Persuasive Essay Body Paragraph Outline Example

Contributors: Allen Brizee.
Summary:

This resource outlines the generally accepted structure for introductions, body paragraphs, and conclusions in an academic argument paper. Keep in mind that this resource contains guidelines and not strict rules about organization. Your structure needs to be flexible enough to meet the requirements of your purpose and audience.

Introductions, Body Paragraphs, and Conclusions for an Argument Paper

The following sections outline the generally accepted structure for an academic argument paper. Keep in mind that these are guidelines and that your structure needs to be flexible enough to meet the requirements of your purpose and audience.

You may also use the following Purdue OWL resources to help you with your argument paper:

Introduction

The introduction is the broad beginning of the paper that answers three important questions:

  1. What is this?
  2. Why am I reading it?
  3. What do you want me to do?

You should answer these questions by doing the following:

  1. Set the context –provide general information about the main idea, explaining the situation so the reader can make sense of the topic and the claims you make and support
  2. State why the main idea is important –tell the reader why he or she should care and keep reading. Your goal is to create a compelling, clear, and convincing essay people will want to read and act upon
  3. State your thesis/claim –compose a sentence or two stating the position you will support with logos (sound reasoning: induction, deduction), pathos (balanced emotional appeal), and ethos (author credibility).

For exploratory essays, your primary research question would replace your thesis statement so that the audience understands why you began your inquiry. An overview of the types of sources you explored might follow your research question.

If your argument paper is long, you may want to forecast how you will support your thesis by outlining the structure of your paper, the sources you will consider, and the opposition to your position. You can forecast your paper in many different ways depending on the type of paper you are writing. Your forecast could read something like this:

First, I will define key terms for my argument, and then I will provide some background of the situation. Next, I will outline the important positions of the argument and explain why I support one of these positions. Lastly, I will consider opposing positions and discuss why these positions are outdated. I will conclude with some ideas for taking action and possible directions for future research.

When writing a research paper, you may need to use a more formal, less personal tone. Your forecast might read like this:

This paper begins by providing key terms for the argument before providing background of the situation. Next, important positions are outlined and supported. To provide a more thorough explanation of these important positions, opposing positions are discussed. The paper concludes with some ideas for taking action and possible directions for future research.

Ask your instructor about what tone you should use when providing a forecast for your paper.

These are very general examples, but by adding some details on your specific topic, a forecast will effectively outline the structure of your paper so your readers can more easily follow your ideas.

Thesis checklist

Your thesis is more than a general statement about your main idea. It needs to establish a clear position you will support with balanced proofs (logos, pathos, ethos). Use the checklist below to help you create a thesis.

This section is adapted from Writing with a Thesis: A Rhetoric Reader by David Skwire and Sarah Skwire:

Make sure you avoid the following when creating your thesis:

  • A thesis is not a title: Homes and schools (title) vs. Parents ought to participate more in the education of their children (good thesis).
  • A thesis is not an announcement of the subject: My subject is the incompetence of the Supreme Court vs. The Supreme Court made a mistake when it ruled in favor of George W. Bush in the 2000 election.
  • A thesis is not a statement of absolute fact: Jane Austen is the author of Pride and Prejudice.
  • A thesis is not the whole essay: A thesis is your main idea/claim/refutation/problem-solution expressed in a single sentence or a combination of sentences.
  • Please note that according to the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, Seventh Edition, "A thesis statement is a single sentence that formulates both your topic and your point of view" (Gibaldi 42). However, if your paper is more complex and requires a thesis statement, your thesis may require a combination of sentences.

Make sure you follow these guidelines when creating your thesis:

  • A good thesis is unified:
    • NOT: Detective stories are not a high form of literature, but people have always been fascinated by them, and many fine writers have experimented with them

(floppy). vs.

  •  
    • BETTER: Detective stories appeal to the basic human desire for thrills (concise).

  • A good thesis is specific:
    • NOT: James Joyce’s Ulysses is very good. vs.

    • BETTER: James Joyce’s Ulysses helped create a new way for writers to deal with the unconscious.

  • Try to be as specific as possible (without providing too much detail) when creating your thesis:
    • NOT: James Joyce’s Ulysses helped create a new way for writers to deal with the unconscious. vs.

    • BETTER: James Joyce’s Ulysses helped create a new way for writers to deal with the unconscious by utilizing the findings of Freudian psychology and introducing the techniques of literary stream-of-consciousness.

Quick Checklist:

_____ The thesis/claim follows the guidelines outlined above

_____ The thesis/claim matches the requirements and goals of the assignment

_____ The thesis/claim is clear and easily recognizable

_____ The thesis/claim seems supportable by good reasoning/data, emotional appeal

Contributors: Allen Brizee.
Summary:

This resource outlines the generally accepted structure for introductions, body paragraphs, and conclusions in an academic argument paper. Keep in mind that this resource contains guidelines and not strict rules about organization. Your structure needs to be flexible enough to meet the requirements of your purpose and audience.

Body Paragraphs

Body paragraphs: Moving from general to specific information

Your paper should be organized in a manner that moves from general to specific information. Every time you begin a new subject, think of an inverted pyramid - The broadest range of information sits at the top, and as the paragraph or paper progresses, the author becomes more and more focused on the argument ending with specific, detailed evidence supporting a claim. Lastly, the author explains how and why the information she has just provided connects to and supports her thesis (a brief wrap-up or warrant).

Image Caption: Moving from General to Specific Information

The four elements of a good paragraph (TTEB)

A good paragraph should contain at least the following four elements: Transition, Topic sentence, specific Evidence and analysis, and a Brief wrap-up sentence (also known as a warrant) –TTEB!

  1. A Transition sentence leading in from a previous paragraph to assure smooth reading. This acts as a hand-off from one idea to the next.
  2. A Topic sentence that tells the reader what you will be discussing in the paragraph.
  3. Specific Evidence and analysis that supports one of your claims and that provides a deeper level of detail than your topic sentence.
  4. A Brief wrap-up sentence that tells the reader how and why this information supports the paper’s thesis. The brief wrap-up is also known as the warrant. The warrant is important to your argument because it connects your reasoning and support to your thesis, and it shows that the information in the paragraph is related to your thesis and helps defend it.

Supporting evidence (induction and deduction)

Induction

Induction is the type of reasoning that moves from specific facts to a general conclusion. When you use induction in your paper, you will state your thesis (which is actually the conclusion you have come to after looking at all the facts) and then support your thesis with the facts. The following is an example of induction taken from Dorothy U. Seyler’s Understanding Argument:

Facts:

There is the dead body of Smith. Smith was shot in his bedroom between the hours of 11:00 p.m. and 2:00 a.m., according to the coroner. Smith was shot with a .32 caliber pistol. The pistol left in the bedroom contains Jones’s fingerprints. Jones was seen, by a neighbor, entering the Smith home at around 11:00 p.m. the night of Smith’s death. A coworker heard Smith and Jones arguing in Smith’s office the morning of the day Smith died.

Conclusion: Jones killed Smith.

Here, then, is the example in bullet form:

  • Conclusion: Jones killed Smith
  • Support: Smith was shot by Jones’ gun, Jones was seen entering the scene of the crime, Jones and Smith argued earlier in the day Smith died.
  • Assumption: The facts are representative, not isolated incidents, and thus reveal a trend, justifying the conclusion drawn.
Deduction

When you use deduction in an argument, you begin with general premises and move to a specific conclusion. There is a precise pattern you must use when you reason deductively. This pattern is called syllogistic reasoning (the syllogism). Syllogistic reasoning (deduction) is organized in three steps:

  1. Major premise
  2. Minor premise
  3. Conclusion

In order for the syllogism (deduction) to work, you must accept that the relationship of the two premises lead, logically, to the conclusion. Here are two examples of deduction or syllogistic reasoning:

Socrates

  1. Major premise: All men are mortal.
  2. Minor premise: Socrates is a man.
  3. Conclusion: Socrates is mortal.

Lincoln

  1. Major premise: People who perform with courage and clear purpose in a crisis are great leaders.
  2. Minor premise: Lincoln was a person who performed with courage and a clear purpose in a crisis.
  3. Conclusion: Lincoln was a great leader.

So in order for deduction to work in the example involving Socrates, you must agree that (1) all men are mortal (they all die); and (2) Socrates is a man. If you disagree with either of these premises, the conclusion is invalid. The example using Socrates isn’t so difficult to validate. But when you move into more murky water (when you use terms such as courage, clear purpose, and great), the connections get tenuous.

For example, some historians might argue that Lincoln didn’t really shine until a few years into the Civil War, after many Union losses to Southern leaders such as Robert E. Lee.

The following is a clear example of deduction gone awry:

  1. Major premise: All dogs make good pets.
  2. Minor premise: Doogle is a dog.
  3. Conclusion: Doogle will make a good pet.

If you don’t agree that all dogs make good pets, then the conclusion that Doogle will make a good pet is invalid.

Enthymemes

When a premise in a syllogism is missing, the syllogism becomes an enthymeme. Enthymemes can be very effective in argument, but they can also be unethical and lead to invalid conclusions. Authors often use enthymemes to persuade audiences. The following is an example of an enthymeme:

If you have a plasma TV, you are not poor.

The first part of the enthymeme (If you have a plasma TV) is the stated premise. The second part of the statement (you are not poor) is the conclusion. Therefore, the unstated premise is “Only rich people have plasma TVs.” The enthymeme above leads us to an invalid conclusion (people who own plasma TVs are not poor) because there are plenty of people who own plasma TVs who are poor. Let’s look at this enthymeme in a syllogistic structure:

  • Major premise: People who own plasma TVs are rich (unstated above).
  • Minor premise: You own a plasma TV.
  • Conclusion: You are not poor.

To help you understand how induction and deduction can work together to form a solid argument, you may want to look at the United States Declaration of Independence. The first section of the Declaration contains a series of syllogisms, while the middle section is an inductive list of examples. The final section brings the first and second sections together in a compelling conclusion.

Contributors: Allen Brizee.
Summary:

This resource outlines the generally accepted structure for introductions, body paragraphs, and conclusions in an academic argument paper. Keep in mind that this resource contains guidelines and not strict rules about organization. Your structure needs to be flexible enough to meet the requirements of your purpose and audience.

Rebuttal Sections

In order to present a fair and convincing message, you may need to anticipate, research, and outline some of the common positions (arguments) that dispute your thesis. If the situation (purpose) calls for you to do this, you will present and then refute these other positions in the rebuttal section of your essay.

It is important to consider other positions because in most cases, your primary audience will be fence-sitters. Fence-sitters are people who have not decided which side of the argument to support.

People who are on your side of the argument will not need a lot of information to align with your position. People who are completely against your argument—perhaps for ethical or religious reasons—will probably never align with your position no matter how much information you provide. Therefore, the audience you should consider most important are those people who haven't decided which side of the argument they will support—the fence-sitters.

In many cases, these fence-sitters have not decided which side to align with because they see value in both positions. Therefore, to not consider opposing positions to your own in a fair manner may alienate fence-sitters when they see that you are not addressing their concerns or discussion opposing positions at all.

Organizing your rebuttal section

Following the TTEB method outlined in the Body Paragraph section, forecast all the information that will follow in the rebuttal section and then move point by point through the other positions addressing each one as you go. The outline below, adapted from Seyler's Understanding Argument, is an example of a rebuttal section from a thesis essay.

When you rebut or refute an opposing position, use the following three-part organization:

The opponent’s argument: Usually, you should not assume that your reader has read or remembered the argument you are refuting. Thus, at the beginning of your paragraph, you need to state, accurately and fairly, the main points of the argument you will refute.

Your position: Next, make clear the nature of your disagreement with the argument or position you are refuting. Your position might assert, for example, that a writer has not proved his assertion because he has provided evidence that is outdated, or that the argument is filled with fallacies.

Your refutation: The specifics of your counterargument will depend upon the nature of your disagreement. If you challenge the writer’s evidence, then you must present the more recent evidence. If you challenge assumptions, then you must explain why they do not hold up. If your position is that the piece is filled with fallacies, then you must present and explain each fallacy.

Contributors: Allen Brizee.
Summary:

This resource outlines the generally accepted structure for introductions, body paragraphs, and conclusions in an academic argument paper. Keep in mind that this resource contains guidelines and not strict rules about organization. Your structure needs to be flexible enough to meet the requirements of your purpose and audience.

Conclusions

Conclusions wrap up what you have been discussing in your paper. After moving from general to specific information in the introduction and body paragraphs, your conclusion should begin pulling back into more general information that restates the main points of your argument. Conclusions may also call for action or overview future possible research. The following outline may help you conclude your paper:

In a general way,

  • Restate your topic and why it is important,
  • Restate your thesis/claim,
  • Address opposing viewpoints and explain why readers should align with your position,
  • Call for action or overview future research possibilities.

Remember that once you accomplish these tasks, unless otherwise directed by your instructor, you are finished. Done. Complete. Don't try to bring in new points or end with a whiz bang(!) conclusion or try to solve world hunger in the final sentence of your conclusion. Simplicity is best for a clear, convincing message.

The preacher's maxim is one of the most effective formulas to follow for argument papers:

  1. Tell what you're going to tell them (introduction).

  2. Tell them (body).

  3. Tell them what you told them (conclusion).

A persuasive essay is one of the most common assignments regardless of the academic level. The paper gives you a perfect opportunity to demonstrate knowledge of the subject, vocabulary skills, critical thinking, and so much more. Persuasive speech can easily be considered as an art form or a skill you’ll have to use throughout your education and beyond. In order to write an outstanding paper, you just need the right approach and practical tools. Scroll down to find out more.

Definition

A persuasive essay is defined as a type of an essay wherein a writer explains a topic and attempts to persuade a reader that his/her point of view is most informed, accurate, and valid perspective on the subject. Throughout the paper, a writer develops an argument, takes sides, and explains why a reader should adopt their opinion.

Persuasive writing utilizes logic and reason to demonstrate that one idea is more legitimate and superior than the other. Although the goal is to persuade a reader, a writer should not make baseless claims. Instead, the argument must always use sound reasoning and solid evidence.

How to write a Persuasive Essay?

At the very beginning, you should take a few moments to think about the essay topic. Do you agree with it? Do you disagree? Form your opinion on a given subject. Teachers and professors want to get a closer insight into your critical thinking, so try to avoid thinking whether your professor would agree/disagree with it too. Use your own opinion to develop an argument, research, and compose a persuasive essay.

Persuasive essays often push the envelope and discuss controversial subjects. You don’t have to play it safe. It all comes down to the way you portray your argument and evidence you choose to persuade a reader to adopt some opinion.

How to Start a Persuasive Essay?

Persuasive speech requires a thorough preparation. Before the writing process can begin, you need to research the subject. In fact, research is the basis or foundation where you’ll build the essay. Why? That is the process when you get informed about the subject even though you probably think you know everything. Research yields evidence that a writer can use to back up all the claims.

Once the research process is over, it’s time to proceed to the outline. Without an outline, your mind is scattered, wanders from one idea to another and it shows in your writing style. Composing an outline allows you to organize the notes you’ve taken while researching, and it always generates a few additional ideas you can use.

Persuasive Essay Outline

Outline – the outline for persuasive essay consists of three major parts: introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion. Each of these parts can be divided into subsections that keep you focused on your argument without risking wandering off the topic

Intro – the main purpose of the introduction is to catch reader’s attention and make them interested enough to continue reading. Ideally, the introduction should consist of three elements: the hook, defining the audience, and thesis statement. The hook is the very first sentence of your essay and its goal is to get someone’s attention. Your hook can be anything from a question to fun facts, quotes, and anecdotes.

Right after hook, you have to make the introduction relatable to the audience. A reader (or more of them) has to feel close to the subject. Why should they bother reading? Specify why the subject is important to them. The last sentence or two of the introduction accounts for the thesis statement. This is the part where you clearly state the subject you’re going to discuss and the argument you’ll make

Body Paragraphs – a specific number of paragraphs in this section isn’t defined. It all comes down to your argument and claims you make. Each paragraph in the body section should consist of a claim that supports the argument and evidence. One claim, one paragraph. Depending on the subject and word count, you can also address opposing views to show why they are wrong (with evidence, of course)

Conclusion – the last paragraph of the persuasive essay and equally important as other sections. The conclusion should consist of a short summary of the topic, benefits to the reader, and call-to-action. A short summary of the topic mentions key points you’ve made. The next sentence or two specifies why it’s important to take an action, potential solutions, and what could happen if nothing is done on the matter. To motivate a reader, finish off the essay with a simple call-to-action line or sentence.

Persuasive Essay Format

  • Word count: 500, 1500, 2000 (depending on the professor/teacher)
  • Fonts: 12-point Times New Roman (other easy-to-read fonts can serve the purpose too: Arial, Georgia), 16-point for headline
  • Spacing: double-spaced preferably (1.5 can also work)
  • Alignment: justified
  • Structure based on outline:
    • Introduction
      • Hook
      • Define the audience
      • Thesis statement
    • Body paragraphs
      • Reason #1 – Supporting fact/evidence
      • Reason #2 – Supporting fact/evidence
      • Reason #3 – Supporting fact/evidence
    • Conclusion
      • Short summary of the topic
      • Benefits to the reader
      • Call-to-action

Persuasive Essay Topics

Good Persuasive Essay Topics

  • Studying martial arts is good for physical and psychological wellbeing
  • Community service should be required for teens
  • Journal writing is therapeutic
  • Security cameras are useless/keep us safer
  • It’s unethical to keep a bird in cage
  • Teachers should be tested like students
  • Students should be able to grade their teachers
  • Classes should be made different for both genders
  • Trump era brings the end of democracy to the entire world

College Persuasive Essay Topics

  • All college students should be required to participate in sports activities
  • Reality shows are exploiting people
  • Religion and science can go hand in hand
  • All-girl and all-boy colleges are good/bad
  • We should/not spend more money on space missions
  • Royal family should be abolished
  • Immigration laws should be stricter/more lenient
  • Should college athletes be paid for playing?
  • US society justifies surveillance
  • People should undergo IQ test in order to vote and have children
  • Media is ruled by politicians

Persuasive Essay examples

The problem with essay writing is that we can’t think of anything when we’re supposed to work on the assignment. In times like these, you just need that extra “push” or moment of inspiration that will generate tons of ideas you can use for your own paper. The best way to learn how to write a persuasive essay is to read an example of someone else’s work. Here’s an example of how a high-quality persuasive essay should look like.

Persuasive Essay Help

Essay Writing Service  – before submitting an essay it is necessary to proofread and edit it first. Although most of us are inclined to edit and proofread content on our own that’s not the best idea. We can never be objective to our own work and always end up overlooking some mistakes. Edusson gathered a team of talented and skillful writers, editors and proofreaders who will ensure your paper is error-free. Editors correct spelling and grammar mistakes, punctuation, style and formatting mistakes, references, you name it

Essay Examples – although the persuasive writing structure is easy, one still needs motivation boost to kick-start the assignment. Edusson’s Essay Examples is an incredibly useful platform that allows you to search through the extensive database and read examples of persuasive writing. You’ll get inspired easily.

Essay Topics Generator – sometimes teacher/professor assigns the topic, but in other instances, students have to choose on their own. There is no need to waste hours trying to come up with a good title. Just go to Edusson Magic Help, specify essay type and you’ll get tons of ideas instantly

Essay Checker – if you’d like to edit the paper on your own, there’s an easy way to avoid overlooking something – essay checker. With RobotDon you can easily enhance the quality of the essay. Improve your paper. Raise your grades! The platform analyzes paper for plagiarism, sentence structure, word use, readability, and other parameters. Within just a few seconds you can identify all the strengths and weaknesses of your essay. A great tool for every student!

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