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Organizing Argument


Academic year: 2020

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Organizing Your Argument

Purdue OWL staff


What is an


An argument involves the process of…

establishing a claim and then

proving it with the use of

• logical reasoning,

• examples, and


The Importance of


Why is organization important in argument?

Guides an audience through your reasoning process.

Offers a clear explanation of each argued point.



Your Argument

 Title

 Introduction

• Thesis statement

 Body Paragraphs

• Constructing Topic Sentences

• Building Main Points

• Countering the Opposition


Why You Need A


Title: (1) introduces the topic of discussion to the audience and (2) generates reader interest in the argument.

Tip: Use active verbs in titles

For example:

Clean Campus  Cleaning up Campus With


Considering Titles

Imagine you just wrote a paper offering solutions to the problem of road rage.

Which do you consider to be the best title?

Road Rage

Can’t Drive 55


What is an


Introduction: acquaints the reader with the topic and purpose of the paper.

An introduction offers a plan for the ensuing argument:

Introduction: Tell them what you’re going to tell them.

Body: Tell them.


Methods for

Constructing an


 Personal anecdote

 Example—real or hypothetical

 Question

 Quotation

 Shocking statistics


What is a

Thesis Statement?

 It is the most important sentence in your paper.

 It lets the reader know the main idea of the paper.

 It answers the question: “What am I trying to prove?”


Role of the

Thesis Statement

1. The thesis statement should guide your reader through your argument.

2. It is generally located in the introduction of the paper.

3. A thesis statement may also be located within the body of the paper or in the conclusion,


Thesis Practice

Choose a thesis for an argument about the need for

V-chips in television sets?

Parents, often too busy to watch television shows with

their families, can monitor their children’s viewing habits with the aid of the V-chip.

To help parents monitor their children’s viewing habits,

the V-chip should be a required feature for television sets sold in the U.S.

This paper will describe a V-chip and examine the uses


Body Paragraphs and

Topic Sentences

Body paragraphs: (1) build upon the claims made in the introductory paragraph(s); (2) are organized with the use of topic sentences that illustrate the main idea of each paragraph.

Tip: Offering a brief explanation of the history or recent developments of topic within the early body paragraphs can help the audience become


Body Paragraphs


Offering a


Addressing the claims of the opposition is an important component in building a convincing


It demonstrates your credibility as a writer—you have researched multiple sides of the argument and have come to an informed decision.

It shows you have considered other points of view


Locating a


Counterarguments may be located at various locations within your body paragraphs. You may choose to:

 Build each of your main points as a contrast to oppositional claims.




Consider your audience when you offer your counterargument:

Conceding to some of your opposition’s concerns can demonstrate respect for their opinions.


Research in

Body Paragraphs

Researched material can aid you in proving the claims of your argument and disproving

oppositional claims.

Be sure to use your research to support the claims


The Conclusion

Conclusion: Reemphasizes the main points made in your paper.

You may choose to reiterate a call to action or speculate on the future of your topic, when



Where to Go

for More Help

Purdue University Writing Lab, Heavilon 226

Check our web site: http://owl.english.purdue.edu

Email brief questions to OWL Mail:


The End


Purdue OWL staff


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