Like most papers, argumentative papers have an introduction, body, and conclusion. The introduction is usually where readers can discover the topic of the argument, the thesis that states the writer’s claims or stance on the topic, and perhaps a preview of what the body of the paper will cover.
Unlike informational papers, the body of an argument paper contains the writer’s reasoning or thought process behind their stance, which is in turn supported by evidence. Without support, the writer’s stance and the reasoning behind it are merely statements of opinion. Support is what makes the difference between opinion and argument. The evidence can be statistics, data, an expert opinion, an example, an analogy, or any other way of lending credible support.
Not every argument paper acknowledges and addresses the opposing arguments. While it is not always necessary, it does strengthen the overall credibility of the paper. The reader can see that the writer has researched the topic thoroughly enough to respond to alternative perspectives. Only include opposing arguments and address them if you are able to do so fairly and accurately. If you think you’ll resort to “low blows” it’s best to leave this out.
Finally, every argumentative paper has a concluding paragraph that reemphasizes the original thesis and leaves the reader with something to consider after reading. The conclusion is the last chance to convince the reader to consider your position, so use it wisely!