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Creating an Argument Outline

Although there is no set model of organization for argumentative essays, there are some common patterns that writers might use or that writers might want to combine/customize in an effective way.

For more information on how to create an outline, click here to read Developing an Outline from the Purdue University On-line Writing Lab.

Below are 3 different patterns that you can consider. Also, beneath these are 3 additional outlines that you can print and fill in.

Outline I

Introduction/Thesis-Claim

Body Paragraph 1: Present your 1st point and supporting evidence.

Body Paragraph 2: Present your 2nd point and it's supporting evidence.

Body Paragraph 3: Refute your opposition's first point.

Body Paragraph 4: Refute your opposition's second point.

Conclusion/Restate Thesis

Outline II

Introduction/Thesis-Claim

Body Paragraph 1: Refute your opposition's first point.

Body Paragraph 2: Refute your opposition's second point.

Body Paragraph 3: Present your first point and supporting evidence.

Body Paragraph 4: Present your second point and supporting evidence.

Conclusion/Restate Thesis

Outline III

Introduction/Thesis-Claim

Body Paragraph 1: Present your first point and it's supporting evidence, which also refutes one of your opposition's claims.

Body Paragraph 2: Present your second point and it's supporting evidence, which also refutes a second opposition claim.

Body Paragraph 3: Present your third point and it's supporting evidence, which also refutes a third opposition claim.

Conclusion/Restate Thesis

 

3 Additional Outlines that You Can Print:

Basic 5-Paragraph (Argument) Essay Outline: This outline also serves for other essays such as research papers, or the basic 5-paragraph essay. Highlight-and-print outline to fill in.

Another Argument Essay Outline: This outline asks questions that help you critically think about your topic. Highlight-and-print outline to fill in.

Argument/Research Paper Outline Guide: This outline can help guide you through a series of questions. You can highlight-and-print this outline, but it's not a fill-in-the-blank outline; use it as a guide. Many of my students like to use this outline for both research papers and argumentative papers.

Basic 5-Paragraph (Argument) Essay Outline:

 

Introductory Points and Thesis Statement _______________________________________________________________

__________________________________________________________________________________________________

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Refutation Points (if needed) _________________________________________________________________________

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The major points I wish to make in this essay are:
  1. __________________________________________________________________________________________
A.  ________________________________________________________________________ (Detail or example)

B. _________________________________________________________________________(Detail or example)

C. _________________________________________________________________________(Detail or example)

  1.   ____________________________________________________________________________________

A.  ________________________________________________________________________ (Detail or example)

B. _________________________________________________________________________(Detail or example)

C. _________________________________________________________________________(Detail or example)

  1. _________________________________________________________________________________________

A.  ________________________________________________________________________ (Detail or example)

B. _________________________________________________________________________(Detail or example)

C. _________________________________________________________________________(Detail or example)

Conclusion Points  ________________________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

Another Argument Outline Template

Working Title:  __________________________________________________________________________________

 

Audience and how you plan to appeal to them:___________________________________________________________

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Attention Getter: _________________________________________________________________________________

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Explain the interest in this topic.  What experiences have caused the writer to become interested (careful using 1st person!)?

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Background Information, including history and context for problem: ___________________________________________

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Thesis - Claim: __________________________________________________________________________________

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How you will appeal to Ethos: _______________________________________________________________________

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Refutation or Opposing Arguments (Explain them, explain how and why there may be value in them, and disagree with the parts you believe to be invalid.  Establish common ground): ______________________________________________________________________________________________

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Evidence to support your claim, including appeal to logos, and pathos. (Evidence must come from your sources, both primary and secondary: examples, statistics, facts, studies, testimony, data, etc.)

Reason 1 supporting your claim:____________________________________________________________________

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Reason 2 supporting your claim: ___________________________________________________________________

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Reason 3 supporting your claim:  ___________________________________________________________________

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Do you have a solution to the problem?  (This may or may not be applicable.) How will it work?  What are its advantages?

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What does the future look like without some resolution to this problem?______________________________________

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Creative, thought-provoking closure:_________________________________________________________________

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Argument/Research Paper Outline

Some areas of each Roman Numeral may or may not apply to your essay.

I. INTRODUCTION
*Attention Getter is IMPORTANT
*Next, explain the current situation. What is the world like “as is” in relation to your issue? Why is it important? What drew you to this topic?
*You can include comments and quotations from an informal survey you conducted with people you know, you can also explain how other people you know feel about the subject.
*Mention misconceptions related to your topic, if any.

II.  NARRATION
*Next you need to provide background information.
*What are the details to your problem?
*What is the struggle? Why is it a unique and complicated issue?
*Include examples to illustrate the struggle or issue.


*You can provide official statistics on the problem, current laws related to the topic, or the position the social majority has. This information should be coming from your research.
*Don’t forget to appeal to ETHOS.

III. PARTITION
*Now you need to create a section that CLEARLY establishes your claim. Say to yourself, clear thesis = clear direction, clear thesis = clear direction, clear thesis = clear direction
*Explain the WHY of your thesis in a simple way (i.e. it will solve ____ issue).

IV. ARGUMENTS/ YOUR SIDE OF THE ISSUE
*Introduce the first perspective you are willing to look at. Explain how your solution will help the situation.
*Explore one main side of the issue.
*Provide evidence for any mini claim you make.
*Unpack your evidence.
*Provide more evidence.
*Unpack your evidence some more.

Repeat Step IV as many times as necessary. Keep in mind the length requirements of the essay.

V. REFUTATION & CONCESSION
*Now you need to consider the other side of the issue or the opposing argument.
*As you introduce one refutation point, answer it.
* Provide evidence.
*Unpack your evidence.
*Provide more evidence.
*Unpack your evidence some more.

Step IV & V can be reversed in order, depending on the flow of your paper. Also, your refutation & concession section might be more than one paragraph.

VI. CONCLUSION
*Here is where you review the main points.
*Restate your thesis.
*Call to action. If you haven’t introduced any sort of solution in your essay, perhaps encourage others to become more aware of your topic.
*What does the future look like in relation to your topic?

Helpful Reminders
SANDWICH your quotes: Say what your going to say, Say it (the quote), then say it again. [In other words: Set up your quote, give the quote, and then provide commentary on you quote by answering “why is this quote important?”]