How to Write an Argument Analysis Essay
As a college assignment, the argument analysis teaches critical reading and thinking skills. In professional applications, the argument analysis serves as a check and balance that may help an organization’s leadership to make better decisions, effect change and make progress toward goals. The writer of an argument analysis will look closely at the rhetorical techniques and sources of support that another writer employs, and then construct an argument of her own that answers the first one.
Locate the thesis of the argument you are analyzing. The author or presenter will often state it in one succinct sentence close to the beginning of the article, essay or presentation.
List each argument and piece of evidence in support of the thesis and leave space for notations.
Analyze the logic, facts and any data that the argument presents. Look out for emotional arguments, hasty generalizations, and red herrings, which a sound argument must omit. Also look for erroneous facts, omissions of facts that you know should be there, and data that is dated or taken out of context. Make notes as you work.
Look at studies that the author quotes if they seem suspect. Sometimes researchers do only short studies or studies that do not include a large enough sample. Sometimes they don’t ask the right questions or the methodology is weak. Also, the references should come from credible sources; credible sources are those written by research scholars in the field or practicing experts. Make notes as you work.
Open your analysis with a paragraph that ends with your own thesis, either agreeing or disagreeing with the other person’s thesis.
Address the argument point by point. Do so in the same order in which the author or speaker presented his points. Alternatively, you can group related points together. Concede valid points, but point out flaws in others. Save your strongest, most important point for last.
Weave in concrete support for your analysis. Cite reliable, current references.
Conclude the analysis with the discussion of your strongest point or with a short discussion of the subject matter as it pertains to your thesis.
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To write your analysis essay, you have to first pick a story and then scrutinize a specific part, theme, character, etc. and present your analysis in a persuasive and effective manner.
However, if you don’t have a thorough understanding of the story or subject. then it will be tough for you to analyze and share your message in a convincing manner.
Now. To Write Your Analysis Essay, You Need to Divide it into 3 Parts:
Part 1 – Introduction:
- You need to share some background details and briefly discuss the story
- The first paragraph must be written in an appealing manner otherwise the reader will lose the interest
- You will also have to write your Thesis Statement in your introduction, i.e. the problem or question that you want to solve or answer
Part 2 – Body Content:
- You will have to write around 3 paragraphs
- You will provide the answer to your question here and prove why you are correct
- You may use secondary sources as well to prove your point with legitimate facts and give more weight to your argument
Part 3 – Conclusion:
- Here you will conclude your analysis essay
- Don’t let your readers leave without giving them some food for thought
- Provide a summary of your points clearly and concisely
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Welcome to the Purdue OWL
This page is brought to you by the OWL at Purdue (https://owl.english.purdue.edu/). When printing this page, you must include the entire legal notice at bottom.
The Modes of Discourse—Exposition, Description, Narration, Argumentation (EDNA)—are common paper assignments you may encounter in your writing classes. Although these genres have been criticized by some composition scholars, the Purdue OWL recognizes the wide spread use of these approaches and students’ need to understand and produce them.
Contributors: Jack Baker, Allen Brizee, Elizabeth Angeli
Last Edited: 2013-03-10 11:46:44
What is an argumentative essay?
The argumentative essay is a genre of writing that requires the student to investigate a topic; collect, generate, and evaluate evidence; and establish a position on the topic in a concise manner.
Please note. Some confusion may occur between the argumentative essay and the expository essay. These two genres are similar, but the argumentative essay differs from the expository essay in the amount of pre-writing (invention) and research involved. The argumentative essay is commonly assigned as a capstone or final project in first year writing or advanced composition courses and involves lengthy, detailed research. Expository essays involve less research and are shorter in length. Expository essays are often used for in-class writing exercises or tests, such as the GED or GRE.
Argumentative essay assignments generally call for extensive research of literature or previously published material. Argumentative assignments may also require empirical research where the student collects data through interviews, surveys, observations, or experiments. Detailed research allows the student to learn about the topic and to understand different points of view regarding the topic so that she/he may choose a position and support it with the evidence collected during research. Regardless of the amount or type of research involved, argumentative essays must establish a clear thesis and follow sound reasoning.
The structure of the argumentative essay is held together by the following.
- A clear, concise, and defined thesis statement that occurs in the first paragraph of the essay.
In the first paragraph of an argument essay, students should set the context by reviewing the topic in a general way. Next the author should explain why the topic is important (exigence ) or why readers should care about the issue. Lastly, students should present the thesis statement. It is essential that this thesis statement be appropriately narrowed to follow the guidelines set forth in the assignment. If the student does not master this portion of the essay, it will be quite difficult to compose an effective or persuasive essay.
- Clear and logical transitions between the introduction, body, and conclusion.
Transitions are the mortar that holds the foundation of the essay together. Without logical progression of thought, the reader is unable to follow the essay’s argument, and the structure will collapse. Transitions should wrap up the idea from the previous section and introduce the idea that is to follow in the next section.
- Body paragraphs that include evidential support.
Each paragraph should be limited to the discussion of one general idea. This will allow for clarity and direction throughout the essay. In addition, such conciseness creates an ease of readability for one’s audience. It is important to note that each paragraph in the body of the essay must have some logical connection to the thesis statement in the opening paragraph. Some paragraphs will directly support the thesis statement with evidence collected during research. It is also important to explain how and why the evidence supports the thesis (warrant ).
However, argumentative essays should also consider and explain differing points of view regarding the topic. Depending on the length of the assignment, students should dedicate one or two paragraphs of an argumentative essay to discussing conflicting opinions on the topic. Rather than explaining how these differing opinions are wrong outright, students should note how opinions that do not align with their thesis might not be well informed or how they might be out of date.
- Evidential support (whether factual, logical, statistical, or anecdotal).
The argumentative essay requires well-researched, accurate, detailed, and current information to support the thesis statement and consider other points of view. Some factual, logical, statistical, or anecdotal evidence should support the thesis. However, students must consider multiple points of view when collecting evidence. As noted in the paragraph above, a successful and well-rounded argumentative essay will also discuss opinions not aligning with the thesis. It is unethical to exclude evidence that may not support the thesis. It is not the student’s job to point out how other positions are wrong outright, but rather to explain how other positions may not be well informed or up to date on the topic.
- A conclusion that does not simply restate the thesis, but readdresses it in light of the evidence provided.
It is at this point of the essay that students may begin to struggle. This is the portion of the essay that will leave the most immediate impression on the mind of the reader. Therefore, it must be effective and logical. Do not introduce any new information into the conclusion; rather, synthesize the information presented in the body of the essay. Restate why the topic is important, review the main points, and review your thesis. You may also want to include a short discussion of more research that should be completed in light of your work.
A complete argument
Perhaps it is helpful to think of an essay in terms of a conversation or debate with a classmate. If I were to discuss the cause of World War II and its current effect on those who lived through the tumultuous time, there would be a beginning, middle, and end to the conversation. In fact, if I were to end the argument in the middle of my second point, questions would arise concerning the current effects on those who lived through the conflict. Therefore, the argumentative essay must be complete, and logically so, leaving no doubt as to its intent or argument.
The five-paragraph essay
A common method for writing an argumentative essay is the five-paragraph approach. This is, however, by no means the only formula for writing such essays. If it sounds straightforward, that is because it is; in fact, the method consists of (a) an introductory paragraph (b) three evidentiary body paragraphs that may include discussion of opposing views and (c) a conclusion.
Longer argumentative essays
Complex issues and detailed research call for complex and detailed essays. Argumentative essays discussing a number of research sources or empirical research will most certainly be longer than five paragraphs. Authors may have to discuss the context surrounding the topic, sources of information and their credibility, as well as a number of different opinions on the issue before concluding the essay. Many of these factors will be determined by the assignment.