Definition: An argument analysis essay is a type of academic essay that provides a detailed overview of the structure and content of an argument. This type of essay is especially common in fields such as philosophy, rhetoric, and communication studies.
An argument analysis essay functions as a supporting text for another work by analyzing and describing an argument contained within the primary text (typically referred to as the primary text). In most cases, this results in an analysis of what has been stated in certain parts of the primary text or arguments that have been made in favor or against other statements made in the primary text.
The purpose of such essays is to analyze and critically review information contained within another source. Often times they will identify bias or logical fallacies present within a given argument. These types of essays are commonly used to examine and criticize arguments made within a film, novel, or any other sort of text.
How to write argument analysis essay effectively
Before you can start writing an argument analysis essay, it is wise to familiarize yourself with a variety of analytical strategies that can be used alongside this type of assignment.
By doing this, you will have more options available for identifying flaws and errors present within an argument.
Here is some sample list of various ways in which you can analyze arguments:
- Deconstruction – involves removing protective layers, so that the claim can be plainly seen for what it is.
- Evaluation – involves determining the strengths and weaknesses of a claim based on evidence presented by your analysis.
Explaining an argument in terms of its component parts, which will involve identifying key terms and any assumptions that have been made with respect to at least one premise or conclusion made within the argument. This may also involve presenting details regarding how a particular theory might apply to supporting or refuting the conclusions drawn from an argument.
- Reconstruction – involves placing individual pieces back together again into something more coherent and whole [this should help you put all of your ideas back together]
- Synthesis – involves combining information from separate sources in order to make sense of them.
Even though this type of assignment is most common in the fields mentioned above, it can be used for analyzing and describing arguments presented via many different types of works.
Learn about: how to write an argumentative essay.
Good argument analysis essay structure – outline, format
Here are some example outline formats to get you started writing your own argument analysis essay.
The structure of an argument analysis essay includes: Introduction, body paragraphs, conclusion, and a citation page. Each part has been explained below with examples.
This part of the essay should include an outline of what will be discussed throughout the rest of the essay. Typically there will only be one paragraph included in this section as a way to present a snapshot overview of how the body paragraphs will flow from one into another.
A good introduction for an argument analysis essay can set up the tone and general direction of what follows.
A well-written introduction will also give enough background information about the subject at hand so that readers are not confused when they see any vocabulary or references to historical names that might otherwise be unfamiliar to them.
After the introduction comes this part where all aspects of the primary text that pertain to its argument are examined in detail. This typically will include a description of the argument, its key terms, and any statements that have been made in favor or against certain claims. Then, the essay will usually proceed to providing an analysis of these claims so as to determine whether they are accurate or not.
The conclusion section is used to summarize all the points presented within the body paragraphs. This way it will be easier for readers to grasp exactly what was stated in each body paragraph. It should also be used at this time to provide any closing thoughts that may pertain to other interpretations of arguments presented by this primary text or if there are any criticisms that still need to be addressed. Keep in mind that this part should only focus on additional material and critical commentary pertaining to the topic at hand.
The conclusion ties together all points made in its body paragraphs through restating important ideas or facts from this section or summarizing whatever major points may have been left unclear in other parts of the paper.
- Citation / reference page:
Be sure to use citations throughout your analysis essay so as to demonstrate where you got your information from, especially when using outside sources
Basic argument analysis essay outline example
The argument analysis essay should be organized into an introduction, a body, and a conclusion. In the introduction, the basic premises of the text’s arguments should be laid out with the aim of giving readers some general idea of what to expect in the body. The main claim or premise is then broken down into parts for more detailed examination. The body presents each argument or claim made within each paragraph. The conclusion summarizes all points made in the body and continuing arguments found within it.
Here is a basic argument analysis essay outline that you can use to write a perfect essay.
- Introductory paragraph
- Body paragraphs – Deconstruction, Evaluation, Explanation of argument’s components, Reconstruction.
- Concluding paragraph
- Citation page
Use this example argument analysis essay outline to create a better outline based on the topic you are writing about. You can also review our main section on how to write an essay outline.
What are the 5 Steps to Analyzing an argument?
- Understanding the argument that is being made. This includes knowing what the argument contends, which can be summarized as a conclusion that is defended by premises.
- Identifying assumptions and implicit information contained within the argument. For example, an argument might contain unstated or vague claims and conclusions. This might include assuming facts not in evidence, or drawing unsupported conclusions from the premises stated in the argument.
- Identifying counterexamples to specific statements or arguments made in the passage, using these to point out flaws in the arguments.
- Pointing out any logical fallacies that have been committed with respect to how the argument has been constructed or composed.
- Including your own thoughts on possible solutions and beliefs so as to provide a clearer understanding of what is being discussed within the argument.
- Including citations so as to help readers locate where in the original material that your information came from and using quotes or paraphrasing the passages so as to make it easier for people reading your essay to see exactly what you are referring to rather than having to read through an entire passage themselves trying to figure out if they should agree with what you are saying or not.
Video on how to write an argument analysis essay with examples
Here is a video explaining how to write with argument analysis essay examples
What should an argument analysis include?
An argument analysis should include an introduction, a body, and a conclusion.
The introduction should include the basic premises of the text that is being analyzed and should give readers a general summary of what will be covered in the body. Then, the body should break down these premises into segments where each segment is representative of a specific argument or claim made within the text. The conclusion should summarize everything discussed in the body and point out any arguments that still need to be addressed.
Include citations so as to demonstrate where you got your information from. Use quotes or paraphrases when presenting information so as to make it easier for people reading your essay to see exactly what you are referring to.
How do I evaluate an argument?
You can evaluate an argument by determining its strengths and weaknesses. Consider important details such as key words, assumption made, component parts, and possible theory application. Identify any errors in the logical progression of the argument and identify any fallacies committed within its construction.
General tips for writing a good argument analysis essay
Here are tips to write a good argument analysis essay that we find great for students in college and high school level:
- Make sure that you are not relying 100% on secondary sources when making your own argument analysis essay.
- Use the internet to search for other people’s opinions about a topic first and then present them in a well-developed manner within your retelling of their arguments.
- The introduction or thesis is very important, so make sure that it properly frames what exactly you want to talk about in your essay by clearly stating the topic at hand.
- Do not to write an overly broad thesis because this will likely result in having a paper that does not really flow well between supporting paragraphs and section headings.
- Use transitions between each paragraph. Make these transitions relevant, but don’t be afraid to repeat yourself when appropriate either.
- Each transition should serve as a proper segue into the next paragraph, while still carrying on from where the previous paragraph left off.
Brainstorming tips for writing an argument analysis essay that will earn good grades:
- Establish your own opinion on what you want to argue about before you read others’ arguments. Then, you should come up with your own counter-arguments or rebuttals of the arguments made by others.
- When reading an essay, pay attention to what is being said and how it is being said to better understand what any argument or claim may be in a given passage.
- You could use a spider diagram to organize arguments that are found within the text if you can not fit all the information in only 2 paragraphs.
- A spider diagram essentially shows how ideas flow from one premise into another as well as different possible branches off these main ideas. It will also help you decide which arguments are more important than others when writing a thesis statement for your paper, thus helping shape your overall understanding of the subject matter at hand. Always use the spider diagram to organize ideas before taking notes.
- Try to be as critical in your reading as possible, and don’t limit yourself to only picking out things that you agree with within a passage or text. You should always try to address not only what is right but also what could be wrong with any argument so you can actively disprove someone’s claim if necessary.
- It is important that when writing an argument analysis essay, you read between the lines sometimes rather than just going off of facts stated by others. This means understanding the literal meaning of statements and how they may have been intended for deeper interpretation. Look at word choice, tone, style of writing, organization from beginning to end etc., to see if this tells you anything more about the author’s intent.
- You should try to reference as much primary source material as possible when writing an argument analysis essay because it is usually more credible than secondary sources. However, you should still use secondary sources appropriately if they help you develop your own thesis and arguments within each paragraph in a way that would not be possible with solely using primary sources for all of the information.