An argumentative essay puts forward a strong statement which may be new or potentially provocative and uses the standard essay format to expand on and support the thesis with evidence which attempts to persuade the reader that the opening statement is correct whilst acknowledging other arguments.
The method used will usually consist of reasoned argument where opinion is proposed as an undeniable fact and seek to prove this by means of logical debate of an issue. Typically, the argumentative essay will form reasons and inferences and propose them as convincing argument in support of the initial thesis.
The argumentative essay acknowledges contrary opinions but seeks to reject them by disproving them or undermining them. It makes judgements based on existing evidence and either qualifies, disproves or contradicts them by the introduction of new evidence, re-evaluation of existing evidence or reasoned contradiction determined by inference. In argumentative essays, the thesis proposed must, by the conclusion, be taken to be proven; unlike other essays, there is not so much room for manoeuvre in this type of essay as you are aiming to be convincing.
The method used will usually be to begin with a statement of the argument emphasizing its importance, often in relation to a larger topic where the argument is contributing to an ongoing debate to which it offers a new perspective. Following on from this, contemporary thinking on the subject will be thoroughly and critically assessed in order to demonstrate how much more effective the thesis statement under discussion is and explain why and how this supposition has been reached.
The final stage of an argumentative essay employs the same critical analysis that was applied to the thinking of others to assess the validity of the current thesis and ensure that the argument is watertight. The argumentative essay will conclude by attempting to anticipate and address possible objections to the thesis by pre-emptive rhetoric.
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