing simultaneously

My critics say

This page introduces a framework for writing argumentative/analytical essays, following a structure dubbed “They Say, I Say, My Critics Say, I Respond.” [1]

This page also includes a number of templates [2]   or examples that you may find helpful for writing argumentative/analytical essays. Keep in mind that it is possible to change the sequence of the framework sections. Also, the templates can be used interchangeably.

A principal element of an argumentative/analytical essay is the thesis statement.

A thesis statement is one or two sentences (maybe more in longer essays) typically occurring near the end of an essay introduction; it shows your position regarding the topic you are investigating or your answer(s) to the question(s) that you are responding to.

Here are some templates that may help you write an effective thesis statement:

  • In this paper, I argue that .......... because ..........
  • In the pages that follow, I will argue that .......... because ..........
  • Although/Even though .......... this essay argues that/I will argue that .......... because ..........
  • This paper attempts to show that ..........
  • This paper contests the claim that ..........
  • This paper argues that .......... 
  • The central thesis of this paper is ..........
  • In this essay, I attempt to defend the view that ..........

Thesis statement exercise and solutions

Imagine that you have been asked to write an argumentative essay about physical education in the Canadian high school system. Use one of the templates suggested to write a thesis statement about this topic.

  • In the pages that follow, I will argue that physical education in the Canadian high school system has been largely ineffective because it has remained limited in its range of exercises and has failed to connect with students’ actual interests, such a dance and martial arts.
  • This paper attempts to show that physical education is a crucial aspect of the Canadian high school system because many teenagers do not experience encouragement to do physical activity outside of school and contemporary life is increasingly sedentary for people of all ages.

The body of an essay usually begins by providing a background of the topic or a summary of the resources that you have reviewed (this is sometimes called a literature review). Here, you bring other people’s views into the paper. You want to show your readers what other scholars say (“they say”) about the topic, using techniques like paraphrasing, summarizing, and direct quotation.

You can start this section using one the following templates or examples to delve into the topic.

Previous

Several

studies of X

surveys of X

investigations of X

have

found ...

revealed ...

reported ...

identified ...

established ...

demonstrated ...

shown significant increases in ...

To date,

Thus far,

Until now,

several studies

previous studies

a number of studies

prior studies

have

used ...

found ...

reported ...

shown that...

indicated that ...

linked X with Y.

suggested that ...

demonstrated that ...

identified a link between ...

investigated the effects of...

confirmed the effectiveness of ...

attempted to evaluate the impact of …

They say exercise and solutions

Imagine that you are now trying to incorporate some sources into your academic paper about physical education in the Canadian high school system. Try using a couple of templates from the “They Say” section of the handout.

Bonus exercise: See if you can identify the “template” structure that each of the sentences below is using (hint, they are different from the templates provided above).

  • Brown (2018) rejects the idea that the levels of climate change we are currently seeing can be considered “natural” or “cyclical” (p. 108).
  • According to Marshall (2017), we can see evidence of both code-switching and code-meshing in students’ reflective essay writing (p. 88).
  • Previous studies of physical education have revealed that teenagers experience a significant degree of dissatisfaction with their gym classes (Wilson, 2010; Vowel et al, 1999; Mossman, 1986).
  • A number of studies conducted prior to the 1990s have demonstrated that teenagers used to experience more encouragement to engage in physical activities outside of school hours (Sohal, 1954; Silverman, 1965; Lu, 1970; Mossman, 1986).
  • Jones’ (2017) investigations of sedentariness among young people have shown significant increases in illness among teenagers who do not engage in regular physical activity.

After the background section (e.g., summary or literature review), you need to include your own position on the topic (“I say”). Tell your reader if, for instance, you agree, disagree, or even both agree and disagree with the work you have reviewed.

You can use one of the following templates or samples to bring your voice in:

  • It could be argued that ..........
  • It is evident/clear/obvious that the role of modern arts is ..........
  • Clearly/Evidently, the role of education is ..........
  • There is no little doubt that ..........
  • I agree (that) ..........
  • I support the view that ...........
  • I concur with the view that ..........
  • I disagree (that) ..........
  • I disagree with the view that ..........
  • I challenge/contest the view that ..........
  • I oppose/am opposed to ..........
  • I disagree with X’s view that .......... because, as recent research has shown, ..........
  • X contradicts herself/can’t have it both ways. On the one hand, she argues ........... On the other hand, she also says ..........
  • By focusing on .........., X overlooks the deeper problem of ..........
  • Although I agree with X up to a point, I cannot accept his overriding assumption that ..........
  • Although I disagree with much that X says, I fully endorse his final conclusion that ..........
  • Though I concede that .........., I still insist that ..........
  • X is right that .........., but she seems on more dubious ground that when she claims that ..........
  • While X is probably wrong when she claims tha ..........., she is right that ..........
  • Whereas X provides ample evidence that .........., Y and Z’s research on .......... and .......... convinces me that .......... instead.
  • I’m of two minds about X’s claim that ........... On the one hand, I agree that .......... On the other hand, I’m not sure if ..........
  • My feelings on the issue are mixed. I do support X’s position that .........., but I find Y’s argument about .......... and Z’s research on .......... to be equally persuasive.

I say exercises and solutions

Try using a template from each of the sections below to bring your own position into your writing:

  • Agreeing with what you’ve reviewed
  • Disagreeing with that you’ve reviewed

Using impersonal language There is little doubt that the teenage years are important for establishing life-long habits.

Agreeing with what you’ve reviewed in the “They say” section I support the view, presented by Vowel et al (1999) that effective physical education needs to consider the heightened self-consciousness that many teenagers experience and, in particular, needs to be sensitive to the body image issues that can be pervasive among young people.

Disagreeing with what you’ve reviewed in the “They say” section By focusing on school physical education programs and their shortcomings, Wilson (2010) overlooks the deeper problem that young people are experiencing a lack of motivation to incorporate healthy exercise into their daily lives.

Agreeing and Disagreeing simultaneously Though I concede that school physical education programs are valuable, I still insist that they cannot be the sole or even the primary way that we promote an active lifestyle among young people.

In a good argumentative essay, in addition to expressing your position and argument, you should consider possible opposing views to your argument: refer to what your opponents say (“my critics say”) and why they may disagree with your argument.

Including the ideas of those who may disagree with you makes up the counterargument section of your paper. You can refer to actual people, including other research scholars who may disagree with you, or try and imagine what those who disagree with you might say.

Remember, a thesis should be debatable, so you should be able to imagine someone disagreeing you’re your position. Here are some templates that may help you in writing counterargument:

Opponents of ( )

Sociocultural theorists

Some, however,

Critics

One may offer a contrasting perspective

It might/may/could

may call this into question/may question this

might object here that...

might argue that my interpretation overlooks...

believe that...

and state that...

be argued that...

and would argue that…

 

My critics say exercise and solutions

Using one of the templates, try imagining a counterargument for the thesis you drafted earlier.

Sociocultural theorists used to believe that adolescence was a time of “natural defiance” (Fung, 1995) and therefore discounted the role of educational programs aimed at supporting teenagers to form healthy habits. Much of the focus of schooling therefore became about teaching specific content and skills.

Critics may call into question my assumption that effective physical education can help establish life-long healthy living habits.

After explaining what your opponents say, you have to refute them. This is sometimes called the rebuttal. Here, you can show your readers that your opponents either fail to provide enough evidence to support their argument or their evidence lacks credibility and/or is flawed.

This argument fails to

find

show

demonstrate

account for

acknowledge

a (any) benefit in ...

a (any) link between ...

a (any) correlation between ...

a (any) connection between ...

a (any) causal relationship between ...

a (any) consistent association between ...

a (any) statistically significant difference...

(any) convincing evidence of ...

(any) benefits associated with ...

 (any) support for the X hypothesis.

Alternatively, you may argue that your opponents’ argument is valid, but not persuasive enough to be used in your study, or that their argument could be valid in a different context.

This argument is

Vygotsky's (1978) sociocultural theory is

Although Piaget's (1936) theory of ………is

useful in the sense that………… 

extremely useful because……..

a comprehensive theory about….

However, …

However, I argue that…

I argue that….

While it is true that…

While I agree with sociocultural theory that…

Although Maslow's hierarchy can be a
useful tool for

 

I argue that…

I maintain that…

I disagree that…

Don’t forget that for each part of your argument, you must provide enough evidence for the claims that you make. This means that if you include one of these templates in your essays, you have to explain the evidence it presents in a way that is clear and convincing for your reader.

I respond exercise and solutions

Using one of the templates, craft a rebuttal to the counterargument you just created.

Sociocultural theorists used to believe that adolescence was a time of “natural defiance” (Fung, 1995) and therefore discounted the role of educational programs aimed at supporting teenagers to form healthy habits. Much of the focus of schooling therefore became about teaching specific content and skills. However, this argument fails to demonstrate that the defiance observed during adolescence was “natural” or inherent and not a product of a specific cultural environment. It therefore does not convince me that education during the adolescent years needs to remain rigidly focused on content and skills.

Critics may call into question my assumption that effective physical education can help establish life-long healthy living habits. While it is true that we cannot assume that physical education will automatically lead to the establishment of healthy habits, I maintain that the creation of such habits, rather than simply teaching specific physical education content or skills, should be the central goal of an effective physical education program.

Graff, G., & Birkenstein, C. (2017). They say / I say: The moves that matter in academic writing, with readings (3rd ed.). New York: Norton W. W. Company.

Marshall, S. (2017). Advance in academic writing: Integrating research, critical thinking, academic reading and writing. Toronto, Canada: Pearson Education ESL.

Morley, J. (2014). Academic phrasebank. Retrieved from http://www.phrasebank.manchester.ac.uk/

[1] Adapted from Graff and Birkenstein (2016).

[2] The templates used in this handout are adapted from Morley (2014), Marshall (2017), and Graff and Birkenstein (2016).

Argumentative Essay – Outline, Form, and Examples

What is an argumentative essay.

An argumentative essay requires the writer to investigate a specific topic by collecting and evaluating evidence to establish a position on the subject matter.

When preparing to compose a good argumentative essay, utilize the following steps:

Step 1: Select a topic.

Step 2: Identify a position.

Step 3: Locate appropriate resources.

Step 4: Identify evidence supporting the position. ( NOTE: If there is little evidence in support of the claim, consider re-examining the main argument.)

Steps to write an argumentative essay

When gathering evidence, use credible sources . To determine the credibility of the source, consider authority, currency, accuracy, and objectivity:

Who is the author ? Are they an expert in the field? Has a reputable publisher published the work?

How current is the information in the source? Does the currency of the source matter? Does the age of the source impact the content? Is there newer information that disproves the source’s information?

Can other sources verify the accuracy of the information? Does the information contradict that found in other commonly accepted sources?

Is there any evidence of bias, or is the source objective ? Is the research sponsored by an organization that may skew the information?

The following are typically recognized as providing appropriate, credible research material:

Peer-reviewed journals/research papers

Government agencies

Professional organizations

Library databases

Reference books

Credible sources

Writers should avoid using the following sources:

Social media posts

Out-of-date materials

Step 5: Utilize the research to determine a thesis statement that identifies the topic, position, and support(s).

Step 6: Use the evidence to construct an outline, detailing the main supports and relevant evidence.

Steps to write an argumentative essay

Argumentative essay outline

After gathering all of the necessary research, the next step in composing an argumentative essay focuses on organizing the information through the use of an outline:

Introduction

Attention Grabber/Hook

Background Information: Include any background information pertinent to the topic that the reader needs to know to understand the argument.

Thesis: State the position in connection to the main topic and identify the supports that will help prove the argument.

Topic sentence

Identify evidence in support of the claim in the topic sentence

Explain how the evidence supports the argument

Evidence 3 (Continue as needed)

Support 2 (Continue as needed)

Restate thesis

Review main supports

Concluding statement

Invite the audience to take a specific action.

Identify the overall importance of the topic and position.

Argumentative essay outline

How to write an argumentative essay

Regardless of the writer’s topic or point of view, an argumentative essay should include an introductory paragraph, body paragraphs, a conclusion, and works cited.

Background information

Body Paragraphs

Analysis of evidence

Rephrased thesis

Review of main ideas

Call to action

Works Cited

Components of an argumentative essay

Argumentative essay introduction

The introduction sets the tone for the entire paper and introduces the argument. In general, the first paragraph(s) should attract the reader’s attention, provide relevant context, and conclude with a thesis statement.

To attract the reader's attention , start with an introductory device. There are several attention-grabbing techniques, the most common of which consist of the following:

The writer can emphasize the topic’s importance by explaining the current interest in the topic or indicating that the subject is influential.

Pertinent statistics give the paper an air of authority.

There are many reasons for a stimulating statement to surprise a reader. Sometimes it is joyful; sometimes it is shocking; sometimes it is surprising because of who said it.

An interesting incident or anecdote can act as a teaser to lure the reader into the remainder of the essay. Be sure that the device is appropriate for the subject and focus of what follows.

Provide the reader with relevant context and background information necessary to understand the topic.

Conclude with a thesis statement that identifies the overall purpose of the essay (topic and position). Writers can also include their support directly in the thesis, which outlines the structure of the essay for the reader.

Avoid the following when writing the introduction to argumentative writing:

Starting with dictionary definitions is too overdone and unappealing.

Do not make an announcement of the topic like “In this paper I will…” or “The purpose of this essay is to….”

Evidence supporting or developing the thesis should be in the body paragraphs, not the introduction.

Beginning the essay with general or absolute statements such as “throughout history...” or “as human beings we always...” or similar statements suggest the writer knows all of history or that all people behave or think in the same way.

Argumentative essay thesis

The thesis statement is the single, specific claim the writer sets out to prove and is typically positioned as the last sentence of the introduction . It is the controlling idea of the entire argument that identifies the topic, position, and reasoning.

When constructing a thesis for an argumentative paper, make sure it contains a side of the argument, not simply a topic. An argumentative thesis identifies the writer’s position on a given topic. If a position cannot be taken, then it is not argumentative thesis:

Topic: Capital punishment is practiced in many states.

Thesis: Capital punishment should be illegal.

While not always required, the thesis statement can include the supports the writer will use to prove the main claim. Therefore, a thesis statement can be structured as follows:

TOPIC + POSITION (+ SUPPORTS)

No Supports: College athletes (TOPIC) should be financially compensated (POSITION).

Supports: College athletes (TOPIC) should be financially compensated (POSITION) because they sacrifice their minds and bodies (SUPPORT 1), cannot hold

Argumentative essay body paragraphs

Body paragraphs can be of varying lengths, but they must present a coherent argument unified under a single topic. They are rarely ever longer than one page, double-spaced; usually they are much shorter.

Lengthy paragraphs indicate a lack of structure. Identify the main ideas of a lengthy paragraph to determine if they make more sense as separate topics in separate paragraphs.

Shorter paragraphs usually indicate a lack of substance; there is not enough evidence or analysis to prove the argument. Develop the ideas more or integrate the information into another paragraph.

The structure of an argumentative paragraph should include a topic sentence, evidence, and a transition.

The topic sentence is the thesis of the paragraph that identifies the arguable point in support of the main argument. The reader should know exactly what the writer is trying to prove within the paragraph by reading the first sentence.

The supporting evidence and analysis provide information to support the claim. There should be a balance between the evidence (facts, quotations, summary of events/plot, etc.) and analysis (interpretation of evidence). If the paragraph is evidence-heavy, there is not much of an argument; if it is analysis-heavy, there is not enough evidence in support of the claim.

The transition can be at the beginning or the end of a paragraph. However, it is much easier to combine the transition with the concluding observation to help the paragraphs flow into one another. Transitions in academic writing should tell the reader where you were, where you are going, and relate to the thesis.

Some essays may benefit from the inclusion of rebuttals to potential counterarguments of the writer’s position.

Argumentative essay conclusion

The conclusion should make readers glad they read the paper. It can suggest broader implications that will not only interest readers but also enrich their understanding in some way. There are three aspects to follow when constructing the conclusion: rephrase the thesis, synthesize information, and call the reader to action.

Rephrased the thesis in the first sentence of the conclusion. It must be in different words; do not simply write it verbatim.

Synthesize the argument by showing how the paper's main points support the argument.

Propose a course of action or a solution to an issue. This can redirect the reader's thought process to apply the ideas to their life or to see the broader implications of the topic.

Avoid the following when constructing the conclusion:

Beginning with an unnecessary, overused phrase such as "in conclusion," "in summary," or "in closing;" although these phrases can work in speeches, they come across as trite in writing

Introducing a new idea or subtopic in the conclusion

Making sentimental, emotional appeals that are out of character with the rest of the paper

Including evidence (quotations, statistics, etc.) that should be in the body of the paper

Argumentative essay examples

Examples of argumentative essays vary depending upon the type:

Academic essays differ based upon the topic and position. These essays follow a more traditional structure and are typically assigned in high school or college. Examples of academic argumentative essay topics include the following:

Advantages or disadvantages of social media

Animal testing

Art education

Benefit or detriment of homework

Capital punishment

Class warfare

Immigration

School uniforms

Universal healthcare

Violence in video games

Argumentative literary essays are typically more informal and do not follow the same structure as an academic essay. The following are popular examples of argumentative literary essays:

“Letter from Birmingham Jail” by Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Death of the Moth” by Virginia Woolf

“Shooting an Elephant” by George Orwell

“Thoughts for the Times on War and Death” by Sigmund Freud

“Does the Truth Matter? Science, Pseudoscience, and Civilization” by Carl Sagan

“Self-Reliance” by Ralph Waldo Emerson

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  • Knowledge Base
  • How to write an essay outline | Guidelines & examples

How to Write an Essay Outline | Guidelines & Examples

Published on August 14, 2020 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on July 23, 2023.

An essay outline is a way of planning the structure of your essay before you start writing. It involves writing quick summary sentences or phrases for every point you will cover in each paragraph , giving you a picture of how your argument will unfold.

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Table of contents

Organizing your material, presentation of the outline, examples of essay outlines, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about essay outlines.

At the stage where you’re writing an essay outline, your ideas are probably still not fully formed. You should know your topic  and have already done some preliminary research to find relevant sources , but now you need to shape your ideas into a structured argument.

Creating categories

Look over any information, quotes and ideas you’ve noted down from your research and consider the central point you want to make in the essay—this will be the basis of your thesis statement . Once you have an idea of your overall argument, you can begin to organize your material in a way that serves that argument.

Try to arrange your material into categories related to different aspects of your argument. If you’re writing about a literary text, you might group your ideas into themes; in a history essay, it might be several key trends or turning points from the period you’re discussing.

Three main themes or subjects is a common structure for essays. Depending on the length of the essay, you could split the themes into three body paragraphs, or three longer sections with several paragraphs covering each theme.

As you create the outline, look critically at your categories and points: Are any of them irrelevant or redundant? Make sure every topic you cover is clearly related to your thesis statement.

Order of information

When you have your material organized into several categories, consider what order they should appear in.

Your essay will always begin and end with an introduction and conclusion , but the organization of the body is up to you.

Consider these questions to order your material:

  • Is there an obvious starting point for your argument?
  • Is there one subject that provides an easy transition into another?
  • Do some points need to be set up by discussing other points first?

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Within each paragraph, you’ll discuss a single idea related to your overall topic or argument, using several points of evidence or analysis to do so.

In your outline, you present these points as a few short numbered sentences or phrases.They can be split into sub-points when more detail is needed.

The template below shows how you might structure an outline for a five-paragraph essay.

  • Thesis statement
  • First piece of evidence
  • Second piece of evidence
  • Summary/synthesis
  • Importance of topic
  • Strong closing statement

You can choose whether to write your outline in full sentences or short phrases. Be consistent in your choice; don’t randomly write some points as full sentences and others as short phrases.

Examples of outlines for different types of essays are presented below: an argumentative, expository, and literary analysis essay.

Argumentative essay outline

This outline is for a short argumentative essay evaluating the internet’s impact on education. It uses short phrases to summarize each point.

Its body is split into three paragraphs, each presenting arguments about a different aspect of the internet’s effects on education.

  • Importance of the internet
  • Concerns about internet use
  • Thesis statement: Internet use a net positive
  • Data exploring this effect
  • Analysis indicating it is overstated
  • Students’ reading levels over time
  • Why this data is questionable
  • Video media
  • Interactive media
  • Speed and simplicity of online research
  • Questions about reliability (transitioning into next topic)
  • Evidence indicating its ubiquity
  • Claims that it discourages engagement with academic writing
  • Evidence that Wikipedia warns students not to cite it
  • Argument that it introduces students to citation
  • Summary of key points
  • Value of digital education for students
  • Need for optimism to embrace advantages of the internet

Expository essay outline

This is the outline for an expository essay describing how the invention of the printing press affected life and politics in Europe.

The paragraphs are still summarized in short phrases here, but individual points are described with full sentences.

  • Claim that the printing press marks the end of the Middle Ages.
  • Provide background on the low levels of literacy before the printing press.
  • Present the thesis statement: The invention of the printing press increased circulation of information in Europe, paving the way for the Reformation.
  • Discuss the very high levels of illiteracy in medieval Europe.
  • Describe how literacy and thus knowledge and education were mainly the domain of religious and political elites.
  • Indicate how this discouraged political and religious change.
  • Describe the invention of the printing press in 1440 by Johannes Gutenberg.
  • Show the implications of the new technology for book production.
  • Describe the rapid spread of the technology and the printing of the Gutenberg Bible.
  • Link to the Reformation.
  • Discuss the trend for translating the Bible into vernacular languages during the years following the printing press’s invention.
  • Describe Luther’s own translation of the Bible during the Reformation.
  • Sketch out the large-scale effects the Reformation would have on religion and politics.
  • Summarize the history described.
  • Stress the significance of the printing press to the events of this period.

Literary analysis essay outline

The literary analysis essay outlined below discusses the role of theater in Jane Austen’s novel Mansfield Park .

The body of the essay is divided into three different themes, each of which is explored through examples from the book.

  • Describe the theatricality of Austen’s works
  • Outline the role theater plays in Mansfield Park
  • Introduce the research question : How does Austen use theater to express the characters’ morality in Mansfield Park ?
  • Discuss Austen’s depiction of the performance at the end of the first volume
  • Discuss how Sir Bertram reacts to the acting scheme
  • Introduce Austen’s use of stage direction–like details during dialogue
  • Explore how these are deployed to show the characters’ self-absorption
  • Discuss Austen’s description of Maria and Julia’s relationship as polite but affectionless
  • Compare Mrs. Norris’s self-conceit as charitable despite her idleness
  • Summarize the three themes: The acting scheme, stage directions, and the performance of morals
  • Answer the research question
  • Indicate areas for further study

If you want to know more about AI tools , college essays , or fallacies make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples or go directly to our tools!

  • Ad hominem fallacy
  • Post hoc fallacy
  • Appeal to authority fallacy
  • False cause fallacy
  • Sunk cost fallacy

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You will sometimes be asked to hand in an essay outline before you start writing your essay . Your supervisor wants to see that you have a clear idea of your structure so that writing will go smoothly.

Even when you do not have to hand it in, writing an essay outline is an important part of the writing process . It’s a good idea to write one (as informally as you like) to clarify your structure for yourself whenever you are working on an essay.

If you have to hand in your essay outline , you may be given specific guidelines stating whether you have to use full sentences. If you’re not sure, ask your supervisor.

When writing an essay outline for yourself, the choice is yours. Some students find it helpful to write out their ideas in full sentences, while others prefer to summarize them in short phrases.

You should try to follow your outline as you write your essay . However, if your ideas change or it becomes clear that your structure could be better, it’s okay to depart from your essay outline . Just make sure you know why you’re doing so.

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  • TemplateLab

Essay Outline Templates

37 outstanding essay outline templates (argumentative, narrative, persuasive).

Writing an essay can seem like an overwhelming task, and planning beforehand is essential to success. An essay outline will help you to structure and organize your essay so that it flows coherently. Essay outlines work for all kinds of essays and will save you time and stress.

There are various different ways to structure an essay, and using an essay outline template allows you to decide on the best structure for your essay. Whether you want a balanced argument, or if you’re trying to persuade someone of your idea, then there will be an essay outline that works for you.

Table of Contents

  • 1 Essay Outline Templates
  • 2 What is an Essay Outline Template?
  • 3 Essay Outline Examples
  • 4 What Different Types of Essay Outline Templates Are Available?
  • 5 Why are Essay Outlines important?
  • 6 How Do You Structure an Outline for an Essay?
  • 7 Essay Outline Samples
  • 8 What is the Format of a Five-Paragraph Essay Outline? 
  • 9 How to Write an Effective Essay Outline
  • 10 Free Essay Outlines
  • 11 Create an Effective Outline Using an Essay Outline Template

You can download and print one of our free essay outline templates to help you plan the perfect essay.

Free Essay Outline Template 01

What is an Essay Outline Template?

An essay outline template is essentially the essay plan. It provides students with a clear structure before they write their essay, including all of the main points that are necessary for their writing.

Planning an essay outline beforehand makes the process of essay writing a lot less daunting, providing students with a guideline to follow whilst writing their essays in detail. In the world of academic writing , an essay outline serves as a tool to organize and structure thoughts before delving into the actual writing process. Many students underestimate the significance of creating an essay outline, often resulting in disorganized and incomprehensible essays.

Essay Outline Examples

Free Essay Outline Template 11

What Different Types of Essay Outline Templates Are Available?

Essay outlines can be used for any college essay, research papers, a contrast essay, speech writing, or an expository essay. There are a range of essay outline templates to use, and they vary depending on the style of essay you are writing. These include:

  • Argumentative essay outline
  • Narrative essay outline
  • Contrast essay outline
  • Literary analysis essay outline
  • Persuasive essay outline
  • Expository essay outline
  • College essay outline
  • Descriptive essay outline
  • Reflective essay outline

Depending on the purpose of your essay, there will be a different structure to suit your writing and your writing process. For example, an argumentative essay outline may follow a more traditional five-paragraph essay outline, while a literary analysis essay may follow a more detailed essay outline template.

Why are Essay Outlines important?

Of course, you can write an essay without planning. However, it will likely read as unstructured and lacking in coherence. Essays that follow an essay outline template present as more well-researched, clearer, and with a thoughtful structure throughout.

  • Planning makes perfect If you are writing to argue a point or explore a range of viewpoints, essay outlines are crucial to prepare before you begin writing in detail. Writing should not be an immediate, quick process; the best essays are drafted, re-drafted, edited, and finalized. If you use an essay outline, this will be reflected in the quality of your work. As a teacher, it is clear to me when students have not taken the time to plan their work. Their writing seems messy and rushed. Essay outlines provide structure and balance to any long piece of writing.
  • Save time during the writing process Planning is the hard part of essay writing. During the planning process, you will be brainstorming your ideas and cultivating your overall viewpoint or argument. This means that when you come to write the essay, those ideas are already there. All you need to do is formulate them into sentences and paragraphs. An essay outline makes the process of writing the essay itself so much simpler. With the essay outline template, you will have the bulk of your ideas and the structure of your essay there to follow. It will save you time when it comes to writing the essay out in full.

How Do You Structure an Outline for an Essay?

Depending on the assignment, essays can follow a range of structures, and there are many different ways to structure an essay outline.

Before you begin to structure your essay outline, there are a few things to consider:

  • Check your assignment guidelines . Your teacher or professor may have specified a certain number of words or pages for the essay, which can affect how you structure it.
  • Consider the purpose of the essay. Is it to argue, is it a persuasive essay, or is it to reflect upon something? This will greatly help you to form and structure your essay, as you may need to compare and contrast ideas throughout your writing.
  • Who is your audience? If this essay is purely for academic purposes, then your essay may follow a more traditional structure. However, if your essay is for a speech or a college application, then the structure may be more unconventional and include more of your own thoughts and experiences.

While there may be variations in essay outline structures depending on the specific requirements of the assignment, some general guidelines can be followed. You should edit and adjust your essay structure depending on the tone, audience, and purpose of your essay.

Typically, an effective essay outline comprises three primary sections: the introduction, the body paragraphs, and the conclusion. Each of these sections serves a unique purpose and contributes to the overall coherence of the essay.

  • Introduction The introduction section of an essay outline introduces the topic and provides relevant background information to engage the reader. It also includes the thesis statement, which presents the main argument or claim of the essay. To structure the introduction in the outline effectively, writers can utilize a hook to grab the reader’s attention, provide context, and end with a strong thesis statement.
  • Body Paragraphs The body paragraphs section of the essay outline supports the thesis statement with relevant evidence and arguments. The number of body paragraphs may vary depending on the required length of the essay. However, it is common to have three body paragraphs, each focused on a specific supporting point. In the outline, writers can include subpoints, evidence, and examples for each body paragraph to ensure a coherent and logical flow of ideas.
  • Conclusion The conclusion section of the essay outline summarises the main points discussed in the body paragraphs and restates the thesis statement. The conclusion should not be an afterthought in the essay writing process. This part of the essay helps to tie all of your ideas together and is reflective of a well-structured essay. It is crucial to end the essay on a strong note, leaving a lasting impression on the reader. To structure the conclusion in the outline, writers can briefly restate the thesis, review the main points, and provide a final thought or call to action.

Essay Outline Samples

Free Essay Outline Template 21

What is the Format of a Five-Paragraph Essay Outline? 

A five-paragraph essay outline is a common essay structure used for academic essays. It is particularly useful for shorter essays or beginners who are just starting to develop their writing skills. Many high school students or first-year college students benefit from following this structure.

The format consists of five paragraphs, as the name suggests – an introduction, three body paragraphs, and a conclusion.

  • Introduction In the introduction of a five-paragraph essay outline, writers should begin with an attention-grabbing hook to capture the reader’s interest. This can be achieved through a relevant anecdote, a rhetorical question, or a shocking statistic. This helps to immediately capture the reader’s attention and begin the essay strong. Next, provide some background information on the topic and end the introduction with a clear thesis statement that encapsulates the main argument of the essay.
  • Body Paragraphs The three body paragraphs of a five-paragraph essay outline each focus on a specific supporting point, which aids in the development of the thesis statement. Start each body paragraph with a topic sentence that introduces the main idea of the paragraph. Following the topic sentence, writers should provide evidence, examples, or arguments to support the main point. It is essential to ensure a logical flow between paragraphs and maintain coherence throughout the essay. This can be done through the use of connectives at the start of each body paragraph, such as ‘Firstly,’ ‘Secondly,’ and ‘Furthermore.’
  • Conclusion The conclusion of a five-paragraph essay outline restates the thesis statement and summarizes the main points discussed in the body paragraphs. However, it is vital to avoid introducing new information in the conclusion. Instead, writers should provide a thought-provoking final statement or reinforce the significance of the essay topic.

How to Write an Effective Essay Outline

Each writer will have their own unique approach to essay writing, but preparing an essay outline does not require you to reinvent the wheel. You can follow these simple steps to craft an effective, useful, solid outline.

  • Read and Understand the Assignment Before beginning the outline, thoroughly read and understand the essay assignment, including any specific guidelines or requirements from the instructor. This will help in determining the length, topic, and structure of the essay. Understanding the assignment in detail also enables you to plan how you will carry out your preliminary research for the essay. Adaquete reading and preparation also helps you to establish the purpose of your essay, which will determine which essay outline template will work best for you.
  • Brainstorm and Organize Ideas Start with brainstorming ideas related to the topic. Here, you should establish the key points of the essay based on your research. Once ideas are generated, you can organize them into meaningful categories or subtopics. In an argumentative essay outline, for example, you will need to compare and contrast ideas. By placing all the main points into categories in an organized manner, you can create a logical flow within the essay, making it more engaging for the reader.
  • Choose an Appropriate Outline Format Decide on the outline format that best suits the specific essay requirements. Depending on the complexity of the topic, your essay may be formatted differently. An expository essay will differ from a research paper, for example, so be clear on which outline will work for you. It is also essential to decide on the number of main points to be included based on the required length of the essay. Sometimes it is best to discuss fewer points in greater detail, particularly for a literary analysis or narrative essay.
  • Develop Thesis Statement and Main Arguments Craft a strong and clear thesis statement that encapsulates the main argument or claim of the essay. Then, determine the main arguments or supporting points that will be discussed in the body paragraphs.
  • Organize Supporting Points and Supporting Evidence Arrange the main arguments in a logical order, keeping in mind the flow of ideas. Ensure that each supporting point is backed up by sufficient evidence or reasoning to strengthen the overall argument. This will also help you to write a strong conclusion to complete your essay.
  • Review and Revise After creating the initial essay outline, review and revise it to ensure coherence, logical flow, and adherence to the assignment requirements. Make necessary adjustments and rearrange the outline if needed. Then, you can start writing your essay by following the outline.

Free Essay Outlines

Free Essay Outline Template 31

Create an Effective Outline Using an Essay Outline Template

Creating an essay outline is a crucial step in the writing process that should not be overlooked. Whether it’s an argumentative essay outline, a literary analysis essay outline, or a persuasive essay outline, an essay outline template can help you to structure and organize your points in a thoughtful and clear way.

By structuring an essay outline effectively, using the appropriate format for a five-paragraph essay, and following the steps to write an essay outline, writers can ensure a well-organized, coherent, and compelling essay. Utilizing an essay outline template not only enhances the writing quality but also saves time and effort in the long run.

Eleanor Griffiths

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How to Write an A+ Argumentative Essay

Miscellaneous

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You'll no doubt have to write a number of argumentative essays in both high school and college, but what, exactly, is an argumentative essay and how do you write the best one possible? Let's take a look.

A great argumentative essay always combines the same basic elements: approaching an argument from a rational perspective, researching sources, supporting your claims using facts rather than opinion, and articulating your reasoning into the most cogent and reasoned points. Argumentative essays are great building blocks for all sorts of research and rhetoric, so your teachers will expect you to master the technique before long.

But if this sounds daunting, never fear! We'll show how an argumentative essay differs from other kinds of papers, how to research and write them, how to pick an argumentative essay topic, and where to find example essays. So let's get started.

What Is an Argumentative Essay? How Is it Different from Other Kinds of Essays?

There are two basic requirements for any and all essays: to state a claim (a thesis statement) and to support that claim with evidence.

Though every essay is founded on these two ideas, there are several different types of essays, differentiated by the style of the writing, how the writer presents the thesis, and the types of evidence used to support the thesis statement.

Essays can be roughly divided into four different types:

#1: Argumentative #2: Persuasive #3: Expository #4: Analytical

So let's look at each type and what the differences are between them before we focus the rest of our time to argumentative essays.

Argumentative Essay

Argumentative essays are what this article is all about, so let's talk about them first.

An argumentative essay attempts to convince a reader to agree with a particular argument (the writer's thesis statement). The writer takes a firm stand one way or another on a topic and then uses hard evidence to support that stance.

An argumentative essay seeks to prove to the reader that one argument —the writer's argument— is the factually and logically correct one. This means that an argumentative essay must use only evidence-based support to back up a claim , rather than emotional or philosophical reasoning (which is often allowed in other types of essays). Thus, an argumentative essay has a burden of substantiated proof and sources , whereas some other types of essays (namely persuasive essays) do not.

You can write an argumentative essay on any topic, so long as there's room for argument. Generally, you can use the same topics for both a persuasive essay or an argumentative one, so long as you support the argumentative essay with hard evidence.

Example topics of an argumentative essay:

  • "Should farmers be allowed to shoot wolves if those wolves injure or kill farm animals?"
  • "Should the drinking age be lowered in the United States?"
  • "Are alternatives to democracy effective and/or feasible to implement?"

The next three types of essays are not argumentative essays, but you may have written them in school. We're going to cover them so you know what not to do for your argumentative essay.

Persuasive Essay

Persuasive essays are similar to argumentative essays, so it can be easy to get them confused. But knowing what makes an argumentative essay different than a persuasive essay can often mean the difference between an excellent grade and an average one.

Persuasive essays seek to persuade a reader to agree with the point of view of the writer, whether that point of view is based on factual evidence or not. The writer has much more flexibility in the evidence they can use, with the ability to use moral, cultural, or opinion-based reasoning as well as factual reasoning to persuade the reader to agree the writer's side of a given issue.

Instead of being forced to use "pure" reason as one would in an argumentative essay, the writer of a persuasive essay can manipulate or appeal to the reader's emotions. So long as the writer attempts to steer the readers into agreeing with the thesis statement, the writer doesn't necessarily need hard evidence in favor of the argument.

Often, you can use the same topics for both a persuasive essay or an argumentative one—the difference is all in the approach and the evidence you present.

Example topics of a persuasive essay:

  • "Should children be responsible for their parents' debts?"
  • "Should cheating on a test be automatic grounds for expulsion?"
  • "How much should sports leagues be held accountable for player injuries and the long-term consequences of those injuries?"

Expository Essay

An expository essay is typically a short essay in which the writer explains an idea, issue, or theme , or discusses the history of a person, place, or idea.

This is typically a fact-forward essay with little argument or opinion one way or the other.

Example topics of an expository essay:

  • "The History of the Philadelphia Liberty Bell"
  • "The Reasons I Always Wanted to be a Doctor"
  • "The Meaning Behind the Colloquialism ‘People in Glass Houses Shouldn't Throw Stones'"

Analytical Essay

An analytical essay seeks to delve into the deeper meaning of a text or work of art, or unpack a complicated idea . These kinds of essays closely interpret a source and look into its meaning by analyzing it at both a macro and micro level.

This type of analysis can be augmented by historical context or other expert or widely-regarded opinions on the subject, but is mainly supported directly through the original source (the piece or art or text being analyzed) .

Example topics of an analytical essay:

  • "Victory Gin in Place of Water: The Symbolism Behind Gin as the Only Potable Substance in George Orwell's 1984"
  • "Amarna Period Art: The Meaning Behind the Shift from Rigid to Fluid Poses"
  • "Adultery During WWII, as Told Through a Series of Letters to and from Soldiers"

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There are many different types of essay and, over time, you'll be able to master them all.

A Typical Argumentative Essay Assignment

The average argumentative essay is between three to five pages, and will require at least three or four separate sources with which to back your claims . As for the essay topic , you'll most often be asked to write an argumentative essay in an English class on a "general" topic of your choice, ranging the gamut from science, to history, to literature.

But while the topics of an argumentative essay can span several different fields, the structure of an argumentative essay is always the same: you must support a claim—a claim that can reasonably have multiple sides—using multiple sources and using a standard essay format (which we'll talk about later on).

This is why many argumentative essay topics begin with the word "should," as in:

  • "Should all students be required to learn chemistry in high school?"
  • "Should children be required to learn a second language?"
  • "Should schools or governments be allowed to ban books?"

These topics all have at least two sides of the argument: Yes or no. And you must support the side you choose with evidence as to why your side is the correct one.

But there are also plenty of other ways to frame an argumentative essay as well:

  • "Does using social media do more to benefit or harm people?"
  • "Does the legal status of artwork or its creators—graffiti and vandalism, pirated media, a creator who's in jail—have an impact on the art itself?"
  • "Is or should anyone ever be ‘above the law?'"

Though these are worded differently than the first three, you're still essentially forced to pick between two sides of an issue: yes or no, for or against, benefit or detriment. Though your argument might not fall entirely into one side of the divide or another—for instance, you could claim that social media has positively impacted some aspects of modern life while being a detriment to others—your essay should still support one side of the argument above all. Your final stance would be that overall , social media is beneficial or overall , social media is harmful.

If your argument is one that is mostly text-based or backed by a single source (e.g., "How does Salinger show that Holden Caulfield is an unreliable narrator?" or "Does Gatsby personify the American Dream?"), then it's an analytical essay, rather than an argumentative essay. An argumentative essay will always be focused on more general topics so that you can use multiple sources to back up your claims.

Good Argumentative Essay Topics

So you know the basic idea behind an argumentative essay, but what topic should you write about?

Again, almost always, you'll be asked to write an argumentative essay on a free topic of your choice, or you'll be asked to select between a few given topics . If you're given complete free reign of topics, then it'll be up to you to find an essay topic that no only appeals to you, but that you can turn into an A+ argumentative essay.

What makes a "good" argumentative essay topic depends on both the subject matter and your personal interest —it can be hard to give your best effort on something that bores you to tears! But it can also be near impossible to write an argumentative essay on a topic that has no room for debate.

As we said earlier, a good argumentative essay topic will be one that has the potential to reasonably go in at least two directions—for or against, yes or no, and why . For example, it's pretty hard to write an argumentative essay on whether or not people should be allowed to murder one another—not a whole lot of debate there for most people!—but writing an essay for or against the death penalty has a lot more wiggle room for evidence and argument.

A good topic is also one that can be substantiated through hard evidence and relevant sources . So be sure to pick a topic that other people have studied (or at least studied elements of) so that you can use their data in your argument. For example, if you're arguing that it should be mandatory for all middle school children to play a sport, you might have to apply smaller scientific data points to the larger picture you're trying to justify. There are probably several studies you could cite on the benefits of physical activity and the positive effect structure and teamwork has on young minds, but there's probably no study you could use where a group of scientists put all middle-schoolers in one jurisdiction into a mandatory sports program (since that's probably never happened). So long as your evidence is relevant to your point and you can extrapolate from it to form a larger whole, you can use it as a part of your resource material.

And if you need ideas on where to get started, or just want to see sample argumentative essay topics, then check out these links for hundreds of potential argumentative essay topics.

101 Persuasive (or Argumentative) Essay and Speech Topics

301 Prompts for Argumentative Writing

Top 50 Ideas for Argumentative/Persuasive Essay Writing

[Note: some of these say "persuasive essay topics," but just remember that the same topic can often be used for both a persuasive essay and an argumentative essay; the difference is in your writing style and the evidence you use to support your claims.]

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KO! Find that one argumentative essay topic you can absolutely conquer.

Argumentative Essay Format

Argumentative Essays are composed of four main elements:

  • A position (your argument)
  • Your reasons
  • Supporting evidence for those reasons (from reliable sources)
  • Counterargument(s) (possible opposing arguments and reasons why those arguments are incorrect)

If you're familiar with essay writing in general, then you're also probably familiar with the five paragraph essay structure . This structure is a simple tool to show how one outlines an essay and breaks it down into its component parts, although it can be expanded into as many paragraphs as you want beyond the core five.

The standard argumentative essay is often 3-5 pages, which will usually mean a lot more than five paragraphs, but your overall structure will look the same as a much shorter essay.

An argumentative essay at its simplest structure will look like:

Paragraph 1: Intro

  • Set up the story/problem/issue
  • Thesis/claim

Paragraph 2: Support

  • Reason #1 claim is correct
  • Supporting evidence with sources

Paragraph 3: Support

  • Reason #2 claim is correct

Paragraph 4: Counterargument

  • Explanation of argument for the other side
  • Refutation of opposing argument with supporting evidence

Paragraph 5: Conclusion

  • Re-state claim
  • Sum up reasons and support of claim from the essay to prove claim is correct

Now let's unpack each of these paragraph types to see how they work (with examples!), what goes into them, and why.

Paragraph 1—Set Up and Claim

Your first task is to introduce the reader to the topic at hand so they'll be prepared for your claim. Give a little background information, set the scene, and give the reader some stakes so that they care about the issue you're going to discuss.

Next, you absolutely must have a position on an argument and make that position clear to the readers. It's not an argumentative essay unless you're arguing for a specific claim, and this claim will be your thesis statement.

Your thesis CANNOT be a mere statement of fact (e.g., "Washington DC is the capital of the United States"). Your thesis must instead be an opinion which can be backed up with evidence and has the potential to be argued against (e.g., "New York should be the capital of the United States").

Paragraphs 2 and 3—Your Evidence

These are your body paragraphs in which you give the reasons why your argument is the best one and back up this reasoning with concrete evidence .

The argument supporting the thesis of an argumentative essay should be one that can be supported by facts and evidence, rather than personal opinion or cultural or religious mores.

For example, if you're arguing that New York should be the new capital of the US, you would have to back up that fact by discussing the factual contrasts between New York and DC in terms of location, population, revenue, and laws. You would then have to talk about the precedents for what makes for a good capital city and why New York fits the bill more than DC does.

Your argument can't simply be that a lot of people think New York is the best city ever and that you agree.

In addition to using concrete evidence, you always want to keep the tone of your essay passionate, but impersonal . Even though you're writing your argument from a single opinion, don't use first person language—"I think," "I feel," "I believe,"—to present your claims. Doing so is repetitive, since by writing the essay you're already telling the audience what you feel, and using first person language weakens your writing voice.

For example,

"I think that Washington DC is no longer suited to be the capital city of the United States."

"Washington DC is no longer suited to be the capital city of the United States."

The second statement sounds far stronger and more analytical.

Paragraph 4—Argument for the Other Side and Refutation

Even without a counter argument, you can make a pretty persuasive claim, but a counterargument will round out your essay into one that is much more persuasive and substantial.

By anticipating an argument against your claim and taking the initiative to counter it, you're allowing yourself to get ahead of the game. This way, you show that you've given great thought to all sides of the issue before choosing your position, and you demonstrate in multiple ways how yours is the more reasoned and supported side.

Paragraph 5—Conclusion

This paragraph is where you re-state your argument and summarize why it's the best claim.

Briefly touch on your supporting evidence and voila! A finished argumentative essay.

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Your essay should have just as awesome a skeleton as this plesiosaur does. (In other words: a ridiculously awesome skeleton)

Argumentative Essay Example: 5-Paragraph Style

It always helps to have an example to learn from. I've written a full 5-paragraph argumentative essay here. Look at how I state my thesis in paragraph 1, give supporting evidence in paragraphs 2 and 3, address a counterargument in paragraph 4, and conclude in paragraph 5.

Topic: Is it possible to maintain conflicting loyalties?

Paragraph 1

It is almost impossible to go through life without encountering a situation where your loyalties to different people or causes come into conflict with each other. Maybe you have a loving relationship with your sister, but she disagrees with your decision to join the army, or you find yourself torn between your cultural beliefs and your scientific ones. These conflicting loyalties can often be maintained for a time, but as examples from both history and psychological theory illustrate, sooner or later, people have to make a choice between competing loyalties, as no one can maintain a conflicting loyalty or belief system forever.

The first two sentences set the scene and give some hypothetical examples and stakes for the reader to care about.

The third sentence finishes off the intro with the thesis statement, making very clear how the author stands on the issue ("people have to make a choice between competing loyalties, as no one can maintain a conflicting loyalty or belief system forever." )

Paragraphs 2 and 3

Psychological theory states that human beings are not equipped to maintain conflicting loyalties indefinitely and that attempting to do so leads to a state called "cognitive dissonance." Cognitive dissonance theory is the psychological idea that people undergo tremendous mental stress or anxiety when holding contradictory beliefs, values, or loyalties (Festinger, 1957). Even if human beings initially hold a conflicting loyalty, they will do their best to find a mental equilibrium by making a choice between those loyalties—stay stalwart to a belief system or change their beliefs. One of the earliest formal examples of cognitive dissonance theory comes from Leon Festinger's When Prophesy Fails . Members of an apocalyptic cult are told that the end of the world will occur on a specific date and that they alone will be spared the Earth's destruction. When that day comes and goes with no apocalypse, the cult members face a cognitive dissonance between what they see and what they've been led to believe (Festinger, 1956). Some choose to believe that the cult's beliefs are still correct, but that the Earth was simply spared from destruction by mercy, while others choose to believe that they were lied to and that the cult was fraudulent all along. Both beliefs cannot be correct at the same time, and so the cult members are forced to make their choice.

But even when conflicting loyalties can lead to potentially physical, rather than just mental, consequences, people will always make a choice to fall on one side or other of a dividing line. Take, for instance, Nicolaus Copernicus, a man born and raised in Catholic Poland (and educated in Catholic Italy). Though the Catholic church dictated specific scientific teachings, Copernicus' loyalty to his own observations and scientific evidence won out over his loyalty to his country's government and belief system. When he published his heliocentric model of the solar system--in opposition to the geocentric model that had been widely accepted for hundreds of years (Hannam, 2011)-- Copernicus was making a choice between his loyalties. In an attempt t o maintain his fealty both to the established system and to what he believed, h e sat on his findings for a number of years (Fantoli, 1994). But, ultimately, Copernicus made the choice to side with his beliefs and observations above all and published his work for the world to see (even though, in doing so, he risked both his reputation and personal freedoms).

These two paragraphs provide the reasons why the author supports the main argument and uses substantiated sources to back those reasons.

The paragraph on cognitive dissonance theory gives both broad supporting evidence and more narrow, detailed supporting evidence to show why the thesis statement is correct not just anecdotally but also scientifically and psychologically. First, we see why people in general have a difficult time accepting conflicting loyalties and desires and then how this applies to individuals through the example of the cult members from the Dr. Festinger's research.

The next paragraph continues to use more detailed examples from history to provide further evidence of why the thesis that people cannot indefinitely maintain conflicting loyalties is true.

Paragraph 4

Some will claim that it is possible to maintain conflicting beliefs or loyalties permanently, but this is often more a matter of people deluding themselves and still making a choice for one side or the other, rather than truly maintaining loyalty to both sides equally. For example, Lancelot du Lac typifies a person who claims to maintain a balanced loyalty between to two parties, but his attempt to do so fails (as all attempts to permanently maintain conflicting loyalties must). Lancelot tells himself and others that he is equally devoted to both King Arthur and his court and to being Queen Guinevere's knight (Malory, 2008). But he can neither be in two places at once to protect both the king and queen, nor can he help but let his romantic feelings for the queen to interfere with his duties to the king and the kingdom. Ultimately, he and Queen Guinevere give into their feelings for one another and Lancelot—though he denies it—chooses his loyalty to her over his loyalty to Arthur. This decision plunges the kingdom into a civil war, ages Lancelot prematurely, and ultimately leads to Camelot's ruin (Raabe, 1987). Though Lancelot claimed to have been loyal to both the king and the queen, this loyalty was ultimately in conflict, and he could not maintain it.

Here we have the acknowledgement of a potential counter-argument and the evidence as to why it isn't true.

The argument is that some people (or literary characters) have asserted that they give equal weight to their conflicting loyalties. The refutation is that, though some may claim to be able to maintain conflicting loyalties, they're either lying to others or deceiving themselves. The paragraph shows why this is true by providing an example of this in action.

Paragraph 5

Whether it be through literature or history, time and time again, people demonstrate the challenges of trying to manage conflicting loyalties and the inevitable consequences of doing so. Though belief systems are malleable and will often change over time, it is not possible to maintain two mutually exclusive loyalties or beliefs at once. In the end, people always make a choice, and loyalty for one party or one side of an issue will always trump loyalty to the other.

The concluding paragraph summarizes the essay, touches on the evidence presented, and re-states the thesis statement.

How to Write an Argumentative Essay: 8 Steps

Writing the best argumentative essay is all about the preparation, so let's talk steps:

#1: Preliminary Research

If you have the option to pick your own argumentative essay topic (which you most likely will), then choose one or two topics you find the most intriguing or that you have a vested interest in and do some preliminary research on both sides of the debate.

Do an open internet search just to see what the general chatter is on the topic and what the research trends are.

Did your preliminary reading influence you to pick a side or change your side? Without diving into all the scholarly articles at length, do you believe there's enough evidence to support your claim? Have there been scientific studies? Experiments? Does a noted scholar in the field agree with you? If not, you may need to pick another topic or side of the argument to support.

#2: Pick Your Side and Form Your Thesis

Now's the time to pick the side of the argument you feel you can support the best and summarize your main point into your thesis statement.

Your thesis will be the basis of your entire essay, so make sure you know which side you're on, that you've stated it clearly, and that you stick by your argument throughout the entire essay .

#3: Heavy-Duty Research Time

You've taken a gander at what the internet at large has to say on your argument, but now's the time to actually read those sources and take notes.

Check scholarly journals online at Google Scholar , the Directory of Open Access Journals , or JStor . You can also search individual university or school libraries and websites to see what kinds of academic articles you can access for free. Keep track of your important quotes and page numbers and put them somewhere that's easy to find later.

And don't forget to check your school or local libraries as well!

#4: Outline

Follow the five-paragraph outline structure from the previous section.

Fill in your topic, your reasons, and your supporting evidence into each of the categories.

Before you begin to flesh out the essay, take a look at what you've got. Is your thesis statement in the first paragraph? Is it clear? Is your argument logical? Does your supporting evidence support your reasoning?

By outlining your essay, you streamline your process and take care of any logic gaps before you dive headfirst into the writing. This will save you a lot of grief later on if you need to change your sources or your structure, so don't get too trigger-happy and skip this step.

Now that you've laid out exactly what you'll need for your essay and where, it's time to fill in all the gaps by writing it out.

Take it one step at a time and expand your ideas into complete sentences and substantiated claims. It may feel daunting to turn an outline into a complete draft, but just remember that you've already laid out all the groundwork; now you're just filling in the gaps.

If you have the time before deadline, give yourself a day or two (or even just an hour!) away from your essay . Looking it over with fresh eyes will allow you to see errors, both minor and major, that you likely would have missed had you tried to edit when it was still raw.

Take a first pass over the entire essay and try your best to ignore any minor spelling or grammar mistakes—you're just looking at the big picture right now. Does it make sense as a whole? Did the essay succeed in making an argument and backing that argument up logically? (Do you feel persuaded?)

If not, go back and make notes so that you can fix it for your final draft.

Once you've made your revisions to the overall structure, mark all your small errors and grammar problems so you can fix them in the next draft.

#7: Final Draft

Use the notes you made on the rough draft and go in and hack and smooth away until you're satisfied with the final result.

A checklist for your final draft:

  • Formatting is correct according to your teacher's standards
  • No errors in spelling, grammar, and punctuation
  • Essay is the right length and size for the assignment
  • The argument is present, consistent, and concise
  • Each reason is supported by relevant evidence
  • The essay makes sense overall

#8: Celebrate!

Once you've brought that final draft to a perfect polish and turned in your assignment, you're done! Go you!

body_prepared_rsz

Be prepared and ♪ you'll never go hungry again ♪, *cough*, or struggle with your argumentative essay-writing again. (Walt Disney Studios)

Good Examples of Argumentative Essays Online

Theory is all well and good, but examples are key. Just to get you started on what a fully-fleshed out argumentative essay looks like, let's see some examples in action.

Check out these two argumentative essay examples on the use of landmines and freons (and note the excellent use of concrete sources to back up their arguments!).

The Use of Landmines

A Shattered Sky

The Take-Aways: Keys to Writing an Argumentative Essay

At first, writing an argumentative essay may seem like a monstrous hurdle to overcome, but with the proper preparation and understanding, you'll be able to knock yours out of the park.

Remember the differences between a persuasive essay and an argumentative one, make sure your thesis is clear, and double-check that your supporting evidence is both relevant to your point and well-sourced . Pick your topic, do your research, make your outline, and fill in the gaps. Before you know it, you'll have yourself an A+ argumentative essay there, my friend.

What's Next?

Now you know the ins and outs of an argumentative essay, but how comfortable are you writing in other styles? Learn more about the four writing styles and when it makes sense to use each .

Understand how to make an argument, but still having trouble organizing your thoughts? Check out our guide to three popular essay formats and choose which one is right for you.

Ready to make your case, but not sure what to write about? We've created a list of 50 potential argumentative essay topics to spark your imagination.

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How to Write an Argumentative Essay: 101 Guide [+ Examples]

An argumentative essay is a genre of academic writing that investigates different sides of a particular issue. Its central purpose is to inform the readers rather than expressively persuade them. Thus, it is crucial to differentiate between argumentative and persuasive essays.

While composing an argumentative essay, the students have to demonstrate their research and analytical skills. The secret of a successful paper lies behind strong arguments and counterarguments. So, the writer should focus on facts and data rather than personal values and beliefs.

Besides, a good argumentative essay should be structured appropriately:

  • The introduction and conclusion have to create a frame for the entire essay.
  • The body paragraphs are supposed to cover the essential points.
  • Supporting evidence should make a paper more professional and reputable.

Are you still wondering what an argumentative essay is and how to write it? Check out the sections below prepared by our experts . Here, you can find the most valuable info, helpful tips, and useful examples.

📜 Classic Strategy

📋 toulmin strategy, 🗣️ rogerian strategy, ✒️ fill in the blanks, 🔍 edit and proofread, 🔗 references, 📌 argumentative essay in a nutshell.

Are you trying to figure out what an argumentative essay is? It’s a type of academic paper that covers both sides of a given issue. An author can decide whether they aim to present both sides equally or support one side more dynamically.

One of the mistakes among students is the confusion of argumentative and persuasive essays . Do you want to figure out the differences? Take a look at the following table.

Argumentative Essay Persuasive essay
Useful info, credible facts, relevant reasons, appropriate evidence. The mix of data, personal opinion, and emotions.
Presenting credible resources to validate your claims and counterclaims. Providing data from reputable sources, along with your feelings about the given issue, to persuade your reader.

Before writing an argument essay, it would be helpful to choose an appropriate model to rely on. There are three strategies to consider: Classical, Toulmin, and Rogerian.

Look at the following sections and choose the most suitable one for you.

Are you wondering how to write an argumentative essay? Consider using the classical approach. It is the most popular way of composing an argumentative paper.

Under the classical strategy, the author has to follow these rules:

  • research the issue;
  • present both sides;
  • express own opinion;
  • prove the reader the validity of the conclusion.

It is up to the audience to decide whether your position is right or wrong. Yet, you should try to convince the readers of the effectiveness of your opinion.

Usually, the classical argument paper is structured in the following way:

  • Introduction . Use the hook to catch the readers’ attention. State the problem and explain why your topic is relatable to the audience.
  • General background. Introduce the general info and several facts about your issue.
  • Thesis statement . State your position clearly and concisely.
  • The central argument. Provide valid evidence and appropriate examples to support your position. Refer only to reliable sources.
  • Rebuttal . Include a counter paragraph in your essay, presenting the opposing arguments. Provide specific examples to make the reader understand your position. Also, explain to the audience why the counterclaims are incorrect.
  • Conclusion . Synthesize your arguments and counterarguments. Give the readers a question for further investigation of your problem. To make your essay more impressive, compose a memorable concluding sentence.

Toulmin strategy is the most suitable for the discussion of controversial issues. This model aims to find common ground through clear logic and valid evidence. Besides, the Toulmin strategy eliminates unnecessary things and limits the points to agree upon.

An argumentative essay written by the Toulmin model includes the following elements:

  • Claim . A viewpoint that the author aims to prove.
  • Evidence . Supportive facts from reliable resources that highlight the significance of the claim.
  • Warrant . An element that connects the claim and that evidence.
  • Backing . Additional reasoning that underlines the warrant’s validity.
  • Rebuttal . Counterarguments that contradict the author’s position.
  • Qualifier . An additional element (usually, a word or a short phrase) that narrows the claim’s capacity. Several examples of qualifiers: “typically,” “usually,” “occasionally,” etc.
  • Exceptions . Specific limitations that indicate the cases where that claim may not be valid.

Like the Toulmin approach, Rogerian strategy attempts to find common ground between two sides of one issue. However, the technique is slightly different.

The Rogerian model is often used in highly controversial debates when the parties do not accept each other’s position. Thus, the given strategy focuses on finding the agreement by proving the validity of the opposing arguments.

Below, you can find the primary outline for the Rogerian argumentative essay:

  • Introduce the problem. Present the issue clearly and explain why it is worth the readers’ attention.
  • Summarize and analyze the counterarguments. Take into consideration all the possible counterpoints and look at them from different perspectives. Discuss the cases in which the opposing claims could be valid. Demonstrate your open-mindedness. This will make the opposite party more loyal to you.
  • Present your position. After discussing the counterpoints, state your opinion. Convince the audience about the validity of your points.
  • Prove the advantages of your position. Explain to the opposite party how the acceptance and adoption of your points will benefit them.

🧐 How to Write an Argumentative Essay

Before working on your essay, carefully read the assignment. Make sure you understand all the instructor’s requirements and the purpose of the paper.

  • Pay enough attention to the task. Did your professor assign you a topic? Or do you need to choose it yourself ? Make sure you have an idea that will turn into an outstanding essay.
  • Select the strategy you are going to apply. An argumentative essay format will depend on the model you choose to compose your paper. Analyze the issue you will arise and decide what strategy is the most suitable. Is it the Classical model, the Toulmin, or the Rogerian one?

After that, start composing your argumentative essay. Check out the following sections. We have a lot of insightful info to share with you!

📚 Research the Topic

The first step of writing an argumentative paper is an in-depth investigation of the topic. To validate your arguments, you have to refer to credible resources. The essay will look more professional if you use reliable sources in it.

How to research for an argumentative essay.

To research like a professional , do the following:

  • Use only credible sources. You can refer to the books, research articles, materials from academic databases, or Google Scholar. Webpages registered as governmental or educational institutions (.gov, .edu.) and widely-known news websites (New York Times, BBC, CNBC) are also considered appropriate. Avoid using blog posts, outdated materials, and any other data from unreliable sources. You may get into huge trouble, taking information from random websites, since it may be invalid.
  • Pay attention to the publishing date . You may be required to use the sources released no later than five years ago. Yet, it is not always the case, especially when you’re dealing with historical documents. Thus, double-check your instructions regarding recommended sources.
  • Keep your topic in mind. Concentrate on what you are writing about and select the sources for your exact issue. Avoid sources that provide too general information and look for more limited ones. If your idea is World War II’s economic consequences, the history book from ancient times to modern days will not be the best option.
  • Become an expert. Take enough time to investigate the issue you are writing about. Read numerous articles, compare and contrast the scientists’ opinions. Prove your reader that you are a reliable person who selected the best sources.

📝 Outline Your Essay

The majority of students tend to underestimate the power of outlining. Don’t do this! An argumentative essay outline is a helpful tool for planning, structuring, and composing.

Firstly , a well-developed outline helps the writer to put all their thoughts in an appropriate order. None of the essential points will be lost if the student plans the essay before writing.

Secondly , it lets the writer figure out what evidence suits what argument most. Before writing, draft your essay first. Put examples, facts, etc. in the right parts of the paper. Then, write the entire text.

Thirdly , an outline provides a perfect opportunity to change the essay’s parts without rewriting the paper. Are you unsure of specific details? Not a problem. Change them in the outline without ruining the text.

There are essential elements that your outline should contain. Check out the following section to see them.

Introduction

How to start an argumentative essay? First and foremost, include an argumentative essay introduction in your outline.

This part should grab the readers’ attention from the first words. Thus, put enough effort into composing a compelling hook . What can it be? An impressive statistic or an exciting fact? Be creative – decide yourself! But make sure that your intro is catchy enough.

After the hook, introduce your topic’s general background . Prove the readers the significance of your issue and gradually come to the thesis statement .

The concept of studying abroad is becoming increasingly popular in both developed and developing countries. Students around the globe strive to explore the world and broaden their minds, and studying in a foreign country is an excellent opportunity to do so. Such experience may be extremely beneficial because meeting new people and discovering foreign cultures help students to gain valuable knowledge and see the world from a new perspective. However, while presenting significant opportunities for personal growth, it may also bring about some challenges.

Thesis Statement

A thesis is an essential part of your argumentative essay. It should state your position regarding the issue clearly and concisely. Avoid general statements, vague words, and be as specific and possible. Your thesis statement should guide the readers throughout the main points of the paper.

The location of the thesis in the essay plays a crucial role. The most appropriate place for it is the last sentence of the introductory paragraph.

Although students face difficulties such as loneliness while studying abroad, it is a worthy experience to introduce them to new knowledge, people, and culture and promote their independence.

Body Paragraphs

The body of your paper is supposed to develop your position, provide valid evidence and examples. Each paragraph has to focus only on one idea. This will ensure the logical structure of your argumentative essay.

A body paragraph should start from the topic sentence and end with the concluding sentence . Such a frame around every section will make your readers stay concentrated on your ideas and get your opinion.

  • The topic sentence is the first sentence of the passage. It should reflect its point and correspond to the thesis statement.
  • The concluding sentence aims to wrap up the author’s thoughts. Thus, make sure that the last sentence of a paragraph is insightful enough.

Each body paragraph should include an argument (or a counterargument) with supporting evidence. Get your proof from credible sources and ensure that it directly corresponds to the point.

An example of a topic sentence :

The benefits of education abroad are almost innumerable, prominent examples being gaining new knowledge, making friends with people who have different mindsets, and discovering new cultures.

An example of a concluding sentence:

Participants of student exchange programs usually return more driven and eager to develop both themselves and their country.

A conclusion plays a critical role in understanding the entire paper. It summarizes the body and leaves the final impression. Besides, it may push the readers on further investigation of the issue.

  • To make your argumentative essay conclusion powerful, it is not enough just to summarize the arguments. It has to synthesize your ideas and show the connection between them. In other words, your points should be summarized and analyzed.
  • Moreover, a conclusion refers to the thesis statement . A mere restatement of the central idea is not the most successful way of finishing your paper. You should try to develop it to demonstrate the reason you’ve written the previous paragraphs.

One more tip:

  • Give the audience an incentive to explore the topic more in-depth. Insert the questions for further investigation at the end of your essay. It would play a significant role in making an impressive conclusion.

To sum up, studying abroad is beneficial as it helps a person evolve and perceive a world from new perspectives. It is an opportunity for a participant to explore the world, meet new people, gain valuable knowledge and experience, and broaden their horizons. Education abroad might pose problems like homesickness, loneliness, and trouble with getting accustomed to a new environment. However, all of them can be easily overcome if a student is flexible and eager to become autonomous and independent.

The list of references is a crucial part of any argumentative essay. It should contain all the sources the writer uses in the paper.

Before organizing your reference list , double-check your argumentative essay format. Is it written in MLA, APA, or maybe in Chicago style? How many references does the professor expect you to include? What kind of sources are you required to use?

After figuring out these issues, move to the format requirements of the writing style you use for your paper. The most popular ones are APA (7th edition), MLA, and ChicagoAD (author-date) styles. Below, you can find the examples of a reference for the same book in different formatting styles.

Style
StructureLast name, First initial. Middle initial. (Year). Publisher.
ExampleClifton, L. (1996). . Copper Canyon Press.
Style
StructureLast Name, First Name. Publisher, Publication Date.
ExampleClifton, Lucille. . Copper Canyon Press, 1996.
Style
StructureAuthor’s Last Name, First Name. Year of Publication. Publisher’s Location: Publisher’s Name.
ExampleClifton, Lucille. 1993. . Washington: Copper Canyon Press.

Did you develop a good outline? Congratulations! You are almost done with the essay. Now, you need to fill in the blanks and create a final version of your paper. Here is where you need to demonstrate a high level of your writing skills.

  • Make sure your paper has no logical fallacies. Information from an untrustworthy source, a hasty generalization, or a false conclusion may put your reliability as an author under threat. So double-check all the data you include in your essay. Moreover, make sure all your statements are well-developed and supported by valid evidence.
  • Check your argumentative essay structure . All the arguments should refer to the thesis statement and must be presented in the logical sequence. The supporting evidence and examples have to be inserted in the text logically, according to the arguments.
  • Pay enough attention to the citations. References and in-text citations are incredibly tricky. Always check every detail according to your essay format. If you are unsure of specific issues, refer to a citation guide and make your paper free of formatting mistakes.
  • Ensure the coherence of your argumentative essay. Often, the paper’s material seems raw only because it is presented without a logical connection. To ensure a smooth connection between the ideas, use transitions between the paragraphs and linking words inside them. Insert them in the text to connect the points. As a result, you will have a coherent essay with the logical flow of the arguments.

A list of linking words for an argumentative essay.

The final step of your writing process is editing and proofreading. Although it is not that energy and time consuming, it still plays a critical role in the work’s success.

While writing your argumentative paper, plan your time accordingly. This will provide you with an opportunity to polish your essay before submitting it. And take a look at our checklist and always use it to improve your papers:

  • NO first and second person. Use only the third person in your argumentative essay. It is a general requirement for any kind of academic paper.
  • NO slang. The word choice is an essential part of the essay writing process. Ensure you use only formal vocabulary and avoid using informal language (jargon, slang, etc.).
  • NO unchecked words. Sometimes, words can raise questions and lead to misunderstandings. If you are unsure whether the term is used appropriately, double-check its meaning or replace it with another.
  • NO plagiarism. While proofreading, make sure your citations are either properly paraphrased or taken in quotation marks. You can change the sentence structure to avoid plagiarism.
  • NO minor mistakes. Grammar, spelling, punctuation play a crucial role. Want to make your paper look professional? Make sure it is free of minor mistakes then.

Argumentative Essay Topics

  • Should student-athletes benefit from sports?
  • Do celebrities really have influence on people behavior?
  • Will decriminalization of drugs increase drug menace?
  • Does social and environmental reporting promote organizations’ financial success? 
  • Should online learning be promoted?
  • Can space exploration resolve human problems?
  • Is success really the outcome of hard work?
  • Is there discrimination against women in sports?
  • Will banning tobacco sales promote public health?
  • Is euthanasia a clemency?  
  • Should college education be free and accessible for every student?
  • Should football be banned for being too dangerous? 
  • Is it time to change social norms?
  • Should public servants’ strikes be prohibited?
  • Does media create a negative image of ageing and older people?
  • Is capitalism the best economic system?  
  • Can children under 18 make an appropriate decision on getting tattoo ?
  • Should net neutrality be protected? 
  • Can an improper use of social media provoke a family crisis?
  • Is it right to use animals in biomedical research?  
  • Does the climate change affect our indoor environment?
  • Are children’s crimes a result of poor parenting?
  • Should health care be universal?
  • Does the increased use of technology hurt students’ efficiency?
  • Is transformative education a key to the system modernization?
  • Why should patients have access to truthful information? 
  • How does language barrier affect health care access?
  • Would allowing adoption by same-sex couples benefit the country’s child welfare system?
  • Is spanking children a proper way to improve their behavior?
  • Does gun control law lowers crime rates?
  • Will ban on spamming improve users’ internet experience?  
  • Should behavior be made illegal because it’s immoral?
  • Is globalization really a progress?  
  • Does aid to developing countries bring more harm than good?
  • Can parents improve children mental health by restricting internet use ?
  • Is trusting our senses the best way to get the truth?
  • Why parents should not have the right to choose their children based on genetics. 
  • Is college education really worth it?
  • Will wearing a body camera by police officer enhance public trust?    
  • Immigration: a benefit or a threat?  
  • Is it a duty of adult children to take care of their elderly parents?
  • Should abortions be legal?
  • Are agents an integral part of professional sports?
  • Will ban of cellphones while driving decrease the car accident rates?
  • Should marijuana be legal for medical use?  
  • Is veganism diet universally beneficial?  
  • Should museums return artefacts?
  • Is water birth beneficial for women’s health?
  • Will paying people to stay healthy benefit the nation in the long-term perspective?  
  • Is obesity a disease or a choice?

It is up to you to decide how many parts to include in your essay. However, the 5 paragraph structure is the most appropriate model for an argumentative paper. So, write an introduction, a conclusion, and three body paragraphs.

The pronoun “you” is acceptable for informal writing. Yet, in academic papers, avoid using the second person. The same situation is with the first person. Generally, academic papers require the use of the third person.

A hook aims to grab the readers’ attention. Thus, you could start your essay with an interesting fact about your issue. Another way to create a catchy hook is to prove the audience the relatability of your topic. Make the readers want to explore your essay by demonstrating the significance of your issue.

Yes, you can. A question might become a compelling hook. Just make sure that it is profound, thought-provocative, and concise. A too broad or complicated question will only confuse your readers.

A title is an essential part of the essay since it causes the first impression. While selecting a heading, take into consideration the following points:

1. The title must be catchy.

2. It has to be not too long (5-12 words).

3. The title has to reflect the topic of the paper.

4. It should not be too complicated: the simpler – the better.

Thank you for visiting our page! We hope the information was helpful and insightful. Do you have friends who seek help with writing an argumentative essay? Share our article with them. And don’t forget to leave your comments!

  • Sample Argument Essays: Mesa Community College
  • Argument: The Writing Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Tips on How to Write an Argumentative Essay: Grace Fleming, ThoughtCo
  • Tips for Organizing an Argumentative Essay: Judith L., Beumer Writing Center, Valparaiso University
  • Argumentative Essay: Oya Ozagac, Bogazici University, Online Writing Lab
  • Argumentative Essays: Purdue Online Writing Lab, College of Liberal Arts, Purdue University
  • How to Write an Argumentative Essay Step by Step: Virginia Kearney, Owlcation
  • Counterargument: Gordon Harvey for the Writing Center at Harvard University
  • Basic Steps in the Research Process: North Hennepin Community College, Minnesota
  • How to Recognize Plagiarism, Overview: School of Education, Indiana University Bloomington
  • 15 Steps to Good Research: Georgetown University Library
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An old photograph of Russell Lee Maze with his son on a beige background.

He Was Sent to Prison for Killing His Baby. What if He Didn’t Do It?

Flawed science helped convict Russell Maze more than 20 years ago. The D.A.’s office now says it got it wrong. Why is he still behind bars?

Russell Lee Maze with his son, Alex, in 1999. Credit... Jamie Chung for The New York Times. Source photograph: Kaye Maze.

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By Pamela Colloff

Pamela Colloff is a staff writer at the magazine and a reporter at ProPublica, covering criminal justice. She frequently writes about the factors that lead to wrongful convictions, including junk forensic science.

  • Published July 11, 2024 Updated July 12, 2024, 1:57 p.m. ET

Sunny Eaton never imagined herself working at the district attorney’s office. A former public defender, she once represented Nashville’s least powerful people, and she liked being the only person in a room willing to stand by someone when no one else would. She spent a decade building her own private practice, but in 2020, she took an unusual job as the director of the conviction-review unit in the Nashville D.A.’s office. Her assignment was to investigate past cases her office had prosecuted and identify convictions for which there was new evidence of innocence.

Listen to this article, read by Julia Whelan

The enormousness of the task struck her on her first day on the job, when she stood in the unit’s storage room and took in the view: Three-ring binders, each holding a case flagged for evaluation, stretched from floor to ceiling. The sheer number of cases reflected how much the world had changed over the previous 30 years. DNA analysis and scientific research had exposed the deficiencies of evidence that had, for decades, helped prosecutors win convictions. Many forensic disciplines — from hair and fiber comparison to the analysis of blood spatter, bite marks, burn patterns, shoe and tire impressions and handwriting — were revealed to lack a strong scientific foundation, with some amounting to quackery. Eyewitness identification turned out to be unreliable. Confessions could be elicited from innocent people.

Puzzling out which cases to pursue was not easy, but Eaton did her best work when she treaded into uncertain territory. Early in her career, as she learned her way around the courthouse, she felt, she says, like “an outsider in every way — a queer Puerto Rican woman with no name and no connections.” That outsider sensibility never completely left her, and it served her well at the D.A.’s office, where she was armed with a mandate that required her to be independent of any institutional loyalties. She saw her job as a chance to change the system from within. Beneath the water-stained ceiling of her new office, she hung a framed Toni Morrison quote on the wall: “The function of freedom is to free someone else.”

If Eaton concluded that a conviction was no longer supported by the evidence, she was expected to go back to court and try to undo that conviction. The advent of DNA analysis, and the revelations that followed, did not automatically free people who were convicted on debunked evidence or discredited forensics. Many remain locked up, stuck in a system that gives them limited grounds for appeal. In the absence of any broad, national effort to rectify these convictions, the work of unwinding them has fallen to a patchwork of law-school clinics, innocence projects and, increasingly, conviction-review units in reform-minded offices like Nashville’s. Working with only one other full-time attorney, Anna Hamilton, Eaton proceeded at a ferocious pace, recruiting law students and cajoling a rotating cast of colleagues to help her.

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  1. Argumentative Essays

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  5. Identifying Argumentative Essay Topics

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  1. Argumentative Essay Outline

    Step 1: Choose a Topic and Develop a Thesis Statement. The first step in writing an outline is selecting a clear, debatable topic that interests you and is relevant to your audience. Check out our argumentative essay topics blog for a wealth of ideas. Once you have your topic, you need to develop a thesis statement.

  2. PDF Argumentative Essay Outline Blank Template

    A. Re-‐state Topic 1. B. Re-‐state Topic 2. C. Re-‐state Topic 3. Concluding Statement: Peer Editing Notes and Comments.

  3. PDF Argumentative Essay Outline

    Argumentative Essay Outline (Claim) Directions: Use this outline as a "road map" to write your essay. If you need more examples or sentence starters, use page 2 to help you! 1) Introduction/Claim (One paragraph) • Start with a hook or attention getting sentence.

  4. PDF Argumentative Essay Outline Fill In The Blank

    Argumentative Essay Outline Fill In The Blank Introduction: 1. Hook: (Start with an attention-grabbing sentence or question) _____ 2. Background Information: (Briefly introduce the topic and its significance) 3. Thesis Statement: (State your position and main arguments) _____ Body Paragraphs: Paragraph 1: 1. Topic Sentence: (Introduce first argument or reason supporting your thesis)

  5. How to Create a Powerful Argumentative Essay Outline

    Putting together an argumentative essay outline is the perfect way to turn your blank document into a ready-to-use template. All you have to do is fill 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 started.

  6. PDF ARGUMENT ESSAY OUTLINE I. Introduction

    ARGUMENT ESSAY OUTLINE. ___. Paragraph 4 - Reason #3 and EvidenceContinue with Reason #4 and so on if needed b.

  7. PDF Argumentative Essay Writing

    Matthew Barbee, 2015 1 Name_____ Class_____ In an argumentative essay, your job is make the reader agree with your opinion about a controversial topic. You have to (1) state your opinion, (2) give reasons to support your opinion, and (3) argue against the opposite opinion. Overall, you must convince the audience that your side of the

  8. PDF Essay Outline Template

    Offer some more specific background information (as needed). 3. Provide the title of the piece and the author's name if the essay is about a specific book/poem/article/passage. C. Thesis Statement 1. State your topic and position. Remember that a thesis = claim + reasons. 2. Outline your main points and ideas.

  9. Simple Argumentative Essay Outline Template

    When writing an argumentative essay outline, it's important to have all your facts straight. More than any other type of essay, you need to have solid and verifiable sources. Read on to learn more!

  10. PDF argumentative essay guide

    argumentative essay guide Think Outline & & research intro Whether it is an introductory English course or a graduate level class, many courses require the ability to write an argumentative paper. The types of argumentative papers may vary, but there are some important questions to ask before beginning to write any of these types of papers.

  11. PDF HOW TO WRITE AN ARGUMENTATIVE ESSAY

    4. Write a rough draft. Now at last you are ready to start writing your paper. Start with a short introduction paragraph and then use your outline to draft the body and conclusion. Don't forget to begin each paragraph in the body with a topic sentence that conveys the main argument of that paragraph.

  12. Templates for structuring argumentative essays with practice exercises

    Imagine that you have been asked to write an argumentative essay about physical education in the Canadian high school system. Use one of the templates suggested to write a thesis statement about this topic. view solutions. In the pages that follow, I will argue that physical education in the Canadian high school system has been largely ...

  13. Argumentative Essay

    When preparing to compose a good argumentative essay, utilize the following steps: Step 1: Select a topic. Step 2: Identify a position. Step 3: Locate appropriate resources. Step 4: Identify evidence supporting the position.(NOTE: If there is little evidence in support of the claim, consider re-examining the main argument.)Steps to write an argumentative essay

  14. How to Write an Essay Outline

    Revised on July 23, 2023. An essay outline is a way of planning the structure of your essay before you start writing. It involves writing quick summary sentences or phrases for every point you will cover in each paragraph, giving you a picture of how your argument will unfold. You'll sometimes be asked to submit an essay outline as a separate ...

  15. 37 Outstanding Essay Outline Templates (Argumentative, Narrative

    Essay outlines can be used for any college essay, research papers, a contrast essay, speech writing, or an expository essay. There are a range of essay outline templates to use, and they vary depending on the style of essay you are writing. These include: Argumentative essay outline. Narrative essay outline. Contrast essay outline.

  16. How to Write an A+ Argumentative Essay

    Remember the differences between a persuasive essay and an argumentative one, make sure your thesis is clear, and double-check that your supporting evidence is both relevant to your point and well-sourced. Pick your topic, do your research, make your outline, and fill in the gaps. Before you know it, you'll have yourself an A+ argumentative ...

  17. How to Write an Argumentative Essay: 101 Guide [+ Examples]

    Secondly, it lets the writer figure out what evidence suits what argument most. Before writing, draft your essay first. Put examples, facts, etc. in the right parts of the paper. Then, write the entire text. Thirdly, an outline provides a perfect opportunity to change the essay's parts without rewriting the paper.

  18. PDF The Basic Five Paragraph Essay: Format and Outline Worksheet

    There is an Outline worksheet on the back of this page to help you start planning the content, order and organization of your essay. Paragraph 1: Introduction -- If possible, open with an attention-getting device to interest the reader (perhaps a quote or question). Introduce the topic of your essay in general, and present some context for this ...

  19. Persuasive Essay Outline

    A persuasive essay outline serves as a blueprint for your entire essay. It ensures that your essay is well-structured, logically sound, and, most importantly, persuasive. At its core, a persuasive essay aims to convince the reader of a particular viewpoint or argument. Your outline is the tool that helps you achieve this goal effectively.

  20. 7 Essay Outline Templates to Get Your Essay Going

    It will help you explain your topic using facts, evidence, and analysis—all of which will help you showcase the larger significance at hand. 5. Persuasive essay outline. Download the template! Prove it to me. A persuasive essay's goal is to convince your readers that your viewpoint is the right one.

  21. Argumentative Essay: Fill-in-the-Blank Outline (Graphic Organizer)

    Argumentative Essays are important to an ELA curriculum because they are a focus of the Common Core Standards. This resource is a generic outline that can help middle school student organize an argumentative essay on any topic. On the left side, there are prompts which match up to corresponding, color-coded blank spaces on the right side, where ...

  22. Argumentative Essay Outline Fill In The Blank

    1. Read the instructions carefully: Make sure you understand what information you need to provide in the fill-in form blanks. 2. Gather the necessary information: Before you start filling out the form, make sure you have all the information you need. 3. Fill in the form: Enter your information into the form.

  23. He Was Sent to Prison for Killing His Baby. What if He Didn't Do It?

    That case had included the persuasive power of DNA evidence, something she was painfully aware, at that moment, that the Maze case lacked. The state's opening statement would be delivered by Funk.