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Analyzing an argument involves evaluating a person’s argument. The writing you will be evaluating is a passage the author presents a claim and supports.

You will also need to critically examine the claim presented and assess the author’s logic. Your instructor will give you a task to analyze an argumentative essay in order to test your skills.

This will help to test your ability in evaluating, understanding, and analyzing someone else’s writing. Specific instructions will be provided for you to follow and report a written evaluation.

5 Elements of an Argument

It is important to identify the elements of an argument before you start analyzing an essay. This way, you can organize your work and know what you are analyzing. Here are the elements of an argument

  1. Claim

A claim is a statement that is made about a specific issue or subject. A claim should be relevant to the current requirements. Your claim should also be important additional knowledge to the subject.

  1. Reasons

Reasons are provided as a justification of the author’s claim. It also informs the readers why a claim should be accepted and bridges the evidence and claim.

  1. Evidence

This is the proof that the author provides to show that the reasons are valid. The author can use facts, valid testimonies, and statistics as evidence from outside and credible sources.

  1. Assumptions

Assumptions are stated beliefs or unstated beliefs that an arguer holds and expects readers to hold as well. The beliefs are what readers need, to accept an author’s claim.

  1. Qualifications

These are the requirements that qualify an argument. They are used to set a limit on what you can claim.

Types of Arguments

What is an argument? An argument is when you reason and demonstrate how true or false something is by using a set of claims and evidence. In college, there are three types of arguments that you are likely to come across. They include

1.Classical Essay

This type of essay is common and works well for argumentative topics. It has the following components


An introduction in a classical essay usually introduces the topic, which is the central message. It also has a hook that keeps the readers interested in the text. The introduction also has

Background Information

The background information of the subject being discussed helps to put the topic in context. It gives more information about the introduction.

Main Arguments

An author provides the main points of an argument and argues his position. The point stated is supported by credible evidence and relevant examples.


Counter arguments are presented in this section. An author will introduce the opposing side of the argument and uses evidence to refute it as being invalid.


Presents a summary of the arguments and provides solutions. It can also provide future studies that need to be conducted.

2. Rogerian Essay

The Rogerian approach is mostly used for an argument that is a potential seed like global warming or philosophical problems. The information you provide in this section should be sympathetic to all sides of the argument.

You can also concede that the opposing argument may be valid. The Rogerian essay does not have a specific structure.

3. Toulmin Argument

This is another type of argument that finds common ground in an argument. It also eliminates arguments that are unnecessary.

Analyzing an argument: Types of an Argument in Critical Thinking

Critical thinking is when an author thinks in an organized way that is rational and can connect ideas and facts. This type of thinking has two types of arguments, which are deductive or inductive (non-deductive).

These two types of arguments are not necessarily on the words an author uses but on the intentions. Deductive and inductive (non-deductive) arguments are formed from the relationship between a claim and a conclusion.

1.Deductive Argument

An argument is deductive if the author believes the claim establishes the conclusion to be true. When analyzing the quality of an argument, you need to check for deductive arguments.

2.Inductive / Non-deductive Arguments

An argument is inductive or non-deductive if an author believes the claim only gives readers a good reason to believe the conclusion is true. When analyzing arguments, check for a non-deductive approach in the arguments.

How to Analyze an Argument

Analyzing an argument requires you to examine the author’s arguments as used. You will need to discuss the logic the author has used. Also, read arguments provided and the instructions.

Read the arguments one more time and note the points that you would like to analyze. Pay attention to the following areas

  • The evidence that the author has used
  • The claim and conclusion the author has stated
  • What the author has assumed without justification

Another area to evaluate is the reasoning an author has used as well as the structure of the argument. Pay attention to the transition words in the argument, the phrases and check the author’s logical connection. Look for leaps that the author has made as well as the logical flow and identify errors.

What you Should Not Address

When analyzing an argument, it is important to know what you are supposed to address. Likewise, it is important to know what you are not asked to do. Here are points on what you should not do

  • Do not discuss if a statement is true or false
  • You should not agree or disagree with the author’s position
  • You should not express your personal opinion in the argument

Key Concepts of an Argument

When analyzing an argument, you need to be familiar with some key concepts

  1. Argument

A claim that has reasons and evidence that you offer to support your line of reasoning. The purpose of the reasoning is to demonstrate how true or false a subject is, and provide an effective argument.

  1. Assumptions

The beliefs that someone needs to have to hold a particular position concerning a matter. These beliefs are often not stated or examined.

  1. Alternative Explanation

This is a competing version of what has caused an event and qualifies as an original explanation. The alternative explanation can also account for observed facts.

  1. Counterexample

This is an example that can be real or hypothetical and refutes a statement. Refutation is part of an argumentative essay, and you should expect to find some examples in this area.

  1. Analysis

An analysis is when you break down something, for example, an argument into components part. You will then look into each part to understand how they work together to make a whole.

  1. Evaluation

This is where you assess the quality of evidence and reasons used in an argument and the merit of that argument. Evaluation is an important part of analyzing an argument.

  1. Conclusion

This is the endpoint of a line of reasoning. The conclusion is valid if your reasoning is sound.


What are the Five Steps to Analyzing an Argument?


Arguments are part of everyday life. Friends can try to convince you about something, or a salesperson can try to convince you to buy a product.

In school, you read books that try to prove something to you. It is important to listen, learn and to know how to analyze arguments. Here are five steps that can help you in your analysis process

  1. Read the author’s arguments more than once and understand the instructions
  2. Identify and evaluate the claims, underlying assumptions, and conclusions
  3. Think about many counter-arguments and alternative explanations
  4. Think of more evidence that might make a claim weak or support the claim
  5. Ask what changes would make reasoning more meaningful.

How to Write a Good Argumentative Essay

What is an argumentative essay? An argumentative essay is an academic paper that allows an author to present two sides of an argument. An argumentative essay informs the audience of these two sides of an argument instead of convincing them.

This type of writing will enable your instructor to evaluate your research, analytical, and writing skills.  An author focuses on the information and facts about the subject instead of personal preferences.

He or she may also present both arguments equally or decide to support one side of the argument. A thesis statement of an argumentative essay must have all primary points and include counterpoints. These are the points that will be discussed in the body section of your essay.

What are The Elements of an Argumentative Essay?

A position – This is an argument in an argumentative paper that has two sides, and you can decide which side you are taking

Evidence – This is what you use to substantiate your reason. An author provides factual information, which can be statistics, testimonials, or other credible information. You also need to provide references and citations from credible external sources.

Counter-arguments – These are arguments of the opposing side of your discussion. You will need to present counter-arguments and argue why they are weak, ineffective, or false and present evidence as proof.

Approaches to writing an argumentative essay

There are three main approaches that you can use to write an argumentative essay. The most common approach is the classical approach followed by Rogerian, which requires an author to be sympathetic and Toulmin approach.

How to Write a Good Argumentative Essay

A good argumentative essay has a debatable topic and a strong essay statement. The following steps will help you to come up with a good argumentative essay

Research for a good argumentative essay topic

An argumentative essay has many different topics that you can choose from different fields. Below are the criteria that you will need to follow

  • Make sure your subject is coherent and relative
  • Look at the importance of the topic
  • Inherent values
  • Check if the topic has the potential to be researched further

The topic must be presented in a debatable way. It must have two sides, A and B eg an argumentative essay on internship reflective essay.

Conduct Research

Perform in-depth research before you can begin writing to give your paper depth and credibility. Research the side of the argument that you will represent and that will also appeal to your readers.

Find out who else supports the argument you have selected and look into the objections and counter readers might raise. Make sure you collect sufficient evidence to support your claim and organize them.

Also, check if your information follows the right criteria to make it valid. Here is what you need to check

  • Accuracy
  • The credibility of your sources
  • Timeliness
  • The objectivity of the information or bias
  • Reliability of the information

Argumentative Essay Format

A typical argumentative essay has five paragraphs. The paragraphs include one introduction paragraph, three body paragraphs, and a conclusion paragraph. Below is an argumentative essay format


The first sentence of your introduction is a hook that captivates the audience and makes them want to continue reading the essay. It can be an interesting statement or a shocking statistic.

Background information comes next. It explains a bit more about the topic and puts it in context.

Thesis Statement

This is the main idea of your essay, and it will direct your writing in the whole paper. The thesis statement is usually a one-line sentence and the final sentence of your introduction paragraph. Make sure you have a strong thesis statement to make your argument compelling.

Body Paragraphs

The body paragraph is where you discuss your arguments as stated in the thesis statement. Each of the three body paragraphs will elaborate on one argument and present evidence from credible external sources.

In this section, you will provide relevant examples and reasoning to back up your claim. Also, you will present counter-arguments and give evidence to show that they are invalid.


The concluding paragraph summarizes the arguments in the body section and restates the thesis statement. You should not introduce any new information in conclusion.

Argumentative Essay Outline

An argumentative outline provides an author with a structure that he or she can use to write an essay. It usually has one introduction, two to three body paragraphs, and a conclusion. Here is an argumentative essay outline


  • The hook captures the reader’s attention
  • Background information provides contextual information and brings the discussion to focus
  • The thesis statement it’s the last statement of your introduction and presents a focal point of your paper

Body Paragraph

Topic sentence

It presents the first point of the main argument and helps to transition from the previous section. Each paragraph in the body section has a topic sentence


The claim provides a link between your thesis statement and your main argument. It provides an explanation that helps the readers to understand how a specific point validates a central message.


You defend your claim with factual evidence. You can use statistics or references. Provide evidence from credible sources.

Conclusion Statement

This is the last part of the body paragraph. The goal of a conclusion statement is to provide a summary of the claim. You will use this outline in each of the paragraphs in the body section of your paper.


The first sentence of your concluding paragraph should restate your thesis using assertive language. You will also provide a summary of your arguments and review your points.

Editing your Essay

Editing and proofreading your essay will make sure you submit an error-free paper. Proofread your work and correct spelling mistakes, grammar, and punctuation.

Check the evidence used in the arguments and the example and confirm that they are accurate. Leave your essay for a while and come back again after a day to proofread it with a fresh mind and eyes.

Also, you can ask someone else to read and see if there are any glaring mistakes in your writing. When you are satisfied that the essay is correctly written, you can submit it.

Argumentative Essay Topics

The topics allow for debate of one side in favor of another. You need to perform thorough research to find a topic that interests you.

When you enjoy writing about a specific topic, even your audience will enjoy reading it. Here are some examples of argumentative essay topics

  • Online learning vs. in-person learning which mode of learning is more effective for working students?
  • Hotel vs. Food van, which food business is less risky?
  • Can watching too much TV have a negative psychological effect on children?
  • Does society rely too much on technology?

Argumentative Essay Examples

An example of writing an argumentative paper can enable you to find inspiration for writing an argumentative essay. It is also a good way to familiarize yourself with different formats and styles that an author can use.

Key Takeaway

When analyzing an argument, your instructor will assess your ability to evaluate someone else’s arguments. Your ability to think critically and analyze information is tested as well. It is important to know what you are expected to analyze, how to analyze and report it.

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