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Writing an Argument: Basic Strategies

Arguing a point is presenting your opinions on an issue as clearly and convincingly as you can. This type of writing is frequently assigned in college courses in the humanities and social sciences. You may want to persuade your readers to adopt your point of view, but even if they don't, you want them to acknowledge that your claim rests on solid evidence and that you have good reasons for the position you take. Writing an argument is a frequent task outside college, too in letters to the press or to government agencies or business organizations, in business reports, and in community service.

Use the following strategies as you prepare to write an argument.


     Keys to Writing an Argument: Claim, Reasons, Evidence

  1. Pick a fresh issue, not a tired one.
  2. Consider what position you will take on the issue.
  3. Think about your readers and the position they are likely to take.
  4. Do basic research and list the arguments on both sides of the issue.
  5. Formulate your claim (thesis): take care not to be simplistic or extreme.
  6. Write a rough outline organizing the points you will include. Do more research as necessary.
  7. Write a draft. Include the reasons for your claim and also include concrete evidence in support of those reasons (facts, statistics, incidents, examples, testimony from experts).
  8. Include opposing views and refute them.
  9. Use valid and reasonable arguments and provide relevant evidence.
  10. Avoid flaws in logic.

See also
Issue and Audience
Claim, Reasons, and Evidence
Methods of Reasoning
Flaws in Logic