The Structure and Presentation of Argument in an Essay Sep 12, 2012
Presenting an argument in an essay is very similar to going to a new place; just as you need a map to sort the unknown path you need to map out a structure or framework for your argument in an essay
. Moreover, for an argument to be effective, it needs to flow intelligibly and logically from point to point. It is simply not possible to present a flawless argument without considerable planning.
The easiest way to plan your arguments is to write your ideas and thoughts on a white sheet of paper or a white board. In fact, a white board works best for this purpose as it facilitates you to change the structure of your arguments easily, i.e. until you determine on the best possible approach. You can also put your ideas on individual sheets of paper, and then spread them in a particular sequence or order to create the required framework. Once you have determined on the right framework of arguments, you can then attach the papers to a pin board. You can also take digital pictures of your framework to record your work and refer it whenever required.
This approach can also be of immense help when you are writing answers in an examination. The best way to apply this strategy in an examination is to first draw a map of the intended answer before you start writing. This will help you stay on track till the end of your answer; not only that, it will also help you include all the important points. The best part is that if you run out of time in the end, the examiner will still know that you have a good grasp of the subject, and will surely consider your over all understanding of the topic while awarding the grade or marks.
Coming back to the actual topic, given below are some tips and suggestions that are sure to help you with the structuring of your arguments:
Use Effective Headings That Sustain the Structure of Your Argument
Headings are an intelligent way of guiding your readers through your submissions. You make the most of headings when you present each idea or section with a distinct heading. You must realize that effective heading is the only way to help your reader focus on your essay or document. If you are still unsure of how to create an effective heading, then think of a word or a short sentence that best expresses the theme of the paragraph that will follow it. You must also try and use sub-headings at different levels within your essay. While including sub-headings, it is imperative that you pay attention on the relative implication and significance of your headings and their hierarchy.
Needless to mention, the headings in your essay will not make the necessary impact on your reader unless your paragraphs are well constructed. It is highly recommended that you include a topic sentence in each paragraph that essentially helps the reader with the point that you want to discuss in that particular paragraph. There must also be a sentence or sentences that develop as well as support with evidence the point that is being made in the paragraph. Last but not the least; the final sentence should draw on the evidences as well as reprise the point.
Sidestep Contradictory Arguments
Your main objective in the essay or paragraph should be to, slowly but surely, lead your reader to the conclusion that you intend them to reach. The most efficient way to do this is to present the reader with a series of arguments that support your point. Present the reader with the first argument; but as all readers will not agree with you in the very instance of the first argument, you should present the readers with few more alternative arguments that support your point or case. At this instance, you should be very cautious to avoid mentioning contradictory arguments, as it will surely weaken your case or point.
An ideal way to strengthen the structure of your argument, and inadvertently the structure of your entire essay or academic paper
, is to include a premise, conclusion and inference to all your arguments.
You must realize that through an argument you are trying to persuade readers to accept your point of view on the subject. And you can do this only when your essay and arguments have a meticulous structure. You can either deliberate and design your structure, or analyze and ascertain it. You should try and set the premise of your argument by putting it forward as a truth that is not yet proven. As mentioned earlier, your conclusion should be drawn from your premise. The statements that make in between your premise and your conclusion should pave the way for the reader to reach the conclusion of your essay.
Mention Contradictory Arguments in a Distinct Paragraph
While it is important that you do not use contradictory arguments while expressing your idea or argument, you can mention it in a separate paragraph in the end. In fact, by mentioning the arguments of other scholars or experts, you make an impression on the reader that you are well-aware of the other side of the argument, However, in such instances, you should quintessentially provide the reader with a stronger argument than the contradicting ones. This is crucial if you want the reader to agree with your argument.
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Your argument is the heart of your essay. Discussing your argument in your essay
is just not enough to make a positive impact on the mind of your readers. You must be able to detail your argument in a clear, concise and well-structured manner; you must also ensure that neither the argument nor its structure is too complicated for the readers to understand. You should try and build a good case and structure your whole argument around it to persuade the reader to agree with you.