Order of Components/How to Organize
Where do you find ‘concerns’ ?
The order in which the components should appear in your essays may depend on which discipline your course is in. So always adhere to the advice provided by your professor and what you learn in class.
That said, one common arrangement for analytical and argument essays is to begin with an introduction that explains why the situation is important—why the reader should care about it. Your research question will probably not appear, but your answer to it (your thesis, or claim) usually appears as the last sentence or two of the introduction.
The body of your essay or paper follows and consists of:
- Your reasons the thesis is correct or at least reasonable.
- The evidence that supports each reason, often occurring right after the reason the evidence supports.
- An acknowledgement that some people have/could have objections, reservations, counterarguments, or alternative solutions to your argument and a statement of each.
- A response to each acknowledgement that explains why that criticism is incorrect or not very important. Sometimes you might have to concede a point you think is unimportant, if you can’t really refute it.
After the body, the paper or essay ends with a conclusion, which states your thesis in a slightly different way than occurred in the introduction. The conclusion also may mention why research on this situation is important.
What we are reinforcing here is the integration of the objections somewhere in your paper (as opposed to not considering them at all). Sometimes this means these objections are integrated as part of a larger point or in response (or dialogue with) a point/sub-point. Other times these means dedicating an entire paragraph to these reader biases or countering assumptions by naysayers.
In any case, solely identifying the objection is not enough. You must flesh out this idea with some explanation, an example, and/or another source in order to give it the attention it needs. Simply dropping in an objection and then moving on to your own reasoning/response would not be as effective as giving credence to those objections or alternative solutions. Lending credence before offering a response strengthens your position by showing diplomacy and fairness in reaching out ‘to the other side.’
OER English Composition. Listen to here to The Writer’s Odyssey: A Good Counterargument. Click the PLAY button.
DCCCD Open Education Resource (OER). A collection of resources provided by Dallas TeleLearning, a part of the Dallas County Community College District.