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6 Tips for Writing Effective Reasoning in Your Essays

6 Tips for Writing Effective Reasoning in Your Essays

When it comes to writing essays, the ability to effectively reason and present your arguments is an essential skill. Whether you’re writing an academic paper, a persuasive essay, or even a personal statement, your reasoning can make or break the overall effectiveness of your writing. To help you improve your reasoning skills, here are six tips that will guide you in crafting strong and convincing arguments.

1. Use the Toulmin Model

The Toulmin model is an effective tool for constructing arguments. It consists of three main elements: the claim, the data, and the warrant. The claim is the main argument you are making, the data is the evidence or examples you provide to support your claim, and the warrant is the logic or reasoning that connects the data to the claim. By carefully outlining these three elements in your essay, you can create a logical and persuasive argument.

2. Use Enthymemes

An enthymeme is a shortened version of a syllogism, which is a three-part deductive argument. Enthymemes are a powerful tool because they allow you to skip over stating the obvious or already understood premise. By using enthymemes in your writing, you can make your arguments more concise and focused, while still retaining their logical strength.

3. Avoid Logical Fallacies

In order to maintain the legitimacy of your argument, it’s important to avoid logical fallacies. Logical fallacies are errors in reasoning that can weaken your argument and make it less convincing. Examples of common logical fallacies include ad hominem attacks, straw man arguments, and appeals to emotion. By carefully analyzing your own arguments for these weaknesses, you can strengthen your reasoning and make your essays more effective.

4. Use Scientific Evidence

When making claims or presenting evidence, it’s important to use scientific evidence whenever possible. Scientific evidence is based on rigorous research and testing, and it carries more weight than personal anecdotes or opinions. By incorporating scientific evidence into your essays, you can enhance the credibility and persuasiveness of your arguments.

5. Use Analogical Reasoning

6. be critical of your own arguments.

To make your reasoning as strong as possible, you need to be critical of your own arguments. This involves carefully analyzing your own claims, identifying any weaknesses or gaps in your reasoning, and addressing them in your essay. By taking a critical approach to your own arguments, you can strengthen them and make your essays more persuasive.

By following these six tips, you’ll be well on your way to writing essays with strong and effective reasoning. Remember to carefully outline your arguments, use logical and scientific evidence, and be critical of your own reasoning. With practice and attention to detail, you can become a master of persuasive writing.

Tips for Effective Reasoning in Your Essays

1. gather sufficient information.

Before starting your essay, ensure that you have gathered enough information on the topic. This will help you present a well-rounded argument backed by evidence and facts.

2. Use Examples

Support your reasoning with examples that illustrate your points. Examples add depth and clarity to your arguments. Be sure to choose relevant and credible examples to strengthen your reasoning.

3. Apply Scientific Reasoning

Scientific reasoning involves using the principles of logic and evidence to support your claims. This type of reasoning relies on facts and systematic analysis, making your essay more persuasive.

4. Use the Enthymeme Technique

An enthymeme is an argument that is expressed by leaving out at least one part of a syllogism. Utilize this technique to present your reasoning in a concise and effective manner by assuming your audience can fill in the missing information.

5. Understand the Prompts or Questions

Thoroughly analyze the prompts or essay questions to ensure you fully understand what is being asked. This will help you structure your reasoning effectively and avoid going off-topic.

6. Eliminate Bias

Avoid bias in your reasoning by presenting a fair and balanced argument. Consider different viewpoints and address counterarguments to strengthen the legitimacy of your reasoning.

7. Outline Your Essay

Creating an outline can help you organize your thoughts and reasoning process. It provides a roadmap for your essay, ensuring that your reasoning flows logically and coherently.

8. Review and Revise

After completing your essay, review and revise your reasoning. Look for any weaknesses in your arguments, and strengthen them by providing additional evidence or adjusting your logic.

By following these tips, you can improve the quality and effectiveness of your reasoning in your essays. This will help you convey your ideas in a clear, logical, and persuasive manner to your audience.

Tips for Writing Strong Arguments

1. carefully define your terms.

Before you start outlining your argument, it is essential to carefully define the terms you will be using. Ambiguity and unclear definitions can weaken your argument and confuse your readers. Take the time to clearly define the important dimensions of your argument to ensure clarity and precision in your writing.

2. Identify and Address Counterarguments

To strengthen your arguments, it is important to acknowledge potential counterarguments and address them directly. Demonstrate that you have considered alternative viewpoints and provide a well-reasoned rebuttal. This approach shows your ability to think critically and enhances the overall strength of your argumentation.

3. Provide Reliable Evidence

A reliable argument needs reliable evidence. It is crucial to back up your claims with credible sources, such as research studies, expert opinions, or statistical data. By providing solid evidence, you demonstrate the validity of your arguments and increase the trustworthiness of your writing.

4. Avoid Logical Fallacies

Logical fallacies can weaken your arguments and diminish their impact. Be aware of common logical fallacies like ad hominem attacks, strawman arguments, or appeals to emotion. Take the time to carefully analyze your reasoning and ensure that it is logically sound.

5. Be Mindful of Bias

We all have biases, but it is important to be mindful of them when writing arguments. Biases can cloud your judgment and lead to weak or one-sided arguments. Strive for objectivity by considering different perspectives and actively seeking out opposing views. This will strengthen your arguments and demonstrate intellectual honesty.

6. Craft Affective Language

The use of affective language can help to engage your readers and make your arguments more persuasive. Appeal to their emotions and values by using carefully chosen words and relevant examples. However, be cautious not to rely solely on emotional manipulation. A balanced approach that combines logical reasoning with affective language is the most effective.

In summary, writing strong arguments requires careful attention to the quality of your reasoning, evidence, and language. By defining your terms, addressing counterarguments, providing reliable evidence, avoiding logical fallacies, being mindful of bias, and using affective language, you can create persuasive and compelling arguments that will resonate with your readers.

Utilizing Logical Fallacies Correctly

One commonly used logical fallacy is the “appeal to emotion.” This fallacy involves appealing to the emotions of your audience in order to manipulate their judgment or decision-making process. For example, if you were writing an essay on animal rights, you might include a heart-wrenching story about a mistreated dog to evoke sympathy and support for your argument. While this may be an effective way to appeal to your audience’s emotions, it is important to note that emotional appeals should be used sparingly and in conjunction with solid reasoning and evidence.

Another commonly used fallacy is the “straw man.” This fallacy involves misrepresenting or exaggerating an opponent’s argument in order to make it easier to attack or refute. For example, if someone were arguing against stricter gun control laws, they might misrepresent their opponent’s position by saying that they want to ban all guns, even though their opponent’s actual position may be more nuanced. By attacking this exaggerated version of their opponent’s argument, the person using the fallacy can make it seem as though their own position is more reasonable. While this may be an effective tactic in rhetoric, it is important to be cautious not to misrepresent or oversimplify your opponent’s argument in your own writing.

The “ad hominem” fallacy is another commonly used fallacy that involves attacking the person making an argument rather than addressing the argument itself. This fallacy is often used when someone lacks strong counterarguments and instead resorts to personal attacks or character assassination. For example, if someone were arguing in favor of stricter immigration policies, their opponent might respond by attacking their character or personal background rather than addressing the actual reasoning behind their argument. While this may be a tempting tactic in the heat of a debate, it is important to stay focused on the argument itself and address any weaknesses or flaws in the reasoning rather than resorting to personal attacks.

As a writer, it is essential to be aware of logical fallacies and to use them carefully and purposefully, if at all. Utilizing logical fallacies correctly can help you strengthen your argument and make it more persuasive to your audience. However, it is important to remember that the strongest arguments are those that are backed up by reliable evidence, sound reasoning, and a thorough understanding of the subject matter. So, when incorporating logical fallacies into your writing, always make sure that they support your main thesis and do not distract from the overall quality and reasoning of your essay.

Building a Logical Structure for Your Essay

1. Start with a thesis statement: Every essay needs a clear and concise thesis statement that states the main argument of your paper. Your thesis should be a statement that can be supported by evidence and examples.

2. Gather evidence: To support your thesis, you will need evidence. This can come from various sources such as research studies, expert opinions, personal experiences, or historical events. Having a sound knowledge base is essential for gathering strong evidence.

3. Organize your ideas: Before you start writing, jot down your main ideas and supporting details in a logical order. This will help you stay focused and ensure that your essay flows smoothly. You can use an outline or a brainstorming technique to organize your thoughts.

4. Use effective reasoning: Good reasoning is a fundamental element of a well-structured essay. Make sure your argument is logical and well-supported by evidence. Avoid logical fallacies and always strive for sound reasoning in your essays.

5. Make use of examples: Examples are a powerful way to support your claims and make your essay more persuasive. Be sure to choose relevant and compelling examples that help to illustrate your points effectively.

Providing Relevant and Sufficient Evidence

When it comes to providing evidence, it is important to consider the quality and quantity of the examples you use. Examples should be carefully chosen to support your reasoning and illustrate your points effectively. For example, if you are writing an essay on the topic of ethics, you may choose to include examples from real-life situations or famous ethical dilemmas to support your arguments.

Furthermore, the evidence you provide should be sufficient to support your claims. This means including enough examples and explanations to convince your reader of the validity of your reasoning. If your reasoning is based on incomplete or inadequate evidence, your argument may be seen as weak or unconvincing.

In order to provide relevant and sufficient evidence, you need to carefully analyze the prompt or question you are responding to. This will help you determine what type of evidence is most appropriate and what examples will best support your reasoning. For example, if you are writing an essay on the theme of “the pursuit of knowledge” in literature, you may choose to use examples from novels such as Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein” or Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World” to illustrate the dangers of unchecked knowledge.

When selecting examples, it is important to choose those that are relevant to your argument and clearly illustrate your points. For example, if you are writing an essay on the theme of power in literature, you may choose to use examples from Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” or George Orwell’s “1984” to demonstrate the corrupting influence of power.

In summary, providing relevant and sufficient evidence is essential for effective reasoning in essays. By carefully selecting examples and using a variety of types of evidence, you can strengthen your arguments and make a compelling case. So, the next time you sit down to write an essay, remember to support your reasoning with well-chosen and well-explained examples.

Examining Examples of Deductive Reasoning Theory

Example 1: rousseau’s social contract.

Rousseau’s concept of the Social Contract provides a prime example of deductive reasoning theory. He outlines the principle that individuals willingly give up certain freedoms to form a society governed by the general will. By examining Rousseau’s theory and its logical structure, you can use deductive reasoning to argue for the provability of his claims and their relevance in understanding the social dimensions of human life.

Example 2: Riverville’s Marijuana Legalization

Riverville’s recent legalization of marijuana offers another example for deductive reasoning analysis. By examining the logical steps taken by the government and the supporting data, you can construct a deductive argument to support or argue against the decision. Is the motivation behind the legalization driven by economic factors, wellness claims, or other societal considerations? Through careful analysis, you can evaluate the reasoning behind the policy and its potential implications for society.

Examining examples of deductive reasoning theory provides a strong foundation for constructing logical and persuasive arguments in your essay. By carefully analyzing the logical structure, factual accounts, and principles presented in these examples, you can strengthen your thesis and support your claims with solid reasoning. Remember to use deductive reasoning as a powerful tool to enhance the quality and persuasiveness of your essay.

What are some tips for writing effective reasoning in essays?

Some tips for writing effective reasoning in essays include: using clear and logical arguments, supporting your claims with evidence, anticipating counterarguments, addressing opposing views, and presenting a strong conclusion.

How can I make my reasoning in essays more persuasive?

To make your reasoning in essays more persuasive, you can use persuasive language, present compelling evidence, make logical connections between your claims and evidence, and address the potential concerns or objections of your readers.

Why is logical reasoning important in writing essays?

Logical reasoning is important in writing essays because it helps to ensure that your arguments are well-structured, coherent, and convincing. It allows you to make logical connections between your claims, evidence, and conclusion, which helps your readers to understand and accept your point of view.

How can I improve my reasoning skills in essay writing?

To improve your reasoning skills in essay writing, you can practice analyzing and evaluating arguments, read and study examples of well-reasoned essays, participate in discussions or debates that challenge your thinking, and seek feedback from teachers or peers on your reasoning abilities.

What are some common mistakes to avoid in reasoning in essays?

Some common mistakes to avoid in reasoning in essays include: using logical fallacies, making unsupported claims, ignoring counterarguments, relying too heavily on emotion or personal opinion, and failing to present a clear and logical conclusion.

Some tips for writing effective reasoning in essays include being clear and concise in your arguments, providing evidence and examples to support your claims, addressing counterarguments, and using logical structure to organize your thoughts.

How can I improve my logical reasoning skills in writing?

You can improve your logical reasoning skills in writing by practicing critical thinking, analyzing arguments in readings, and seeking feedback from others on your writing. Additionally, studying logic and reasoning principles can also help enhance your skills.

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11.3 Glance at Genre: Reasoning Strategies and Signal Words

Learning outcomes.

By the end of this section, you will be able to:

  • Identify and define reasoning strategies and signal words.
  • Determine how the rhetorical situation influences the content and reasoning strategies of written works.

As you read in The Digital World: Building on What You Already Know to Respond Critically , rhetorical situation are shaped by the conditions of the communication and the agents involved in that communication. To help you determine the conditions and the agents, you can examine purpose, culture, and audience expectation.

The purpose , or intention, for your writing determines the reasoning strategies you use. For example, if your purpose is to explain why one restaurant is better than another, you likely would use comparison and contrast.

Writers of essays and other formal papers usually support their ideas by using more than one reasoning strategy. For example, within comparison and contrast, they may include description , such as sensory details about the food at the two restaurants; narration , such as an anecdote about why they and their companions went to the restaurants or about something that happened at one of the restaurants; and sequencing , such as the order in which they received their food or the directions to get to the restaurants.

Alternatively, writers may combine some of the six strategies already mentioned. For instance, within the larger structure of comparison and contrast, they may use classification and division when discussing the restaurants’ menus, sorting by main dishes, side dishes, appetizers, soups, salads, and desserts. Therefore, while the essay’s primary purpose may be to compare and contrast, individual strategies within an essay or even within a paragraph may differ.

Recognizing Purpose

Throughout your paper, your purpose for writing should be clear and focused. Your introduction, thesis, topic sentences, body paragraphs (which include reasoning and evidence), and conclusion should all reflect your argumentative or persuasive purpose.

To support and clarify your purpose, you are likely to use the following:

  • Analogy : to explain to readers a subject with which they are unfamiliar by comparing a specific trait or traits with those of a more familiar subject.
  • Cause-and-effect : to provide a clear understanding of the relationship between an event or situation and/or what happened because of it, why it occurred, and what might continue to happen.
  • Classification and division: to explain a subject by breaking it into smaller parts and explaining the distinctions of the smaller parts or by grouping individual, disparate elements on the basis of certain characteristics to form larger units.
  • Compare and contrast : to examine the similarities and/or differences of subjects in order to explain a specific point about their similarity or difference (often an unexpected similarity or difference).
  • Problem-and-solution : to indicate a predicament or difficulty and suggest ways to deal with or eliminate it.
  • Definition : to illustrate to readers an idea, word, or expression, allowing you to explain a unique meaning of a topic through details and analysis.

Recognizing Audience

Critically thinking about the culture , or common beliefs and lived experiences, of your audience , the people who will read your work, can help you choose an appropriate vocabulary and level of detail.

The culture and audience expectation determine the language you use, the amount and type of information you include, and the way you deliver that information. Determine first what your readers want to know (their expectations), what they already know, and what they do not know. Determining—or at least making an educated guess about—the culture of your audience will aid you in deciding how to use the reasoning strategy you choose and the way in which you present your paper.

Suppose, for instance, your purpose is to persuade your audience to vote for a proposed local ordinance. First, consider the culture of your audience to ensure the language you use clearly explains the terms of ordinance for those who know nothing about it. Also, be sure that you fully understand the issues surrounding the ordinance and how it might have different effects on different groups of people so that what you assert is accurate. Next, again consider the culture of your audience members and what they may or may not know about your topic. For example, they may not know the reason for the proposed ordinance, what might happen if it is passed or not passed, or how it might affect them personally or culturally. If they are not as informed as you are, then include the background information they need to know about it in order for your reasoning strategy and overall argument to be effective.

Depending on your audience, you may want to include an analogy to help readers understand connections and particular points in certain ways. An analogy is also useful if the subject is complex. You can make a complex subject more accessible for your audience by comparing it to something familiar.

Recognizing Points

Every point you make in a paper should be meaningful and should relate to the paper’s thesis , its overarching claim or angle. How you make each point is determined by your reason for making that point. In most academic writing, you will use structures that present a thesis at the beginning of the essay. Readers should recognize your thesis because of

  • its prominent placement in the essay;
  • the language you use leading up to it; and
  • the language you use following it.

For example, if your thesis is that the first two years of college should be tuition free for students (that is, tuition should be subsidized by the state), then you might begin your essay with an attention-getting fact stating that the current national student debt is over $1.7 trillion. After that, you might share evidence about the number of students who do not finish a bachelor’s degree but have accrued student loan debt. Finally, you might preview your reasons for the position advocating for free tuition for the first two years of college.

Readers will recognize your supporting points as stated in your paragraph-level topic sentences because of how you discuss them in relation to your thesis. In all of your academic writing, choose language and reasoning strategies that guide readers back to your thesis.

When you present facts, whether in your thesis or in your evidence, remember to cite them properly according to the format your instructor requires. For more about proper citations, see MLA Documentation and Format and APA Documentation and Format .

Structuring Your Reasoning Strategies

To present your reasoning, which is the main part of your essay, try these suggestions for using the six strategies:

Analogy paragraphs often begin with a statement of comparison between two unlike subjects, followed by reasons, explanations, or analyses of their similarities.

Example topic 1: compare enrolling as a first-year student to visiting an amusement park for the first time

Example sentence: Enrolling as a first-year student is like visiting an amusement park for the first time in this way: the inexperienced students and park goers must pay a high fee, abide by strict rules, and choose how they spend their adventure.

Example topic 2: compare increasing the federal deficit to eating salted peanuts

Example sentence: Increasing the federal deficit is like eating salted peanuts: the higher the increase, the more will be demanded. When you eat salted peanuts, the more you eat, the more you want.

Paragraphs explaining cause-and-effect often begin in one of these two ways: (1) an explanation of the cause(s), followed by an explanation of the effect(s) that happened as a result of the cause(s); or (2) an explanation of the effect(s), followed by an explanation of the cause(s) that led to the effect(s).

Example topic 1: how an oil spill affected animals, waterways, and environmental costs

Example sentence: Because an oil spill occurred off the coast of California, the fur and feathers of animals became dangerously matted, waterways were damaged, and the cost of maintaining a clean environment skyrocketed.

Example topic 2: how the pandemic affected the population

Example sentence: Because of the pandemic, gas consumption dropped, indoor dining at restaurants declined, and online shopping rose.

Example topic 3: how animals, waterways, and environmental costs were affected by an oil spill

Example sentence: The fur and feathers of animals became dangerously matted, waterways were damaged, and the cost of maintaining a clean environment skyrocketed as the result of an oil spill off the coast of California.

Example topic 4: how the pandemic affected the population

Example sentence : Gas consumption dropped, indoor dining at restaurants declined, and online shopping rose because of the pandemic.

Classification -and- division paragraphs often begin in either of two ways: (1) Classification paragraphs identify individual items and place them in a larger group; and (2) Division paragraphs break a large group or a single unit into smaller parts.

Example classification topic: essential workers during the pandemic included employees in several fields

Example sentence: During the pandemic, essential workers not under quarantine included employees in the fields of health care, childcare, transportation, water and wastewater, and agriculture and food production.

Example division topic: how the new superstore will be divided

Example sentence: The layout for the new superstore will be divided into furniture (third floor), household goods and kitchenware (second floor), and men’s, women’s, and children’s clothing (first floor).

When using compare and contrast reasoning, you have choices about the structure to use. Comparison-and-contrast paragraphs identify two subjects and address their similarities and then their differences; or comparison-and-contrast paragraphs identify two subjects and address their similarities and then their differences.

Example topic 1: reality television and scripted television

Example sentence: Reality television and scripted television are alike in that both should make money for the network that airs them; however, they differ in the predictability of what the characters do in their roles.

Example topic 2: printed book and audio book

Example sentence: A printed book and an audio book are alike in that both present the material the author wrote; one way they differ is that listeners—as opposed to readers—cannot make notes on text in a printed book.

Example topic 3: reality television and scripted television

Example sentence: Reality television and scripted television differ in the predictability of what the characters do in their roles, but they are alike in that they both should make money for the network that airs them.

Example topic 4: printed book and audio book

Example sentence: One way a printed book and an audio book differ is that listeners—as opposed to readers—cannot make notes on material in the printed book; however, both present the material the author wrote.

You can develop a problem-and-solution paragraph in one of two ways: (1) identify the problem, and then explain a way to solve it; or (2) explain the solution to a problem, and then identify the problem(s) that necessitated it.

Example topic 1: student loans

Example sentence: The issue of defaulting on repayment of student loans would be solved by increasing the time the students are given to repay the loans.

Example topic 2: campus parking

Example sentence: The issue of the increased need for parking on campus would be solved by paving the area on the corner of Twelfth and Locust Streets to allow parking on that lot.

Example topic 3: student loans

Example sentence: By increasing the time in which student loans must be repaid, the issue of defaulting on repayment of student loans would be solved, and students could have more ease of mind to pursue their careers.

Example topic 4: campus parking

Example sentence By paving the area on the corner of Twelfth and Locust Streets to allow parking on that lot, the issue of the increased need for parking on campus would be solved, an eyesore would be beautified, and more students and faculty would get to class on time.

Definition paragraphs often begin by noting the dictionary definition (denotation) of the topic and then illustrating and explaining its unique or extended meaning.

Example topic 1: patriotism

Example sentence: Most people think patriotism is showing devotion to their country; to me, however, it is conducting myself in ways that are respectful to everyone.

Example topic 2: independence

Example sentence: Independence means freedom from outside control, but college students often find it brings personal responsibility they had not considered.

Integrating Evidence from Appropriate Sources

Most academic writing is built on the writer’s own ideas as supported by the ideas of others. Regardless of the reasoning strategies you use in an essay, you will usually need to integrate others’ ideas to

  • help you explore a topic;
  • define, illustrate, explain, or prove an idea;
  • help readers think critically about an idea; and
  • give strength or credibility to your ideas.

These ideas from others could come from a variety of sources such as print or electronic media or in-person conversations. Similarly, these sources could be either personal (e.g., a conversation you had with someone or an email you received) or public (e.g., available online or in a printed publication). You can read more about finding and using credible sources in Research Process: Accessing and Recording Information and Annotated Bibliography: Gathering, Evaluating, and Documenting Sources .

These models show how writers integrate ideas from appropriate sources into their reasoning strategies.

Enrolling as a first-year student is like going to an amusement park for the first time: the inexperienced students or park goers must pay a high fee, abide by many rules, and choose their adventures. Like the cost for riding roller coasters, the cost for taking college classes is great and must be paid before the students start their journey. However, even after paying tuition, students do not have immediate access to whatever class they want to take, just as the park visitor cannot jump on any ride at any time. In the park, certain rides have warnings, such as “You must be at least 60 inches tall to go on this ride.” In college, many classes have prerequisites or require students to have earned a minimum placement score. Also, even though park goers have paid their entrance fees and received armbands that allow them to go anywhere in the park, they are not guaranteed a place on that one awesome ride they have heard so much about. They may have to choose between waiting in a line for hours or doing something else and trying to catch that ride another time. Similarly, college classes have a limited number of seats. Like the roller coaster that everyone wants to ride, college classes close, and students must make another choice. So, while students may not be able to pick up that class that semester, they can try again the next term. Like those starting an adventure at an amusement park, those starting the college journey should have a plan of how they want to fill their time and have a backup plan should they be unable to get every class they want, according to Max Vega, a first-year adviser. Similarly, park goers should use a map to plan their adventure.

Cause and Effect

Because an oil spill occurred off the coast of California, the fur and feathers of many animals became dangerously matted, waterways were damaged, and the cost of maintaining a clean environment skyrocketed. In May 2015, a ruptured pipeline in Santa Barbara County spilled oil along 20 miles of coastline. According to information published by the University of California -Davis, wildlife rescuers were able to save 49 coastal birds, 25 sea lions, and 6 elephant seals ( Kerlin , “Wildlife Experience High Price of Oil”). Helping ecosystems recover from oil spills is difficult and can take decades and billions of dollars to recover even partially.

Classification and Division

The layout for the new superstore can be divided into furniture (third floor), household goods and kitchenware (second floor), and men’s, women’s, and children’s clothing (first floor). This arrangement allows customers to feel they have control over their shopping experience. Customers shopping for clothes are not distracted by household goods or furniture displays. “By categorizing our merchandise in this manner, we can further subdivide the merchandise on each floor, developing a logical system of separation that repeat customers will learn easily,” said Carla Dawkins, general manager for Hometown Corner Store, in a Curtisville News report (Thurston 2). These subdivisions, Thurston stated, would allow individual floor managers to design the footprint of their floors to create an originality distinct and separate from the other floors (8).

Comparison and Contrast

One way Romeo and Juliet and Macbeth are alike is that both are tragedies written by William Shakespeare ; one way they differ is that they explore different themes. In Romeo and Juliet , almost all action centers on the theme of love, whether it is the innocent love between two young people or the protective love of parents for their children. In Macbeth , however, the action centers on ambition. The characters act on their ambitions for themselves and for their country, but excessive ambition is condemned and severely punished ( Royal Shakespeare Company , “ Macbeth Analysis”).

Problem and Solution

The issue of the increased need for parking on campus would be solved by paving the area on the corner of Twelfth and Locust Streets to allow parking on that lot. According to an email sent to all students from the provost, Dr. Sandra Kuryakin, the college purchased the corner lot two years ago with the intent of creating more parking spaces. In the email, Dr. Kuryakin adds, “We will break ground in June and plan to have the lot finished before students are back on campus in August, thus solving our parking problem on the west end of campus.”

Most people think patriotism means showing devotion to their country; to me, however, it is conducting myself in ways that are respectful to everyone. Too often, people proclaim themselves as patriots when they are actively seeking to withhold liberties from their fellow citizens or even harm them. When those claiming to be patriots condemn and physically harm others because they do not agree on political issues, they are not showing any reverence for their country. Instead, they dishonor their country by dishonoring its people. Respecting America should mean more than saluting the flag or singing the national anthem. It should mean respecting others’ rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. In light of all this, for me, patriotism means respecting others not only because they are fellow Americans but because they are fellow human beings.

Signal Words and Phrases

Writers use signal words and phrases to steer readers in certain directions. You might use signal words and phrases to give readers clues about

  • how one idea connects with another;
  • how one paragraph connects with another;
  • how one idea supports or refutes another;
  • what is to come;
  • points you want to emphasize;
  • illustrations of your topic; or
  • similarities or differences you want to emphasize.

Common signal words and phrases for reasoning strategies include these:



Compare and contrast

Frequently Used Reasoning Strategies Terms

  • Audience : the people who will read your paper.
  • Description : writing in which the author attempts to depict certain characteristics of a person, place, or object. Writers describe their subjects by carefully noting details and sensory impressions, such as what the subject looks, sounds, smells, tastes, or feels like.
  • Metaphors : comparison of two unlike elements. For example, the arguing protestors were volcanic, spewing hot, inflammatory speech.
  • Narration : telling a story or relating events.
  • Point : an important idea to share with the audience.
  • Purpose : reason for writing.
  • Sequencing : relating information in the order in which something happened or in which steps should be followed.
  • Similes : comparison of two unlike elements. The word as or like appears in a simile. For example, the protestors’ arguments were as heated as an erupting volcano.
  • Thesis : the overarching and unifying idea of a piece of writing.

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Course: LSAT   >   Unit 1

Getting started with logical reasoning.

  • Introduction to arguments
  • Catalog of question types
  • Types of conclusions
  • Types of evidence
  • Types of flaws
  • Identify the conclusion | Quick guide
  • Identify the conclusion | Learn more
  • Identify the conclusion | Examples
  • Identify an entailment | Quick guide
  • Identify an entailment | Learn more
  • Strongly supported inferences | Quick guide
  • Strongly supported inferences | Learn more
  • Disputes | Quick guide
  • Disputes | Learn more
  • Identify the technique | Quick guide
  • Identify the technique | Learn more
  • Identify the role | Quick guide
  • Identify the role | learn more
  • Identify the principle | Quick guide
  • Identify the principle | Learn more
  • Match structure | Quick guide
  • Match structure | Learn more
  • Match principles | Quick guide
  • Match principles | Learn more
  • Identify a flaw | Quick guide
  • Identify a flaw | Learn more
  • Match a flaw | Quick guide
  • Match a flaw | Learn more
  • Necessary assumptions | Quick guide
  • Necessary assumptions | Learn more
  • Sufficient assumptions | Quick guide
  • Sufficient assumptions | Learn more
  • Strengthen and weaken | Quick guide
  • Strengthen and weaken | Learn more
  • Helpful to know | Quick guide
  • Helpful to know | learn more
  • Explain or resolve | Quick guide
  • Explain or resolve | Learn more

Logical Reasoning overview

  • Two scored sections with 24-26 questions each
  • Logical Reasoning makes up roughly half of your total points .

Anatomy of a Logical Reasoning question

  • Passage/stimulus: This text is where we’ll find the argument or the information that forms the basis for answering the question. Sometimes there will be two arguments, if two people are presented as speakers.
  • Question/task: This text, found beneath the stimulus, poses a question. For example, it may ask what assumption is necessary to the argument, or what must be true based on the statements above.
  • Choices: You’ll be presented with five choices, of which you may select only one. You’ll see us refer to the correct choice as the “answer” throughout Khan Academy’s LSAT practice.

What can I do to tackle the Logical Reasoning section most effectively?

Dos and don’ts.

  • Don’t panic: You’re not obligated to do the questions in any order, or even to do a given question at all. Many students find success maximizing their score by skipping a select handful of questions entirely, either because they know a question will take too long to solve, or because they just don’t know how to solve it.
  • Don’t be influenced by your own views, knowledge, or experience about an issue or topic: The LSAT doesn’t require any outside expertise. All of the information that you need will be presented in the passage. When you add your own unwarranted assumptions, you’re moving away from the precision of the test’s language and toward more errors. This is one of the most common mistakes that students make on the LSAT!
  • Don’t time yourself too early on: When learning a new skill, it’s good policy to avoid introducing time considerations until you’re ready. If you were learning piano, you wouldn’t play a piece at full-speed before you’d practiced the passages very slowly, and then less slowly, and then less slowly still. Give yourself time and room to build your skill and confidence. Only when you’re feeling good about the mechanics of your approach should you introduce a stopwatch.
  • Do read with your pencil: Active reading strategies can help you better understand logical reasoning arguments and prevent you from “zoning out” while you read. Active readers like to underline or bracket an argument’s conclusion when they find it. They also like to circle keywords, such as “however”, “therefore”, “likely”, “all”, and many others that you’ll learn throughout your studies with us. If you’re reading with your pencil, you’re much less likely to wonder what you just read in the last minute.
  • Do learn all of the question types: An effective approach to a necessary assumption question is very different from an effective approach to an explain question, even though the passage will look very similar in both. In fact, the same argument passage could theoretically be used to ask you a question about the conclusion, its assumptions or vulnerabilities to criticism, its technique, the role of one of its statements, a principle it displays, or what new info might strengthen or weaken it!
  • Do spend time on the fundamentals: The temptation to churn through a high volume of questions can be strong, but strong LSAT-takers carefully and patiently learn the basics. For example, you’ll need to be able to identify a conclusion quickly and accurately before you’ll be able to progress with assumptions or flaws (identifying gaps in arguments). Similarly, a firm understanding of basic conditional reasoning will be invaluable as you approach many challenging questions. Be patient with yourself!

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Humanities LibreTexts

3.3: Strong paragraphs start with good evidence

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Support your thesis with evidence AND analysis

A paragraph is a group of sentences that present, develop, and support a single idea. That’s it. There’s no prescribed length or number of sentences. In academic writing, body paragraphs need to work together with the thesis to support your main point. If your thesis states where your essay wants to go, then your body paragraphs need to show the reader how you get there. Paragraphs rarely stand alone, so most often the main topic of the paragraph serves the main concept or purpose of a larger whole; for example, the main idea of a paragraph in an essay should serve to develop and support the thesis of the essay. 

By reading and annotating your sources, and by responding and analyzing to those sources, you should have developed lots of ideas that can now form the beginnings of your paragraphs. If you don't have ideas about your sources yet, STOP WRITING AND READ AGAIN. When writing with and about sources, you want to have the ideas before you start writing. If you start your paragraphs without evidence with the intention of add the evidence later, you are likely to fall into the trap of confirmation bias : only seeing the evidence you want to see. And, adding the evidence later makes it harder to develop your ideas sufficiently. 

Topic Sentence

The job of the topic sentence is to control the development and flow of the information contained in the paragraph. The topic sentence takes control of the more general topic of the paragraph and shapes it in the way that you choose to present it to your readers. It provides a way through a topic that is likely much broader than what you could ever cover in a paragraph, or even in an essay. This more focused idea, your topic sentence, helps you determine the parts of the topic that you want to illuminate for your readers—whether that’s a college essay or a thank you letter to your Aunt Martha.  The following diagram illustrates how a topic sentence can provide more focus to the general topic at hand.

a diagram of more focused ideas and topics together in a single sentence; more focused idea is "additional state budget funding must be allocated" and topic is "affordable housing initiatives"; topic is "the amazing sweater you knitted me," and the more focused idea is that it is "going to look especially great with my rainbow unicorn socks"

Select the Most Effective Primary Support for a Thesis Statement 

When you support your thesis, you are revealing evidence. Evidence includes anything that can help support your stance. The following are the kinds of evidence you will encounter as you conduct your research:

  • Facts.  Facts, such as statistics, are the best kind of evidence to use because they often cannot be disputed. They can support your stance by providing background information on or a solid foundation for your point of view. However, facts still need explanation. For example, the sentence “The most populated state in the United States is California” is a pure fact, but it will require some explanation to make it relevant to your specific argument. Always be sure you gather your facts from credible sources.
  • Judgments.  Judgments are conclusions drawn from the given facts. Judgments are more credible than opinions because they are founded upon careful reasoning and examination of a topic. Use judgments from experts in the field as they are the more credible sources for the topic.
  • Testimony.  Testimony consists of direct quotations from either an eyewitness or an expert witness. An eyewitness is someone who directly observed an instance of what you are writing about; testimony adds authenticity to an argument based on facts. An expert witness is a person who has extensive experience with a topic. This person studies the facts and provides commentary based on either facts or judgments, or both. An expert witness adds authority and credibility to an argument.
  • Personal observation.  Personal observation is similar to testimony, but personal observation consists of your testimony. It reflects what you know to be true because you have experiences and have formed either opinions or judgments about them. For instance, if you are one of five children and your thesis states that being part of a large family is beneficial to a child’s social development, you could use your own experience to support your thesis.

Include Supporting Detail Sentences for the Topic Sentence

After deciding which primary support points you will use as your topic sentences, you must add details to clarify and demonstrate each of those points. These supporting details provide examples, facts, or evidence that support the topic sentence.

The following paragraph contains supporting detail sentences for the the topic sentence, which is underlined.

J.D. Salinger, a World War II veteran, suffered from posttraumatic stress disorder, a disorder that influenced the themes in many of his works.  He did not hide his mental anguish over the horrors of war and once told his daughter, “You never really get the smell of burning flesh out of your nose, no matter how long you live.” His short story “A Perfect Day for a Bananafish” details a day in the life of a WWII veteran who was recently released from an army hospital for psychiatric problems. The man acts questionably with a little girl he meets on the beach before he returns to his hotel room and commits suicide. Another short story, “For Esmé – with Love and Squalor,” is narrated by a traumatized soldier who sparks an unusual relationship with a young girl he meets before he departs to partake in D-Day. Finally, in Salinger’s only novel,  The Catcher in the Rye , he continues with the theme of posttraumatic stress, though not directly related to war. From a rest home for the mentally ill, sixteen-year-old Holden Caulfield narrates the story of his nervous breakdown following the death of his younger brother.

Adding Explanation and Elaboration in your Body Paragraphs 

In addition to supporting details, college level paragraphs add quite a bit of explanation and elaboration in body paragraphs. Development of explanation and elaboration is one of the big differences between high school and college-level writing. Rather than just appearing in one paragraph all by itself -- possibly in a conclusion -- explanation and elaboration should appear through your essay. Some sentence stems you can use to help you develop your explanation and elaboration appear in the following list.

Sentence Stems for Elaboration 

  • X matters because ___________.
  • X is important because ___________.
  • X is crucial in terms of today’s concern over ___________ because ___________.
  • Ultimately, what is at stake here is ___________.
  • These points have important consequences for the broader discussion about ___________.
  • The discussion of X is in fact addressing the larger matter of ___________.
  • These conclusions have significant implications for ___________.
  • X should in fact concern anyone who cares about ___________.

These 4 videos review the paragraph ideas shared on this page 

Authored by:  GoReadWriteNow.  License:  All Rights Reserved .  License Terms:  Standard YouTube


  • Adapted from  Writing for Success.   Provided by:  The Saylor Foundation.  License:  CC-NC-SA 3.0   and The Word on College Reading and Writing
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Using Logical Reasoning in Academic Writing


The model we were taught in school for writing an effective essay has some good bones: Create a thesis. Present several claims and argue for those statements. Tie those arguments back to the thesis with supporting evidence to show your reader that what you're saying is true. If any of your arguments fall apart, your entire work will unravel faster than the scarf I made during my first attempt at learning to crochet. If you're creating a work of academic writing, you will need to follow a pattern of clearly defined logic to reinforce and support your argument.

Logic refers to the process of making a conclusion under valid laws of inference. Through this process, a writer makes arguments using statements to explain why these arguments are true. Logical reasoning is the act of settling on a viewpoint and then expressing to others why you selected that opinion over all other available conclusions.

Apply logical reasoning in your academic writing, and you'll be on your way to creating a strong conclusion with supporting evidence. Here are some tips on constructing a perfectly logical argument in your work.

Define your thoughts

Before you even start composing your text, clarify your own thoughts on the subject. You already have a solid idea that you want to illustrate for your readers. It makes perfect sense to you, because you have access to all the good arguments, supporting evidence, and gut feelings you've accumulated during your research at the forefront of your brain. Unfortunately, you can't open your brain and instantly share your certainty of an idea with others. This problem is especially apparent every time you have a misunderstanding with another person. You might feel passionate about an idea, but when you try to communicate your point, your mannerisms might portray petulance and impatience, which can cloud the perception of the other person. Maybe you feel frustrated that your significant other leaves the door open, and you are worried that your dog will run away forever. Your approach to the situation can be clouded by your delivery, which is heavy with the emotion connected to the issue, and your significant other can miss your message entirely if it is framed in a way that makes him/her defensive. If we could see a situation from the complete point of view as our friends and neighbors, the world might be a much more peaceful place!

Of course, sadly, the only way to express your thoughts and feelings is through the use of language and expression. While there is no perfect way to bring others into your world to share your thoughts, you can create the best-case scenario by mapping out your idea and why you feel it is true before you begin writing. Write out your idea and the supporting arguments. How do you know they are true? Seeing your points laid out on paper can help you remove your own perspective in a small way and view them as others might. Do your points represent logical connections between ideas, or are you depending on leaps in logic that will be too wide for your readers to navigate?

Gather irrefutable evidence to support your claim

When using logical reasoning, you draw conclusions whose evidence to support the claim creates a guarantee of a specific result. Look for concrete facts backed by studies and expert inquiries. If you are publishing a paper on your own research, aim to represent your work clearly and thoroughly by outlining the steps you took to create a conclusion. Ask yourself these questions:

  • At the beginning of your research, what did you think would happen?
  • How did you set out to prove/disprove this assertion?
  • What result did you observe, and was it in line with your previous expectations?

As most researchers will attest, the greater the scope of your study, the more irrefutable your evidence will be, and you can be more confident that your conclusions can be considered facts.

Avoid logical fallacies

A logical fallacy is false reasoning that leads your argument to become unreliable or untrue. When your readers encounter a logical fallacy, you lose their trust in your argument. Be aware of these fallacies and take measures to avoid them within your argument.

  • The bandwagon fallacy: Under this fallacy, you might claim that an idea is true simply because the majority of the people believe it. The common advertising claim , "4 out of 5 dentists prefer this toothpaste" draws on the bandwagon fallacy with the hope that its audience will believe that this toothpaste brand is the best on the market, whereas it is not necessarily true.
  • The correlation/causation fallacy: Just because two elements seem to be connected doesn't mean one directly leads to another. For example, if you changed the font on your company website last month, and then website hits were down during that same month, you might apply the correlation/causation fallacy and state that the font was detrimental to business without any other evidence supporting this claim.
  • Ignoratio elenchi (Latin for "ignoring refutation"): If your argument has an opposing side (and most do, of course), you will need to address that opposition with convincing logic. This fallacy arises when you respond to a counterargument without properly addressing the point of the argument. Let's say I am presenting the benefits of building a new bike trail in my city. My opponents assert that the city just doesn't have the budget to fund this project, while I claim that the advantages of a bike trail far outweigh any cost incurred. My claim is that cost is irrelevant to the project. In doing so, I fail to present a solution to the lack of money needed to build the path.
  • The straw man fallacy: This fallacy arises when you oversimplify your opposing argument and thus misrepresent it, thereby presenting your argument as the more obvious choice in the matter. In the debate on whether schools should implement school uniforms, an opponent of the school uniform might claim, "Schools that enforce dress codes discourage students' individuality." Such an argument dismisses any benefits of the opposing argument and boils down the claim to a simplified form that might not be fully true.
  • The anecdotal evidence fallacy: Under this fallacy, instead of applying logical evidence to your argument, you cite a story of one instance in which something happened, seeming to support a claim. Maybe your aunt tried a certain type of dryer sheet and the next day her dryer went up in flames. Does this mean that type of dryer sheet causes people's clothes dryers to ignite? This fallacy is also related to the correlation/causation fallacy.

Consider the opposition

An effectively formulated argument must acknowledge that the viewpoint presented is not shared by everyone, and some opposing arguments exist with relation to the topic. Imagine you are preparing for a debate; an effective approach include preparing your demonstration based on what you might expect your opponent to argue. For example, let's say I'm asserting that plastic bags should be banned. In addition to collecting data on the detrimental effects of plastic bags on the environment and the species of animals that suffer as a result of their invention, I should also consider who stands to benefit from plastic bags. I should investigate the low cost of producing and offering plastic bags from the perspective of businesses and stores in relation to alternative options and the effects those alternatives would have on my customer base. In order to present an effective argument against plastic bags, I should create strong data regarding the cost of alternatives and reveal statistics to show that their use is not as cost effective as previously considered. By anticipating the opposing view, I can create an argument to refute it.

By applying logical reasoning in your academic writing, you can present a strong argument on your subject. Create a stance that you can support with irrefutable evidence, having already mapped out your personal views in order to organize your desired viewpoint. Also, when you know what types of logical fallacies can exist, you can keep your eyes open for any problems in your logic and thereby avoid them. Following these tips can help you achieve a solid piece of writing that will earn you a good grade in class, convince your mentor that your thesis is bulletproof, or charm the socks off the editors at the journal in which you seek to be published.

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What is an Argumentative Essay? How to Write It (With Examples)

Argumentative Essay

We define an argumentative essay as a type of essay that presents arguments about both sides of an issue. The purpose is to convince the reader to accept a particular viewpoint or action. In an argumentative essay, the writer takes a stance on a controversial or debatable topic and supports their position with evidence, reasoning, and examples. The essay should also address counterarguments, demonstrating a thorough understanding of the topic.

Table of Contents

  • What is an argumentative essay?  
  • Argumentative essay structure 
  • Argumentative essay outline 
  • Types of argument claims 

How to write an argumentative essay?

  • Argumentative essay writing tips 
  • Good argumentative essay example 

How to write a good thesis

Frequently asked questions, what is an argumentative essay.

An argumentative essay is a type of writing that presents a coherent and logical analysis of a specific topic. 1 The goal is to convince the reader to accept the writer’s point of view or opinion on a particular issue. Here are the key elements of an argumentative essay: 

  • Thesis Statement : The central claim or argument that the essay aims to prove. 
  • Introduction : Provides background information and introduces the thesis statement. 
  • Body Paragraphs : Each paragraph addresses a specific aspect of the argument, presents evidence, and may include counterarguments. 
  • Evidence : Supports the main argument with relevant facts, examples, statistics, or expert opinions. 
  • Counterarguments : Anticipates and addresses opposing viewpoints to strengthen the overall argument. 
  • Conclusion : Summarizes the main points, reinforces the thesis, and may suggest implications or actions. 

how to start an essay reasoning

Argumentative essay structure

Aristotelian, Rogerian, and Toulmin are three distinct approaches to argumentative essay structures, each with its principles and methods. 2 The choice depends on the purpose and nature of the topic. Here’s an overview of each type of argumentative essay format.

Argumentative essay outline

An argumentative essay presents a specific claim or argument and supports it with evidence and reasoning. Here’s an outline for an argumentative essay, along with examples for each section: 3  

1.  Introduction : 

  • Hook : Start with a compelling statement, question, or anecdote to grab the reader’s attention. 

Example: “Did you know that plastic pollution is threatening marine life at an alarming rate?” 

  • Background information : Provide brief context about the issue. 

Example: “Plastic pollution has become a global environmental concern, with millions of tons of plastic waste entering our oceans yearly.” 

  • Thesis statement : Clearly state your main argument or position. 

Example: “We must take immediate action to reduce plastic usage and implement more sustainable alternatives to protect our marine ecosystem.” 

2.  Body Paragraphs : 

  • Topic sentence : Introduce the main idea of each paragraph. 

Example: “The first step towards addressing the plastic pollution crisis is reducing single-use plastic consumption.” 

  • Evidence/Support : Provide evidence, facts, statistics, or examples that support your argument. 

Example: “Research shows that plastic straws alone contribute to millions of tons of plastic waste annually, and many marine animals suffer from ingestion or entanglement.” 

  • Counterargument/Refutation : Acknowledge and refute opposing viewpoints. 

Example: “Some argue that banning plastic straws is inconvenient for consumers, but the long-term environmental benefits far outweigh the temporary inconvenience.” 

  • Transition : Connect each paragraph to the next. 

Example: “Having addressed the issue of single-use plastics, the focus must now shift to promoting sustainable alternatives.” 

3.  Counterargument Paragraph : 

  • Acknowledgement of opposing views : Recognize alternative perspectives on the issue. 

Example: “While some may argue that individual actions cannot significantly impact global plastic pollution, the cumulative effect of collective efforts must be considered.” 

  • Counterargument and rebuttal : Present and refute the main counterargument. 

Example: “However, individual actions, when multiplied across millions of people, can substantially reduce plastic waste. Small changes in behavior, such as using reusable bags and containers, can have a significant positive impact.” 

4.  Conclusion : 

  • Restatement of thesis : Summarize your main argument. 

Example: “In conclusion, adopting sustainable practices and reducing single-use plastic is crucial for preserving our oceans and marine life.” 

  • Call to action : Encourage the reader to take specific steps or consider the argument’s implications. 

Example: “It is our responsibility to make environmentally conscious choices and advocate for policies that prioritize the health of our planet. By collectively embracing sustainable alternatives, we can contribute to a cleaner and healthier future.” 

how to start an essay reasoning

Types of argument claims

A claim is a statement or proposition a writer puts forward with evidence to persuade the reader. 4 Here are some common types of argument claims, along with examples: 

  • Fact Claims : These claims assert that something is true or false and can often be verified through evidence.  Example: “Water boils at 100°C at sea level.”
  • Value Claims : Value claims express judgments about the worth or morality of something, often based on personal beliefs or societal values. Example: “Organic farming is more ethical than conventional farming.” 
  • Policy Claims : Policy claims propose a course of action or argue for a specific policy, law, or regulation change.  Example: “Schools should adopt a year-round education system to improve student learning outcomes.” 
  • Cause and Effect Claims : These claims argue that one event or condition leads to another, establishing a cause-and-effect relationship.  Example: “Excessive use of social media is a leading cause of increased feelings of loneliness among young adults.” 
  • Definition Claims : Definition claims assert the meaning or classification of a concept or term.  Example: “Artificial intelligence can be defined as machines exhibiting human-like cognitive functions.” 
  • Comparative Claims : Comparative claims assert that one thing is better or worse than another in certain respects.  Example: “Online education is more cost-effective than traditional classroom learning.” 
  • Evaluation Claims : Evaluation claims assess the quality, significance, or effectiveness of something based on specific criteria.  Example: “The new healthcare policy is more effective in providing affordable healthcare to all citizens.” 

Understanding these argument claims can help writers construct more persuasive and well-supported arguments tailored to the specific nature of the claim.  

If you’re wondering how to start an argumentative essay, here’s a step-by-step guide to help you with the argumentative essay format and writing process.

  • Choose a Topic: Select a topic that you are passionate about or interested in. Ensure that the topic is debatable and has two or more sides.
  • Define Your Position: Clearly state your stance on the issue. Consider opposing viewpoints and be ready to counter them.
  • Conduct Research: Gather relevant information from credible sources, such as books, articles, and academic journals. Take notes on key points and supporting evidence.
  • Create a Thesis Statement: Develop a concise and clear thesis statement that outlines your main argument. Convey your position on the issue and provide a roadmap for the essay.
  • Outline Your Argumentative Essay: Organize your ideas logically by creating an outline. Include an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion. Each body paragraph should focus on a single point that supports your thesis.
  • Write the Introduction: Start with a hook to grab the reader’s attention (a quote, a question, a surprising fact). Provide background information on the topic. Present your thesis statement at the end of the introduction.
  • Develop Body Paragraphs: Begin each paragraph with a clear topic sentence that relates to the thesis. Support your points with evidence and examples. Address counterarguments and refute them to strengthen your position. Ensure smooth transitions between paragraphs.
  • Address Counterarguments: Acknowledge and respond to opposing viewpoints. Anticipate objections and provide evidence to counter them.
  • Write the Conclusion: Summarize the main points of your argumentative essay. Reinforce the significance of your argument. End with a call to action, a prediction, or a thought-provoking statement.
  • Revise, Edit, and Share: Review your essay for clarity, coherence, and consistency. Check for grammatical and spelling errors. Share your essay with peers, friends, or instructors for constructive feedback.
  • Finalize Your Argumentative Essay: Make final edits based on feedback received. Ensure that your essay follows the required formatting and citation style.

Argumentative essay writing tips

Here are eight strategies to craft a compelling argumentative essay: 

  • Choose a Clear and Controversial Topic : Select a topic that sparks debate and has opposing viewpoints. A clear and controversial issue provides a solid foundation for a strong argument. 
  • Conduct Thorough Research : Gather relevant information from reputable sources to support your argument. Use a variety of sources, such as academic journals, books, reputable websites, and expert opinions, to strengthen your position. 
  • Create a Strong Thesis Statement : Clearly articulate your main argument in a concise thesis statement. Your thesis should convey your stance on the issue and provide a roadmap for the reader to follow your argument. 
  • Develop a Logical Structure : Organize your essay with a clear introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion. Each paragraph should focus on a specific point of evidence that contributes to your overall argument. Ensure a logical flow from one point to the next. 
  • Provide Strong Evidence : Support your claims with solid evidence. Use facts, statistics, examples, and expert opinions to support your arguments. Be sure to cite your sources appropriately to maintain credibility. 
  • Address Counterarguments : Acknowledge opposing viewpoints and counterarguments. Addressing and refuting alternative perspectives strengthens your essay and demonstrates a thorough understanding of the issue. Be mindful of maintaining a respectful tone even when discussing opposing views. 
  • Use Persuasive Language : Employ persuasive language to make your points effectively. Avoid emotional appeals without supporting evidence and strive for a respectful and professional tone. 
  • Craft a Compelling Conclusion : Summarize your main points, restate your thesis, and leave a lasting impression in your conclusion. Encourage readers to consider the implications of your argument and potentially take action. 

how to start an essay reasoning

Good argumentative essay example

Let’s consider a sample of argumentative essay on how social media enhances connectivity:

In the digital age, social media has emerged as a powerful tool that transcends geographical boundaries, connecting individuals from diverse backgrounds and providing a platform for an array of voices to be heard. While critics argue that social media fosters division and amplifies negativity, it is essential to recognize the positive aspects of this digital revolution and how it enhances connectivity by providing a platform for diverse voices to flourish. One of the primary benefits of social media is its ability to facilitate instant communication and connection across the globe. Platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram break down geographical barriers, enabling people to establish and maintain relationships regardless of physical location and fostering a sense of global community. Furthermore, social media has transformed how people stay connected with friends and family. Whether separated by miles or time zones, social media ensures that relationships remain dynamic and relevant, contributing to a more interconnected world. Moreover, social media has played a pivotal role in giving voice to social justice movements and marginalized communities. Movements such as #BlackLivesMatter, #MeToo, and #ClimateStrike have gained momentum through social media, allowing individuals to share their stories and advocate for change on a global scale. This digital activism can shape public opinion and hold institutions accountable. Social media platforms provide a dynamic space for open dialogue and discourse. Users can engage in discussions, share information, and challenge each other’s perspectives, fostering a culture of critical thinking. This open exchange of ideas contributes to a more informed and enlightened society where individuals can broaden their horizons and develop a nuanced understanding of complex issues. While criticisms of social media abound, it is crucial to recognize its positive impact on connectivity and the amplification of diverse voices. Social media transcends physical and cultural barriers, connecting people across the globe and providing a platform for marginalized voices to be heard. By fostering open dialogue and facilitating the exchange of ideas, social media contributes to a more interconnected and empowered society. Embracing the positive aspects of social media allows us to harness its potential for positive change and collective growth.
  • Clearly Define Your Thesis Statement:   Your thesis statement is the core of your argumentative essay. Clearly articulate your main argument or position on the issue. Avoid vague or general statements.  
  • Provide Strong Supporting Evidence:   Back up your thesis with solid evidence from reliable sources and examples. This can include facts, statistics, expert opinions, anecdotes, or real-life examples. Make sure your evidence is relevant to your argument, as it impacts the overall persuasiveness of your thesis.  
  • Anticipate Counterarguments and Address Them:   Acknowledge and address opposing viewpoints to strengthen credibility. This also shows that you engage critically with the topic rather than presenting a one-sided argument. 

The length of an argumentative essay can vary, but it typically falls within the range of 1,000 to 2,500 words. However, the specific requirements may depend on the guidelines provided.

You might write an argumentative essay when:  1. You want to convince others of the validity of your position.  2. There is a controversial or debatable issue that requires discussion.  3. You need to present evidence and logical reasoning to support your claims.  4. You want to explore and critically analyze different perspectives on a topic. 

Argumentative Essay:  Purpose : An argumentative essay aims to persuade the reader to accept or agree with a specific point of view or argument.  Structure : It follows a clear structure with an introduction, thesis statement, body paragraphs presenting arguments and evidence, counterarguments and refutations, and a conclusion.  Tone : The tone is formal and relies on logical reasoning, evidence, and critical analysis.    Narrative/Descriptive Essay:  Purpose : These aim to tell a story or describe an experience, while a descriptive essay focuses on creating a vivid picture of a person, place, or thing.  Structure : They may have a more flexible structure. They often include an engaging introduction, a well-developed body that builds the story or description, and a conclusion.  Tone : The tone is more personal and expressive to evoke emotions or provide sensory details. 

  • Gladd, J. (2020). Tips for Writing Academic Persuasive Essays.  Write What Matters . 
  • Nimehchisalem, V. (2018). Pyramid of argumentation: Towards an integrated model for teaching and assessing ESL writing.  Language & Communication ,  5 (2), 185-200. 
  • Press, B. (2022).  Argumentative Essays: A Step-by-Step Guide . Broadview Press. 
  • Rieke, R. D., Sillars, M. O., & Peterson, T. R. (2005).  Argumentation and critical decision making . Pearson/Allyn & Bacon. 

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Related Reads:

Empirical research: a comprehensive guide for academics .

  • How to Write a Scientific Paper in 10 Steps 
  • What is a Literature Review? How to Write It (with Examples)
  • Chemistry Terms: 7 Commonly Confused Words in Chemistry Manuscripts

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When you make an argument in an academic essay, you are writing for an audience that may not agree with you. In fact, your argument is worth making in the first place because your thesis will not be obvious—or obviously correct­—to everyone who considers the question you are asking or the topic you’re addressing. Once you figure out what you want to argue—your essay’s thesis—your task in writing the essay will be to share with your readers the evidence you have considered and to explain how that evidence supports your thesis.

But just offering your readers evidence that supports your thesis isn’t enough. You also need to consider potential counterarguments—the arguments that your readers could reasonably raise to challenge either your thesis or any of the other claims that you make in your argument. It can be helpful to think of counterarguments to your thesis as alternative answers to your question. In order to support your thesis effectively, you will need to explain why it is stronger than the alternatives.

A counterargument shouldn’t be something you add to your essay after you’ve finished it just because you know you’re supposed to include one. Instead, as you write your essay, you should always be thinking about points where a thoughtful reader could reasonably disagree with you. In some cases, you will be writing your essay as a counterargument to someone else’s argument because you think that argument is incorrect or misses something important. In other cases, you’ll need to think through—and address—objections that you think readers may have to your argument.

While it may be tempting to ignore counterarguments that challenge your own argument, you should not do this. Your own argument will be stronger if you can explain to your readers why the counterarguments they may pose are not as strong or convincing as your own argument. If you come up with a counterargument that you can’t refute, then you may decide to revise your thesis or some part of your argument. While that could be frustrating in the moment, challenging your own thinking is an important part of the writing process. By considering potential counterarguments, you will figure out if you actually agree with your own argument. In many cases, you will discover that a counterargument complicates your argument, but doesn’t refute it entirely.

Some counterarguments will directly address your thesis, while other counterarguments will challenge an individual point or set of points elsewhere in your argument. For example, a counterargument might identify

  • a problem with a conclusion you’ve drawn from evidence  
  • a problem with an assumption you’ve made  
  • a problem with how you are using a key term  
  • evidence you haven’t considered  
  • a drawback to your proposal  
  • a consequence you haven’t considered  
  • an alternative interpretation of the evidence 


Consider the following thesis for a short paper that analyzes different approaches to stopping climate change:

Climate activism that focuses on personal actions such as recycling obscures the need for systemic change that will be required to slow carbon emissions.

The author of this thesis is promising to make the case that personal actions not only will not solve the climate problem but may actually make the problem more difficult to solve. In order to make a convincing argument, the author will need to consider how thoughtful people might disagree with this claim. In this case, the author might anticipate the following counterarguments:

  • By encouraging personal actions, climate activists may raise awareness of the problem and encourage people to support larger systemic change.  
  • Personal actions on a global level would actually make a difference.  
  • Personal actions may not make a difference, but they will not obscure the need for systemic solutions.  
  • Personal actions cannot be put into one category and must be differentiated.

In order to make a convincing argument, the author of this essay may need to address these potential counterarguments. But you don’t need to address every possible counterargument. Rather, you should engage counterarguments when doing so allows you to strengthen your own argument by explaining how it holds up in relation to other arguments. 

How to address counterarguments 

Once you have considered the potential counterarguments, you will need to figure out how to address them in your essay. In general, to address a counterargument, you’ll need to take the following steps.

  • State the counterargument and explain why a reasonable reader could raise that counterargument.  
  • Counter the counterargument. How you grapple with a counterargument will depend on what you think it means for your argument. You may explain why your argument is still convincing, even in light of this other position. You may point to a flaw in the counterargument. You may concede that the counterargument gets something right but then explain why it does not undermine your argument. You may explain why the counterargument is not relevant. You may refine your own argument in response to the counterargument.  
  • Consider the language you are using to address the counterargument. Words like but or however signal to the reader that you are refuting the counterargument. Words like nevertheless or still signal to the reader that your argument is not diminished by the counterargument. 

Here’s an example of a paragraph in which a counterargument is raised and addressed.

Image version


The two steps are marked with counterargument and “counter” to the counterargument: COUNTERARGUMENT/ But some experts argue that it’s important for individuals to take action to mitigate climate change. In “All That Performative Environmentalism Adds Up,” Annie Lowery argues that personal actions to fight climate change, such as reducing household trash or installing solar panels, matter because change in social behavior can lead to changes in laws. [1]  

COUNTER TO THE COUNTERARGUMENT/ While Lowery may be correct that individual actions can lead to collective action, this focus on individual action can allow corporations to receive positive publicity while continuing to burn fossil fuels at dangerous rates.

Where to address counterarguments 

There is no one right place for a counterargument—where you raise a particular counterargument will depend on how it fits in with the rest of your argument. The most common spots are the following:

  • Before your conclusion This is a common and effective spot for a counterargument because it’s a chance to address anything that you think a reader might still be concerned about after you’ve made your main argument. Don’t put a counterargument in your conclusion, however. At that point, you won’t have the space to address it, and readers may come away confused—or less convinced by your argument.
  • Before your thesis Often, your thesis will actually be a counterargument to someone else’s argument. In other words, you will be making your argument because someone else has made an argument that you disagree with. In those cases, you may want to offer that counterargument before you state your thesis to show your readers what’s at stake—someone else has made an unconvincing argument, and you are now going to make a better one. 
  • After your introduction In some cases, you may want to respond to a counterargument early in your essay, before you get too far into your argument. This is a good option when you think readers may need to understand why the counterargument is not as strong as your argument before you can even launch your own ideas. You might do this in the paragraph right after your thesis. 
  • Anywhere that makes sense  As you draft an essay, you should always keep your readers in mind and think about where a thoughtful reader might disagree with you or raise an objection to an assertion or interpretation of evidence that you are offering. In those spots, you can introduce that potential objection and explain why it does not change your argument. If you think it does affect your argument, you can acknowledge that and explain why your argument is still strong.

[1] Annie Lowery, “All that Performative Environmentalism Adds Up.” The Atlantic . August 31, 2020.…

  • picture_as_pdf Counterargument
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A Guide to Writing a Claim, Evidence, Reasoning (CER) Paragraph for Science

Last Updated: June 28, 2023 Fact Checked

Coming Up with a Claim

  • Collecting Evidence
  • Explaining Your Reasoning

This article was co-authored by wikiHow staff writer, Johnathan Fuentes . Johnathan Fuentes is a writer based in the New York City region. His interests as a writer include space exploration, science education, immigration, Latinx cultures, LGBTQ+ issues, and long-form journalism. He is also an avid hiker and has backpacked in Alaska and Newfoundland, Canada. A son of Cuban immigrants, he is bilingual in English and Spanish. Prior to joining wikiHow, he worked in academic publishing and was a freelance writer for science websites. He graduated from Columbia University in 2021, where he studied nonfiction writing and wrote for the student newspaper. He is currently counting down the seconds until the release of Kerbal Space Program 2 in 2023—a game that will almost certainly take up what little free time he has. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 6,644 times. Learn more...

When scientists make claims about our world, they justify those claims by citing evidence and explaining their reasoning. “Claim, Evidence, Reasoning,” a.k.a. “CER,” is the backbone of science. Learning how to write a CER paragraph is crucial to thinking like a scientist—not to mention, doing well in science class. This article will teach you how to come up with a claim, collect evidence, and provide your reasoning for a CER. We’ll even provide example sentences to get you started. Keep reading to learn how to draft a CER for your science class.

Things You Should Know

  • Identify the question you need to answer with a claim, then write a one-sentence answer. This sentence is your claim, which you’ll prove using evidence.
  • Collect evidence to support your claim such as observations, measurements, and results from experiments. Write 2-3 sentences describing the evidence.
  • Explain your reasoning by showing how all the pieces of evidence fit together. Then describe how each piece of evidence supports your original claim.

Step 1 Identify a question you need to answer with a claim.

  • For example, your science teacher might provide you with the question “Which has more mass: a cubic meter of water, or a cubic meter of air?”
  • Instead of being given the question above, you could be given a table listing the densities of different materials, including water and air.
  • You could then use the table to come up with your own question. For instance: “Which material listed on the table has the highest density?” or “What volume of air weighs the same as a cubic meter of water?”
  • In this example, you could support your answer by citing data showing that oil is less dense than water, and that low-density liquids float on top of higher-density liquids.
  • “I will demonstrate that vegetable oil will separate and float above water if the two liquids are mixed together.”
  • “Scientists have shown that a cubic meter of water is more massive than a cubic meter of air.”
  • “The seasons are caused by Earth’s axial tilt.”
  • “I support the idea that hydrogen is more chemically reactive than helium.”

Collecting Evidence to Support Your Claim

Step 1 Gather evidence that proves or supports your claim.

  • A table from an astronomy textbook listing the masses of all planets in the Solar System.
  • A scientific article explaining how the planets’ masses were measured.
  • The results from gravity experiments taken by a robotic probe that visited Jupiter.
  • A separate article that used a different method for measuring the planets’ masses, but came up with the same answers.
  • If you conducted an experiment, you can use the results of your experiment as evidence to support your claim.
  • For example, if you measured the freezing point of salty water vs. fresh water, you could refer to those measurements as evidence for the claim “I will demonstrate that salty water freezes at a lower temperature than fresh water.”
  • “In her article ‘The Mass of Jupiter,’ Dr. Samantha Smith states that Jupiter is more massive than all other planets in the Solar System combined.”
  • “Our experiment showed that salty water freezes at -2°C, while pure water freezes at 0°C.”
  • “One way to prove the Earth is round is to observe how objects disappear bottom-first as they approach the horizon.”

Explaining Your Reasoning for Your Claim

Step 1 Think about why each piece of evidence supports your claim.

  • “Our experiment showed that salty water freezes at -2°C, while pure water freezes at 0°C.” The only difference between the two types of water was their salt content. This suggests that adding salt caused the freezing point to drop.
  • “Seawater near Antarctica is often below -3°C or colder, but doesn’t always freeze.” I know that seawater is salty. This may explain why the seawater doesn’t freeze.
  • “Salt is used in cold regions to keep roads from freezing.” Without salt, roads get icy in the wintertime. Salt melts the ice but doesn’t raise its temperature, so the freezing point of salty water must be lower than normal.
  • “On pg. 19, the author explains that dissolved salt raises the boiling point and lowers the freezing point of water.” This is consistent with the results of our experiment in class.
  • “The results of our experiment show that salty water freezes at a lower temperature.”
  • “The fact that seawater remains liquid at -3°C proves that salty water has a lower freezing point than pure water.”

Step 3 Use your sentences to write the reasoning section.

  • “This evidence supports my claim by demonstrating multiple examples of salty water freezing at a lower temperature than pure water.”
  • “As you can see from the evidence, Jupiter is clearly the most massive planet in the Solar System.”
  • “The evidence above proves that hydrogen is more reactive than helium.”

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  • How to Write a Strong Hypothesis | Steps & Examples

How to Write a Strong Hypothesis | Steps & Examples

Published on May 6, 2022 by Shona McCombes . Revised on November 20, 2023.

A hypothesis is a statement that can be tested by scientific research. If you want to test a relationship between two or more variables, you need to write hypotheses before you start your experiment or data collection .

Example: Hypothesis

Daily apple consumption leads to fewer doctor’s visits.

Table of contents

What is a hypothesis, developing a hypothesis (with example), hypothesis examples, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about writing hypotheses.

A hypothesis states your predictions about what your research will find. It is a tentative answer to your research question that has not yet been tested. For some research projects, you might have to write several hypotheses that address different aspects of your research question.

A hypothesis is not just a guess – it should be based on existing theories and knowledge. It also has to be testable, which means you can support or refute it through scientific research methods (such as experiments, observations and statistical analysis of data).

Variables in hypotheses

Hypotheses propose a relationship between two or more types of variables .

  • An independent variable is something the researcher changes or controls.
  • A dependent variable is something the researcher observes and measures.

If there are any control variables , extraneous variables , or confounding variables , be sure to jot those down as you go to minimize the chances that research bias  will affect your results.

In this example, the independent variable is exposure to the sun – the assumed cause . The dependent variable is the level of happiness – the assumed effect .

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Step 1. Ask a question

Writing a hypothesis begins with a research question that you want to answer. The question should be focused, specific, and researchable within the constraints of your project.

Step 2. Do some preliminary research

Your initial answer to the question should be based on what is already known about the topic. Look for theories and previous studies to help you form educated assumptions about what your research will find.

At this stage, you might construct a conceptual framework to ensure that you’re embarking on a relevant topic . This can also help you identify which variables you will study and what you think the relationships are between them. Sometimes, you’ll have to operationalize more complex constructs.

Step 3. Formulate your hypothesis

Now you should have some idea of what you expect to find. Write your initial answer to the question in a clear, concise sentence.

4. Refine your hypothesis

You need to make sure your hypothesis is specific and testable. There are various ways of phrasing a hypothesis, but all the terms you use should have clear definitions, and the hypothesis should contain:

  • The relevant variables
  • The specific group being studied
  • The predicted outcome of the experiment or analysis

5. Phrase your hypothesis in three ways

To identify the variables, you can write a simple prediction in  if…then form. The first part of the sentence states the independent variable and the second part states the dependent variable.

In academic research, hypotheses are more commonly phrased in terms of correlations or effects, where you directly state the predicted relationship between variables.

If you are comparing two groups, the hypothesis can state what difference you expect to find between them.

6. Write a null hypothesis

If your research involves statistical hypothesis testing , you will also have to write a null hypothesis . The null hypothesis is the default position that there is no association between the variables. The null hypothesis is written as H 0 , while the alternative hypothesis is H 1 or H a .

  • H 0 : The number of lectures attended by first-year students has no effect on their final exam scores.
  • H 1 : The number of lectures attended by first-year students has a positive effect on their final exam scores.

If you want to know more about the research process , methodology , research bias , or statistics , make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples.

  • Sampling methods
  • Simple random sampling
  • Stratified sampling
  • Cluster sampling
  • Likert scales
  • Reproducibility


  • Null hypothesis
  • Statistical power
  • Probability distribution
  • Effect size
  • Poisson distribution

Research bias

  • Optimism bias
  • Cognitive bias
  • Implicit bias
  • Hawthorne effect
  • Anchoring bias
  • Explicit bias

A hypothesis is not just a guess — it should be based on existing theories and knowledge. It also has to be testable, which means you can support or refute it through scientific research methods (such as experiments, observations and statistical analysis of data).

Null and alternative hypotheses are used in statistical hypothesis testing . The null hypothesis of a test always predicts no effect or no relationship between variables, while the alternative hypothesis states your research prediction of an effect or relationship.

Hypothesis testing is a formal procedure for investigating our ideas about the world using statistics. It is used by scientists to test specific predictions, called hypotheses , by calculating how likely it is that a pattern or relationship between variables could have arisen by chance.

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How to Write a Critical Thinking Essay: Examples & Outline

Critical thinking is the process of evaluating and analyzing information. People who use it in everyday life are open to different opinions. They rely on reason and logic when making conclusions about certain issues.

Our specialists will write a custom essay specially for you!

A critical thinking essay shows how your thoughts change as you research your topic. This type of assignment encourages you to learn rather than prove what you already know. In this article, our custom writing team will:

  • explain how to write an excellent critical essay;
  • introduce 30 great essay topics;
  • provide a critical thinking essay example in MLA format.
  • 🤔 Critical Thinking Essay Definition
  • 💡 Topics & Questions
  • ✅ Step-by-Step Guide
  • 📑 Essay Example & Formatting Tips
  • ✍️ Bonus Tips

🔍 References

🤔 what is a critical thinking essay.

A critical thinking essay is a paper that analyses an issue and reflects on it in order to develop an action plan. Unlike other essay types, it starts with a question instead of a thesis. It helps you develop a broader perspective on a specific issue. Critical writing aims at improving your analytical skills and encourages asking questions.

The picture shows the functions of critical thinking in writing.

Critical Thinking in Writing: Importance

When we talk about critical thinking and writing, the word “critical” doesn’t have any negative connotation. It simply implies thorough investigation, evaluation, and analysis of information. Critical thinking allows students to make objective conclusions and present their ideas logically. It also helps them avoid errors in reasoning.

The Basics: 8 Steps of Critical Thinking Psychology

Did you know that the critical thinking process consists of 8 steps? We’ve listed them below. You can try to implement them in your everyday life:

It’s possible that fallacies will occur during the process of critical thinking. Fallacies are errors in reasoning that fail to provide a reasonable conclusion. Here are some common types of fallacies:

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  • Generalization . It happens when you apply generally factual statements to a specific case.
  • Ambiguity . It occurs when the arguments are not clear and are not supported by evidence.
  • Appeal to authority . This mistake happens when you claim the statement is valid only because a respected person made it.
  • Appeal to emotion . It occurs when you use highly emotive language to convince the audience. Try to stay sensible and rely on the evidence.
  • Bifurcation . This mistake occurs when you choose only between two alternatives when more than two exist.
  • False analogy . It happens when the examples are poorly connected.

If you want to avoid these mistakes, do the following:

  • try not to draw conclusions too quickly,
  • be attentive,
  • carefully read through all the sources,
  • avoid generalizations.

How to Demonstrate Your Critical Thinking in Writing

Critical thinking encourages you to go beyond what you know and study new perspectives. When it comes to demonstrating your critical thinking skills in writing, you can try these strategies:

  • Read . Before you start writing an essay, read everything you can find on the subject you are about to cover. Focus on the critical points of your assignment.
  • Research . Look up several scholarly sources and study the information in-depth.
  • Evaluate . Analyze the sources and the information you’ve gathered. See whether you can disagree with the authors.
  • Prove . Explain why you agree or disagree with the authors’ conclusions. Back it up with evidence.

According to Purdue University, logical essay writing is essential when you deal with academic essays. It helps you demonstrate and prove the arguments. Make sure that your paper reaches a logical conclusion.

There are several main concepts related to logic:

If you want your essay to be logical, it’s better to avoid syllogistic fallacies, which happen with certain invalid deductions. If syllogisms are used carelessly, they can lead to false statements and ruin the credibility of your paper.

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💡 Critical Thinking Topics & Questions

An excellent critical thinking essay starts with a question. But how do you formulate it properly? Keep reading to find out.

How to Write Critical Thinking Questions: Examples with Answers

Asking the right questions is at the core of critical thinking. They challenge our beliefs and encourage our interest to learn more.

Here are some examples of model questions that prompt critical thinking:

  • What does… mean?
  • What would happen if…?
  • What are the principles of…?
  • Why is… important?
  • How does… affect…?
  • What do you think causes…?
  • How are… and… similar/different?
  • How do you explain….?
  • What are the implications of…?
  • What do we already know about…?

Now, let’s look at some critical thinking questions with the answers. You can use these as a model for your own questions:

Question: What would happen if people with higher income paid more taxes?

  • Answer: It would help society to prosper and function better. It would also help people out of poverty. This way, everyone can contribute to the economy.

Question: How does eating healthy benefit you?

  • Answer: Healthy eating affects people’s lives in many positive ways. It reduces cancer risk, improves your mood and memory, helps with weight loss and diabetes management, and improves your night sleep.

Critical Thinking Essay Topics

Have you already decided what your essay will be about? If not, feel free to use these essay topic examples as titles for your paper or as inspiration. Make sure to choose a theme that interests you personally:

Get an originally-written paper according to your instructions!

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  • Effects of violent video games on children’s mental health.
  • Analyze the effect stress has on the productivity of a team member.
  • Discuss the importance of the environmental studies .
  • Critical thinking and ethics of happy life.
  • The effects of human dignity on the promotion of justice.
  • Examine the ethics of advertising the tobacco industry.
  • Reasons and possible solutions of research misconduct.
  • Implication of parental deployment for children.
  • Cultural impact of superheroes on the US culture.
  • Examine the positive and negative impact of technology on modern society.
  • Critical thinking in literature: examples.
  • Analyze the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on economic transformation.
  • Benefits and drawbacks of mandatory vaccination .

Haven’t found a suitable essay idea? Try using our topic generator !

✅ How to Write a Critical Thinking Essay Step by Step

Now, let’s focus on planning and writing your critical thinking essay. In this section, you will find an essay outline, examples of thesis statements, and a brief overview of each essay part.

Critical Thinking Essay Outline

In a critical thinking essay, there are two main things to consider: a premise and a conclusion :

  • A premise is a statement in the argument that explains the reason or supports a conclusion.
  • A conclusion indicates what the argument is trying to prove. Each argument can have only one conclusion.

When it comes to structuring, a critical thinking essay is very similar to any other type of essay. Before you start writing it, make sure you know what to include in it. An outline is very helpful when it comes to structuring a paper.

The picture enumerates the main parts of a critical essay outline: introduction, main body, conclusion.

How to Start a Critical Essay Introduction

An introduction gives readers a general idea of an essay’s contents. When you work on the introduction, imagine that you are drawing a map for the reader. It not only marks the final destination but also explains the route.

An introduction usually has 4 functions:

  • It catches the reader’s attention;
  • It states the essay’s main argument;
  • It provides some general information about the topic;
  • It shows the importance of the issue in question.

Here are some strategies that can make the introduction writing easier:

  • Give an overview of the essay’s topic.
  • Express the main idea.
  • Define the main terms.
  • Outline the issues that you are going to explore or argue about.
  • Explain the methodology and why you used it.
  • Write a hook to attract the reader’s attention.

Critical Analysis Thesis Statement & Examples

A thesis statement is an integral part of every essay. It keeps the paper organized and guides both the reader and the writer. A good thesis:

  • expresses the conclusion or position on a topic;
  • justifies your position or opinion with reasoning;
  • conveys one idea;
  • serves as the essay’s map.

To have a clearer understanding of what a good thesis is, let’s have a look at these examples.

The statement on the left is too general and doesn’t provide any reasoning. The one on the right narrows down the group of people to office workers and specifies the benefits of exercising.

Critical Thinking Essay Body Paragraphs: How to Write

Body paragraphs are the part of the essay where you discuss all the ideas and arguments. In a critical thinking essay, arguments are especially important. When you develop them, make sure that they:

  • reflect the key theme;
  • are supported by the sources/citations/examples.

Using counter-arguments is also effective. It shows that you acknowledge different points of view and are not easily persuaded.

In addition to your arguments, it’s essential to present the evidence . Demonstrate your critical thinking skills by analyzing each source and stating whether the author’s position is valid.

To make your essay logically flow, you may use transitions such as:

  • Accordingly,
  • For instance,
  • On the contrary,
  • In conclusion,
  • Not only… but also,
  • Undoubtedly.

How to Write a Critical Thinking Conclusion

In a critical thinking essay, the notion of “conclusion” is tightly connected to the one used in logic. A logical conclusion is a statement that specifies the author’s point of view or what the essay argues about. Each argument can have only one logical conclusion.

Sometimes they can be confused with premises. Remember that premises serve as a support for the conclusion. Unlike the conclusion, there can be several premises in a single argument. You can learn more about these concepts from the article on a logical consequence by Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

Keeping this in mind, have a look at these tips for finishing your essay:

  • Briefly sum up the main points.
  • Provide a final thought on the issue.
  • Suggest some results or consequences.
  • Finish up with a call for action.

📑 Critical Thinking Essays Examples & Formatting Tips

Formatting is another crucial aspect of every formal paper. MLA and APA are two popular formats when it comes to academic writing. They share some similarities but overall are still two different styles. Here are critical essay format guidelines that you can use as a reference:

Finally, you’re welcome to check out a full critical essay sample in MLA format. Download the PDF file below:

Currently, the importance of critical thinking has grown rapidly because technological progress has led to expanded access to various content-making platforms: websites, online news agencies, and podcasts with, often, low-quality information. Fake news is used to achieve political and financial aims, targeting people with low news literacy. However, individuals can stop spreading fallacies by detecting false agendas with the help of a skeptical attitude.

✍️ Bonus Tips: Critical Thinking and Writing Exercises

Critical thinking is a process different from our regular thinking. When we think in everyday life, we do it automatically. However, when we’re thinking critically, we do it deliberately.

So how do we get better at this type of thinking and make it a habit? These useful tips will help you do it:

  • Ask basic questions. Sometimes, while we are doing research, the explanation becomes too complicated. To avoid it, always go back to your topic.
  • Question basic assumptions. When thinking through a problem, ask yourself whether your beliefs can be wrong. Keep an open mind while researching your question.
  • Think for yourself. Avoid getting carried away in the research and buying into other people’s opinions.
  • Reverse things. Sometimes it seems obvious that one thing causes another, but what if it’s the other way around?
  • Evaluate existing evidence. If you work with sources, it’s crucial to evaluate and question them.

Another way to improve your reasoning skills is to do critical thinking exercises. Here are some of them:

Thanks for reading through our article! We hope that you found it helpful and learned some new information. If you liked it, feel free to share it with your friends.

Further reading:

  • Critical Writing: Examples & Brilliant Tips [2024]
  • How to Write a Rhetorical Analysis Essay: Outline, Steps, & Examples
  • How to Write an Analysis Essay: Examples + Writing Guide
  • How to Write a Critique Paper: Tips + Critique Essay Examples
  • How to Write a Literary Analysis Essay Step by Step
  • Critical Thinking and Writing: University of Kent
  • Steps to Critical Thinking: Rasmussen University
  • 3 Simple Habits to Improve Your Critical Thinking: Harvard Business Review
  • In-Class Writing Exercises: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Demonstrating Critical Thinking in Writing: University of South Australia
  • 15 Questions that Teachers and Parents Can Ask Kids to Encourage Critical Thinking: The Hun School
  • Questions to Provoke Critical Thinking: Brown University
  • How to Write a College Critical Thinking Essay: Seattle PI
  • Introductions: What They Do: Royal Literary Fund
  • Thesis Statements: Arizona State University
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