Argument & Persuasion
examples of outline organizational strategies
example completed outlines
example completed essay
Argumentative Paragraph
Wiring an argumentative paragraphs employees all the same techniques employed in writing an argumentative essay ;howevr, it is not as involved an argument. It may focus on one aspect of an argument to promote, or it may give an overview with some good support. The MI clearly states the author's position on the debate. Some support is added.
see: Examples of argumentative paragraphs

Argumentative Essays
To convince a reader that your side of a debatable issue is the better one.

Some Methods
logic, emotion, ethics, morals, intelligence, anything that will convince the reader.

Be sure to:
* Acknowledge the other side. (without degrading the thinking - respect your opposition - it will help your argument)
* Refute the other side - anticipate the opposing argument and show how to debunk it.
* Do not insult or be sarcastic - this will weaken your argument.
* Be sure to support your opinions with development (as with any other essay)

There are several ways to argue a point, depending on the topic.  Considerations on what to include
Audience and Purpose: To whom is your argument directed?

                                    What do you want to accomplish?

Background: Why is your issue important?

                   What is the history of the issue or problem?

                    What is the scope of the issue you will deal with?

 Introduction: How can you capture the reader’s attention? (A startling statistic or fact?

                    Narration of a pertinent incident?  Other? See EXP handout.)


Necessary components
What is the argument?

Be sure the reader knows what you are arguing about before taking a side to support
Brief Summaries of each side
t is helpful to a reader to understand both sides; therefore, writing a brief summary of each side is required.
What is your position on the issue in a concise and clearly stated sentence?
Proof to support your position

Examples of possible organizational strategies
(When writing the actual outline everything must be in complete sentences)

Example Strategy 1

Argument: What evidence, facts, proof, or reasoning do you have to support your

                   position on the issue?


A.     Your stronger argument:

B.     Your strong argument:

C.     Your strongest argument:


Refutation: What are the objections which oppose your position on the issue? How do

                   you show opposing arguments are faculty or invalid, or that your position is


A.     Opposing argument:

Your refutation:

B.     Opposing argument:

Your refutation:

C.     Opposing argument:

Your refutation:


Conclusion: Restate your position.  What are the implications of your argument? What do

                    You want the reader to believe or to do?  What strong ethical or emotional

                    Appeal might be convincing?

Example Strategy 2

 I. Broad theme for your catchy hook (avoid “Have you ever . . .”)

A.    Identify how your specific topic relates to “justice”

B.     List reasons why this topic is important

C.     Identify the topic’s place in history

D.    Identify “general” aspects of the topic; do NOT give specifics

E.     Identify the various positions (for and against)

THESIS STATEMENT: the only complete sentence in your outline (not a question); this should focus your argument and clearly present your position on the topic


II. Background about the issue

           A.   What it is

           B.   Beginnings in American “history”

                       1. when it first became an issue

                       2. how it has evolved as an issue

                       3. where “it stands” today

           C.   Why it is a controversial topic


III. State the position opposite of yours (clear topic sentence – not catchy hook or question)

A.   1st Reason people feel this way   

1. Specific evidence or example or statistic

2. Explain why this may be true BUT . . .

B.   2nd reason people feel this way

1. Specific evidence or example or statistic

2. Explain why this may be true BUT . . .

C.   Analysis of the contrary position – transitions to your position


IV. State your position as fact (needs clear topic sentence – not a catchy hook or question)

A.   1st Reason people feel this way   

1. Specific evidence or example or statistic

2. Explain why this is true

B.   2nd reason people feel this way

1. Specific evidence or example or statistic

2. Explain why this is true


V. Your Synthesizing Statement/Conclusion (do not include details in your conclusion)

A.    Synthesize specific causes of controversy, overview of topic (highlight)

B.     Transition from specific to “general” – how this specific topic has lasting effects

C.     Give your opinion about how the general effects impact injustice/justice

D.     Consider – concluding with your opinion or a “call to action”



Examples of completed outlines

example 1
Thesis: Marriage should be open to the homosexual couples that seek matrimony.

I Same sex marriage greatly benefits society and the homosexuals it serves.  
As demonstrated by a number of prominent American studies, same sex marriage benefits society economically and psychologically
   B. Economically: millions of dollars are spent on marriage licenses and the state may use such funds to better itself; married couple taxes
        are applicable as well
   C. Psychologically: Lesbians and gays in states that legalize gay marriage have notably low rates of alcohol consumption, mood swings and
       generalized anxiety disorder when compared alongside states that do ban gay marriage
       1. Alcohol consumption and mood swings, when unchecked, may lead to unnecessary crime; reduced drinking and psychological disorder rates
           helps make society safer
   D. American Psychological Association advocates these statistics promote the need for same sex marriage legalization
        1. Same sex marriage does not undermine or clash with traditional marriage.
        2. Same sex marriage legalization, as demonstrated by Massachusetts’ leading example, has reduced divorce rates by a staggering 21% across
             the state
        3. American Anthropological Association, through its own study conducted in 2004 ("Statement on Marriage and the Family”) found no evidence
            that same sex marriages increased divorce rates of heterosexuals or increased out of wedlock births
        4. Data found actually promotes same sex marriage through the benefits of various family types within communities

     E. Same sex marriage does not lead to stealing of heterosexual males and females from stable relationships; this connection does not have concrete
        1. Same sex marriage should be allowed to ensure America’s gay community is not discriminated against
        2. Allowing one group more rights over another will likely lead to discrimination between the two groups
            a. Heterosexuals may feel homosexuals are less American than they are because heterosexuals are able to marry while homosexuals are not
     F. First Amendment rights state that individuals have the freedom to express themselves as they see fit
         1. May be applied to same sex marriage through homosexual’s freedom to be attracted to whichever gender they choose

example 2
Thesis: Steroid use in sports is a risk to the health of the institution as well as the players.

    I Argument: Steroid use presents more risks than benefits.
  Sports celebrate life and are a showcase of human ability, keeping athletes as safe as possible while playing sports is a primary concern.
                1. Safety equipment requirements, even in the face of a little sacrificed ability, in various sports show this to be true
                     a. Soccer players could run faster without shin guards
 Football players could run faster without pads and see the ball better without facemasks
                     c.  Steroids present too much of safety risk to be allowed, even if their use can improve ability.
                2.  Keeping athletes safe is in the best interest of sports.
 More big name players make for a more interesting game.
                     e. Injured players can’t participate
                     f. The risks may keep people from playing and even reaching a professional level.
 Steroid use in professional sports is alienating.
                1.  Since it is illegal, players may not fully disclose use to doctors putting them at risk for ineffective treatments if negative symptoms arise.
2.  Further removes athletes from  observes.
      II. Refutation: The use of steroids in professional sports does more harm than good and should remain banned despite arguments to the contrary.
  There is not enough research to confirm negative health consequences of steroid use.
                1. Refutation:  The risks presented are grave enough to limit steroid use while further research is being conducted.
                    a.  Deformation
                    b.  mood swings, depression
                    c.  cancer
                    d.  death
  Sports are for entertainment and players using performance enhancing steroids are more entertaining.
1. Refutation: Performance enhancing steroid use is illegal, condoning steroid use is condoning an illegal activity.
2. Beyond the health risks of use, there are risks involved with obtaining and distributing steroids
                      a.  Potential fines and jail time
                      b.  interactions with drug dealers
                      c.  Funding illegal activities
d.   Little to no protection from the law for deals gone wrong
 Sports have not been practiced by pure humans for a while, so excluding steroids is nonsensical.
                  1. advances in technology, training, nutrition.

2.  Refutation: Steroids should continue to be banned in professional sports so they do not become a requirement to compete at a
                       professional level, the boundary has to be set somewhere
example 3
Thesis: Magazines filled with mostly sickly looking fashion models are harmful images to perceive as ideal and can create a negative body image for some woman.

1.       I. Magazine editors and fashion enthusiasts contribute too many women’s self-confidence issues.

A.    Many people see fashion models as how society should look

B.    Editors do not realize the impact some images can have on the consumers

C.    By displaying size zero models in these clothes, it promotes an unethical idea for woman and men

D.    Sometimes people do not notice what is being advertised because they are too busy focusing on the impeccable model underneath the clothes and jewelry

                                          1.    In reality though they  are ultra-thin and an unnatural image for the public

                                          2.    Some believe that being this size will help to looks best clothes

a.    But beauty is not as narrow; women of all sizes and shapes have something special about them.

2.        II. Many magazine covers constantly relate size with being happy.

A.    If an individual is not a double zero, its normal to be unhappy

B.    Magazine have an abundance of contradictions

C.    To these companies sponsoring magazines, they are after money

                                          1.    Health magazine showcase how to lose weight and feel great but then advertise harmful weigh loss drugs

                                         2.    These magazines will also elucidate the dangers diets can bring about

                                         3.    Cosmopolitan has many articles how to enjoy your life with sex, drinking and cosmetic surgery but don’t express any risks involved with each category

a.    These companies do not care if they are putting someone’s mental/ physical health at risk

b.    What looks good sells

3.        III. The fashion world sometimes displays standards that are hard for the average person to meet.

A.    Evidence shows that in the last 50 years models have gotten smaller

B.    On the runaway and also in magazines not only to stand out but to make their products sell

C.    Not all celebrities look the way there portrayed in magazines

D.    Tiny models bodies are being manipulated as it is to alter perfection even more (no wonder so many models acquire mental illnesses)

                                          1.    Many models in magazines are airbrushed and digitally altered (not everyone is aware of this)—I only found out through research

4.   i        IV.  Some fashion models torture and deprive themselves to stay ultra-thin, to the majority of these models maintaining this
         size is even worth death. 

A.    A 21 year old fashion model Ana Carolina Reston seemed to be a model who had everything under control

B.    In reality she had become obsessed with staying this ultra-thin size

C.    She was starving herself eating only apples and tomatoes  and died at 88 lbs. all with hopes to become a the IT girl

D. This tragedy itself should have displayed a message to the fashion industry about the impact that really does come from this field


Example Completed Argumentation Essay
Issue: Obama care (medical coverage for all Americans) - will it be good for the country? (either yes or no - right?)
Ok - let's say we take the negative side.
As with any essay be sure to engage your reader with something to garner interest. Don't state the obvious or  a standard dictionary definition, or something everybody knows. Here are some possibilities: an anecdote, interesting background, provocative questions, a scenario, importance of the issue, etc. Be sure to include include  exactly what the issue is about & exactly what side you are going to support and convince the reader to accept. (doesn't have to be in the intro - but that is very good place for it, so the reader knows what's coming)
Sample Introduction
     An elderly woman experiencing heart palpitations enters an emergency room and is told to take a seat in the waiting area. There are several dozen others reading newspapers, flipping through emails and text messages, and others behind her in line. After some time her name is eventually called, and she is ushered into an examination room. With a quick look the young doctor explains that she needs an EKG (Electrocardiography) test; however, because of her age, under PPAC  (Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act "Obama Care") she is not eligible to receive it. He gently explains that it is up to the government to decide who receives what, and they do it on an expectation of success, usefulness, and cost effectiveness. In simple terms they seem to asking, is it a good investments? The poor woman is old and does not have a long life expectancy. An expensive EKG is not a good investment on her. She is sent home with some aspirins and told to relax more.. This sounds like something from a bad movie but could easily be what will happen when Obama care which is scheduled to come into effect within the next two years becomes a reality. Obama care gives the government control of your healthcare! What has the government ever got its hand on that worked well? Because of massive bureaucracy, political pandering, incompetence, disregard for financial overburdening the average taxpayer, and disregard of the freedoms that the constitution guarantees all US citizens, this massive incredibly expensive and intrusive policy is not good for the country.

Sample very rough Outline
THESIS = Obama care will not be good for the country. (that is the author's overall opinion)
MI = It will weaken the quality of medical care for all Americans (idea#1-author's opinion that clearly supports the THESIS)
MI = It will be more costly than the current system (idea#2-author's opinion that clearly supports the THESIS)
MI = It contradicts the constitution and is a sever infringement on American freedom. (idea#3-author's opinion that clearly supports the THESIS)

Now you must support (Develop)  each MI - (NOT WITH MORE IDEAS or OPINIONS - or by saying what should be  - but with convincing argument.

Sample Support
Let's take MI#1 -  It will weaken the quality of medical care for all Americans

     Because the government will decide the cost and payments for all medical attention, doctors will be forced to accept whatever the government decides is fair. Those who are thinking of entering the medical profession may decide against it if they feel their earning capacity will be limited by a huge government bureaucracy. There will be less doctors available, and inferior medical candidates may be the only ones willing to accept this. Furthermore, the most current medical technology may not be available, and Americans may be forced to accept inferior treatment because of the same financial restriction. If those interested in advancing medical technology feel that they will be governed and told how much they can earn, research will not be as vigorous as it is under a free system. Europe has suffered from this problem for decades. Those interested in the best care have always come to America because we have the most competitive medical technology and parishioners. Why? Because they are free to govern their own actions and earn a fair amount, not decided upon by a political machine. Years ago, when visiting London, I stopped in on my friend who is a dentist. I just had a dental procedure that was fairly advanced, and I showed it to her. She was shocked and amazed. She read about it but only dreamed of learning it because her government, who operated a social medical system much like Obama care, would not fund research into it, and she was still using techniques that my dentist said where at least 10 years behind the US. I would have never been able to get the best treatment had I lived in London. When Obama care is fully instituted, we can expect this type of problem, so be ready to accept whatever the government decides is best for you! Worse yet, senior citizens may not get required care at all because the treatment they need may not be covered. The government will have a graduation age related scale that only provides treatment to those who have a strong life expectancy that will warrant the cost. They surely will not cover expensive medical procedures for old folks who only have a few more years to live. It is not cost effective for them. Just look to Europe where this has been happening for years. It is not uncommon for seniors to die awaiting or denied treatment. Leaving one's life in the hands of the government which cannot agree on anything, is like playing roulette with the lives of our loved ones. The odds are stacked against us, and we will pay the prices.

Note: The above is an attempt to support the MI - not restate it - no say is should be in effect because I think so - not make a circular argument - it is an attempt to appeal to economics, emotion, & logic based on history and a comparison to a system that has already experienced a similar type of Obama care.

Now you must support the other MI - (NOT WITH MORE IDEAS or OPINIONS - or by saying what should be  - but with convincing argument

When all MI are adequately supported - it is time to wrap it up - write the Conclusion.

Sample Conclusion
The US is the richest most generous country in the world. Quality medical coverage should be available to all Americans. There are many options to "Obama Care" that will not infringe on our constitutional freedoms and not cost the taxpayer more taxes, business lost revenues, and investors diminished income as the current anticipated plan will. One such plan is called "the Pipes Plan." it is the work of Sally Pipes, president of the San Francisco based Passaic Research Institutes. The highlights of this plan include: giving citizens control of picking insurance coverage; opening a national insurance market; and most importantly stopping the government from deciding what is covered and what is not. There are several other plans none of which abridge our constitutional freedoms of choice. If you want to know just how good this plan is, think about our government official's medical coverage. Many of them have special coverage. They are not obligated to accept this plan; and they don't! They choose other coverage that the average person cannot get! Obama care is a huge undertaking that will take charge of about fifteen percent of all the money spent in this country. It will decide who gets care and for what ailments. It will weaken the economy by imposing more taxes and less cooperate dividends, and most critically it will lessen the quality of our medical professionals and their services. Let's all take a deep breath and get the wind back in our sails for freedom and choice. Repel Obama care!


Examples of argumentative paragraphs