What Does It Look Like?

Select the video below to see a presentation which will provide you with a basic outline for developing an argumentative essay.

Video Transcript
Outline for a Five Paragraph Argumentative Essay

In a basic five paragraph argumentative essay, you will follow a traditional structure common to most academic essays. You will have an introduction plus body paragraphs plus your conclusion. Sometimes, your professor will require an additional body paragraph for an argumentative essay where you would address the opposing views to your argument, leading to a six paragraph essay; but this presentation will focus on the five paragraph outline.

In this example outline for an argumentative essay, we will use the topic Healthy Foods in Schools. An argumentative thesis that might work well within that topic would be: In order to provide safer, healthier food to children, schools should be required to serve organic food in school lunches.

Now, we’ll take a look at how we could outline our introduction using our thesis with the goal of writing a strong argumentative essay. A good introduction provides background on a topic, transitions to the thesis, and then presents the thesis. In this introduction outline, we would first provide some background on the issue of food safety and health. We would then make the transition to our thesis by making connections to the role of schools in providing safe, healthy food to children. Finally, we would present our thesis about requiring schools to serve organic food as the last sentence of our introduction. When you draft your own thesis for your introduction, remember that a good argumentative thesis presents an opinion about your topic which you will support in your body paragraphs.

The body paragraphs of our essay on organic food in schools should be organized around “mini claims” we plan to make to support our thesis: the way unhealthy foods have a negative impact on children, how organics are a better alternative, and finally, how children learn better.

In an argumentative essay, it is so important to have strong topic sentences that make assertions related to the main assertion of your thesis.

In our conclusion, we should work to reinforce our thesis about organic foods in schools and then summarize the main points in our body paragraphs, or our “mini claims”. Finally, in an argumentative essay, it is a good idea to leave the audience with something powerful to think about or maybe even a call to action.

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