Different types of arguments

Modern American Five Part Essay

As a teaching tool, these arguments are often about students learning to support claims with evidence.

  • Intro: Hook and thesis
  • Point One: First claim & support
  • Point Two: Second claim & support
  • Point Three: Third claim and support
  • Conclusion: Implications or future & restate thesis

This type of argument is readily adaptable in terms of size, argument, and application, but it is not the only option available.

Classical Western Argument

Remember that these arguments were often directed toward two (not mutually exclusive) purposes: persuading an audience of the wisdom of an argument or revealing/understanding ‘capital-T truths.’

Five main parts:

  • Introduction, which warms up the audience, establishes goodwill and rapport with the readers, and announces the general theme or thesis of the argument.
  • The narration, which summarizes relevant background material, provides any information the audience needs to know about the environment and circumstances that produce the argument, and set up the stakes–what’s at risk in this question.
  • The confirmation, which lays out in a logical order (usually strongest to weakest or most obvious to most subtle) the claims that support the thesis, providing evidence for each claim. (DEPENDS ON AUDIENCE)
  • The refutation and concession, which looks at opposing viewpoints to the writer’s claims, anticipating objections from the audience, and allowing as much of the opposing viewpoints as possible without weakening the thesis.
  • The summation, which provides a strong conclusion, amplifying the force of the argument, and showing the readers that this solution is the best at meeting the circumstances.

Toulmin Argument

Remember that the point of a Toulmin argument is often to assemble the strongest evidence in support of the claims being made. In short, the best argument wins.

  • Parts: Data, Claim, Warrant, Qualifiers, Rebuttal, Backing
  • Structure (point by point in each section):
    • Introduction of the problem or topic: hook, introduce problem/topic, introduce claim w/ qualifiers.
    • Data in support of claims
    • Explore warrants: connections between claims and data
    • Factual backing to show logic is real and theoretically sound
    • Discuss counter-arguments and provide rebuttal
    • Conclusion: implications, summation, evocative thought

Rogerian Argument

The Rogerian argument is designed to find the best possible solution based on the needs and interests of those involved, in short some version of consensus.

Essay Structure for a Rogerian Argument

  • Works to build understanding between opposing viewpoint by acknowledging that a subject can be looked at from different standpoints.
  • Introduction: Acknowledge and provide fair assessment of opposing argument.
  • Acknowledgment of the Opposition: Builds trust through acknowledgment and identification of merit in opposing argument.
  • State Your Thesis: Your thesis is the position you are taking regarding the essay’s subject.
  • Support Your Thesis: Explain why your thesis is valid and shows deep inquiry.
  • Conclusion: Benefits of your argument, even if it cannot solve the entire problem (say so, if this is the case), and recognize more work to be done.

Contributor: William J Macauley Jr, PhD